Obituary: George Ramsay

Click to follow
The Independent Online
AS a former student and intermittent academic correspondent, may I add a few words to John Cowdrey's full and excellent obituary of George Ramsay (16 June)? writes G. A. Metters.

George Ramsay was, indeed, an intellectually formidable but humane and kindly tutor, whose inherent modesty and impeccable scholarship impressed all who came into contact with him. He was also generous to a fault.

An additional important published work should be associated with him, not one of his own but one which owed a great deal to him in a number of ways. The Maritime Trade of the East Anglian Ports 1550-1590, by NJ Williams, was published by the Clarendon Press in 1988, 30 years after its completion and some 11 years after the author's death. It was essentially the text of Williams's Oxford D Phil thesis of 1952 and, although Ramsay had not formally supervised its production, his influence on the writer both during his undergraduate days and as a research student was gratefully acknowledged in the preface.

For a variety of reasons the work had never been published, although it had been regularly used and cited by scholars, both in this country and abroad, and many had expressed the view that it really should see the light of day in a more readily available form. This was accomplished through the untiring efforts of Ramsay, who prepared a publishable text (scarcely altered), revised the appendices, and skilfully updated the footnotes. With characteristic restraint, 'An Editorial Note' ended simply 'GDR'