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Arthur Rowledge

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Title: Arthur Rowledge  
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Subject: Napier Lion, Napier & Son, Rolls-Royce Kestrel, Rolls-Royce R, Rolls-Royce aircraft piston engines
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Arthur Rowledge

Arthur John Rowledge MBE, FRS (1876–1957) was an English engineer who designed the Napier Lion aero engine and was a key figure in the development of the Rolls-Royce Merlin.[1]


Rowledge was born in Peterborough, Northamptonshire in 1876 the son of John and Ann Rowledge, his father was described as a Bricklayer in 1881.[2] By the time of the 1891 Census Rowledge is described as an Apprentice to Engineers Draughtsman[3] and by 1901 he is in Erith, Kent boarding at Rose Hill Villas, Bexley Road and described as a Mechanical Draughtsman.[4]

Arthur Rowledge joined Napier & Son in 1913 as Chief Designer. After designing car engines and, more notably, the Napier Lion aero engine, Rowledge took up a similar position at Rolls-Royce Limited in 1921, where he became known as 'Rg' in company shorthand. He is credited with designing the Condor III, Kestrel and the Rolls-Royce R racing engine, that was used with great success at the 1929 and 1931 Schneider Trophy races. Development work on the Merlin engine was one of his last contributions to aero engine design along with responsibility for the Exe and Pennine projects, before retiring from Rolls-Royce in 1945 at the age of 70.[5][6][7]


Rowledge died on 11 December 1957, aged 81.[7]

Honours and awards

  • 1931 - Gold Medal of the Institute of Automobile Engineers for contributions to Schneider Trophy aero engine development, specifically development of the Rolls-Royce R engine.[7]




  • Lumsden, Alec. British Piston Engines and their Aircraft. Marlborough, Wiltshire: Airlife Publishing, 2003. ISBN 1-85310-294-6.
  • Pugh, Peter. The Magic of a Name - The Rolls-Royce Story - The First 40 Years. Cambridge, England. Icon Books Ltd, 2000. ISBN 1-84046-151-9

Further reading

  • Rubbra, A.A. Rolls-Royce Piston Aero Engines - a designer remembers: Historical Series no 16 :Rolls Royce Heritage Trust, 1990. ISBN 1-872922-00-7

External links

  • , 14 March 1930
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