The papers of the man often known as the ‘Godfather of Devolution’ are to be catalogued and preserved by the University of Stirling.
Canon Kenyon Wright (1932-2017) left instructions for his extensive collection of papers relating to Scottish devolution to be donated to the Scottish Political Archive housed at the University of Stirling.
Sarah Bromage, from the Scottish Political Archive, said: “We are extremely pleased to accept Canon Kenyon Wright’s personal collection. It will be an extremely valuable addition to the Archive, given the extensive and central role which he played in the journey towards Scottish devolution.”
Canon Kenyon Wright is best known as the Executive Chair of the Scottish Constitutional Convention which planned for Scotland’s Parliament, which came into being in 1999. Often referred to, by the media, as the ‘Godfather of Devolution’, he was made a CBE ‘for services to constitutional reform and Scottish Devolution’.
The Scottish Political Archive is based within the University’s History and Politics department. Established in 2010, the Archive collects political material and archives from Scottish politicians and organisations to chronicle the country’s political history in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Canon Kenyon Wright’s papers contain a wealth of important material drawn from all stages of his working life and will complement the Archive’s existing collection.
Born in Paisley on 31 August 1932, Kenyon Wright was educated at the town’s Grammar School, as well as the Universities of Cambridge and Glasgow, before spending 15 years in India as a missionary. While there, he founded and directed the Ecumenical Social and Industrial Institute in Bengal.
After returning to the UK, he became a Canon of Coventry Cathedral, and, on his return to Scotland, became General Secretary of the Scottish Churches Council. In that role, he worked tirelessly in partnership with a number of organisations towards the goal of home rule.
The Scottish Political Archive has a policy to collect archival papers relating to Scottish devolution and referendums. It holds a body of material relating to the 1979, 1997 and 2014 referendums, as well as material from the Campaign for a Scottish Assembly, Common Cause, Constitutional Convention, and the 1997 and 2014 Bus Parties.
The Archive also holds the personal collections of former First Minister Jack McConnell, MP Dennis Canavan, and MP George Robertson, as well as others. An oral history archive detailing the experiences of campaigners during the 1979 and 1997 devolution referendums is also housed in the collection.