Judith Ellen Wilson was an Irishwoman from County Limerick and a cousin of Lord Rothermere: when her parents died she inherited a large fortune.
She had always been devoted to the theatre and the arts generally. She founded a lectureship in the University of Cambridge to bring together those interested in the academic study of drama and poetry and those who were practitioners in these fields. She hoped that the Fellowship would be used also to draw the live theatre and the university closer together.
She was a friend of Dame Edith Evans and when Edith Evans lost her husband, Judith Wilson provided a beautiful home at Goudhurst and all the support that an artist needs. Judith Wilson died of cancer at a comparatively early age, and she left her money to Edith Evans in trust and afterwards to the University of Cambridge. On the death of Edith Evans in 1976 the legacy, increased by some valuable works of art, made this fund a unique source of support for work in drama and poetry.