Lord John Roxton (a fictional title derived from the English parish of Roxton, Bedfordshire) is a supporting character in the Professor Challenger series of stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. He makes his initial appearance in the first entry of this series, The Lost World (1912), wherein he is a member of the expedition to the eponymous land of the title, and is a prominent character in some of the subsequent stories as well, specifically The Poison Belt and The Land of Mist.


The narrator of The Lost World, Edward D. Malone, describes him as being tall and thin, with peculiarly rounded shoulders, "dark gingery hair," skin which is "a rich flower-pot red from sun and wind" and cool, masterful blue eyes. Malone compares him to Don Quixote and Napoleon III as well as to the quintessential English sporting gentleman. Roxton greets the prospect of visiting the Lost World with delight, largely because of the prospect of bringing home a dinosaur as a hunting trophy:

"...a sportin' risk, young fellah, that's the salt of existence. Then it's worth livin' again. We're all gettin' a deal too soft and dull and comfy. Give me the great waste lands and the wide spaces, with a gun in my fist and somethin' to look for that's worth findin'. I've tried war and steeplechasin' and aeroplanes, but this huntin' of beasts that look like a lobster-supper dream is a brand-new sensation."—The Lost World, ch. 6

Roxton has travelled the world, as a hunter in addition to his pursuits as an explorer in the main bodies of the novels. Being an enemy of slavery, he made enemies in Brazil in his campaign against that institution, a fact which comes into play over the course of the plot of The Lost World.

The titular "lost world" is located on a remote South American plateau, accessed by using a felled tree as a bridge across a vast sheer drop. When Lord John Roxton and the other members of his expedition use this makeshift bridge to enter the Lost World, Roxton is the only one who takes the easier but more dangerous option of walking across it; all the others sit astride the tree trunk and inch their way across.

The character was based on Conan Doyle's friend, the British Consul and Irish nationalist Roger Casement.[1]

Other appearances

Actor portrayals

The following actors have portrayed Roxton in adaptations of The Lost World:


  1. ^ Casement, Roger (1997). The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement. Anaconda Editions. p. 378. ISBN 9781901990003 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Alien Voices official site