Social Victorians/1892-10-12 Funeral of Tennyson

Funeral of Alfred, Lord TennysonEdit


  • 1892 October 12, Wednesday
  • Westminster Abbey, burial in Poet's Corner

Related EventsEdit

  • Funeral in Westminster Abbey
  • Memorial service, All Saints Church, Freshwater, at the same time as the funeral
  • Haslemere shops were all closed.
  • Muffled peal rung on the bells of Great St. Mary's, Cambridge University Church.
  • Athenæum Club blinds were drawn during the funeral.

Who Was PresentEdit

Representing RoyaltyEdit

  1. Sir Henry Ponsonby, representing the Queen
  2. Sir Dighton Probyn representing the the Duke of Edinburgh
  3. Sir Francis De Winton Prince of Wales
  4. Colonel Colville representing representing the Duke of York
  5. Colonel Arthur Collins representing Princess Louise, Marchioness of Lorne

Clerics at the FrontEdit

  1. the Archbishop of Canterbury
  2. the Archbishop of York
  3. the Bishop of Rochester

Participants in the ServiceEdit

  • 200 boys of the Gordon Home
  • detachments of the
    • Queen's Westminster Volunteers
    • London Scottish Volunteers
    • London Irish Volunteers
  • "an old corporal of the 10th Hussars"
  • Professor or Dr. Bridge
  • Choir made up of 40 people, plus perhaps an additional boys' choir?

Pall BearersEdit

  1. the Duke of Argyll
  2. the Marquis of Dufferin
  3. Mr. White, Secretary of the United States Legation
  4. Sir James Paget
  5. Mr. Jowett (Master of Balliol)
  6. Mr. James Anthony Froude
  7. the Marquis of Salisbury
  8. Lord Selborne
  9. Lord Rosebery
  10. Lord Kelvin
  11. Dr. Butler (Master of Trinity)
  12. Mr. Lecky

Chief MournersEdit

  1. Mr. and Mrs. Hallam Tennyson
  2. Masters Lionel and Aubrey Tennyson
  3. Rev. W. Pope and Mrs. Pope
  4. Mr. Ernest Boyle
  5. Mr. and Mrs. L. Boyle
  6. Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Boyle
  7. Mr. A. Harbottle Estcourt
  8. Mr. James Baillie
  9. Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Tennyson
  10. Admiral Tennyson D'Eyncourt
  11. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis D'Eyncourt
  12. Mr. and Mrs. Horatio Tennyson
  13. Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Lushington
  14. Miss Tennyson
  15. Mr. Frank Lushington
  16. Captain and Mrs. Tennyson
  17. Mr. Alfred Tennyson
  18. Mr. and Mrs. Arden
  19. Miss Violet Tennyson
  20. Mr. and Mrs. Birrell
  21. Masters Alfred and Charles Tennyson
  22. Mr. Walter and Mrs. Ker
  23. Captain Arthur Jesse
  24. Mr. and Mrs. W. Rawnsley
  25. Rev. Canon Wright
  26. Mrs. and Miss Weld
  27. Colonel and Mrs. Ford
  28. Mr. and Mrs. Looker Lampson
  29. Lord and Lady Boyne
  30. Mr. Godfrey Locker Lampson
  31. Mr. A. Lefroy
  32. Sir Andrew Clark
  33. Mrs. Mordaunt Boyle
  34. Rev. H. D. and Mrs. Rawnsley
  35. Mr. G. L. Craik

Invited to Join the Funeral ProcessionEdit

  1. Lord Coleridge (Chief Justice of England)
  2. Mr. A. C. Swinburne
  3. The Bishop of London
  4. The Bishop of Durham
  5. The Bishop of Ripon
  6. The Bishop of Oxford
  7. The Bishop of Winchester
  8. The Bishop of Manchester
  9. the Master of the Temple
  10. Mr. James Bryce, M.P.
  11. Mr. Aubrey de Vere
  12. the Right. Hon. T. H. Huxley
  13. Prof. Tyndall
  14. Mr. Morris
  15. A. Austin
  16. F. Harrison
  17. Principal Caird
  18. the Duke of Westminster
  19. Sir John Millais
  20. Sir George Grove
  21. Briton Martin
  22. Mr. J. N. Lockyer
  23. Prof. Jebb, M.P.
  24. Andrew Lang
  25. the Lord Mayor
  26. W. Holman Hunt
  27. William Morris
  28. Charles Dickens
  29. Sir Wm. Muir (Principal of the University of Edinburgh)
  30. Rev. Dr. Salmon (Provost of Trinity College, Dublin)
  31. E. Burne Jones
  32. Admiral de Horsey
  33. Mr. Austin Dobson
  34. Mr. Theodore Watts
  35. Sir Henry Thompson
  36. Dr. Hollis
  37. Professor Herkemer
  38. Sir Barrington Simeon
  39. Sir George Higginson
  40. Mr. Val Prinsep
  41. Sir F. Pollock
  42. Mr. F. T. Palgrave
  43. the Speaker
  44. Henry Irving
  45. Rev. J. E. C. Wolldon (Head Master of Harrow)
  46. General Maurice
  47. the Lord Chancellor
  48. Mr. Asquith (Home Secretary)
  49. Vice-Chancellor of University of Cambridge
  50. Vice-Chancellor of University of Oxford
  51. Henry James
  52. Sir Archibald Geikie
  53. Sir M. E. Grant-Duff
  54. Sir John Lubbock, M.P.
  55. Sir Alfred Lyall
  56. Leslie Stephen
  57. Professor Pritchard
  58. Horace Walpole
  59. Augustus Austen Leigh
  60. Sir Robert S. Ball
  61. Sir Frederick Young
  62. Lord Thurlow
  63. Walter Besant
  64. William Black
  65. Thomas Hardy
  66. Hon. Lyulph Stanley
  67. Hamilton Aidé
  68. W. Clark Russell
  69. the Rev. S. Baring-Gould
  70. Arthur Conan Doyle
  71. J. M. Barrie
  72. Professor Boyd Dawkins
  73. the President of Magdalen College
  74. the Cardinal-Archbishop of Westminster
  75. Hon. S. Lyttelton (representing Mr. Gladstone)
  76. Dr. Warre (Head Master of Eton)
  77. the Head Master of Marlborough
  78. Dr. Dale
  79. Rev. Dr. Martineau
  80. General Sir E. B. Hamley
  81. Earl of Carlisle
  82. Sir Leopold McClintock
  83. Major-General Sir Owen Burne
  84. Clements Markham
  85. G. A. Macmillan
  86. Lord Acton
  87. Sir Charles Tupper
  88. Agent-General for Canada
  89. Agent-General for South Australia
  90. Sir Charles Mills
  91. Colonel the Hon. Charles Elliot
  92. Mr. Coventry Patmore
  93. Sir Joseph Fayrer
  94. Mr. Somers Cocks?
  95. Sir James Garrick
  96. Agent-General for Queensland
  97. Dr. Parker
  98. Rev. J. Guinness Rogers
  99. Chief Rabbi Hermann Adler
  100. Mr. John Burns, M.P.
  101. "a Hindoo," dressed in "embroidered robe and turban"
  102. Sir Saul Samuel
  103. Agent-General for New South Wales
  104. Mr. W. P. Percival
  105. Agent-General for New Zealand
  106. Sir Edward Clarke

Others PresentEdit

  1. T. Wemyss Reid
  2. F. C. Burnand
  3. J. R. Robinson
  4. Mrs. Richmond Ritchie
  5. Dr. W. C. Bennett
  6. the Rev. Newman Hall
  7. T. Fisher Unwin
  8. C. de la Pryme


From the London Daily NewsEdit

<quote>Amid many signs of national sympathy and reverence, the remains of Alfred Tennyson were borne to their resting-place in the hallowed fano [?] where some of Britain's noblest sons and sweetest singers lie buried. A great crowd, restless in its eagerness to miss nothing of the solemn ceremony, waited in the Cathedral yard for hours yesterday morning, and when at last the doors were open, a great human wave poured in, so that in a few minutes every part of nave, aisles, and transepts not reserved for holders of tickets became densely crowded. Hundreds made their way up the winding staircases to triforium, galleries, whence they could look down on a sea of faces and rub shoulders with the dust of countless years. Outside the Abbey many people who had failed to gain admission waited, listening for faint sounds of the choral service to reach them, and among these were some who had evidently journeyed from distant country places bringing with them sprays of simple woodland foliage and wayside flowers in the hope apparently of being able to lay them on tho poet's grave. If the intellect of England was not more strongly represented in or about the Abbey than at Robert Browning's funeral the heart of the nation certainly was, and among the many classes assembled there were seen signs of a sorrowful respect that showed how far the influence of Tennyson had reached. In the cloisters leading from Dean's-yard to St. Faith's Chapel so many mourners had gathered that it was difficult to make way through the throng and gain admission at the West Cloister door an hour before the service began. If ever it could be said of any man that he

Nor wanted at his end
The dark retinue reverencing death,

that surely may be written of Alfred Tennyson; but it was the reverence dictated by a people's profound regard for "him who uttered nothing base," and no hollow homage paid to rank "at golden thresholds." The sombre garb, which was scarcely varied by a single tint of lighter hue among the multitude assembled in the Cathedral more than among the mourners invited to gather in the cloisters, symbolised the general desire that there should be no discordant note in this great solermn ceremony. Of funereal gloom there was little indeed yesterday beyond the crape and sable garments of those who mourned. The floor of Poet's Corner where the grave had been opened was carpeted not with black but with purple cloth edged by a narrow white border, and strips of the same colour were stretched along the aisles so that footsteps passing there fell with a muffled sound. About the grey marble of Chaucer's tomb many beautiful wreaths were placed so that from every joint of the ancient stonework white flowers or fragile fern fronds or leaves of laurel seemed to grow. Lilies and roses and violets were there in profusion, and some sprays of the purple heather that the poet loved; but among them all was none that seemed more appropriate than a simple wreath of laurel from the garden of Shakespeare.

When General Sir George Higginson and Major-General Collins [could this refer to Arthur Collins?] marshalled the 200 boys of the Gordon Home and brought them in to line the central aisle on each side, detachments of the Queen's Westminster, London Scottish, and London Irish Volunteers were already drawn up in single ranks at one part of the nave. These citizen soldiers of three nationalities embodied. something of the sentiment that was to be symbolised later by laying the Union Jack on Lord Tennyson's bier. By the clustered columns stood an old corporal of the 10th Hussars, one of the noble Six Hundred who rode in the charge of the Light Brigade. In the choir only a few prelates sat. The Sub-dean's stall was occupied by the Archbishop of Canterbury, next to whom was the Archbishop of York, and beyond him the Bishop of Rochester. On the opposite side stalls were reserved for Sir Henry Ponsonby, representing the Queen, Sir Dighton Probyn representing the the Duke of Edinburgh, Sir Francis De Winton Prince of Wales, Colonel Colville representing representing the Duke of York, and Colonel Arthur Collins representing Princess Louise, Marchioness of Lorne, While the vast congregation waited in silence beams of misty sunlight began to break through the chantry windows and dispel something of the deep gloom that brooded behind the slender pillars of triforium arcades. Here and there a ray played about the cusps of delicate tracery and crept in among the shadows of fretted mouldings or wavered down the marble shafts, and rested on a mass of motionless faces. Looking north one saw a double stream of pure white light fall between the greyness of nave arches from the long lancet windows in which no stained glass is set. After a long silence, unbroken by the echoes of any footsteps, a few soft notes, scarcely louder than a whisper of wind trying to stir the needles of a pine forest, came from the organ loft, and then swelled into a melodious burst. It was the choral music of Croft and Purcell which the boyish voices of youthful choristers took up and tossed in a spray of music. "I am the resurrection and the life," they sang as following the Dean and Canons they began to move slowly down the long South aisle. Then followed the coffin with the folds of the Union Jack and a cross of flowers upon it making bright points of colour and whiteness amid the prevailing gloom.

On one side of the coffin as pall-bearers walked the Duke of Argyll, the Marquis of Dufferin, Mr. White, Secretary of the United States Legation; Sir James Paget, Mr. Jowett (Master of Balliol), and Mr. James Anthony Froude. On the other side were the Marquis of Salisbury, Lord Selborne, Lord Rosebery, Lord Kelvin, Dr. Butler (Master of Trinity), and Mr. Lecky. Among the chief mourners were .... Following them were nearly a hundred and fifty representatives of the Church, literature, law, learning, art, statesmanship, and arms who had been invited to join the funeral procession. Among those invited were .... Beside Mr. John Burns walked a Hindoo, whose embroidered robe and turban were curiously in contrast with the sombre garb and bared heads of those about him. Others present included ....

The solemn chorus rolled along the aisles, "and ever in it a low musical note swelled up and died" in whispering echoes among the ribbed vaults and roof timbers. The long procession turned into the crowded nave and passed eastwards to the junction of nave, chancel, and transepts, where on a bench that was covered by the pall, which cunning hands had woven and embroidered at the Keswick School of Industrial Art, the bearers laid the coffin with its parti-coloured shroud and floral cross. A ray of midday sunlight, falling through a pane of ruby coloured glass, burned like a faint flame against one column of the chancel arch. The music rose and fell, and then changed into a mournful strain as the choristers chanted with wonderful effect the 90th Psalm, to Purcell's setting. Their voices softened when towards the end they sang of men who "be so strong that they come to fourscore years." Suddenly the music ceased, and Canon Duckworth's voice was heard reading the first words of the lesson: "Now is Christ risen from the dead." At its conclusion a hush fell on the multitude, who listened for the notes of organ or voices to begin the poet's beautiful hymn, "Crossing the Bar," for which Dr. Bridge had composed music at the special request of the family. Some passages of the music were powerfully descriptive. In listening, one almost felt the long rise and fall of the tide, that, "moving, seems asleep;" and, in lovely cadence following the full sound of "the boundless deep," voices fell to the tenderness of "Turns again home." The jubilant burst of the penultimate line, "I hope to see my Pilot face to face," throbbed and vibrated through the lofty aisles, while in slow and solemn tones came the closing words, "When I have crossed the bar." Everybody listened in breathless silence until the last faint note had died away. Then the choristers began another hymn, "The Silent Voices," which Lord Tennyson wrote or dictated during his last illness. The words, like the music to which Lady Tennyson has set them, are rigidly protected by copyright, and were only printed by special permission for this service. The poem is an appeal to silent voices to call

Forward to the starry track
Glimmering up the heights beyond me,
On, and always on!

One or two passages of undulating melody were very fine, and the four voices for which Doctor Bridge had arranged Lady Tennyson's music made the most of every effective phrase. When the last treble note had died away in lingering cadence, the procession was again formed, and the organist played soft, solemn music while the Poet Laureate's body was being carried to its grave, at the head of which three wreaths had been freshly laid. One of laurel leaves bore the inscription "A mark of sad regard and affection from Victoria R.I."; another was also in the form of a laurel wreath, but wrought in metal and enamelled. This, probably intended to remain always near the tomb, was sent as "A tribute of affectionate regard and true admiration from his Sovereign." The third, a circle of lilies, laurels, and ferns was from Princess Beatrice. The Reverent Flood Jones, Precenter [?] of Westminster, led this procession; behind him came the boyish choristers and minor canons, then the officiating clergy, among whom the Dean moved with somewhat feeble steps, showing traces of his recent illness. The coffin with pall bearers on each side followed. The choristers ranged themselves on the south side near the tomb of Mathew Prior. In front of them stood the tall, burly figure of Lord Salisbury. With rounded shoulders and massive head bowed, he still seemed to tower above the others. Beside him was Lord Selborne, whose spare figure seemed sparer by contrast, but his shoulders are little bent, the intellectual head though silvered by the frosty winter of life, is still carried with dignity, and the weight of years has not apparently begun to tell upon him much. Lord Rosebery's youthful features were conspicuously in contrast with the faces of veterans about him. The tall figure of Mr. Lecky, the keen, intellectual face of Sir James Paget, the well-knit frame and stately bearing of Lord Dufferin; the Duke of Argyll's lofty forehead, about which soft white hair falls, and the neat figure which looks inches taller than it is because of the erect bearing — are nearly all familiar in public life; but the strongly-marked features of Mr. Froude; the venerable form of the Master of Balliol and face full of scholarly refinement; or the figure of Doctor Henry Montagu Butler, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, are not so often seen at ceremonies away from the seats of learning. Close to Lord Dufferin, on the north side of Poet's Corner, stood Mr. Henry White, the young Secretary of the United States Legation. Not far off, but behind the chief mourners, and in the shadow of a column, was Mr. Henry Irving.

When the coffin had been lowered where broad beams of light from clerestory windows fall, Mr. Hallam Tennyson took his place opposite Chaucer's tomb, with Mrs. Tennyson and younger branches of the family near him. Some of the poet's grandchildren showed signs of much emotion, for he had ever "a childly way with children," and reverence for him was mingled with a log which the aged do not always know how to inspire. The choral portion of the service ended, the Dean of Westminster recited the prayer and collect of the committal to the grave. The coffin was then lowered gently into the tomb, and the voices of choristers once more rose in the hymn "Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God Almighty!" After this had been sung the carried out, but the only exceptions made were in favour of a couple of classics, at the acceptance of which not the most rigid patriot or partisan could reasonably cavil. Beethoven and Chopin are indeed not for any single nation or people, but for mankind at large. Departing from the order of service adopted at Robert Browning's funeral nearly three year's ago, the proceedings therefore yesterday opened with an organ version of a portion of the funeral march from the "Eroica" symphony. Beethoven, as everybody knows, originally composed his symphony in honour of Bonaparte, but when the First Consul accepted the title of Emperor, the stern old lover of civil liberty declared the military tyrant to be "nothing but an ordinary mortal," and instead dedicated the work in general terms to "A Great Man." In a great man's honour it thus worthily prefaced yesterday's service, but half way through the movement the music stopped, and after a short pause the voices of the procession of choristers were heard from the further end of the nave, singing the opening sentences of the Burial Office, to the setting of William Croft. Croft's funeral service "as it is occasionally performed in Westminster Abbey" — for so ran its original title — is said to have been "the first of its kind that was stamped on pewter plates and in score," and since its publication in the "Musica Sacra" in 1724, that is to say, for nearly 170 years, it has invariably been employed at interments in the Abbey. As, however, the Music was yesterday found not sufficient to allow the long line of mourners to reach their seats, Professor Bridge followed without break with the rest of the "Eroica" march, thereby giving a sort of continuity to the earlier portion of the service. The 90th Psalm as usual was sung to Purcell's fine chant in G, and then, after the lesson, followed the two specially-composed anthems. The interest was of course chiefly centred in Professor Bridge's music to "Crossing the Bar," which is in the key of C major, and is for four-part choir unaccompanied. In a preliminary notice printed on Monday we mentioned that the anthem was avowedly unpretentious. An ornate setting of words so simple, and yet so eloquent in their simplicity, would indeed have been absurdly out of place. The little work therefore is quite clear and straight forward, for even the cadence at the end of each verse, if of an uncommon and very striking, is not at all of a far-fetched character; and the effects are chiefly gained by the beauty of the melody, and by a nice observance of the marks of expression in performance. The anthem has now been issued by Messrs. Novello, and it will be made part of the service at many cathedrals and other places of worship next Sunday. For ordinary use it has been provided with an ad libitum accompaniment, but yesterday it was sung a capella, and with an effect perhaps more impressive than anything which the musical members of the congregation had heard in the Abbey since "God is a Spirit," likewise of course unaccompanied, was given as the anthem at the funeral of Sir Sterndale Bennett in 1875. Although the forty choristers were divided into two parties on either side of the choir, and despite the fact that they of course had no conductor, the performance was practically perfect. As the sounds died away of the pianissimo "I hope to see my Pilot face to face, When I have crost the bar," a few solemn chords on the organ were heard, and the choir at once entered upon Lady Tennyson's setting of "The Silent Voices," an anthem in F minor composed by his widow to Lord Tennyson's "latest poem." The first six lines are practically a dirge, a special effect being gained at the almost whispered line, "Silent voices of the dead." At the seventh line, that is to say at the apostrophe to the voices to call the listener "Forward to the the starry track," there is a change to the major key, while the contrast between the boys' voices softly singing of "The heights beyond me," and the majestic burst of full choir and organ at the final line "On, and always on," proved of the most striking character. It should he added that although Professor Bridge has arranged the anthem for four-part chorus, and has also furnished the organ accompaniment, not a note of Lady Tennyson's music has been altered. Immediately after the second anthem, and while the body was being lifted from its place under the Lantern, there stole through the venerable building the beautiful strains of the trio from Chopin's Funeral March sonata - of course performed by Prof. Bridge on the organ. The march itself was not played, as Beethoven's had preceded it, while Handel's was to follow, and two funeral marches were rightly deemed sufficient. The lovely trio of the Polish master, however, served for the passing of the procession to the graveside, when Croft's music was resumed, still unaccompanied, the voices, however, maintaining the pitch wonderfully. The beautiful setting (which Croft refused to touch, on the ground that he could do nothing better) of "Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts," by Purcell, was, of course, preserved although the accompaniment of "flat mournful trumpets," alluded to by the learned Dr. Tudway as being a feature of the first performance at the burial in the Abbey of Queen Mary II., was mercifully dispensed with. By desire of Lady Tennyson, on whose authority it is stated that the hymn was a special favourite of her husband, Dr. Dykes' familiar setting (known as "Nicaea [?]") of Bishop Heber's "Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!" was sung, the congregation both in the choir and the nave joining heartily, and the service, in accordance with Custom, closed with the Dead March from Handel's "Saul," played by Professor Bridge. Criticism upon such an occasion would be quite out of place; but it is nevertheless only fair to add that the music went from first to last practically without a hitch or flaw, a fact which is infinitely creditable alike to Abbey choir and to those responsible for their rehearsal and training.

A memorial service was held at All Saints Church, Freshwater, during the hour of the his funeral of the late Lord Tennyson. The Tennyson Lodge of Oddfellows and the Freshwater Artillery Volunteers were present, and throughout the town shops were closed and the blinds of houses drawn. The service was conducted by the Rural Dean and the curate of Freshwater. The volunteers were drawn up in the road after leaving the church, and the band played the Dead March in "Saul."

Sir Lady Tennyson, who is still completely prostrated, was attended at Aldworth by nurses between twelve and two. The shops in Haslemere were closed, and the church bells rang a soft muffled peal and tolled a knell. The whole of the family returned to Haslemere last evening

At Cambridge last evening a muffled peal was rung on the bells of Great St. Mary's, the University Church.

The blinds of the Athenaeum Club, Pall Mall, of which Lord Tennyson was a member, were drawn down during the time of the funeral.</quote> ("Funeral of Lord Tennyson")

Questions and NotesEdit