Social Victorians/1899-05-30 Funeral of Lord Esher

Funeral for William Baliol Brett, Lord EsherEdit


  • 1899 May 29, Monday, reported on Tuesday, May 30 1899
  • Esher Churchyard

Related EventsEdit

  1. Train from Waterloo Station in London
  2. People met at train station in Esher "for their conveyance to the churchyard" (FoLE)
  3. Funeral at Esher Church
  4. Burial in Esher Churchyard in the family vault
  5. Trip back to train station and then London

Who Was PresentEdit


From the Morning PostEdit

<quote>The body of Viscount Esher was laid to rest in the family mausoleum in Esher Churchyard yesterday morning in the presence of a large congregation. The coffin had been removed from Ennismore-gardens earlier in the day and conveyed by road to Esher Church, where it was received at the Lych Gate, in the absence of the Rector, by the Rev. C. S. Grey, curate, who recited the opening sentences of the Burial Service as he led the way to the church. The Service, which was fixed for eleven o'clock, was conducted by the Rev. Canon Phillips, Rector of Stoke d'Abernon, Cobham, assisted by the Rev. C. S. Grey, and commenced with the sinking of the Psalms "Dixi Custodiam" and "Domine refugium." The Lesson having been read, the hymn "Nearer my God to Thee" was sung, after which the body was removed to the churchyard, preceded by the choir and clergy, the organist playing the Dead March in "Saul" as the procession passed down the nave. The committal portion of the Office having been read, the hymn "Now the labourer's task is o'er" was sung, and the Service ended with the Benediction. The mourners were Vis-countess Esher, the Hon. Reginald and Mrs. Brett, Mr. and the Hon. Mrs. Dudley Ward, Sir Wilford Brett, and the four grandchildren of the late Peer. The Prince of Wales was represented by Sir Francis Knollys, the Duchess of Albany by Sir Robert Collins, and Princess Louise Marchioness of Lorne by Colonel Arthur Collins. Other relatives and friends present included the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Justice Rigby, Lord Justice Collins, the Countess of Romney, Major-General H. A. Brett, Sir Richard Webster, Mr. Justice Bucknill. Judge Wightman Wood, Master Wilberforce (Master of the Supreme Court), Mr. Justice Cozens-Hardy, Sir George Lewis, Sir Harry Poland, Q.C, Judge Greenhow, Mr. Justice Bigham, Mr. Eric Gardner, representing the Caius College Boat Club; the Rev. Ernest Stewart Roberts, President, representing the Master and Fellows of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge; Judge Wood, Mr. Jelf, Q.C, Mr. Joseph Wharton, Q.C, Mr. M'Connell, Q.C, Mr. A. A. W. Maitland, Mr. Currie, Mr. R. C Currie, Mr. A. H. Wylie, Mr. Carver, Q.C, Mr. Hwfa Williams, Mr. Watson (clerk to the late Lord Esher), Mr. Lopes, &c.

A large number of wreaths and other floral emblems were placed on the coffin and around the mausoleum, including tokens of regard from the Prince of Wales, Princess Louise Marchioness of Lorne, Viscountess Esher, the Hon. Reginald and Mrs. Brett, Mr. and the Hon. Mrs. Dudley Ward, the Countess of Cottenham and Lady Mary Pepys, the Lord Chief Justice, the Comte de Pontavice, Lord and Lady Pirbright, Lord Ludlow, the Dowager Lady Westbury, Lord Justice and Lady Smith, Amy Lady Coleridge, Sir Wilford Brett, Sir Francis and Lady Jeune, Sir John Murray Scott, Lady Edmonstone, Sir Squire and Lady Bancroft, Sir George and Lady Lewis, Judge Patterson, the members of Lord Esher's old circuit. Mrs. Bischoffsheim, Mr. and Mrs. D'Arcy, Mr. and Mrs. W. S. Salting, Mr. M'Ewan, Mrs. Mackay, Mr. and Mrs. Beerbohm Tree, Mr. and Mrs. James Stern, Mr. Watson, and the household servants.

The coffin was of polished oak, and bore the following inscription: "The Right Hon. Sir William Baliol Brett, P.C, Master of the Rolls, Ist Viscount Esher, Baron Esher of Esher. Born August 13, 1815. Died May 24, 1899."</quote> (FoVE)

From the London StandardEdit

<quote>A special train left Waterloo yesterday morning for the convenience of those attending the funeral of the late Lord Esher at Esher. Among the passengers were Sir F. Knollys (representing the Prince of Wales), Colonel Arthur Collins (representing the Marchioness of Lorne), the Countess of Romney, Mr. A. H. Wylie, Sir Gerald Fitzgerald, Miss Gurwood, Mr. Reginald Brett (who succeeds Lord Esher, his father, in the title), Mr. Justice Bigham, Lady Jephson, Mr. Jelf, Q.C, and Mr. Murphy, Q.C.

At Esher the passengers were met by carriages for their conveyance to the churchyard, where was assembled a great number of residents and visitors, who had met to pay a last tribute of respect to the memory of the late Peer. The remains had previously been conveyed from London to Esher by road. They were enclosed in an oaken casket, upon the name-plate of which was the inscription, "The Right Hon. Sir William Baliol Brett, P.C, Master of the Rolls, First Viscount Esher, Baron Esher of Esher, born 13th August, 1815, died 24th May, 1899."

The clergy met the coffin at the Lychgate at eleven o'clock in the morning, and the opening sentences of the Burial Service were read as it was borne to the chancel, where it was placed on a temporary platform in front of the altar to await the mourners. Wreaths from various members of the family were placed upon it, and these were supplemented later by floral offerings from the Prince of Wales, the Princess Louise (Marchioness of Lorne), the Duchess of Albany, the Lord Chief Justice, and others. Shortly afterwards the chief mourners arrived, and the congregation filed slowly into the church. It included Lady Esher (the widow), Miss Gurwood and Mrs. King-Ring [?] (step sisters), Mr. Reginald Brett aud Miss Brett, the Hon. Mrs. Dudley Ward (daughter), and Mr. Dudley Ward, Sir Wilfred Brett (brother), Sir F. Knollys representing the Prince of Wales), Sir R. Collins (representing the Duchess of Albany), Colonel Collins (representing the Chief Justice, Sir Harry Poland, Sir George Lewis, Lord Justice Rigby. Lord Justice Collins, Mr. Justice Bucknill. Mr. Justice Darling, Judge Wightman Wood, Mr. McConnell, Q.C, Master Wilberforce (of the Supreme Court), Mr. Eric Gardner (representing Caius College Boat Club), Rev. E. S. Roberts (representing Masters and Fellows of Gonvilie and Caius).

The service in the church, conducted by Canon Phillips and the Rev. Mr. Grey, was very short. It included the hymn "Nearer, my God, to Thee." At its conclusion the remains were borne to the church-yard and deposited in the family vault, beneath a marble tomb prepared by the late Master of the Rolls many years ago. The commitment portions of the service were read, and the hymn, "Now the labourer's task is o'er" was sung, after which the mourners, followed by the congregation, took a final look at the coffin in its resting-place. The tomb, in which Lieutenant Eugene Brett, a son of Lord and Lady Esher, lies buried, had been decorated with sprays of lilac, and around it were ranged a collection of wreaths. They included offerings from Lord aud Lady Haliburton, Lady Edmonstone, the Lord Chancellor and Lady Halsbury, Lord Ludlow, Sir Francis and Lady Jeune, Mr. Justice and Lady Mathew, Lord Justice and Lady Smith, Sir Squire and Lady Bancroft, the Baroness Burdett-Coutts, Officers of Scots Guards, and trades-people of Esher. On a card attached to the wreath sent by the Prince were the words, "As a tribute of friendship and regard"; while inscribed on a card fastened to that sent by the Marchioness of Lorne was the following: — "A mark of regret and regard from Louise."</quote> (FoLE)

Questions and NotesEdit