Death and Funeral of Mr John Marnham of Boxmoor
Hemel Hempstead Gazette
5th December, 1903
During the late 19th century and early 20th century local papers reported in detail on the death and funeral of leading local people. Not only do these provide a flattering biography of the deceased, but the long lists of people who attend the funeral can provide information on relatives, friends, servants and business and other associates. In this example the account also includes information about the Baptist Church in Hertfordshire.
See also MARNHAM, Boxmoor, late 19th century
DEATH AND FUNERAL
The sad tidings that the illness of Mr. John Marnham, J.P., of the Hollies, Boxmoor, had terminated fatally was received in Hemel Hempstead on Friday, as it was throughout the county generally and the circles in which he moved in the metropolis and other parts of the country, with the most profound sorrow, and it is our mournful duty to chronicle the passing away of one whose loss will be so grievously felt. Although the news came as somewhat of a surprise to a large number, yet his death was not altogether unexpected by his relatives and immediate friends. His death leaves a blank which cannot easily be filled, for the full measure of his generosity will never be known. It was almost four years ago that it became known that Mr. Marnham was a sufferer from renal complaint, and although this has not necessitated his confinement to bed or even to the house for any considerable length of time, he has been a great sufferer. He bore the distress, however, with great fortitude, and on many occasions appeared at public gatherings when he must have been enduring severe pain. With the development of the illness Mr Marnham's suffering became more and more severe and his appearance in public gradually less frequent, until under the advice of his medical attendants he submitted to an operation as the only possibility of averting a lingering illness. The operation was performed at a private hospital in London on Tuesday of last week by skilled and celebrated physicians. In its immediate object the operation was successful but the sufferer never recovered from the shock which followed it. After lying for three days the end came peacefully on Friday morning.
Mr. Marnham's last public appearance was on the occasion of the British Castles Bazaar on October 28th and 29th in connection with the Marlowes Baptist Church, when, although evidently in pain, he performed the opening ceremony on the second day.
A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Born at Willesden in 1826 of parents both of which were Baptists, Mr. Marnham entered his business career in London in connection with the Stock Exchange, of which he first became a member about 1850. Shrewdness, tact and sound judgment, combined with diligence and perseverance resulted in more than average success. For many years he was a member of the committee of the Stock Exchange and became one of the oldest pillars of the "house". In 1866 Mr. Marnham came to reside at Boxmoor and at that time became a member of the Boxmoor Baptist Church, which was then under the pastorate of the Rev. H. C. Leonard, M.A. He retired from business in 1884 and was shortly afterwards made a Justice of the Peace for the county of Herts. FOr many years he served on the committee of the Baptist Missionary Society and was chairman of the Finance Committee of that important organisation. He was also on the Council of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland. Not long since he was elected a member of the British and Foreign Bible Society. As a member of the London Mission he did good work. He had been president of the Herts Baptist Union and rendered invaluable help in connection with its working by providing means towards the building of churches, those at Northchurch and Stevenage being built entirely at his expense. He had acted as treasurer of the Herts Union of Baptist Churches for 20 years and was president of the Herts Federation of Free Churches. He held numerous other prominent posts in connection with the Baptist community throughout the country. Coming to local organisations Mr. Marnham was recognised as the leading lay Nonconformist of the district. He was President of the Hemel Hempstead and District Free Church Council, and the Hemel Hempstead and Boxmoor Passive Resister Association, in which connection he was the first to state his determination to pay the education rate in West Herts. He was among the 21 who had their goods sold in the "Passive Resistance" sale.
Though Mr. Marnham never sought municipal honours he had been on several occasions approached, but he always gave a resolute refusal. He was, however, a member of the now defunct Hemel Hempstead School Board from its formation. Amongst the numerous charitable institutions and organisations in the working of which he took a prominent part were the West Herts Infirmary and the Hertfordshire Convalescent Home at St. Leonards-on-Sea. Of both these institutions the deceased gentleman was a member of the committees.
In political life Mr. Marnham was a strong though by no means an extreme Liberal. He unsuccessfully contested the West Herts constituency in the Liberal interest in 1892, the committee of the West Herts Liberal Association overcoming his reluctance to seek Parliamentary honours,
During the whole of his Nonconformist career Mr. Marnham was a member of Boxmoor Baptist Church, but though he has never severed his connection with that church he had of late years usually worshiped at Marlowes Baptist Church, under the ministry of the Rev. W. Wright-Robinson, for whom Mr. Marnham had a high regard. At the opening of the bazaar above referred to it will be remembered that he gave expression to this feeling. In regard to his religious life his sympathies were strongly directed towards evangelical work both at home and abroad, and he did not hesitate to achieve any particular object to which his attention was drawn, to devote the requisite financial assistance.
On Sunday references to the death was made at all the Free Churches of the district, and an instance of the universal esteem in which Mr. Marnham was held was manifest at St. John's Church, Boxmoor, on Sunday evening, when the Vicar, the Rev. W.K. Weston, M.A., before announcing his text for the sermon, spoke of the great loss the parish had sustained. The gentleman he alluded to differed in opinion perhaps to some of them on religious questions but they could all admire one who had a conscientious difference. That difference would now be regarded as a thing of the past. His charity would never be forgotten, and his kindness and goodness amongst them would be forever remembered. He asked their prayers for the family in their sad bereavement.
At the meeting of the Hemel Hempstead Board of Guardians on Tuesday Mr. C. E. Gray made a feeling reference in proposing a vote of condolence with the family, which, seconded by the Chairman, was unanimously carried. Their remarks are reported in another part of this issue.
The weekly meeting of the Debating Society on Monday was adjourned after some pressing business, as a mark of respect while a concert arranged to take place at Marlowes Baptist schoolroom on Wednesday has been postponed. The Mayor's Banquet fixed for Wednesday was also postponed until Friday.
A reference was also made by Mr. Dudley H. Ryder at the Petty Sessions Court on Wednesday. Mr Ryder said he desired to express the great sympathy which they all felt at the loss of their colleague Mr. Marnham, whom he had the pleasure of knowing personally for a long time, and always thought of with affectionate regard. He wished to express their deep xxx of regret at his loss and sympathy with his family.
At the weekly meeting of the committee at the West Herts Infirmary on Thursday, the following resolution was passed: "The committee desire to place on record their sense of the great loss the Infirmary has sustained by the death of Mr. John Marnham, who for the last 25 years has been a valued member of the committee and a most generous donor to the funds of the Institution."
THE FUNERAL CEREMONY
The funeral took place on Wednesday when the universal regard for the deceased gentleman was manifested by all classes and sections of the community. Representatives and deputations were present from practically all the organisations with which deceased had been connected and there was present an almost unprecedented number of Free Church ministers from Hertfordshire and the surrounding counties, whilst the metropolis was represented by many celebrated ministers. A private service took place at the drawing room at The Hollies at which the members of the family and most intimate friends were present. The Rev. Archibald G. Brown, for 25 years a personal friend of the deceased, and the Rev. Wright Robinson conducted this service. At 1.30 a memorial service took place in Boxmoor Baptist Church, where a large and reverent congregation assembled. After an introductory prayer by the Rev. C. M. Hardy, B.A., of St Albans (secretary of the Herts Baptist Union), a Scripture reading was given by the Rev. F. Neal, pastor of Boxmoor Baptist Church. There followed a most impressive memorial address by the Rev. J. R. Wood, ex-president of the Baptist Union. In the course of this he said their friend whose loss was weighing upon their hearts and whose name they loved and mourned had gone from them but he had not gone do far away that they could afford to disregard his feelings. He began his Christian life under the gracious influence of a godly mother, and that movement was quickened by the ministry of the Rev. Stratton at Paddington, whose name never faded in his memory. His strong desire for the improvement of others and his diligence in business brought him a goodly measure of success and he settled at Boxmoor 40 years ago by building "The Hollies" on what was then a ploughed field. His companion in life was spared him up to two years before his death, and he was blessed with five sons and four daughters, all of whom survived him, and they owed their faith and usefulness chiefly to the gracious influences of their parents. He retired from business in 1881, and from that time he had rendered much assistance and been of great usefulness in various Christian movements. He was a generous benefactor to the Congo mission. He (Mr. Wood) did not like to think what it would be without Mr. Marnham at the committee meetings in Furnival street. No one rejoiced more than their friend when the last gift completed the Baptist Union fund, of which Mr. Herbert Marnham was treasurer. Only on the Sunday previous to his death he was talking to his family about the kingdom of Jesus Christ. They all knew of his work in that county, and the churches at Stevenage and Northchurch would be monuments of his munificence. He was an early riser and a great lover of the Scriptures, for he would give his heart to prayer and the reading of God's Word in the early morn, and that was the reason they saw him calm and strong later in the day. He was a pillar in the temple of God and he was still, albeit the temple had changes and they were the poorer. They now came to the issue of his life, for he was "with Christ which is far better." with some hope of relief that God would spare him for a little more work he left his home, and his last words under his own roof were "I am content whatever the issue may be." His good name would never be forgotten, and while they rejoiced at the issue of such a long, useful, and honoured life, they deeply sympathised with the family. The Rev. J. H. Shakespeare, M.A. (secretary of the Baptist Union) then offered prayer, and the Benediction, pronounced by the Rev. F. Neal was followed by the playing on the organ of the Dead March in Saul. During the service the hymns, "God of the living" and "When the day of toil is done," were sung with deep feeling.
The mourners at this service then followed in procession at the rear of the funeral cortage which had arrived from "The Hollies" in the Station-road, and the long line of mourning coaches, preceded by the hearse, passed on to the Cemetery. Her had assembled at the entrance gates the Mayor and most of the Aldermen and Councillors, the Town Clerk, and representatives of the magisterial bench and other public bodies. Amongst the vast assembly were noticed particularly the Rev. E. J. Gallop (Vicar of St. Pauls'), Lawrence Gee (curate-in-charge of St. Mary's), and Rev. W. K. Weston (Vicar of St/ John's).
The deputations included:-
Among those not previously mentioned there were present the following ministers:-
The deacons of Boxmoor Baptist Church attended in a body, as did also those from Marlowes Baptist Church.
The service at the graveyard was impressively conducted by the Rev. James Stuart, of Watford. The coffin was lowered in a grave lined with bunches of lilies of the valley and violets and evergreens. The chief mourners were:-
These were followed by fifteen other carriages, including several which were sent privately. There were a vey large number of exquisite floral tributes, the senders including:-
From those in the house,
Mr. W. Sear , of Hemel Hempstead was the undertaker.
On Sunday morning next a memorial service will be held in Marlowes Baptist Church.
If you can add to the information given above tell me.
Page created November 2008