Visit of HRH Prince of Wales

VISIT OF HRH PRINCE of WALES to STOWLANGTOFT HALL and STOWLANGTOFT CHURCH in OCTOBER 1900

INTRODUCTION

At the turn of the nineteenth century, and for a period of around ten years, Mr and Mrs W.G. Jameson of the famous Whisky family rented Stowlangtoft Hall. During this time they invited many of their prominent and distinguished friends to stay at the Hall and some to take part in the excellent game shooting sport that the estate’s many acres, comprising arable, parkland and mature woodland, is able to provide. The Prince of Wales was one such eminent VIP and had, on several occasions, stayed at Stowlangtoft Hall as a guest to enjoy the shooting.

His final visit to Stowlangtoft was made in October of 1900 during which the Prince, and some members the Royal Party, also attended Sunday morning divine service at the Stowlangtoft Church of St George.

Just three months after the visit to Stowlangtoft, his mother, Queen Victoria, died and, the Prince of Wales who was to succeed her, was crowned King Edward VII in August of 1902.

Following is a detailed newspaper report, (● see footnote,), of the October 1900 Stowlangtoft Royal visit which was published at the time:

ROYAL VISIT TO SUFFOLK: PRINCE OF WALES AT STOWLANGTOFT

On Tuesday evening HRH the Prince of Wales arrived at Stowlangtoft Hall on a visit to Mr and Mrs W.G. Jameson. The prince travelled by 4.30pm train from Liverpool Street, London to Cambridge, the Great Eastern Railway authorities having attached a special saloon to the train for the convenience of the Prince of Wales and his select party:

The Grand Duke Michael of Russia, Countess Torby, Mrs Keppel, Mrs George Cornwallis West, (Lady Randolph Churchill), Mr George Cornwallis West and Captain Holford were expected to accompany the Prince. However there was no sign of Mrs Cornwallis West at the train’s departure time and the train left without her. Her husband stayed behind, and the remainder of the party proceeded.

A crowd had assembled near the saloon and, as the signal to start was given, somebody called for cheers for the Prince and his friends. The response was the heartiest description, and there was much waving of hats and handkerchiefs. The express had barely left the platform when Mrs Cornwallis West drove up accompanied by her son, Mr Winston Churchill M.P.

From Cambridge the journey continued by special train to Thurston, via Bury St Edmunds where it arrived punctually at 6.35. Mr W.G. Jameson was upon the platform to meet the Prince and many persons residing in the locality witnessed his arrival. Mr Reginald Walpole, (Beyton), called for cheers for his Royal Highness, who looked exceedingly well. The call was heartily responded to. Mr J. Myson, station master at Thurston, had made excellent arrangements for the arrival of the illustrious visitor. The train was in charge of Mr Kimm, a district Superintendent, associated with the Great Eastern Railway at Cambridge.

On Friday HRH the Prince of Wales enjoyed capital sport on the Pakenham portion of the Stowlangtoft estate. Amongst them was Master Stanley Cross wearing the Jubilee half-crown presented to him about three years ago when shooting on the occupation of the Queech farm, Pakenham. The Prince’s favourite brown pony, Warwick - so called because it came from Warwickshire – was in readiness in case his Royal Highness felt disposed to ride from one drive to another: but it was not much in request, the Prince walking much of the distance traversed in going from one covert to another.

The sport commenced near the Manor farm at Pakenham, in the occupation of Mr C.G. Eagle who joined the shooting party at luncheon. After luncheon, which was served in a marquee not far from the Queech farm Pakenham, the shooting party had the addition of another gun, Mrs Jameson, bringing down several head of game. The sport during the afternoon excelled that of the morning, and proved very enjoyable, the weather most of the day being delightfully fine. Some of the drives were within easy distance of the road leading from Bury St Edmunds to Ixworth, near the four cross roads between those places and the parishes of Pakenham and Livermere. Many spectators watched the sport during the day, those present including visitors from Bury St Edmunds, Ixworth, Walsham-le-Willows, Great Barton and other parishes. Having, after luncheon, shot over High Field which afforded several good drives, the party left that portion of the estate and returned to the immediate vicinity of Manor farm, where the day’s sport was completed shortly after five o’clock, and the party returned to Stowlangtoft Hall.

PRINCE OF WALES AT STOWLANGTOFT CHURCH

On Sunday morning HRH the Prince of Wales attended divine services at Stowlangtoft church. The sacred edifice was well filled, the congregation including many persons from the neighbouring parishes at Ixworth and Norton: a few inhabitants of Bury St Edmunds were also present. Just after half past ten the church bells began to chime, and, despite the showery weather, people began to flock toward the church. Under the direction of Mr T.R. Green, (churchwarden), excellent arrangements were made for seating the congregation. Many persons however remained outside, being evidently anxious to see the Prince of Wales who was expected to attend the morning service.

Punctually, at eleven o’clock, the church bells ceased, and the Rev. J. Wilson D. Brown, rector of Stowlangtoft, formerly vicar of Assington, left the vestry, and, preceded by the surpliced choristers, passed along the nave to their places in the chancel. Mrs Wilson Brown, (organist), played an introductory voluntary. Meanwhile, the little crowd of persons who had mustered near the churchyard gate, anxious to catch a glimpse of the Prince of Wales looked much disappointed, there being no sign of his Royal Highness. Directly after the service began however, a covered landau drawn by a fine pair of chestnut horses was sighted coming across from the direction of Stowlangtoft Hall. At the foot of the slope beyond the church the carriage halted. The Prince of Wales, who was accompanied by Mrs W.G. Jameson and Mrs Cornwallis West, (Lady Randolph Churchill), alighted. The Prince of Wales, who looked exceedingly well, at once proceeded toward the church in the company of Mrs Jameson.

Another carriage, having arrived, Captain George Lindsay Holford, (the Prince’s Equerry), Mr George Cornwallis West, Col. White, Mrs Dorian Smith and Mr W.G. followed. As the Prince and the party entered the church, the choir and congregation were singing the Venite. Seats had been reserved for his Royal Highness and the other distinguished visitors. The village choir rendered the musical portions of the service very creditably, showing evidences of careful training. Three hymns were sung during the service. One was the composition of the Rev. C. Wesley – “Love Divine all loves excelling”- the verses being sung to an appropriate tune composed by Dr Stainer. The Rev. Wilson D. Brown conducted the service: there was no sermon. On leaving the church the prince proceeded in an open carriage in which he was accompanied by Mrs W.G. Jameson, Mrs Cornwallis West and Miss J. Thornywell. Many persons standing nearby doffed their hats in token respect, and his Royal Highness repeatedly acknowledged the manifestations of goodwill.

Although many people congregated, excellent order was maintained: under the direction of Superintendent H. Simkin, (Ixworth), Police Sergeant, H. Benstead, (Walsham-le-Willows), P.C Rutter, (Stowlangtoft), and Kent, (Norton), were on duty. On Saturday afternoon the Grand Duke Michael of Russia and Countess Torby left Stowlangtoft Hall and proceeded to Thurston Station, whence they travelled by the 3.17 train, via Ipswich and Colchester, to London.

DEPARTURE OF THE PRINCE FROM STOWLANGTOFT

On Monday afternoon HRH Prince of Wales left Stowlangtoft Hall. Shortly after half-past four o’clock an open carriage, drawn by a fine pair of horses, started from the mansion. The Prince of Wales was accompanied by Mr W.G. Jameson and two ladies. The party travelled through the park-like grounds, and, having reached the road between Badwell Ash and Pakenham, proceeded past Stowlangtoft church, and through part of the village of Norton on the way to Thurston Station about five miles away.

Mr J.M. Myson, station master at Thurston had made capital arrangements for the convenience of the illustrious visitor, who was conducted across the line on to the Rougham side of the Great Eastern Railway. Whilst his Royal Highness was waiting for the arrival of the 4.35 train from Ipswich he stood chatting to Mr Jameson until the train reached the station, about 5.25. In the rear portion of the train the Royal saloon was in readiness for the Prince and others of the party who had been staying at Stowlangtoft Hall. Mr Jackson, Ipswich District Superintendent of the line, and other officials, travelled by the same train, the departure of which was witnessed by many persons on the platform.

Bury St Edmunds was reached about 5.38. Here the train stopped a couple of minutes. It was not generally known which train the Prince of Wales would travel by, nor was it expected that his Royal Highness would stop a few minutes at Bury St Edmunds station. Hence comparatively few people were on the platform but many of those who happened to be there clustered close to the Royal saloon, which was brilliantly illuminated, and a good view was obtained of his Royal Highness as he sat reading. Mr C. Cook, the station master, had made excellent arrangements so that the dispatch of the train was as expeditious as possible and his Royal Highness proceeded by way of Saxham. Higham and Kennett to Newmarket where he arrived shortly after six on Monday evening.

During his Royal Highness’s stay at Stowlangtoft, the Hungarian Band has been specially retained, and the music discoursed has been greatly appreciated by the party staying at the Hall.

Mr J. Palmer Clarke, Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds, photographed the shooting party.

Mike Keeper, February 2014

  • Attribution and due acknowledgement is hereby given for the reproduction of this report which was first published in the 23rd October 1900 edition of the Bury & Norwich Post.