VISIT of HRH PRINCE of WALES to STOWLANGTOFT HALL and CHURCH of
St. GEORGE OCTOBER 1900
Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, was born 6th May 1841 at Buckingham Palace. He was the second child and first son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
In 1901 his mother, Queen Victoria, died just three months after the visit described here. As her successor he became King Edward VII of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India from 22nd January 1901 until his death in 1910.
This visit was to become his final one of a number to Stowlangtoft during which the Prince, and some members the Royal Party, also attended Sunday morning divine service at the Stowlangtoft Church of St George.
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 over at Stowlangtoft Hall as a guest to enjoy the shooting.
HRH Prince of Wales on an earlier visit, (c1890), to Stowlangtoft Hall. This group includes Arthur Maitland Wilson, owner of the Hall at the time, and his family.
Print of original Stowlangtoft Hall, (in earlier times known as “Stow Hall”), which burnt down c1852.
Replacement and current Stowlangtoft Hall (1875 Print)
In 1859, this rather grand and much larger Palladian style new Hall, designed by architect H. Hakewill, was built nearby the previous one.
Church of St George
At the heart of the village is St George's church, a magnificent Perpendicular building erected around 1370. It is thought to stand on the site of a former Roman camp. The church was built in one concerted effort, and as a result, is a beautiful and outstanding example of early Perpendicular Gothic without later add-on embellishments.
St Georges Church c1900 St Georges Church 2022
The major patron was the lord of the manor, Robert D’acy de Ashfield, who was buried in the chancel in 1401. Also buried in St George's is Peter Tillemans, (d. 1734), one of the most influential painters of sporting scenes in English history.
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.
Royal Visit October to Stowlangtoft
Following is a detailed newspaper report, (* See footnote,), of the October 1900 Stowlangtoft Royal visit which was published at the time:
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 and his wife, of the well- known irish whisky distillers, at the time was leasing Stowlangtof Hall where the Royal Party were being accommodated and the event was being hosted. Mr 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 the charge of a 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 Queach farm, Pakenham. The Prince 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 Queach 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 Great 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.
HRH Prince of Wales at Stowlangtoft Mr J. Palmer Clarke,
Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds, photographed the shooting party.
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.
Almshouses opposite Church of St George Church circa 1900
A former distinguished Vicar, Samuel Rickards: resident 1829 -1865
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 fine pairs 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.
Stowlangtoft Hall Entrance - The HRH Prince of Wales Royal Party
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 P.C. Kent, (Norton), were on duty. On Saturday afternoon the Grand Duke Michael of Russia and Anastasia, 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 had been specially retained, and the music discoursed had been greatly appreciated by the Royal party staying at the Hall.
The Hungarian Band, c 1900
The Prince and some of the VIPs attending:
*Attribution and due acknowledgement hereby given for the reproduction of this report first published in the 23rd October, 1900 edition of the Bury & Norwich Post.
Mike Keeper - January 2023