Sunday, 29 January 2012

thursday the twenty-sixth of january, little ouseburn

Dad’s funeral took place on Thursday.

He wanted to be buried in the Meysey-Thompson plot behind the Thompson Mausoleum in Little Ouseburn, Yorkshire--near Harrogate.

Dad’s mum’s family had lived at Kirby Hall, Little Ouseburn, until 1919 and the mausoleum had been where members of the family had been buried up until 1910. I’m not quite sure why burials in the mausoleum stopped but from the First World War onwards the family members were buried in the plot. The earliest graves in the plot are those of Dad’s grandfather, Lord Knaresborough, his wife and their son, Claude.

Claude was killed in the First World War and as a result his father decided to sell the hall and estate. All rather Downton Abbey. The hall was subsequently demolished. Only the entrance gates, the stable block and two lodges remain.

Dad provided information about the family's history when money was being raised to restore the mausoleum. Dad loved genealogy.

At the service, the reading I chose and read was taken from the Song of Solomon, chapter two verses eight to thirteen. The vicar asked me why I chose this reading. I have to confess that I started out trying to find a reading by googling funeral texts. It was when I saw the first lines of this reading that I remembered it from studying English at Keble. From what I remember the text had been referred to by a writer in the medieval or Renaissance period that I had been studying. The words seemed wholly appropriate to a gentle, loving man who adored the countryside.

The service, led by Father Parkin, was a lovely warm, enriching one. I was grateful to Father Parkin for reading the tribute to Dad that I had written--I could not have read this myself--and was very moved by the reminiscences of Dad’s army friend Jo.

In the graveyard, the spring sun shone.

Here is the text from the Song of Solomon.

8 The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.
9 My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice.
10 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
13 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.


  1. My heart goes out to you Frank. I feel for you enormously at this time.... loosing a parent is full of such deep emotional turmoil......
    Your fathers resting place appears to be rather beautiful, a place for you to return for contemplation in years to come.
    Sending huge love from a very old friend.
    Anne xx

  2. Thanks, Anne. It's lovely to hear from you, even though the circumstances are sad. Yes, a difficult time emotionally. But, as you say, the place where Dad is buried is beautiful-a good place to return to and I'm pleased he is where he wanted to be. Lots of love to all of you, Frank x And thanks so much for your friendship, Anne. It does go back a long time, doesn't it.