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Nellie Archer Funeral - 1884

Newspaper Cutting (Newmarket Journal) 15th November 1884:

The Death Of Mrs Archer.

Newmarket has experienced a signally solemn and sad instance of the short space that intervenes between the flower bestrewn path of happiness and the dark vale of sorrow. The mournful event which has overshadowed all other passing occurrences within the circle which holds the interests of our little world, throwing the garb of grief over many of the principal houses, and awakening a sympathy of an exceptionally general character, has, with an inevitable retrospect, carried the minds of all who witnessed the public ceremonials of both the joyful and sorrowful stages of a briefly brilliant life, to that bright 31st of January, in the year last past, of 1883, when she, of whom all that is mortal was laid to rest in God’s Acre amidst a remarkable demonstration of sorrowing affection and esteem, was, it seems but yesterday, "the happy bride" whom the "sun shone on," and whom the crowd last Tuesday mourned with equal fervour, then lustily cheered, and wished a long life and a happy one - so frail are human hopes, so futile mortal wishes. To us who were privileged in our professional capacity to see her, the happy queen of hearts - gentle, amiable, and fair - awaiting the consummation of earthly bliss in the parental home at Warren House, surrounded by a magnificent, a princely array of wedding gifts, to "see the hearse that bore her slow away," ere two quickly rolling years had come and gone "as a tale that is told," and to discharge the melancholy duty of recording the very visible manifestations of esteem and regret, Tuesday’s mournful proceedings had its special significance and solemnity. But to those in close relation to the blooming bride of yesterday - the departed wife and mother of to-day - and among but a few hours since, as men count time, she was a happy living presence, the replacing of the bridal orange wreath with the symbols of mourning - the bearing away to their last resting place of the remains of she who but two summers since entered her new and almost palatial home at Falmouth House - the arrow of grief was barbed with overwhelmingly acute pain.

On Thursday week it was our pleasure to receive for publication intelligence of the birth of a daughter to the wife of Mr Frederick James Archer, the well-known and highly-esteemed jockey, and, for all our information contained, we had reason to hope that mother and babe were doing well; Mrs Archer’s second confinement not leaving her in that critical condition to which she was prostrated after giving birth to her first child. Up to eight o’clock on Friday morning, we now learn, she had progressed very favourably, and her condition was so satisfactory as to lull for the time any fears which might have arisen of the confinement terminating fatally. About the hour named, however, Mrs Archer was seized with convulsions, and unconsciousness supervened. Such a serious form did the illness take that Dr. J.R. Wright, the family medical attendant, who had been in intermittent attendance upon Mrs Archer from the time of her confinement, thought it necessary to call in the assistance of two of his brother practitioners in the town, and Drs. C.F. Gray, and W. Hutchinson were in consultation with Dr. Wright, and remained, with short intervals, at Falmouth House up to the time of Mrs Archer’s death. Dr. Latham, of Cambridge, was also summoned, but this array of medical acumen was powerless to avert the calamity about to fall on the prosperous house, and a fatal end to the illness was seen to be inevitable. In spite of all that the best medical advice obtainable, and the affectionate attendance of those around her, could do, the efforts to avert the visit of the Great Destroyer were unavailable, and Mrs Archer died very shortly before midnight on Friday.

With a saddening incongruity - for death had outstripped the speediest complimentary missive - congratulatory letters and telegrams on the birth of a daughter came pouring in from all parts of the kingdom and from the continent, where the first pleasing announcement had found its way. Unwitting that "the silver bowl was broken," and Falmouth House, from a mansion joyous over the birth to it of another generation of its family, had been changed to a sorrow-stricken household - friends, patrons, and admirers, were despatching the usual delicate compliments of society, so soon to be exchanged for the deep black-edged missives of sympathy and regret.

The news of Mrs Archer’s death, it is almost needless to add, created a profoundly sorrowful impression in Newmarket, where as Miss Nellie Rose Dawson, and the happy bride of Mr Fred. Archer, and no less as the young wife and mistress of an extensive and fashionable family residence, her amiable, kindly, cheering presence had won the hearts of many and the respect of all. And in the sporting world outside its Metropolis no less marked was the genuine regret at the fell stroke of sorrow which had overtaken one of its brightest ornaments, in the loss of his youthful and popular partner in an all too brief married life.

In addition to the manifold tokens of this general sympathy and mourning which we shall have to chronicle in connection with the funeral, we may mention that amongst some 200 letters and telegrams of condolence addressed to Mr Archer by the sporting nobility, gentry, and others, after the sad event became known, were very thoughtful and feeling messages from the Duke of Portland, Lord Falmouth, Lord Alington, and Lord Hastings.

The Funeral.

The paying of the last sad honours to the dead on Tuesday appeared to us to be marked by a public interest and sympathy far surpassing in its outward and visible signs even the similarly extraordinary manifestations on the day of the wedding, instancing that pity and sympathy are even more potential in their influence upon the masses than the impulse to rejoice with those that rejoice. Business in the market, and throughout the town itself, was, to all intents and purposes, suspended during the progress of the funeral procession through the streets. The Corn Market was virtually closed, and at Messrs. Blencowe & Fitch’s auction mart the sales were stayed. The business establishments were, with but a few exceptions, wholly or partially closed, and at the private residences along the route taken by the cortege blinds were drawn, and the unwritten code of public respect observed. The Cemetery, in which the interment took place, was thronged by an immense crowd, the behaviour of which cannot be commended for its decorum or seemliness, Inspector Payne and four men of the Suffolk and Cambridgeshire constabularies having more than they could possibly do to keep the turbulent numbers in order, the police force being altogether inadequate for the occasion.

The funeral cortege moved out of the front entrance to Falmouth House, on the Snailwell Road, at 2.20 p.m., only a few persons, outside the mourners and immediate friends, being present. The order of the procession was as follows: the open hearse, the mourning coaches of Falmouth House, Warren House, Heath House, Ellesmere House, and Mrs Joseph Dawson; the private coaches of Mr James Hopper, Mr Richard Marsh, Mr James Waugh, and Captain Machell; and the private trap of Mr Joseph Enoch.

The hearse was the open, glass windowed funeral car now in vogue, permitting the polished oak coffin, with its massive brass mountings, and the choice wreaths of beautiful flowers surrounding it on all sides, to be seen as it passed; the nodding plumes of the hearse, too, were hidden ’neath encircling wreaths of beauteous flowers; and the ’bus which brought up the rear had been called into requisition to convey the large number of crosses and wreaths (over 60 in all being received at Falmouth House) which could not be accommodated elsewhere, particularly the magnificent wreath forwarded by Mr and Mrs William Wright, of Paris.

On merging into the Fordham Road, the crowds, gathered at ’vantage points on the road, followed the procession, which increased to great numbers when the Severals was reached, and the cordon of people which lined each side of the road, and the High Street, literally crowded with town and country folk, joined the imposing ceremonial train, setting in towards the Cemetery, which, on the funeral approaching, was besieged by overpowering numbers.

The coffin of polished oak, containing the body in an inner shell, and the breastplate of which bore the simple inscription:

Helen Rose Archer

Died Nov. 7, 1884,

Aged 23 Years.

- was borne from the hearse to the bier inside the Cemetery gates. Its lid had previously been bordered with a beautiful arrangement of flowers, sent by Mr J.L. Davis, and several wreaths covered the surface, but the attendants now laid on numbers of wreaths and crosses, until a deep floral pall - the most beautiful that nature or art could design - completely hid it from view.

The officiating clergy were the Rev. E.H. Littlewood, vicar of All Saints’ (in which parish the late Mrs Archer was a devoted church worker, as it has been our duty to notice), assisted by his curate, the Rev. C.S. Stubbs, with their Clerk, Mr A. Peck. On their commencement of the beautiful ritual for the dead in the solemnly grand Burial Service of the Church of England, leading the way to the Cemetery Chapel, the procession followed in this order: - Dr. Wright (deceased’s medical attendant) and Mr H. Martin, sen. (undertaker); "Solomon" (Solomon Bartholomew, Mr F. Archer’s travelling valet) and J. Doore (a former home valet), carrying wreaths; the coffin; the family mourners: Mr John Dawson (father of deceased) and Master Freddy Pratt (nephew); Mr Frederick James Archer, Mr John Dawson and Mr George Dawson (brothers); Mr Matthew Dawson (uncle), Mr Albert Archer (uncle), Mr Charles Archer (brother-in-law); and amongst those who followed in immediate proximity to the relatives, and were included amongst the large company of close personal friends, visitors, and inhabitants, we noticed: Mr H. Mills, Mr Alex Hogg, Mr J.L. Davis, Captain Bowling, Mr J. Rose, Mr Cartwright, General Renny, Captain Machell, Mr J. Waugh and Master Waugh, Mr T. Jennings, jun., Mr A. Waugh, Mr W.C. Manning, Mr J. Hopper, Mr R. Marsh, Mr Enoch, Masters Wallis and Arthur Enoch, Mr James Jewitt, Mr J. Cannon, Mr H. Webb, Mr R. Peck, Mr C.W. Golding, Mr C. Blanton, Mr J. Ryan, Mr P. Price, Messrs. D. and W. Gilbert, Mr J. French, Mr R. Boyce, Rev. S.S. Knipe, Mr D. Thirlwell, Mr A.B. Sadler, Dr. Hutchinson, Mr T. Peck, Mr J. Potter, Mr C. Morbey, Mr G. Barrett, Mr Booty; Messrs. C. Townsend, W.W. Wright, W. Barrow, F. Barrow, A. Frye, N. Wiseman, G.H. Verrall, J. Rae, B. Chennell, J. Lancaster, L.F. Makin, S. Quince, W.S. Heavens, C. Bridge, A.S. Wigg, H. Feist, and T. Clark.

The Chapel held but a tithe even of the relatives and immediate friends, and a number surrounded it whilst the clergy impressively read a portion of the service. The crowd with which the Cemetery was peopled, in the meanwhile visited the open, bricked grave, lying next the Cambridge road, and in which the short-lived baby son of the deceased had been interred a year previous. Around the bricked surface a bed of the brightest-colored chrysanthemums and other flowers (supplied by Messrs. C. and J.W. Townsend, Fordham) had been laid, and the sides were hung with ivy and fern.

Emerging from the Chapel, the procession filed its way through the throng to the graveside, where, after the coffin had been lowered into its last quiet resting place, the Rev. E.H. Littlewood, with impressionable solemnity, read the closing part of the service, amidst the hushed, sorrow-stricken silence of the fickle crowd, many deep around the grave, to its final solemn utterance. Mr Archer himself, and other members of the family, were visibly affected. After the mourners had retraced their steps to the entrance, the spectators lingered around the grave, eagerly availing themselves, with melancholy satisfaction, of the opportunity of filing past, and taking a last look at the grave, "where the dead and the beautiful rest."

Shortly after the funeral, the following female members of the family, received by the Rev. C.S. Stubbs, entered the Cemetery, and proceeded to the Chapel, afterwards visiting the grave: Mrs John Dawson (mother), Miss Annie B. Dawson, Mrs Colman (sister-in-law), Mrs Joseph Dawson (aunt), Mrs Matthew Dawson (aunt), Miss Rose Saunders, Mrs Cartwright.

The monster wreath, of artistic design and great beauty, which attracted most attention, was sent by Mr and Mrs William Wright, of Paris, and was one of truly continental magnificence. It stood fully a yard in height, and the flowers themselves were quite a foot deep, the wreath being composed of rows of violets, roses, pansies, pinks, lilac, and ferns, and a handsome violet silk sash, bearing at each extremity, in gilt letters: Souvenir et Regrets hung from it.

In the great number of other wreaths and crosses the flowers - those

"Emblems of our great resurrection,

Emblems of the bright and better land," -

which most predominated were: Mrs Archer’s favourite violets, white chrysanthemums (in great numbers), immortelles, lilies, and roses, the odoriferous natural incense arising from the sixty-odd floral tributes almost overpowering the sense. Without exception, the whole were most tastefully arranged, and upon the contents of many a well-stocked hot-house and garden heavy levies must have been made to contribute to such an imposing array of natural beauties. The following list of ladies and gentlemen sending these tokens of affection is, of necessity, incomplete, but includes the great majority: The baby (Nellie Rose Archer), Mr and Mrs John Dawson, Freddy (Master Freddy Pratt), Aunt Mary (Mrs Matthew Dawson), Miss Annie B. Dawson, Jack and Grace Dawson (Mr and Mrs J. Dawson, jun.), Mrs Colman, Mrs Joseph Dawson, Mr George Dawson, Mr Albert Archer, the Misses Saunders, C. and L. Archer (Mr and Mrs Charles Archer), Aunts Nellie and Jane (Mrs Cartwright and Mrs Aldcroft), Miss H.S. Briggs, Miss Annie E. Cooper, Mr and Mrs Enoch, Mr Alfred Deacon, Mr Alex Hogg, Mr and Mrs T.C. Wilson (London), Mr Hungerford, Miss Alice Porter, Mr and Mrs C.W. Golding, Mr W. Gilbert, Mr and Mrs Jennings, Miss Jennings, "Solomon" (valet), Mr and Mrs Hopper, Mr Willoughby, R.D. Maycock (London), Mr and Mrs J. Porter, Master Wallis Enoch, Mr and Mrs C. Wood, Master Arthur Enoch, Mr and Miss Waugh, Mrs Manning, the Misses Nellie, Lizzie, and Carrie Manning, Mr Joseph L. Davis, Mr William C. Manning, Miss Maud Rogers, Mr and Mrs Fred. Webb, Nellie M. Bridge, Mrs Mills, Emily and George Jennings, Mr and Mrs J. Vine, Colonel and Mrs Chaine, Lady Charles Ker, Tom and Sally Davis, Mrs Cartwright, Mr James B. Sutherland (Edinburgh), Mr David falconer (Beddington, Surrey), Mr T. Jennings, jun., Mr H. Jennings, Mr and Mrs King, Miss Kate Hammond, Mr R.C. Naylor, Mr J. Nicholson (London), Mr and Mrs Jewitt, Mr and Mrs R. Marsh, Mr and Mrs Humphreys, and Mr and Mrs R. Peck; also flowers from Mr and Mrs J. Hammond (The Lawn).

The wreaths, etc., were subsequently laid out in the Chapel, the floor of which they almost covered, where they remained until Wednesday morning, when the ladies of the family visited the Cemetery and tastefully arranged them on the grave, which was again visited by very large numbers throughout the day, and has since been an object of interest to numerous visitors. Mr H.R. Sherborn, at the desire of Mr F. Archer, photographed the grave in its beautiful garb on Wednesday.

Messrs. Henry Martin & Son, of High-street, were the undertakers, Mr H. Martin, sen., personally conducting the funeral. Mr S. Westley was the carpenter.

Mr F. Archer left by the 4 train for Cheltenham, immediately after the burial. The infant daughter continues in excellent health.

We have received the following anonymous elegiac tribute to the memory of the deceased: -

In Memoriam.

Farewell, Youth’s brightest, fairest hopes,

Farewell, Life’s sunny way,

Ere twice the fleeting year has passed

The happy bridal day;

Farewell to all that tenderest love,

That wealth and friendship gave:

Only remains a withered wreath -

Only a silent grave.

Only a flower-wreathed grave with us, -

But in the far-off land

There’s one more voice in the endless song

Of the glorious angel-band;

And the message from the white-robed choir

Is wafted gently down,

To seek her there, and strive to wear

With her the golden crown.

Newmarket, November 12th, 1884.’

 

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These cuttings were researched by Geoffrey Woollard, he has kindly transcribed these for inclusion here. If you have any information about this death please contact Geoffrey Woollard email: GW5438@aol.com

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