By the death of Mrs. Sartoris, of Rushden Hall, the whole town of Rushden and the district around has been bereaved. Mrs. Sartoris, who was the widow of the late Mr. Frederick Sartoris, died on Sunday at the advanced age of 96 years only four years short of the century and her life has been as useful as it has been long. Known far and wide as the Grand Old Lady of Rushden, Mrs. Sartoris truly devoted her whole life to good works, and she was indeed the Lady Bountiful of Rushden and the surrounding district.
The late Mrs. Sartoris was born on July 18th, 1817. She was the daughter of the late Rev. Joseph Pratt, a former Rector of Paston, near Peterborough. As Miss Mary Anne Pratt, she was an ideal daughter of a clergyman, and she worked assiduously before her marriage for the social, moral, and spiritual welfare of her father’s parishioners.
In the year 1843 she was married to Mr. Frederick Urban Sartoris, J.P., and came to Rushden Hall as a bride, her husband having in that year purchased the fine old mansion. How well she continued her good work after her marriage, any of the
Aged Residents of Rushden
can readily tell; and those who remember her manifold activities through so long a period, until at last laid aside by failing health, advanced age, and dwindling physical powers, are the most eloquent in her praise. By all she was respected, reverenced, beloved. Of Mrs. Sartoris it can be truly said that she “wore the white flower of a blameless life,” and her whole career may be fittingly described in the apostolic phrase, “patient continuance in well-doing.” During recent years she has, in consequence of her advanced age, lived in retirement, but prior to failing health preventing her she took a keen interest in parish matters, particularly in the work of the parish church at Rushden. Mrs. Sartoris was about as usual until last week, when she was taken ill, and despite the efforts of her medical attendant, Dr. Greenfield, she passed away about 11.30 on Sunday morning.
There were five children, the late Mr. Frederick Maitland Sartoris, who died in 1883, and who was Second Secretary to his Majesty’s Embassy at Constantinople, the late Mr. Herbert Sartoris, of Weekley, who died in 1900, the late Lady Robinson, wife of the late Rev. Sir Frederick L. Robinson, Bart., Rector of Cranford, who died in 1909, Mrs. Craven, who was married in 1862, and who resides in Herefordshire, and Miss Evelyn Sartoris, who has resided at Rushden Hall for many years.
There are eight grandchildren, viz., Sir Frederick Robinson, Bart., of Cranford, Mr. A. Hugh Sartoris, J.P., of Weekley, Mrs. Ripley (wife of Col. Ripley), Mrs. C. B. W. Brook, Mrs. Bagnell, Mrs. J. Bagnell, Mr. H. E. A. Craven, and Miss Craven.
For years the name of Sartoris has been a household word in the parish of Rushden. In St. Mary’s Church is an inscribed brass to the late Frederick Maitland, and in the parish there are four almshouses erected in 1883 by his parents to the memory of Frederick Maitland Sartoris, and supported by the family.
An ardent Conservative, Mrs. Sartoris worked enthusiastically for the Unionist party, and especially in connection with the Primrose League, her gardens and grounds being at various times placed at the disposal of the Conservative association and the Primrose League Habitation. She took a keen interest in the elections, and always lent her carriage for either Parliamentary or local contests.
Mrs. Sartoris was a staunch Churchwoman, and was never better pleased than when assisting either by financial support or kindly interest the work of the Parish Church of Rushden.
The deceased lady was a great lover of horticulture, and took a special interest in the beautiful gardens of Rushden Hall. She was never happier than when engaged among the flowers, her knowledge being a practical one. She was a great lover of all arts, and a connoisseur of antiques. She gave much encouragement to music, and was a lover of Church architecture. Her love of dumb animals is well-known.
Northamptonshire was the first county to take up the scheme for needlework initiated by Lady Wolverton. The late Mrs. Sartoris became keenly interested in the movement, and was responsible for the starting of a Northamptonshire Needlework Guild, which she commenced in the early eighties.
An instance of the deceased lady’s devotion to Church work is found in the fact that she established the first Church Sunday school at Rushden, and she always kept a keen interest in the day and Sunday schools. Mrs. Sartoris always took a deep interest in the Sunday school connected with the Parish Church, and one of the great events of the annual Sunday school festival has always been the procession of Sunday school children through the grounds of Rushden Hall. Year by year Mrs. Sartoris has watched them with keen interest. In July this year a procession took place, and Mrs. Sartoris was able to view the children in accordance with her usual custom. She was seated in her bath-chair on the terrace. This was her last public appearance.
Mrs. Sartoris was the president of the Rushden Nursing Association, of which her daughter (Miss Sartoris) is one of the hon. secretaries.
Only as recently as a few weeks ago Mrs. and Miss Sartoris entertained to tea at the Hall the Rushden factory collectors on behalf of the Northampton General Hospital, and although Mrs. Sartoris was too unwell to be present she sent a kindly message of greeting to her guests, and expressed the hope that they would enjoy themselves in every way.
Mrs. Sartoris’s interest in the work of the Northampton General Hospital, the Rushden Hospital Week Committee, and the Rushden Nursing Association was of a very practical character. She was indeed one of the founders of the Rushden Nursing Association, and was its first president, a position which she has retained to the end, being once more unanimously and heartily re-elected to that office at the last annual meeting of the subscribers.
By her very nature Mrs. Sartoris was a benefactress. No benevolent or philanthropic movement made to her an appeal in vain. Her means were freely used for the alleviation of suffering. The private appeals made upon her charity, no less than the public demands, were responded to with a wonderful liberality. Selfishness had no place in her nature. Her charities were dispensed not only with a liberal hand but with a kindly heart and a cheery word that vastly enhanced the value of the gift. Many of the poorer residents of Rushden owe much to the large-hearted and noble-spirited lady who lived at the Hall. The influence which she has exerted over the town an influence which is so real and so great that it cannot be over estimated was always for good. She lived a truly noble life; she set a splendid example to the whole district; and, although she has passed beyond the veil, her influence will live and her memory will be fragrant for many a year to come.
References to the death of Mrs. Sartoris were made at all the places of worship in the town on Sunday evening, and the bells at the Parish Church were tolled. At their concert on Sunday the Rushden Temperance Silver Band, as a tribute to the memory of Mrs. Sartoris, played the “Dead March” from Handel’s oratorio, “Saul.”
Resemblance to Queen Victoria
In appearance Mrs. Sartoris very greatly resembled the late Queen Victoria and many people have noted the likeness. Mrs. Sartoris had the same dignified and striking manner which characterised Queen Victoria’s deportment.
Mrs. Sartoris’s kindly disposition towards those of other Churches than her own was frequently manifested. A striking and pleasing instance of her broad-mindedness and catholicity is shown in the fact that every Sunday she used to have read aloud to her the hymn-sheet used in the Park-road Baptist Church, Rushden, and she frequently expressed her appreciation of the pastor’s message contained therein.
That the deceased lady’s sympathy for the poor and the suffering was personal in its character, and not merely of that “official” kind that dispenses its gifts carelessly from a full purse, is shown from the fact that she herself for years had made numerous garments shawls, bedroom shoes, etc. for distribution by the Needlework Guild. It will come as a great surprise to many people, however, to learn that the garments which she made, large and small, would average one per day the year through.
A typical incident which reveals clearly the kindly disposition of Rushden’s “Lady Bountiful” was gleaned by a “Rushden Echo” representative from Mrs. Dickens, wife of Mr. Arthur H. Dickens, of Wellingborough-road, Rushden. When Mrs. Dickens first came to Rushden and joined the Old Baptist Church she undertook the work of visiting among the poor and sick, work which she had been accustomed to do in the church with which she had been previously associated. She got amongst the people in the district allotted to her, and Mrs. Sartoris, when she heard of it, got into communication with Mrs. Dickens and promised her every possible assistance. Further, Mrs. Sartoris herself visited the sufferers and rendered very acceptable assistance; and when by reason of failing health, she was unable to continue her personal visitation, Mrs. Craven (her daughter) took up the work. Only recently, at a garden party given by Mrs. Owen, Mrs. Craven, hearing that Mrs. Dickens was among the company present, sent a messenger to find her so that they might talk over again the work they had done in common, work in which Mrs. Sartoris continued her interest right to the very end.
Mrs. Sartoris gave the first Christmas tree and the first children’s treat in Rushden, the idea having been suggested to her through a visit to Germany.
Up to about a couple of years ago Mrs. Sartoris used to attend the Parish Church on Communion Sundays the first Sunday in the month. Just before the sermon she would enter the church by the priests’ door, accompanied and assisted by her maid, Miss Steel, and would sit on the other side of the screen. She would never miss Holy Communion if it was at all possible for her to attend.
Mr. and Mrs. F. U. Sartoris were the donors of the land on which the National Schools at Rushden were built in 1870-71, at a cost of £1,100, and also contributed largely to the building fund.
Long before the National Schools were built, however, Mr. and Mrs. Sartoris showed their keen interest in education by establishing a day school in the old Parish Room, which stood in the churchyard and which has now been demolished many years. Mr. and Mrs. Sartoris and Mr. Michael Mason were the mainstays of this school. The first teacher was Mr. Phillips, who died a short time after he came to Rushden, and he is buried in the churchyard. He was succeeded by Mr. Cherry, who remained several years, and the position was afterwards occupied by Mr. Richard Wagstaff. Mrs. Sartoris often visited this school, and some of the residents of Rushden remember to this day how she would, when coming to the school bring sweets for the scholars. Up to the time of Mr. and Mrs. Sartoris starting this school, there had been no day-school in the parish. Eventually this school had to be given up, but, later on, another was started.
Mr. and Mrs. Sartoris also started a reading-room in the old school-room and took a great interest in it. Mr. Alfred Sartoris (brother of Mr. F. U. Sartoris) was a frequent visitor to Rushden, and rendered much assistance to the reading-room. At that time there was hardly anyone else in the parish to attend to the social and educational welfare of the people. Mr. Alfred Sartoris was an ardent follower of the Oakley Hounds, and he used to keep a stud of horses at Rushden, for which purpose he had a stable built in the old Coach and Horses yard the building now occupied by Mr. Okins.
Mrs. Sartoris was a liberal subscriber to the National Schools at Rushden to the end of her life.
Mrs. Sartoris used to take a great interest in the management of her house, and was an enthusiastic collector and keen connoisseur of old china. Blue and white china was her particular fancy. She was also a great lover of old oak furniture.
About 30 or 40 years ago, when Mrs. Sartoris was very energetic, she used to go away for six weeks in the summer. On these occasions the old china would by her orders be taken from the walls prior to the cleaning of the house and upon her return it was put back in its place under her personal supervision, no one else being allowed to supervise this work.
It is but three weeks since Mrs. Sartoris entertained some of the aged people of Rushden to tea and on that occasion she was out with them the whole time. On this occasion she seemed thoroughly to enjoy herself and recognised Mrs. Hannah Chettle, who herself is in her 86th year. In an interview, Mrs. Hannah Chettle informed our representative that she remembered the Sartoris family coming to Rushden in 1843, and she believes that on that occasion the horses were taken out of the carriage at the Lodge gates and it was pulled by the tenants the remainder of the way to the house.
When she was quite a young woman, the deceased conducted a Girls’ Bible Class at her own residence, in Rushden, and was greatly respected and beloved by all the members, many of whom are still residing in Rushden and the district.
In her younger days she used to pay regular visits to the Union and was greatly solicitous for the welfare of the inmates.
in connection with the estate were entirely audited by Mrs. Sartoris during the lifetime of her husband.
The late Colonel Spencer Pratt, formerly of Stanwick House, was a brother of Mrs. Sartoris.
At the time of the death of Mr. F. Maitland Sartoris a leading article dealing with the Sartoris family appeared in “The Daily News” from the pen of Mr. Justin McCarthy, M.P., who was a friend of the family, and another article written by him was published in the same paper at the time of the death of Mr. F. U. Sartoris.
The loss of her son, Mr. Maitland Sartoris, who was secretary to the English Ambassador and who died in Constantinople, on Jan. 5, 1883, when quite a young man, was a great source of trouble to her.
The Sartoris family is of French origin, and we understand that the late Mr. Frederick U. Sartoris spent his boyhood in France. He met his wife through coming as a pupil to her father, the Rev. J. Pratt, of Paston, near Peterborough. Mr. Sartoris, we believe, came from Sceaux, a large village about four miles south of Paris.
The late Mr. F. U. Sartoris was buried in the churchyard at Rushden, the body being carried to its last resting- place on a bier, this being before there was a hearse in the parish. Yesterday the body of Mrs. Sartoris was interred in a reserved space by the side of that of her husband, this being the first time the churchyard has been used for an interment for some years. It will now be closed for interments.
Mr. F. U. Sartoris came to Rushden Hall in 1843.
Mr. Maitland Sartoris (eldest son) died at Constantinople, Jan. 5th 1883.
Mr. F. U. Sartoris died Dec. 14th 1887.
Mr. Herbert Sartoris, second son of Mr. F. U. Sartoris, died Aug. 30th 1900.
Lady Robinson, eldest daughter of Mr. F. U. Sartoris, died whilst on a visit to Mrs. Sartoris, Feb. 21st 1909.
A Wonderful Memory
A striking proof of the remarkable memory which Mrs. Sartoris possessed is supplied by a visit paid to her two years ago last August by Mrs. Miller, of North Fields, Stamford (mother of Mr. H. O. Miller, of Rushden). Mrs. Miller was in her younger days the schoolmistress at Werrington, which adjoins Paston, Mrs. Sartoris’s old home. At this time Mrs. Sartoris was residing at Rushden Hall, but, of course, paid frequent visits to Paston and knew Mrs. Miller and the family very well. While on a visit to Rushden in August, 1911, Mrs. Miller went to the Hall and spent a very pleasant time with Mrs. Sartoris, who, for close upon two hours, talked of the people of Paston and Werrington whom she had known in her younger days some of them 80 years ago, before Mrs. Miller was born, and others of a later period whom Mrs. Miller had known. Mrs. Miller was much struck with Mrs. Sartoris’s marvellous memory.
Mrs. Sartoris took a deep interest in the Rushden Church Lads’ Brigade, whenever there was a drum-head service; the boys always had to march through the Hall grounds.
is thus described in “The History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Northamptonshire,” by William Whellan and Co. (issued in the year 1849):- “Rushden Hall, the seat of F. U. Sartoris, Esq., is situated near the village, on an elevation, surrounded by fine plantations, gardens, etc. The house is quadrangular, and principally consists of a retreating centre, and two projecting wings. On the south side is a square embattled tower, presenting much the appearance of a castellated edifice. This mansion once possessed one of the finest old halls in the county, but it has of late years been incorporated with other apartments, and thus entirely swept away. There is here also a curiously-constructed dark-lantern, traditionally stated to have been that which Guy Vaux of Fawkes used when he meditated his design to blow up the Parliament House. Norden tells us that ‘there was in Rushden an ancient house of the Dukes of Lancaster.’ This house is supposed to have been built by the renowned John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster; and upon its site the present mansion in the Elizabethan style had been erected.”
Mr. and Mrs. A. Hugh Sartoris, it is stated, will come in due course to reside at Rushden Hall.
A Town’s Tribute of Respect
The funeral of the late Mrs. Sartoris took place yesterday in the Parish Churchyard, Rushden, and the large number of people who assembled to witness the solemn obsequies was eloquent testimony of the respect and esteem in which the deceased lady was held. The coffin was conveyed from the Hall to the church on the wheeled litter and was met at the west door by the choir and clergy, who preceded the cortege up the central aisle to the transept, where the coffin was placed.
The robed clergy comprised the Ven. Arthur Kitchin, M.A., R.D. (Rector), the Rev. Canon Morse (Peterborough), and the Rev. H. K. Fry (Higham Ferrers).
The service, both in the church and at the graveside, was simple and impressive in character, and, by request, no hymns were sung. As the cortege proceeded up the central aisle, the opening passages of the burial service were recited by the Rector, and as soon as the coffin had been placed in the transept the 90th Psalm was chanted to Barnby’s setting in D minor. The Rev. Canon Morse then read the lesson, and, as the coffin was borne from the church, Mr. J. E. Smith, at the organ, rendered Handel’s “Dead March” in “Saul,” the large congregation standing meanwhile.
At the graveside the committal portion of the service was read by the Rector, the Rev. H. K. Fry assisting. Following the benediction the Nunc Dimittis was chanted to Barnby’s setting in E.
The bricked grave was lined with moss, and at each end was a cross composed of chrysanthemums and asparagus sprengeri. Upon the sides were wreaths of chrysanthemums, and the bottom was covered with ivy, this work having been carried out by Mr. H. Pettit, gardener at the Hall.
The coffin, in which was enclosed an elm shell, was of plain oak, with solid brass furniture, and bore the inscription:-
MARY ANNE SARTORIS
Born July 16th, 1817.
Died September 21st, 1913.
The family mourners comprised :- Mr. Hugh Sartoris (grandson), Sir Frederick Robinson, Bart. (grandson), Mr. Leonard Sartoris, of London (nephew), Col. Pratt (nephew), Col. Ripley, and Mr. Ralph Bagnall. The staff also followed.
Amongst those present in church were Lord St. John, Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Browning, Mr. Elliott Barker (son of the late Canon Barker), Sir Arthur de Capell Brooke, Bart., Rev. J. Disney, Mr. Orlebar, Mrs. Rouse Orlebar, Mr. Beauchamp Orlebar, Mr. G. Skinner, senr., Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Knight, Ald. and Mrs. Owen Parker, Mrs. Walter Robinson, Mr. Abraham Gadsby, Mr. and Mrs. F. J. Simpson, Miss Simpson, Mr. and Mrs. John Mason, Mr. C. A. K. Green, Mr. H. H. Hobbs, Mr. Ernest Pratt, Dr. Crew, Miss G. Crew, Mr. G. Miller, C.A., Dr. Greenfield, Mr. C. Roberts (London), Mr. John Claridge, J.P., C.C., Mr. F. L. Heygate, Mr. W. M. Hensman, Mr. Geo. Selwood, Mr. G. S. Mason, etc.
The congregation also included Mr. G. Mountjoy, of Peterborough, probably the oldest living of former servants, and who entered the employ of the Sartoris family as butler in 1859.
In addition to the beautiful floral cross on the coffin from the deceased lady’s three daughters, E.S., E.C., and C.M.S., other floral tributes were placed on the grave from the following: - Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Sartoris, Mr. Frank Sartoris, Sir Frederick and Lady Robinson, Sir Arthur de Capell Brooke and Lady Brooke, Miss Craven and Mr. Craven, Mrs. Thompson and Miss E. Pratt, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Bagnall, Rev. Madan Pratt, Major and Mrs. Bagnall, Mrs. P. and Mrs. C. LaMaitre, Mrs. Spencer Pratt, Mr. and Mrs. Monty Pratt, a sheaf from great grandchildren, Mrs. Evans Gordon, Col. And Mrs. E. Pratt, Col. And Mrs. Ripley, Mrs. Chalmer, Sir Chandos and Lady Leigh, Mrs. Alston, Mrs. Vansittart, Mr. and Mrs. Browning and the Misses Browning, Mrs. Sotherby, Miss Christy, Mrs. Campbell Praed and Mrs. B. C. Praed, the Misses St. John, Miss Orlebar, Mr. and Mrs. Foster Harter, Canon and Mrs. Morse, Mr. Frank Pym, Dr. Crew and the Misses E. and G. Crew, Miss Beauford, Mrs. Gerald M. Davidson, Dr. and Mrs. Greenfield, the Rector and the Churchwardens on behalf of the parishioners, Inmates of the Almhouses, Mountjoy, Packwood, Streather and Robinson, Miss Bevan and Miss U. Bevan, Reggie Croot, Mrs. Paul, Rev. H. K. and Mrs. Fry, Mr. and Mrs. James Harris, Conservative Club, Messrs. G. and G. H. Skinner and Sons, Misses Tenney and Tipping, National School, Nurse Abbott, the general and factory committee of the Rushden Nursing Association, Miss Barker and Mrs. Thursfield, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Orlebar, Mr. and Mrs. Rowland Alson, the staff, Rev. E. G. and Mrs. Betenson, Mr. and Mrs. Roberts, Miss Simpson, Mr. Chariton and Mr. Plevins.
The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. Whittington and Tomlin.
During the day the flag on the Council Buildings was flown at half mast.
Mrs. Sartoris will be the last interment in the Parish churchyard.