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Friday, 4 January 2013

George Kenneth Vansittart Neale - Died at Eton College

Taphophilia is a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries.

Monument to George Kenneth Vansittart Neale, All Saints Churchyard, Bisham Berkshire.

"In loving memory of George Kenneth only son of Henry and Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey who died at Eton College October 1st 1904 aged 14 years - O God thou art my God.  Early I will seek thee - Those that seek Me early shall find Me."

George Kenneth Vansittart Neale was born in Marylebone London in 1890 to sir Henry James Vansittart Neale K.C.B (Knight Commander order of the Bath), a principle clerk in the admiralty, and his wife Florence Eddis.

On the 1891 Census, nine month old George can be found living at his Grandmother Frances's home along with his aunt, mother, father and elder sister Phyllis, in Bisham Abbey Estate.

(c) Nash Ford Publishing
Source: berkshirehistory.com

By 1901, ten year old George is a boarding student at Stone House College in St Peter's Kent.

Sadly just three years after the census was taken, on 1st October 1904, young George was to died after an unsuccessful operation for appendicitis.

The Slough, Eton and Windsor Observer reported on 8th October 1904 -


At Eton College on Tuesday the death took place, after an operation for appendicitis, of George Kenneth Vansittart Neale, only son of Sir Henry James Vansittart Neale K.C.B., of Bisham Abbey, Marlow.

The deceased was heir to the historic mansion, Bisham Abbey, and large estate in Berkshire.  A promising scholar at Eton, when he entered only a year ago he had reached the fifth form.  Deceased was fourteen years of age."

George's parents were so distraught at his sudden loss that they commissioned a marble monument to be carved by George Frederick Morris Harding and placed inside All Saints Church in Bisham, Berkshire.

The Slough, Eton and Windsor Observer reported on the occasion on December 19th 1908 -

"Memorial to an Eton Boy.

The Bishop of Oxford unveiled a memorial in Bisham Church to George Kenneth Vansittart Neale, the only son of Sir Henry James Vansittart Nelae K.C.B of Bisham Abbey, who died of appendicitis four years ago at Eton.  The memorial is the work of Mr. Morris Harding, a young sculptor, who is as yet unknown to fame, but who has here given proof of rare talent in the design as well as its execution.  The figure of the boy is seen kneeling on a cushion, his arms folding hands resting on a Pre-Dieu, the whole set in a flamboyant Gothic niche with trefoil arches."

The above picture, copyright of Robert Freidus, is reproduced curtosy of The Victorian Web.

There is also a stainedglass window in Bisham Church dedicated to George.

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  1. My son had appendicitis and ended up in Hospital where they were found to have burst but he is ok now back then it was fatal. Seeing how my wife was at the time it must have been awfull for those poor parents.

    1. The fact that he died away from home must have made their anguish worse.

  2. My grandfather, Lewis Grant (1881-1975), was at Eton with Robert Vansittart. In those days it was a pretty tough and uncomfortable place: cold showers, etc. It's quite likely that the illness would have gone undiagnosed for some time. Boys were expected not to complain.


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