Project Canterbury

Lord Halifax:

A Tribute

by Sidney Dark

[Milwaukee: Morehouse Publishing, 1934; 86 pp; hardbound]

Chapter Six

Lord Halifax died at Hickleton at half past seven in the evening on Friday, January 19, 1934. A fortnight after Christmas he had gone to stay with his son, Lord Irwin, at Garrowby, and was taken ill there. He recovered sufficiently to go home, and he seemed to be growing better. But on January 18th he became unconscious and remained unconscious until the end.

On the 22nd his body was carried to the church where he had worshipped for so many years, and Vespers of the Dead were sung by the Rev. H.F. Painter, chaplain to Lord Halifax. The following morning the Requiem was sung in the presence of the Bishop of Sheffield, bishop of the diocese, and the body was interred in the vault in the south chapel.

Requiem Masses were sung in York Minster and at S. Mary’s, Graham Street, London, where Lord Halifax had been churchwarden for many years. In the congregation at Graham Street was Bishop Talbot who was destined very shortly to follow his old friend to their reward.

Among the many tributes paid to Lord Halifax the most moving, perhaps, was that of the Archbishops of York who described him as ‘the most courteous of great gentlemen, the kindliest host, the most genial of companions.’

‘He combined,’ His Grace continued, ‘a deep spirituality with a full humanity, an intense religious earnestness with delightfully playful humour. The whole life of our country is the richer for the many years of his devoted life.’

It was a great tribute without the suggestion of sentimental exaggeration.

And as I think of the long life of Lord Halifax, Henry Vaughan’s lines come to my mind:

God’s saints are shining lights: who stays
Here long must passe
O’er dark hills, swift streams, and steep ways
As smooth as glasse:
But these all night
Like candles shed
Their beams, and light
    Us to bed
They are indeed our Pillar-fires
Seen as we go;
They are the cities’ shining spires
    We travel to.

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