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1855: Noble peer's funeral in Cuckfield

Updated: Jul 12, 2021

Brighton Gazette - Thursday 29 March 1855


The remains of David Montagu, Baron Erskine in the peerage of the United Kingdom, of Restormel Castle Cornwall, were interred on Monday last, in the parish church of Cuckfield.

The deceased peer, who was a representative of one of the most ancient and noble houses of Scotland, began his diplomatic career very early. He was Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at Washington for many yeas, and afterwards filled the same the post successively at Stuttgardt and Munich, from which last he retired in 1843.

His lordship was the eldest son of the great Lord Chancellor Erskine (who was third son of the tenth Earl Buchan) by the daughter of Daniel Moore Esq., M .P., and married first in 1800, Frances, daughter of General Cadwallader, secondly, daughter of John Travis Esq., and thirdly, Anna, daughter of Graham, chief of Gartmore, and relict of P. Durham, Esq., of and Poulton, N.B.

Lord Erskine in 1820

Amongst the relatives of the deceased nobleman present at the funeral, were the Right Hon. Lord Erskine, the Hon. and Very Rev. Henry Erskine, Dean of Ripon, the Right Hon. Thomas Erskine, the Hon i Erskine (late Ambassador at the Court of Nepal) Mr. H. D. Erskine, Mr C. Shaw, Rev. Thomas Agar Holland, Rev. Erskine Holland, Mr Henry Erskine, Warden Sergison Esq., etc, etc. The families of the Earl of Buchan, the Earl of Mar and Kellie, Viscount Cardross, Earl of Rosslyn, and many other houses of distinction are placed in mourning by this melancholy event.

(From a Correspondent.)

The deceased was son of Lord Chancellor Erskine by the daughter of D. Moore, Esq. M.P. He was born in 1788 and was educated at Winchester, and Trinity College Cambridge, where he took the degrees of M.A. and L.L.D. and on his father's elevation to the Woolsack and Peerage was elected his successor as M.P. for Portsmouth. He was appointed envoy to the United States of America in 1806 and resided at Washington in that capacity until 1810. In 1811 he was called to the bar, and afterwards, when in the country, occupied, with his numerous family, the mansion on the Holmbush estate in this county, then in possession of the ex •Chancellor; where, as the Hon. I). M. he gained the esteem and respect of the neighbourhood, for his domestic virtues (in which regard his excellent who was the daughter General Cadwallader, of Philadelphia, United .States, largely shared), and for his efficiency w a County Magistrate. Haring succeeded to father's peerage in 1823, the then second Baron Erskine was, in 1834, at the recommendation Mr Canning, appointed Minister at the Court of Wurtenberg; and in 1828, he was removed to that of Bavaria.

His Lordship retired from the diplomatic service in 1843; and has since that time resided in London, Brighton, and Hurstpierpoint, till in 1853, he took a lease of the mansion Butler’s Green, the property of Warden Sergison, Esq., of Cuckfield Place. His Lordship having become a widower in 1843, subsequently re-married twice, first with Miss Travis, a cousin of his former wife: and secondly with Anna, daughter of the late W. C. Graham, Esq., of Gartmore, county Stirling and relict of T. Caiderwood Durham, Esq., Largo and Bolton, N.B. To Her Ladyship's well-known excellencies of character delicacy forbids more allusion - but justice could not be satisfied with less.

The noble subject of this obituary notice exhibited, to more private spheres, certain portion of the talents of his celebrated father, which he chiefly evinced by a constant flow of conversational eloquence, replete with graphic description, tellingly applied anecdote, and apposite illustration, the effect of which was heightened by an exhaustless fund of animal spirits and emphatic vivacity of manner; and truly was be wont, by the spontaneous play of fascinating faculties, to “set tables in a roar" of uncontrollable merriment and delight. But notwithstanding frequent his disposition to a facetiousness which was, perhaps more akin to humour than to wit, no-one could, when occasion called, more severely reprove folly, deceit, ingratitude, vice, or offer graver or more solid and useful counsel for the practical affairs of life.

He was also remarkable for good-natured sympathy with the interests of all with whom he at any time came in contact, and for his kindly condescension to those moving in the lower spheres of society In fact, the late Lord Erskine, though not inheriting that amount of wealth which, without being essentially incident to nobility of family, station, or intellect, is nevertheless its main recommendation in the eyes of the vulgar-minded, and being himself by nature endowed with simplicity of taste and moderation of requirement, displayed, in every varied phase of character and the perfect gentleman.

Lord Erskine is succeeded by his eldest son, Thomas Americus, who has held some subordinate diplomatic appointments, and who is married to Louisa, daughter of the G. Newnham, Esq., of Newtimber Place, Sussex, and widow of T. Legh, Esq., of Adlington, Cheshire.

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