MR. W. W. PARKER Obituary December 1937

MR. W. W. PARKER Mr. Wilfred Watson Parker, M.B.E., T.D., of Towersey Manor, Thame, died on November 29th.

The second surviving son of the late Sir Henry Watson Parker, President of the Incorporated Law Society, who died in 1894, Mr. Parker was sixty-eight years of age. His mother was Marian, daughter of the late James Rorauer, of the Treasury. Mr. Parker was educated at Beaumont, as were his two brothers, and afterwards followed his father’s profession as a solicitor. In 1898 he married Miss Frances Charlotte Purssell, third daughter of the late Alfred Purssell of Hampstead.

The Requiem Mass was at Westminster Cathedral on Thursday.

The above text was found on p.46, 4th December 1937 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher” The Tablet can be found at .

PARKER—PURSSELL.–On June 30, at St. Dominic’s Priory, Haverstock Hill, by the Very Rev. F. A. Gasquet, D.D., Wilfrid Watson, second surviving son of the late Sir Henry Watson Parker, of Hampstead, and Lady Watson Parker, of 22, Upper Park-road, N.W., to Frances Charlotte, third daughter of the late Alfred Purssell, C.C., of Hampstead.

9th July 1898, Page 13

The Mayor of Hampstead’s Garden Party – 4th July 1914

It took a lot of digging to try to find out the answers to this one, but it was always the most intriguing photo. Some of the people are clearly identifiable from other photos. Particularly the members of the O’Bryen family, Ernest and Gertrude are easily identifiable either side of the clergyman, with Cis kneeling looking at her mother, and Kenneth and Molly also to the front with their parents. Rex O’Bryen and his wife Florence are standing on the far left.

The clergyman remained mysterious for rather longer, as did most of the others in the picture. He did provide a very useful spur in the search, which rapidly threw up two O’Bryen priests. The first was Father Philip, who was an older brother of Ernest, and Rex. The other was Mgr Henry O’Bryen, who was a much older half-brother.

The Mayor of Hampstead Garden Party 4th July 1914

The clothes provided the next clues, particularly the hat and ring. Fr Phil was a parish priest, so wouldn’t have dressed like that, and Mgr Henry was dead before Ernest and Gertrude married, so it couldn’t be him. Eventually I found this…..

The Tablet Page 17, 11th July 1914 NEWS FROM THE DIOCESES


THE MAYOR OF HAMPSTEAD’S GARDEN PARTY.—The Cardinal Archbishop was entertained by the Mayor and Mayoress of Hampstead, Mr. and Mrs. E. A. O’Bryen, on Saturday last (4th July) at a garden party at their house and grounds at Daleham Lodge. A large company had been invited to meet his Eminence, and were presented to him. Among the guests were Canon Wyndham 0.S.C., Sir Roper and Lady Parkington, Lady Parker, Mgr. Grosch, the Father Superior and several of the Fathers from Farm Street, Prior Bede Jarrett, and several of the Dominican Fathers from Haverstock Hill, Canon Brenan, Mr. Lister Drummond, K.S.G., and Mr. C. J. Munich, K.S.G., and very many others. Refreshments were served in the grounds, and there was some, very enjoyable music.

This now answered some of the questions, but not all, and also is one of the many odd coincidences. One of the Roper Parkington’s granddaughters  Marie marries Alan O’Bryen ten years after this photo, and Colonel Sir John Roper Parkington, and Lady RP have quite a part in this tale. We’ll come back to whether it is the two of them behind the Cardinal, and the Mayor.

Lady O’B – Gertrude Mary Purssell 1873 – 1950

Youngest daughter of Alfred Purssell

Gertrude (Lady O'B)
Gertrude (Lady O’B)

The London Gazette Sept 1919

O’BRYEN, Mrs. Gertrude Mary, widow of Ernest
Adolphus O’Bryen, Esq., late Mayor of Hampstead,
upon whom it was H.M.’s intention to have conferred the honour of Knight Bachelor, has been granted the precedence of a Knight’s Widow.

The Tablet, Page 22, 6th September 1919

Lady O'Bryen
Lady O’Bryen

The many friends of the late Mr. Ernest O’Bryen, Mayor of Hampstead 1913-1919, who deeply lamented his untimely death last April at the early age of 53, will greatly rejoice that His Majesty the King has ordained that the widow of the late Mayor shall have the title and precedence, which she would have had if her husband had lived to receive the knighthood which His Majesty had intended to confer upon him. Lady O’Bryen is the youngest daughter of the late Mr. Alfred Purssell, and was married to the late Mr. Ernest O’Bryen in 1898.

During her long term of office as Mayoress of Hampstead, she earned great popularity for her large share in the many war works with which her husband was so intimately associated. Her efforts in connection with the Belgian Refugees will serve as an example of the devoted work which gained for her the grateful esteem of the citizens of Hampstead, irrespective of creed. In 1914, the Mayor formed a committee for assisting these refugees, which between October and December of that year dealt with a very large number of them, some 18 hostels being opened locally for their accommodation. For four years this committee continued its work, under the direction of Lady O’Bryen, finding employment for and looking after the interests of the refugees. Just before the Armistice about 300 were, still under the care of the committee.

Ernest Adolphus O’Bryen 1865 -1919


This was almost the first thing I searched on. We sort of knew that he had been Mayor of Hampstead, but not that it had been throughout the First War. In fact, from 1913 until his death in 1919 (six terms in total). He is easily identified in the garden party photo sitting next to the Cardinal. The decoration he’s wearing is a bit odd, and I suspect it’s possibly a papal decoration. He was granted a knighthood, but died before being done; but Lady OB was given the title anyway.

We also had pictures of him being the Mayor in the photo collection

The next thing I found was this obituary.

The Tablet, Page 28, 3rd May 1919


We regret to record the death of Alderman Ernest A. O’Bryen, Mayor of Hampstead, which took place on Saturday night, at the age of fifty-three years, following on an operation from which he at first seemed to be progressing favourably. Educated at Stonyhurst and Cooper’s Hill, he spent some ten years in the Indian Forest Service in Upper Burmah, shortly after its annexation. He retired from the service in 1897 and married in the following year, Gertrude, daughter of the late Alfred Pursell. In 1913 he was elected Mayor of Hampstead, first Catholic to hold that position, and held it till his death. In 1916 he was President of the Stonyhurst Association and the same year was elected a Vice-President of the London Circle of the Catenian Association. During the war he took a leading part in making arrangements for the feeding and accommodation of Belgian refugees, and he also organised and equipped hospitals for the British Red Cross and St. John Ambulance. In 1915, Alderman O’Bryen was instrumental in raising the 183rd Howitzer Brigade and the 138th and 139th Heavy Batteries of Royal Garrison Artillery.

The funeral took place on Wednesday. The Requiem Mass was celebrated at St. Dominic’s Priory, Haverstock Hill, by Father Bodkin, S. J. Among those present were Mrs. O’Bryen and her five children, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Winstanley, Captain and Mrs. Parker, Mr. Alfred Pursell, Mrs. Edwardes, Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Bellord, Mr. Frank Pursell, Mr. Alfred O’Bryen, Mrs. Rex O’Bryen, Mrs. Basil O’Bryen.

This helped a lot. Working on an obvious hunch that everyone named is a close relation, and a bit of digging, we have the soon-to-be Lady OB with her four sisters and two brothers, two brother-in-laws, and it appears the wife of a brother-in-law.  All eminently Googleable.

And not a difficult step to get to Dr John Roche O’Bryen, his father………..

Edmund Joseph Bellord,(1857–1927)

Solicitor and founder and leading committee member of Providence Row Night Refuge.

Born on 30 July 1858 at 22 Long Lane, Smithfield, London, son of James Bellord (1805-1894), a merchant sea captain, and Mary Ann Roche (1819-1895). Educated at St Augustine’s, Ramsgate, and Oxford. Admitted to the Roll, 1881; partner in the firm of Lickorish and Bellord, practised at 11 Mansion House Chambers, Queen Victoria Street, 1881–93 and at various addresses thereafter, finally locating at 8 Waterloo Place, Pall Mall. A trustee of the Providence Row Night Refuge and chairman of the Refuge’s committee.

Married (1) Helen Teresa Smith, 11 May 1886, three children,

Mildred Mary (1887–1972),

Cuthbert George (1889–1950), and

Margery Mary (1891–?),

and (2) Agnes Mary Purssell, 11 January 1899, children

Charles Edmund (1900–1918),

George (1904–1963),

Robert (1908–1970),

Elizabeth Agnes Mary (1910–1991), she married  Colonel Sir Joseph William Weld (1909 – 1992) who inherited the Lulworth estate, and Lulworth Castle from his cousin Herbert Joseph Weld Blundell (1852 – 5 February 1935)

Patricia Mary (1912–1943).

Died 17 December 1927, at 46 Ennismore Gardens, South Kensington, leaving an estate valued at £21,641.

Here’s a sneak preview of the entry from the forthcoming and very much beefed-up e-book edition of the A to Z and details of John Savage’s excellent article in that ever-a-goldmine Ripperologist

Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution claims that Bellord was a partner in the firm of Perkins and Bellord, solicitors and estate agents, and that when the tobacconist at 22 Cleveland Street needed an assistant, Walter Sickert approached ‘a lawyer who ran an East End refuge for poor working women’, who brought Mary Jane Kelly to Cleveland Street. This is apparently a reference to Bellord.

Bellord was not a partner in the firm of Perkins and Bellord, but much later his nephew, James Bellord, went into partnership with Walter Mottram Perkins as estate agents at 14 Fitzroy Street. James died on 25 March 1935, among his bequests being £200 to Providence Row.


The Sacred Heart Review, Number 22, 16 May 1914


Mother St. George, the last survivor of the band of nuns who worked in the Crimea with Florence Nightingale, died at Norwood, England, recently, aged eighty-seven. Last week in our news columns we chronicled her funeral. The London Tablet tells of Bishop Grant’s message to the Norwood convent, in 1854, one Sunday evening: “I must have five of the Sisters by seven o’clock to-morrow morning at London Bridge, ready to start for Constantinople.” The next day the five Sisters started with Miss Nightingale. Mother St. George was decorated with the Red Cross, by Queen Victoria, many years after the war. The recently published “Life” of Florence Nightingale, written by Sir Edward Cook, quotes from a letter to the London Times,— written by its special correspondent, in the Crimea- several passages that deplore the futility of the nursing arrangements on the British side and point to the advantages of the French who had the nursing Sisters. He wrote:— Here the French are greatly our superiors. Their medical arrangements are extremely good, their surgeons more numerous, and they have also the help of the Sisters of Charity, who have accompanied the expedition in incredible numbers. These devoted women are excellent nurses. Two days after this letter appeared, a reader of the Times sent to that paper the

query, “Why have we no Sisters of Charity?” Florence Nightingale was persuaded to organize a corps of nurses. ” Her experience all tells,” wrote her sister, ” including in the list of qualifications, her sympathy with the Roman Catholic system of work.” The corps included ten Catholic nuns (five from Bermondsey and five from Norwood—Mother George’s party.) Miss Nightingale was from the first anxious to have Catholic nurses on her staff, because, says her biographer:— In the first place many of the soldiers were Catholics; and, secondly, her apprenticeship in nursing had shown her the excellent qualities as nurses, of many Catholics. A letter from Miss Nightingale to Mr. Herbert described a number of her Catholic nurses as being: “The truest Christians I ever met with,—invaluable in their workdevoted, heart and head, to serve God and mankind.” When the war was at an end, the Reverend Mother, who had come from Bermondsey with the first party, returned home. What her services meant to her chief is frankly acknowledged in the letter Miss Nightingale wrote to her from Balaclava: — God’s blessing and my love and gratitude with you, as you well know. You know well, too, that I shall do everything I can for the Sisters whom you have left me. But it will not be like you. Your wishes will be our law. And I shall try and remain in the Crimea for their sakes as long as we are any of us there. I do not presume to express praise or gratitude to you, Reverend Mother, because it would look as if I thought you had done the work not unto God but unto me. You were far above me in fitness for the general superintendency, both in worldly talent of administration and far more in the spiritual qualification which God values in a Superior. My being placed over you in an unenviable reign in the East was my misfortune and not my fault. From her childhood Florence Nightingale showed a vocation for nursing. She nursed and bandaged the dolls her sister broke, and she gave “first aid to the wounded” to a collie with a broken leg. The earliest sample of her writing is a tiny book, which the child stitched together and in which she entered in very uncertain letters a recipe ” sixteen grains for an old woman, eleven for a young woman, and seven for a child.” The conventions of her day and class forbade the following of her desire to become a nurse. The advantages of wealth and culture were hers, including travel and study in foreign countries. The chief attraction that Paris offered to her ” lay principally in its hospitals and nursing Sisterhoods.” Her beautiful home at Embley appealed to her chiefly as a desirable place for a hospital— ” I think how I should turn it into a hospital and how I should place the beds,” she said to a friend. When Dr. Howe visited Embley, Florence asked him; “If I should determine to study nursing, and to devote my life to that profession, do you think it would be a dreadful thing ? ” ” Not a dreadful thing at all,” replied the visitor. “I think it would be a very good thing.” To Catholic Sisterhoods she owed the opportunity that opened the way to her future career. She wrote on one occasion:— The Catholic Orders offered me work, training for that work, sympathy and help in it, such as I had in vain sought in the Church of England. The Church of England has for men bishoprics, archbishoprics, and a little work. For women she has—

what ? I would have given her my head, my heart, my hand. She would not have them. She did not know what to do with them. She told me to go back and do crochet in my mother’s drawing-room; or, if I were tired of that, to marry and look well at the head of my husband’s table. You may go to the Sunday-school, if you like it, she said. But she gave me no training even for that. She gave me neither work to do for her, nor education for it. In Rome, the great attraction for Miss Nightingale was the Sacred Heart Convent, but for nursing Sisterhoods she retained always the deepest regard. Her latest biographer says: — She thought more often, and with more affectionate remembrance, about the spirit of the best Catholic Sisterhoods than of Kaiserswerth, or indeed of anything else in her professional experience. At Kaiserswerth, an ancient town on the Rhine, there was a hospital conducted by Deaconesses, (Protestant) and here Miss Nightingale spent some months. That Kaiserswerth trained her, she herself denied. “The nursing there was nil,” she wrote. “The hygiene was horrible. The hospital was certainly the worst part of Kaiserswerth. I took all the training there was to be had; Kaiserswerth was far from having trained me.” From the Protestant Deaconesses of Germany, Miss Nightingale went to live among Catholic Sisters in France. Dr. Manning secured the opportunity for her ‘to study in their institutions and hospitals. ” Florence joined the Sisters of Charity in Paris. And thus after many struggles and delays, was she launched upon her true work in the world,” states Sir Edward Cook. In 1854 came the “call” to the Crimea and the practical test of Miss Nightingale’s vocation for nursing. Of her companions to the Crimea we have already learned something, and more is related in a general way in the chapters dealing with her experiences as an army nurse. A small black pocket-book, found among Miss Nightingale’s effects, after her death, contained a few of the letters she received before starting for the East. One of these letters, was from Dr. Manning, who wrote:— God will keep you. And my prayer for you will be that your one object of Worship, Pattern for Imitation, and source of consolation and strength may be the Sacred Heart of our Divine Lord. Summing up Miss Nightingale’s feeling towards Catholics and Catholicism, Sir Edward Cook says: — There were many points at which Roman Catholicism appealed to her. . . Cardinal Manning, for whom she entertained a high respect, may sometimes have regarded her as a likely convert; but towards acceptance of Roman doctrines, I find no ground for thinking that she was at any time inclined. Yet the spirit of Catholic saintliness—and especially that of the saints whose contemplative piety was joined to active benevolence— appealed strongly to her. She read books of Catholic devotion constantly, and made innumerable annotations in and from them. . . She admired intensely the aid which Catholic piety had given, and was giving to many of her own friends—to the Bermondsey nuns, especially, and to the mother and sisters of the Trinitade’ Monti — towards purity of heart and the doing of everything from a-right motive. Then, again, to be ” business-like” was with Miss Nightingale almost the highest commendation; and in this character also the Roman Church appealed to her. Its acceptance of doctrines in all their logical conclusions, seemed to her business-like; its organization was businesslike; its recognition of women-workers was business-like.

Mother St. George 1908

The Tablet Page 24, 8th February 1908

There are not many of the nun-nurses of the Crimea left among us—not, we believe, more than four, namely, Mother Mary Aloysius, the last survivor of the band of Irish Sisters of Mercy who tended the sick and wounded in the hospitals at Scutari ; Sister Stanislas and Sister Anastasia (both now at St. John’s Wood), the representatives of the English Sisters of Mercy who gave an equal devotion to the same service ; and Mother St. George, of the Convent of the Faithful Virgin, Norwood. Of these, the first, Mother Mary Aloysius, put on record some ten years ago her wonderful experiences in that delightfully simple and graphic little book, “Memories of the Crimea.” Mother St. George resigned a few weeks ago the active headship of the branch house of her Order at Folkestone (which she helped to found) and has now returned to pass her remaining days in the Norwood Convent, where she was professed sixty years ago at the age of twenty-one. This week the readers of The Daily Chronicle were privileged to hear some of the reminiscences of this venerable nun, recounted in an interview which she gave to a correspondent of that paper.

“I must have five of your Sisters by seven o’clock to-morrow morning at London Bridge ready to start for Constantinople.” Those brief, imperative marching orders from Bishop Grant were handed to the Mother Superior of the Convent of the Faithful Virgin at Norwood late in the evening of Sunday, October 22, 1854. Before six o’clock the next morning the Sisters asked for were at Bishop Grant’s house, and they started the same day with Florence Nightingale and her nurses for the East. Of that little band of five, Mother St. George was the youngest, and to-day is the sole survivor. The Order of the Faithful Virgin is a teaching, not a nursing order; but when that urgent cry of “More Nurses for the East” came from the perishing Army, there were few trained for the work who could immediately step into the breach, and hence it was that, at Bishop Grant’s summons, the Sisters of the Faithful Virgin came eagerly forward to fill the gap, and they filled it at Scutari nobly from November, 1854, till February, 1855, by which time plenty of nursing Sisters had arrived. Mother St. George recalls the enthusiasm with which Florence Nightingale and her nurses were received when they landed at Boulogne. “Then we sailed from Marseilles” (she says); “it was a Friday, I remember, and the Captain objected to starting on Friday. The sailors were perfectly sure that the ship would go down. But Miss Nightingale would not wait ; she was anxious to reach her work as soon as possible. We had terrible weather, and the ship at one time was in very great danger in a narrow passage. However, we reached the Bosphorus safely, though I believe the ship was too damaged to make the return voyage, and Miss Nightingale said to the Captain, Why, I thought we were all to go to the bottom because we sailed on Friday ‘ ; and he answered, ‘And so we should have done if we hadn’t had Sisters on board I” On arriving at Scutari, Mother St. George went with the other nurses to the great palace which the Sultan had placed at the disposal of the British Government for a hospital. “At that time,” she says, “all the wounded had to be brought across the Black Sea before they could be properly treated. Many died on the way across, or directly they were brought in. But the men were so good, so brave, so delicate. Why, they would try to take off their soiled bandages themselves to save the Sisters the task. And some of these men were brought in after lying out six weeks in the trenches, so that their clothes stuck to their skins, and it was difficult to remove them. There was no chloroform in those days ; so when a man had to be operated upon they used to put a ball of lead in his mouth.” Of Miss Nightingale, though she has never seen her since she left Scutari, Mother St. George retains a vivid impression. “Tall, slender, upright she was, with dark hair. Very, very gentle in her manner, but very capable. She was a wonderful nurse. And she was very accomplished, too ; she spoke three languages fluently. The officers at the hospital at Scutari did not like a woman put over them ; I think she often suffered much from that. She used to be called ‘The Bird.’ We came home in the Candia with some invalided officers and men, coming direct to Southampton. It was a Sunday morning when we reached port, and we went ashore to see if we could find a church and hear Mass. A troop of street boys followed us ; they were so astonished at our white robes, and cried that it was ‘the Emperor of Rooshia and his five daughters come over.’ ‘Them Rooshians ‘—that was how the soldiers always spoke of the enemy,” concluded Mother St. George, with a smile.

Letter from the Mayoress of Hampstead September 1914

The Tablet Page 18, 12th September 1914

ST. DOMINIC’S, HAVERSTOCK HILL: BELGIAN REFUGEES.— The St. Dominic’s Parish Magazine publishes the following letter from the Mayoress of Hampstead (Mrs. E. O’Bryen) on behalf of Belgian Refugees in the district : “I appeal to the inhabitants of Hampstead for the Belgian Refugees, who consist mainly of women and children, and who are arriving here in hundreds almost daily. After the gallant resistance that Belgium has offered, with the result that their country is overrun by the German army, it is only right that we here in England, who are luckily exempt from this scourge of invasion, should do something to help these people who have lost their homes and all they possess. They are arriving absolutely penniless, and in most cases with only the clothes they stand up in. The War Refugees Committee have asked me (i.e., the Mayoress) to make a Refugee centre in Hampstead, and I shall be glad to hear of any lady or gentleman willing to offer a home to one or more Refugees, and would ask them to apply personally to me here at the Town Hall, Haverstock Hill, giving me particulars as to the numbers and sexes of the Refugees they would be willing to accommodate. Those who are unable to help in this way would be giving great assistance by sending any clothes, new or old, for the use of these Refugees, either to me here (at the Town Hall), marked : ‘For the Belgian Refugees,” or direct to the general receiving office, 39, St. George’s Road, S.W.”

Mrs. E. J. Bellord (Agnes Purssell) Requiem Mass 1925

from The Tablet Page 26, 14th March 1925

THE LATE MRS. E. J. BELLORD : REQUIEM AT THE ORATORY.— A requiem Mass for Mrs. E. J. Bellord was said at the Oratory on Thursday of last week, Father John Talbot being celebrant, assisted at the absolution by the Very Rev. Father Crewse; other clergy present were the Prior of Ealing (Dom Benedict Kuypers, 0.S.B.), Father Louis Thomson, 0.P., and Father Bertrand Pike, 0.P. The family mourners were Mr. E. J. Bellord (widower), the Misses M. and E. Bellord (daughters), Mr. George and Mr. Cuthbert Bellord (sons), Lady O’Bryen (sister), Mr. and Mrs. A. O’Bryen, Mr. James G. Bellord (nephew), Mr. and Mrs. Francis Purssell, and other relatives. Mr. J. P. Boland represented the Catholic Truth Society, and amongst others present were Lord and Lady Morris of St. John ; Sir John Gilbert, K.C.S.G.; Lady Gibbs; Miss Pauline Willis ; Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Agius; Captain and Mrs. Parker, and the Misses Parker ; Miss Halle; Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Ware ; Major Aylmer Brooke ; Mr. Coleman ; Mr. A. D. Coveney ; Mrs. Raymond Mawson ; Mrs. Tom Mawson ; Mr. and Mrs. Armitstead; Mrs. O’Connor; Mr. George Barry ; Miss Winstanley ; Mr. and Mrs. Walter Priest ; Wing-Commander Read, R.A.F. ; Mr. Edward Belton ; Mr. John Tussaud; Mrs. Huskisson ; Mrs. Stokes ; Sisters from the Convent of the Holy Child Jesus (Cavendish Square); and Messrs. V. G. Street, S. Pritchard, H. M. Ward, and J. H. Hartley. The interment took place at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Kensal Green, Father Talbot performing the last offices at the cemetery.