Simon Scrope of Danby Hall

According to an O’Bryen family bible, Philip O’Bryen’s (1861 – 1913) god-father was ” Simon Scrope of Danby Hall, Yorkshire. ” It’s always been slightly surprising because there doesn’t seem to be any particular reason for John Roche O’Bryen and Simon Scope to have even met. There were a series of three  Simon Thomas Scropes between 1758 and 1896. This one, Simon Thomas Scrope (1822-1896) seems the most likely candidate. The following is his obituary from the Tablet

Danby Hall, Wensleydale


The funeral of Major Simon Thomas Scrope, J.P., of Danby Hall, Wensleydale took place at eight o’clock on Saturday morning last. The remains were interred in the family vault at Ulshaw Bridge [the Roman Catholic chapel of St. Simon and St. Jude, which dates from 1788], according to the wishes of the deceased in as private a manner as possible, Father Kirkham, the family chaplain, officiating. Nevertheless, besides the members of the family a large number of the gentry of the neighbourhood attended, amongst whom were Mr. C. E. Riddell, J.P. (Leyburn), Mr. H. Rouse, J.P. (Firby Hall, Bedale), Mr. Maxwell Rouse, Colonel Garrett (Crakehall), Mr. E. D. Swarbreck (Bedale) several of the tenants, and the servants at Danby Hall. Wreaths were sent. by Sir P.Radcliffe and family, Mr. F. and Mrs. Fawcett, Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Riddell, Mr. Robert and Lady Catherine Berkeley, Major C. H. Lord, Mrs. Adela Fitzmaurice, Mrs. Williams, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Berkeley Jun., Dr. Marsh, Lady Bolton, Sir Frederick and Lady Milbank, the A company (Wensleydale) 1st Volunteer Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, &c., and the servants at Danby Hall.

Major Scrope was in his 74th year at the time of his death. He was educated at Stonyhurst College. In 1855 he married a Miss Berkeley, of Spetchley, in Worcestershire, who survives him, together with five sons and five daughters. For some time after his marriage he resided in the vicinity of Malvern, but upon the death of his father he succeeded to the Scrope estates, and came to live at Danby Hall in 1872. Since that time he has lived the quiet life of a country gentleman, beloved and respected by everyone with whom he came in contact. He was an ardent sportsman, an excellent shot, a regular rider to hounds and later in life an enthusiastic fisherman. He was for many years an active member of the Yorkshire Fishery Board. In the early days of the Volunteer movement Mr. Scrope came prominently to the front, and was for some years captain of the Leyburn Rifles, while he was deservedly promoted to be a major of the 1st Volunteer Battalion Princess of Wales’ Own Yorkshire Regiment. When he retired from the regiment, about twenty years ago, he was permitted to retain the title of major and wear the uniform of the battalion for his services to the cause. He also filled the office of a Deputy-Lieutenant of the North Riding, while as a Justice of the Peace of the Hang division, until his health failed, he was regular in his attendance at Leyburn Sessions, and was greatly respected by his brother magistrates. In politics he was a convinced follower of Mr. Gladstone and an ardent Home Ruler. In 1892 he was nominated as Liberal candidate for the Richmond division, but a fortnight later was compelled to withdraw from the candidature owing to weakness of health. He was a kind master as may be judged from the fact that many of his servants have been in his service for over twenty years. His charity to the poor was unbounded, and no one was ever turned away empty from his door, while his charity to the poor of his district was dispensed lavishly though quietly. His family has been connected with Wensleydale since the days of William the Conqueror. His ancestors fought on Flodden Field, on the plains of France, and in the battles of the Border, while a descendant was in charge of Mary Queen of Scots when she escaped from Bolton Castle.

Deceased is succeeded by his eldest son, Mr. Conyers Scrope. The other sons are Messrs. Henry and Geoffrey Scrope—who with one sister are at present in New Zealand—Stephen and Gervase Scrope, who took part in Jameson’s raid, and whese account of that famous ride was published in a recent number of The Tablet. Major Scrope had been in failing health for over a twelvemonth, but the fact was unknown even to his own household that he had been for some months affected with a serious and even dangerous internal malady. When Dr. Teale of Leeds, was recently called in to give his opinion, he decided upon performing an operation. It took place on the 2nd inst., at the residence of the patient, affording much relief, but a second was deemed necessary on the following Wednesday. It was successful, and the question was whether the exhaustion consequent would bring on a fatal termination. About four hours after the operating surgeon, Dr. Teale, had left the house, syncope of the heart supervened, and in a few minutes the patient sank, dying apparently without any pain. His end was truly a peaceful one—he was firmly persuaded that he would not recover, and was completely reconciled to die. Seldom can so Catholic a death-bed be witnessed. His wife, four of his daughters, and three of his sons, were present at the death testifying by their uncontrollable grief how much they felt the loss of one who, beloved by all, was immeasurably more loved by them. The deceased had every possible spiritual consolation. He made a general confession to Father William Eyre, S.J., and died fortified with all the last rites of the Church, for he bad received the Viaticum, bad been anointed, and the last blessing had been given him by Father Kirkham, the family chaplain.

Among other blessings granted to this faithful servant of God may be mentioned that one of his sons, Mr. Gervase Scrope, who was in the thick of the fight in what is known as Jameson’s raid, came out of it without a scratch, and, by a remarkable Providence, was with the family circle during his father’s last illness. Still more remarkable, many will think, was the fact that so many of the family were gathered together at the home, to which they were all so attached that it was the centre of their affections, and that, being all grown up, they caused none of that anxiety to their dying parent which presses so heavily on those who leave behind them helpless children whose education and future career are unprovided for ; all, too, without exception, are devout Catholics. On Friday, 6th inst., the dirge was sung in the little church at Ulshaw Bridge, Bedale, where during his life the well known figure of the Major was to be seen devoutly worshipping, with unfailing punctuality. The burial took place on the following day. In the spirit of faith in which he performed every act Major Scrope was buried in the Benedictine Habit, by his own order. All felt how truly the petition made in the prayer recited at the conclusion of the service, that though dead to the world, he might live to God, had been verified in the person of the lamented deceased. R.I.P.

The above text was found on p.25,14th March 1896, in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .