With deep regret we announce the death of Mr. Scrope, which took place at Danby Hall on Wednesday, after a short illness, during which be received all the Last Sacraments. Born in 1858, and educated at Stonyhurst and the Oratory, Mr. Scrope lived almost all his life at Danby. He was a devoted Catholic, a thorough sportsman, and a true friend. He was a Justice of the Peace and a Deputy Lieutenant, and for many years served in the Yorkshire Artillery Militia, in which he held the rank of Major and Hon. Lieut.- Colonel. Of the family he represented, it is probably superfluous to speak in a Catholic paper. The Times says : “Mr. Scrope was the head of one of the oldest and most famous families in English history. In the course of three centuries from Edward II. to Charles I. the house of Scrope produced two earls and twenty barons, one Chancellor, four Treasurers, and two Chief Justices of England, one Archbishop and two Bishops, five Knights of the Garter, and numerous Bannerets. Shakespeare mentions three of the Scrapes. The grandfather of Mr. Scrope, who died in 1872, laid claim to the earldom of Wiltshire, a creation of 1397, but the decision of the House of Lords was adverse, their decision not following the Devon case.” R.I.P.
We regret to announce the death of Mr.[ Valentine] Cary-Elwes of Great Billing, Northamptonshire, and of Roxby and Brigg, Lincolnshire. He was taken ill with double pneumonia on Sunday, and died at his Northamptonshire residence on Wednesday. Mr. Cary-Elwes, who was born in 1832, was the only surviving son of Cary Charles Elwes of Great Billing, was formerly in the 12th Lancers, and served in the Kaffir War in 1831-32. He was a magistrate and Deputy-Lieutenant for Lincolnshire, of which he was High Sheriff in 1873. The following year he was received into the Catholic Church. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He was twice married, his second wife being Alice Geraldine, youngest daughter of the Rev, the Hon. Henry Ward of Killinchy, County Down, brother of the third Viscount Bangor. He leaves two sons and one daughter. The funeral will take place at Billing on Monday. R.I.P.
The above text was found on p.14,19th June 1909 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .
The following is a book review from the Tablet in 1899. They had supported the Scrope family claim to reviving a long extinct peerage from the court case in 1859, when Simon Thomas Scrope (1790 – 1872) claimed the Earldom of Wiltes. His son, another Simon Thomas Scrope (1822 – 1896) was Fr. Philip O’Bryen’s god-father.
The Scropes Of Danby: A Great Historic Peerage: The Earldom of Wiltes. By John Henry Metcalfe. The Chiswick Press. 1899.
WITH an unbroken male descent from the Conquest, the present head of the House of Scrope, Mr. Scrope of Danby, can look back upon a line of ancestors who have played a varied and conspicuous part in the making of England. During the three hundred years between the reigns of Edward II. and Charles I. the Scropes were in the heyday of their power ; honours fell thick upon them, and they were always to the front in every department of the national life. During this period this single family produced “two Earls, twenty Barons, one Chancellor, four Treasurers, and two Chief Justices of England, one Archbishop and two Bishops, five Knights of the Garter, and numerous Bannerets, the highest military order in the days of chivalry.” The family was ennobled in two branches, Scrope of Bolton, and Scrope of Maskam and Utsall, and its feats of arms whenever the men of Wensleydale were led to battle are still commemorated in many a ballad and folk-song. Perhaps the most distinguished of its individual members was William Le Scrope, Lord Treasurer of England, and Guardian of the Kingdom during Richard II’s absence in Ireland. Fighting under John of Gaunt in France, he was knighted at an early age for valour in the field, and in 1388 was appointed Seneschal of Aquitaine. The next sixteen years were to tell an unbroken story of splendid service royally rewarded, until it may well have seemed that, in Shakspeare’s words, he ” held the realm in farm.” Governor of the Castle and town of Cherbourg, Constable of the Castle of Queenborough, Governor of Beaumaris Castle, and Chamberlain of Ireland, he entered upon the last decade of his life. In 1391, the Castle of Bamburgh was made his for life ; three years later he received the town of Marlborough in lieu of a fee of 200 marks which the King had granted him on “retaining him to abide with him, the King, during his whole life.” In the same year he became the Sovereign Lord of Man, having acquired the island by purchase from the second Earl of Salisbury ; the next year he was made a Knight of the Garter and Vice-Chamberlain of the Household; in 1396 he became Lord Chamberlain ; then he went as Ambassador to France to negotiate the King’s marriage and sign the treaty of peace ; in 1397 he was created Earl of Wiltes and sent as Ambassador to treat for peace with the King of Scotland. Honours continued to come even when the shadow of death already lay across his path, and in the last year of his life he was appointed to the high office of Lord Treasurer of England, Custos of the Castles of Rochester and Leeds, and, finally, Guardian of the Realm during the King’s absence in Ireland. The landing of Henry of Bolingbroke was followed by quick disaster to the King’s cause. The capture of Bristol Castle left the Earl of Wiltes a prisoner in the hands of the invaders, and without the pretence of a trial he was hurried to execution and his head sent to London to be set upon a spike for exposure on London Bridge.
The Earl left no issue, and in the troubled times that followed, during which the family estates were confiscated, no claim to the peerage seems to have been put forward, and it is quite likely that the unusual terms of the original patent soon came to be forgotten. Early in the present century the original charter was accidentally discovered. The discovery in the case of the Devon peerage of a similar charter led to a successful claim to the earldom, and probably suggested to the Scropes that they should take steps to assert what now seemed an evident right.
The charter of King Richard conferring the Earldom of Wiltes ran thus : “To have to him and his heirs male for ever (et heredibus suis masculis in perpetuum).” The usual limitation in such cases is, of course, to “the heirs of his body,” but there are six instances in which there have been grants of English Peerages with limitation to heirs-male—the Earldom of Oxford, Wiltes, and Devon, and the Baronies of Hoo and Hastings, Richmont Grey, and Egremont. The claim was laid before the House of Lords in 1859, and dragged on for ten years. Mr. Metcalfe’s account of this most interesting and important case is disappointing, and at times misleading. It quite fails to give any right idea of either the strength or the weakness of the claim, or even of the constitution of the Court which determined it. After mentioning the time occupied in hearing the case, Mr. Metcalfe says : ” During this time the greatest of the law lords who heard it, Lords Wensleydale and Cranworth, died, and Lords Westbury and Romilly took no part in it. The decision, therefore, rested with Lord Chelmsford, and a new Scotch law lord, Lord Colonsay. Virtually the decision was that of Lord Chelmsford.” As a matter of fact three Peers agreed in rejecting the claim, though on slightly different grounds, and each delivered a separate judgment. Why Lord Redesdale’s judgment should be thus ignored is not apparent. Nor does Mr. Metcalfe seem to appreciate the force of Lord Chelmsford’s objections. Thus we read :
Mr. Fleming, the Claimant’s Counsel, often said that if an instance could be found in which Henry IV. actually spoke of Sir William le Scrope as Earl of Wiltes, it would be of the greatest importance. The letter of Henry IV. containing the words the production of which as evidence during the hearing of the Wiltes case would, according to Mr. Fleming, have carried so much weight, was, at the time, not only in a volume of autographs preserved in the Public Record Office, on vellum —see Rymer, viii., 181—but actually in print in Royal and Historical Letters during- the Reign of Henry IV., edited by the Rev. F. C. Hingeston, M.A., and published by Longman, Green, and Longman, in 1860 !
The document here cited undoubtedly shows that Henry IV. spoke of William Le Scrope as Earl of Wiltes ; and there is evidence that he was so described by one of the King’s ministers on another occasion—but even if this had been known at the trial it would have in no way affected the judgment of Lord Chelmsford. It is one of the inconveniences of Mr. Metcalfe’s book that it does not give the text of the judgments, else the reader would see for himself how Lord Chelmsford would have treated this new evidence. He first addressed himself to the question whether a patent granting an English peerage to a man and his heirs male was a valid patent,. and answered it thus
In considering the patent of creation of the Earldom of Wiltes, I will assume that it is in entire conformity with King Richard’s intentions, and that he had every motive for creating the dignity with the particular limitation assigned to it. The question then presents itself in the simplest and clearest manner whether it is competent to the Crown to give to a dignity a descendible quality unknown to the law,-and thereby to introduce a new species of inheritance and succession. The question put in this way seems to answer itself. The Crown can have no such power unless there is something so peculiar in a dignity, so entirely within the province of the Crown to mould at its pleasure,. that a limitation void as to every other subject of grant, is good and valid in the creation of a Peerage.
This was certainly an extraordinary decision in face of the fact that only a few years before the House of Lords had deliberately affirmed the direct contrary. Lord Chelmsford was, of course, aware of this, but contented himself with saying : ” I cannot agree that the determination of one Committee for Privileges must be a binding and conclusive authority upon another.” There was no law to compel him to respect the decision of Lord Brougham in the Devon case, and so he acted on his own view. And so we have this odd result, that the Earldoms of Devon and Oxford (De Vere) are both held to-day by virtue of a patent which in the Scrape case was declared to be invalid. But there is another and important passage in Lord Chelmsford’s judgment, of which Mr. Metcalfe gives his readers no glimpse. He was of opinion that the grant of the Earldom might have been perfectly valid so far as the original grant was concerned, and yet be wholly void in relation to his successors:
It could only be after his death, and if a successor appeared to claim, the title, that an objection to the extension of the dignity beyond the life of the original possessor would possibly arise.
The twofold ground of the decision appears clearly enough from its closing words :
Whatever may have been the right to the Earldom of Wiltes of William Le Scrope during his life (and as I have already acknowledged, I see no reason why the title to this extent should not have been conferred by the grant), yet as the prescribed course of succession was one unknown to and unsanctioned by the law of England, and which nothing but an Act of Parliament could establish, the Earldom of Wiltes ceased to exist at all events upon the death of William Le Scrope, and the claim of a right of succession to the dignity necessarily fails.”
It is apparent, therefore, that the new evidence to which at the time of the trial Mr. Fleming, a great authority, attached so much importance would not in fact have had any weight with Lord Chelmsford. It proved only that William Le Scrope was reputed an Earl even by his enemies, but Lord Chelmsford was ready to admit the fact. There is little doubt that Lord Chelmsford was wrong on both points. The validity of the patent ought not to be open to question in view of precedents and the decision in the Devon case ; and it is still more clear that the patent was either good or bad, that if it was made void by illegal limitations as far as successors to the title were concerned, it was also bad and useless from the beginning. Assuming, as we may confidently do, that if the case were reheard to-day the validity of the original patent would be allowed, it only remains to point out that the peerage could be forfeited only by either a legal judgment for treason or by Act of Parliament. The unfortunate Earl of Wiltes was never tried at all, and certainly no Act of Attainder was ever passed against him after his death. The first Parliament of Henry IV., summoned by ante-dated writs in the name of Richard II. when that monarch was already in captivity, might well be regarded as merely an assemblage of rebels ; bat that point need not be pressed, for all they did in regard to the Earl of Wiltes was to pass an Act of Indemnity and so lend sanction to the execution and the confiscation which followed. An execution without trial and an unlawful seizure of estates were thus shielded from all question, but it never occurred even to the usurper to accuse of treason a man who had died for his faithfulness to his anointed Sovereign.
Lord Chelmsford laid stress on the fact that no successor came forward to claim the title. If the patent was valid, the title could not lapse merely because no one claimed it; and the fact that the estates, which alone made the earldom a tolerable burden, had been confiscated is at least a plausible explanation. At any rate the burden of proof does not rest with the claimant; he is entitled to ask how peerage was ended, and when.
Lord Redesdale took the bold ground that the case was res judicata. He justified this contention by appealing to the record of the proceeding already referred to. Henry IV. and the Lords Temporal on the petition of the Commons approved of what had been done in the case of the Earl of Wilts, and, as it were, passed a sponge over the transaction. But in the record William Le Scrope is described not as Earl of Wiltes, but simply as a Knight. Lord Redesdale argued that the Earl, if his title had been good before his execution, would have claimed trial before his peers, and that in any case, after his death, the House of Lords would have raised the question as affecting one of their own privileges. It is enough to point out that the Earl was executed without trial of any sort, so that the question of privilege which concerned the form of trial did not arise. Moreover, Lord Redesdale proves too much, for it is absolutely certain that William Le Scrope was recognized as Earl of Wiltes during his life. Nor does the fact that he was misdescribed in the record count for much. In the same record Lord Scrope of Bolton is described simply by his name, and as a knight ; and in the rolls of 6 Henry IV. appears a petition from Lord Scrope of Masham, who is described as ” Stephen Le Scrope of Masham, chevalier,” and yet he was admittedly a Peer, and attended Parliament in that capacity. However the Earl of Wiltes may have been described on an occasion when no one would be likely to be particular about giving his due to the enemy of the new King, it is certain that judicial proceedings after a man’s death could have no legal results, and of the only other way of destroying the right to the Earldom, an Act of Attainder, there is no trace. Lord Colonsay took much the same ground as Lord Redesdale, and also insisted on the ,general argument that the peerage would have been claimed before unless those apparently entitled in the past had known that they had no valid claim. But it is time we got back to Mr. Metcalfe’s book.
Although its value would have been greatly increased by a more detailed reference to the judgments of the three Peers who decided the case in 1869, the volume is a thoroughly interesting one, and abounds in interesting matter illustrating the history of the family ; and in the shape of ” Notes” at the end of the volume the author has collected a great deal of curious information, which is not without its side-lights upon the history of the Metcalfes. Certainly every one who reads the volume is likely to associate himself very warmly with the author’s hope that the Crown may yet be advised to restore to the present owner of Danby this ancient dignity of his House, the premier earldom of England. Only why, publishing in 1899, does Mr. Metcalfe suggest that this act of grace might suitably take place in “this Jubilee year,” 1897?
The above text was found on p.14,7th October 1899, in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .
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
THE LATE MAJOR SCROPE.
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 http://www.thetablet.co.uk .