James Absalom

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Date published: 24/03/2013
© Newbury Weekly News

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Mayor of Newbury 1876
©FNRC
Mayor of Newbury 1876
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Mayor of Newbury 1876
©Pictorial World 1874 - 1892
Mayor of Newbury 1876

 

JAMES ABSALOM

 

DEATH OF ALDERMAN ABSALOM

 

A LENGTHENED PUBLIC CAREER

 

          We regret to announce the death of Mr. Alderman James Absalom, J.P., which took place early on Tuesday morning at his residence, St Mary's Villas. For some time Mr. Absalom's health had been in a precarious condition, a cold contracted a month or so ago, being difficult to throw off at his advanced age. During the last week he gradually sank, and the end was peaceful and calm. The Alderman died full of years, having lived a long and useful life, having won the esteem and respect of his friends, and enjoyed all the honours which his fellow-townsmen could confer upon him.

          Alderman Absalom was not a native of Newbury, having been born at Breamor, near Salisbury, as far back as 1816. He was 82 years of age a fortnight since. He came to Newbury as a lad in 1828, and for a period of thirty years assisted his uncle Mr. Charles Absalom, in the grocery business in Bartholomew-street. In 1858 he succeeded his uncle and continued the business until 1878, when he retired and was succeeded by Mr. Thomas H. Stillman, in whose hands it still remains. Mr. Absalom took an active interest in the affairs of his adopted town, and it is said was a secretary out of which evolved the Literary and Scientific Institution, with which he was closely identified for many years. He was a manager of the Newbury Savings Bank, and formerly took a keen interest in the management of the Horticultural Society.

 

          Mr. Absalom entered the Town Council in 1868, being returned without a contest in the room of Mr. Thomas Deller, who resigned. But he was not allowed to hold his seat without fighting for it. Those were the days when party feeling, sectarian and political, ran high, and elections were seldom allowed to pass without a spirited contest. In 1871 after a contest, Mr. Absalom was re-elected in conjunction with Messrs. Lucas, Adey and Robinson, and again in 1874 he and the same gentlemen successfully emerged from the ordeal of a fight. In 1876 Mr. Absalom was elected to the Mayoralty, and filled the office with marked urbanity and readiness to fulfil the multifarious duties devolving upon him. Among the chief events of his year were the presidency of an influential meeting held in the Corn Exchange, and addressed by the late Earl of Carnarvon, in promotion of the Falkland Memorial; and attendance at the big function at Wantage when the Prince of Wales unveiled the statue of King Alfred at Wantage. A section of the council was then troubled as to the corporate ownership of licensed property, but opinion was not then, as now, sufficiently advanced to take the decisive step of getting rid of it altogether. A poll was taken of the townspeople on the question whether the “Bull and Dog,” the lease of which was then on the point of expiry, should be renewed to the brewers, or whether it should be let as a private house. The voting showed a majority in favour of the latter course, but  a majority  in the Council declined to accept it as a conclusive verdict, and renewed the lease. The Mayor (Mr. Absalom) voted in the majority, and he was one of the retiring councillors in November 1877. As a protest against his action in this matter his re-election was opposed by Mr. Thomas Fidler, who previously had been a member of the Council for fifteen years, but had lost his seat. The nomination of Mr. Fidler brought out the late Mr. Thomas Newton, and the contest was a keen one. Party feeling ruled high, and the election resulted in the return of Messrs. J.H. Lucas, H. Dolton, W.G. Adey and T. Fidler. The retiring Mayor (Mr. Absalom) was unsuccessful by some 20 or 30 votes. Just after this Mr. Alderman Cave, after eighteen years service on the Council, resigned his office on the ground of ill-health. Mr. J.H. Lucas, as the senior Councillor, was nominated for the vacancy, but the friends of Mr. Absalom considering he had been hardly treated by the electors, took advantage of the opportunity to go outside the Council for an alderman, and after a party division, he was elected by six votes to four over Mr. Lucas. The action of the Council was much discussed in the town, and the supporters of Mr. Lucas were very indignant that the rule of seniority which had hitherto been observed, should have been disregarded.

 

          Possibly this was the most exciting episode in Mr. Absalom's civic career. Ever since then he has been a most regular attendant at the meetings of the Council, being a member of the Estate and Improvement Committees. For several years he zealously attended the School Attendance Committee, and for the latter five years of that period acted as Chairman. On his appointment as a Borough Magistrate he was most constant in the exercise of  judicial duties. In fact regularity was his leading characteristic, whether at the Parish Church, where he discharge the duties of sides man, on the Bench, in the Council Chamber, or in his daily walks. Venerable in appearance, amiable in disposition, benevolent in manner, his familiar form will be missed in the town. He was not born to be a leader of men, but he was a faithful follower and a firm friend. After a long married life he lost the companion of his declining days some three years ago, and there were no children to lighten his loss.

 

          The funeral will take place to-morrow (Friday), the first part of the service at the Parish Church at three o'clock.

 

Newbury Weekly News 9 June 1898

 

Wife:

Ellen Emma Absalom  aged 83 died 1891

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JAMES ABSALOM

 

 

IN MEMORIAM-J.A.

A mind content, a conscience clear,

A peaceful age, which all revere;

Upright and honourable with those combined,

Goodness of heart, intelligence of mind;

Such worth on no precarious tenure hung,

From pious fortitude his virtues sprung,

Long will his name in fond remembrance dwell,

The name of one beloved, revered so well,

His steady soul led on by thoughts sublime

Looked for eternal rest beyond the bounds of time;

For rest, while peaceful memories assuage

The last sufferings of a sinking age;

For rest where crowding cares and sorrows cease,

And His beloved sleep the sleep of peace.

                                                          BELINDA

 

Newbury Weekly News 9 June 1898

 

 

JAMES ABSALOM


FUNERAL OF ALDERMAN ABSALOM


The funeral of Mr. Alderman Absalom, J.P., whose decease was reported last week, took place on Friday afternoon, and his civic colleagues accorded all the honours they could render him. The body, attired in the aldermanic robe, and enclosed in a coffin of brown polished oak, was conveyed from St Mary's Villas, the residence of the deceased, to the Parish Church, where the first part of the Burial Service was conducted. The officiating clergy, Revs. Oliver Slocock, E. Ide Mack, and J. A. Thomas, with the choir, and Mr. Churchwarden Davis and Mr. George Boyer (senior sidesman), met the funeral procession at the west door, and preceded it up the aisle, the opening sentence being read by Mr. Slocock. The civic mace-bearers took up positions at the head and foot of the coffin. The lesson was read by Mr. Thomas, and the hymns sung were: “Peace, perfect peace,” and “Now the labourer's task is o'er.” On leaving the church the organist, Mr. Liddle, M.B., played Mendelssohn's Funeral March.

The civic mourners followed the funeral car to the Cemetery, where the interment took place. The mourners were: Messrs H. W. Absalom, F. Absalom, Alfred Garland, Frederick Garland, Stephen Knight, J. Eatwell, Thos. H. Stillman, D.R. Rogers, J. Parker, and J.B. Stone.

The corporation was represented by the Mayor (Mr. Councillor Gould), who was preceded by the Mace-bearers, the civic regalia being veiled in crepe: the Deputy Mayor (Mr. Councillor Long), Alderman J. P. Jackson, T. Fidler and J. Hopson. Councillors W. Hall, H.J. Midwinter, A. Jackson, H.S. Hanington, W. Edmonds, R. Birch, and H.J. Davis; Mr. F.Q. Louch (Town Clerk), Dr. Watson (Borough Coroner), Mr. W.R. Pettifer (Assistant Town Clerk), Mr. S. J. L. Vincent (Borough Surveyor), Mr. J. Mason (Borough Auditor), Mr. H. Pratt (Corn Exchange Manager), Mr. T. Guyer (School Attendance Officer). Others present in church and at the graveside were the Mayoress (Mrs. Gould), Mr. J. Coldicutt, Mrs. Boyer, Mr. and Mrs. W. Penford, Mr. and Mrs. Beale, Messrs. G. Withers, W. Edwards, W.C. Freemantle, C.W. Adey, Rupert Adey, G. Griffiths, J. Rolfe, E. Bailey, W. Beames, J.W. Embling, J.C. Hallatt, W. Stillman, Messrs. G. Paulin, S. Burton, and E. Savage, representing the Conservative Club.

By the expressed wish of the deceased, there were no flowers. Flags were hoisted half-mast at the Town Hall and Conservative Club.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr. Hanington, of Northbrook-street.

Newbury Weekley News


James Absalom died 7 June 1898 aged 82

Buried 10 June 1898

 

 see also:  https://newbury.co.uk/pdf/mayors-of-newbury.pdf 
                Biographical survey of the Mayors of Newbury by Anthony C.Pick 

 

 

 

 

Sources:Newbury Weekly News 9th June 1898

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