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George Ferris obituary 20 & 27 December 1929

Milton Lilbourne > George Ferris obituary 1929




FERRIS. December 15th, at Milton Manor, near Marlborough, GEORGE FERRIS, aged 83 years.

[same issue]



We deeply regret to record the death of Mr GEORGE FERRIS, of the Manor House, Milton, which occurred on Sunday evening following a seizure on the Thursday previous.

Mr FERRIS came of a very old Wiltshire family, which resided at Keevil for several centuries. His father, SAMUEL FERRIS, married Miss CHARLOTTE SPENCER, of Bradford-on-Avon. His grandfather, in addition to farming at Bulkington, carried on the business of agricultural valuer. He made a name for himself by fighting battles for small holders at the time of the land enclosures. He was killed while driving in Savernake Forest, his horse being frightened by deer near Puthall Gate. Mr SAMUEL FERRIS carried on the same business, and he also was killed in an accident, falling from his horse in the year 1855. He left seven children, the third of whom, Mr GEORGE FERRIS, was born in 1846.

Mr GEORGE FERRIS was educated at Bath and Devizes, and also privately. He commenced his career in association with his uncle, Mr WILLIAM FERRIS, who was for many years a well-known valuer in the West of England. On the latter's decease, in 1878, Mr GEORGE FERRIS continued the practice himself at Milton Manor. In 1897 he took into partnership Mr PERCIVAL M. PUCKRIDGE, the firm thenceforth being known as "FERRIS and PUCKRIDGE". A London office was opened in Queen Street, Cheapside, in 1897. Since the war Mr HERBERT E. GILLETT has been admitted a partner, being in charge of the London office.

Mr FERRIS'S extensive experience, combined with thorough practical knowledge of farming and the customs of the country, has resulted in his services for many years past being much in demand in arbitrations and legal cases. As expert witness, he has given evidence on many occasions, when land has been compulsorily acquired for public purposes. His firm has been engaged in a large number of important sales of estates in the south-west of England. In June 1925 he was elected President of the Central Association of Tenant Right Valuers. He had already been elected Fellow of the Surveyors' Institute, in November 1883.

He was the perfect type of old English gentleman, courteous and kindly with all he came in contact, of whatever station of life. He was of more than ordinary height and always carried himself upright even in old age. His commanding presence and character made him stand out among his fellow men in more senses than the purely physical.

He was a great lover of horses and his carriage and pair were a familiar sight around the neighbourhood until a month or two ago. The loss of a favourite horse had deeply affected him, and his advancing age (he was 83) at last induced him to purchase a motor-car, but, we believe, he only entered the new contraption with great reluctance. He was devoted to country life, and, although not a player of games, he lived a very active life, right up to the time of his last illness.

He was very interested in the village of Milton, and only last summer we, at the offices of this Journal, had the pleasure of producing a little brochure, that he had compiled, entitled: "A few notes on the History of the Village of Milton Lilbourne, from hearsay and otherwise". In this he described many of the leading features of the village, historical and physical. He went into details as regarded the occupants of the leading residences, and has interesting stories to tell of most of them.

That Mr FERRIS had a great love for his fellow villagers and their happiness is also evidenced by the fact that only last May he made a gift to the parish of six acres of land to be used as a recreation ground. The meadow occupies a central position in the village, and is really in itself a park. It was to include a bowling green, cricket and football pitches, tennis courts, a hall for badminton, a special room for entertainments, and also a playground for the children. The gift was one which was greatly appreciated by Milton people, and will stand as a fitting memorial to the donor's kindness and thoughtful generosity.

A devoted churchman, Mr FERRIS always took a deep interest in all the associations connected with the church There was one particular society in which he was so keenly interested, and that was the British and Foreign Bible Society. It was not merely a passing interest that he took in this noble institution, for he was always so willing to take a practical interest in the local work, and was a generous subscriber to its funds. Year by year he was always present at the annual meeting of the Pewsey Vale Auxiliary, of which he was president, and he used to preside at one or both of the meetings that were held. The annual meeting of this auxiliary is an outdoor meeting held in the summer, and at Milton Manor they were ever welcomed; in fact, it was only this year that the meeting was held in his beautiful grounds. Two of the neighbouring auxiliaries had also sought his services as Chairman this year, for he had presided at the annual meetings at Hungerford and at Devizes, as recently as a month ago. Milton Manor in the past has also been the venue of many meetings of the Pewsey Ruri-decanal Conference.

The deceased gentleman had a kindly word for all, rich and poor, young and old, and his example was for good in every way. He was a man who lived up to his religion, being very particular about public worship and observing the Sabbath. It is no figure of speech to say that he will be sadly missed.

[same issue]


The funeral took place at Milton Lilbourne yesterday afternoon, when the exceptionally large congregation testified to the esteem in which the deceased gentleman was held. There were general signs of mourning in the village, and the flag on the Church tower flew at half-mast. Practically all the parishioners including the young people were present to pay their last tribute of respect, and not only did the congregation include villagers, but people came from all parts of the county as the deceased was such a well-known personality. While the large congregation were assembling Miss OLIVE JEANS, who was at the organ, played Spohr's "Blest are the departed", and "Fare ye well" and "O Rest in the Lord", the works of Mendelssohn.

The coffin was borne on a hand bier from the Manor, and was followed by the family mourners on foot. The remains were enclosed in a shell with a massive oak panelled casket with silver plated fittings. The engraved breast-plate was inscribed:

"At Rest",
15th December, 1929.
Aged 83 years.

The interment took place in a new brick grave in the cemetery ground near the Churchyard as the deceased had during his life-time expressed a wish to be buried there. The grave was lined with green foliage with a row of flowers neatly arranged around the top edge.

The service was a simple one and was most impressively conducted by the Vicar (Rev. E.H. BLYTHE), who was assisted by the Rev. P.A. NASH (Vicar of Wilcot). After the opening sentences the twenty-third psalm, "The Lord is my Shepherd", was chanted, and later the Nunc Dimittis was sung. The hymns were "The King of Love my Shepherd is" and "How sweet the name of Jesus sounds". As the cortege left the Church, Miss JEANS played Handel's "O Lord correct me", Mendelssohn's "Departure" and Chopin's "Marche funebre".

The family mourners were : - Miss FERRIS, Mr and Mrs JOHN FERRIS, Miss STELLA FERRIS, Misses B. and A. BEAVEN, Mr EDWARD FERRIS (London), Mr and Mrs W.G. SPENCER, the Rev. J. PUCKRIDGE, the Rev. O. PUCKRIDGE, Mr and Mrs H. TAYLER, Mr and Mrs W. TAYLER, Mr WALLIE TAYLER, Mr GEORGE DYER, Miss M. PUCKRIDGE and Mr GUY FERRIS. Miss B.A. MELSOME was unable to attend.

Among the large congregation present, the seating of which was arranged by the Churchwardens (Messrs. M.S. ANDREWS and GERALD JEANS), were:

the Rev. R.E. COLES (Manningford), Col. T.E. FOWLE (Charlton), Mr H.C. PINNIGER (Easton Royal), Dr A.S. GEDGE (Pewsey), Mr R. HAYNES (East Wick), the Rev. GORDON SOAMES (Mildenhall), Mr W. YORKE SCARLETT, M.F.H. (Tedworth Woodland), Mr J.C. PORTER (Hon. Secretary, Tedworth Hunt), Mr J. WHITTON ARIS (representing the MARQUESS OF AILESBURY), Mr PATRICK M. HALL (representing the Central Association of Valuers, Hants, Wilts and Dorset Branch, and also Messrs. Hall, Paine and Foster, Auctioneers, Portsmouth), Capt. DUDLEY JEANS (Mildenhall), Mr and Mrs T.M. JEANS, Miss VERA JEANS, Mr and Mrs JARRETT, Mr G.T.B. GROUNDS (Pewsey), Mr and Mrs J.S. HAINES (Milton), Mr STANLEY HAINES (Easton Royal), Dr and Mrs SPENCE (London), Lt-Col. W.C. HEWARD BELL, D.S.O. (Pewsey), Mr G.S. DYER, Netherbury (representing Mrs DYER Eastcott, Beaminster), Mr H.M. FRIEND (representing Mr A.E. HOOPER, Messrs LAVINGTON and HOOPER, Marlborough), Mr and Mrs T. HAYWARD (Tidcombe), Mr J.A.F. WATSON (partner of Messrs FERRIS and PUCKRIDGE), Capt. MONTAGUE (Wilcot), Mr E.A. RUDDLE (Bradford-on-Avon), Mr H. TEAGLE (Chippenham), Mr and Mrs NUTH (Devizes), Mr and Mrs A.A. LAWRENCE (Inkpen), Mr WILFRED DEAN (Gomeldon, Salisbury), Mr and Mrs ALFRED EDGAR (Farnham), Mr TILLEY (Messrs Ferris and Puckridge, London), Mr J.C. HAYWARD (Shrewton), Mr E.B. MATON (Enford), Mr HERBERT SIMPER (Manningford),

Mr W.D. LITTLE (Hungerford), Mr NEVIL MARRIAGE (Warminster), Mr J. SIMPER (Bishops Cannings), Mr A. BAZLEY (Warminster), Mr and Mrs E.H. WILSON (Ramsbury), Mr W.J. RENDELL (the Mayor of Devizes), Mr E.G. JOLLIFFE (representing the East Wilts Division Unionist Association), Mr T. LAVINGTON (Marlborough), Mr WILLIAM VINES (Burbage), Mrs BLYTHE (Milton), the Rev. EVERARD HALL (Rector of Oare and Huish), Mr EDWARD MCNIVEN (Manningford Abbas), Mr A.L. MAIDMENT (Wilcot), Mr GEORGE YOUNG (Pewsey), Mr JACK YOUNG (Enford), Mr V.J. WICKHAM (Pewsey), Nurse GUMMER (Milton), Mr S.S. STILES (Shrewton), Miss STILES, Mr H.J. FORD (Woodborough), Mr T.C. BOLLEN, Mr and Mrs TOM HAINES, Mr and Mrs P. LARTER (Milton), Mr and Mrs A.E. JEEVES (Milton), Mrs H.D. COLE and Mr REGINALD COLE (Broomsgrove), Mr F.W. REDMAN (Marlborough), Mrs BUTLER (Marlborough), Miss REDMAN (Marlborough, Mr and Mrs R.P. BUTLER (Milton), Mr F.W. FERRIS, Mrs HAYWARD, Mr E. KEENE OLIVER (Pewsey), Mr HAINES (Wilsford), Mr WILLIAM RICH, Mr BERNARD NEATE, Miss NEATE, Mrs O'REILLY (Pewsey), Mr F. FERRIS (Woodborough), Mr J. SIMPER (Manningford Bruce), Mr T.G. BLANDCHARD (Burbage), Mr ERNEST HOWSE (Pewsey), Mr F. LANE (Honeystreet), Mr W. ARNOLD (Woodborough), Mr H.R. BAIN (Savernake), Mr D.J. SARGENT (Enford), Mr REYNOLDS and Mr C. REYNOLDS (Milton), Mrs G. JAMES, Mrs HAWKINS (Pewsey), Mr C. SINEY (Pewsey), Mr R. LOVELOCK (Easton Royal), Mr J. SKINNER (Wootton Rivers), Mr G.A. LEE and Mr R. LEE (Manningford Bruce), Mr A. GILFORD (Pewsey), Mr and Mrs H. TAYLER (Bath), Mr and Mrs SPACKMAN, Messrs H. & G. HEATH, Miss BAKER, Mr and Mrs DEADMAN, Mrs M.S. ANDREWS, Mr UTLEY, Mr W. STAGG, Mr F.C. STAGG, Mr WROTH (Marlborough), Mr T. TARRY, Mrs FISHLOCK, Mrs WAITE, Mr E. STAGG, the Misses DOBSON (Underwood). Capt. HOWARD ALEXANDER (Upavon) was unable to attend.

The parent Society of the British and Foreign Bible Society was represented by the Rev. R.W. FERRIS (the district secretary), the Devizes Auxiliary were represented by the Rev. A.H.T. CLARKE (Rector of Devizes), and Mr EDWARD NEATE (secretary), the Pewsey Auxiliary by Mr M.S. ANDREWS (secretary), the Rev. P.A. NASH (vice-president) and Mr FRANK STRATTON (a former treasurer), and the Hungerford Auxiliary by Mr STEPHEN NEATE.

Muffled peals were rung on the bells immediately after the service and again in the evening.


The following is a list of the floral tributes:

ANNE FERRIS, "With love that will never die."
BEVAN, "A slight token of great love and affection."
JOHN and NETTA, "In ever loving remembrance."
MAUD, AGNES and EDWARD, "With love and affectionate remembrance" (London)
BLANCHE MELSOME, "With everlasting love."
"Gone but not forgotten," from his sincere cousin,
JOAN and IAN, "In loving memory of Uncle George."
WALDRON; Mr and Mrs E. KEENE OLIVER; Mr and Mrs GERALD JEANS; IDA and OLIVE JEANS; The Rev. and Mrs BLYTH; The Milton Bell Ringers; Mrs LAVINGTON and family; Mr and Mrs RUPERT BUTLER; Mr and Mrs STEWART ANDREWS; Mr and Mrs JAMES HAINES and family; Mr and Mrs NEVEN SPENCE and family; Mr LARGE; Mrs PUCKERIDGE [sic], MARGARET and MARY; Mrs BARNES; Mr TEDDIE BARNES; Mr HENRY LITTLE; H.E. GILLETTE and members of the Staff of Messrs FERRIS and PUCKERIDGE [sic]; The President and Council of the Central Association of Valuers; Mr and Mrs R.F. MELSOME; Mr and Mrs EDWARD MCNIVEN; Mr and Mrs MARTIN JEANS and Miss VERA JEANS; Miss EDITH MELSOME; Mr H.J. FORD; The family of the late Mr and Mrs CHARLES EDWARD NEATE; Mr and Mrs JEEVES; Mr and Mrs COMPTON; Mr and Mrs ERNEST HOWSE; The Committee of the Hants, Wilts and Dorset Association of Agricultural Valuers; Mr ERNEST and Mr PATRICK M. HALL; The Outdoor Staff at The Manor; Mr and Mrs JAMES SIMPER; Mr and Mrs COLE and REG; The Indoor Staff at the Manor; Mr and Mrs P. LARTER; The Milton and Easton Unionist Association; E., M. and B. YOUNG; Mr and Mrs FRANK MILSOM; Mr and Mrs ORRELL; Mr H.G. PUDDY and E.G. HIGGINS; Mr and Mrs GROUNDS; Mr and Mrs JAMES TAYLOR and family; Mr and Mrs GEORGE MELSOME; Major and Mrs H.D. GALE; Mrs and Miss GILBERT; VIOLET; Mrs M. ANDREW; Milton and Easton Rendered Service Club; Mr and Mrs GEO. F.J. GILLHAM; Messrs WOOLLEY and WALLIS.

The funeral arrangements were carried out under the direction of Mr EDWARD NEATE.




Muffled peals were again rung on the parish church bells at Milton Lilbourne on Sunday, as a tribute to the late Mr GEORGE FERRIS, of the Manor, whose death and funeral were reported in our last issue.

At the morning service the vicar (Rev. E.H. BLYTH) took as his text the opening words of St Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews: "God, Who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son." In the course of his sermon in which he dwelt on the personal revelation God makes in individuals, he said: "You are thinking now of a personality we are missing from amongst us. You have read all about George Ferris in the local papers. You know all about his public life; all about his great activities and his many gifts; all about his personality and the way in which he was able, like some gifted people, to become known and become well liked and trusted by a great many people, and especially the people in this particular district. All that you know, and it was quite easy for those who knew him well to record all that. That has nothing to do with this particular occasion. We are met here this morning for a rather more intimate relation than that; not because we are sorrowful or lament the fact that he has gone, but we are met here in order that the congregation and all who are present in church may pray for God's comfort and help on those of his whom he has left behind; and that we ourselves may in some way profit by his example.

"From the point of view of his religion there are many of you who, I expect, know quite as much as I know. You have seen him at his place in church, Sunday after Sunday, and it was only, one might say, rather occasionally latterly when he was not well, or only when he was not in Milton, that he was not in his place. He followed the services, and a great many of you could tell at once that he had sufficient humility of mind to listen to the sermons that were preached.

"In his heart of hearts he was a religious man, and you may have had more opportunity than I did of knowing that to be true. There comes into my mind a conversation I have had with him - and it is not the only one - wherein in a very fervent manner he impressed on me his utter trust and belief in the salvation brought to him by Jesus Christ. Not only in church, and not only in his own heart, did we feel he was a religious man, but we know he was active in the work of religion. I am reminded how he will be missed in this neighbourhood through his activity in connection with the Bible Society. That was no general interest, for he was President of the Pewsey Auxiliary, and his support was full, free, and generous in every way. He will be very much missed there. And so, as we think of him - many will not forget his commanding figure we looked up to - I expect there are many who can say they thank God he has been amongst us.

"Let us do what we are enjoined to do. We think of those gone before us and pray that we may be worthy to be with them in the Kingdom of Our Father".

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