This monument, together with a stone water trough was erected on the west side of the Northampton to Market Harborough Road in memory of Charles, the 3rd Baron Chesham who died in a hunting accident in November 1907.
Why would a Buckinghamshire lord be honoured here in Brixworth?
The fact is, he was a well regarded and popular person who had been honoured for his command of the Yeomanry Brigade in the Boar war, in addition earning the respect and admiration of all who served with him and those who knew him.
He was born in 1850 and after Eton joined the Coldstream Guards; he later served with the 10th Hussars in India and the 16th Lancers. After retiring in 1879 he joined the Royal Bucks Hussars and became their Colonel ten years later. In 1899 he was asked to organise the Imperial Yeomanry for service in South Africa and during the Boar War he commanded the Yeomanry Brigade under General Lord Methuen and was twice mentioned in despatches. (His elder son was killed at Pretoria in 1900, in the same war.)
In 1901 he was made a KCB by King Edward VII for his services in South Africa. Until his death he was Lord in Waiting to George, the Prince of Wales, and was invested as a Privy Counsellor in 1901.
He had succeeded to the title on the death of his father in 1882 and also became Deputy Lieutenant of Warwickshire.
It was hunting that was his passion. From 1883 until 1893 he was Master of the Bicester Hounds. Although his county seat was Latimer House in Buckinghamshire he rode all over the country, especially the Grafton and Warwickshire Hunts, but particularly enjoyed the Pytchley. One of his closest friends was Lord Annaly of Holdenby House who was Master of the Pytchley. In the last two seasons of his life he hunted from Boughton Park.
Once when Lord Chesham was hunting he noticed that a follower from Northampton, who used to help hold the horses, was absent from the hunt. He discovered that the man’s daughter had died. The next day he sent his chauffeur to Ward’s Undertakers in Wood Street to pay all the funeral costs and also to give a sum of money for the family.
On the fateful day he was riding with the Pytchley at Welton near Daventry. His horse jumped a fence but did not clear the ditch on the other side. Lord Chesham was thrown and suffered a broken neck.
He was buried on 14th November 1907 at Latimers in Chesham, Buckinghamshire.
Such was his popularity that when Lord Annaly opened a fund to erect a memorial, over 350 contributed, including heads of state, those who served with him and those from other walks of life who had admired him.
This is why the memorial was erected in Brixworth in Pytchley Hunt country. It was commissioned from Pullen and Sons of Northampton and was erected in October 1908, the stone trough replacing an earlier wooden one.
At the base of the column it reads:
“Erected by friends in the Pytchley Country
to the memory of Charles William, third Baron Chesham, K.C.B.,
who met his death hile hunting with the Pytchley hounds,
Novr. 9th 1907, aged 56 years.
A good man; a gallant soldier; a true sportsman.”
It is obvious from these words that Lord Chesham was well thought of by the people of the day. The Brixworth memorial is a link between Brixworth and Lord Chesham who earned his honours in the service of his country.
(Sadly the wording is difficult to read today due to damage caused a few years ago by saboteurs.)
Northampton Independent 16/11/1907
'The Chesham Memorial' Reg King, Northampton Past and Present, Bucks Herald 16/7/1910
Brixworth History Society Archives
The stone trough also commemorates him. It reads
“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show any human being, let me do it now; let me not neglect to, nor defer it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
These words can just about be made out, but the trough itself is badly neglected.
Chesham Memorial - January 2013
The memorial in Aylesbury
Shortly after it was erected