Walhampton Monument

Plaque at Walhampton Monument

Plaque at Walhampton Monument

Construction of the 76ft obelisk, of finest Dartmoor granite, commenced in 1840, within only 7 months of Sir Harry’s death.  It was paid for by public subscription, with some 200 people – including three members of the Royal Family – donating nearly £1,500 to pay for it.  It is another measure of the Admiral’s standing that some 2,000 people are reported to have attended the laying of the Foundation Stone of the Monument.

The Walhampton Monument was completed and unveiled in 1842.
Each of the four faces of the Monument carries a fine rectangular cast iron plaque.  That on the East face – opposite the entrance to the Walhampton site – explains the raison d’etre for the obelisk and reads:
IN MEMORY OF

Admiral Sir HARRY BURRARD NEALE, Baronet,

G.C.B. & Q.C.M.G.

OF WALHAMPTON, IN THIS COUNTY,

Who departed this life at BRIGHTON, On the 7th of February,1840,In the 75th year of his age.

THIS MONUMENT

Was erected, in the 4th year of the Reign of Queen Victoria,

BY HER MAJESTY ADELAIDE, the QUEEN DOWAGER,

Their Royal Highnesses The Duchess of Gloucester, and Princess Augusta,

A large Circle of

Distinguished professional and other Friends,

And the Inhabitants of Lymington,

And its Vicinity.

At the time the Monument’s construction, it was totally visible to shipping on The Solent and represented a prominent marker.  The South face of the Monument therefore looks out to the sea and focuses on Sir Harry’s naval achievements, as ‘The Gallant Admiral’:

THE GALLANT ADMIRAL ‘

In his long professional Career.

Honorably distinguished himself

In many well-fought Actions.

UNDER HIS ORDERS,

TWENTY OF THE ENEMY’S SHIPS OF WAR

WERE TAKEN OR DESTROYED:

And the influence of his exalted Character

(Kind but undaunted, mild but determined),

Preserved in loyalty, discipline, and duty

The Crew of H. M. Ship, the ‘San Fiorenzo,’

When surrounded by disaffection and disorder,

During the critical position of the Fleet •<

For which he was rewarded .by the friendship

OF HIS SOVEREIGN, GEORGE HI.

And by the Thanks of the City of London.

At the Nore, in 1797 :

 Likewise, the West side of the Monument faces Lymington and so its plaque focuses on Sir Harry’s civic achievements – notably as MP and Mayor for the town.  [Curiously, Parliamentary records show Sir Harry having been an MP for 25 years, spread over a period of 45 years – but the plaque states only 40]

Sir HARRY BURRARD NEALE

Represented the BOROUGH of LYMINGTON,

In many Parliaments

During the Space of

40 YEARS,

WITH ZEAL AND UPRIGHTNESS :

HIS ANXIOUS DESIRE WAS

EVER TO DO GOOD

AND PROMOTE THE PROSPERITY

OF HIS NATIVE TOWN.

Finally, the plaque on the North face of the Monument, carries the most words, in the least legible type – but is well worth reading, as one of the most flowery Victorian testimonials you could ever wish to meet!

HIS NAME, to whose Memory

This Testimonial is inscribed

Is so deeply graven on the hearts of all who knew him,

That while any of those survive,

There needed not the Record of Stone or Marble

To preserve it from Oblivion,

But, because from this changeable Scene,

All living records swiftly pass away,

AS A MORE DURABLE MEMORIAL

Of whom, ‘when the Ear heard, it blessed him,’

Whom, ‘ when tl e Eye saw, it gave witness to him ;’

‘ For he delivered the Poor and Fatherless

‘ And him who had none to help him,’

‘ And caused the Widow’s Heart to sing for joy.’

In all the relations of life he was perfect

( According to the measure of human imperfection) ;

In his daily walk with God,

Exemplifying the grace of the Christian Character ; –

Above all,—in the largeness of his Charity,

And in the beauty of his humility.

It is here written

THAT HE AS ONE

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