Local History Society

 Families: The Rickman family

Arborfield Grange

Naval Career of Stuart Hamilton Rickman

Captain Stuart Hamilton Rickman R.N. (retired) and his wife Caroline lived at Arborfield Grange from the late 1880s until his death in 1913, when the 'Reading Standard' reported on May 10th:

Death of Captain Rickman: -
The people of a wide district around heard on Thursday with deep regret of the death
of Capt. Stuart Hamilton Rickman, R.N., of Arborfield Grange.
The deceased gentleman took a keen interest in local affairs,
and for many years represented Arborfield and Newlands [sic] on the
Wokingham Board of Guardians and Rural District Council.
He was also a Justice of the Peace for the county,
and sat at the Wokingham Divisional Petty Sessions.

Ill-health compelled him to relinquish his work as a Guardian and District Councillor last March, and death occurred from septic endocarditis at the age of 69.

He will be buried at Arborfield next Tuesday at 3 p.m.

Both the Reading Standard and Reading Mercury carried full reports of the funeral. This version is from the 'Mercury':


In our obituary column last week was recorded the death of Captain Stuart Hamilton Rickman, which occurred after an illness of many weeks at Arborfield Grange on May 7th. The funeral was on Tuesday last.

The cortège, which left the Grange at 2:40 p.m., consisted of:

Mrs. Rickman,
Commander Howard Rickman, R.N.,
Vice-Admiral Arthur Farquhar, C.V.O.,
Major Duncan Darroch of Gourock,
Rear-Admiral R.B. Farquhar,
Mr. A.P. Rickman,
Capt. Stuart Farquhar, R.N.,
Mr. Albert Farquhar,
Major Pollok-McCall,
Major Mowbray Farquhar, D.S.O.,
Capt. Arthur Rickman,
Colonel Pollok Morris, D.S.O., of Craig,
Mr. A.G. Pollok Morris, Mr. R. Pollok Morris,
Captain T. Pollok Morris,
the Hon. Mrs. E.T. St. John,
Mrs. Buchanan,
Mrs. Fairlie,
Miss Torrie,
also an inspector and a detachment of the Wokingham Division of Police.

The coffin, covered by a Union Jack, and surmounted by a large floral cross from his widow, was placed upon the village bier, and was wheeled to the church by the men servants from Arborfield Grange, being met at the lych-gate by the Vicar (the Rev. J.A. Anderson) and the Rector of Barkham (the Rev. P.H. Ditchfield).

The service was choral, and after the opening sentences the hymn “Thine for ever, God of Love” was sung as the cortège moved up the aisle of the church. A very large congregation had assembled, amongst whom were:

Lord Haversham,
Colonel Littledale,
Captain Leslie Wilson,
Mr. John Simonds and the Misses Simonds,
Mrs. and Miss Murdoch,
Mrs. Darroch,
the Hon. Mrs. Gilbert Coleridge,
Mrs. Thursby Pelham,
Mr. and Mrs. C. Garrard,
Mr. John Hargreaves,
Mr. Guy Hargreaves,
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hargreaves,
Sir John Maitland, Bart.,
Mr. and Mrs. W. Holt Beever,
Mr. Vincent Holt Beever,
Mr., Mrs., and Miss Mortimer Allfrey,
Mr. and Mrs. Vere Allfrey,
Captain McGilldownay,
Mrs. Hargreaves of Arborfield Hall,
Mr. E. Dunn,
Mrs. Arthur Farquhar,
Sir Thomas Pasley, Bart.,
Mr. and Mrs. Wilson Noble,
Mrs. and Miss Noble,
Mrs. Gosling,
Mrs. Anderson,
Mrs. Alan Macpherson,
Mr. Friedlander,
Mrs. Bruce,
Mr. John Walter,
Mr. George Watson,
Mr. and Mrs. Hankey,
Major A.F. Poulton,
Captain Waring,
Colonel MacLean,
Mr. Diggle,
Captain Simonds,
Mr. J. Simonds, junr.,
Miss Simonds,
Capt. The Hon. E.S. Dawson, R.N.,
Mr. Arthur Russell of Swallowfield Park,
Mr. and Mrs. E.M. Sturges,
Mr. P. Rickman,
Mr. de Vitré,
Major and Mrs. Hanbury,
Captain and Miss Hanbury,
Captain Wheble,
Major T. Wheble,
Major Charles Turner,
Mr. Godfrey Walter,
General Carlton,
Captain Evans,
Captain Holdsworth,
Captain R. Hargreaves,
Mr. W.S. Allfrey,
Major D. Blake Maurice, D.S.O.,
Mr. W. Maurice (medical attendant),
Sir Harry and Lady Seton Karr,
and many others, including practically all the parishioners.

The hymn “Peace, perfect peace” was sung at the close of the service in the church, and after the committal at the grave “Fight the good fight with all thy might” was sung by the entire assembly, ably led by the choir.

Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein was represented by Colonel Littledale, who personally placed the floral tribute from his Royal Highness upon the grave.

The coffin was lowered into the grave by eight nephews of the deceased, viz.:

Commander Howard Rickman, R.N.,
Vice-Admiral Arthur Farquhar, C.V.O.,
Rear-Admiral R.B. Farquhar,
Major Mowbray Farquhar, D.S.O.,
Major Duncan Darroch of Gourock,
Mr. A.P. Rickman,
Captain Arthur Rickman, and
Colonel Pollok Morris, D.S.O., of Craig.

The grave was lined with moss, ivy, and pale mauve violas by the gardeners at The Grange. The floral tributes, which were exceptionally beautiful and numerous, were previously disposed, those from the family being placed around the grave, and others throughout the church. The following is a list of those sending flowers: [not transcribed].

[The list of mourners showed that almost every big house in the surrounding area,
from Swallowfield to Keephatch, was represented at the funeral.]

The 'Standard' continued with a related item:

Wokingham Guardians' Sympathy.

At Tuesday's meeting of the Board of Guardians the Chairman (Mr. Sturges) referred in feeling terms to the death of Captain Rickman, R.N., who was a valued member of the Board for nearly 20 years.

The Chairman stated that Captain Rickman's kind and genial presence, typical of the British naval officer, was always welcomed at the Board and his services were always highly appreciated. His ready sympathy with the poor was well known both at the Board and in the neighbourhood where he lived, no deserving case in the parish of Arborfield escaping his attention. Mr. Sturges proposed that the deep sympathy of the Board be conveyed to Mrs. Rickman in her sad bereavement. This was seconded by Mr. Allnatt, and passed by the members of the Board standing.

A letter was read from Major Bulkeley, the Vice-Chairman, regretting he was unable on account of illness to attend the Board, and expressing his personal appreciation of Captain Rickman's long services on the Board.

Later in the summer, on August 30th the 'Mercury' carried a news item from the 'Morning Post':

Captain Stuart Hamilton Rickman, R.N., of Arborfield Grange, near Reading, who died on May 7th, has left £27,232 gross, with £19,631 net personalty. Testator left £500, his house at Arborfield Grange and property held therewith, and his household effects to his wife; £500 to his nephew, Mr. Philip Howard Rickman; £100 to his nephew Mr. Duncan Darroch; £100 to his coachman, Arthur Edwards, if still in his service; and legacies to servants. All other his property he left upon trust for his wife for life, with remainder to his children in equal shares, whom failing, to his brothers and sisters and their issue.

The 1881 Census showed that Stuart Rickman was unmarried and staying with his brother Lt-Gen. William Rickman at Barkham Manor. Stuart was born in 1843 in Tottenham.

In the 1891 Census, we find that his wife Caroline was born in Scotland. In Arborfield, she was always referred-to as 'Mrs. Stuart Rickman'; her widowed neighbour at Arborfield Hall, Mrs. Hargreaves , used her own name of 'Sarah'.From Probate records, we find that Caroline's middle name was 'Wilhelmina':  

"Stuart Hamilton Rickman of the United Service Club, Pall Mall, Middx. and of Arb. Grange died 7.5.1913 at Arb. Grange. Probate London 20.8. to Caroline Wilhelmina Rickman widow and [Major] Duncan Darroch esquire. Effects £27232 9s 6d."
Caroline died on 11th June 1939 when her address was 39 Cadogan Place, Chelsea. Probate was given to Alan George Pollok Morris, a retired solicitor, and to John Buchanan Pollok McCall, a retired Army brigadier general. She left nearly £90,000.

Stuart's naval records show that he started his training as a Cadet on HMS Victory on 26th June 1857, and at the end of 1864 he was a Lieutenant on HMS Cadmus, serving in North America and the West Indies.

From November 1869 he served in the Pacific as a Lieutenant on HMS Zealous when it was commanded by Francis Alexander Hume and was the flagship of Rear-Admiral Arthur Farquhar (who had reached the rank of Vice-Admiral by the time of Stuart's funeral).

On New Year's day 1879, Stuart took command of HMS Frolic in China for over a year and a half, returning to Chatham. From 1883 to 1886, he commanded the old wooden sailing ship HMS President, used as a Drill ship for the Royal Naval Reserve in the West India Docks. He finally retired on 10th January 1891.

At the 1891 Census, Stuart and Caroline were living in comfort at Arborfield Grange, with seven servants: a Butler, Footman, Groom, Cook, Lady's Maid, Housemaid and Kitchenmaid. Their Coachman lived in Greensward Lane at 1, Grange Cottages, while the Gardener and Garden Boy lived at 2, Grange Cottages. The 1887 Auction Sale document gives some idea of what life must have been like, as does the furniture sale in 1917 .

By 1914, Arborfield Grange generated its own electricity from an oil engine feeding 54 accumulators, and by 1921 water was pumped from a deep well by an electric pump.  

[With acknowledgements to Peter Davis , who provided the naval records]

Back to Families Page







Any Feedback or comments on this website?  Please e-mail the webmaster