Another Obituary of Dr Harry Pike Major of Hungerford

Monday, 5 April 2010 04:13 PM BST

Contributed by: Jerry Green

Harry Pike Major was grandson of Thomas Major of Hungerford and great grandson of Thomas Major of Stockbridge. He was the last Major to practice medicine in Hungerford.

DEATH OF DR MAJOR

The death of Dr Major on Wednesday evening caused widespread regret among the townspeople with whom he was a familiar figure and popular personage. The doctor had been suffering from heart trouble for some time, but whenever fit he was out and about. He was engaged much as usual on wednesday, attending the Savings Bank in the morning, and sitting as a magistrate in the afternnon. he had another heart attack in the evening, and expired almost suddenly. Hungerford has thus lost one of its leading citizens the survivor of a company of hungerfordians who were zealous champions of the town's unique rights and privileges, and ardent upholders of the ancient custom of Hocktide. Dr Major was a politician who favoured reforms in many directions, but he was a faithful supporter of the old traditions. The doctor was typical of Hungerford life, a spice of seriousness combined with the sporting instinct. Dr Major was an expert billiard player, and while beating his opponent, would argue with him on some proposal of remedial character. Dr Major took a full share of public work in his native town. He was Constable in 1877, and again in 19070-08. He was a strong supporter of the scheme of administration for the Manor of Hungerford, by which the town properties came under the control of the Charity Commissioners, with a body of local trustees, of which Dr Major was a life member. The doctor was first chairman of the Parish Council, for some time representing Hungerford on the Berkshire County Council, and was a Justice of the Peace, and acted as Guardian of the Poor. Many other offices were filled by him; in fact the doctor never jibbed when public work had to be done. He was an active worker and a keen sportsman, and his death will create a vacancy in Hungerford life. He was eighty years of age.
The funeral took place on Monday afternoon at St Lawrence's Churchyard, the remains being placed in the family vault by the side of his wife, who died 28 years ago. The procession was preceded by Inspector Godwin and four Constables. The hand bier was used to convey the body to the Church. The principal mourners were Capt AC Major, Mr F Major (sons), Dr B Major (brother), Miss Major, Mrs Slade, Mrs Cookson (daughters), Mr slade, Mr Cookson (sons in law), Mrs L Spackman (granddaughter) Mr L Spackman, Mr EJ Rumball, Mr H Rumball (nephews), Mrs EJ Rumball, Capt dr Dickson. Others present included Bushnell with the staff draped, the Constable of Hungerford (Mr TW Alexander), Mr H D'O w Astley (Town Clerk), Mr GE Platt, Mr AE Allright, Mr J Alexander, Mr AJ Killick, MR LH Beard, Mr JH Wooldridge (Trustees of the Town and Manor of Hungerford properties), Col Willes, Major Portal, Mr CW Butler (Colleagues in the Magisterial Bench), Messrs A Hissey, TF Wheeler, WS Raine, E Cowell-Townshend, W King, A Bowsher, EW Batt, A Miller, P Goodall, A Mills, F Macklin, A Salt, J Whiscombe, O Richens, R Richens, Dr Blake James, J Stallibras, Dt Starkey Smith, (representing public bodies and professions in the town), Messrs H Wilson, SW Allright, M Slade, N White, AA Lawrence, EC Wren, J Newhook, RD Newhook, WB Hedger, W Jacob, HF Taylor, H Bishop, J Bishop, FE Hunt, Mr & Mrs Wigglesworth, Mrs Biddis, Miss Piggott, Miss Lewis, Mrs G Cooke, Miss Alexander, Mrs O Richens, Mrs TW Alexander etc.
The Rev TS Gray (vicar) took the service in the church and the committal sentences were read by Rev JFC Denninhg. The service was choral, Mr EC Wren at the organ, playing Mendelssohn's Funeral March. The coffin was of plain English oak with brass fittings. It was the wish of the deceased that there should be no floral tributes, but being unknown several beautiful wreaths were sent with respect and sympathy from Hilma and his great grandchildren; Mr and Mrs JM McKerlie; Mr and Mrs Alder; the Clerk and staff at the Hungerford Workhouse; Mr EC Wren; Mrs Andrews and family; the Church House Club; Mrs Sarah Joyce, etc.

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