The Tathams of County Durham
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Meaburn Tatham (1858-1937)

Obituary notices




The death occurred in the early hours of Monday morning of Mr. Meaburn Talbot Tatham, of Northcourt House, Abingdon, in his 79th year.

The only surviving son of Mr. Charles Meaburn Tatham, a barrister, he was a scholar of Eton from 1869-77, and went up to Balliol as an exhibitioner, his son and grandson following him at that college subsequently. He obtained honours in the Classical School and won the University Foils in 1882.

After a short time at Rugby, Mr. Tatham became a master at Westminster in 1884 and remained there till 1886. He moved to Northcourt House, Abingdon, in 1887 and for the next 21 years was a successful private coach with resident pupils, among whom were the two younger sons of the late Rajah of Sarawak, Arthur Ponsonby, now Lord Ponsonby of Shutebrede, the late Earl of Dalhousie and Maurice Baring. His last pupil, Ivor Brown, won the first Balliol scholarship of his year.

Mr. Tatham edited some portions of classical texts Caesar, Virgil, Livy, Homer and Plato and he also translated "Philocetes" of Sophocles into English prose.

He married in 1883 the sister of his friend, Sir H. A. Miers. Mrs. Tatham survives him, with a son and four daughters. Two of his children are married and there are seven grandchildren.

In Abingdon and district, Mr. Tatham was well known for his generosity to all philanthropic institutions. He was a Justice of the Peace for Berkshire and also for the Borough of Abingdon, and prior to his serious operation just over a year ago, was a regular attendant at the weekly meetings of both Courts.

An ardent Churchman, he had been a churchwarden of St. Helen's for a number of years, and had also done useful work on the Oxford Diocesan and Abingdon Ruridecanal Conferences. A manager of the Council Schools, Mr. Tatham was a most generous contributor to the building funds of the Boxhill Senior Church School.

A staunch Liberal, Mr. Tatham presided at many meetings in support of the candidature of Mr. Lessing and was for some years chairman of the Abingdon Liberal Association. Other offices held by Mr. Tatham were Parish Clerk of St. Helen's Church, governor of the Warren Hospital, chairman of the Abingdon Urban sub-Committee for Old Age Pensions, local correspondent for the N.S.P.C.C., president of the Abingdon Council of Social Service and member of the Committee and past-president of the Abingdon branch of the League of Nations Union.

For many years Mr. Tatham was a member of the old Board of Guardians, and not only interested himself in the question of out-relief, but with Mrs. Tatham was a regular and always welcome visitor at the Poor Law Institution. The needy of the district generally have, by his death, lost a true friend.

The Funeral.

The great popularity which Mr. Tatham enjoyed with all sections of life in the district, was indicated by the large crowd which gathered at St. Helen's Church, Abingdon, on Wednesday afternoon to pay its last respects to a man whose passing was universally mourned. The funeral service, which preceded the interment in Abingdon Cemetery, was conducted by the Rev. J. Cowl, assisted by the Revs. E. F. S. Ramsbotham (Rural Dean) and E. Pearson. Mr. I. W. Watson was at the organ, and the service was fully choral.

The principal mourners were Mr. M. Tatham (son), Miss Silvia Tatham, Miss Agnes Tatham and Miss Evelyn Tatham (daughters), Sir Henry Miers (brother-in-law), Mr. Martin Abell, the Misses Fry, Miss Barbara Tatham (grand-daughter), Mr M. R. Tatham (grandson), and Mr. Edward Tatham (representing the Rev. F. H. Tatham, who was unable to be present owing to illness).

Among others present were :

The Mayor (Coun. A. E. Tombs), Major Sir Ralph Glyn, M.P., Viscountess Chetwynd, Lt.-Cdr. R. B. Fairthorne, Miss Weaving, Mrs. Tubb, Mrs. Winn, Mr. W. F. Campion (representing the Council School), Mrs. Chivers, the Rev. J. G. Shotton, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Orwin and Miss Orwin, Mrs. Theobald, Mrs. Raikes, Miss Fisher, Mr. and Mrs. W. Dockar Drysdale, Mrs. Harris, Mr. J. A. Gill (representing Abingdon Town Football Club), the Rev. F . R. Standfast. the Rev. H. Sanders (Rural Dean of Wantage), Miss Miers, Mr. E. S. Fry, Mr. J. Fry, Dr. Guillaume.

Mrs. Blandford-Fletcher and Miss Fletcher, Dr. H. E. Salter, Miss Shepherd, Miss Payne, Messrs. W. James, B. Beadle and E. C. Jarvis (representing St. Michael's choir), Mr. and Mrs. P. J. North, Miss Child, Messrs. A. T. Powell and G. B. Deacon (representing the Abingdon Liberal Association and Capt. McDonald), Mr. F. Gibson, Mr. and Mrs. Hartley, Mr. R. Tompkinson, Mr. A. W. Morland, the Rev. G. and Mrs. Berens-Dowdeswell. Mrs. James, Mr. T. F. and Miss Hobson, Mr. D. S. Cowley, Mrs. Thomson, the Misses Hearn, Mr. T Thatcher, Mr. O. B. and Mrs. Challenor and Miss E Challenor, Dr. Scott, Mr. W J. Vasey, Mr. T. H Tombs, Mr. L. Buckle.

Mrs. P. E. Mobbs, Mr. J. M. Mobbs, Mrs. Gillett, Miss Dew, Mr. S. Peach, Miss Davenport, Sir Arthur and Lady Lowry and Miss Lowry, Mr. H. J. Thomas, Mrs. Reynolds, Dr. Bradbrooke, Sir Charles Corkran, Mrs. H. Langford and Miss Langford, Mr. E. B. Pollard, Mr. A. E. Wood, Mr. F. J. Pudney, Mr. and Mrs. Bromley Challenor, Mr. Shawcross, Mrs. Crossland, Mr. W. H. Tombs (Clerk to the Abingdon Old Age Pensions Committee), Mr. and Mrs. R. C. Wicks, Mr. H. Donkin, Mr. E. J. Jones, Mrs. James, Mrs. Townsend, Mr. E. J. Cooper, Mr. and Mrs. Baillie, Mr. and Mrs. Bowen, Mr. F. H. Pryce (Clerk to the Borough Magistrate), Mrs. M. A. Winter, Mrs. G. K. Walker, Mr. W. Hayes, Mrs. Charles Hook, Miss Etty, Mrs. Carter (correspondent of the Church Schools), Mrs. Faulkner and Mr. J. A. Mobbs, Mr. C. A. Jakeman (representing the Court of Governors of the Warren Hospital), Mr. J. Bernthal (also representing Mr. E. A. Lessing, M.P., who was unavoidably prevented from being present). Mr. W. T. Morland was unable to attend owing to illness.

Members of the staff were also present.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. Coxeter Bros.

St. Helen's Peal.

A series of touches in the Stedman and Grandsire methods were rung on the half-muffled bells of St. Helen's Church last night in memory of Mr. Tatham by members of the Abingdon branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers. The ringers were Mrs. Lock, Mrs. Paddon, Miss M. Slatter, the Rev. C. E. Wigg, Mr. C. Thornett, Mr A. E. Lock (conductor), Mr. G. Caudwell, Mr. F. Juggins, Mr J. Gerring, Viscount Chetwynd, Mr. W. Holifield, Mr. G. D. Chandler and Mr J. L. Heeley.

An Appreciation.

Mr. E. A. Lessing writes :

"In a modern world of publicity and self advertisement, a few words from a political associate of many years' standing as to the modesty in bearing which did not detract from M.T.T.'s determination, influence and common sense as a politician are appropriate.

"Politics are an all-embracing science, and M.T.T understood them in this sense.

"Eton and Oxford have never been the birth places of Radicalism and Reform, yet this man in the long and happy years of maturity never ceased to imbibe and convey to others the doctrines of Liberalism in its fullest meaning and widest application.

"M.T.T. was not by nature endowed with those useful assets of the public man power of voice, and manner on the public platform. Those, however, who knew him intimately were fully aware that the influence of his high minded and generous character, coupled with the study, experience and wisdom of a long life, was a powerful and beneficient influence for all with whom he came into contact.

"Too glibly do we often talk of our great nation and great Empire; too seldom do we realise that it is the fibres, moral and mental, of which this man was made, clothed in a modesty, almost humility, which go to make that greatness."

Abingdon Herald, Obituary, 08 Jan 1937

Meaburn Talbot Tatham

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