Funeral of J. G. Sheppard and contents of his will

Funeral of J. G. Sheppard, Esq. at Campsey Ashe

The funeral of this gentleman, so well known and respected, and whose death is regretted throughout the county, took place yesterday. The mournful procession was of the simplest and most unostentatious character — in accordance with the wishes of the deceased gentleman. A simple hearse and pair, without plumes or trappings (supplied by Mr. Garnham, Woodbridge), conveyed the body... The coffin was covered with wreaths of beautiful flowers and ferns. Immediately preceding the hearse, from the park gates, the tenantry marched two and two, and following on foot were the mourners and a large concourse of friends and neighbours, the bell at the picturesque church tolling with muffled sound. The churchyard was filled with spectators assembled to show the last mark of respect to a kind and upright gentleman, whose loss was evidently deeply felt. Mrs. Sheppard, the bereaved widow, and Mrs. Hall, sister to the deceased gentleman, arrived in the private carriage to await the arrival of the funeral procession... Arrived at the church gates the tenants defiled left and right, and the massive coffin was borne to the Church, inside of which was situated the family vault... At the church gates the body was met by the Rev. G. A. Archer, and the Rev. Canon Fleming, vicar of St. Michael’s, Chester Square, one of her Majesty’s Chaplains, who also assisted during the impressive service...The service was most solemn and affecting, and many manly eyes were dimmed during its performance. The choir sang, with quiet and good taste... After the beautiful Burial Service was finished, the Rev. Canon Fleming gave a brief address, which was listened to with breathless silence. The rev. gentleman selected as his text Revelation xiv, 13, “I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, write, blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” These comforting words, he said… have a peculiar appropriateness to our sad meeting to-day, when we are called to stand at the grave of our dear friend whom the Lord has seen fit to take home at an age when his consistent character and ripened piety were likely to be of incalculable service to the church... But our sadness is tempered by the strengthening words I have read to you. We know how truly those words are fulfilled to-day in him we mourn: for he had long and consistently lived to the Lord, and that is the true way to die in the Lord. Tell me how a man has lived and I will tell you how he dies. I am not here to praise the friend whom we lay to rest in this quiet spot, mourned by all who were admitted to the inner circle of his personal friendship, but I am here to praise God for His servant whom He has taken from the church below to the church above... There is one for whom our hearts bleed to-day. This bereavement has  a peculiar discipline for her. It touches a chord in her heart that has never vibrated before. We have all lost a friend and brother, but she has lost the companion of her life, for thirty years the sharer of her joys, the divider of her sorrows, her staff, her stay... Her sorrow is tempered by the sweet remembrance that nothing can separate those who are heirs together of the grace of life… and may her heart take to itself the full comfort of those words which fall like the refrain of a song from heaven on the ears of sorrow “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord; they rest from their labours.” And for our part may we all find it good to be here, and may we the living lay this to our hearts.
The coffin bore the simple inscription —

28th May, 1882,
58 years.

... There was a very large and distinguished company of sympathising friends of the deceased and his amiable lady assembled... After the service the church was filled and re-filled over and over again by the large number from high to low, who wished to take a last farewell of what was so dear and cherished, respected and esteemed... After the funeral the special train conveying H.R.H. the Prince of Wales from Yarmouth to London stopped at Campsey Ashe Station to take up Lord Rendlesham, Gen. Tyrwhitt, and Hon. H. Tyrwhitt, who rode in his Royal Highness’s saloon carriage. With admirable good taste, considering the solemn occasion which occasioned the stoppage, the numerous passengers on the platform refrained from any demonstration whatever.

Ipswich Journal - Saturday 03 June 1882
Text reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive.

The will of John George Sheppard

The will dated August 9, 1881 of Mr. John George Sheppard, J.P., D.L., late of the High House, Campsey Ashe, Suffolk, who died on May 28 last, at No. 81, Eaton-place, was proved on the 2nd inst. by Mrs. Harriet Anne Sheppard, the widow, Major-general Charles Tyrwhitt, C.B., and Henry James Francis, the executors, the value of the personal estate exceeding £23,000. The testator charges his Campsey Ashe estate with an annuity of £400 to his brother, Henry Wilson Sheppard, and an annuity of £100 to his mother, and, subject thereto, settles the same, and also his Bawdsey property, after payment of any charges thereon, and the residue of his real estate, on his wife for life, and then in default of children, on his said brother. The residue of his  personal estate he gives to his wife. The deceased was foreman of the jury in the Tichborne trial.

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Friday 18 August 1882
Text reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive.