Death of Mr E. Slater-Harrison

People Jun 22, 2023

Reported in the Bicester Herald, 14th April 1911.

It is with profound regret that we record the death of Mr E. Slater-Harrison, of Shelswell Park, which took place on Monday afternoon at his residence, after a few weeks’ illness. No one could have rendered more useful service to his country, his county, and the district of his home than the deceased, and the news of his death, although disquietening reports had somewhat prepared the country around for it, caused a gloom of sadness to hang over a very wide district. The late Mr Harrison was 78 years of age.
Mr Harrison had taken active part in his many public offices up till the last few weeks, when he was compelled to take to his room. Indeed, though he seemed scarcely well enough to attend, he was present at the Guardians meeting a little over a month ago, and directly after this was over he attended a long sitting at the Police Court.
Mr Harrison was born seventy-eight years ago, and was the son of Mr John Harrison (who died in 1874) and Lady Louisa Harrison, the daughter of the second Earl of Clonmell; his father took the additional name of Slater-Harrison when he inherited the estate from an uncle. Mr Edward Slater-Harrison was twice married; in 1865 he married Cecilia Selvis, a daughter of the late Colonel and Lady Sanderson, who died on July 1st, 1899; later he married Emma Cecilia, the third daughter of Mr Richard Aubry Cartwright, of Edgcote, Northants.
On the death of his father he succeeded to the Shelswell Hall estate of 228 grounds and 815 acres of land. He at once had the old residence, which had been built two hundred years previously, pulled down, with the exception of a few rooms, and had the present magnificent house erected. The Park was enlarged, as were also the old gardens, and the ornamental grounds newly laid out.
A Gentleman.
He was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. Anyone could approach him and be received most courteously. He was generous in a marked degree. His benefactions were innumerable, his kindly services were at the public’s disposal, and his beautiful park and grounds were frequently thrown open to the public. No service was too trifling for him to render.
His Politics.
Mr E. S. Harrison was a staunch supporter of the Unionist cause. He spoke vehemently for its principles, but, in private life, he made no distinction, and his friends are as numerous amongst the Liberals as they are amongst the Conservatives. He was ruling counsellor of the Shelswell Habitation of the Primrose League, and its fete was annually held at Shelswell Park.
A Sportsman.
In all branches of sport he took a keen interest. He was a devotee of fox-hunting, and his coverts always abounded with foxes. He followed the Bicester Hounds regularly for 60 years. He is four-in-hand was always conspicuous at the meets of the Hounds, and he was a member of the old Coaching Club. His name appears on the subscription lists of many of our local football, cricket, etc., clubs.
A Friend to Agriculture.
In all matters appertaining to agriculture he took a lively interest. He was an honorary vice-president of the Bicester Agricultural and Horticultural Association, the Oxfordshire Agricultural Association, the Brackley Agricultural Association, and the North-West Bucks Agricultural Association. He was twice President of the Oxfordshire Agricultural Society, and three times President of the Bicester Agricultural Association. At many agricultural shows he was a successful exhibitor of cattle. He was a most popular landlord.
His Public Life.
It is impossible to enumerate all the public offices he had held, for his whole life has been devoted to public service, rendered ungrudgingly and, above all, with the strictest justness. If he did err, it was on the side of mercy when he had to deliver judgement in the cases heard at the Bicester Petty Sessions, of which he has been chairman for a great number of years. It was in January, 1860, that Mr Harrison qualified as a magistrate, and at the time of his death was the senior magistrate for Oxfordshire after Lord North. He has always tempered justice with mercy, and proffered advice to delinquents in such a manner as must have had its effect.
Mr Harrison, too, was chairman of the old Highway Board till the dissolution of that body under the Local Government Act of 1894. For quite half-a-century he had been a member of the Bicester Board of Guardians, and has represented Shelswell on the Rural District Council since that authority was established. Mr Harrison had represented the Fringford division of the County Council since the Local Government Act of 1888 came into operation. On all these bodies Mr Slater-Harrison was a most regular attendant.
In connection with these bodies, too, Mr Harrison was scarcely ever free from committee work. He was a member of the Union Assessment Committee, and generally on all the special Committees of the Guardians. As a Rural District Councillor he was on the Smallpox Joint Hospital Committee and the Infectious Diseases Joint Hospital Committee. In connection with the County Council he was at the time of his death on the Roads, General Purposes, Small Holdings, and Local Government Committees, and was a member of the judicial authority under the Lunacy Act.
A keen advocate of the temperance cause, he financed temperance refreshment rooms at Bicester for some years, and suffered so much pecuniary loss thereby.
The deceased was the chairman of the local Old-age Pensions Committee.
He took a great deal of interest in friendly society work, and was an honorary member of and subscriber to many local societies. It was rarely he missed attending the Hethe and Fringford annual club festivals, and the popular squire invariably presided at Hethe.
Mr Harrison served the office of High Sheriff of Oxfordshire in 1882.
When the Militia was formed in the days of the Crimean War he was one of the first to volunteer, and with his brother-in-law, the late Mr W.W.M. Dewar, accompanied the Oxfordshire Militia as captain, gaining distinction at the winning of Corfu. On his return he took an active share in the Volunteer movement, and for many years commanded the Bicester Troop of the Q.O.O.H., from which regiment he retired some years ago with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He magnanimously supported the annual prize meetings of the local Territorial forces.
The Funeral.
The funeral is taking place this (Thursday) afternoon, and is to be carried out with the simplicity which marked the life of the deceased. On all sides the deep respect and cherished memories the inhabitants of the district hold for the late Squire were shown.
Concert Postponed.
A concert had been arranged to take place at Fringford next Wednesday, but out of respect to the memory of the late Squire, it has been postponed till some time in May.