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RIPON REMEMBERS ITS MARQUESS

10th July 2009

More than 100 people gathered at the statue of the 1st Marquess of Ripon in the Spa Gardens on Thursday 9 July to mark the centenary of his death.

At the event, organised by Ripon Civic Society, the crowd was entertained by Ripon City Band before the Society’s Chairman, David Winpenny, welcomed the guests. Among them were the Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Michael Abrahams; Monsignor William Steele, representing the Roman Catholic Bishop of Leeds; the Mayor of Ripon, Cllr David Parnaby; Garth Rowland, Master of the de Grey and Ripon Lodge of the Freemasons, and Robbie Scorah, the Masons’ Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Yorkshire West Riding.

Each of them, along with Richard Compton of Newby Hall, a descendant of the Marquess, were presented with colourful Indian-style garlands made by the children of St Wilfrid’s R C Primary School – the Marquess was a Viceroy of India and a leading Roman Catholic.

The Civic Society’s Vice-Chairman, Nigel Rawlinson, read a piece by historian David Thornton about the origins of the statue and its two copies in India. The band played again at the conclusion of the Spa Gardens ceremony, and the guests walked to the Spa Hotel, where Richard Compton gave a lively and fascinating talk about the life of the Marquess. He dealt with Lord Ripon’s family, his political life, his links with Freemasonry and with the Royal Geographical Society, as well as with his conversion to the Catholic faith.

David Winpenny says, ‘It was a great evening, and we were delighted to welcome so many people to the event; I’m sure the Marquess would have been surprised and delighted to have been so well remembered a century after his death.’

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