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Monument of the Month

Chelsea Old Church has many monuments for those who died from 1532 onwards, some for famous people from Thomas More to Henry James, some for those who lived and worshipped at Chelsea but do not get a mention in the guidebooks.

January 2018. Paul Bedford (1792?–1871), was an English comedian, south aisle
The first printed mention he played Don Guzman in Giovanni in London. Then playing with Kean in Richard III which appears in his "Recollections". Bedford accepted an offer from Sir Henry Bishop for Drury Lane, his first appearance as Hawthorn in 'Love in a Village'. Bedford played Bernhard, head ranger of the forest, in Soane's version of Der Freischütz. Soon afterwards he was promoted to Caspar in the same opera. Through successive managements Bedford kept a position chiefly due to his vocal capacity. In 1833 he joined, still as a singer, the company at Covent Garden under Macready, appearing in Fra Diavolo, Gustavus III, and other operas. 
During many years he played second low-comedy parts at the Adelphi, Bedford was a sound and trustworthy actor of the rollicking sort. His figure and his voice formed a conspicuous portion of his stock in art. Recalling his singing in Adelphi farces, in a whole series of which he appeared, one is apt to forget that he obtained reputation in Lablache's great character of Don Pasquale. He had been above fifty years on the stage. 
He died of a dropsical at Lindsey Place, Chelsea, and was buried in Norwood Cemetery

December 2017. Richard Stewart-Jones located north aisle

His memorial reads as follows:
“In memory of Richard Stewart-Jones who honoured God and made the rebuilding of this church his ardent cause. He believed that what is right is never impossible and what is beautiful is worth fighting for, even to death. Merry in spirit and kind in deed, he was loved by a multitude of friends. He died in 1957, aged forty three years.”

His obituary in the Times of 26th September 1957:

“Mr Richard Stewart-Jones, who died suddenly in London on Sunday at the age of 43, was well known in Chelsea for devoted work on behalf of numerous causes, especially the Chelsea Society, of which he was honorary secretary for several years, and the affairs of the Old Church, whose restoration after bombing he worked so hard to bring about “

He was the owner of several of the architecturally well-known houses at the western end of Cheyne Walk, including most of Lindsey House. His wife Emma Smith said, "We met on New Year's Eve 1950 and married four weeks later. And I'm so glad we got married so quickly and got in two wonderful children." Her book, Maidens' Trip, was first published in 1948 and won the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize. Her second, a novel called The Far Cry, was published the following year and was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize

November 2017. Mary Bolney located in South Aisle west
Near this Place Lyes the Body of
Mrs Mary Bolney Widow, late of Little
Chelsey, Daughter of Bartholow Smith
Esqre of the Soke in Winchester. She was
twice Married, first to John Wybarnd Esqre.
of Hawkwell in Kent by whom she had
2 Sons & 3 Daughters, & afterwards to
Geo Bolney of Bolney Esqre by whom
3 Sons & 6 Daughters, & died in the 88th
Year of her Age Anno Domini 1716. 

Mary Bolney outlived both her husbands and had 14 children but that is about all there is recorded about her, her brother became a priest, then one of the four Bishops appointed in the reign of James II. Her family (Smith) were Recusant (defined as English Roman Catholics of the time from about 1570 to 1791 who refused to attend services of the Church of England and thereby committed a statutory offence), but she seems to have broken the family mould and been buried under the auspices of the Church of England here at Chelsea Old Church

October 2017. Benjamin Dodd Esquire located in South Aisle
Tablet of black marble and two small drops of the same with the inscription:
Sacred to the Memory of Benjamin Dodd Esquire of this Parish who died on the 10th of November 1796 Aged 70 Years   This was a Man

A Man obviously but presumably refers to
This was the noblest Roman of them all.
All the conspirators save only he
Did that they did in envy of great Caesar.
He only in a general honest thought
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mixed in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, “This was a man.” 
Mark Anthony talking of Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare

September 2017.  William Frend De Morgan located in Lawrence Chapel

William Frend De Morgan (16 November 1839 – 15 January 1917) was an English potter,tile designer and novelist. A lifelong friend of William Morris, he designed tiles, stained glass and furniture for Morris & Co. from 1863 to 1872. His tiles are often based on medieval designs or Persian patterns, and he experimented with innovative glazes and firing techniques. Galleons and fish were popular motifs, as were "fantastical" birds and other animals.  Near the beginning of his career De Morgan was commissioned to install the tiles in the Arab Hall of Leighton's house, designed by architect George Aitchison also he was commissioned by P&O to provide tile decorations for twelve new liners

In 1872, De Morgan set up a pottery works in Chelsea where he stayed until 1881

His inventive streak led him to spend hours designing a new duplex bicycle gear and also lured him into complex studies of the chemistry of glazes, methods of firing, and pattern transfer.

William De Morgan turned his hand to writing novels, and became better known than he ever had been for his pottery. His first novel, Joseph Vance, was published in 1906, and was an instant sensation in the United States as well as the United Kingdom. This was followed by An Affair of Dishonour, Alice-for-Short, and It Never Can Happen Again. The genre has been described as 'Victorian and suburban'.

August 2017. Leonard Henry Courtney, located in the garden on south wall

Leonard Henry Courtney, 1st Baron Courtney of Penwith PC (6 July 1832 – 11 May 1918) was a British politician, academic and man of letters, Courtney was born at Penzance, Cornwall. He was educated at St John's College, Cambridge, where he was Second Wrangler (second highest undergraduate score in mathematics) and first Smith's prizeman (£25 awarded for the best performance in a series of examinations), and elected a fellow of his college.  

He and his wife Catherine were one of the foremost of the so-called Pro-Boer Party during the South African War. He was known as a stubborn fighter for principle, and after finding that the government's Reform Bill in 1884 contained no recognition of the scheme for proportional representation, to which he was deeply committed, he resigned office. Courtney was a prominent supporter of the women's movement through the influence of his wife and sister-in-law. In his earlier years, he was a regular contributor to The Times

In May 1918, aged 85, he was living at 15 Cheyne Walk at the time of his death. He left effects totalling £56,672 2s 6d. The peerage became extinct.

In 1919, the now widowed Lady Courtney hosted the first meeting of the Fight the Famine Committee at 15 Cheyne Walk. The Save the Children Fund was to develop from that committee

Source: wikipedia