Herbert Asquith, Earl of Oxford and Asquith
Born: 12 Sep, 1852
Died: 15 Feb, 1928
Field: Politician; statesman
Location in the Abbey: North transept
Type of memorial: Tablet
Type of material: Marble

Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, K.G., F.R.S., has a memorial tablet on a pillar in the north transept of Westminster Abbey. He was Liberal Member of Parliament from 1886-1918, QC 1890, Privy Counsellor 1892, Home Secretary, Chancellor of the Exchequer and finally Prime Minister from 1908 to 1916. He continued for a few years afterwards as leader of his party. In 1925 he was elevated to the peerage and made a Knight of the Garter.

The Purbeck marble tablet was unveiled by Stanley Baldwin on 26 July 1934. The inscription reads:

"Parliament placed this stone here in memory of Herbert Henry Asquith Earl of Oxford and Asquith. Born September 12 1852 Died February 15 1928. Prime Minister 1908-1916"

Below is a quotation from Milton's Paradise Lost:

"Unmoved, unshaken, unseduced, unterrified, his loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal; nor number, nor example with him wrought to swerve from truth, or change his constant mind"

He was born in Yorkshire, a son of Joseph Asquith and his wife Emily (Willans). He was educated in Huddersfield, London and Oxford. In 1877 he married Helen Melland and they had five children - Raymond, Herbert, Arthur, Violet and Cyril (who became Baron Asquith of Bishopstone). He married secondly Margot Tennant in 1894 but only two of their five children reached maturity ie. Anthony (who became a film producer) and Elizabeth (who married Prince Bibesco). Many social reforms were put forward during his premiership including the old age pension, and home rule for Ireland and disestablishment for Wales were discussed. A coalition government was formed in 1915 and he resigned the following year. He is buried at Sutton Courtenary in Berkshire and had a memorial service in the Abbey, not wanting a public funeral (or the offer made of burial in the Abbey). Margot had a memorial service in St Margaret's Westminster on 14 August 1945.

A photo of the tablet can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further reading for Herbert and some members of his family:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

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