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Herbert Asquith, Earl of Oxford and Asquith

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 26th 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 14th August 1945.

Further reading for Herbert and some members of his family

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

Born

12th September 1852

Died

15th February 1928

Memorial

26th July 1934

Field

Politician; statesman

Location

North Transept

Memorial Type

Tablet

Material Type

Marble

Herbert Asquith, Earl of Oxford and Asquith
Herbert Asquith, Earl of Oxford and Asquith

James Guthrie [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Herbert Asquith, Earl of Oxford and Asquith
Herbert Asquith, Earl of Oxford and Asquith memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2018 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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