Select Chamberlain Miscellany

 

Here are some Chamberlain stories
and
accounts over the years:

 


The Lord Chamberlain

 

The Lord Chamberlain is the senior official of the Royal Household and oversees its business – including liaising with the other senior officers of the Household, chairing Heads of Department meetings, and advising in the appointment of senior Household officials.  The Lord Chamberlain also undertakes ceremonial duties and serves as the channel of communication between the Sovereign and the House of Lords.
The Lord Chamberlain’s Office is
a department of the
Royal Household and is responsible for organising ceremonial activities
including state visits, investitures, garden parties, the State Opening
of Parliament,
weddings and funerals.  The Lord
Chamberlain also regulates the design and the wearing of court uniform
and
dress
 and
how insignia are worn.
The Licensing Act of 1737  gave the Lord Chamberlain the authority to veto the performance of any new plays for whatever reason.  Theatre owners could be prosecuted for staging a play that had not received prior approval.  This veto power continued in limited form until 1968 when the veto was finally abolished. The first London performance of the musical Hair had been delayed until the 1968 act was passed after its initial licence had been refused.

 

Who Was Henry Orland Chamberlain?

Henry
Fane
was from a noble family.  He was almost
forty when he married Anne Batson, a banker’s daughter, in 1778.  By her he had fourteen children and they
lived at Fulbeck Hall.

Henry Chamberlain, born in 1773, was brought up there
with the rest of Fane’s children as a supposed distant relative.  But when Chamberlain expressed an interest in
one of Fane’s daughters, he was informed of his true parentage and
dispatched
to Portugal, sailing there on the HMS Briton.

Was he a bastard son?  Henry Fane’s
correspondence makes reference to a John Chamberlain and Hannah, his
daughter
perhaps.  Was she the mother?
Another source has the Chamberlain name as
fictitious, given
to him by his father after an
illicit love affair with a young girl.
The identity of this girl, or even her name, is unknown.

In any event,
Henry Chamberlain did well as a consul general in Portugal and later as
charge
d’affaires in Brazil.  He was made a
baronet in 1828.


Francis Chamberlain and the Invention of Snooker

While
serving
at Jubbulpore in 1875 Francis Chamberlain developed a new variation of
black
pool by introducing coloured balls into the game.  It
was dubbed snooker – a derogatory nickname
given to first-year cadets studying at the Royal Military Academy at
Woolwich that
Chamberlain had heard about from a young Royal Artillery subaltern
visiting the
mess.

Chamberlain later retorted to a fellow player who had failed to pot a
colored ball:

‘Why, you’re a regular snooker.’

While explaining the term to his
fellow officers Chamberlain – to mollify the officer concerned –
remarked that
they were all ‘snookers at the game’ and the name snooker or snooker’s
pool
immediately stuck.

 

The Chamberlaynes of Weston near Southampton


The
Chamberlayne name in Weston may have dated from the early 15th
century.  I
n
1781 William Chamberlayne inherited what was
then the Weston Park estate.  His son
William, later to become MP for Southampton, inherited the estate on
the death
of his father and built the Weston Grove estate, a marine villa on
Southampton
Water, in 1802.

His
most prominent act of
munificence was a gift of iron lamp-posts for Southampton, first lit by
gas in
1821.  His generosity was commemorated the following year by the
erection of Chamberlayne’s Column, an iron obelisk
of some 50 feet which, after its removal to the quay in 1829, served as
a
landmark for shipping.

The
Weston Grove estate was subsequently inherited
by Thomas Chamberlayne, his cousin, in 1831.
Thomas’s son Denzil took part in the Charge of the Light Brigade
during
the Crimean War and survived.  In 1876
Tankerville Chamberlayne
 assumed
the estate.  He too was to become MP for
Southampton.  He died in 1924
 leaving
a daughter,
Penelope, who married and they changed their surname to
Chamberlayne-Macdonald
.

 

 

The Murder of
Jeremiah Chamberlain

On
the
night of September 5, 1851, Jeremiah Chamberlain was stabbed to death
in front
of his home on the Oakland College campus in Mississippi.
The assailant was a local man named George
Briscoe.  Witnesses observed that Briscoe
had stopped at the gate of the house and that Chamberlain had gone out
to meet
him.  After a heated exchange Briscoe
stabbed Chamberlain in the chest.
Staggering back to the house, the victim died in the arms of his
wife
Catherine.

The
murderer rode away and
hid for several days after the killing, but was himself found dead a
week later
having poisoned himself.  While a motive
was never clearly established, many attributed the murder to the
inflamed
politics of the time.

The
newspaper
accounts detailing the murder were filled with shock and remorse over
the
senseless killing.  The local Port Gibson
Herald and Correspondent labeled it
“a horrid tragedy” and closed its account by writing: “President
Chamberlain
has gone, but will never be forgotten.”
Even the New York Times had a
mention.

As
for Jeremiah Chamberlain,
his grave remains on the campus of Oakland College, now Alcorn State
University
.

 

Incorrect Reports of the Death of Joshua Chamberlain

In
April
1864 Joshua Chamberlain was promoted to Brigade Commander in the Union
army and
given command of the 1st Brigade, V Corps.

In
a major action two months later at
the Battle of Petersburg, he was shot through the right hip and groin,
the
bullet exiting his left hip.  Despite the
injury Chamberlain withdrew his sword and stuck it into the ground in
order to
keep himself upright to dissuade the growing resolve for retreat.  He stood upright for several minutes until he
collapsed and lay unconscious from the loss of blood.
The wound was considered mortal by the
division’s surgeon who predicted that he would perish.

Chamberlain’s
incorrectly
recorded death in battle was reported by the Maine newspapers and by
General
Ulysses S. Grant who gave
him a
supposedly posthumous battlefield promotion to the rank of Brigadier
General.

Not
expected to live, Chamberlain displayed surprising will and courage
and, with the support of his brother Tom, was back in command by
November.  Although many, including his
wife Fanny,
urged Chamberlain to resign, he was determined to serve through the end
of the
war.

The
courage that he displayed
throughout the course of the Civil War made him a hugely popular figure
in his home
state of Maine.  After
the war was over, Joshua Chamberlain served as
Governor of Maine from 1866 to 1970 and later served as President of
Bowdoin
College.  He died in 1914 at the good old
age of 86, due – it was said – to complications from the wound he had
received
at Petersburg
.

 

 

Chamberlain Associations of America

The
first Chamberlain Association of America was founded in 1897 by Joshua
Chamberlain who served as its first President. They published
some
thirteen annual reports of their meetings held in Boston,
Massachusetts.  The
Association became inactive from the 1920’s to the 1940’s.

The Chamberlain
Association of America, sometimes referred to as the New Chamberlain
Association
of America, was organized in 1980 in New York by Alison Chamberlain
Ogilvie
Ainsworth. They published the Chamberlain
Association News
three times per year from 1981 to 1993, but became
inactive shortly afterwards.

Many of the first Association’s collection was
re-published by the World Chamberlain Genealogical Society.  This
was established
in 1996 to carry on the tradition of the original Chamberlain
Association of
America.

 



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