Reverend Alexander Heriot Mackonochie (1825-1887) [PLOT 46]

Curate of St Albans.

Born at Fareham, Hampshire, 11th August 1825, was third son of George Mackonochie, a retired colonel in the army. He was educated at schools at Bath and Exeter, and attended lectures, at Edinburgh University for a short time. He was ordained in Lent 1849, and became curate at Westbury, Wiltshire. In October 1852 he obtained a curacy at Wantage, Berkshire. In 1862 he became curate-in-charge of St. Alban’s, Holborn, which was then being built by John George Hubbard on a site given by Lord Leigh.

The church was consecrated 21st February 1863. Mackonochie had by this time adopted advanced views as to ritual, and from the first had difficulties at St. Alban’s. Before he was appointed a strong protest was made by a neighbouring clergyman, and as he gradually added to the ceremonies, he was subjected

to a long series of lawsuits promoted by the Church Association. Lord Shaftesbury, who visited St. Alban’s in 1866, made a note on the service in his diary, ‘In outward form and ritual it is the worship of Jupiter or Juno;’ others regarded Mackonochie as a Jesuit in disguise. In 1865 Mackonochie had become chaplain to the sisterhood of Haggerston. More lawsuits followed in light of his way of preaching.

In December 1887, being in weak health, he went on a visit to the Bishop of Argyll and the Isles at Ballachulish, he went out for a walk over the hills, Mackonochie was found dead on the 17th December 1887, in the deer forest of Manore, twenty miles from Ballachulish. His funeral service took place at St Alban’s and was well attended. In 1890 a chapel at St Alban’s was dedicated to his memory.

Alfred William Hunt (1830-1896) [PLOT 56]

Landscape Painter.

Alfred William Hunt was born in Liverpool in 1830. He began to paint while at the Liverpool Collegiate School. However at his father’s suggestion he went in 1848 to Corpus Christi College, Oxford to study classics. His career there was distinguished; he won the Newdigate Prize in 1851 for his poem Nineveh, and became a Fellow of Corpus in 1853.

He did not, however, abandon his artistic practice for, encouraged by Ruskin, he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1854, and afterwards contributed landscapes in oil and water-colour to London and other provincial exhibitions. In 1861 he married, and in 1862 was elected as an Associate of the Old Water-Colour Society, receiving full membership in 1864. He was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

His wife Margaret Raine Hunt wrote several works of fiction.

Their daughter Violet Hunt, was a novelist.

Leveson Francis Vernon-Harcourt (1839-1907) [PLOT 36]

Civil Engineer.

Leveson Francis Vernon-Harcourt was the son of Admiral Frederick Edward Vernon-Harcourt (1790–1883), and his wife, Marcia Delap née Tollemache (1802–1868).

He was educated at Windlesham House SchoolHarrow School and Balliol College, Oxford, graduating in 1861 with a first-class degree in mathematics and natural sciences. He received his training in engineering as a pupil of Sir John Hawkshaw. In 1870 he married Alice Brandreth, daughter of Lt. Col. Henry Rowland Brandreth FRS, by whom he had four children of which three survived him.

He specialised in canal and harbour engineering. He was a pioneer in the use of scale models to predict the impact of manmade structures in tidal waters, and was an active contributor to the Institution of Civil Engineers, and the author of several books on civil engineering.

His career included acting as resident engineer for an extension to the West India Docks, London under John Hawkshaw, during the 1860s; superintendent of works at Braye Harbour, and construction of a pier at Rosslare. After 1874 he acted as a consultant engineer, and in 1882 was appointed professor of civil engineering at University College London. He resigned in 1905.

Harry Govier Seeley (1839-1909) [PLOT 37]

Geologist and Palaeontologist.

Harry Govier Seeley was born on 18th February 1839 in London. At the age of two, Seeley was sent to live with pianoforte makers after his father and was declared bankrupt. In 1855 his uncle John Seeley paid to have him trained for the bar, but he abandoned legal studies, planning instead to become an actuary. He studied English and mathematics in the late 1850s at the Working Men’s College and became secretary to the college’s museum. Seeley supported himself by copying documents in the library of the British Museum, where he was encouraged to study geology.

In 1859 Seeley entered Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and was soon hired by Adam Sedgwick as an assistant in the Woodwardian Museum. He lectured, catalogued fossils, and began field studies on the geology of the Cambridge Greensand, and published important papers and two catalogues of pterodactyl fossils. His work was profoundly anti-evolutionary, and controversial. Three papers from 1866 to 1882 revived the widely dismissed theory of the vertebral origin of the skull and limbs. His division of dinosaurs into ‘bird-hipped’ and ‘lizard-hipped’ forms became the basis for most later classifications.

In 1872 Seeley married Eleanora Jane and moved to London, where he earned an income from literary work, private tuition, and lecturing; Eleanora assisted him, becoming a skilled cataloguer and natural-history artist. They raised four daughters, the eldest of whom, Maud, married Arthur Smith Woodward of the British Museum in 1894. In 1876 Seeley was appointed professor of geography and geology in Queen’s College, London, becoming dean five years later. He also became professor of geography and lecturer on geology at King’s College, and in 1896 he succeeded to the chair of geology and mineralogy.

Seeley advocated the expansion of opportunities in higher education, especially for women. He contributed regularly to the Educational Times and published several popular books, including Story of the Earth in Past Ages (1895) and Dragons of the Air (1901). Seeley died at his home at 3 Holland Park Court in Kensington on 8 January 1909.