The Friends of St. Peter's Berkhamsted

Friends of St Peter's, Great Berkhamsted

Campbell-Walker, Katharine Maria 1844 – 1874; Arthur Campbell 1866 – 1881


 
Grave Number 340

Katherine Maria Barlow, was born in Kensington, the daughter of a Captain in the army, and married Arthur Campbell-Walker a Captain in the Royal Body Guard in 1865.

She died at the young age of 30. Her eldest son also died young at the age of only 15 and is buried here with his mother.

 

In 1871 they were visiting her mother Caroline De Vitre, by then a widow aged 46 (she had married Matthew de Vitre, a landowner 31 years her senior). Neither Katharine’s son Arthur, buried here, or Leslie, only 1 years old, had been born in Berkhamsted, so it would appear that the couple only spent a very short time in the town.

Katharine’s monumental cross is a good example of its type, with an interesting mix of influences. As a strong military man (late 79th Highlanders, later of her Majesty’s Body Guards) and author of two books – one on how to use a rifle and the other called ‘The Correct Card’ on how to win at the card game whist – her husband Arthur Campbell-Walker who commissioned the cross was clearly very well-educated and the cross reflects this learning.  The mix of influences are seen in

  1. ‘Celtic’ Cross. Clearly with his name and this evidence, Campbell-Walker was a Scotsman., although she was a Londoner by birth.  This memorial is therefore making a statement as much about his heritage, his roots.
  2. The Celtic cross also, strangely has a Latin inscription at the top with four inscriptions in the four quadrants
  3. In obitu Pax (in death peace)
  4. Post tenebras Lux (beyond Darkness Light.)
  • In luce spes (In light hope)
  1. Post Obitum salus (beyond death salvation)

And then in the centre

  1. Mors janua vita (Death, the door to life)

These give a quite complex set of messages. Note that there is no reference to Christ, or God but the sequence suggests a kind of logical journey of five steps. In death, peace is appropriate to a military man – the antidote to fighting the good fight is peace. Frequently the sense of peace is associated with sleep. Beyond Darkness Light. The phrase “post tenebras lux” (after darkness, light) was a rallying cry of Protestant Reformers, and referred to the rediscovery of biblical truth in a time of spiritual darkness. In light hope.. Having encountered the light there is hope, and finally at the centre Beyond death, salvation. Summing up the journey at the centre is the Door to ‘life’ (Rev 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter), but essentially an ‘inversion’ where death itself becomes a new life.

And then at the very base a disarmingly simple and poignant secular epitaph which strikes a surprisingly contemporary and completely different note to the quite formulaic, very impersonal Latin: Loved, loving, lovely

 

 

 

 


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