History

2011 marks the centenary of the institution of The Memorial of Merit. In 1910 Captain Henry Stuart Wheatly-Crowe, desiring a church honours system for the Anglican Communion, submitted the Statutes and Constitution of the Memorial to Archbishop Randall Davidson, the 96th Archbishop of Canterbury. Having received approval from the Archbishop, the Statutes and Constitution of the Memorial were set before HM King Edward VII. With the King’s approbation the Memorial was instituted the following year.

The Constitution and Statutes of 1911 direct that the Memorial is “to be offered as a token of regard and honour to members of the Church of England, and the churches in communion therewith, who have served the church in some especial way”.

Fifty-four years later the Archbishop of Canterbury began a similar system with the awarding of the Cross of Saint Augustine. Thus the Memorial of Merit and the Cross of St Augustine are the only two awards of recognition within the Anglican Communion. The chief difference is that, although the Memorial of Merit is significantly older than and served as the template for the Cross of Saint Augustine, it is a private foundation which does not pretend to share the prestige or scope of the Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury.  

As you would expect from its dedication to King Charles the Martyr, the founding members of the Memorial were all of a High Church persuasion. Their deeply held belief was that, in the end, Charles the 1st died because of his faith in the Catholic nature of Anglicanism and its apostolic episcopacy. Thus he was deemed the obvious Patron for a foundation which seeks to uphold these same ideals.

During the last hundred years the Memorial has counted some of the most distinguished High Church Anglicans of their age amongst its Companions: 

1. The 14th Earl of Strathmore a founding Companion and devoted member of the Chapter until the end of his life, better known as the maternal grandfather of HM Queen Elizabeth II;

2. The 2nd Viscount Halifax, President of the Church Union and member of the Malines Conversations;

3. The 1st Earl of Halifax who amongst his other achievements was Viceroy and Governor General of India, Secretary of State for War, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and British Ambassador to the United States.

4. The Very Rev’d Vernon Staley , author of The Catholic Religion;

5.  The Rev’d Professor Percy Deamer, author of The Parson’s Handbook;  

6.  The 5th Earl of Bradford, Private Secretary to Prime Minister Gascoyne-Cecil & Prime Minister Balfour;

7. The Rev’d Professor Canon Vigo Demant, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at the University of Oxford and member of the Wolfendon Report.

8. and The Rev’d Canon Colin Stevenson, Administrator of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.

 Other prominent members included: 1. the 9th Earl of Shaftesbury, Lord Steward of the Household, Chamberlain to HM Queen Mary, Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, County Antrim & Dorset, & Lord Mayor of Belfast;

 2. The Right Rev’d Huyshes Yeatman-Biggs, Lord Bishop of: Southwark, Worcester & Coventry;  

 3. The Venerable Edward Barber, Archdeacon of Chester;   

 4. The Right Rev’d John Mitchinson, Bishop of Barbados & Master of Pembroke College Oxford;  

 5. Major the Prince Frederick Duleep Singh; 

6. the 8th Duke of Northumberland, Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland & Chancellor of the University of Durham;   

 7. The 7th Duke of Newcastle;  

 

8. The Rev’d Canon David John Garland, Archdeacon of North Queensland & Founder of Anzac Day;  

 

 9. The 9thDuke of Beaufort, Aide-de-camp to HM Queen Victoria;  

 10. The Right Rev’d G. Forrest Browne, Fellow of St Catherine’s College Cambridge, Disney Professor of Archaeology, Bishop of Stepney & Lord Bishop of Bristol;

 11. Halliwell Sutcliffe, Author of The Open Road & The White Horse;  

 12. General Sir Cecil Hertslet, Consul-General for Belgium;  

   

13. The 13th Duke of Hamilton & 10th Duke of Brandon Brandon                             

                                                              

14. The 6th Marquess of Donegall;  

 15. Will Spens, Master of Corpus Christi College Cambridge & Chevalier of the Legion d’honneur;   

16. Sir Donald Walter Cameron of Lochiel, Bt., Chief of Clan Cameron, Lord Lieutenant of Inverness-shire;  

 17. and The 3rd Countess of Cromartie.

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