" Squire Of Little Crosby"
Appreciations Of Mr. Frances Blundell •
" If the mantle of his fathers ever fell upon any man's shoulders, the mantle of the fathers of Mr. Blundell who suffered for their Faith, fell upon the late squire," said Father Holden, the parish priest of St. Mary's church, Little Crosby, at the funeral of the late Mr. F. N. Blundell on Friday last.
The beloved squire, he continued, might have been a richer man than he was, had he not done so much for their sake. He might have lived a life of idleness, but yet he chose to do hack work and drudgery for his Church and the Country. He had power in his own neighbourhood but he never used it for self-aggrandisement. He loved Little Crosby passionately, and did everything for it, interesting himself in the sickness of the old and young, and worrying himself about people who never knew him.
Bore No Malice
The people in return admired him and looked upon him as a father. A strong Church of England paper had reported that Mr. Blundell's public career had been ruined by the "No Popery " cry. He was a model in that respect, said Fr. Holden. He bore no malice, but took it all with equanimity. If the mantle of his fathers ever fell upon any man's shoulders, the mantle of the fathers of Mr. Blundell, who suffered for the Faith, had fallen upon their late squire. He had three loves, his God and Church, His King and Country, and Little Crosby. He had saved his village from the trials of unemployment.
In accordance with the wishes of the late squire the funeral arrangements were simple. Low Mass of Requiem was celebrated by Fr. Holden in the presence of Mgr. Dobson, V.G. (Bishop of Cynopolis), representing the Archbishop of Liverpool, members of the Archdlocesan Chapter, Mgrs. Redmond, Crank, MoIony and Gonnex and a large body of clergy. Long before the Mass commenced the Church was filled, and the aisles, transepts and porch were packed with tenants drawn from all parts of his estates.
Graveside Rites The last rites at the graveside were given by the late squire's cousin, Fr. 0. Blundell, O.S.B. After the coffin had been lowered the hundreds who had been present in the church or gathered outside filed past the vault and paid their solemn last respects.
The family mourners were Mrs. F. N. Blundell (widow), Misses Margaret and I Agnes Blundell (sisters), Lord Rankeillour (uncle), Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Ward (brother-in-law and sister-in-law), Mr. Francis Weld (cousin), Mrs. Frederick Weld (cousin), Mr. and Mrs. John Weld-Blundell, Captain G. F. Weld-Blundell, R.N.
Among the family friends present at the church were Viscount Southwell, the Hon. Margaret Acton, Mr. Michael Trapps Lomax, Mr. Vincent Stapleton Bretherton, Sir Roth and Lady Lethbridge.
The Funeral Procession
More than one hundred villagers of Little Crosby, standing in the moonlight the previous night, near an old stone cross set in the wall of Crosby Park, awaited the home-coming of the body of their squire. At Blundellsands station, family mourners met the train which bore the body from London, and six tenant farmers carried the coffin from the train to a motor hearse. At the cross in the park wall the hearse was met by five altar boys of the village church of St. Mary, one bearing the cross
and the other candle lanterns. The six tenant farmers again took up their burden, and with the crossbearer leading and the altar buys on either side, the coffin upon which there rested a single spray of flowers was borne slowly through the village. The villagers silently fell into line. behind the family mourners. The procession halted at a second stone cross, bearing the date 1758. Here the De Profundis was recited, many of the mourners kneeling, heedless of the wet roadway.
The tenant-farmers handed over their duty to four estate workmen, and the procession went on to the village church, where the body was received by Fr. Holden, the parish priest, assisted by Mgr. T. S. Crank.
The halt at the two crosses followed an old village custom. It is said that the crosses mark two places where there was a violent death many years ago, and at a village funeral the mourners pause before the crosses to offer a De Profundis.
Mgr. Downey's Appreciation
In an appreciation, Mgr. Downey (Archbishop of Liverpool), said, " It is with profound regret and deep sorrow that 1 hear of the death of my friend, Mr. F. N. Mundell, of Crosby. He was a national figure and played a prominent part in important Parliamentary affairs. The Catholic community of England are deeply indebted to him for his advocacy in the matter of the Catholic Disabilities Bill when before Parliament, and also for his invaluable work as chairman of the Catholic Education Council. He was distinguished no less by his keen intellect than his quiet strength of character. Like his forbears, he adhered to the old Catholic tradition with unshakable loyalty.
He was a In...an of principle, uncompromising where error was concerned. but with the old-time courtesy of the country squire. His last public appearance in St. George's Hall, Liverpool, on Sunday last was a characteristic one, a chivalrous defence of the cause of those who are resisting the menace of Communism in Spain. He impressed all who heard him with his grasp of the fact of the situation and his lucid expression. He was a tnan of deep spirituality in whom the twin loyalties to the Church of his forefathers and to the Crown of England were blended in perfect harmony. To his many shining qualities he united a humility which endeared him to all who knew him. May he rest in peace!
Mgr. Hinsley's Message Mgr. Hinsley, Archbishop of Westminster, said Mr. Blundell's death was doubly grievous. He was the head of the Catholic family whose home had been at Crosby Hall for 700 years, and who had given to the Church priests in penal times as well as in the present generation. In his close relations with Mr. Blundell, he had found i him always helpful and reliable. " The day ibefore his death he was earnestly engaged about the work of the Catholic Schools," added the Archbishop.
" Mr. Blundell was one of nature's best men, and his loss to Lancashire will be great indeed," said Alderman D. G. Logan, M.P., Liverpool.
Mr. 3. Allen Jones, chairman of Great Crosby Council, said Crosby and Waterloo had conferred upon Mr. Blundell its greatest honour as a token of esteem and affection in appointing him Charter MayorElect. " His sympathy and courtesy, his willingness to be of service to the district and his ever present desire to associate himself with any new development for the good of Crosby, endeared him to all," he said.