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The Very Reverend Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Dean of Westminster, husband of my cousin Lady Augusta Frederica Bruce

Arthur Penrhyn Stanley was born on December 13, 1815 at the Alderley recorty in Cheshire, England. He was born to Edward Stanley, rector of Alderley and later Bishop of Norwich, and Catherine Leycester. Arthur was the eldest of 5 children. His 2 brothers were Charles and Owen (a renowned naval explorer) and his 2 sisters were Mary and Catherine. Mary was a nurse in Crimea and a friend of Florence Nightingale (although there was conflict between Mary and Florence over nursing techniques with Mary prefering to administer religious comfort to patients).

Arthur was educated at Rugby School under Thomas Arnold (famous English educator and historian) and then at Balliol College, Oxford. Interestingly, Arthur is generally considered to be the source for the character, George Arthur in Thomas Hughes's book, Thom Brown's Schooldays.

Arthur was an accomplished student winnter the Ireland scholarship and the Newdigate prize for his poem The Gypsies. In 1839 he was elected a Fellow of University College and in the same year took holy orders. In 1840 he travelled in Greece and Italy and then returned to Oxford where he settled for 10 years and was a tutor at the college. According to records, Arthur had excellent relationships with his students and his charm won him friends on all sides. 

As well as an accomplished scholar, Arthur was known as a writer with his first publication being Life of Arnold which was published in 1844. In 1847 he published a volume of Sermons and Essays on the Apostolic Age.

Arthur maintained liberal views towards religion and in university reform. In 1850 he acted as secretary to the Royal Commission taking the prinicpal share in drafting the report which helped reform university legislation and open the door to reforms.

In 1862, at the request of Queen Victoria, Arthur accompanied Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) on a tour in Egypt and Palestine. It may have been at this time that Arthur and my cousin Lady Augusta Bruce met as Augusta had, at that point, been a Lady in Waiting to Queen Victoria for a number of years.

In 1863 Arthur was appointed by the Crown to the Dean of Westminster. In December of the same year Arthur married Lady Augusta Bruce, much to the dismay of Queen Victoria who was at first opposed to her friend Augusta getting married in middle age, but the Queen's affection for Arthur Stanley soon won her blessing for their union.

As Dean of Westiminster, Arthur set about rescuing and preserving the historic monuments of Westminster Abbey. In 1865 he published Memorials of Westminster Abbey which is a treasure trove of information about the Abbey. 

Much like his wife, Arthur's circle of friends included men of every denomination, every class and almost every nation. 

In 1874 Arthur spent part of the winter in Russia where he took part in the marriage of Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and the Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna. Alfred was the 2nd son and 4th child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. 

In the spring of 1876, Arthur's wife Lady Augusta died. Arthur never fully recovered from this loss. After the death of his wife, Arthur gathered her private letters while she was in the court of Queen Victoria which were later published.  He died in the Deanery at Westminster on July 18, 1881 and was buried in Henry VII's chapel. The windows in the Abbey surrounding his tomb are quite stunning and were a tribute to Arthur's memory by friends of every class in England and America, including one donated in his honor by Queen Victoria. The original windows were destroyed during the Blitz in WWII but have been painstakingly restored and are quite magnificent to view today.

At this point in time I have conflicting information as to whether my cousin is buried with her husband at Westinster Abbey or whether she is buried at the Royal Burial Grounds at Frogmore. However, along with Arthur's magnificent tomb in the King Henry VII's chapel, there are numerous tributes and memorials to his wife, Lady Augusta Frederica Elizabeth.

Note: The photo of Arthur's tomb below is from and the portrait at the top of the page is by Lowes Cato Dickinson.

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