Algernon St. Maur, later Seymour, 15th Duke of Somerset, etc. (22 July 1846 – Maiden Bradley, 22 October 1923) was the son of Algernon St. Maur, 14th Duke of Somerset and Horatia Morler. He was also a baronet.
On September 5, 1877, he married Susan Margaret Richards Mackinnon, the ninth daughter of Charles Mackinnon of Corriechatachan. Because St. Maur did not have any children, his titles passed to his nearest relative, Edward Seymour.
He served in the Navy on HMS Britannia as a youth, but later joined the 60th Rifles and took part in the Wolseley Expedition
of 1870. He was a tall and athletic man, of powerful build. After
leaving the Regular Army, he spent several years ranching in Western
America. On accession to the Dukedom in 1894, he voted often in the
House of Lords, although he seldom spoke there. He became president of Dr Barnardo’s Homes, a charity which both he and the Duchess had supported for many years. - Wikipedia / pic
"He died s.p. 22 October 1923 at Maiden Bradley and was buried there 25 October at Brimble Hill Clump aged 77. Will proved £684,923 gross, £289,960 net. His widow, who was a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, died 30 January 1936 and was buried 4 February at Brimble Hill." - Ancestry.com (requires membership) NOTE: Brimble Hill was called Bremelhil brech in 1407, meaning seems to be Bramble Hill. (see Dukes Walk)
Duke of Somerset is a title in the peerage of England that has been created several times. Derived from Somerset, it is particularly associated with two families; the Beauforts who held the title from the creation of 1448 and the Seymours, from the creation of 1547 and in whose name the title is still held. Learn more→
The duke (d. 1922) and the duchess (d. 1936) were buried on Brimble Hill nearby their residence at Bradley hall, located on the edge of the historic and sleepy village of Maiden Bradley, West Wiltshire. Their graves are marked by standing stones on the south west of the wooded hilltop with a view across Bradley Park towards Long Knoll, with Little Knoll visible to the left. The burial site is next to a stand of taller trees in Brimble's clump.
Since the establishment of the graves a metal fence squares around this secluded lonely site. From the base of Brimble Hill and across the adjacent valley floor you would not suspect they were there at all. I imagine the forward planning that went into their location. Brimble (bramble) is a splendid local tump (rounded hill). Any season, but especially when skirted with golden barley, or bright yellow rapeseed, it is a lovely sight to behold.
The wooded crown was accessed along tractor tracks which made for an easy and non-intrusive walk through the waist high cereal crop. Once over the skimpy wire fence, which divides the arable approach and the little clump (wood) at the top, a legion of shoulder length nettles were found to be guarding the monument which was clearly visible just a few yards away.
Having scouted around the edge of the grave site and taken a few establishing shots with a digital pocket Kodak camera it was time to brave even more tall nettles inside the perimeter fence (which had to be carefully climbed over as the gate was rusted shut). Time passed and each stone was photographed individually with close-ups of two plaques; one on the Duke's large rough tombstone and another on a smaller stone nearby.
By comparing the pictures below it seems one stone (second largest, opposite main stone) is a later addition; for there are five stones in total now. Perhaps when the Duchess joined her husband the extra rock was placed. There may be personal symbolism in the ground plan and scales of the site. Certainly we have the original primary feature flanked by two smaller stones; perhaps these are markers for each grave and the largest stone is their symbolic unification. and/or, perchance the two small flanking stones indicate a symbolic heavenly passageway via the main monument. The small stone with plaque discretely tucked away (see first image, foreground) seems a general sentiment which underwrote a future burial pact made, in the living years, by the adventurous couple (the duchess died 14 years after her husband in 1936) and also served to romance the primary stone. Maybe this is the reason for the later addition of a fifth stone, which symbolically faces the primary massive. As far as can be gauged, if there was a fifth stone it would have been in plain view in the first photo below. One would hardly leave such an important feature out of shot, surely? However, this may indeed be the case. Maybe a good view of Long Knoll in the background was the priority (compare first three images below and decide). The word "perplexing" comes to mind.
After the photo session was complete, I was pondering the main stone in the wood's variegated light and shade. Apart from shafts and pools of illumination the thick summer tree canopy darkened most of the interior. This was when The Guardian flew close by to check on the precocious intruder. So, be warned, this place is owl haunted. The bird's flight was silent as the grave. It landed on a nearby low branch. When I looked again it was gone.