Death of G.D.E. Wigley, 1906

Buckingham Advertiser, 26 May

  By the death of Mr. Wigley one of the most notable and brilliant business men in the county has been removed, at the comparatively early age of 64.  Of a most genial character, with a strong sense of humour, he had such a gift of speech and fluency that he might almost have been said to have been born for an auctioneer, in one way, although he had other solid qualities sufficient to have carried him through almost any other career in life.  No matter what the occasion was, whether at a business meeting (his grasp and exposition of the subject was invaluable), or at an after-dinner meeting (then he could be either intensely practical, or, in a lighter mood, most genial and enlivening, according as the nature of the meeting might be), or if it was an occasion of regret, who could voice the feelings of those present so well as Mr. Wigley?  Nor on an occasion either of distress or of anything which concerned the social welfare of the town or neighbourhood did he confine himself to advice – valuable as this always was – but was equally ready with generous pecuniary support, while in almost any religious or philanthropic movement he was to be found in the front. 

Mr. Wigley was the only son of Mr. Henry Wigley, of Winslow, and was the grandson of a land agent.  While quite young he was articled to Messrs. Dudley and Son, who were then the principal auctioneers and estate agents in the district.  Here he soon acquired that insight into business which laid the foundation of a career that was to prove so successful.  Grown up into manhood, his winning personality, his excellent business capacity, and his sterling integrity made him a host of friends, and at their solicitation he decided to enter into the arena of life on his own account, and in the course of a few years had a connection extending well into Beds, Northants, Herts, and Oxon, while in his own district his name became a household word. 

At Fenny Stratford, Stony Stratford, and Wolverton he established markets (that at Wolveton was afterwards merged into Stony Stratford), and in these districts, as well as at Olney and Newport Pagnell, he became as popular as at Winslow.  On the Whaddon, Liscombe, and Tyringham estates in our own county, the Turvey estate in Beds, Loddington in Northants, and on Earl Lytton’s Knebworth estates in Herts his practical knowledge and sound, ripe judgement on all agricultural and estate matters were proverbial, while he enjoyed the friendship and esteem not only of the gentlemen and tenants connected with these estates, but also of many others.

  Some five or six years ago Mr. Wigley unfortunately sustained a very severe accident by being thrown out of his trap whilst driving to Stony Stratford market and so breaking his thigh.  From this, however, he apparently recovered, but it is certain that his constitution was seriously weakened, laying him open to attacks of rheumatism, and his declining health in late years can clearly be traced to this source.  But he never lost that geniality of manner or that kindly sympathy which distinguished him; and although one by one, he gave up the social and philanthropic engagements in which he was so fond of taking part, only two nights before he left for Margate he took part in a meeting in connection with the Congregational Church, held at his house, because he was not well enough to get to it otherwise.

  By all classes in the neighbourhood Mr. Wigley will be intensely missed – by the gentry whose estates he managed so well; by the farmers and others, who looked upon him as a friend and adviser; by the Winslow Fat Stock Society, of which last year he was chairman, and by the Fenny Stratford and Stony Stratford Market Committees; by the Freemasons, of whose lodge he was one of the founders; by the Winslow Lodge of Oddfellows, now so strong, but which when small and weak found in him a powerful friend and helper; in other spheres, such as the North Bucks Congregational Union, of which he had twice been chairman; by the Winslow Congregational Church, where he had been the senior deacon for many years, and by the Congregational Sunday School, where, as long as his health permitted, he took a delight in being superintendent, and by numerous other institutions of a religious nature his loss will be deeply felt.

  It is a long time since Winslow presented such a mournful aspect as that which was witnessed on Monday afternoon.  Business was totally suspended from midday, blinds were drawn at the windows of the private houses, and the minute-bell tolled its solemn note from the Church tower.  Conveyances brought persons from all parts, and when the funeral cortege left Sunny Lawn, at 2.25 p.m., the adjoining main street and along to the Market Square was literally crowded with the friends of the deceased, who had come to show their last mark of respect to his memory.  On reaching the Congregational Church the members of the Loyal Western Lodge of Odd Fellows formed up on either side, whilst the procession passed through into the sacred edifice, which was quickly filled to overflowing.  The seating of the congregation was most courteously undertaken by Messrs. A. J. Clear, H. Horwood, and A. Watson (deacons).  The Burial Service was most impressively read by the Pastor, the Rev. J. Riordan, and with subdued voices the congregation joined in the beautiful hymn-
     “O, by thy soul-inspiring grace…

  The chief mourners were: Mrs. Wigley (widow) [nee Laura Prudden, married in 1866] and Mr. S. P. Wigley (son); Mr. H. H. Wigley (son) and Miss Wigley (daughter); Mr. Geo. Osborne and Mrs. Osborne (daughter and son-in-law) [George Osborn married Nellie Beatrice Wigley in 1901]; Mr. E. J. French (brother-in-law) [Edwin John French married Elizabeth Ann Wigley in 1871]; Mr. E. W. French (nephew); Miss Isabel French (niece); Dr. T. L. Kennish and Nurse Willison.  The coffin was preceded by… members of the Loyal Western Lodge of Odd Fellows, wearing mourning sashes…
  The grave had been beautifully lined, by Mr. J. White, with evergreen, dotted with lilac and forget-me-nots.
  The unpolished oak coffin, with brass furniture, bore the inscription:-
Born March 29, 1842,
Died May 16 1906.
  The funeral arrangements were admirably carried out by Messrs. Matthews Bros.

Geo. Wigley & Sons billhead from 1914

Details of will

WIGLEY, George Davys Edward of Winslow Buckinghamshire auctioneer, surveyor, land and estate-agent died 16 May 1906. Probate Oxford 4 February 1907 to Sidney Prudden Wigley and Herbert Henry Wigley auctioneers and George Osborn gentleman. Effects £13,482 8s 7d. Resworn £13,837 14s 1d.

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Copyright 1 December, 2023