Esteemed throughout many parts of England as a leading builder, particularly for his work constructing and restoring churches, Mr. Robert Marriott, of College House, Higham Ferrers, died at a London nursing home on Monday morning.
Active until an illness overtook him ten days ago, Mr. Marriott, who was 82, still took an important part in the management of the firm, Robert Marriott Ltd., which he founded 57 years ago.
Mr. Marriott also built St. Peter’s Church, Rushden, of which he was a lifelong member and at one time an officer, churches at Greenford, Middlesex, and Roundgreen, near Luton, and many parish rooms.
A great sportsman, his special interests being football, cricket, golf, fishing, Mr. Marriott in his younger days played for Northamptonshire in the Amateurs XI, and quite recently had been on fishing excursions.
The following appreciation of Mr. Marriott has been received:
He was a man who had a large variety of interests and was known and loved by all sots and conditions of people. There can have been few men who have found work more congenial than he, and he never spared himself even though he had passed his eightieth year. He was happy that, in choosing building as a career, he found a task for which he was so ably fitted and in which he could employ fully the gifts that were his.
The beauty of any building filled him with joy, particularly that of an old church. He was associated with Professor A. E. Richardson in restoring many old churches in the St. Albans Diocese, and those that knew the value and beauty of his work will always remember him when they look upon one of these old buildings restored to its full form and strength; but his work was not merely local. He had built and restored churches and historic buildings in all parts of the country, in which work few could rival him.
He had an unerring taste in choice of materials fitted for the particular work in hand. He knew the proper methods needed to achieve an artistic result, and he had always craftsmen, many of whom had worked with him for years and who were able to satisfy the high standard that he set himself. The welfare of his staff in sickness and health was never forgotten.
His knowledge of building was recognised in that he served on the Advisory Committee for the Diocese of Peterborough. He was keenly interested in church work especially at St. Peter’s. He built the church porch, and when St. Peter’s was constituted a separate parish he was made churchwarden and held that office for many years.
The Boy Scouts was another of the many good works in which he was interested. In his youth he was an exceptional football player, and later was widely known as a redoubtable opponent at golf, and his knowledge and love of fishing was remarkable.
He had many friends who appreciated his sterling character, and he will be very much missed in Rushden as elsewhere.
He loved beauty and hated. shams, which his work will testify. One might paraphrase the epitaph to Sir Christopher Wren and say that if Robert Marriott needs a monument all that is necessary is to look at one of his churches. There you will see something free of pretence simple and good, and showing the honesty of purpose which he had ever before him. D.G.G.
“As a wise master builder I have laid the foundation and another buildeth thereon”.
This was the text from which the address was given on Thursday afternoon at the funeral service in St. Peter’s Church, Rushden.
“Mr. Robert Marriott”, said the Vicar (the Rev. R. McPherson Heard), “gave to this church his best at all times from the outset of its history some fifty years ago, when he built and took such an interest in the mission church which is now our Church Room, to the time when our present church was erected with his experienced advice guiding the workmen. Here he set an example with his wife of regular attendance and enjoyed worship, and as a church officer he fulfilled his tasks as a Christian gentleman, who could meet all of whatever standing they may be”.
His work of building and restoring some hundred churches was his labour of love, and his gift for knowing just what was in keeping with any particular building was very evident in the furnishing of the Lady Chapel at St. Peter’s, and the new lectern which awaited dedication.
He was interested in the welfare of those who worked with and under him, and had their respect and genuine love. As a result the work he undertook was of the best.
The service was conducted by the Vicar of St. Peter’s, assisted by the Vicar of Long Clawson (the Rev. A. R. Meakin), son-in-law of Mr. Marriott. The Rev. H. S. Hoar (Higham Ferrers ), and the Rev. C. E. Howlett (Sharnbrook) were also present.
The only church decorations were flowers taken from the garden at College House, Higham Ferrers.
Hymns were “The Lord is My Shepherd”, “Now the labourer’s toils are o’er”, and “Sun of my Soul”. The lesson was taken from Corinthians.
Brought from London on Thursday morning, the coffin was taken direct to the church and two of Mr. Marriott’s employees, Messrs. F. A. Brown and A. Bailey, stood by it until the service began.
Employees of Messrs. Robert Marriott Ltd., also served as bearers and ushers. The bearers were Messrs. H. F. Ball, J. Bayes, C. Johnson, G. Page, G. Smith, and W. Walker, the ushers Messrs. G. S. Green, H. Wood, H. Whiting, F. Wright and D. Johnson.
Family mourners were: Mrs. Sarah Marriott (widow), Maj. R. A. Marriott, ol. J. R. Marriott (sons), Mrs. E. Holland, Mrs. T. Turney, Mrs. R. Meakin (daughters), Mr. T. Turney (son-in-law), Mrs. R. A. Marriott, Mrs. J. R. Marriott (daughters-in-law), Mrs. Peckham, London, Mrs. Palmer, Wellingborough, Mrs. Mawby, Wellingborough (sisters), Mrs. Watson, Borham (sister-in-law), Mr. George Marriott (nephew), Mr. T. J. Marriott and Mr. R. T. Marriott (grandsons).