"Darwin was buried at the Abbey next to the eminent scientist Sir John Herschel and just a few feet away from Sir Isaac Newton."
April 26, 1882
On this day, thousands of people attended the funeral of Charles Darwin, which was held at noon sharp at Westminster Abbey.
On his deathbed, at Down House, Charles Darwin told his wife, Emma,
I am not the least afraid of death —
Remember what a good wife you have been to me —
Tell all my children to remember how good they have been to me.
He told repeatedly told his children,
It's almost worthwhile to be sick to be nursed by you.
Darwin’s beloved dog, Polly, died naturally two days after her master.
Attendees needed tickets to get into the funeral.
The ten pallbearers included Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (The son of the famous botanist William Jackson Hooker and Darwin’s closest friend), Thomas Henry Huxley (English biologist and anthropologist),
Alfred Russel Wallace (British naturalist and evolutionary theorist - and a surprising friend to Darwin), James Russell Lowell (U.S. Ambassador), and William Spottiswoode "Spots-Wood" (President of the Royal Society).
Darwin was buried at the Abbey next to the eminent scientist Sir John Herschel and just a few feet away from Sir Isaac Newton.
The deputy organist at Westminster Abbey, John Frederick Bridge, felt Darwin deserved to have an original funeral anthem. Bridge also wrote original funeral hymns for Robert Browning and Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The day before the funeral, he wrote original lyrics inspired by the Book of Proverbs and set them to music:
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom and getteth understanding.
She is more precious than rubies, and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand, riches and honor.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
On the Sunday following the funeral, the Bishop of Carlisle, Harvey Goodwin, said in his sermon there is no “necessary conflict between a knowledge of Nature and a belief in God.”
One of Darwin’s pallbearers, William Spottiswoode, delivered a eulogy for Darwin at the Royal Academy a few days after the funeral, on April 29, 1882. William said:
If patience and perseverance in good work… if a continual overcoming of evil with good in any way constitute elements of greatness, then the man of whom I speak—Charles Darwin—was truly great.
Today, gardeners can visit Down House and explore the home and gardens of Charles Darwin.
And, if you would like to pay homage to Darwin in your garden, you can purchase one of David Austin’s favorite and best-selling roses: Charles Darwin.
The Charles Darwin yellow rose is gorgeous and wonderfully fragrant - with notes of soft floral Tea and pure lemon.