Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Hampton Court Scandal

The position of Chaplain in Ordinary to the Queen at Hampton Court sounds more impressive, perhaps, than it was. It was said that the stipend was not large but the duties were light and it came with a posh apartment in the Palace. The Rev. David Lancaster McAnally was said chaplain, and in said apartment, in April 1892, when he looked out his window to see himself hung in effigy from a tree. Several soldiers of the palace detachment, wearing mock clerical garb, had carried out this insult. When a gardener cut down the effigy and carried it off, the soldiers whistled "the Dead March in Saul." 

The story behind this was a tragic one. Mrs. McAnally had warned a parlourmaid, Alice Cadman, not to fraternize with the soldiers. She was caught disobeying that order and got the sack. A note went to Alice's mother, "I can have no servant in my employ that will be seen outside my door talking to men." Alice Cadman then drowned herself in the Thames. Rev. McAnally attended the inquest. He told the coroner that one of the great difficulties at the Palace was the barracks and "one gets tired of it." 

News of the "Hampton Court Scandal" quickly spread. Because of the actions of a "foolish maidservant," Mr. McAnally had been "rendered obnoxious" to the men of the Horse Guards Blue, currently in residence. McAnally published a letter, reaching out "to the soldiers at Hampton Court, for whom, as a body, I have so great a regard." The chaplain conceded that the wooing went both ways. "When a lady finds soldiers, unbidden by her, in her kitchen between nine and ten o'clock in the evening, it cannot be supposed that they would be there without some invitation." 

The Rev. McAnally received a full apology from the C-in-C, the Duke of Cambridge, and an assurance that the perpetrators of the "disgraceful" insult had been dealt with. Within the year, however, there was a new Chaplain in Ordinary at Hampton Court.   

Illustration: visitlondon.com

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