W.G. Hoskins - Memorial Service (1992)

[From the Transactions of the Vaughan Archaeological and Historical Society, Leicester, Volume XXX (1991-92), pages 3-4.]

The Memorial Service held at St Nicholas Church, Leicester on Tuesday the 19th May, 1992

A special Memorial Service was held on Tuesday the 19th May, 1992 to commemorate the life and work of the founder of our Society - William George Hoskins who died in the fullness of years in January 1992.

He was a man remembered with deep affection by all who were influenced by his scholarship and by the results of his seeking out and sharing with us his knowledge and those of us who were his students at Vaughan College at the time when W.G.H. came to the University (then Leicester University College) felt we should express our gratitude. He was so erudite, so enthusiastic and yet, so benign.

His wife Jane was also remembered at this service (as William had pre-deceased her by a few months). We remembered that Hoskins had himself paid his own tribute to his wife in his dedication in the "Leicestershire Shell Guide" and I quote, "To J.H. whose domestic skill enables the author to live and work in Victorian comfort". One cetainly felt that his life was largely one of fulfillment and contentment.

The Rev. John Young conducted the service, reading firstly from Ecclesiasticus "Let us now praise famous men and heroes of our Nation's history" and then from Proverbs (in memory of Jane Hoskins) "Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies".

During the service Walt Whitman's poem "Halcyon Days" was read as was a poem dedicated to Dr. Hoskins by his friend G. Nankivel, "With mud on his boots".

Dr David Hey of Sheffield University gave the address and he emphasised the satisfaction that Dr. Hoskins always had in his roots and the fact that for generations, his family had been true Devonians.

Two excerpts were then read from the publications of William Hoskins with special reference to the landscape of Leicestershire.

The service then concluded with the hymn "Now thank we all our God". Indeed it had been an occasion for rembering with gratitude and thanks the memory of Professor W.G. Hoskins, Fellow of the British Academy (1969), C.B.E. (1971), Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (1973), recipient of the Murchison Award of the Royal Geographical Society (1976) and not least, the founding inspiration of our Society.

E.M. Crampton

Note: Memorial lectures dedicated to W.G. Hoskins are held each year by both the Vaughan Archaeological and Historical Society and the Friends of the Centre for English Local History

Last revised 19 March 2008 (ADW)

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