Death of Browsholme Hall ‘lady of the house’

Mrs Diana Elizabeth Parker, mother of the current 
Bowbearer of the Forest of Bowland and present occupant of Browsholme Hall, Robert Parker, has died peacefully at the age of 93.

Wednesday, 29th January 2014, 3:00 pm
Diana Elizabeth Parker of Browsholme Hall, who has died peacefully aged 93. (s)

Mrs Parker was born Diana Elizabeth Marriott in September 1920, in Sheringham, Norfolk, at the home of her grandfather Mr William Marriott, who created and maintained the North Norfolk Railway.

Her first marriage, in 1941, was to Captain John Swynfen Jervis, a regular soldier with the South Staffordshire Regiment, who tragically was killed in action in Normandy two days after the D-Day landings in July 1944.

They had two children in January and December of 1943, Simon and Caroline.

Mrs Parker went on to bring up the children in Suffolk, where she was secretary to the Earl of Cranbrook, assisting him in the writing of his classic anthology of Suffolk verse, titled “Parnassian Molehill”.

In 1953 she married Edmund Christopher Parker (known as Christopher), with whom she had another son, Robert Redmayne Parker, who was born in 1954.

The Parkers lived in Cambridge from 1953 to 1978 and Mrs Parker became an active supporter of many local charities and also served for 20 years as a governor of Addenbrooke’s Hospital, becoming chairwoman of its house committee during a period of great expansion.

In 1978, three years after their son, Robert, had inherited Browsholme Hall from his cousin and godfather Colonel Robert Goulbourne Parker DSO, Mr and Mrs Parker also moved to the historic hall.

Mrs Parker played a full part in the restoration of the property, which has belonged to the Parker family since before the present house was built on the site in 1507.

In 1978 the house was in need of attention and Mrs Parker’s particular care and skill was devoted to the presentation of the interiors and the conservation of the contents.

During the times when the house was open to members of the public, she regularly led guided tours and took a deep interest in the history of the house, becoming a particular expert on the famous diaries of Elizabeth Shackleton (nee Parker) and became chairwoman of the Ribble Valley branch of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Society.

A keen gardener, Mrs 
Parker was also fond of travelling, particularly to Spain, Portugal and Italy, her favourite place being Venice.

A funeral service will be held next Thursday, February 6th, at noon at St Helen’s Church, Waddington, and this will be followed by a private cremation.