The Times/1936/Obituary/Louise Creighton
Character and Service
Mrs. Creighton, who died yesterday at her home in Oxford at the age of 85, was a woman of strong personality and intellectual gifts. She was the widow and the biographer of Mandell Creighton, Bishop of London, and she herself wrote historical books; but her chief activities were concerned with Church work at home and, in which she rendered long and valuable service.
Louise Creighton was one of the younger daughters of Mr. Robert von Glehn, a merchant in the City of London. She was born at Peak Hill Lodge, Sydenham, on July 7, 1850. Her father was a native of Reval, in Estonia, one of the Russian Baltic provinces. His family originally belonged to the Rhine provinces, but had migrated to Hamburg and then about eh year 1600 had joined the German colony which settled in the Baltic provinces. Mr. von Glehn's mother was a Scotswoman and he had been brought up with a strong admiration for this country. He settled in England at the age of 30, became naturalized, and married a Scotch lady, Agnes Duncan, by whom he had 12 children Mrs. Creighton being the tenth. One of the sons, whom became an an engineer and settled in France, changing his name to the French form, was the designer of the de Glehn locomotive.
With an ancestry partly German and partly Scotch, with relationships extending from Russia across Germany to France, and with parents of wide intellectual sympathies, the children of Mr. von Glehn, themselves endowed with no ordinary mental gifts, grew up in an atmosphere bracing and stimulating, both morally and intellectually. Their home at Peak Hill was the rendezvous of many men of note, including Emmanuel Deutsch, John Richard Green, and Sir George Grove, of whom the last-named lived hard by for many years and was almost reckoned one of the family.
Early in 1871 Louise von Glehn went to stay at Oxford, where she met her future husband, and in three weeks they were engaged. They were married in January, 18782, and settled down for a time in Oxford, here Creighton was Fellow and Tutor of his college. But in the autumn of 1874 he was offered the college loving of Embleton, in Northumberland, After much hesitation he accepted it, and there he became the intimate friend of young Sir Edward Grey, on whose character and life he exercised a deep influence. Thenceforward, and indeed from the very days of their marriage, the life of Mrs. Creighton is recorded, though with rare self-suppression and restraint, in her admirable biography of her husband. It was a singularly happy marriage. His was no doubt the larger mind and the more capacious interest; but she was a helpmeet worthy of him in all respects whether at Oxford, Worcester, Cambridge, Peterborough, or Fulham.
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Mrs. Creighton shared top the full the historical tastes and pursuits of her husband. her contributions to historical literature were numerous, and she had learnt in a good school how to treat even popular history and short biographical studies in the true historical spirit, Many years ago she wrote a novel, not in her own name> It contains graphic sketches of the country round her Northumbrian home, but it failed to attract much attention. She also edited many of the sermons, addresses, and other miscellaneous essays of her husband; but the Life of the Bishop in two volumes was her masterpiece. It was written in his spirit; to use her own words, she "wished always to remember that she was the wife of one who said that he would like his epitaph to be 'He tried to write true history.'" She also wrote, for private circulation a monograph on the Late Lady Grey, the first wife of Lord Grey of Fallodon. Among her other writings was a little book on "The Economics of the Household," subject on which she was an authority. On the death of the Bishop in January, 1901, Mrs. Creighton was granted apartments in Hampton Court Palace by King Edward VII. Here she lived until 1927, when she moved to Oxford.
It would be difficult to give an exhaustive account of Mrs. Creighton's activities. The work of the Church oversea had always a foremost place in her life. She was a devoted member of the S.P.G. Standing Committee, and she took a leading part in World Missionary Conferences both in these islands and in the United States an in the Pan-Anglican Congress of 1908. For more than 20 years she was the vice-chairman of the Central Conference of Women's church Work. During the War she was a strong supporter of the Life and Liberty Movement and the National Mission of Repentance ad Hope. She was a member of the Church Assembly from its formation in 1920 until 1930. It should also be recorded that in 1912 that she was appointed the only woman of the Joint Committee of Insurance Commissioners, that she was a member of the Royal Commission on University Education in London, and that she was three times president of the National Union of Women Workers, now the National Council of Women.
But a mere list of activities does not reveal a character or personality, and in Mrs. Creighton's case these are not easy to describe. her whole mind was set upon righteousness. Downright in manner and speech, with small regard for the graces and little diplomacies of life, she appeared at times uncompromising and even formidable. But to those who had eyes to see, behind all of this lay unflinching sincerity and a deep fund of sympathy, not least for young people,. With characteristic honesty she was once heard to say to a friend of widely differing character from her own. "As the years go on, I must grow gentler and you must grow sterner." Her portrait by Glyn Philpot was subscribed for and painted in 1918, and was presented to her by her old friend Mrs. Humphry Ward at a gathering of friends in the Guard Room of Lambeth Palace. In that house she was a frequent guest over a long period of years, being a staunch friend of Archbishop Davidson.
Mrs. Creighton is survived by two sons and four daughters, one son having been killed in the War. she will be buried in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral on Saturday at noon.