The Lubbock family have a long and enduring relationship with Farnborough, through the purchase of the High Elms estate in the early nineteenth century, and its subsequent expansion and development.

During early Victorian times, the Lubbock family were regular church attenders at St Mary the Virgin in Downe. Members of the family are buried there up until 1879. Then the vicar there preached a rather fiery and fundamentalist sermon against Darwinist ideas in general, and Charles Darwin and John Lubbock were alluded to personally. After that, a cooling of relations followed, eventually resulting in a switch of allegiance to St Giles church Farnborough where the local vicar was much more liberal (with a small “l”).

With the purchase of Church Field in the nineteenth century, the Lubbocks and St Giles became neighbours. Several Lubbock gravestones can be seen today in the St Giles graveyard. There are also some burials and memorials in the family graveyard at High Elms , including Eric Lubbock, well known as the former MP for Orpington, who died in 2016.

Death of John Lubbock

In 1913, John Lubbock, the first Lord Avebury, passed away following a short period of heart trouble. He was 79 years of age.

John Lubbock Eric Lubbock  

The Times of the 2nd of June 1913 begins a description of his funeral thus.


The funeral of Lord Avebury took place on Saturday in Farnborough Chuchyard. It was wholly simple. There was no hearse, there were no carriages; all the mourners walked. The plain oak coffin was borne on the shoulders of men he had known and was followed by his family, a few intimate friends, and groups of tenantry and servants. The procession from High Elms wound in a long line down the drive across the public road, and, entering a wood, passed along a wide grass lane, altogether some three quarters of a mile, to the church, which was crowded with friends and neighbours.



High Elms

The history of the High Elms estate can be traced back to the Norman Conquest, when it was given by William the Conqueror to his half-brother, Odo, bishop of Bayeux.

In the early nineteenth century it was acquired by the Lubbock family, and in 1840 the astronomer and banker, Sir John Lubbock, 3rd Baronet inherited it on the death of his father. He built a grand new mansion in the Italian style. He became a friend of Charles Darwin, who moved in 1842 into the nearby Down House on the other side of the village of Downe, and Lubbock's son, the fourth baronet, also called John Lubbock and later Baron Avebury, was a close friend of Darwin and frequent visitor to Down House from his childhood. 

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