COWES, ISLE OF WIGHT
Lisburne, Queens Road, Cowes
Sir Godfrey Bt. Baring is buried beside his first wife Lady Eva Hermoine in this double plot on the right hand side of the main path very close to the furthest roundabout. Buried elsewhere, in Plot 24 in the cemetery, are his parents, Lt. General Charles and Helen Baring. Lady Eva Hermoine Baring died in 1934 and Sir Godfrey remarried in 1937. There were four children from the first marriage.
A Liberal, Sir Godfrey stood for parliament in 1906 his victory ended a line of 25 Conservative MPs on the Island. He was part of the radical government that, among other measures, introduced old age pensions. He was MP for the Island until 1910 and then MP for Barnstaple in Devon until 1918.
Sir Godfrey had a remarkable record of public service; as well as being the Island’s MP he was Chairman of the Isle of Wight County Council for an unprecedented 51 years – from 1898 to 1949. Why he retained the post for so long is summed up by a subsequent Chairman “Because the County Council thought that he was the best person to conduct their affairs.” He was also at various times the Island’s High Sherriff, Chairman of the County Bench, a JP and Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire and an Alderman of London City Council. He was also Chairman of the RNLI for 33 years. In recognition of his public service he was invested as a Knight Commander, Order of the British Empire (K.B.E.) in 1952.
In 1871, the year Godfrey was born, his father had had Nubia House built; it passed into Godfrey’s ownership when his father died in 1890. Nubia House was one of those grand sprawling houses much loved by the wealthy Victorians drawn to Cowes by sailing and the social scene of the annual Regatta.
Situated at the junction of Baring Road (named in honour of Sir Godfrey) and Egypt Hill it has about 35 rooms making it hugely expensive to maintain. Finally in 1955 it was sold having been owned by the Baring family for 84 years. For a short period it was a school, which unfortunately did not pay, and it was demolished in the 1960s to be replaced by bungalows. Sir Godfrey ended his years at Lisbourne, in Queens Road.
His father, Charles Baring lost his arm at the battle of Alma in 1854 during the Crimean War; he rose to the rank of Lt. General serving in the Coldstream Guards. Charles was the first Commodore and a founding member of the Island Sailing Club, Godfrey was both Vice & Rear Commodore of the club; a photo in the club shows him as a properly dressed race officer complete with telescope. Both were members of the Royal Yacht Squadron.
Charles Baring is widely credited with bringing yacht racing within the reach of small boat owners. Previously only large, expensive yachts competed on the Solent.