26 February 1836. Accidental Death of a Catholic at Stowe
John Broadway (1771-1836) was clerk of the works to the Duke and the Duchess at Stowe of Buckingham and Chandos until his death there in 1836. He was a first-class steward and a family friend.
His untimely death was a great shock. Anna Eliza, the Duchess, wrote to her cousin Captain Percy Grace with the news:
We experienced a dreadful shock a Month ago from the awful death of poor Broadway who fell from a trap Door a height of twelve feet upon a Stone Pavement & was instantly killed close to the Room where we were at breakfast. It is impossible to describe the effect it had upon us all & I trust the awful lesson of the uncertainty of this life will be of lasting benefit!
Broadway was one of the last remaining Catholics at Stowe. The Duke’s mother was a Catholic and, even though his father was Protestant, he was a great supporter of the Catholic cause—as Richard (the Duke) was also. In Richard’s parents’ time, there were a good number of Catholics at Stowe including the librarian Charles O’Conor, an excommunicated Irish priest. After the death of Richard’s father, Catholic worship was outlawed at Stowe—though the family remained loyal to its friends and estate workers who practised the Catholic faith.
Broadway was buried a few miles from Stowe in the graveyard at Holy Trinity Church, Hethe, Oxfordshire.