Agnes Weston
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Agnes Weston
Agnes Weston
Agnes Weston.jpg
"Aggie" Weston
Born26 March 1840
London, England
DiedOctober 23, 1918(1918-10-23) (aged 78)
NationalityUnited Kingdom
Occupationphilanthropist, temperance activist, writer

Dame Agnes Elizabeth Weston, GBE (26 March 1840 - 23 October 1918), also known as Aggie Weston, was an English philanthropist noted for her work with the Royal Navy. For over twenty years, she lived and worked among the sailors of the Royal Navy. The result of her powerful influence is evidenced in the widespread reform which took place in the habits of hundreds of men to whom her name was a talisman for good. In her day, one man out of every six in the navy was a total abstainer. Weston's work included her monthly letters to sailors, "Ashore and Afloat", which she edited, and the "Sailors' Rests", which she established in Portsmouth.[1] She was the first woman ever given a full ceremonial Royal Navy funeral.

Early life

Weston was born on 26 March 1840 in London, the daughter of a barrister. She was influenced[clarification needed] from her teenage years onward by the Rev James Fleming.[2]


In 1868, she took up hospital visiting and parish work in Bath, and through beginning a correspondence with a seaman who asked her to write to him, developed into the devoted friend of sailors, superintendent of the Royal Naval Temperance Society, and co-founder (with Sophia Wintz) of three Royal Sailors' Rests (two in Plymouth and one in Portsmouth), or clubs for sailors, by the start of the First World War. She published a monthly magazine, Ashore and Afloat, and established temperance societies on naval ships. She published Life Among the Bluejackets in 1909.[3]

Weston served as Superintendent of Work among Sailors for the World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and was the President of the Plymouth Branch of the National British Women's Temperance Association.[1]


In June 1918, her work for the Royal Navy was publicly recognised when she was appointed Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE).[4] On her death at age 78 in Devonport she became the first woman ever given a full ceremonial Royal Navy funeral.[3]


Charles Causley's first collection of poems, Farewell, Aggie Weston[3] (1951) contained his "Song of the Dying Gunner A.A.1":

Farewell, Aggie Weston, the Barracks at Guz,
Hang my tiddley suit on the door
I'm sewn up neat in a canvas sheet
And I shan't be home no more.

A portrait of her is included in the mural of heroic women by Walter P. Starmer unveiled in 1921 in St Jude's Church, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London.[5]


  1. ^ a b Chapin 1895, p. 17.
  2. ^ Kennerley, Alston. "Weston, Dame Agnes Elizabeth". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/36842.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)(subscription required)
  3. ^ a b c Weston Mill, Plymouth: The Mother of the Navy National Museum of the Royal Navy,; accessed 19 June 2017.
  4. ^ Agnes Weston named GBE,; accessed 31 August 2014.
  5. ^ "Campaign from on high at St Jude's", Church Times, 31 July 2015


External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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