On 11 June 2016, in celebration of Frances Burney’s birthday on 13 June, the Burney Society (UK) unveiled the restored stone memorial to Sarah Harriet (also known as Sarah Harriotte) Burney, Frances’s novelist half-sister. The stone memorials to Frances and Sarah Harriet, originally installed side-by-side in St Swithin’s Church, Walcot, Bath, were removed and lost during the installation of a church organ in the early 20th Century.
The Society commissioned Bath stonemason Tony Brown to reproduce the memorials using traditional methods and restore them to their original place. The memorial to Frances was restored in 2013 through the generosity of members of the Burney Societies of the United Kingdom and North America, and fundraising continued for the restoration of the memorial to Sarah Harriet. During this time Dr Lorna Clark (Carleton University) discovered a photograph of the original, allowing the precise wording to be reproduced.
We are grateful to everyone who has contributed to the fund for their generosity, and for their patience throughout the restoration process, and we were delighted to be able to invite members of both societies and the public to join us for the formal unveiling of the memorial to Sarah Harriet Burney, which restores the Burney Family memorial to completion. Before the plaque was unveiled, Lorna Clark gave a brief talk about her research on Sarah Harriet and her discovery of the original wording.
The restored plaques were dedicated to the memory of Hester Davenport, historian, biographer, and Chairperson of the Burney Society (UK) from 2010 to 2013.
Photo credit: Tony Brown