One of the memorial tablets in the church. up on the wall in the chapel wing. was erected as much for the father as the son in whose name it was erected. The tablet states it was in memory of John Phillips, but goes on to say he was the son of ‘John Phillips of Pall Mall, for upwards of half a century surgeon to the Royal Household’. The John who died and is buried in the churchyard also had a son John who went on to live at The Lodge and farmed Lodge Farm – what is now the stud – rented from the Bunburys. He died in 1890 and is also buried here.
John Phillips, the surgeon, was appointed surgeon to the Court of Queen Victoria who took a liking to him. One of his sons was a surgeon in the army, but went on to succeed him and, when a lady-in-waiting was taken sick, the Queen asked for attention. John said, ‘I will send the boy Charles round.’ The Queen found that amusing so always referred to him as ‘Boy Charles’ and, on the death of his father, he succeeded to his place in royal circles where he also was held in high esteem. He was a favourite of the Queen who more than once declared that so long as there was a member of the medical profession in the Phillips family, he should be appointed to the Court. Charles stayed in his post up to his death in 1863. There were no more medical members of the family.
The Phillips dynasty started from the daughter of Sir William Bunbury of Mildenhall. She married John Phillips from Norfolk in 1784. They had thirteen children, many of whom were born at Barton Hall. Many went on to have great careers and also many children. The family thrives today with the retired Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers. When Master of the Rolls, he carried a copy of Magna Carta at the ceremony in Bury some years ago not knowing of his connection with Great Barton. He later visited the village and took great interest in both the village and the history of the family and its origins.
Our thanks to Frank Holmes for giving us permission to share this with our readers