John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury was born April 30, 1834. He  was a banker, influential Liberal-Unionist politician, and naturalist who successfully promoted about a dozen measures of some importance in Parliament but was perhaps best known for his books on archaeology and entomology.  

He became a partner in his father’s bank at 22, succeeded him to the baronetcy in 1865, and served on commissions relating to coinage and other financial questions.

In Pre-historic Times (1865), long used as a textbook of archaeology, and in The Origin of Civilization and the Primitive Condition of Man, he coined the terms Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) and Neolithic (New Stone Age).  

Lubbock was elected to Parliament for Maidstone, Kent (1870 and 1874), and served as vice chancellor of the University of London (1872–80). During that period he secured passage of the Bank Holidays Act (1871) and wrote The Origin and Metamorphoses of Insects (1873) and British Wild Flowers (1875).

Elected to Parliament for the University of London (1880–1900), he influenced passage of the Bills of Exchange and Ancient Monuments Protection acts (1882) and the Shop Hours Act (1889). He also wrote Ants, Bees, and Wasps (1882) and On the Senses, Instincts, and Intelligence of Animals (1888), which established him as a pioneer in the field of animal behaviour.

High Elms

Sir John Lubbock, 3rd Baronet inherited High Elms on the death of his father. He built a grand new mansion in the Italian style. He became a friend of Charles Darwin, who moved in 1842 into the nearby Down House on the other side of the village of Downe, and Lubbock's son, the fourth baronet, also called John Lubbock and later Baron Avebury, was a close friend of Darwin and frequent visitor to Down House from his childhood. 

Death of John Lubbock

In 1913, John Lubbock, the first Lord Avebury, passed away following a short period of heart trouble. He was 79 years of age.

The Times of the 2nd of June 1913 begins a description of his funeral thus.


The funeral of Lord Avebury took place on Saturday in Farnborough Chuchyard. It was wholly simple. There was no hearse, there were no carriages; all the mourners walked. The plain oak coffin was borne on the shoulders of men he had known and was followed by his family, a few intimate friends, and groups of tenantry and servants. The procession from High Elms wound in a long line down the drive across the public road, and, entering a wood, passed along a wide grass lane, altogether some three quarters of a mile, to the church, which was crowded with friends and neighbours.



High Elms - History

The history of the High Elms estate can be traced back to the Norman Conquest, when it was given by William the Conqueror to his half-brother, Odo, bishop of Bayeux.

In the early nineteenth century it was acquired by the Lubbock family.

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