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Obituary: Hon Alderman Roger J Marjoribanks

Published on: 9 Mar, 2013
Updated on: 4 Sep, 2023

Hon. Alderman Roger J Marjoribanks

17.5.1933 – 28.02.2013 MA (Balliol College, Oxford) 

This obituary has been written by his wife and two daughters

Hon Alderman Roger Marjoribanks

Hon Alderman Roger Marjoribanks

Roger was a man of abiding passions which ran as constant themes of enjoyment and interest throughout his life. He loved politics and was a leading light of the Young Conservatives where he met and married Sylvia Anne Shirley (known as Sue).

A dedicated schoolmaster, he once calculated that probably over 3,000 children had listened to him bring history to life. An academic with a love of reading, writing and research, many people will remember him for his encyclopaedic knowledge of various social history subjects including Guildford and its environs, the Freemason movement and his own family history on which he published several papers, one of which is due to appear in the next addition of the Book of the Old Edinburgh Club.

Roger was motivated by a desire to serve his community for the common good. Following his career as a schoolmaster, he was closely involved in local government as a councillor on Guildford Borough Council from 1983 – 1991. During this time he was heavily involved in the decision to build the Spectrum Leisure Centre and the saving of Stoke Mill (now the Surrey Advertiser building).

In later days he became the Hon Remembrancer for Guildford Borough Council (2001-10) a role he thoroughly enjoyed, meticulously researching the daily life of Guildford and recording it for posterity. When ill health forced him to give up this position, the council awarded him the title of Hon. Alderman of which he was very proud.

Roger loved sport, particularly rugby and cricket. His daughters’ abiding memories of their childhoods involve sunny days, copious amounts of sandwiches, the sound of leather on willow and jovial evenings spent in country pubs. He was so proud to see his grandchildren taking up his sporting and academic mantles.

In the later years of his life, he concentrated on two main interests – that of researching the Marjoribanks Clan Family History and being a member of the Freemasons. He took an active role in several lodges, particularly Burma Kohima, giving lectures and writing articles to help fellow masons understand the history, values and spirituality of their craft.

Above all these things however was his huge personality. He was a gentle gentleman, a scholar, an honourable and kind person who believed in offering the hand of help to any in need. His bravery in facing his illness reinforced his family motto: ‘Advance with courage’.  Social, funny, widely travelled, he was the best kind of man, much loved and very much missed by all who knew him but particularly his wife, daughters and four grandsons.

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Responses to Obituary: Hon Alderman Roger J Marjoribanks

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    March 10, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    I only ever spoke to him once by telephone to gain permission to use extracts from his book on Burpham on the Burpham Community Association website. His response was charming and positive. “A true Gent”- RIP

  2. Tony Hardie Reply

    March 10, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to Sue and her family. I will always miss him and recall many delightful hours in his company at Ottershaw.

    • Julian Brearley Reply

      January 2, 2019 at 12:53 pm

      Thanks to you both for sparking a lifelong love of the English language and history… from an ever grateful ex-student.

  3. Jillian Doran Reply

    April 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    I never met Roger but am aware, through Holy Trinity Church, Guildford that a thanksgiving service was held today.

    On researching and reading about him, I am sad that I didn’t make time and get the chance to meet him. I send my condolences to his family. I hope the great memories of him stay alive and happy.

    Those of us who only have the internet to thank for knowledge about him are grateful for the work he did. Even though we didn’t know him personally. May his legacy and passion for the community live on.

  4. Robert Coleman Reply

    March 21, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    I just wanted to say I had the absolute honour of being one of Roger’s pupils at Emanuel School where he was such an enthralling teacher of history.

    I will always remember Roger as he had a profound influence on me. He was always able to maintain the undivided attention of his class with his wit.

    I just thought of Roger now and wish his family all the best for the future. He was a jolly good fellow.

  5. Imran Hussain Reply

    September 3, 2023 at 12:58 pm

    Likewise, I had the privilege of being Roger’s pupil at Emmanuel. My abiding memory is that of an erudite scholar and lovely human being.

    He brought history to life which our GCSE field trips to unpick the industrial revolution. He invited me to his house to help him with the gardening which I (much later) regretted not taking up.

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