Shane, 5th Viscount Gough
26 August 1941-14 April 2023
It is with great sadness we announce the death of The Charlton Society’s President, Shane, 5th Viscount Gough. Here, long-standing friend and member of The Charlton Society, Cyril Young, pays his respects.
Shane, 5th Viscount Gough was born near Inverness and spent his early years there. His
mother was a Maryon-Wilson and her family were the last to live at Charlton House. Her
brother died unexpectedly from appendicitis in the late 1930’s before the discovery of
antibiotics, so it was she who inherited the patronage of St Luke’s Charlton, taking matters
very seriously. She passed that sense of duty on to her seven year old son, Shane, who
accompanied her on visits to the parish. He himself would later inherit the responsibility and
show great interest in the historic building, the worship and the music. He developed a
heart which beat for Charlton.
After Abberley Hall School he went on to Winchester College, spending a gap year travelling
around the world prior to Sandhurst and a commission in the Irish Guards. Six years later he
went into stockbroking and was involved with his Scottish estate.
Throughout his life he had a particular affection for Charlton and as well as taking an
interest in what happened at St Luke’s Church he also inherited a number of properties in
The Village which meant that he was interested in the local environment around the house
he never lived in: Charlton House which had been his mother’s ancestral home before being
sold by the Maryon-Wilsons to the council in 1925.
He was thrilled to be associated with The Charlton Society and took his Presidential duties
seriously. He was a fount of local knowledge and a very generous benefactor through his
family Trust to many charitable organisations. He has been a Founder Trustee of The
Woolwich Garrison Church Trust and in all his associations he has quietly supported and,
when necessary, helped by getting himself personally involved. He could be expected to be
around for Horn Fair, St Luke’s Day, Charlton House Art Exhibitions and Charlton Society
meetings. Although he may have lived elsewhere he made himself an honorary Charlton
resident with his quiet reserved character which will be greatly missed from local events.
As the millennium approached he learned about a national grant for establishing peals of
bells. Those at St Luke’s Charlton, which were a motley group of four or five bells, had been
taken down during WWII and, surprisingly, could not be found afterwards so the church
only had a single calling bell. Shane Gough decided to apply for a grant for which he then
had to match the considerable grant-funding himself so as to be able to commission The
Whitechapel Bell Foundry to cast a peal of 8 bells to hang in the church tower. He
attended, alongside parishioners, at the factory and watched the glowing molten bell metal
poured into the casts. He gave each of the bells a locally related name which is cast in
perpetuity on each bell. The largest (and lowest sounding) is named “Res non verba” the
motto of his grandfather. Translated it means ‘Deeds not words’ and that sums up this kind
and quiet man who has showed his love of the special nature of Charlton and whose bells
will now act as a fine memorial to be heard throughout the village, and into the distant
There is to be a private funeral in Scotland with a memorial service held in Charlton in the next few weeks. Details will be posted here.