Royal Humane Society. Recognising Bravery.

Royal Humane Society

Instituted 1774 and Incorporated by Royal Charter in 1959

Patron:  Her Majesty the Queen

President:  HRH Princess Alexandra, the Hon Lady Ogilvy KG GCVO

Registered Charity Number 231469

50/51 Temple Chambers
3/7 Temple Avenue
London EC4Y 0HP
Telephone : 020 7936 2942
Click Here to send us an e-mail

The History of the Stanhope Medal

Chandos Scudamore Scudamore StanhopeThe Stanhope Medal (or Gold Medal) is awarded annually in memory of the romantically named Chandos Scudamore Scudamore Stanhope (1823-1871).

It is presented annually to an existing medal winner nominated by the following humane societies:

A direct descendant of the first Earl of Chesterfield, Stanhope joined the Royal Navy as a boy and achieved the rank of Commander.

In 1851, Stanhope had won a Royal Humane Society Silver Medal for saving the life of a seaman.

It seems he may have saved other lives, too. His obituary in The Times (10 July 1871) recalled that "on several occasions he showed readiness to risk his own life for others."

He died from smallpox  in 1871, at the age of 48. A group of his closest friends set up a memorial fund and raised several hundred pounds.

His friends decided to give the money raised to the Royal Humane Society on condition it would "agree to give annually a gold-medal for the case of the greatest gallantry during the year, to be called the "Stanhope Medal".

The first Stanhope Medal was awarded in 1873 to Captain Matthew Webb, who had attempted to rescue a sailor who had fallen from the rigging of a ship into the Atlantic Ocean. Webb swam for more than half-an-hour but found only the young man's cap.

Two years later, Webb would become the first person to swim the English Channel.

 Welcome   About the Society   History of the Society   Awards of The Society   Support Us   News & Events   Buckingham Palace 2009   Awards & Annual Report