Monument to English Long Rider Inaugurated in London
(Page 1 of a letter of recommendation written by Queen Victoria in support of Kate Marsden’s journey to Siberia.)
One of the most remarkable equestrian explorers of the 19th century was English Long Rider Kate Marsden. With the aid of Queen Victoria and Countess Tolstoy, Marsden made a hazardous ride from St. Petersburg to Siberia, where she sought to bring medical assistance to a remote colony of Russian lepers.
Kate Marsden in her Siberian winter coat
Upon her return to London, Marsden became one of the first women granted the honour of being made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
which is published by the Long Riders’ Guild Press, remains a classic.
Sadly, in later life Kate spent her final years penniless in the Hillingdon Borough of London. When she died in 1931, the once famous Long Rider was placed in an unmarked grave, where she remained until the Siberian people she had championed came to her emotional rescue.
Though Marsden’s legend had diminished in England, she remained a revered heroine in Siberia. In 2019, the Vilyuisk district, to which she travelled in Yakutia, commemorated the 160th anniversary of Kate’s birth by erecting a monument in her honour.
Professor Soterios A. Mousalimas, who helped organize the effort, said, “The idea to erect the monument was initiated by residents of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), where Kate arrived at the end of the 19th century in search of herb that cures leprosy.”
|Among the guests of honour were Teji Barnes, the Deputy Mayor of Hillingdon, the Right Reverend Jonathan Goodall, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s liaison to the Orthodox Churches in the United Kingdom, Svetlana Ivanovna Yegorova-Johnstone from the Russian Academy of Sciences and Marina Ilyinichna Kysylbaikova, International Relations Manager for Arctic Film
His Grace Bishop Matthew of Sourozh, from London’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition, presided at the consecration of the monument. Diplomat Alexander Igorеvich Novikov was present to represent the Russian Federation.
|English Long Rider Cathleen Leonard gave an impassioned speech explaining how Kate Marsden has been an inspiration to a new generation of equestrian explorers.
The unique event was described in an extensive article published by Yakutia Today and was filmed by Arctic Film, which is preparing to release a documentary about Kate’s life and travels.
The striking stone headstone is adorned with inscriptions in three languages:
Sakha (Yakut) language
Үйэлэргэ өлбөөдүйбэт дириҥ махтал!
“Deep gratitude, unfading through the ages!”
“With eternal gratitude from the people of the
Vilyuisk Ulus, Sakha Republic (Yakutia)”
|Atop the monument is a ceramic photo which depicts the courageous Kate Marsden mounted on her Yakut horse.
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