Born: June 19, 1566, Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Died: March 27, 1625, De Vere Theobalds Estate
Buried: Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, SW1P 3PA
Buried alongside: George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham
Find A Grave Memorial# 1974
Spouse: Anne of Denmark (m. 1589–1619)
Children: Charles I of England, more
Parents: Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, Mary, Queen of Scots
Church: In the chapel of St John the Baptist in Westminster Abbey there is the tomb of Mary Kendall (died March 13, 1709/1710) dating from 1710 with an inscription recording: "That close Union and Friendship, In which she lived, with the Lady Catharine Jones (died April 23, 1740); And in testimony of which she desir’d That even their Ashes, after Death, Might not be divided.”
Address: 20 Dean’s Yard, Westminster, London SW1P 3PA, UK (51.49929, -0.1273)
Hours: Monday and Tuesday 9.30-15.30, Wednesday 9.30-18.00, Thursday and Friday 9.30-15.30, Saturday 9.30-13.30
Phone: +44 20 7222 5152
Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic abbey church in the City of Westminster, London, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is one of the most notable religious buildings in the United Kingdom and has been the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English and, later, British monarchs. Between 1540 and 1556 the abbey had the status of a cathedral. Since 1560, however, the building is no longer an abbey nor a cathedral, having instead the status of a Church of England "Royal Peculiar"—a church responsible directly to the sovereign. The building itself is the original abbey church. According to a tradition first reported by Sulcard in about 1080, a church was founded at the site (then known as Thorn Ey (Thorn Island)) in the VII century, at the time of Mellitus, a Bishop of London. Construction of the present church began in 1245, on the orders of King Henry III. Since 1066, when Harold Godwinson and William the Conqueror were crowned, the coronations of English and British monarchs have been held there. There have been at least 16 royal weddings at the abbey since 1100. Two were of reigning monarchs (Henry I and Richard II), although, before 1919, there had been none for some 500 years.
Notable queer burials at Westminster Abbey:
• Anne, Queen of Great Britain (1665-1714). Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, became close to the young Princess Anne in about 1675, and the friendship grew stronger as the two grew older. Correspondence between the Duchess and the Queen reveals that the two women enjoyed a royally passionate romance. They called each other pet names: Sarah was “Mrs. Freeman” and Anne was “Mrs. Morley.” When Anne came to the throne in 1702, she named Sarah “Lady of the Bedchamber.” Anne and Sarah were virtually inseparable; no king’s mistress had ever wielded the power granted to the Duchess. Over time, Sarah became overconfident in her position and developed an arrogant attitude toward Anne, even going to far as to insult the queen in public. A cousin of Sarah’s, Abigail Hill, caught the Queen’s eye during Sarah’s frequent absences from Court, and eventually replaced her in Anne’s affections. After her final break with Anne in 1711, Sarah and her husband were dismissed from the court. Sarah enjoyed a "long and devoted" relationship with her husband of more than 40 years, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. The money she inherited from the Marlborough trust left her one of the richest women in Europe.
• Sir Frederick Ashton (1904–1988), ballet dancer and choreographer, Memorial in Poet’s Corner (buried St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Yaxley)
• W. H. Auden (1907-1973), poet and essayist. A memorial stone was unveiled in Poets' Corner Westminster Abbey in 1974, adjoining the grave of John Masefield. Another memorial is at Christ College Cathedral, Oxford, where he graduated (buried Kirchstetten, Austria) (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner).
• Robert Baden-Powell (1857–1941) was a British Army officer, writer, author of Scouting for Boys which was an inspiration for the Scout Movement, founder and first Chief Scout of The Boy Scouts Association and founder of the Girl Guides. In the south aisle of the nave of Westminster Abbey, against the screen of St George’s chapel, there is a memorial stone to Lord and Lady Baden-Powell, by W.Soukop. Both are buried in Kenya and each had a memorial service held at the Abbey (Location in the Abbey: Nave).
• Stanley Baldwin (1867-1947), Prime Minister, memorial. A memorial to Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, was unveiled in the nave of Westminster Abbey in 1997. Designed by Donald Buttress and cut by I.Rees (Location in the Abbey: Nave).
• Francis Beaumont (1584–1616) was a dramatist in the English Renaissance theatre, most famous for his collaborations with John Fletcher (1579–1625.) According to a mid-century anecdote related by John Aubrey, they lived in the same house on the Bankside in Southwark, "sharing everything in the closest intimacy." About 1613 Beaumont married Ursula Isley, daughter and co-heiress of Henry Isley of Sundridge in Kent, by whom he had two daughters, one posthumous. Francis Beaumont and his brother Sir John Beaumont are both buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey, at the entrance to St Benedict's chapel near Chaucer's monument. Fletcher died in 1625 and is buried inside the Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge, London SE1 9DA. On 1November 6, 1996 the cathedral became a focus of controversy when it hosted a twentieth-anniversary service for the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. In 1997 openly gay cleric, Jeffrey John became Canon Chancellor and Theologian of the Cathedral (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner).
• Aphra Behn (1640-1689) was a British playwright, poet, translator and fiction writer from the Restoration era. Behn’s close association with royalty, especially her friendship with the King’s mistress, Nell Gwyn, and her long-standing liaison with John Hoyle (died 1692), whose affairs with other men were notorious, made Behn a prime subject for court and theater gossip. Just as Behn was notorious for presenting sensational subjects on stage despite societal taboos, she achieved a reputation for unusually explicit accounts of erotic and sexual episodes in her poems. Many of these celebrated gay male and lesbian relationships. She was buried in the east cloister of Westminster Abbey, near the steps up into the church. The inscription on her tombstone, written by John Hoyle, reads: "Here lies a Proof that Wit can never be Defence enough against Mortality." John Hoyle was stabbed to death on May 1692 and is buried in the vault of the Inner Temple church, Temple, London EC4Y 7BB) (Location in the Abbey: Cloisters; East Cloister).
• William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland (1649–1709) and King William III of England (1650-1702), are buried next to Queen Mary II. King William III is buried in great simplicity in the South Aisle of the Chapel of Henry VI, and his companion William Bentinck is buried in a vault nearby. Several members of the Bentinck family are buried in the Ormond vault at the eastern end of Henry VII's chapel in Westminster Abbey. None have monuments but their names and dates of death were added to the vaultstone in the late XIX century (Location in the Abbey: Lady Chapel).
• Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) died at 4:46 pm on April 23, 1915 in a French hospital ship moored in a bay off the island of Skyros in the Aegean on his way to the landing at Gallipoli. As the expeditionary force had orders to depart immediately, he was buried at 11 pm in an olive grove on Skyros, Greece. His grave remains there today. On 11 November 1985, Brooke was among 16 WWI poets commemorated on a slate monument unveiled in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.
• Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), musician and composer. In the north choir (or Musicians) aisle in Westminster Abbey there is a memorial stone. Britten refused a formal burial since he wanted to be buried beside his partner Peter Pears (Location in the Abbey: North Quire Aisle).
• Robert Browning (1812-1889), poet, is buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. He was born on 7 May 1812 in London, a son of Robert Browning (1782-1866) and Sarah (Wiedemann). He married Elizabeth Barrett, a famous poet in her own right, in September 1846 (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner).
• George, 6th Baron Byron (1788-1824). The memorial stone in Poets' Corner Westminster Abbey was given by the Poetry Society and unveiled on May 8, 1969 (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner).
• Noël Coward (1899-1973), composer and playwright. A memorial was unveiled in 1984 in the south choir aisle of Westminster Abbey. The black marble stone was cut by Ralph Beyer. Thanked by Coward’s partner, Graham Payn, for attending, the Queen Mother replied, "I came because he was my friend" (Location in the Abbey: South Quire Aisle).
• Major-General Sir Herbert Edwardes (1819–1868) was an administrator, soldier, and statesman active in the Punjab, India. He is buried in Highgate Cemetery. A memorial by sculptor William Theed junior, is on the wall of the west aisle of the north transept of Westminster Abbey. He is also commemorated by a stained glass window in the chapel of King’s College London. Brigadier-General John Nicholson (1822–1857) was a Victorian era military officer known for his role in British India. Nicholson never married, the most significant people in his life being his brother Punjab administrators Sir Henry Lawrence and Herbert Edwardes. At Bannu, Nicholson used to ride one hundred and twenty miles every weekend to spend a few hours with Edwardes, and lived in his beloved friend’s house for some time when Edwardes’ wife Emma was in England. At his deathbed he dictated a message to Edwardes saying, "Tell him that, if at this moment a good fairy were to grant me a wish, my wish would be to have him here next to my mother." The love between him and Edwardes made them, as Edwardes’ wife latter described it "more than brothers in the tenderness of their whole lives.” In the retaking of Delhi, India, Nicholson led 2,000 men (mostly British, Pathan, and Punjabi troops) through the Kashmiri Gate in Delhi. Mortally wounded he died at the hour of British victory and is buried at New Delhi (Location in the Abbey: North Transept).
• George Eliot (1819-1880) was not buried in Westminster Abbey because of her denial of the Christian faith and her "irregular" though monogamous life with Lewes. She was buried in Highgate Cemetery (East), Highgate, London, in the area reserved for religious dissenters and agnostics, beside the love of her life, George Henry Lewes. On 2June 1, 1980 a memorial stone was unveiled in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. Stone by John Skelton (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner).
• Thomas Gray (1716-1771)’s biographer William Mason erected a memorial to him, designed by John Bacon the Elder, in the east aisle of Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey in 1778. (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner)
• Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889), Poet. A memorial stone was unveiled in 1975 in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. By sculptor David Peace (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner).
• A. E. Housman (1859-1936), poet, has a memorial panel in the window above Chaucer's monument in Poets' Corner Westminster Abbey (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner). he has a memorial also at St Laurence (College Street, Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 1AN).
• Edward Hyde, 3rd Earl of Clarendon (1661-1723), was the only son of Henry and his first wife Theodosia, daughter of Lord Capel. As Viscount Cornbury was governor of New York from 1702 to 1708. He had a very bad reputation and "his character and conduct were equally abhorred in both hemispheres". He secretly married Catherine O'Brien in 1688 and died in obscurity and debt. His only surviving son Edward as Lord Clifton took his seat in the House of Lords but died unmarried of a fever after a drinking bout. His daughter Theodosia married John Bligh, later Earl of Darnley, and both were buried in the vault (Location in the Abbey: North ambulatory)
• Henry James (1843-1916), American born novelist. On June 17, 1976 a memorial stone was unveiled in Poets’ Corner Westminster Abbey by his great grand-nephew. Cut by Will Carter (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner).
• James Kendall, politician and governor of Barbados, is buried in the south choir aisle of Westminster Abbey. James’s niece Mary Kendall was buried in the chapel of St John the Baptist in the Abbey and has a monument there with a kneeling alabaster figure of herself. The inscription, written by the Dean of Westminster Francis Atterbury, reads: "Mrs Mary Kendall daughter of Thomas Kendall Esqr. and of Mrs Mary Hallet, his wife, of Killigarth in Cornwall, was born at Westminster Nov.8 1677 and dy’d at Epsome March 4 1709/10, having reach’d the full term of her blessed Saviour’s life; and study’d to imitate his spotless example. She had great virtues, and as great a desire of concealing them: was of a severe life, but of an easy conversation; courteous to all, yet strictly sincere; humble, without meanness; beneficient, without ostentation; devout, without superstition. These admirable qualitys, in which she was equall’d by few of her sex, surpass’d by none, render’d her every way worthy of that close uion and friendship in which she liv’d with the Lady Catherine Jones; and in testimony of which she desir’d that even their ashes, after death, might not be divided: and, therefore, order’d her selfe here to be interr’d where, she knew, that excellent Lady design’d one day to rest, near the grave of her belov’d and religious mother, Elizabeth, Countess of Ranelagh. This monument was erected by Capt. Charles Kendall." Her name was inscribed on the vault stone in front of the monument in the late XIX century. Mary’s father Thomas Kendall, son of a merchant, died in 1684 and Mary lived with the Earl of Ranelagh’s family while James was in the West Indies. Lady Catherine Jones (d.1740) was the Earl’s daughter. Charles was Mary’s cousin and was in the Royal Navy. Her estates were left to her cousin Canon Nicholas Kendall. The coats of arms show those for Kendall and also "or, a chief gules overall on a bend engrailed sable three bezants" for Hallet.
• Herbert, 1st Earl Kitchener (1850-1916), Sirdar of the Egyptian army (Commander in Chief), is remembered on the altar in the south aisle of the Lady Chapel (Location in the Abbey: Lady Chapel)
• D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930), novelist and poet. A memorial stone was unveiled in Poets' Corner Westminster Abbey on 1November 6, 1985. By David Parsley (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner).
• In July 2002, a memorial window to Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) – a gift of the Marlowe Society – was unveiled in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey. Controversially, a question mark was added to the generally accepted date of death. On 2October 5, 2011 a letter from Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells was published by The Times newspaper, in which they called on the Dean and Chapter to remove the question mark on the grounds that it "flew in the face of a mass of unimpugnable evidence.” In 2012, they renewed this call in their e-book Shakespeare Bites Back, adding that it "denies history,” and again the following year in their book Shakespeare Beyond Doubt. (Buried St Nicholas Churchyard, Deptford)
• Just inside the west door of Westminster Abbey there is a memorial brass, by Christopher Ironside, to Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (1900-1979) and his wife, Countess Mountbatten of Burma. He was Admiral of the Fleet (Location in the Abbey: Nave).
• It has been said that the greatest love of Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727)’s life was with a fellow mathematician, Fatio de Duillier. They collaborated for several years, and when they broke up over an argument in 1693, Newton suffered symptoms of a nervous breakdown. Fatio assisted John Conduitt (Newton’s nephew) in planning the design, and writing the inscription for Newton’s monument in Westminster Abbey. His large monument is by William Kent and J.M.Rysbrack. Newton has also a Memorial at Trinity College, Cambridge. Fatio died in 1753 and was buried at the church of St. Nicholas, Worcester (Location in the Abbey: Nave).
• After being ill for the last twenty-two years of his life, Laurence Olivier (1907-1989) died of renal failure on 11 July 1989 at his home near Steyning, West Sussex. His cremation was held three days later. The ashes of the greatest actor of his generation, are buried in the south transept of Westminster Abbey. His stone was cut by I.Rees (Location in the Abbey: South Transept).
• Wilfred Owen (1893-1918), poet. Memorial in the Poet’s Corner. The inscription on the stone is taken from Owen’s "Preface" to his poems; "My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity." (Buried Ors Communal Cemetery, Departement du Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France)
• Cecil Rhodes (1853–1902). A small tablet was unveiled in Henry VII's chapel in Westminster Abbey in 1953 (Location in the Abbey: Lady Chapel).
• Seigfried Sassoon (1886-1967), poet. Memorial in the Poet’s Corner. (Buried St Andrew Churchyard, Mells, Somerset)
• Henry John Alexander Seely (1899-1963), 2nd Lord Mottistone, of the architect firm of Seely & Paget, re-built several of the houses in Little Cloister, Westminster Abbey, after war damage. A statue by Edwin Russell remembers him (Location in the Abbey: St Catherine's Chapel Garden; Little Cloister).
• Robert Stewart (1769-1822), Viscount Castlereagh and 2nd Marquis of Londonderry, politician, was buried in the centre of the north transept of Westminster Abbey. His statue is by sculptor John Evan Thomas (Location in the Abbey: North Transept).
• George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628) and King James I of England (1566-1625) are buried in the Henry VII Chapel. King James I’s tomb was lost and not rediscovered until 1869. On His Majesty’s left is the magnificent tomb of his lover George Villiers. On his right is the tomb (with huge bronze figures representing Hope, Truth, Charity and Faith) of Ludovic Stuart, Duke of Richmond and Lennox (1574-1624), son of one of his earliest lovers, Esme Stuart.
• On 14 February 1995 a small stained glass memorial was unveiled in Poets' Corner Westminster Abbey for Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), playwright and aesthete (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner).
Queer Places, Vol. 2.1: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
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