Connections with Westminster Abbey

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This article by Raoul Lempriere was first published in the 1971 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise

Westminster Abbey, or, more correctly, the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter in Westminster, holds a special place in the affections of the British people. It is a hallowed place; a treasury of history. Its buildings do not date from any one century, but have taken shape with the passing of the years. Many, known and unknown, have contributed to their beauty.

During its long history, countless thousands have passed through the Abbey, some to pray and others to gaze in wonder at the splendour of its architecture, its many monuments and its countless other treasures. One or two visits are insufficient to see, let alone to take in, all that it has to offer. It is only over many visits, at different seasons and at different times of day - little by little - that it is possible to appreciate to the full this wonderful house of God and to absorb and savour its unique atmosphere. Channel Islanders should be proud to know that the Islands have a few links with this magnificent church - this House of Kings.

Duchy of Normandy

Channel Islanders take pleasure in teasing their English friends by telling them that the Channel Islands conquered England. Although this is intended as no more than a friendly legpull, there is a modicum of truth in the jest. At the time of the Norman Conquest the Islands were part of the Duchy of Normandy and as Norman as Rouen itself. It was Duke William II of Normandy who on 14 October 1066 conquered King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings and made himself King of England - William I, or, as he is better known, William the Conqueror. For many years the Jersey Society in London (founded 1896) held its annual dinner on the anniversary of the Battle. The tradition is still kept up, but the dinner has been replaced by a more modest function.

The Channel Islands' first link with the Abbey was forged when their Duke was crowned King of England there on Christmas Day 1066. That was in the old Abbey which was later demolished and rebuilt. Dukes of Normandy who became Kings of England continued to be crowned in the Abbey and even when by the Treaty of Paris (1259) the Kings of England forfeited their claim to continental Normandy, a person representing the Duke walked in each coronation procession until 1761, taking precedence over the Archbiship of Canterbury.

At the coronation of Charles II on 23 April 1661 that celebrated Jerseyman Sir George Carteret, ( -1680), then Vice-Chamberlain of the King's Household, took part in the procession (a fact mentioned by Samuel Pepys in his Diary) when the King rode in state into London on the previous day. On that occasion John Carie and Sir Francis Lawley, two gentlemen of the Privy Chamber, represented the Dukes of Normandy and Aquitaine. An engraving in The Entertainment of His Most Excellent Majestie Charles Il in his Passage through the City of London to his Coronation (1662) by John Ogilvy depicts Sir George Carteret riding in the procession.

This was the beginning of the de Carteret connection with the Abbey. Between 1677 and 1763 no fewer than nine members of the family were buried within its precincts. There was also one de Carteret wedding, that of Edward de Carteret, then of St Clement Danes, Middlesex, to Lady Bridget Sudbury, alias Clutterbuck of Ingatestone, Essex, daughter of Sir Thomas Exton, which took place on 21 November 1699. Their son George was buried in the Abbey in 1718.

The members of the de Carteret family buried in the Abbey are (with the date of their burial):

  • 1 November 1677: Edward de Carteret (no place mentioned, but simply "in the Abbey")
  • 25 March 1711: The Honourable Philip Carteret in the North Aisle.
  • 8 June 1715: Sir Charles de Carteret, Bt, in the North Aisle
  • 29 March 1717: Dame Elizabeth de Carteret, widow of Sir Philip de Carteret, in the North Aisle
  • 14 November 1718: George de Carteret, in the North Aisle
  • 23 December 1743: Frances, Lady Carteret (first wife of John Carteret, later Earl Granville), in General Monk's vault in Henry VII's Chapel
  • 27 October 1744: Grace, Viscountess Carteret, Countess Granville, widow of George, Lord Carteret, in General Monk's vault
  • 19 October 1745: Sophia, Countess Granville (second wife of John, Earl Granville), in General Monk's vault
  • 11 January 1763: John, Earl Granville, in General Monk's vault

De Carteret monuments

There are only three de Carteret monuments in the Abbey. They are to Edward de Carteret, the Honourable Philip de Carteret and Dame Elizabeth de Carteret. The monument to Edward de Carteret, son of Sir Edward de Carteret (1620-83), against the wall of the North Aisle, bears the inscription "To the Memory Of their most Beloved Son Edward de Carteret Gentleman (Son of Sir Edward de Carteret, Knight, Gentleman Usher Of the Black Rod, and first Gentleman Usher, Daily Waiter In Ordinary to the King); his Father, and Dame Elizabeth His Mother, have caused this Monument to be erected: His Body lieth under the Stone beneath; He died the Thirtieth Day of October 1677, aged Seven Years and Nine Months".

At the head of the monument are sculptured and painted arms - quarterly of Four, viz 1st and 4th Four Fusils in Fess, or, a crescent for difference. Carteret. 2nd Gules, on a bend argent three pheons of the field. 3rd Azure 9 billets or Crest. A squirrel sejant. Motto. Loyal Devoir.

Immediately to the west of Edward de Carteret's monument is that of the Honourable Philip de Carteret, who died while a Queen's Scholar of Westminster School. His bust, dressed in his Queen's Scholar's gown, surmounts the monument and beneath the bust are painted the arms of de Carteret. A figure of Father Time displays a scroll on which are some Sapphic verses composed by Dr Robert Friend, then Second Master of the School. The monument is signed as by Claudius David Eques. The inscription at the foot reads:

"Honorabilis Juvenis Philippus Carteret, Domini Georgii Carteret, Baronis de Hawnes Filius natu Minimus hujus Collegii Alumnus Academiae jam maturus Obiit Martii 19 MDCCX".
Abbey memorial
de Carteret monuments

On the scroll held by Time are the Verses:

Quid breves Te delicias Tuorum
Naeniis Phoebi Chorus omnis urget,
Et Meae Falcis subito recisum
Vulnere plangit?
En, Puer, vitae pretium Caducae!
Hic Tuam Custos vigil ad Favillam
Semper adstabo, et memori Tuebor
Marmore Farnam.
Audies clarus Pietate , Morum
Integer, multae studiosus Artis;
Haec frequens olim leget, haec sequetur
Aemula Pubes

These verses have been translated:

Time speaks
Why flows the mournful Muse's tear
For thee cut down in Life's full prime?
Why sighs for thee the parent dear
Cropt by the scythe of hoary Time?
Lo! this my Boy's the common lot!
To me thy memory entrust;
When all that's dear shall be forgot,
I'll guard thy venerable dust.
From age to age, as I proclaim.
Thy Learning, Piety, and Truth,
Thy great example shall inflame,
And emulation raise in Youth.

The monument is of interest as being one of the earliest (if not the earliest) representations of a King's Scholar at Westminister.

Elizabeth de Carteret

The monument to Dame Elizabeth de Carteret, the sister of Edward ( -l677), was removed from the Abbey cl868. What happened to it is told in the following extract from the notes of Henry Poole, Master Mason of the Abbey:

"The monument of dame Elizabeth Carteret (a pretty monument, 1717) next the north side of the organ, had become loose and ruinous; it was taken down and sent to Haynes, near Bedford, the residence of the then Sub-dean, who was the representative of the Carteret family. To supply the vacancy, the blank wall was faced with marble-cement, and it was afterwards richly adorned by Mr Clayton with the heraldry of the noble family of Carteret of Haynes. On the death, in 1880, of the Sub-dean, Lord John Thynne, he was buried in the family chapel in Haynes Church, and it was determined to place a tomb in the Abbey to his memory. No spot could be more appropriate for the tomb than that just described."

The whole monument, as it was, is illustrated in Ackermann's Westminster Abbey and the slab bearing the inscription still survives in the Abbey. The inscription reads thus:

"Near this place lyeth buried Dame Elizabeth Carteret, Daughter of Sir Edward Carteret, Knight, Gentleman Usher of ye Black Rod in the Reign of K Charles the Second: Relict of Sir Philip Carteret Bart, and by him Mother of Sir Charles Carteret Bart, her only Son, interr'd likewise near this place. By whose decease June ye 6th AD 1715, in ye 34th year of his age, was extinguished the Eldest branch of the ancient family of the Name of Carteret, Seigneurs of Saint Ouen in ye Island of Jersey. She died March ye 26th AD l717; aged 52 years."

Arms sculptured. Four Fusils in Fess, a Canton, Carteret; impaling the same, but without the Canton.

The monument to Lord John Thynne, referred to by Poole, was in due course erected and incorporates two shields displaying the de Carteret arms.

The only other Jerseyman buried in the Abbey is Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas (Le) Hardy. His monument by Sir Henry Cheere, which takes the form of a semi-reclining figure against an obelisk, stands against the west wall on the south side of the Great West Door and bears the following inscription:-

"Near the West Door of the Choir lieth Interr'd the Body of Sir Thomas Hardy Kt who died the 16 of August 1739, in the 67 year of his age; and, according to the Directions of his will was buried in the same Grave with his Wife, who died the 28 of April 1720. He was born in Jersey, and descended from Clement Le Hardy, who removed from France, and settled in that Island, and was made a Justice (commonly call'd there, a Jurat) in 1381, and was succeeded in the same Office by his Son and Grandson: his great Grandson Clement, was made a Lieut-Governor, and had the Office of Bailiff (or Chief Magistrate) of the Island, with the Seigneurie de Meleche, confer'd upon him for Life, by Henry VII, as a Reward for the most important Service he had rendered him when Earl of Richmond, after the Disappointment he had met with in his first attempt upon England; where being separated from the rest of his Fleet by a Storm, he landed privately in Jersey, intending to stay there till he could obtain leave from the French King to come into his Dominions, and was Shelter'd at the House of the said Clement, who protected him, and convey'd him safely to Normandy at the Hazard of his own Life, notwithstanding a Proclamation from Richard III, for apprehending the said Earl, had been publish'd in the Island: his Descendants have on all Occasions, distinguished themselves to the utmost of their power by their Loyalty and Fidelity to the Crown. Sr Thomas Hardy, to whose Memory this Monument is Erected, was bred in the Royal Navy from his youth, and was made a Captain in 1693. In the Expedition to Cadiz under Sr George Rook he commanded the Pembrook, and when the Fleet left the Coast of Spain to return to England, he was order'd to Lagos Bay, where he got Intelligence of the Spanish Galleons being arriv'd in the harbour of Vigo, under Convoy of 17 French Men of War, commanded by Mons Chateau Renaud, upon which he Sail'd immediately in Quest of the English Fleet, and notwithstanding he had been several days separated from it, by his great Diligence and judgment he join'd it, and gave the Admiral that Intelligence which engaged him to make the best of his way to Vigo, where all the forementioned Galleons and Men of War, were either taken or destroy'd. After the Success of that Action, the Admiral sent him with an account of it to the Queen, who order'd him a considerable Present and Knighted him; some years afterwards he was made a Rear Admiral, and received several other marks of Favour and Esteem from her Majesty, and from her Royal Consort, Prince George of Denmark, Lord High Admiral of England. He married Constance, Daughter of Colonel Hook, Lieutenant Governor of Plymouth, a Lady of great Virtue and Merit, by whom he had several Children; three of which surviv'd him, a Son and two Daughters: the eldest married to George Chamberlayne, of Wardington in the Country of Oxford, Esq the Son and youngest Daughter unmarried."

Arms: painted. Sab on a Chev betw three Escallops Or, as many Dragons' Heads, erased, of the Field, Hardy; Imp Quarterly Sab and Arg a Cross quartered betw four Escallops, all counterchanged of the Field, Hook.

Guernsey connections

Guernsey has two connections with the Abbey. First, Sir Henry de Vic and, secondly. Philip de Sausmarez.

Sir Henry de Vic was a son of John de Vic, the King's Procureur of Guernsey, and Elizabeth Pageot, a Guernseywoman. He was baptised in the parish church of St Peter Port on 23 November 1597. He became French Secretary to Charles 1 in 1635, was knighted in 1641 and created a baronet in 1649. He was subsequently Comptroller of the Household to the Duke of York and Chancellor of the Order of the Garter. He married Margaret de Carteret, daughter of Sir Philip de Carteret (1584-1643). Their daughter Anne Charlotte who married John, Lord Frescheville, is mentioned in Pepy's Diary. Henry de Vic died on 20 November 1671.

Philip de Sausmarez's monument by Sir Henry Cheere is in the North Aisle of the Choir. It is principally of white marble, with a background of red-veined Italian marble; and consists of a handsome pedestal, having scroll brackets at the angles, on which are two winged boys, or Genii, grouped with naval trophies; one of whom is removing the drapery from a Medallion of the deceased, and the other sitting weeping. Over the centre of the arch above are the family arms and supporters; and on the plinth is a basso-relievo of a sea fight. The centre of the pedestal displays a large shell, on which is the following Inscription:

"Sacred to the Memory of Philip de Sausmarez Esqr, one of the Few whose lives ought rather to be measured by their Actions than their Days. From sixteen to thirtyseven years of Age, he serv'd in the Navy, and was often surrounded with Dangers and Difficulties unparallel'd, always approving Himself an able, active, and gallant Officer. He went out a Lieut on board his Majesties Ship ye Centurion, under the auspicious Conduct of Commodore Anson, in his Expedition to the South Seas. He was commanding Officer of the said Ship when she was driven from her Moorings at the Isle of Tinian. In the year 1746, being Captain of the Nottingham, a 60-gun ship, He (then alone) attack'd and took the Mars, a French ship of 64 guns. In the first Engagement of the following Year, when Admiral Anson defeated and took a Squadron of French Men of War & India Men, he had a honourable share; and in the second, under Admiral Hawke, when the Enemy, after a long and obstinate Resistance, was again routed, in pursuing two Ships that were making their Escape, he gloriously but unfortunately fell. He was the Son of Matthw: De Sausmarez, of the Island of Guernsey, Esqr by Ann Durell of the Island of Jersey, his Wife. He was Born Novr. 17th, 1710: kill'd Octobr. 14th. 1747; and buried in the old church at Plymouth with all the Honours due to his distinguished Merits; and this Monument is erected out of Gratitude and Affection, by his Brothers and Sisters."

Arms: sculp and painted. Arg on a Chev Gu betw three Leopards' Faces, Sab as many Castles, triple towered, Or Sausmarez. Supporters: a Horse and a Greyhound collared. Motto: Orbe circum cincto.

On 30 April 1944, during the German Occupation of the Channel Islands, by the invitation of the Dean and Chapter, some 2,000 Islanders attended a service in the Abbey. Among the congregation were the Minister of Health and the Permanent Under-Secretary of the Home Office. That distinguished Jerseyman Lord Justice du Parcq (later a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary) (1880-1949) wrote a letter to The Times expressing the Islanders' appreciation to the Abbey authorities for their "sympathy and generosity".

The following Channel Islanders or persons with connections with the Islands attended Westminster School: The Honourable Philip Carteret, George de Cartert, John, Earl Granville, Robert, Earl Granville, James Hemery, Charles Edward Malet de Carteret, Reginald Malet de Carteret, Christopher John Molesworth Riley, Sir Havilland de Sausmarez and Clement Berkeley Hue.

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