Many More Monuments

Chelsea Old Church has many monuments for those who died from 1532 onwards, some for famous people from Thomas More to Henry James, some below for those who lived and worshipped at Chelsea but do not get a mention in all the guidebooks and local events involving monuments:

 A list of wall, floor and graveyard monuments pre destruction of Church in 1941 here 

Wall monuments that survived the Blitz and added post 1941 here  also commemorative bells and chandeliers 

Patricia Casson 1914 -1992, garden

The engagement is announced between Lieutenant John Casson, R.N., son of Mr Lewis Casson and Miss Sybil Thorndike, the famous actress, and Miss Patricia Chester-Master, of Shanghai. 4 April 1934. Patricia Casson’s father-in-law, Lewis, was a famous actor and director, more relevant to CoC at is that he also helped his father build pipe organs

She edited 'My Dear One' a book published in 1984 that was a collection of love letters between Sybil Thorndike's parents: Agnes Bowers and Arthur Thor

David Heatley 1803 Agent Victualler, south aisle. The agent victualler for the fleet, wrote to Nelson offering to supply live oxen and agreed for 40 live oxen to be ready on Friday week next – also for 3 or 400 chests of lemons.

During the Corsica campaign between 1794 and 1796 Heatley had spent most of his time travelling round the western Mediterranean, buying cattle through the British consul John Udney, arranging for the use of bread ovens in Naples and on Elba, and even dealing with the Pope through the British consul at Rome.

Thomas Hurd and Frederica and Samuel Hurd, south chancel. Captain Thomas Hannaford Hurd (d1823) was an officer of the Royal Navy, who rose to the rank of captain, becoming the second Admiralty hydrographer, a Superintendent of Chronometers and a Commissioner for the discovery of longitude. Hurd Peninsula is named after him due to his role in the discovery of Antarctica.

Frederica (d1824), was the daughter of Lieutenant-General William Wynyard. She married Samuel Proudfoot Hurd in 1815 at St. Luke's, Chelsea

Monuments destroyed In 1539, we are told, "all the notable images, unto the which were made any especially pilgrimages and offerings, as the images of our Lady of Walsingham, Ipswich, Worcester, the Lady of Wilsdon, the rood of Grace of our of Boxley, and the image of the rood of Saint Saviour at Bermondsey, with all the rest, were brought up to London, and burnt at Chelsey, at the command of the foresaid Cromwell”,(Weever’s Funerall Monuments,1631, p.l11)

Richard Stewart-Jones located north aisle

His memorial reads as follows: “In memory of Richard Stewart-Jones who honoured God and made the rebuilding of this church his ardent cause. He believed that what is right is never impossible and what is beautiful is worth fighting for, even to death. Merry in spirit and kind in deed, he was loved by a multitude of friends. He died in 1957, aged forty three years.”

His obituary in the Times of 26th September 1957:

“Mr Richard Stewart-Jones, who died suddenly in London on Sunday at the age of 43, was well known in Chelsea for devoted work on behalf of numerous causes, especially the Chelsea Society, of which he was honorary secretary for several years, and the affairs of the Old Church, whose restoration after bombing he worked so hard to bring about “

He was the owner of several of the architecturally well-known houses at the western end of Cheyne Walk, including most of Lindsey House.

Mary Bolney located in South Aisle west

Near this Place Lyes the Body of

Mrs Mary Bolney Widow, late of Little

Chelsey, Daughter of Bartholow Smith

Esqre of the Soke in Winchester. She was

twice Married, first to John Wybarnd Esqre.

of Hawkwell in Kent by whom she had

2 Sons & 3 Daughters, & afterwards to

Geo Bolney of Bolney Esqre by whom

3 Sons & 6 Daughters, & died in the 88th

Year of her Age Anno Domini 1716. 

She outlived both her husbands and had 14 children but that is about all there is recorded about her, her brother became a priest, then one of the four Bishops appointed in the reign of James II. Her family (Smith) were Recusant (defined as English Roman Catholics of the time from about 1570 to 1791 who refused to attend services of the Church of England and thereby committed a statutory offence), but she seems to have broken the family mould and been buried under the auspices of the Church of England here at Chelsea Old Church

.Mathew Squire 1800 south aisle wall

An elliptical tablet of white marble, inscribed as follows with unfortunate wording

Near this Spot is Interr'd the remains of Matthew Squire Esq Rear Admiral of the Red of his Majesty's Royal Navy who departed this Life 22 January 1800 Aged 55 Years his Virtues are to well known to be recorded here being sincerely regretted by all his Friends.

Carew Thomas Elers. 1755-1821 His son also Carew Thomas was vicar of Bickenhill and 17th in direct descent to Edward I, his grandson, also Carew Thomas married Meri Ihaia Whakamairu, the daughter of a Maori chief in New Zealand, he also joined the Klondike gold rush, returned to NZ where he was an advocate in the then native land court.

Anna Maria Powel. Who was deliver'd from the Prison of the Body the 12th day of November 1745 in the 50th Year of Her Age Reader forbear nor Shed One Useless Tear Her Soul is fled, the Body now lies here But when Immortal Life it shall put on By Pow'r deriv'd from GOD'S Eternal SON Then Death no more shall seperate the Pair But Endless joys shall crown the Waking Fair Till then Suspend thy Thoughts of what She is But Live like Her and Gain Eternal Bliss.

Short life expectancy Children's life expectancy in 18C revealed on two tombs: William Clarkson d 20/6/1712: 3 children Theodosia 24/5/1704-28/8/1704, Abrahall 26/10/1703-8/6/1708, Gilbert 8/8/1709-sept 1709.

George Hay Drummond d 9/12/1795: Marianne aged 4 month, John aged 3 years, George aged 6 years

Leonard Frederick Harrold. 1858-1924 the London Agent for one of the largest shipping agents in Australia, with massive warehouses in Port Adelaide and Port Augusta and Port Pirie, and branches in Broken Hill, Sydney and Melbourne. He visited Adelaide in 1875. More Chapel restored by his wife 1931

Catherine Mahon, 27/4/1822. 20 years old wife of Reverend Thomas Mahon. On her tomb: Song, beauty, youth, love, virtue, joy! This group of bright ideas, flowers of paradise, as yet inforfeit! In one blaze we bind, kneel and present it to the skies, as all we guess of heaven; and these were all her own; and she was mine; and I was – was! – most blessed gay title of the deepest misery. Located More Chapel.

Narcissus Luttrell (1657–1732) an English historian, diarist, and bibliographer, and briefly Member of Parliament for two different Cornish boroughs. Luttrell's diary is often the only record of debates within the Palace of Westminster. As a result, Luttrell provides crucial political information which cannot be found elsewhere He also compiled a bibliography of texts relating to the Popish Plot, that was a fictitious conspiracy concocted by Titus Oates who alleged there was an extensive Catholic conspiracy to assassinate Charles II. Located on floor at east end of Nave.

Adam Littleton was rector of Chelsea from 1669 to 1694. His Latin Dictionary, which has made his name well known, was published in 1673. In 1680 he published a volume of sixty-one sermons, which he dedicated to the inhabitants of the parish.

Denyer Family. Sacred to the memory of John and Martha Denyer. Their Remains are interred in Millman Chapel in the South Aisle.Their daughter Elizabeth Dennis Denyer bequested the family’s collection of 25 early editions of the English Bible to the Bodleian Library. They included Cranmer’s 1540, Tyndale’s New Testament 1536, and Erasmus’ Testament 1540.

100+ years since the end of World War One, no monuments in the Church now for those parishioners who died in that war and there must have been several. VC's were awarded to seven men from the borough during that period.

Four influential women commemorated; dedicated to Margaret Roper, Magdalen Herbert, Mary Astell, Elizabeth Blackwell, located in the More Chapel. This tablet is dedicated by University Women of Crosby Hall & by members of the Chelsea Society.

Crosby Hall, built in Bishopsgate 1466 and transferred in 1926 to Cheyne Walk, was faithfully reconstructed by the architect Walter Godfrey. It stood isolated, without an obvious use, until the 1920’s, when it was incorporated in a residential hostel built by the British Federation of University Women. The residents dined under the great oak roof where More had entertained the great of Europe.

Mary Astell 1666 –1731 More Chapel, was one of the first English women to advocate the idea that women were just as rational as men, and just as deserving of education. First published in 1694, her Serious Proposal to the Ladies for the Advancement of their True and Greatest Interest presents a plan for an all-female college where women could pursue a life of the mind. 

After withdrawing from public life in 1709, she founded a charity school for girls in Chelsea as a token of the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, organizing the school's curriculum herself. She lived in or near Swan Walk but actual address unknown so unable to get a blue plaque installed.

Elizabeth Blachrie Blackwell 1707-1758 Devised a book A Curious Herbal. In order to develop the illustrations for the Herbal she examined and drew specimens of plants available in the Chelsea Physic Garden. She also produced the botanical engravings and hand coloured them.

Magdalen Herbert 1568-1627, More Chapel, was a pious and beautiful women, she bore seven sons and three daughters, She moved to London where she became the friend and patron of John Donne, who stayed at her house in Chelsea and dedicated his 'Holy Sonnets' to her.

Margaret Roper 1505-1544, More Chapel, originally interred in More family vault, daughter of Thomas More, gave early indications of extraordinary intellectual abilities and deep devotion to God, she was proficient in Greek and Latin, prose and verse, philosophy and history, and had a thorough knowledge of music, arithmetic, and sciences.

Thomas More was concerned that women who publicly exhibited their intelligence would harm the public’s acceptance of educating girls: “since erudition in women is a new thing and a reproach to the sloth of men,” women should maintain ”appropriate modesty”. However Margaret was a prolific writer and creative translator, but only a portion of her work has survived. Her Latin and Greek verses, her Latin speeches, her imitation of Quintilian, and her treatise, The Four Laste Thynges are lost. She became the first non-royal woman to publish a book she had translated into English.

Anne Chamberlyne 1667-1691, monument destroyed in 1941 but a story to tell.

In an adjoining vault lies Anne, the only Daughter of Edward Chamberlyne, Doctor of Law’s, born in London, 20 January 1667, who having declined marriage at 23, and aspiring to great achievements unusual to her sex, and age, on 30 June 1690, on board a fire ship in man’s clothing, (a bit like Jeanne Baret) as second Pallas, chaste and fearless, fought valiantly six hours against the French, under the command of her Brother.

Returned from the engagement and after some few months married John Spragg, Esq., with whom, for sixteen more months, she lived most amiably happy. At length, in childbed of a daughter, she encountered death 30 October 1691. This monument, for consort most virtuous and dearly loved, was erected by her husband. Snatched, alas, how soon by sudden death, unhonoured by progeny like herself, worthy to rule the Main!

Paul Bedford (1792?–1871), was an English comedian, south aisle. The first printed mention he played Don Guzman in Giovanni in London. Then playing with Kean in Richard III which appears in his "Recollections". Bedford accepted an offer from Sir Henry Bishop for Drury Lane, his first appearance as Hawthorn in 'Love in a Village'. Bedford played Bernhard, head ranger of the forest, in Soane's version of Der Freischütz. Soon afterwards he was promoted to Caspar in the same opera. Through successive managements Bedford kept a position chiefly due to his vocal capacity. In 1833 he joined, still as a singer, the company at Covent Garden under Macready, appearing in Fra Diavolo, Gustavus III, and other operas.

During many years he played second low-comedy parts at the Adelphi, Bedford was a sound and trustworthy actor of the rollicking sort. His figure and his voice formed a conspicuous portion of his stock in art. Recalling his singing in Adelphi farces, in a whole series of which he appeared, one is apt to forget that he obtained reputation in Lablache's great character of Don Pasquale. He had been above fifty years on the stage. He died of a dropsical at Lindsey Place, Chelsea, and was buried in Norwood Cemetery

Benjamin Dodd Esquire located in South Aisle

Tablet of black marble and two small drops of the same with the inscription:

Sacred to the Memory of Benjamin Dodd Esquire of this Parish who died on the 10th of November 1796 Aged 70 Years This was a Man

'A Man' obviously but presumably refers to;

This was the noblest Roman of them all.

All the conspirators save only he

Did that they did in envy of great Caesar.

He only in a general honest thought

And common good to all, made one of them.

His life was gentle, and the elements

So mixed in him that Nature might stand up

And say to all the world, “This was a man.”

Mark Anthony talking of Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare

William Frend De Morgan located in Lawrence Chapel (16 November 1839 – 15 January 1917) was an English potter, tile designer and novelist. A lifelong friend of William Morris, he designed tiles, stained glass and furniture for Morris & Co. from 1863 to 1872. His tiles are often based on medieval designs or Persian patterns, and he experimented with innovative glazes and firing techniques. Galleons and fish were popular motifs, as were "fantastical" birds and other animals. Near the beginning of his career De Morgan was commissioned to install the tiles in the Arab Hall of Leighton's house, designed by architect George Aitchison also he was commissioned by P&O to provide tile decorations for twelve new liners 

In 1872, De Morgan set up a pottery works in Chelsea where he stayed until 1881. His inventive streak led him to spend hours designing a new duplex bicycle gear and also lured him into complex studies of the chemistry of glazes, methods of firing, and pattern transfer.

He turned his hand to writing novels, and became better known than he ever had been for his pottery. His first novel, Joseph Vance, was published in 1906, and was an instant sensation in the United States as well as the United Kingdom. This was followed by An Affair of Dishonour, Alice-for-Short, and It Never Can Happen Again. The genre has been described as 'Victorian and suburban'.

Leonard Henry Courtney, located in the garden on south wall

Leonard Henry Courtney, 1st Baron Courtney of Penwith PC (6 July 1832 – 11 May 1918) was a British politician, academic and man of letters, Courtney was born at Penzance, Cornwall. He was educated at St John's College, Cambridge, where he was Second Wrangler (second highest undergraduate score in mathematics) and first Smith's prizeman (£25 awarded for the best performance in a series of examinations), and elected a fellow of his college.

He and his wife Catherine were one of the foremost of the so-called Pro-Boer Party during the South African War. He was known as a stubborn fighter for principle, and after finding that the government's Reform Bill in 1884 contained no recognition of the scheme for proportional representation, to which he was deeply committed, he resigned office. Courtney was a prominent supporter of the women's movement through the influence of his wife and sister-in-law. In his earlier years, he was a regular contributor to The Times

In May 1918, aged 85, he was living at 15 Cheyne Walk at the time of his death. He left effects totalling £56,672 2s 6d. The peerage became extinct.

In 1919, the now widowed Lady Courtney hosted the first meeting of the Fight the Famine Committee at 15 Cheyne Walk. The Save the Children Fund was to develop from that committee  Source: wikipedia





Mary Bolney

Mathew Squire

Carew Thomas Elers




Roper=Herbert=Astell=Blackwell - four distinguished Chelsea women, carved by Mary Gillick

Magdalen Herbert 

   Margaret Roper

Mary Astell (possibly)

Elizabeth Blackwell

French botanist Jeanne Baret (1740-1807) was reportedly the first woman to circumnavigate the earth, albeit disguised as a man.

Paul Bedford

Benjamin Dodd

William Frend de Morgan

Leonard Henry Courtney

Leonard Henry Courtney