Memorial: M4772

Memorial in Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London commemorating Lord High Admiral George Villiers, RN, d. 1628


Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England


'Perennis Memoriae / Celsissimi Potentissimiq Principis Georgii Villiers, Dvcis, Marchionis, Comitis Bvcki/inghamiae, Comitis Coventriae, Vicecomitis Villiers, Baronis Whaddon, Angliae Hib= / erniae, Walliae Thalassiarchae, Omnivm Archivm Propvgnacvlorvmq Maritimorvm / Ac Classis Regiae Moderatoris, Eqvorvm Regiorvm Magistri, Qvinq Portvvm/Et Appendicvm Domini Tvtelarii, Castri Dovernensis Praefecti, Omnivm Reg= / iorvm Saltvvm Theriotrophior Ac Nemorvm Cis Trentanorvm Iustitiarii, / Castri Regii Vindesorii Praesidid, Monarchae Britannico Ab Intimis Cubic= / vlis, Senatvvm Sanctiorvm Angliae, Scotiae, Et Hiberniae Consiliarii / Eqvitis Nobilissimi Ordinis Periscelidis, Consilii Polemici Domini / Praesidis, Academiae Cantabrigiensis Cancellarii Dignissimi', 'Tantvs Tamen Heros/Omnibvs Corporis Et Animi / Dotibvs Memorablis Dvobvs / Potentissimis Ivicem Regibvs Intimvs / Charissimvs Omnibvs Togae Ivxta Sagiq / Artibvs Florentissimvs Literarvm Et / Literatorvm Favtor Singvlari Humanitate Et Omni / Morvm Svavitate Incomparibilis Immani / Teterrimi Parricidae Facinore Trvcidatvs/Commvni Invidiae Qvae Semper / Virtvtis Et Honoris Comes Individva / Innocentissimo Sangvine Svo/Immeritissimo / Litavit' 'Catharina Vero, Heroina Splendidissima, Comitis Rvtlandiae Fila Et Haeres/Vnica: prolis, Svmmae Spei, Vtrivsq Sexvs, D.D.D.D. Mariae, Caroli [Qui In / Cvnis Obijt] Georgij, Francisci Novissimi Postumiq Felicissima Ab Ipso Mater / Facta: Svavissimam Charissimi Conivgis Svi Memoriam Qva Pietate Qvo Honore / Potvit Prosecvta: Hos Titvlos [Non Vanitati Litatvra, Sed Optimorv Principv/Mvnificentam Testatvra] Praefigendos Cvravit: Tristesq Exvvias, Et Qvicqvid / Ipsivs Adhvc Caelo Non Debitvr, Honorario Hoc Monvmento Maestissima / Inclvsit Anno Epochae Christianae MDC XXXIIIJ' [Brass plate] 'PMS / Vane multitudinis improperium his jacet / Cuius tamen / Hispania Prudentiam / Gallia Fortitudinem / Belgia Industriam / Tota Europa mirata est Magnanimitatem / Quem Daniae & Sweciae Reges Integerrimum/Germaniae / Transilvaniae & / Nassvviae Princip. Ingenuum / Veneta Resp / Philo-Basilea/Sabavdiae & / Lotharingiae Dvces Politicum / Palitinus Comes Fidelem / Imperator Pacificum / Tvrca Christianum / Papa Prostestantem / Experti sunt: / Quem / Anglia Archithalassum / Cantabrigia Cancellarium habuit Bvckinghamia Ducem', 'Verum siste Viator & quid ipsa Invidia Sugillare nequit, audj / HIC et ILLE / calamitosae virtutis, BUCKINGHAMIVS. / Maritus redamatus Pater amans, Filius obsequens / Frater amicisssim Affinis beneficus Amicus perpetu / Dominus benignus / & / Optimus omnium seuus / Quem / Reges adamarunt Optimates honorarunt / Ecclesia defleuit / Vvlgvs oderunt / Quem / IACOBVS & CAROLVS / Regvm perspicacissimi intimum habuerunt / A quibus / Honoribus auctus & negotiis onustus / Fato succubuit / Antiqvam Par Animo Pericvlv Invenit / Quid iam peregrine / AENIGMA MVNDI MORITVR / Omnia fuit nec quidquam habuit / Patriae Parens & Hostis audijt / Deliciae idem et querela Parlamenti / Qui dum Papistis bellum infert, insimulatur Papista / Dum Protestantium partib consulit occiditur a Protestante / TESSERAM SPECTA RERV HVMANARVM / At non est, quod serio triumphet Malitia / Interimere potuit Laedere non potuit / scilicet has preces fundens expirauerit / TVO EGO SANGVINE POTIAR [MI IESV] DV MALI PASCVTVR MEO' [Translation] In perpetual memory of the most high and mighty prince George Villiers, Duke, Marquess and Earl of Buckingham, Earl of Coventry, Viscount Villiers, Baron Whaddon, Lord High Admiral of England, Ireland and Wales, Master of the Horse, Warden of the Cinque Ports, Constable of Dover Castle, Chief Justice in Eyre of the Parks and Forests south of the river Trent, Constable of Windsor Castle, Member of the Privy Council, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, President of the Council and Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. So memorable a hero was he; highly endowed in both body and mind; the intimate in turn of two most powerful sovereigns, he was famous in peace and war; most famous in the arts; he was a magnificent patron of letters and literary men; of inexhaustible generosity to any worthwhile project, he was unrivalled for his singular humanity and the agreeable nature of his manners; his life was terminated by the most frightful and terrifying murder; to common envy (which is always the partner of virtue and honour) he fell an innocent and undeserved victim. Catherine, most glorious demi-goddess, daughter and sole heiress of the Earl of Rutland, was made by him [ie.Buckingham] a most joyful mother of children of the greatest promise and of either sex: Lady Mary, Lord Charles (who died in earliest childhood), Lord George, and Lord Francis his youngest and posthumous child. She honoured the most sweet memory of her dearest husband with all possible piety and respect, and saw to it that these titles should be appended, not to satisfy vanity, but to attest the generosity of the greatest Princes: and most sorrowfully enclosed within this monument, which honours him, his sad remains and whatever of him is not yet due to heaven, in the year of the Christian epoch 1634. Sacred to his dear memory: here he lies, a reproach to the fickle mob: however, Spain marvels at his prudence, France at his courage, Belgium at his diligence, and the whole of Europe at his magnanimity: who was known by the kings of Denmark and Sweden to be irreproachable, by the princes of Germany, Transylvania and Nassau to be upright, by the Venetian Republic to be a lover of monarchy, by the dukes of Lotharingia and Savoy to be a statesman, by the Count Palatine to be loyal, by the Emperor to be a peace maker, by the Turk as a Christian, by the Pope as a Protestant: whom England regarded as Lord High Admiral, Cambridge as Chancellor, and Buckingham as its Duke. Now stay, O passer by, and hearken to what even Envy herself cannot mock. Here is great Buckingham, a man of disastrous virtue: a loving husband, an affectionate father, an obedient son, a most kindly brother, a generous kinsman, an abiding friend, a beneficent lord, a nobleman who was the servant of all: whom kings loved deeply, whom the nobility held in honour, whom the Church lamented, whom the multitude loathed: whom James and Charles, most perspicacious of monarchs, regarded him as their intimate friend, adorning him with honours and burdening him with commissions: he succumbed to Fate before he found a danger to match his courage. What then, O stranger? The riddle of the world is dead. He was all things, yet had nothing: named his country's father and its foe: both the delight and the plaint of Parliament: who, while he was waging war against the Papists, was accused of papacy: while promoting the Protestant cause, was slain by a Protestant. Behold the dice of human fortunes. Yet it is not the case that malice shall truly triumph: it was able to kill him, but not to harm him: he who at the moment of death poured forth these prayers: Let me receive thy blood, my Jesus, while the wicked feast upon mine.


Description: The monument consists of an altar tomb or sarcophagus with a wall piece at the back, figures at angles and a tablet at the east wall. Black marble base. The sarcophagus is of black marble with pedestals at angles on which rest four obelisks supported on bronze skulls and formerly enriched with metal ornaments now lost. Effigies on the sarcophagus of the duke in repousse plate-armour enriched with crossed anchors and monograms (GKB), ermine tippet, robe or mantle, coronet, chain and garter, his duchess in an embroidered gown, cloak and coronet. At the angles of the tomb, four bronze seated figures, two female figures at the head, and Neptune and Mars at the feet. On the wall at the back, a black and white marble wall piece flanked by two pairs of ionic pillasters with gilt bronze capitals ornamented with ram's heads. On the frieze above are the initials 'GV DB KDB'. On the cornice two cherubs and on the upper cornice, two female figures supporting a cartouche of arms. Between the pilasters, kneeling figures of two daughters and one son, all in white marble, also three panels with inscriptions.
Type: Monument
Position: Chapel of Henry VII
Materials: Marble, bronze
Date Erected: 1634
Artists: Hubert Le Sueur, Isaac Besnier


Villiers, George
Age: 35
Date of Death: 1628
Cause of Death: Murdered
Rank / Occupation: Lord High Admiral
Organisation: Royal Navy


Notes: 1st Duke of Buckingham

Bibliography: 'An Inventory of the historical Monuments in London' vol. i 'Westminster Abbey' (London, 1925-9), 67a pl.196; Adam White 'A biographical dictionary of London tomb sculptors', 'Sixty first volume of the Walpole Society' (1999); Nigel Llewellyn 'Funeral monuments in post-reformation England' (Cambridge University Press, 2000) p. 273.