Memorial: M4794

Monument in Westminster Abbey, London commemorating Admiral Edward Vernon d. 1757


Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England


'Sacred to the Memory / of / EDWARD VERNON / Admiral of the White Squadron / of the British Fleet / He was the Second Son of JAMES VERNON, / Who was Secretary of State to King WILLIAM III / and whose ability & integrity / were equally conspicuous / In his youth He served under Admirals SHOVEL & ROOKE / By their Example he learned to conquer / By his own merit he rose to command / In the War with Spain of MDCCXXXIX / he took the Fort of Porto Bello with six Ships / A force which was thought unequal to the Attempt / For this he received / the thanks of both Houses of Parliament / He subdued Chagre, and at Carthagena / conquered as far as Naval Force / could carry Victory. / After these services he retired / without Place or Title / from the Exercise of Publick / To the Employment of Private / Virtue / The Testimony of a good conscience / was his Reward / The Love and Esteem of all good men / his glory / In Battle: though calm he was Active & though Intrepid, Prudent, / Successful yet not ostentatious / Ascribing the Glory / to God / In the Senate, he was disinterested Vigilant and Steady / on the XXXth day of October MDCCLVII / he died as he had lived / the Friend of Man, Lover of his Country / The Father of the Poor / Aged LXXIII / As a Memorial of his own Gratitude / and of the Virtues of his Benefactor / this Monument was erected by his Nephew / FRANCIS Lord ORWELL / In the Year / 1763'


Description: Bust of the Admiral on a pedestal crowned by the figure of Fame, flanked by a shield bearing Medusa's head, and classical armour. Behind, flags and a pyramid on which are displayed Vernon's arms.
Type: Monument
Position: North transept
Materials: Marble
Date Erected: 1763
Artists: John Michael Rysbrack


Vernon, Edward
Age: 72
Date of Death: 30/10/1757
Cause of Death: Unknown
Rank / Occupation: Admiral of the White
Organisation: Royal Navy


Notes: Buried at Nacton, Suffolk. The design is in the V&A, E433-1946. The sketch shows the figure of Victory on the opposite side holding a flag over the head of Vernon's bust which wears a wig and armour rather than being shown in the classical style as on the completed monument. The sculptor's terracotta model of Victory as executed, is also in the V&A A-1-1969.

Bibliography: K.A. Esdaile 'English Church Monuments' (London, 1946) p. 99; Rupert Gunnis 'Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851' (London 1964) p. 338; John Physick 'Designs for English Sculpture 1680-1860' (London, 1969) pp. 108-9.
Recorder: A.J. Richardson 1980