Christopher Marlowe
Died: 30 May, 1593
Field: Poet; playwright
Location in the Abbey: Poets corner
Type of memorial: Window
Type of material: Glass

A memorial to playwright and poet Christopher Marlowe was unveiled by Sir Antony Sher in the new window in Poets' Corner Westminster Abbey on 11 July 2002. Sir Antony read an extract from Tamburlaine the GreatMarlowe's invitation (Come live with me and be my love) and The Nymph's reply were sung. The window was designed by Graham Jones in 1994 and Marlowe's memorial consists of a diamond shaped pane with the inscription:

1564 Christopher Marlowe ?1593

The panel was the gift of The Marlowe Society who included the question mark beside the date of his death.

Other poets and writers commemorated in this window so far are Alexander Pope, Robert Herrick, Oscar Wilde, A.E.Housman, Frances Burney and Elizabeth Gaskell.

Marlowe was born in Canterbury, a son of John Marlowe, a shoemaker, and his wife Katherine (Arthur). He was educated at King's School Canterbury (where he was known as Marley rather than Marlowe) and at Cambridge university. Theatrical success came in London with his drama Tamburlaine the Great. In 1589 he was arrested after a fight where a man was killed but a verdict of self defence was given. He then went to the Netherlands but was deported for coining money. His last work was probably Hero and Leander. On 30 May 1593 he was stabbed to death by Ingram Frizer at the house of Mrs Bull, a cousin of a maid of honour of Elizabeth I, in Deptford. A coroner's report is in the National Archives. He was buried at St Nicholas's church, Deptford.

A photo of the memorial can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further reading:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004.

See the website of the Marlowe Society.