History

John Blair

The Revd. John Blair, author of the well known book The Chronology and History of the World, was buried near the door of the north transept. He has no monument and his gravestone, in front of Admiral Wager's monument, is now covered. The inscription read:

"The Revd. John Blair, L.L.D., Prebendary of this Collegiate Church. Died June 24 1784 aged 59 years. Henry Blair son of the above John Blair died January 5th 1774 aged 2 years"

He was descended from the Blairs of Balthayock in Perthshire, Scotland, but little is known about his parentage. Educated in Edinburgh he studied for a career in the Church of Scotland but he went to London and took orders in the Church of England instead. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society after the publication of his book and became chaplain to the Princess-Dowager of Wales and maths tutor to Prince Edward, later Duke of York. From 1761 he was prebendary at Westminster Abbey and also vicar of Hinckley in Leicestershire and later vicar of St Bride's church in London and of St John's Westminster. On 22 February 1770 at St Margaret's Westminster he married Ann Persode, daughter of Colonel John Darby. Several children were baptised in the Abbey between 1771 and 1782 ie. Frances (died 1800), Henry, Sarah (who married Captain Hyndman in Bengal), John, Anna Priscilla, William, Harriet, Patrick George and Edward.