History

Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Richard Brinsley Sheridan, statesman, dramatist and wit, was buried in Poets’ Corner, near the grave of David Garrick. The inscription on his black marble gravestone, re-cut in 1956 but now rather faint, reads:

“RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN BORN 1751 DIED 7th JULY 1816. THIS MARBLE IS THE TRIBUTE OF HIS ATTACHED FRIEND PETER MOORE”.

The funeral procession made its way to the Abbey from Mr Moore’s house in Great George Street, Westminster and many dukes and nobles attended. Richard was born in Dublin, a son of Thomas Sheridan, actor, and his wife Frances (Chamberlaine), novelist. His parents took Richard and his sister Alicia to live in Windsor and he attended Harrow School. In 1773 he married Eliza Linley, a singer. Richard gave up the study of law to try writing and his comedy The Rivals was performed in 1775 and he had a controlling share in the Drury Lane theatre. The School for Scandal was another popular work. Sheridan became interested in politics and was Member of Parliament for Stafford and later secretary to the Treasury. He was known as a brilliant orator. Eliza died in 1792. Their son was Thomas and Eliza’s illegitimate daughter Mary was treated as a Sheridan. In 1795 Richard married Hester Ogle and they had a son called Charles. Richard’s great granddaughter Marcia Caroline Sheridan married Francis Thynne, son of Lord John Thynne, Sub-Dean of Westminster, in the Abbey on 30 June 1864.

A photograph of the gravestone can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further reading for Richard, his wife, parents and grandfather Thomas:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004.
www.theatrehistory.com