History

Richard Chenevix Trench

History

In the centre part of the nave of Westminster Abbey is the grave of Richard Chenevix Trench, Dean of Westminster, writer and poet. The inscription was written by Dean Church and the Latin can be translated:

"In memory of Richard Chenevix Trench, Dean of this church for 7 years, Archbishop of Dublin for 21 years, who, captivated by the love of eternal truth in Christ, sang of its most holy beauty in his poetry and illuminated it in his expositions, and, in times of joy, in times of trouble, living and dying, he devoted himself to it with a singular and unimpaired faithfulness. His family erected this monument in thankfulness to God. He died in the year of salvation 1886, aged 78".

The dates he held these posts are slightly incorrect in the inscription. He was born in Dublin on 5 September 1807, a son of Richard Trench (d.1827) and his wife Melesina St George (nee Chenevix). He was educated at Harrow School and Cambridge university. In 1832 he was ordained and married his cousin Frances Trench. They had seven sons (Arthur, Richard and Francis pre-deceased their father, Herbert, Frederick, Charles and Alfred) and five daughters (Rose, Melesina, Helen, Frances and Edith). He was Dean of Westminster from 1856-64 and Archbishop of Dublin from 1864-84. At the Abbey he instituted Sunday evening services in the nave. As a result of a suggestion he made at the Philological Society the scheme for The Oxford English Dictionary came into being. He died on 28 March 1886.

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

Further reading for the Dean and his son Frederick:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004.

"The man of ten talents. A portrait of Richard Chenevix Trench" by J.Bromley, 1959.