Thomas Babington Macaulay
Born: 25 Oct, 1800
Died: 28 Dec, 1859
Burial Date: 09 Jan, 1860
Field: Poet; historian
Location in the Abbey: Poets corner
Type of memorial: Grave; bust

Thomas Babington (Macaulay), 1st Baron Macaulay, historian and poet, was buried at the foot of Joseph Addison’s statue in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey on 9 January 1860. The service was conducted by Richard Chenevix Trench, Dean of Westminster. The gravestone reads:

THOMAS BABINGTON LORD MACAULAY. BORN AT ROTHLEY TEMPLE, LEICESTERSHIRE OCTOBER 25 1800. DIED AT HOLLY LODGE, CAMPDEN HILL DECEMBER 28 1859. HIS BODY IS BURIED IN PEACE BUT HIS NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE.

A memorial bust on the pillar nearby is of white marble by sculptor George Burnard, 1866. The inscription simply reads MACAULAY.

Thomas was a son of Zachary Macaulay (d.1838) and his wife Selina (Mills). Zachary (who has a memorial in the Abbey) was a prominent anti-slavery campaigner whose sister Jean had married Thomas Babington and it was at her house at Rothley Temple that Thomas Babington Macaulay was born. His brothers were John, Henry and Charles and his sisters Selina, Jane, Hannah, Margaret and Frances. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, distinguishing himself in classical scholarship. After studying law he was elected a Member of Parliament and later served on the Council in India. Thomas contributed extensively to the Edinburgh Review and was a brilliant historian. His History of England was very popular, as was his Lays of Ancient Rome. He was created Lord Macaulay of Rothley in 1857 and died of a heart attack in the study of his home in Kensington. He was unmarried.

Photographs of the bust and gravestone can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004