Skip to main content

Westminster Abbey and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Abbey remains open for worship and you are welcome to join us at our daily Eucharist service if you are able to travel here safely within current government guidelines.

However, for the time being we are unable to open the Abbey and St Margaret’s Church for general visiting.

Alexander Pope

Writer and Poet

A memorial to poet and critic Alexander Pope was inserted in the new stained glass window in Poets' Corner Westminster Abbey, above Chaucer's monument, and was unveiled on 7th June 1994. The window was designed by Graham Jones and forms a memorial to Edward Horton Hubbard, architectural historian. A memorial panel to Robert Herrick was unveiled at the same time and empty panels were left in the window to allow future memorials for poets and writers to be added. To date these include Oscar Wilde, A.E. Housman, Frances Burney, Christopher Marlowe and Elizabeth Gaskell. Pope's inscription reads:


The quote is from his Epistle to Augustus. At the unveiling readings were given from his Essay on Man, The Rape of the Lock, Epistle to Mrs Teresa Blount and Solitude.

He was born on 21st May 1688, the son of Alexander Pope (died 1717) and his second wife Edith (Turner). He was educated by Catholic priests and one of his early works was the Pastorals. He got to know the literary men of his age such as William Congreve and Richard Steele. His Works was published in 1717. He had a prolific output despite ill health and translated Homer's Iliad and the Odyssey. He composed the epitaphs on the monuments to Godfrey Kneller (the worst he ever wrote, he said), John Gay (monument now in the Abbey triforium) and General Henry Withers (in the Abbey cloisters). Those he composed for Isaac Newton and John Sheffield Duke of Buckingham were not allowed to be put on their monuments. He died on 30th May 1744 and was buried next to his parents in the church at Twickenham where he lived.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004


21st May 1688


30th May 1744


7th June 1994


Writer; poet


South Transept; Poets' Corner

Memorial Type


Material Type


Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope, studio of Michael Dahl

© National Portrait Gallery, London [Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0]

Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2021 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

It’s very hard not to be enthusiastic working at the Abbey. If this place doesn’t make you smile I don’t know what will.

Valerie - Foundation Director

Twitter logo Tweet this