In the south transept of Westminster Abbey is a white marble memorial to actor Barton Booth. There is a portrait medallion with an allegorical figure crowning him with a laurel wreath, while on the other side a figure of Tragedy, a cup and dagger at her feet, holds a scroll with the inscription:
In memory of BARTON BOOTH Esqr. descended from the ancient family of that name in the county of Lancaster: in his early youth he was admitted into the Collegiate School of Westminster under the celebrated Doctor Busby: where he soon discover'd & improv'd a genius which (favour'd by the Muse he lov'd) so happily combin'd the expressive powers of action, with a peculiar grace of elocution, as not only procur'd him the royal patronage but the grateful applause of a judicious public. He died in 1733, in the 54th year of his age very justly regretted by all who knew how to estimate abilities in an actor, politeness in a gentleman, fidelity in a friend
On the bottom pedestal is the inscription:
This monument is erected A.D.1772 by his yet surviving widow HESTER BOOTH.
The monument is by sculptor W. Tyler and includes Booth's coat of arms of three boars' heads. Beneath the medallion is a mask and a lyre, wreathed with laurel.
He was a son of John Booth and while at Westminster School he made his first acting appearance. After spending some time in Dublin he returned to London and married Frances Barkham. He is known mostly for his tragic roles and succeeded Thomas Betterton in public estimation. His second wife was actress and dancer Hester Santlow. He died on 10th May 1733 and by his own wish was buried at St Laurence's church, Cowley in Middlesex. Barton Street in Westminster recalls his connection with the area.
Further reading for Barton and Hester
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004
This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library
Image © 2023 Dean and Chapter of Westminster