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Catherine, Lady St John of Bletso

Catherine, Lady St John of Bletso was buried in Westminster Abbey in March 1615. The monument had originally shown her two children, Oliver and Anne, kneeling beside her monument in St Michael's chapel and also her coat of arms but now only her reclining alabaster effigy remains. She leans her head on her right hand and wears a ruff, stomacher and full skirt. By 1723 the monument had been broken and was moved to another chapel before being restored to its original place by Dean Stanley in the 19th century, who provided a new pedestal with the original inscription engraved on it. The Latin can be translated:

Sacred to the memory of Catherine Lady St John, daughter of William Dormer of Eithrope, Knight. The widow of John, Baron St John of Bletso, to whome she bore Oliver, a little son who died at a tender age, and Anne the wife of William Lord Howard of Effingham, the eldest son of Charles Earl of Nottingham, ruler of the seas of England. Since death is certain, and the care of those who come after uncertain, remembering death and in certain hope of resurrection in Christ, she placed a monument here to herself while alive. She died 23rd March in the year of grace 1614

The date given on the monument is in Old Style dating, now called 1615.

She was the fifth daughter of William Dormer of Eythrope in Buckinghamshire by his second wife Dorothy (Catesby) and married Lord St John sometime after 1575. She was a sister of the half blood of the Duchess of Feria, friend of Mary Queen of Scots, and her brother was Robert, 1st Baron Dormer of Wyng. Lord St John was one of the peers who sat in the trials of Mary. He died in 1596.

Their surviving child Anne was buried in the Abbey on 8th June 1638. She was the wife of William, Lord Howard of Effingham (son of the Earl of Nottingham). Anne's only child was Elizabeth, Countess of Peterborough.

Died

23rd March 1615

Location

St Michael's Chapel

Memorial Type

Statue

Material Type

Alabaster

Catherine, Lady St John of Bletso
Catherine, Lady St John of Bletso monument

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2020 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

You are surrounded by history at the Abbey, not like a museum where it’s just displayed, but here you are standing where history has happened.

Gerlinde - Abbey Marshal

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