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Charles Agar, Earl of Normanton

Charles Agar and his wife Jane are buried in the north transept of Westminster Abbey. A large monument to him was erected nearby in the north choir aisle, although originally only a tablet was intended. He was the third son of Henry Agar, M.P. and his wife Anne (Ellis), daughter of the Bishop of Meath, and was born on 22nd December 1736 at Gowran Castle, co. Kilkenny, Ireland. Before becoming an archbishop he was chaplain to the Duke of Northumberland and rector of several parishes in Ireland and dean of Kilmore 1765-1768. He amassed a large fortune. On 22nd November 1776 he married Jane Benson in Dublin and they had three sons and a daughter. Their son Welbore Ellis Agar, born 20th November 1778, succeeded to the title and married Diana, daughter of the Earl of Pembroke.

The inscription on their gravestone, which is now unfortunately hidden by furniture, reads:

Underneath are interred the remains of the Most Revd. Charles Agar Earl of Normanton Viscount Somerton Archbishop of Dublin etc.etc. who died in London on the 14 of July 1809 in the 72nd year of his age. Distinguished for his piety wisdom and talents, celebrated as a metropolitan a statesman and a scholar and beloved not less for the most exalted qualities of his mind and of his heart. This stone was inscribed and dedicated by his relict Jane Countess of Normanton in memorial of his graces various endowments and virtues, and of her tender and affectionate sense of them. Likewise are deposited the remains of his relict Jane Countess of Normanton who died on the 25 of October 1826. Here then these mortals rest in humble hope of the divine acceptance and of a blessed immortality through the merits of their Saviour Jesus Christ.

Jane died aged 74. The white marble monument, by John Bacon junior 1815, shows a figure of the Archbishop and several clergymen addressing a group. He gives a Testament lettered 'Let us not be weary in well doing'. A cherub places a mitre on his head and beside him is a representation of the cathedral at Cashel. The inscription reads:

Sacred to the memory of Charles Agar, D.D. Earl of Normanton, and Archbishop of Dublin. He was educated at Westminster School, and was a student of Christ-Church Oxford. In 1768 he was consecrated Bishop of Cloyne in Ireland; and translated from thence to the Archbishopric of Cashel in 1779. In 1795 he was created Baron Somerton of Somerton in the county of Kilkenny, and Viscount Somerton in 1800. In the following year he became Archbishop of Dublin and in 1806 was created Earl of Normanton. He departed this life on the 14th of July 1809 aged 72 years and rests near this spot, in the same grave with his uncle the Right Honorable Welbore Ellis, Baron Mendip. In the course of his episcopal labours not less than seventeen churches and twenty two glebe houses for the residence of his clergy were built under his direction and assistance; and he erected principally at his own expense the cathedral church of Cashel. As a statesman and a prelate he was an able and zealous supporter of the religion which he professed and taught, and of the country at whose councils he assisted. His care for the welfare of the church is testified by the numerous Acts of Parliament which he framed for its permanent regulation and support. The perfect state in which his dioceses were left, and the veneration impressed by his talents and virtues on the hearts of those over whom he presided are far nobler monuments than any which can be erected to his memory.

Further reading

"Archbishop Charles Agar" by A.P.W. Malcomson, 2002

Born

22nd December 1736

Died

14th July 1809

Field

Priest; philanthropist

Location

North Transept; North Choir Aisle

Memorial Type

Statue

Material Type

Marble

Charles Agar, Earl of Normanton
Charles Agar, Earl of Normanton monument

© Dean and Chapter of Westminster

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

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