Skip to main content

Charles Wager

Admiral Sir Charles Wager (1666-1743) was buried in the north transept of Westminster Abbey. He was a grandson of John Wager, mariner of Rochester in Kent, and son of Charles Wager (1630-66), captain in the Navy, and Prudence (Goodsonn). He served chiefly in the Mediterranean, becoming Captain 1692, Rear-Admiral 1707 and Commander in Chief in the West Indies. His most famous exploit, known as "Wager's Action" was on 28th May 1708 aboard the Expedition when he defeated the Spanish treasure fleet at Cartagena. This made him a wealthy man and he was knighted in 1709. He was promoted to Admiral in 1731 and was also Treasurer of the Navy. He married Martha Earning on 8 December 1691 but they had no children. He died on 24th May 1743. His wife was buried with him in 1748.


A monument by Peter Scheemakers was erected in 1747 against the north wall of this transept. The bas-relief shows his famous naval engagement, with the inscription:

The destroying & taking the SPANISH GALLEONS A.D. 1708.

The main inscription reads:

To the memory of Sir CHARLES WAGER Kt. Admiral of the White, First Commissioner of the Admiralty and Privy Counsellor. A man of great natural talents, improved by industry and long experience; who bore the highest commands, and passed through the greatest employments, with credit to himself and honour to his country. He was, in his private life, humane, temperate, just and bountifull; in his publick station, valiant, prudent, wise and honest; easy of access to all; plain and unaffected in his manners; steady and resolute in his conduct; so remarkably happy in his presence of mind, that no danger ever discomposed him; esteemed and favoured by his King; beloved and honoured by his country. He dyed 24 May 1743, aged 77. This monument was erected by Francis Gashry, Esq. in gratitude to his great patron A.D.1747.

His coat of arms (argent, on a cross azure five bezants), and crest of a Moor's head crowned with rush leaves, appears at the top of the monument. On the pedestal a mourning figure of Fame holds an oval relief portrait of the admiral and on either side are carved naval trophies.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

"Precursors of Nelson" edited by P. Le Fevre and R. Harding 2000.


24th May 1743




North Transept

Memorial Type

Grave; statue

Charles Wager
Charles Wager statue

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2020 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Charles Wager
Relief of battle on Wager monument

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2020 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Related commemorations

Alured Clarke

Alured Clarke

Writer and Priest/Minister
Thomas Blagge

Thomas Blagge

John Fox

John Fox


I feel very privileged to work here. I take so much pride in working for a beautiful place like the Abbey, it’s unique.


Alex - Abbey Marshal

Twitter logo Tweet this