Skip to main content

Christopher Marlowe

A memorial to playwright and poet Christopher Marlowe was unveiled by Sir Antony Sher in the new window in Poets' Corner Westminster Abbey on 11th July 2002. Sir Antony read an extract from Tamburlaine the Great. Marlowe's invitation (Come live with me and be my love) and The Nymph's reply were sung. The window was designed by Graham Jones in 1994 and Marlowe's memorial consists of a diamond shaped pane with the inscription:

1564 Christopher Marlowe ?1593

The panel was the gift of The Marlowe Society who included the question mark beside the date of his death.

Other poets and writers commemorated in this window so far are Alexander Pope, Robert Herrick, Oscar Wilde, A.E. Housman, Frances Burney and Elizabeth Gaskell.

Marlowe was born in Canterbury, a son of John Marlowe, a shoemaker, and his wife Katherine (Arthur). He was educated at King's School Canterbury (where he was known as Marley rather than Marlowe) and at Cambridge university. Theatrical success came in London with his drama Tamburlaine the Great. In 1589 he was arrested after a fight where a man was killed but a verdict of self defence was given. He then went to the Netherlands but was deported for coining money. His last work was probably Hero and Leander. On 30th May 1593 he was stabbed to death by Ingram Frizer at the house of Mrs Bull, a cousin of a maid of honour of Elizabeth I, in Deptford. A coroner's report is in The National Archives. He was buried at St Nicholas's church, Deptford.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

Died

30th May 1593

Memorial

11th July 2002

Field

Poet; playwright

Location

Poets' Corner

Memorial Type

Window

Material Type

Glass

Christopher Marlowe
Christopher Marlowe window

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2018 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Related Commemorations

westminster-abbey-william-benson-grave

William Benson

Abbot and Dean
westminster-abbey-st-john-the-baptist-chapel

Mary Trevor

Writer and Poet
Barton-Booth

Barton Booth

d.1732
Actor
Royal-Ballet-Founders

Royal Ballet Founders

Composer, Dancer and Musician
Nathaniel Rogers

Nathaniel Rogers

d.1884
Doctor

At different times of the day, or in different seasons, the light falling in the Abbey will light up something that you have walked past a million times and never seen before.

spacer

Vanessa, Head of Conservation

Twitter logo Tweet this