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Francis Horner

A memorial statue to Francis Horner stands in the west aisle of the north transept of Westminster Abbey. The sculptor was Sir Francis Chantry. He had first been approached in 1817 by the Marquess of Lansdowne and Lord Auckland to obtain the Dean of Westminster's permission to erect a memorial in the south transept near Addison's statue. But by the time the sculptor had completed it the site had been changed to the north transept. The inscription was composed by Sir Henry Englefield and reads:

To the memory of Francis Horner, who, by the union of great and various acquirements, with inflexible integrity and unwearied devotion to the interests of the country, raised himself to an eminent station in society, and was justly considered to be one of the most distinguished members of the House of Commons. He was born at Edinburgh in 1778, was called to the bar both of England and Scotland, and closed his short but useful life at Pisa in 1817. His death was deeply felt and publickly deplored in Parliament. His affectionate friends and sincere admirers, anxious that some memorial should exist of merits universally acknowledged, of expectations which a premature death could alone have frustrated, erected this monument A.D. 1823.

Francis was born on 12th August 1778, a child of John Horner and his wife Joanna (Baillie). His brother Leonard became a famous educationalist. He was educated in Edinburgh and studied law but pursued his interests in science and philosophy. His parents joined him in London and he made his maiden speech in Parliament in 1807. He was successively Member of Parliament for St Ives, Wendover and St Mawes. While on holiday in Italy with his brother he died, unmarried, on 8th February 1817 and was buried in the Protestant cemetery at Leghorn (now Livorno).

Further reading for Francis and Leonard

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

Born

12th August 1778

Died

8th February 1817

Field

Politician

Location

North Transept

Memorial Type

Statue

Material Type

Marble

Francis Horner
Francis Horner

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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It’s very hard not to be enthusiastic working at the Abbey. If this place doesn’t make you smile I don’t know what will.

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