George and Nicholas Monck

George Monck

George was the second son of Sir Thomas Monck (or Monk) and Elizabeth (Smith) and was born at Potheridge in Devon 6th December 1608. George was a distinguished naval captain and under Cromwell he was General of the land forces and Admiral at Sea. He was principally responsible for the restoration of Charles II to the throne in 1660 and for his services was created Duke of Albemarle.

He died 3rd January 1670 but the funeral did not take place until 30th April as the king had offered, but failed, to pay the expenses. His effigy lay in state at Somerset House for some time prior to the funeral day. Interment took place before the service The funeral was lavish and Seth Ward, Bishop of Salisbury, preached the funeral sermon. The setting of the Funeral Sentences may have been by Henry Cooke and John Blow, organist of the Abbey, may have composed O Lord, I have sinned for the occasion. The elaborate funeral hearse, designed by Inigo Jones, was set up in the lantern with many banners and pennants. Monck lies in a vault in the north aisle of Henry VII's chapel in Westminster Abbey.

The armour from the funeral effigy which lay on his hearse is on public display. This stood near his grave in a case, with his banners and pennons, for many years and acted as his memorial. It is made up of parts from at least three armours. Under it is a dilapidated buff-coat. It has lost its original robe, collar of St George, baton and coronet. The limewood head is a modern replacement.

In 1653 he married Anne (Clarges) who died 29th January 1670 and lies with her husband.

Their only surviving son Christopher, 2nd Duke of Albemarle (1653-1688), Governor of Jamaica, and his wife Lady Elizabeth Cavendish (d.1734), daughter of the 2nd Duke of Newcastle, also lie in the vault (they had no children). Christopher was Member of Parliament for Devon and Gentleman of the Bedchamber to the King. He was also a Colonel in the Horse Guards. He died in Jamaica on 6th October 1688 and his body was returned to the Abbey for interment on 4th July 1689. After his death Elizabeth married Ralph, 1st Duke of Montagu and was well known as "the mad Duchess".

In the 19th century a stone was set over the vault with names of those buried in it. The Granvilles buried there are Martha Osborne, Viscountess Lansdown, first wife of Charles Granville 2nd Earl of Bath 1689, Elizabeth her daughter 1744, Grace, Countess Granville wife of George Lord Carteret 1744, her son John Earl Granville 1763 and his first wife Frances Worsley 1743 and second wife Sophia Fermor 1745. John was educated at Westminster School and held various posts including Bailiff of Jersey, Ambassador to Sweden and Envoy to The Hague. He acted as one of the Lord Justices of the Realm during the King's absences from the country. He married Frances at Longleat in 1710 and she died suddenly while playing the harp. Sophia died aged only 25.


The monument to George was not erected until the 1740s and stands in the south aisle of the chapel, as presumably there was no room for it in the aisle where he was buried. The inscription does not even mention Monck, just the names of those who erected it under the terms of Christopher's will:

GRACE, Countess GRANVILLE Viscountess CARTERET Relict of GEORGE Ld. CARTERET Baron of HAWNES & youngest daughter of JOHN GRANVILLE Earl of Bath. JOHN Earl GOWER Viscount Trentham Baron of SITTENHAM grandson of Lady JANE LEVISON GOWER eldest daughter of ye. sd. Earl of BATH; BERNARD GRANVILLE, Esq.grandson of BERNARD GRANVILLE, brother to the said Earl of Bath have erected this monument in pursuance of ye will of CHRISTOPHER Duke of Albemarle

Designed by William Kent and executed by Peter Scheemakers it shows a figure of George in armour holding a baton and a mourning woman above a portrait relief, thought to be Christopher. The face of George is said to be based on a plaster head by John Bushnell (preserved in the Abbey Library).

Nicholas Monck

Nicholas, the third son of Sir Thomas Monck, was born about 1609 and died 17 December 1661. He married Susanna Payne and had two daughters. The Latin inscription on his monument in St Edmund's chapel (which gives a wrong date of death) can be translated:

In this chapel lies the body of the late Reverend Father in Christ Nicholas Monck, D.D., who was sometime Provost of Eton College, afterwards Bishop of Hereford; the most endeared brother to the most noble George Monck, Duke of Albemarle, Earl of Torrington, and Baron Monck of Potheridge; and was the chief and most successful assistant with him in that glorious Restoration of King Charles II, and the Church of England. He died 11 December 1661, closing, alas, too hastily, his course, at the opening of his 51st year. Christopher Rawlinson, of Cark in the county of Lancaster, Esquire, hath this lasting memory of his most worthy ancestor, devoutly erected this monument, 1723.

The sculptor was William Woodman and there is no representation of Nicholas on the monument. The Monck coat of arms is depicted ie. a red shield with a silver chevron between three silver lions' heads.

The funeral armour is on display in the new Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries in the Abbey triforium.

Portraits of George can be found at the National Portrait Gallery in London and some of his papers are at the British Library and The National Archives.

Further Reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, for George Monck

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, for Nicholas Monck

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, for Christopher Monck

"The order and ceremonies used for and at the...interment of...George Duke of Albemarle..." by Francis Sandford, 1670 (with engravings of the procession and hearse)

"British Royal and State funerals..."  by M. Range, 2016

"Christopher Monck, duke of Albemarle" by E.F. Ward, 1915

"The Funeral Effigies of Westminster Abbey" edited by A. Harvey & R. Mortimer, 2003

"On the funeral effigies of the Kings & Queens of England" by W.H. St John Hope, 1907 which includes information on the making of Monck's effigy.

Papers concerning the General's funeral are in The National Archives

George and Nicholas Monck
George Monck monument

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

George and Nicholas Monck
Nicholas Monck monument

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

George and Nicholas Monck
George's funeral hearse

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

George and Nicholas Monck
General Monck's armour

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster