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Grace Gethin

The marble monument to the daughter of Sir George and Lady Frances Norton is on the wall of the south choir aisle of Westminster Abbey. The inscription reads:

To the pious memory of Dame GRACE GETHIN, wife of Sir RICHARD GETHIN of GETHIN-GROTT in IRELAND Bart. daughter of Sir George Norton & grand daughter of Sir George Norton Knts. [Knights] & great grand daughter of Sir William Owen of Salop [Shropshire], Sir Thomas Freak of Dorset & Sir Tho.Culpeper of Kent Knts. who being adorn’d with all graces & perfections of mind & body crownd them all wth exemplary patience & humility & haveing ye day before her death most devoutly received ye Holy Comunion, wch. she said she would not have omitted for ten thousand worlds she plainly evidenced her sure and certain hope of future bliss & thus continuing sensible to the last, she resigned her pious soul to God in fervent transports of spiritual joy and comfort for her neer approach to the heavenly glory. Obiit [died] 11th Octob. in the year of her age 21, of our Lord 1697. Her dear & disconsolate parents, for a lasting memorial of this her Godly & blessed end, have erected this monument she being ye last of their issue.

It shows Grace kneeling and holding a book between two alabaster angels who hold a gilt crown and a chaplet over her head. Above are two reclining female figures and two skulls. The coats of arms shown are for the families of Norton, Gethin, Owen and Freak.

In his will Sir George gave a benefaction so that a commemorative sermon for Grace could be preached each Ash Wednesday in the Abbey but in recent years this has lapsed. The bread charity for the poor, also stipulated in his will, ceased in about 1918. There is a virtual replica of the monument at Hollingbourne church in Kent where Grace is buried.

On a bracket of the monument is another inscription:

Also lieth near this place interr’d GEORGE & ELIZABETH NORTON children of Sr George Norton Kt. by his wife Dame FRANCES NORTON both of them dying young in the year [not given]

However, these two children do not appear in the Abbey’s burial register.

See the entry on the Freke sisters for her mother and aunts.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004


11th October 1697


South Choir Aisle

Memorial Type


Material Type


Grace Gethin
Grace Gethin monument

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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