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James Bartleman

James Bartleman, singer, is buried in the west cloister of Westminster Abbey and there is a marble tablet to his memory on the wall there. The tablet is surmounted by a lyre upon which is placed music, lettered "O Lord have mercy upon me". The inscription reads:

To the memory of James Bartleman, formerly a chorister and lay-clerk of Westminster Abbey, and Gentleman of His Majesty's Royal Chapel. Educated by Dr Cooke he caught all the taste and science of that great master, which he augmented and adorned with the peculiar powers of his native genius. He possessed qualities which are seldom united, a lively enthusiasm, with an exact judgment, and exhibited a perfect model of a correct stile, and a commanding voice; simple, and powerful; tender and dignified; solemn, chaste, and purely English, his social and domestick virtues corresponded with these rare endowments: affectionate and liberal; sincere, and open hearted; he was not less beloved by his family and friends, than admired by all for his preeminence in his profession. He was born 19th September 1769, Died 15th April 1821, and was buried in this cloister, near his beloved master.

James was celebrated as a boy chorister for his performance of Greene's anthem "Acquaint thyself with God" and he was a bass Lay Vicar of the Abbey 1790-1796. He served at the Chapel Royal from 1799-1821 and was also an organist, living at Croydon towards the end of his life. He died unmarried but had a brother George, and sisters Jane, Selena Ann, Jemima (Godwin) and Mary (Baynton).

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


19th September 1769


15th April 1821




Cloisters; West Cloister

Memorial Type


Material Type


James Bartleman
James Bartleman memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2020 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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