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John Broughton

John Broughton, champion pugilist and later Yeoman of the Guard, was buried in the west cloister of Westminster Abbey on 21st January 1789 "in a wood coffin...on the left hand [side] of his wife". He had specified in his will that he wished to be buried beside her. The grave inscription is a little faint but reads:

Here lieth the body of Mrs Elizabeth Broughton wife of Mr John Broughton who died the 7th of December 1784 aged 59 years. Mr John Broughton Champion Prize Fighter of England Died Janry. 8th 1789 aged 86 years. Also of Roger Monk Esqr. late Exon [corporal] of His Majesty's Yeomen of the Body Guard Died 24th October 1831 aged 76 years.      

It is said that the Dean of the time had not allowed the words "Champion of England" to be inscribed and this line was not added to the stone until 1988. John's estate was left to his grand-niece Catherine who married Roger Monk and both are buried in the same grave.

Until 1950, when it was taken down due to its decayed condition, there was a tablet on the wall above the grave. This inscription read:

Beneath this tablet lie the remains of Mrs Elizabeth Broughton died 7th December 1784, aged 59 years. Also of Mr John Broughton one of His Majesty's Ushers of the Yeoman of the Guard, died 8th January 1789, aged 86 years. Also of Roger Monk Esquire, late Exon of His Majesty's Yeoman of the Body Guard, died 24th October 1831, aged 76 years. Also of Catherine wife of the aforesaid Roger Monk who died 18th August 1832 aged 70 years.

John's parents seem to be unknown. He was apprenticed to a waterman on the river Thames in London and won the annual rowing race. By the 1730s he was taking part very successfully in boxing contests and later set up an amphitheatre of boxing, when he drew up the first rules for fair play in his sport. The celebrated sculptor Rysbrack used him as a model for his statue of Hercules.

Further Reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Died

8th January 1789

Field

Soldier

Location

Cloisters; West Cloister

Memorial Type

Grave

John Broughton
John Broughton

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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