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John Burgoyne

John Burgoyne, army officer, politician and author, was baptised at St Margaret's Church Westminster on 5th February 1723, as the son of Captain John Burgoyne and Anna Maria (Burneston). It was however rumoured that his real father was Robert, Lord Bingley. John was educated at Westminster School and joined the army in 1737. Possibly due to debt problems he had to sell out and lived on the continent until he was able to re-join the army. He served in America, being present at the battle of Bunker Hill. After various campaigns he eventually had to surrender to General Horatio Gates at Saratoga on 17th October 1777 but he was permitted to return to England.

After eloping with Lady Charlotte Stanley, youngest daughter of the Earl of Derby, they were married on 14th April 1751. Their daughter Charlotte Elizabeth was buried in the North Cloister of the Abbey in 1764, aged 10. He fathered four children by the actress Susan Caulfield: Maria, Caroline, Sir John Fox Burgoyne (1782-1871) and Edward (b.1786).

Lady Charlotte died in June 1776 and was buried with her daughter in the cloister. John himself died in Mayfair on 4th August 1792 and was buried with them on 13 August. His coffin-plate described him as:

The Right Honourable John Burgoyne, Lieut. General of His Majesty's Forces, Colonel of the Fourth Regiment of Foot, and one of His Majesty's most honourable Privy Council of the Kingdom of Ireland

However his grave lay unmarked until in 1960 a simple inscription was cut:

JOHN BURGOYNE 1723-1792.

The General's grandson Captain Hugh Burgoyne (1833-1870), who was awarded the Victoria Cross in the Crimean War, was drowned in the shipwreck of HMS Captain in 1870. A memorial window and brass in the north transept commemorates those who died.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

"John Burgoyne of Saratoga" by James Lunt (London 1976)

Died

4th August 1792

Funeral

13th August 1792

Occupation

Politician; soldier

Location

Cloisters; North Cloister

Memorial Type

Grave

John Burgoyne
John Burgoyne

Samuel Hollyer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

John Burgoyne
John Burgoyne grave

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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