John, Earl Russell

In the north west tower chapel in the nave of Westminster Abbey is a memorial bust to John, 1st Earl Russell (formerly Lord John Russell), Prime Minister. The white marble bust is by the sculptor Sir J. Edgar Boehm and the brief inscription reads:

John Earl Russell. Born August 18th 1792. Died May 29th 1878. Buried at Chenies

An heraldic crest is shown with the motto 'Per Ardua Stabilis'.

He was the third son of John, 6th Duke of Bedford and his first wife Georgiana (Byng). He was educated at Westminster School with his elder brother Francis but had to leave due to ill health. In 1813 he became Member of Parliament for Tavistock and was also a writer. In the 1820s he took up the cause of Parliamentary reform which resulted in the great Reform Act. His brother William alerted him to the sufferings in Ireland and when he was later Home Secretary he had responsibility for Ireland. His first wife was Adelaide, Lady Ribblesdale and his second Lady Fanny Elliot by whom he had children John, George, Francis and Mary. He was Prime Minister 1846-1852 and again after Lord Palmerston's death in 1865-1866. He had served as Foreign Secretary under Palmerston and was created Earl Russell in 1861. In 1866 when his party was defeated he resigned. He was buried in the family vault at Chenies manor in Buckinghamshire.

Further Reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004


18th August 1792


29th May 1878


Politician; statesman



Memorial Type


Material Type


John, Earl Russell
John, Earl Russell memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

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