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John Harvey

In the nave of Westminster Abbey is a joint memorial to Captain John Harvey and Captain John Hutt who were both mortally wounded in the naval victory off the coast of France in 1794. The memorial here was erected in 1804 and is by the sculptor John Bacon junior. It cost £3,150 and was originally floor-standing but was reduced in size only a few years after it was erected. The parts that still remain here are now on one of the window sills in the north nave aisle. They consist of an urn on which are portrait busts of the two captains, with a figure of Fame and one of Britannia with a large lion. The inscription reads:

Sacred to J. Harvey and J. Hutt, Captains of The Brunswick and The Queen, who fell gloriously in the memorable victory obtained off Brest on the first of June MDCCXCIV. This monument was erected at the Public expense as an honourable testimony of their meritorious services.

John was born 9th July 1740 in Kent, a son of Richard and Elizabeth Harvey. He joined the navy in 1754. In 1763 he married Judith Wise and they had a large family (two of his sons, Sir John and Sir Edward, were also in the navy). John served during the defence of Gibraltar and also in the West Indies. He was appointed to the Brunswick following the outbreak of war with France and fought with Admiral Lord Howe in the action mentioned in the inscription. He lost an arm and was wounded in the back but he was able to return to Portsmouth. Unfortunately he died of his wounds on 30th June before his brother Henry (who served in the same battle) could give him the news of his promotion to Rear Admiral. He was buried at Eastry in Kent and the relief of the battle, which once formed part of the Abbey monument, is incorporated in Captain Harvey's memorial in the church there.

Further reading for John and his sons and brother

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

Born

9th July 1740

Died

30th June 1794

Occupation

Sailor

Location

Nave

Memorial Type

Statue

John Harvey
Captain John Harvey and Captain John Hutt memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2020 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

At different times of the day, or in different seasons, the light falling in the Abbey will light up something that you have walked past a million times and never seen before.

Vanessa, Head of Conservation

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