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Westminster Abbey and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Abbey remains open for worship and you are welcome to join us at our daily Eucharist service if you are able to travel here safely within current government guidelines.

However, for the time being we are unable to open the Abbey and St Margaret’s Church for general visiting.

John Thomas Micklethwaite

John Thomas Micklethwaite, architect and archaeologist and Surveyor of the Fabric of Westminster Abbey 1898-1906, is buried in the west cloister of the Abbey. His gravestone shows his coat of arms and the inscription:

J. T. Micklethwaite
Surveyor of the Fabric
Born 3 May 1843
Died 28 Oct 1906

He was born in Wakefield in Yorkshire a son of James Micklethwaite, a colliery owner, and his wife Sarah (Stanway). His childhood was spent at Hopton Hall, where the family had lived for more than two hundred years. He attended King's College London and in 1862 was articled to George Gilbert Scott, the famous Victorian architect. In partnership with Somers Clarke he designed several churches and restored others. At the Abbey he succeeded J.L. Pearson as Surveyor and devoted himself to the preservation of the fabric of the Abbey and its buildings and published several articles. For the coronation of Edward VII in 1902 he designed the Abbey frontal and copes and the new altar in St Edward the Confessor's chapel. In 1900 he was also made architect to St George's chapel, Windsor. He died unmarried. At the funeral the Dean of Westminster said of him:

...he gave his whole heart to this place, and jealously guarded every fragment that could tell of its long history.

His sister Ada gave money to set up an Abbey Museum (now closed) in the monastic Undercroft in 1908.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

"Surveyors of the Fabric of Westminster Abey 1827-1906. Reports & Letters" edited by Christine Reynolds (2011)

The late John Thomas Micklethwaite F.S.A. by W. Niven, 1907.


3rd May 1843


28th October 1906




Cloisters; West Cloister

Memorial Type


John Thomas Micklethwaite
J.T. Micklethwaite, Surveyor of the Fabric

Ref. Box 13, Abbey staff

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2021 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

John Thomas Micklethwaite
John Thomas Micklethwaite grave

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2021 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Related commemorations

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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