Joost de Blank

The ashes of Archbishop Joost de Blank and his sister Bartha are buried in the nave of Westminster Abbey, just outside the entrance to St George's chapel. There are brass letters on Joost's grave, designed by James Sutton, with a shield showing the arms of the diocese of Cape Town impaling "or, three mallets sable, a chief of the last bezanty" for de Blank, with a mitre as a crest. The inscription reads:

Joost de Blank 1908-1968 Bishop of Stepney, Archbishop of Cape Town, Canon of Westminster. Indomitable fighter for human rights

The stone for Bartha adjoining reads:

Bartha de Blank 1906-1975

He was one of six children of Joost de Blank and his wife Louisa (Quispel) and was born in Rotterdam, Holland on 14th November 1908. The family moved to London and Joost (pronounced Yoast) was educated at Merchant Taylors' School and Cambridge. He was ordained in 1932 and started his ministry in London. During the 1939-1945 war he served in the Royal Army Chaplains department and was badly wounded in 1944. In 1957 he became Archbishop of Cape Town and strenuously opposed apartheid. From 1963-1968 he was a Canon of Westminster. Ill health prevented him from taking up the post of bishop of Hong Kong and he died on 1st January 1968. His sister had been living with him at the Abbey. He was unmarried. The stone was put in by his nephew Justin de Blank.

Further reading

"Archbishop Joost de Blank. Scourge of Apartheid" by J.S. Peart-Binns, 1987.


1st January 1968





Memorial Type


Material Type


Joost de Blank
Joost de Blank grave

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster