Markham Family

Several members of the Markham family are buried in Westminster Abbey.

Major William Markham

He was buried in the north cloister of the Abbey on 1st June 1771, age 86 but he has no gravestone or memorial. He was the eldest son of Daniel Markham of Kinsale in Ireland, who was descended from an ancient family of his name at Cotham in Nottinghamshire and was formerly a Colonel in the army. His mother was Elizabeth daughter of Captain William Fennell. William was born at Kilkenny and educated at Trinity College Dublin, entering the army in 1710. He was posted to Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada as a major and he is said to have erected the first house in that place. In 1717 he married his kinswoman Elizabeth, daughter of George Markham. She died 17th July 1732. They had three sons and a daughter.

William Markham, Archbishop of York

Son of Major William and Elizabeth. He was born at Kinsale in co. Cork on 9th April 1719 and attended Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford. After ordination he took up teaching and became Head Master of his old school in 1753. Later he held the post of chaplain to George II, and served as prebendary of Durham Cathedral, Dean of Rochester, Dean of Christ Church, Bishop of Chester and lastly Archbishop of York and Lord High Almoner. On 16th June 1759 in London he married Sarah, daughter of John Goddard a merchant at Rotterdam. Sarah was born in Holland 14th February 1739 and died 26th January 1814 and was buried in the north cloister. 

They had six sons and seven daughters. Two of their daughters are buried in the north cloister: Georgina was born 23rd October 1772 and baptised at St George's church, Bloomsbury in London and died unmarried on 1st June 1793 and Anne Katherine, born 25th May 1778 and died 3rd October 1808. Two of their sons were baptised at the Abbey: William born 5th April 1760 who went to Westminster School and became private secretary to Warren Hastings, Governor of India. He was Resident at Benares and married Elizabeth Bowles on 20th August 1795 and died 1st January 1815. David was born 1 September 1766 and educated at Westminster and Christ Church Oxford. He became a Lt. Colonel and was killed on 26th March 1795 directing an attack near Port-au-Prince on Haiti. Three more sons attended Westminster School: George who became Dean of York in 1802, Robert who became archdeacon of York and Osborne who was chancellor of the diocese of York. A son John became a Vice Admiral and died in Naples. 

The Archbishop was buried in the north cloister with a brass memorial on the wall. This was erected in 1844-1845 by the Reverend D.F. Markham, the archbishop's grandson, on behalf of the family. The Latin inscription can be translated:

Sacred to the memory of WILLIAM MARKHAM, Doctor of Law: in the year of our Christian age 1738 Christ Church Oxford enrolled him, (elected) from the King's Scholars of this famous School (ie. Westminster School) into her own ranks. Soon in 1753 she restored him to his own Westminster as Head Master, and furthermore, after an interval of 14 years, made him her Dean (ie. of Christ Church), joyfully and willingly taking him to herself once more. In the year 1771 he was honoured with the bishopric of Chester: his extraordingary merit became apparent, in that the Princes George and Frederick at the command of the best of Kings (ie. George III) and to the plaudits of all good men were committed to him as their tutor, for their youthful education and instruction. Finally in the year 1776 he was elevated to the Archbishopric of York. He died on 3rd Nov. in the year 1807 in the course of his 88th year; he wished his own ashes to be placed in this sepulchre beside those of his father. In this same sepulchre is buried Sarah his most dutiful wife, who survived her husband by 11 years*.

* This is evidently a mistake as she died in 1814.

George Markham

Second son of Major Markham. He entered the navy but soon left in disgust, according to family tradition, because he did not get the promotion he thought he deserved. He became a commissioner of lotteries and died unmarried on 31st January 1801 aged 78, being buried in the north cloister. He has no gravestone or memorial.

Enoch Markham

Third son of Major Markham who joined the army and spent time as a volunteer in America. On his return he raised the 112th regiment, or Royal Musketeers, of which he became Major. He later served in the Revolutionary War in America and died unmarried on 25th December 1800 aged 73, with his body wrapped, it is said, in the colours (flag) of his regiment. He has no gravestone or memorial.

Maria Markham

She was wife of Vice Admiral John Markham and daughter of George Rice. She was born in 1773, married John in 1796 and was buried in the north cloister on 29 December 1810.

Lady Mary Markham

She was wife of Osborne Markham and has a small tablet, by sculptor John Bacon junior, near her grave in the north cloister and the inscription can be translated:

To the Right Honourable Lady, Lady Mary Markham, died Feb 8th 1814 at the age of 35. Best, oh best of wives, Mary, farewell. We shall rise again.

She was born on 17th May 1778, daughter of Thomas Thynne, 1st Marquis of Bath and his wife Lady Elizabeth Cavendish Bentinck. She married Osborne on 10th June 1806. Osborne died 22nd October 1827 and is buried at South Weald, Essex. 

Further reading for the Archbishop and his son John

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

"A memoir of Archbishop Markham" by C. Markham, 1906

"History of the Markham family" by D.F. Markham, 1854

"Markham memorials" by C. Markham 1913

"The Record of Old Westminsters" by G.F. Russell Barker and A. Stenning, 1928


North Cloister

Memorial Type


Markham Family
William Markham memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Markham Family
Mary Markham memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster