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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.

Mary Shelvocke

Mary Shelvocke died in Knightsbridge and was buried in the west cloister of Westminster Abbey on 1st August 1761. Her stone has now nearly worn away and the inscription is very faint. it is next to Thomas Greatorex's stone. Her first husband was a Mr Jackson by whom she had a son Charles and a daughter Mary, who married Dr Benjamin Cooke, organist of the Abbey (she was buried on 26th March 1784 in the same cloister). In 1758 she married secondly George Shelvocke, secretary to the General Post Office who died suddenly in his office in 1760. He was a son of the celebrated Captain George Shelvocke, privateer, who sailed round the work in the reign of Queen Anne.

The inscription, taken from a manuscript in the Abbey Library read:

This stone is placed in remembrance of Mary Shelvocke, widow of the late George Shelvocke Esq. who died July 24 1761 aged 54 years. Here also lieth Mary Cooke daughter of the above who departed this life on the 19th of March 1784 aged 52 years, the beloved and affectionate wife of Dr Benjamin Cooke, Organist of this Collegiate Church. Also their son Benjamin who died January 24 1772 aged 11 years with six other of their children who died in infancy...

The stone goes on to mention other members of the Cooke family.


1st August 1761


West Cloister

Memorial Type


Mary Shelvocke
West Cloister

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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