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Rachel daughter of Nicholas Brigham

Rachel Brigham, four year old daughter of antiquary and minor poet Nicholas Brigham, was buried in the south transept of Westminster Abbey on 21st June 1557 near Chaucer's grave. Nothing marks her grave. She was baptized in St Margaret's Westminster on 19th March 1553.

Nothing is known of her father's parents or his early life but he may have been educated at Cambridge University and worked for the Duke of Norfolk. His brother was Anthony. In 1545 he was appointed an exchequer teller. He married Margaret Warner (her second husband was William Hunnis). Brigham is best known for erecting a monument in the Abbey to Geoffrey Chaucer. None of his poetry survives. He died late in 1558 (possibly December). His place of burial is not known, although it is likely he hoped to be buried in the Abbey with his daughter.

Two documents in the Abbey archives concern him - a bond for making a conduit at the Almshouse in Dean's Yard Westminster 1547 and sale of part of the site of the almshouse to him in 1548, which he converted to be his house.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

Nicholas Brigham..scholar, antiquary and crown servant by J.Alsop in Sixteenth Century Journal no.12, 1981

Rachel daughter of Nicholas Brigham
South Transept

© The Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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