Richard Chenevix Trench

In the centre part of the nave of Westminster Abbey is the grave of Richard Chenevix Trench, Dean of Westminster, writer and poet. The inscription was written by Dean Church and the Latin can be translated:

In memory of Richard Chenevix Trench, Dean of this church for 7 years, Archbishop of Dublin for 21 years, who, captivated by the love of eternal truth in Christ, sang of its most holy beauty in his poetry and illuminated it in his expositions, and, in times of joy, in times of trouble, living and dying, he devoted himself to it with a singular and unimpaired faithfulness. His family erected this monument in thankfulness to God. He died in the year of salvation 1886, aged 78.

The dates he held these posts are slightly incorrect in the inscription. He was born in Dublin on 5th September 1807, a son of Richard Trench (d.1827) and his wife Melesina St George (nee Chenevix). He was educated at Harrow School and Cambridge university. In 1832 he was ordained and he was curate at Hadleigh in Suffolk. He married his cousin Frances Trench who died in 1890 and is buried in Bursledon church, Hampshire. They had seven sons (Arthur, Richard and Francis pre-deceased their father, Frederick (who became a Major General and served at St Petersburg died 1894), Charles (Colonel and Director of the Artillery College at Woolwich died 1933), Alfred (d.1938) and Herbert (d.1900) and five daughters (Rose (Mrs Butcher), Melesina (Mrs Leigh), Helen (Hon. Mrs Hill), Frances and Edith (Mrs Copleston). Professor of Divinity at King's College London, he also played a role in the establishment of Queen Mary College for ladies. He was Dean of Westminster from 1856-1864 and Archbishop of Dublin from 1864-1884. At the Abbey he instituted Sunday evening services in the nave. As a result of a suggestion he made at the Philological Society the scheme for The Oxford English Dictionary came into being. He died on 28th March 1886.

Further reading for the Dean and his son Frederick

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

"Richard Chenevix Trench 1807-1886" by Kenneth Milne, 2010

"The man of ten talents. A portrait of Richard Chenevix Trench" by J. Bromley, 1959

"The remains of the late Mrs Richard Trench..selections from her journals, letters... edited by her son..", R.C. Trench, 1862

A portrait of the Archbishop hangs in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin


28th March 1886


Writer; poet; dean



Memorial Type


Richard Chenevix Trench
Portrait of Richard Chenevix Trench

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Richard Chenevix Trench
Grave of Richard Chenevix Trench

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster