Sir Charles Harbord

In the south aisle of the nave of Westminster Abbey is a memorial to Sir Charles Harbord who served on the ship the Royal James. This is linked to one for his friend Clement Cottrell. Both drowned at the battle of Sole Bay on 28th May 1672. The black and white marble monument shows a relief of a naval engagement and naval trophies. Above the Harbord panel is a coat of arms with three lions. The inscription to Charles forms the left hand panel:

Sr. Charles Harbord Knt. [Knight], third son of Sr. Charles Harbord Knt. his Majesties Surveyor General, and First Lieutenant of the Royall James, under the most noble and illustrious captain Edward, Earle of Sandwich, Vice Admirall of England, which after a terrible fight maintained to admiration against a squadron of the Holland fleet for above six houres, neere the Suffolk coast, having put off two fireships, at last being utterly dissabled and few of her men remaining unhurt, was by a third unfortunately set on fire: but he (though he swam well) neglected to save himselfe as some did, and out of the perfect love to that worthy lord (whom for many yeares he had constantly accompanyed in all his honourable imployments, and in all the engagements of the former warr) dyed with him at the age of XXXIII, much bewailed of his father whom he never offended, and much beloved of all for his knowne piety, vertue, loyalty, fortitude and fidelity.

In the roundel above:

To preserve and unite the memory of two faithfull friends who lost their lives at sea together May XXVIII, MDCLXXII

His father Sir Charles died in 1679 and his brother William was a politician.

Further reading

See also Edward Montagu, Earl of Sandwich


28th May 1672





Memorial Type


Material Type


Sir Charles Harbord
Sir Charles Harbord memorial tablet

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2022 Dean and Chapter of Westminster