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Sir Charles Peers

The ashes of Sir Charles Peers are buried in the Islip chapel in Westminster Abbey. He was Surveyor of the Fabric at the Abbey from 1935 to 1951 and also worked at York and Durham. During his time at the Abbey he started a systematic cleaning of the interior and two important 13th century wall paintings were discovered in the south transept. This work was interrupted by the Second World War when he was responsible for protecting or evacuating the valuable objects at the Abbey. The inscription on his gravestone reads:

Charles Peers, Knight 1868-1952 Surveyor of the Fabric

He was born on 22nd September 1868, a son of the Reverend William Peers, curate of Westerham in Kent, and his wife Dora (Carr). Later his father was vicar of Harrow Weald in Middlesex and lord of the manor of Chiselhampton in Oxfordshire. Educated at Charterhouse School and Cambridge Charles then studied in Germany and spent time in Egypt. He became architectural editor of the Victoria County History (history of the various counties in England), editor of the Archaeological Journal and fellow and later director of the Society of Antiquaries. In 1899 he married Gertrude Shepherd and had three sons - Charles John, Robert and Roger. His grandson Charles was baptised in the Abbey in 1937. As Inspector and later Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments he helped preserve many medieval buildings which otherwise would have been destroyed. During the war he supervised the evacuation of many Abbey treasures to safe houses in the country including Boughton House and Mentmore. He was knighted in 1931 and died on 16th November 1952.

His files on the Abbey and on other places where he worked are deposited in the Abbey archives.

Further reading

"Surveyors of the Fabric of Westminster Abbey 1906-1973. Reports and letters" edited by C. Reynolds, 2019

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Born

22 September 1868

Died

16th November 1952

Field

Architect

Location

Islip Chapel

Memorial Type

Grave

Sir Charles Peers
Sir Charles Peers (right) with the effigy of Henry III at Boughton House

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Sir Charles Peers
Sir Charles Peers grave

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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The work can be tough, but even the cold and rain don’t bother me as I enjoy it so much. I love every day that I spend at the Abbey – just being here makes me smile.

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Tim - Gardener

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