Sir George Leonard Staunton

Sir George Leonard Staunton, physician and diplomat, was buried in the north aisle of Westminster Abbey and has a white marble memorial in the window splay of the north choir aisle. A relief on this shows Sir George seated and holding a scroll and in front of him is an Indian who is sitting under a palm tree. On the east end is a relief of a lion and on the west an achievement of arms. The sculptor was Sir Francis Chantrey and the fee for the memorial was paid in 1824. The inscription reads:

In the north aisle of Westminster Abbey are deposited the remains of Sir George Leonard Staunton, Baronet, of Cargin, County of Galway, Ireland; His life was devoted to his country's service in various parts of the globe; his conduct on all occasions was distinguished by firmness, prudence, and integrity, and in a peculiar manner displayed in the treaty of peace concluded with Tippoo Sultaun in 1784, by which the British interests in India were promoted and secured. Born 19th of April 1737. Died 14th of January 1801.

The coat of arms shows "argent, two chevrons azure, an escutcheon of Ulster" for Staunton and "gules on a bend or, within a bordure ermine three martlets" for Collins, with the crest of a fox.

The inscription on his gravestone below has now worn away but this is recorded as:

Beneath this stone are deposited the remains of Sir George Leonard Staunton, Baronet, of Cargin in the county of Galway; who by the exertion of useful talents, invincible courage and perseverance, rendered important services to his country in the East and West Indies and in China under the auspices of his friend and companion Earl Macartney. He was no less distinguished in private life: the strength and purity of his parental affection induced a self denial practised by few; whilst his fortitude under a lingering disease was unexampled and the faculties of his mind remained unimpaired. He died January the 14th 1801 aged 62 years.

He was the son and heir of Colonel George Staunton and his wife Margaret Leonard. He finished his education in France where he graduated as a doctor of medicine. In London he wrote on medical subjects and was a friend of Dr Samuel Johnson. In 1762 he went to the West Indies and purchased an estate on Grenada. Back in England on 22nd July 1771 he married Jane Collins and they had two sons but only George Thomas survived and became a politician. During the French attack on Grenada he was taken hostage and his plantations were destroyed. He then became secretary to Lord Macartney in Madras. After his success in India he was given an Irish baronetcy and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society. He then went with his employer to China, accompanied by George Thomas. After suffering a stroke he died in London. His widow died on 16th June 1823 and is buried at St Marylebone in London.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Born

19th April 1737

Died

14th January 1801

Occupation

Physician; diplomat

Location

Nave; North Choir Aisle

Memorial Type

Plaque

Material Type

Marble

Sir George Leonard Staunton
Sir George Leonard Staunton, 1st Baronet by Charles Picart, after George Engleheart

© National Portrait Gallery, London [Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0]

Sir George Leonard Staunton
Sir George Leonard Staunton memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2021 Dean and Chapter of Westminster