Sir Henry Belasyse

In the chapel of St Paul in Westminster Abbey is a monument to Sir Henry Belasyse, army officer. The monument is by sculptor Peter Scheemakers and the inscription reads:

In this chapel lyes interr'd Sr HENRY BELASYSE of Brancepeth Castle in the County Palatine of Durham, Lieutenant General of the Forces in Flanders under King William the Third sometime Governor of Galway in Ireland, and afterwards of Berwick upon Tweed. Linealy descended from Rowland Belasyse of Belasyse in the county of Durham, son of Belasius one of the Norman generals who came into England with William the Conqueror, and was knighted by him. He married first DOROTHY daughter of Tobias Jenkyn Esq. of Grimston and widow of Robert Benson Esq. of Wrenthorp, both in the county of York, and by her had issue, Mary, Thomas and Elizabeth, all whom he surviv'd. By his second wife FLEETWOOD, daughter of Nicolas Shuttleworth Esq. second son of Richard Shuttleworth Esq. of Gawthrop in the County Palatine of Lancaster, he had William his heir, and Margaret who dy'd in her infancy. He died the 16 of December 1717 in the 70 year of his age. Near to him are buryed his two ladies and Mary his eldest daughter. Also MRS BRIDGET BELASYSE wife of William Belasyse Esq. only daughter and heiress of Rupert Billingsley Esq. who dyed the 28 of July 1735 in the 21 year of her age, leaving an only daughter.

The coats of arms on the monument include those of Belasyse "argent, a chevron gules between three fleur de lis azure" (a silver shield with a red chevron and three blue fleurs de lis), Jenkin, Shuttleworth and Billingsley. The motto is "Bonne et Belle Assez".

Nearby are the gravestones for Henry, Fleetwood (died 26th February 1732 aged 56), Mary (died 9th February 1695/6 aged 16), and William (died 11th February 1769 aged 72) and his wife and daughter Bridget (died 5th April 1774 aged 38). Lady Dorothy was buried on 20th July 1696 but has no marker (by her first husband she was mother of Robert, Lord Bingley).

Henry was born in Durham, son of Sir Richard Belasyse and his second wife Margaret (Lambton). He was educated at Cambridge university and entered the Anglo-Dutch brigade of the army in 1674 and fought in various battles. Promoted to colonel he assisted in the suppression of the Monmouth rebellion and was respected but not liked by William III. He became Lt. General in 1694 but was court-martialled in 1703 for the sacking of a Spanish town. Later he was quietly re-instated and became Governor of Berwick upon Tweed in 1713.

Further Reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Died

16th December 1717

Occupation

Soldier

Location

Chapel of St Paul

Memorial Type

Grave

Sir Henry Belasyse
Sir Henry Belasyse memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2022 Dean and Chapter of Westminster