Sir John Alexander Macdonald
In the chapel of the Order of the Bath in Westminster Abbey there is an enamelled stall plate for Sir John Alexander Macdonald, first Prime Minister of Canada. The inscription, below his coat of arms, records in both English and French:
The Right Honourable Sir John Alexander Macdonald
1884 [the date of his appointment as a Knight]
First Prime Minister of Canada 1867
The dates are actually given in Roman numerals. The stall plate, on the very end of the northern range of stalls or seats in Henry VII's chapel, was not put in until 1974 as his appointment occurred during a period when no installations took place in the chapel.
He was born in Glasgow in Scotland, a son of Hugh and Helen, and the family emigrated to Kingston in Canada when he was young. There he was articled to a lawyer and later opened his own office and served in the local militia. On a visit to Scotland he married a cousin Isabella Clark in 1843. Hugh was their surviving son. Active in many organisations John was elected to Parliament and was attorney general for Upper Canada. He became Prime Minister from 1867-74. His second wife was Susan Bernard and they had a daughter Margaret. He died on 6th June 1891 in Ottawa and was returned to Kingston to be buried with his parents. A memorial bust was erected in St Paul's cathedral in London.
The Order of Service, Friday June 12th, 1891 (PDF, 3 MB)
A photo of the stall plate can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.
11th January 1815
6th June 1891