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Sir John Hawkins

Sir John Hawkins, writer, is buried in the north cloister of Westminster Abbey. His gravestone has been re-cut and reads:

J.H. Obiit XXI Maii MDCCLXXXIX Aetatis LXX. [John Hawkins, died 21 May 1789 aged 70]. Here lie the remains of Dame Sidney Hawkins, relict [widow] of Sr John Hawkins Kt. Obiit XVII June MDCCXCIII aged 66

He was born on 29th March 1719 in London, a son of John and Elizabeth (Gwatkin). Family tradition claimed descent from the Elizabethan admiral Sir John Hawkins. He studied law, wrote articles for the Gentlemans Magazine and was introduced to Dr Samuel Johnson, whose Life he published in 1787. He also knew Handel and William Boyce, who set some of his words to music, and he was a member of the Academy of Ancient Music. In 1753 he married Sidney Storer and they had three children, John who became an antiquary and died in 1842, Laetitia and Henry. For his work as a magistrate he was knighted in 1772. He also had an interest in fishing and published an edition of Izaak Walton's Compleat Angler, as well as A general history of the science and practice of music. He died at a house in Broad Sanctuary, just outside the Abbey and his wife was buried with him in 1793.

Further reading

"Anecdotes, biographical sketches and memoirs" by Laetitia Hawkins

"Life and activities of Sir John Hawkins" by P. Scholes, 1953

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


29th March 1719


21st May 1789




Cloisters; North Cloister

Memorial Type


Sir John Hawkins
Sir John Hawkins after James Roberts

[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sir John Hawkins
Dame Sidney and Sir John Hawkins grave

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2021 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

You are surrounded by history at the Abbey, not like a museum where it’s just displayed, but here you are standing where history has happened.

Gerlinde - Abbey Marshal

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