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Sir Robert Thomas Wilson

In the north aisle of the nave of Westminster Abbey is a brass covering the grave of Sir Robert Thomas Wilson and his wife. The stone is grey Cornish marble with brass made by Hardmans of Birmingham. The main figures are in the style of a medieval knight and his lady under a canopy with a lion at his feet and a dog at hers. Below are shown their seven sons and six daughters, again in medieval dress. In the canopy is a coat of arms: "a wolf rampant, in chief three stars of six points, on a canton an eagle displayed with two heads", with a demi wolf holding a crescent as his crest. The inscription in the surround reads:

Here resteth Sir Robert Thomas Wilson, Knight, Born 17 August 1777. Died 9 May 1849. Also Dame Jemima his wife, daughter and co-heiress of Colonel Belford of Harbledown in Kent. Born 21 June 1777. Died 12 August 1823 in Christ.

On a rectangular plate below the figures is:

A General in the British Army, Colonel of the 15th [The King's] Regiment of [Light] Dragoons, Governor and Commander in Chief of the fortress of Gibraltar 14 years representative in Parliament of the borough of Southwark. He won on the fields of battle the titles of Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Red Eagle of Prussia and of the Military Order of St Anne of Russia, Commander of the Imperial Military Order of Maria Theresa of Austria, Baron of the Holy Roman Empire, Knight Commander of the Imperial Russian Order of St George, of the Royal Portuguese Military Order of the Tower and Sword, of the Turkish Crescent and of the Order of Merit of Saxony

He did not hold a British knighthood but by royal licence was permitted to be called Sir Robert.

He was a son of the eminent painter Benjamin Wilson and his wife Jane (Hetherington) and was educated at Westminster School. As his orders show he served in the army in many parts of Europe as well as Egypt, South Africa and Russia. In 1797 he married Jemima, daughter of William Belford, at Gretna Green and the following year they married again in London. He was a Major General in 1813 but was removed from service in 1821 but later restored and was made a General in 1841. His works include The History of the British Expedition to Egypt, published in 1802.

The children surviving at the time of his death were Bosville John Wilson (in the Royal Navy), Sir Belford Hinton Wilson (a consul general), William Frederick Platoff Wilson (who attended Westminster School), Rosabelle Stanhope (wife of Reverend Herbert Randolph) and Jemima Mary Gwyn Wilson. He died suddenly at Marshall Thompson's hotel in London

Further reading

"A very slippery fellow: the life of Sir Robert Wilson" by M. Glover, 1978

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

History of Parliament online

Born

17th August 1777

Died

9th May 1849

Field

Soldier

Location

Nave

Memorial Type

Grave

Material Type

Brass

Sir Robert Thomas Wilson
Sir Robert and Jemima figures

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2018 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Sir Robert Thomas Wilson
Sir Robert Thomas Wilson brass

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2018 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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