Skip to main content

Sir Thomas Erskine May, Lord Farnborough

In the south aisle of St Margaret's church Westminster is a memorial brass to lawyer Sir Thomas Erskine May, who was created Lord Farnborough on his retirement from the House of Commons. He is buried at Chippenham in Cambridgeshire. The inscription reads: 

In memory of the Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas Erskine May, K.C.B., D.C.L., bencher of the Middle Temple. Created in 1886, in acknowledgement of eminent service to the State Lord Farnborough. Born 8th February 1815. Died 17th May 1886. He was 54 years in the service of the House of Commons, during 15 years of which he held the office of "Clerk of the House". He was the author of historical works of standard merit, and above all of the "Treatise of the law and usage of Parliament" and by this work alone he conferred lasting benefit on the Parliament of the United Kingdom as well as on every State where Parliamentary government prevails. His friends have raised this memorial in token of affection and of a life devoted to the public service

Born in London, a son of Thomas May and his wife Sarah, he was educated privately at Bedford and became a lawyer. In 1831 he was assistant to the librarian of the House of Commons. There were no children of his marriage with Louisa Laughton. In 1871 he became Clerk of the House and published more volumes including The Constitutional History of England since...George III and Democracy in Europe, a history. He died at the Palace of Westminster.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

Born

8th February 1815

Died

17th May 1886

Field

Lawyer

Location

St Margaret's Church

Memorial Type

Plaque

Material Type

Brass

Sir Thomas Erskine May, Lord Farnborough
Sir Thomas Erskine May, Lord Farnborough memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Related Commemorations

William Conway

William Conway

1815-1876
Priest
Henry Austen Layard

Henry Austen Layard

1817-1894
Politician and Diplomat
Alfred Hipkins

Alfred Hipkins

1826-1903
Writer and Musician
William Webb Follett

William Webb Follett

1796-1845
Lawyer and Politician

I feel very privileged to work here. I take so much pride in working for a beautiful place like the Abbey, it’s unique.

spacer

Alex - Abbey Marshal

Twitter logo Tweet this