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Sir Thomas Vaughan

The tomb of Sir Thomas Vaughan, died 1483, is in St John the Baptist's chapel at Westminster Abbey. A grey Purbeck marble tomb chest stands in an arched canopy, with space at the west end for a priest to kneel and pray. His coat of arms (re-painted) appears above with two defaced shields in the arcades - a saltire for Vaughan, quartering  "gules, a bend engrailed or between three fleur de lys,or". On the top of the chest is the remains of the three foot high brass figure of Sir Thomas dressed in plate armour but with no helmet or gauntlets. His head rests on his crest of a unicorn's head and his sword hangs from the middle of his belt. The feet have been broken away as have shields above the figure and on the top and side of the chest. In the 1680s a Latin inscription around the rim was still visible and can be translated:

Thomas Vaughan, treasurer to King Edward the fourth and chamberlain to his first born son. Rest in Peace. Amen

Each word was divided by badges of the rose and sun. He was private treasurer to the King and chamberlain to his son, later Edward V. It is possible the tomb was erected by his daughter Elizabeth (died 1515), wife first to John, Lord Grey of Wilton and secondly to Sir Edward Stanley, later Lord Monteagle.

He was a son of Robert Vaughan of Monmouth and his wife Margaret. He became a king's esquire, steward of the Beauchamp estates and then Master of the King's Ordnance and Keeper of the Great Wardrobe. He also acted as an envoy to Burgundy and was a Member of Parliament. His wife was Eleanor, daughter of Sir Thomas Arundel (widow of Sir Thomas Brown). He built himself a mansion at Westminster which was known as Vaughan's House. While escorting the young Edward V to his coronation he was arrested by Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III) accused of plotting against him.. Edward V was taken to the Tower of London and never emerged alive. Thomas was beheaded at Pontefract Castle by Richard's order on 25th June 1483. Shakespeare mentions his arrest and death without trial in his "Richard III".

Further reading for him and the Vaughan family

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


Soldier; diplomat


Chapel of St John Baptist

Memorial Type


Material Type

Stone; brass

Sir Thomas Vaughan
Sir Thomas Vaughan memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2020 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Sir Thomas Vaughan
Sir Thomas Vaughan's tomb

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2020 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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