Sir William Chambers

Sir William Chambers, architect, is buried in the south transept of Westminster Abbey, beside fellow architects Robert Adam and James Wyatt. The inscription on his grave reads:

SIR WILLIAM CHAMBERS, Knight of the Polar Star ARCHITECT Surveyor General of His Majesty's Works, F.R.S. F.S.A & R.A. Died March 8th 1796, aged 74

He was born at Gothenberg in Sweden in late 1722 or January 1723, a son of John Chambers, a merchant, and his wife Sara. He was sent to England and educated at Ripon in Yorkshire (where his family had been resident since first leaving Scotland). William worked for the Swedish East India Company and travelled extensively, including visits to India and China. In 1752 he married Catherine More. They had several children: Cornelia married John Milbanke, Selina married William Innes, George married Jane Rodney Charlotte married Captain Harward and Lavinia married Colonel Josiah Cottin. Chambers and Robert Adam were the greatest architects of their generation.

Perhaps William's most well known works are Somerset House in London and Kew in Surrey. He was a fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) and of the Society of Antiquaries (FSA) and member of the Royal Academy. He designed many town houses and villas including some of the fittings and furniture. The monument in the Abbey to Algernon, 6th Earl of Mountrath is his work, although this has been cut down in size.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

"Sir William Chambers, architect to George III" edited by J. Harris and M. Snodin, 1997


8th March 1796




South Transept

Memorial Type


Sir William Chambers
Sir William Chambers by Francis Cotes

[Public domain] Wikimedia Commons

Sir William Chambers
Sir William Chambers grave

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster