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Temple West

In the north choir aisle of Westminster Abbey is a white marble monument to Vice Admiral Temple West. This is by the sculptor Joseph Wilton and shows a bust of the Admiral with the shields of West and Balchen. The long inscription reads: 

Sacred to the memory of Temple West Esqr. [Esquire], who dedicating himself from his earliest youth to the naval service of his country rose with merit & reputation to the rank of Vice Admiral of the White. Sagacious, active, industrious he was a skillful seaman. Cool, intrepid and resolute, he approved himself a gallant officer. In the signal victory obtained over the French May 3 1747 he was captain of the ship which carried Sr. Peter Warren and acquired peculiar honour, even on that day of general glory. In the less successful engagement near Minorca May 20 1756, wherein as Rear Admiral he commanded the second division, his distinguished courage and animating example were admired by the whole British squadron, confessed by that of France and amid the national discontent which followed, rewarded as they deserved by the warmest applauses of his country & the just approbation of his Sovereign.
On the 17th of November following he was appointed one of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. He adorned this station by a modesty which concealed from him his own merit & a candour which disposed him to reward that of others. With these publick talents he possessed the milder graces of domestick life: to the frank & generous spirit of an officer he added the ease & politeness of a gentleman; and with the moral & social virtues of a good man he exercised the duties of a Christian. A life so honourable to himself, so dear to his friends, so useful to his country was ended at the age of 43, A.D. 1757. To preserve to posterity his fame and his example this monument was erected by the daughter of the brave unfortunate Balchen, the wife of Temple West A.D. 1761.

He was the son of the Reverend Richard West and his wife Maria (Temple) and entered the navy in 1727 serving at home and in the Mediterranean. On 6th June 1736 he married Frances Balchen (or Balchin). When not at sea he was Member of Parliament for Buckingham. In 1755 he was made Rear Admiral and Vice Admiral and member of the Board of the Admiralty the following year. He was buried at St John's, West Wickham in Kent. His son was Lt. Colonel Temple West (died 1783) and his grandson was Admiral Sir John West.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

Sir Peter Warren and Admiral Balchen also have monuments in the Abbey

Field

Sailor

Location

North Choir Aisle

Memorial Type

Bust

Material Type

Marble

Temple West
Admiral Temple West

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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