Thomas, Margaret and Richard Blagrave

Thomas Blagrave, musician and singer, was buried in the north cloister of Westminster Abbey on 24th November 1688 but he has no monument. His grave inscription had already worn away by 1715 and all that could then be read was:

Thomas Blagrave, Gent. sworn servant to the King...

He was a son of Richard Blagrave (and grandson of John and Elizabeth) and his third wife Anne (Mason) whose father was a court musician. Richard died in 1641 and was buried in St Margaret's Westminster on 20th October and had been a musician at the court of Charles I. His first wife was Elizabeth Cheyney and his second Elizabeth Goddard. His children were Thomas, Robert (also a court musician), John, Anthony, Ann, Allan and Cheyney.

Thomas succeeded his father in his court post and he wrote a few songs. Samuel Pepys mentions him in his famous Diary. He was a court violinist from 1660 and was described as "a player for the most part on the cornet flute and a gentle and honest man". As a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal he attended the coronation of Charles II in 1661. He was a counter-tenor and bass in the Abbey Choir from 1664-1688 and in 1666 succeeded Christopher Gibbons as Master of the Choristers. He married Margaret (nee Clarvox or Clarevell) at St Margaret's Westminster on 14th October 1645 but had no children. They lived in St Margaret's Lane Westminster. She was buried next to him on 12th October 1689.

His nephew John Goodwin was buried in the cloisters on 10 July 1693 and his niece Frances Frost (later Goodall) was buried on 20th February 1706.

Further reading

His portrait is in the Faculty of Music, Oxford University

"A biographical dictionary of English Court Musicians 1485-1714" compiled by A.Ashbee and D. Lasocki, 1998 (for careers of Richard, Thomas and Robert)

The wills of Thomas and Margaret, and of John Goodwin are at the City of Westminster Archives Centre

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - Thomas Blagrave

Funeral

24th November 1688

Occupation

Musician

Location

Cloisters; North Cloister; St Margaret's Church

Memorial Type

Grave

Thomas, Margaret and Richard Blagrave
North Cloister

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2021 Dean and Chapter of Westminster