Skip to main content

Thomas Thynne

In the south choir aisle of Westminster Abbey is a monument to Thomas Thynne (Thynn) who was murdered in the Haymarket in London. The sculptor was Arnold Quellin. It shows a reclining semi-draped effigy of Thomas, with a relief of the murder below. The coat of arms shows "barry of ten or and sable (for Thynne) impaling argent a lion rampant, tail nowed, gules". The inscription reads:

THOMAS THYNN of LONG LEATE in Com. WILTS Esqr. who was barbarously murdered on Sunday the 12th of February 1681/2

The surname of Thynne, according to Burke's General Armoury, originated from an ancestor who resided at one of the Inns of Court and was called John of 'th' Inn', hence the surname Thynne. Thomas was born in 1648, the only surviving son of Sir Thomas Thynne and his wife Stuarta. He was educated at Oxford and on the death of his uncle Sir James he inherited the estate of Longleat in Wiltshire. His nickname 'Tom of Ten Thousand' referred to his great wealth. He was Member of Parliament for Wiltshire. In July 1681 he married a widow, Elizabeth (Percy), Countess of Ogle (d.1722) but she fled abroad and there were no children. By marrying her he incurred the jealousy of one of her suitors Count Karl Johann Konigsmark of Sweden. The Count hired Charles Borosky to kill Thynne and Charles and two other men (Vratz and Stern) waylaid his coach and fired into it. Thomas died the next day, 13th February 1682, and his embalmed body was buried in the Abbey on 9th March. His cousin Sir Thomas succeeded to his estates. Konigsmark escaped punishment by bribing the jury but the other three conspirators were hanged.

A long Latin inscription was written for the monument but the Dean of Westminster would not allow it to be inscribed. It was published in a history of the Abbey in 1715 and can be translated:

Thomas Thynne, Esq. Near this marble, destroyed by an early death, lies Thomas Thynne Esq. of Longleat in Wiltshire, a man not unequal to his illustrious birth, upon whom his family bestowed great capabilities, and Nature an even greater spirit. With the greatest enthusiasm he nourished and championed religion, (which had been appropriated by the corrupting influences of the Romans), and the laws of his country, and the liberty of its citizens, and, on many occasions, those deeds undertaken by his compatriots on behalf of their faith, as well as the majesty of the Britannic Empire. He took in marriage Elizabeth, Countess of Ogle, of the most ancient and most illustrious Percy family, daughter of the Duke of Northumberland and sole heir. For this cause tears: that supreme envy is ever the companion of supreme felicity; German, Swede and Pole conspired together under one head, names unworthy of this marble: two of whom were members of the guard of Charles [Karl], Count of Konigsmarck; alas, what a wicked crime did they set in motion, these men picked out for violence and murder. One single nation was not sufficient to carry this out; three armed men, seated on horseback, under cover of darkness, rose up against a lone, unarmed man, who was sitting in his carriage, suspecting no evil; four lead balls exploded in his vitals, and this same number opened up a way out for his departing spirit. But punishment followed hard upon the crime, the assassins being apprehended not without divine assistance; found guilty of the palpable crime which the German had ordered, the Pole had executed, and at which the Swede had been summoned to assist, they all perished at the hands of the hangman. Moreover, the Count of Konigsmarck himself was sought, not only as an accessory, but also as the instigator; he was brought back from shameful flight and underwent trial on a capital charge; but he escaped, cleared of the charge by the votes of the jurymen; two of the culprits, however, right up to their very deaths challenged the charge against him, while the third preferred to hold his peace.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

"Lady Bette and the murder of Mr Thynn" by N.A. Pickford, 2014

"Murder by design" by C.S. Knighton in Westminster Abbey Chorister, Winter 2014

Died

13th February 1682

Field

Politician

Location

South Choir Aisle

Memorial Type

Tomb; statue

Material Type

Marble

Thomas Thynne
Thomas Thynne

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2018 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Thomas Thynne
Thomas Thynne tomb

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2018 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Related Commemorations

westminster-abbey-james-oswald-grave

James Oswald

Politician
john-bradshaw-engraving

John Bradshaw

d.1659
Politician and Lawyer

There really isn’t a more spectacular building to work on. It’s been one of the most gratifying and rewarding experiences of my life.

spacer

Kevin - Galleries Project Manager

Twitter logo Tweet this