Victor Bruce, 9th Earl of Elgin

When the present High Altar of Westminster Abbey was being erected by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the late 1860s he found that the floor to the east of the ancient Cosmati pavement had been damaged during the erection and removal of earlier altars. The 9th Earl of Elgin presented three red porphyry discs to be inserted in this new floor, which imitated the ancient floor design. A Latin inscription was cut into the edge of the marble step up to the High Altar table which can be translated:

Victor Alexander, Earl of Elgin, brought home these three discs, segments of an Egyptian pillar of the Byzantine age, and gave them to this Church as a token of his and his family's love, 1869

He was a relative of Lady Augusta (Bruce) wife of Dean Stanley, Dean of Westminster.




High Altar

Victor Bruce, 9th Earl of Elgin
Victor Bruce, 9th Earl of Elgin by Bourne & Shepherd

[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Victor Bruce, 9th Earl of Elgin
Elgin's gift set in front of High Altar

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2022 Dean and Chapter of Westminster