In the west cloister of Westminster Abbey is a memorial stone to William Richard Lethaby, Surveyor of the Fabric of the Abbey. This reads:
William Richard Lethaby 1857-1931 Surveyor of the Fabric from 1906 to 1928. Born at Barnstaple, buried at Hartley Wintney
He was born on 18th January 1857, the only son of Richard Lethaby, carver and gilder, and his wife Mary (Crago). After various posts he became pupil and assistant to architect Norman Shaw and in 1889 set up his own practice. Later he was principal of the Central School of Arts and Crafts and Professor of Design at the Royal College of Art and won many distinctions. During his time as Surveyor he wrote two major books about the Abbey and undertook cleaning of the medieval monuments in the church and continued essential repairs and cleaning of the stonework. He also wrote a book on Medieval Art. For the 1911 coronation of George V he designed, with his Royal College of Art students, new white altar hangings which are still in use.
His wife was Edith Crosby but they had no children. He died on 17th July 1931 and although Abbey burial was offered it was declined by his relatives and he lies with his wife near their county home in Hampshire.
His major works on the Abbey:
"Westminster Abbey and the Kings Craftsmen" 1906 and
"Westminster Abbey Re-Examined" 1925
"William Richard Lethaby. His life and work" by Godfrey Rubens, 1986
"William Richard Lethaby" editied by S. Backemeyer & T. Gronberg, 1984
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004
18th January 1857
17th July 1931