Henry Wharton

At the west end of the south aisle of the nave of Westminster Abbey is a white marble cartouche for the Reverend Henry Wharton, historian, who is buried nearby. This is decorated with floral sprays and scroll work. At the top is a re-painted coat of arms. The Latin inscription can be translated:

Here lies Henry Wharton, M.A., presbyter of the Church of England, Rector of the church of Chartham and Vicar of the church of Minster in the Isle of Thanet and diocese of Canterbury, Chaplain to the most reverend and most religious prelate William, Archbishop of Canterbury, who, for the increase and illustration of learning, and for the church of Christ, wrote much and intended more. He died the 5th of March A.D. 1694 aged 31 years.

He was born on 9th November 1664 in Norfolk, a son of Edmund Wharton, vicar of Worstead, and his wife Susanna (Burr). He had a brother Edmund and sister Susan. Henry was born with two tongues but he gradually lost the lower one. Educated locally and at Gonville and Caius college in Cambridge, he was a brilliant scholar and William Sancroft ordained him in 1688 and made him one of his chaplains. As the inscription states he served at two churches in Kent. The best known of his writings is Anglia Sacra, 1691, a collection of medieval manuscripts chronicling the history of the English church. He died unmarried. Archbishop Tillotson attended his funeral and Henry Purcell composed anthems for it.

Further Reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


9th November 1664


5th March 1694


Historian; priest/minister



Memorial Type


Material Type


Henry Wharton
Henry Wharton memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

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