Pierre Le Courayer

The Roman Catholic divine Dr Pierre Le Courayer is buried in the south cloister of Westminster Abbey. On the wall nearby is a black and white marble tablet with his monogram PFC at the top. The Latin inscription can be translated:

Here is buried Fr. Pierre Francois Le Courayer, D.D., sometime Canon of the brotherhood of St Genevieve, a man who, if anyone does, deserves well of the Church and realm of England, both by reason of his courage, and of his writings; inasmuch as he declared and claimed with forceful and irrefutable arguments the validity of episcopal ministry for this our Church, long since called into question by the Pontiffs (although himself a Frenchman, and a Pontiff) who moreover, because of this claim, being then expelled from his country, a fugitive, and finally stripped of all his goods, sought and found a refuge in this City; and there, for nearly fifty years, this distinguished exile enjoyed leisure for virtuous contemplation, in life the delight of all good men, his death a universal grief. His friends placed this marble here to such and so great a man, in his memory, though truth defended, and error refuted, provide for him a more lasting fame than marble. He died the 17th day of October, in the year after Christ's birth 1776 aged 95

The gravestone reads:

Pierre Francois Le Courayer Born at Rouen in Normandy November 17 1681 Canon of the Abbey of S. Genevieve. Author of a dissertation on the validity of English ordinations. Died October 17 1776 aged 95.

He was educated in Vernon and arrived in England in 1728 and became something of a celebrity after writing his dissertation on the succession of bishops in the Anglican Church. He died in Downing Street, Westminster. He left legacies to only one relation his brother James Le Courayer.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


17th November 1681


17th October 1776




Cloisters; South Cloister

Memorial Type

Grave; tablet

Material Type


Pierre Le Courayer
Pierre Le Courayer

[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Pierre Le Courayer
Pierre Le Courayer memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Pierre Le Courayer
Pierre Francis le Courayer, with CW Congreve grave

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster