Thomas Bilson

Thomas Bilson, bishop of Winchester, is buried in the south ambulatory of Westminster Abbey. The brass plate over his grave has been moved against the wall for better preservation and a plain piece of brass covers his actual grave. The Latin inscription can be translated:

Sacred to the memory: here lies Thomas Bilson formerly bishop of Winchester and counsellor in sacred matters of his serene highness James king of Great Britain, who when he had served God and the church for nineteen years in the bishopric, laid aside mortality, in certain hope of resurrection, 18th June 1616, aged 69.

He was a son of Harmon Bilson, who was of German descent, and his wife Joan and was educated at Winchester College, where he later became Head Master, and New College Oxford. He obtained a canonry at Winchester Cathedral and was known for his scholarly works and sermons. Bilson was the first married Warden of Winchester College. His wife was Anne and they had several children - a daughter married Sir Richard Norton. His son Sir Thomas married Susanna, daughter of Sir William Uvedale the elder, and their son Leonard was baptised in the Abbey on 5th December 1616. For a very short time he was bishop of Worcester before being elected bishop of Winchester. He preached at James I's coronation and "put the completing hand" to the Authorized Version of the Bible by command of James I. While staying in Westminster he died on 17th June 1616.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

His will is at the City of Westminster Archives Centre


18th June 1616


Priest/Minister; writer


South Ambulatory

Memorial Type


Material Type


Thomas Bilson
Thomas Bilson

[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Thomas Bilson
Thomas Bilson memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

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