Henry Francis Cary

Henry Francis Cary, translator of Dante's Divina Commedia into English is buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey, not far from Shakespeare's memorial. An inscription was placed over his grave in 1868 and originally had brass letters. The inscription on the small lozenge shaped stone, now incised, reads:

Underneath lie the remains of Henry Francis Cary M.A. Vicar of Abbots Bromley formerly Vicar of Kingsbury Warwick. Translator of Dante. Born Dec. 6 1772. Died Aug. 14 1844

He was born at Gibraltar where his father William was a captain in the army. His mother was Henrietta (Brocas), William's first wife. He was educated at Rugby School and Christ Church, Oxford. Following his father's wish he was ordained in 1796 and married Jane Ormsby. There were six sons, including Francis who became an artist, and two daughters. Later he was curate at the Savoy Chapel in London but he suffered bouts of mental illness. He worked as an assistant in the printed books department of the British Museum and his Dante translation was praised by Coleridge. He also wrote articles on French poets.

Further reading

H. Cary "Memoirs of the Rev. Henry Francis Cary", 2 vols, 1847

R.W. King "The translator of Dante: the life of Henry Francis Cary", 1925

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


6th December 1772


14th August 1844




South Transept; Poets' Corner

Memorial Type


Material Type


Henry Francis Cary
Henry Francis Cary grave

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster