Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury

Near the west door of Westminster Abbey is a statue to politician and philanthropist Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. It was unveiled on 1st October 1888 and is by the sculptor Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm. Monies for it were raised in part by pennies given by the poor children of London for whose protection Shaftesbury worked. The larger than life white marble statue shows him with hands clasped and wearing robes of the Order of the Garter. On the plinth is the inscription:

Anthony Ashley Cooper Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury K.G. Born April 28 1801. Died October 1 1885. Endeared to his countrymen by a long life spent in the cause of the helpless and suffering. Love - Serve

He was born in London, a son of Cropley Ashley-Cooper, 6th Earl of Shaftesbury and his wife Lady Anne Spencer-Churchill. Educated at Harrow school and Oxford university he entered Parliament and was on the India Board of Control. In 1830 he married Lady Emily Cowper and they had six sons and four daughters. He became President of the Pastoral Aid Society and worked tirelessly for social and moral reform including protection of children who worked in factories and as chimney sweeps. He succeeded as 7th Earl in 1851 and had estates at Wimborne St Giles in Dorset. His funeral was held in the Abbey but he is buried at Wimborne. The statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus was erected as a memorial to him.

Further reading

"Life and work of the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury" by E.Hodder, 3 vols. 1887.

Papers relating to the monument are at The National Archives, Kew, Surrey.

Born

28th April 1801

Died

1st October 1885

Memorial

1st October 1888

Occupation

Politician; philanthropist

Location

Nave

Memorial Type

Statue

Material Type

Marble

Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury
Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury

© National Portrait Gallery, London [Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0]

Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury
Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2022 Dean and Chapter of Westminster