Sir George Cornewall Lewis

In the north transept of Westminster Abbey is a memorial bust and inscription tablet to politician Sir George Cornewall Lewis. It is by sculptor Henry Weekes and is a "striking likeness" according to his friends who erected it. The inscription reads:

In memory of the Right Honourable Sir George Cornewall Lewis, Baronet of Harpton Court in the county of Radnor; successively Chancellor of the Exchequer and Secretary of State for the Home and War departments. In him eminence as a scholar and as an author, large stores of varied knowledge employed for the advantage and instruction of mankind, and an earnest devotion to literature unsullied by intolerance or envy, were combined with a gentle and beneficent character, stedfast pursuit of the public good, and the comprehensive wisdom of a statesman. This bust is erected by many friends to mark their affectionate esteem and admiration and to record his honoured name among the illustrious dead who lie buried within these walls. Born April 21 1806. Died April 13 1863

He was born in London, a son of Sir Thomas Lewis, 1st Baronet and his wife Harriet (Cornewall) and educated at Eton college and Oxford university. He studied law and was appointed to look into the condition of the poor in Ireland and the Irish living in the industrial towns in England. The Irish poor law was later enacted and he wrote several books and was editor of The Edinburgh Review. In 1844 he married widow Lady Theresa Lister but they had no children. He succeeded his father in the barony in 1855 and is buried in the family vault in Old Radnor church.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

There is a statue of him outside the Shire Hall in Hereford


21st April 1806


13th April 1863


North Transept

Memorial Type

Bust; tablet

Sir George Cornewall Lewis
Sir George Cornewall Lewis by John Watkins

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

Sir George Cornewall Lewis
Sir George Cornewall Lewis

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2022 Dean and Chapter of Westminster