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Lawrence Tanner

The ashes of Lawrence Edward Tanner, Westminster Abbey historian and antiquary, are buried in the vault of the lower Islip chapel in the Abbey. He has the unique distinction of having been baptised, confirmed, married and buried in the Abbey. He was born in Vincent Square on 12th February 1890 a son of Ralph Tanner, housemaster at Westminster School, and his wife Lucy Lawrence Le Grice Eyre. Due to the early death of his mother he was the youngest boy at Westminster and was there from 1900-1909. He was present at the 1902, 1911, 1937 and 1953 coronations, the last two serving as a Gold Staff Officer. Ralph, his only brother, died of wounds received during the Great War but Lawrence served on the home front due to a low medical rating. He held many posts in succeeding years including clerk to the Weavers' Company (1919-1960), assistant master at Westminster School, Keeper of the Abbey Muniments (1926-1966), secretary of the Royal Almonry (which arranges the Royal Maundy services) (1921-1964), Vice President of the Society of Antiquaries, Sub-Librarian and later Librarian of Westminster Abbey (1933-1972). An avid writer on the history of the Abbey, the School and the coronation ceremony he published over sixty titles including his own "Recollections". On 9th June 1945 he married Joan, eldest daughter of the Hon. Asseton Curzon and she is buried with him (died 1971). There were no children and he died on 15th December 1979. His nephew was Peter.

Further reading

"Recollections of a Westminster Antiquary" autobiography, 1969

His schoolboy diaries are held by Westminster School archives

His journal 1927-1932 is held in Westminster Abbey Library, together with many of his lectures and papers.

"A Bibliography of Westminster Abbey" by Tony Trowles, 2005, for list of Tanner books

Born

12th February 1890

Died

15th December 1979

Occupation

Historian

Location

Islip Chapel

Memorial Type

Vault

Lawrence Tanner
Lawrence Tanner

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2020 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Related commemorations

It’s a privilege to live and work here – the Abbey really is the heart of the country and its history.

Martin - The Dean’s Verger

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