Robert Southey

On the wall of Poets' Corner Westminster Abbey, near Shakespeare's memorial, is a mural monument with bust to poet Robert Southey. The inscription reads:

Robert Southey, Born August 12th 1774 - Died March 21st 1843

The sculptor was Henry Weekes. Southey was born in Bristol and educated at Westminster School. He was expelled for originating a magazine called The Flagellant but he went on to Oxford university. In 1795 he married Edith Fricker (and his friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge married her sister Sara), and after her death he married Caroline Bowles. He was made Poet Laureate in 1813 and is known as one of 'the Lake Poets', together with William Wordsworth and Coleridge (who have memorials near Southey in Poets' Corner). His poetry was much admired by his contemporaries such as Scott and Byron but today his shorter poems are best remembered, for example The Battle of Blenheim and The Inchcape Rock. Among other prose works Southey wrote biographies of Nelson, Wesley and the poet Cowper. He is buried at Crossthwaite, in Cumbria (the Lake District).

Further Reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Also see Poets' Graves


12th August 1774


21st March 1843




South Transept; Poets' Corner

Memorial Type


Robert Southey
Robert Southey by Peter Vandyke

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

Robert Southey
Robert Southey memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster