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Grave of Queen Elizabeth I

Grave of Queen Elizabeth I
Westminster Abbey, London
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Reign of Elizabeth I

Graves & Tombs


In Elizabethan times, like now, it was not unusual to erect tombs and monuments over the graves of loved ones, but it was an honour reserved only for the wealthy. Poor people were buried in an unmarked grave, usually in a shroud rather than a coffin. Sadly, not all tombs from this period survive. Many were destroyed during The Great Fire of London in 1666 and others have been lost over the centuries. Some of the influential Elizabethans whose graves in St Paul's Cathedral, London, were lost during the Great Fire are:

Sir Francis Walsingham (c.1532-1590)
Sir Christopher Hatton (1540-1591)
Sir Philip Sidney (15541586)
Sir Thomas Heneage (1532-1595)
William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (c.1501-1570)
Sir Nicholas Bacon (1510-1579)
Sir Thomas Baskerville (died 1597)


Not all rich Elizabethans, however, were given a tomb. Some were buried in a family crypt and others, such as those executed for treason, were not given the honour of a tomb. Some famous Elizabethans without a tomb are:

Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596): buried at sea in 1596, in a lead lined coffin, near Portobelo, Panama.

Sir Walter Raleigh (1554-1618): buried in the chancel of St Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey, following his execution in 1618. A brass plaque and a stained glass window, both erected in the 19th century, commemorate him.

Sir Henry Sidney (1529-1586) and Lady Mary Sidney (c.1530-1586): buried in the chancel of Penshurst Parish Church. Sir Henry's heart was buried in St Laurence's Church, Ludlow, beside his daughter, Ambrosia, who died in childhood.

Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk (1536-1572): buried in the Church of St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London, following his execution in 1572.

Robert Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex (1565-1601): buried in the Church of St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London, following his execution in 1601.


A number of tombs from the Elizabethan era survive, however, and below are a selection:



Grave of William Cecil, Lord Burghley

Grave of William Cecil, Lord Burghley (15201598)
St Martin's Church, Stamford

Wiki Commons



Grave of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

Grave of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (c.1533-1588)
Lettice Knollys, Countess of Leicester (1543-1634)
St Mary's Church, Warwick

Wiki Commons



Grave of Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick

Grave of Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick (1530-1590)
St Mary's Church, Warwick

Wiki Commons



Mary, Queen of Scots

Grave of Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1587)
Westminster Abbey, London

Wiki Commons





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