Laurence of Durham

Laurence of Durham was Abbot of Westminster from about 1158. His effigy can still be seen in the south cloister of the Abbey under the bench where it was moved for better preservation in 1752. He was a favourite of King Henry II and the canonization of King Edward the Confessor was obtained during his abbacy on 7th February 1161. Pope Alexander III granted him the right to wear mitre, ring and gloves but he died on 11th April 1173 before they arrived in England. He had been a monk at Durham and at St Albans and had a brother Ralph and nephew John. John Flete, monk of Westminster, records his epitaph (here translated from the Latin):

Enclosed within this tomb is a man once renowned throughout the world, who brought renown to this place for the past, present and future. Fittingly, for the virtues of his life, the laurel gave him its name [Laurence]; now for these virtues shall the laurel of life be given him

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


11th April 1173




South Cloister

Memorial Type


Laurence of Durham
Laurence of Durham effigy

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

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