Thomas Triplet

Thomas Triplet (or Triplett) was buried in the south transept of Westminster Abbey. He had been christened on 6th April 1602, at St Nicholas Cole Abbey, London (near St Paul's Cathedral), the son of Robert Triplet, Master of the Stationers Company of London, and Margery (Cartwright). Thomas was educated at St Paul's School London and Christ Church College, Oxford where he graduated M.A. in 1625. In the 1630s he was rector of various parishes in County Durham in the north of England, including Washington (where George Washington's ancestors originated). He was appointed to a canonry at York in 1641, another at Salisbury in 1645, and yet another at Durham in 1648 or 1649. His career was interrupted by the English Civil War and the Commonwealth period when cathedrals and canonries were abolished. He had to earn his living as a schoolmaster, first in Dublin and then in Hayes in Middlesex. When King Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660 cathedrals were re-established and in 1662 Triplet was made a Canon at Westminster Abbey. By his death in 1670 he was Sub-Dean.


His white marble monument is on the west wall of the south transept. The Latin epitaph can be translated:

Here rests the Reverend Doctor Thomas Triplett, of the county of Oxford, prebendary of this church: who, right through to his seventieth year of age, made himself dear to God by his piety and constant devotion; to the Learned, by his uncommon skill in the Greek language; to the Poor, by his generosity and continual good works; and to All, by the innocent charm of his character; and finally passed from this life to a better one, on the 18th of July A.D. 1670.

At the top of the monument is a carving (uncoloured) of his coat of arms (a hind courant, pierced through the neck with an arrow, a chief indented).

His life

Thomas does not appear to have been married. Most of his estate at his death was left to his sister Katherine, wife of Stephen Warne, and her three children Thomas, Eliza (who married John Heywood) and Sarah (who married Thomas Robinson), then living in Ireland.

He founded two charities: one to help apprentices from Washington and nearby places in County Durham, the other to help apprentices from Hayes, Petersham and Richmond and scholars at Westminster School. Both these charities still exist.

In his will he mentioned his relatives in Oxfordshire (cousin Christopher and his brother Richard Triplet, Henry Triplet son of Paul, and another cousin Dr Ralph Triplet) and his large collection of books left to various people shows he must have been a scholar, though we do not know of any writings. Several books with his signature are in the Abbey Library - he signed his name Triplet.

Several persons named Triplet went to America in the 17th century. A John Triplet went to Virginia but died without issue. Francis Triplet also went to Virginia, to old Rappahannock County, in 1658. He died in 1701 and had five sons. Most of the Triplet family in America seem to have descended from this man. He could have been a distant relative of Thomas' uncle Francis.

Further reading

Chapter one of an unpublished work by T. Triplet Russell of Florida is available for consultation in the Library

His will, as Thomas Triplett, can be found on The National Archives website and a copy can be ordered from them


18th July 1670




South Transept; Poets' Corner

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Material Type


Thomas Triplet
Thomas Triplet monument

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2022 Dean and Chapter of Westminster