William Dickinson

William Dickinson, architect and deputy Surveyor of Westminster Abbey under Sir Christopher Wren, was buried in the north porch of the Abbey. He had worked on the restoration of the north front so this location was appropriate. By the 19th century his stone had become broken and illegible so Dean Stanley inserted a new stone (not visible) for him and the Latin inscription was re-cut. This can be translated:

Here lies William Dickinson, architect. What sort of architect! Look upwards. Died 24 of January A.D. 1724 aged 54

William was son of William Dickinson, chief clerk of the King's works 1660 to his death in 1702 and Controller Clerk at Windsor Castle. William junior was employed by Wren for the re-building of St Paul's Cathedral from 1696-1711 and also other City of London churches destroyed in the Great Fire of London. He was also clerk of the works at Greenwich Hospital, Whitehall and St James's Palace and succeeded his father in the post at Windsor Castle. In 1711 he was appointed to the Abbey as Deputy Surveyor of the Fabric and College Surveyor and held the posts until his death. He lived in Smith Street near the Abbey and many of his plans and drawings remain in the Abbey archive. His will was proved by his wife Elizabeth and he left a bequest to his son William.

The drawing shown on this page by Dickinson in the Abbey archives shows the north front with a new design on a flap overlaid.

Further reading

"The History of the King's Works", vol. V, edited by H.M. Colvin, 1976

"The lantern tower of Westminster Abbey 1060-2010" by Warwick Rodwell, 2010


24th January 1724




North Transept

Memorial Type


William Dickinson
North Front 1719 with flap with proposed design for restoration

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2022 Dean and Chapter of Westminster