John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll

John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and 1st Duke of Greenwich, orator and soldier, was buried in Henry VII's chapel in Westminster Abbey on 15th October 1743. His grave is marked by a small lozenge stone to the north east of Henry VII's tomb. This inscription was put on the stone in the later 19th century and reads:

John Duke of Argyll and Greenwich 1743 Jane Warburton his wife 1767 and his daughters Caroline Countess of Dalkeith 1794 Lady Mary Coke 1811

A large black and white marble monument was erected for him in the south transept. A life size figure of the Duke in Roman armour reclines on a sarcophagus with a figure representing History behind him. The figure is recording his name on the pyramid behind them, stopping short at 'GR' to indicate that the dukedom of Greenwich died with him. At floor level is a figure representing Eloquence, her right arm outstretched as she addresses the viewer. The rod and serpent which she held in her left hand is missing from the monument but is still in the Abbey collection. The other is a seated figure of Minerva.

Between these figures is a relief panel showing Liberty enthroned with a putti in front of her holding Magna Carta. This is perhaps the finest 18th century monument in the Abbey and is by sculptor L.F. Roubiliac. It was "unveiled" in 1749. The large wall the sculptor erected behind and above the monument (11 feet wide and 7 feet high) was taken down in 1863 and the top marble of the memorial shaped. This revealed the archway of the exit of the monks' night stairs from the gallery above St Faith's chapel, leading from their dormitory.

The lines of verse on the pyramid are by Paul Whitehead:

BRITON behold, if patriot worth be dear, a shrine that claims thy tributary tear; silent that tongue, admiring Senates heard: nerveless that arm, opposing legions fear'd: nor less, O CAMPBELL! thine the pow'r to please, and give to grandeur all the grace of ease. Long from thy life let kindred heroes trace arts, which ennoble still the noblest race. Others may owe their future fame to me; I borrow immortality from thee. JOHN DUKE OF ARGYLL and GR.

On the book held by History:

Born October the 10th MDCLXXX. Died October the 4th MDCCXLIII

And on a white marble tablet below the relief:

In memory of an honest man, a constant friend, JOHN the great DUKE of ARGYLL and GREENWICH; a General and orator execeded by none in the age he lived. Sr. HENRY FERMER Baronet, by his last will left the sum of five hundred pounds towards erecting this monument, and recommended the above inscription.

John was born at his grandmother's residence, Ham House in Surrey, in 1680 and was the eldest son of Archibald Campbell, 10th Earl and 1st Duke of Argyll and his wife Elizabeth (Tollemache). He was known as Lord Lorne and took part in the Duke of Marlborough's campaigns in the Low Countries and later became a Major General. In 1703 he succeeded to the dukedom and took a major part in Scottish politics, helping bring about the union between Scotland and England. In 1711 he went to Spain and was appointed governor of Minorca. He later became Duke of Greenwich and his first wife was Mary Brown. They separated soon after the marriage and she was buried in the Abbey on 19th January 1717.

His second wife was Jane Warburton, maid of honour to Queen Anne. She was buried with him on 23rd April 1767 aged 84.

Four daughters reached maturity: Caroline, Countess of Dalkeith (married to Francis, Earl of Dalkeith and secondly Hon.Charles Townshend and created Baroness Greenwich) was buried with her parents 25 January 1794 aged 76 and Lady Mary Coke (married to Edward, Viscount Coke) was buried on 11th October 1811 aged 86. Anne became Countess of Strafford and Elizabeth married James Stuart Mackenzie, who has a memorial adjacent to Argyll's monument.

Further Reading about James Campbell

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Further reading about the monument

"Roubiliac and the 18th century monument" by D. Bindman and M. Baker 1995

Sculptor Michael Rysbrack also did designs for a proposed monument -these are at the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery


10th October 1680


4th October 1743


15th October 1743




South Transept; Poets' Corner; Lady Chapel

Memorial Type

Grave; statue

Material Type

Stone; marble

John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll
John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and Greenwich by William Aikman

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

John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll
John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster