Thomas Telford

Thomas Telford, one of Britain's greatest engineers, was buried in the centre part of the nave of Westminster Abbey on 10th September 1834, having died on the 2nd at 24 Abingdon Street, Westminster. The original small gravestone was replaced in 1974 by a metal one and reads:


A larger than life white marble statue, by E.H. Baily 1839, was erected in St Andrew's chapel, off the north transept. Originally it had been proposed to erect the statue near the grave but the final situation is some distance from it. Telford is depicted in civilian dress wearing a cloak. In his right hand he holds a pair of dividers and the other hand rests on two books lying on a pedestal (Civil Architecture and Inland Navigation - Bridges), with a roll of paper below. The inscription reads:

Thomas Telford. President of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Born at Glendinning in Eskdale Dumfries-shire in MDCCLVII. Died in London MDCCCXXXIV. This marble has been erected near the spot where his remains are deposited by the friends who revered his virtues: but his noblest monuments are to be found amongst the great public works of this country. The orphan son of a shepherd, self educated, he raised himself by his extraordinary talents and integrity from the humble condition of an operative mason, and became one of the most eminent civil engineers of the age.

He was born on 9th August 1757, the only son of John Telford (who died a few months after his birth) and Janet (Jackson) his wife. After working as a stonemason and architect in London and elsewhere he became best known for building bridges, aqueducts, roads and canals. His best known works are probably the Caledonian Canal in Scotland and the Menai Straits suspension bridge and Pontcysyllte aqueduct in Wales. He died unmarried, and mentioned no relations in his will.

Further Reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

L.T.C. Rolt "Thomas Telford" (1985)


9th August 1757


2nd September 1834


10th September 1834




Nave; Chapel of St Andrew

Memorial Type

Grave; statue

Material Type


Thomas Telford
Thomas Telford

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Thomas Telford
Thomas Telford grave

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster