Pelham Humfrey

Musician and composer Pelham Humfrey is buried in the east cloister of Westminster Abbey not far from the door leading into the church. The inscription on his gravestone has worn away but it is recorded in early guidebooks:

Here lieth interred the body of Mr Pelham Humphrey who died 14th of July Anno Dom. 1674 in the 27th year of his age

The coat of arms recorded is "a cross botony charged with escallop shells, impaling three lions heads erased and collared".

He was the nephew of Colonel John Humphrey, a noted officer in Cromwell's army, and was a chorister and then gentleman (tenor voice) of the Chapel Royal. In 1672 he succeeded Henry Cooke as Master of the Children there. He had a joint patent with Thomas Purcell as composer in ordinary for the violins to His Majesty and studied music in France and Italy. Samuel Pepys mentions him in his famous diary. He married Henry Cooke's daughter Katherine and their daughter Mary was buried in the Abbey on 23rd February 1674. He died at Windsor.

Further reading

"Pelham Humfrey" by P. Dennison, 1986

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


14th July 1674


Musician; composer


Cloisters; East Cloister

Memorial Type


Pelham Humfrey
East Cloister

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

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