George Wade

George Wade (1673-1748), Field Marshal, was buried in the centre aisle of the nave of Westminster Abbey. He is best known for the military roads he built in Scotland, which gave rise to the verse "If you'd seen these roads before they were made, you would hold up your hands and bless Marshal Wade". He was a son of Jerome Wade of Kilavally, Ireland and grandson of William, who served with Oliver Cromwell. George rose quickly through the military ranks and became a Member of Parliament for Bath and a Privy Councillor.

He died unmarried but left four illegitimate children, George, John, Jane and Emilia, and he also provided for the children of his brother William (1672-1733), who was a Canon of Windsor. William, George and John all attended Westminster School. George junior attained the rank of Lt.Colonel in the army and John was also a soldier and died in 1796.


The General's grave shows his carved coat of arms - a saltire between four escallops, with a crest of a rhinocerus.

In 1750 a large monument was erected on the window ledge in the south aisle of the nave. The sculptor, Louis Francois Roubiliac, said it was his favourite work. It shows a medallion portrait head of George with a figure of Fame pushing away a figure of Time who carries a large scythe. The inscription is similar to that on the gravestone except that the stone gives his date of death as 1747 (ie. old style dating):

To the memory of George Wade Field Marshal of his Majesty's forces, Lieutenant Genl. of the Ordnance, Colonel of his Majesty's third regiment of dragoon guards, Governor of Fort William, Fort Augustus and Fort George; and one of his Majesty's most honourable Privy Council. He died 14 Mar: 1748, aged 75.

Further Reading

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

George Wade by Denise Chantrey, 2009

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

Many of his papers and maps are in the National Library of Scotland


14th March 1748





Memorial Type

Grave; tablet

George Wade
George Wade monument

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

George Wade
George Wade grave

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster