Geoffrey Chaucer was the Abbey's first poet to be buried there. He is regarded as the "Father of English Poetry" and is buried at Poets' Corner. Surprisingly, he was buried there because of his position as Clerk of the King's Works, not because he was a poet. The Canterbury Tales is his most well-known work.
Chaucer was born in London around 1340 and died in 1400. He started working for the Crown in 1364 when he was only nineteen years old. Three years later he became an esquire or gentleman at the court of King Richard II. In 1387, after the death of its last monarch, Queen Elizabeth I, the Kingdom of England was replaced by a series of executive governments called "administrations". The office of Lord Chancellor was created to oversee these bodies. The job was given to individuals who were judges as well as lawyers. It was not until 1530 that someone who was not a member of the royal family took up this post; under Edward Duke of Somerset.
In 1382, when Chaucer was twenty-one years old, he married Philippa Barre. She was the daughter of a wealthy London merchant. The couple had three children: Katherine, John, and Geoffrey Jr. Although they lived in London, they probably spent most of their time on the Chaucer family estate in Kent where he worked as a judge of petitions from the poor before the Parliament.
|Born||c. 1340s London, England|
|Died||25 October 1400 (aged 56–57) London, England|
|Resting place||Westminster Abbey|
|Occupation||Author poet philosopher bureaucrat diplomat|
A number of London playwrights are buried in Poets' Corner. The poets Geoffrey Chaucer and Edmund Spenser, as well as Ben Jonson, Francis Beaumont, William Davenant, and Michael Drayton, are all buried at the Abbey. John Milton was originally buried outside London in Bunhill Fields but was moved to St Paul's Cathedral when that church was built.
Chaucer's tomb is decorated with a bust by Giovan Francesco Barbieri. The sculptor was born in Italy about 1550 and died in Rome in 1606. He is best known for his sculptures which include those of Peter Paul Rubens and Queen Christina of Sweden.
Barbieri was a highly regarded artist who worked in both marble and bronze. His other works can be seen across Europe including two other statues in Westminster Abbey: one of King Charles I and one of King Charles II.
Geoffrey Chaucer was born around 1343 and died in 1400. He was born into a wealthy family that had connections with the English royal court. He was educated at Oxford University and became a lawyer like his father before becoming a poet. He is most famous for writing The Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories told by pilgrims as they traveled to Canterbury Cathedral for the annual pilgrimage festival. There are 14 speakers in all. Some of the stories include "The Wife of Bath's Prologue" and "The Franklin's Tale".
Poets' Corner is the name given to an area of Westminster Abbey's South Transept because of the large number of poets, playwrights, and writers buried and remembered there. Geoffrey Chaucer was the first poet buried at Poets' Corner. He has a fine monument with an epitaph by John Lydgate.
The most famous writer buried in Westminster Abbey is Jane Austen. She is only one of many people buried in the royal cemetery of St George's Chapel, but she has become so popular that there is now a film festival named after her every year in July.
There are also monuments to Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Rudyard Kipling, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, and D. H. Lawrence among others.
Now, let's see where some of these people are actually located...