Blanche Parry
Location in the Abbey: St Margaret's Church
Type of memorial: Statue
Type of material: Marble; alabaster

Blanche Parry, lady in waiting to Elizabeth I, is buried in St Margaret's church Westminster with a marble and alabaster monument. This is now on the south west wall but has been moved several times, at one time being on the south side of the Chancel. It shows a painted figure of Blanche kneeling at a prayer desk - her hands have been broken off. Above is a lozenge of her arms in eight quarters. The Queen paid for her funeral.  Payment for the monument was made by her executor Mr Powell in 1595-6. There is another monument to her at Bacton church in Herefordshire where her heart is buried.

She was born in about 1508, the daughter of Henry Parry of Newcourt, Bacton and his wife Alice (Milbourne) and she was cousin to the important Stradling family. The inscription reads:

"Hereunder is intombed Blanche Parrye daughter of Henry Parry of New Courte in the county of Herefd. Esquier, Gentlewoman of Queene Elizabethes most honourable bedchamber and keper of her Maties.juells [jewels], whome she faithfullie served from her Highnes birth. Beneficiall to her kinsfolke and countryemen charitable to the poor insomuch that she gave to the poore of Bacton and Newton in Herefordshire seaven score bushells of wheate and rye yearlie for ever wt.[with] divers somes of money to Westminster and other places for good uses. She died a maide in the eighte two yeers of her age the twelfe of February 1589"

The date of death is given in Old Style dating, now called 1590.

A photo of the monument can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further reading

"Mistress Blanche Queen Elizabeth I's confidante" by R.E.Richardson, 2007

"Blanche Parry Queen Elizabeth's gentlewoman" by C.A.Bradford,

A portrait is in the National Museum of Wales.

© 2017 The Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Website design - Design by Structure