Thomas Gayfere
Died: 04 Apr, 1812
Location in the Abbey: Cloisters, west cloister
Type of memorial: Grave

Thomas Gayfere, mason, is buried in the west cloister of Westminster Abbey, together with his wife Frances and daughter. The gravestone was re-cut in 1996 and the inscription reads:

"Frances late wife of Thomas Gayfere, Mason to this Collegiate Church.Died Mar 22 1776 aged 40 years. Also Frances Elizabeth Gayfere daughter of the above Thomas & Frances died June 23rd 1807 aged 54 years. Likewise the aforesaid Thomas Gayfere died April 4th 1812 in the 92nd year of his age."

He appears to have been the eldest son of Thomas Gayfere of Wapping, Middlesex, mason, and his wife Mary (Townsend) of Burford in Oxfordshire, who were married in 1718 at Shipton under Wychwood. The younger Thomas was mason of the Abbey from 1762 and his son Thomas was granted a joint patent with him in 1802. They were responsible, under the Abbey Surveyor James Wyatt, for the restoration of the exterior of Henry VII's chapel at the Abbey. After the elder Thomas's death in 1812, at his house in Abingdon Street, his son carried on until the completion of the restoration in 1823, when he retired. Others working with them were Richard Lane, foreman, and carvers Maitland and David Bog, John Holmes and John Teasdale (senior and junior).  He also reconstructed the north front of Westminster Hall in 1819-22. He had been baptized at St John the Evangelist Westminster on 23 Jan 1755 and died on 20 October 1827 and was buried at Newton Solney in Derbyshire. His siblings William and Mary Ann died young. Frances, who is buried with her parents, died unmarried.

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

Further reading:

"Westminster Abbey. The Lady Chapel of Henry VII" edited by T.Tatton Brown and R.Mortimer, 2003.

"The History and Antiquites of the Abbey Church of.....Westminster" by J.P.Neale & E.W.Brayley, vol. I (second section) p.21-27, 1818

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