Thomas Millyng
Field: Abbot
Location in the Abbey: Chapel of st john baptist
Type of memorial: Grave

Thomas Millyng, bishop of Hereford, and Abbot of Westminster from 1469-74, was buried in the centre of St John the Baptist's chapel in Westminster Abbey in 1492. A stone coffin with a cross fleury carved on it, said to be his, was formerly in the chapel after having been removed from its burial place (the body was presumably re-buried),. The coffin lid is now outside in the ambulatory and is a re-used, possibly 13th century, coffin. A (possibly unique) wax funeral taper, said to belong to this abbot's burial, is in the Abbey collection.

He entered the Benedictine monastery in 1450 and held various offices before becoming Prior in 1466. He was Abbot when Queen Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV, took Sanctuary at Westminster for the first time on 1 October 1470 with her mother and three young daughters (Elizabeth, Mary and Cecily). Her son, the future Edward V, was born in Sanctuary and baptised in the Abbey and Thomas was one of his godfathers. He continued the building of the nave with money given by the king. Edward rewarded Millyng for his protection of the queen with the bishopric of Hereford and he was consecrated in the Lady Chapel in 1474. He was also made a Privy Councillor.

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

Further reading:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

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