The Duke of Wellington - 1852

Today at the Cathedral View More
8:00am Morning Prayer
8:30am Doors open for sightseeing
8:30am Eucharist
12:30pm Eucharist
4:00pm Last entry for sightseeing
5:00pm Choral Evensong
5:30pm Cathedral closes

The Duke of Wellington - 1852

Many notable Brits are buried in the crypt of St Paul's, but the two that really catch the eye are to two men known as military heroes - Horatio Nelson and Arthur Wellesley, the 'Iron Duke' of Wellington.

Nelson had been interred at St Paul's for ten years before Wellington would see the battle that would secure his name in history - defeat over Napoleon on the Belgian fields at Waterloo. 

Unlike Nelson, who died in battle, Wellington went on to live a long life - in which he was also Prime Minister - dying at the age of 83. But the passing of the years had not diminished the people's respect for him and, like Nelson, he was afforded a funeral at St Paul's.

The service was a lavish affair. Tens-of-thousands lined the streets and stands were erected in the Cathedral that allowed it to fit 13,000 people. The then Dean, Henry Milman, described the sound of the huge congregation reciting the Lord's Prayer as 'like the roar of many waters', a phrase taken from the Book of Revelation.

After the service he was lowered into the crypt and buried in a sarcophagus made of luxulyanite granite, just yards from Nelson. His tomb is guarded by four lions - sleeping as there is no need to fight any longer.

Later, a large monument  was erected on the Cathedral floor, at the bottom of which Wellington is shown lying in death and at the top of which he is seen riding his trusty steed, Copenhagen.


The powerful representation of the Iron Duke sitting astride Copenhagen can be seen on the monument to Wellington in the north nave of St Paul's. But Copenhagen was not originally destined for battle.

Bred from a line of impressive racehorses, Copenhagen took to the track at the age of two, but despite crossing the line first on a couple of occasions, was not seen as an impressive racer.

So at four-years-old he was retired from racing and shipped to Portugal and then Spain during the Peninsular Wars, soon finding his way to the Duke.

Although somewhat lacking as a racehorse, Copenhagen was to emerge as a superb battle horse.

Favoured by Wellington in a number of battles, Copenhagen was the obvious choice for the Duke at the Battle of Waterloo - some reports say he was ridden continuously for 17 hours.

With such outstanding service, after the war was over Copenhagen was given a fine retirement, living out his years at the Duke’s country estate, Stratfield Saye.

He was said to like being noticed and would eat his apples 'with all possible grace'.

He died in 1836, aged 28 and received a funeral with full military honours. He is buried under an oak tree at Stratfield Saye.