The Rev. Lawrence Washington and his Burial Place in Maldon

In All Saints' Churchyard at Maldon was buried the Rev. Laurence Washington, who died, presumably, in Maldon in January, 1652.

This Lawrence Washington was the great-great-grandfather of George Washington, first President of the United States.

He was rector of Purleigh in Essex, four miles south-west of Maldon, a position he assumed in 1632.

During the Civil War he was one of more than one hundred priests of the Church of England referred to "as scandalous, malignant priests" were deprived of their livings for alleged treason or immorality by order of the Puritan Parliament. In 1643 Washington was censored on trumped-up charges of being "a common frequenter of ale-houses" who " encouraged others in that beastly vice" and lost his benefice. Following his ejection from Purleigh, Washington became rector of the impoverished parish of Little Braxted in Essex.

Lawrence Washington died in poverty, leaving an estate of insufficient value to require the issuance of letters of administration and was buried in the churchyard of All Saints' Church in Maldon, Essex.

In 1928 the Washington window, commemorating the Washington family, was given to All Saints' Church, Maldon, by the citizens of Malden, Massachusetts




The Washington Window in All Saints Church Maldon


This illustration shows the magnificent stained glass window unveiled at All Saints' Church, Maldon, on the 5th July, 1928, by the Official Representative of the Ambassador of the United States of America, and dedicated by the Bishop of Chelmsford to the memory of Lawrence Washington. This Window, which can be seen in the Chancel of the D'Arcy Chapel on the South side of the Church, was the joint gift of the Citizens of Malden, Massachusetts, and the Sulgrave Institution, U.S.A., and is rightly regarded as a presentation of International interest. The suggestion of the gift emanated from the Vicar of All Saints, the Revd. Isaac L. Seymour, who, by invitation in 1924, attended the 275th Anniversary of the founding of Malden, U.S.A. The American donors expressed a desire that their gift should be an outstanding expression of friendly relations among English speaking peoples.

The Window was designed by Mr. A. K. Nicholson, of Gower Street, London, and his aim was the expression of the strong tie of brotherhood existing between the two great branches of the Anglo Saxon Race, exemplified in a measure by the old and young Maldon on either side of the Atlantic. With this object in view, three figures symbolical of the common characteristics of the Race form a nucleus on which the Window was designed. These characteristics are "Patriotism", "Freedom" and "Colonization"

"Patriotism" is represented in the centre light by the figure of St. George, the Patron Saint of the Anglo Saxon Race; "Freedom", in the right hand light by St. Joan of Arc, and "Colonization" in the left hand light by St. Nicholas, the Patron Saint of Sailors and also of those who settle in far lands.

St. Nicholas appears in full Episcopal vestments and holds in his left hand a model of the "Mayflower" St. George is in Gothic armour holding his red cross banner in one hand and his drawn sword in the other, and St. Joan of Arc holds aloft in her right hand the sword of Fierbois and in her left the embroidered banner on which is depicted Our Lord in Majesty with two attendant Angels and the word "Jesu Maria".

Other lights in the Window represent the Landing of Columbus, the Lion of England, the Eagle of America, the Liberty Bell at Philadelphia, the Washington Monument at Washington, George Washington signing the Declaration of Independence, the Arms of America, the Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers and the Statue of Liberty outside New York Harbour. The tracery lights show the Coat of Arms of the County of Essex, of the Borough of Maldon, the Province of Canterbury and the Diocese of Chelmsford.

A Tablet has been placed outside and beneath the Window bearing the following inscription: “In this Churchyard was buried the Rev. Lawrence Washington, Rector of Purleigh, the great great grand father of George Washington, the first President of the United States of America, January 1652. This Window was erected to his Memory by the Citizens of Malden, Massachusetts, and a Committee of the Sulgrave Institution U.S.A., whose names are inscribed in a book deposited in the Archives of this Church 1928."


(Written by W.Gurney Benham F.S.A., F.R. Hist.,S for the souvenir booklet of the unveliling of the stained glass window on 5th July 1928)

Note: Lawrence is sometimes referred to as Laurence


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