Hardy’s tomb and Hardy’s Oak


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Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy’s body lays in the old mausoleum of Greenwich Hospital.

Nelson’s trusted friend had been the Governor of Greenwich Hospital for five years when he passed away in 1839, aged 70.

The following inscription was made upon his coffin:

“Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy, Bart., G.C.B, Governor of Greenwich Hospital, died on the 20th September, 1839, aged 70 years.”

His coffin is in the officers’ vault below the pavilion (pictured top) which was previously accessed by a manual lift platform for lowering coffins.

In his coffin was placed a miniature of Nelson that he himself had given to Hardy. He wore it around his neck and it was found by the sculptor Behnes who took a cast from Hardy after his death for a bust that now stands in the Old Royal Naval College chapel.

Hardy’s Oak

In 2014, on the 180th anniversary of him becoming the Governor of Greenwich Hospital, the Nelson Society planted a memorial Oak tree in honour of Hardy.

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The new Hardy Oak in the foreground and the mausoleum at the rear.

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This small garden in the grounds of Devonport House Hotel is fenced off and not open to the public but the Mausoleum does usually participate in London Open House weekend in September which allows a closer look.

Hardy’s Funeral, September 1839

Following Hardy’s funeral, The Times newspaper reported a detailed account of the event.

“On Saturday the remains of this gallant officer were consigned to their last home in the mausoleum of the cemetery of the hospital of which he was for several years the governor. The funeral was in some respects a public one, and would have been conducted with much more show, had not Sir Thomas Hardy himself strictly enjoined his executors to use no ostentation or display whatever in his obsequies.

“At 11 o’clock, the procession set out from the Council-room of Greenwich Hospital in the order mentioned beneath, and proceeded in slow and solemn pomp to the cemetery, the bell of St Alphage’s church tolling a last farewell. The road leading to the cemetery was crowded with spectators, consisting of there pensioners of the hospital who did not form part of the procession, of many of the tradesmen and inhabitants of Greenwich, and of many of the old friends and companions in arms of the deceased, who had come from considerable distances to pay his memory this token of respect and regret.”

[Read the full report in the Times archive – subscription required]

Thanks to Pieter van der Merwe for assistance

Next: Chantrey’s Bust of Nelson

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