Mausoleum of Sir Richard and Lady Burton

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Mausoleum of Sir Richard and Lady Burton
Sir Richard Burton's Tomb.jpg
General information
Address61 North Worple Way, Mortlake, London SW14 8PR
Town or cityMortlake, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
Coordinates51°28′06″N 0°15′41″W / 51.46846°N 0.26143°W / 51.46846; -0.26143Coordinates: 51°28′06″N 0°15′41″W / 51.46846°N 0.26143°W / 51.46846; -0.26143
Listed Building – Grade II*
Official nameMausoleum of Sir Richard and Lady Burton, Churchyard of St Mary Magdalen
Designated30 October 1973
Reference no.106539

The Mausoleum of Sir Richard and Lady Burton is a Grade II* listed[1] tent-shaped mausoleum of Carrara marble and Forest of Dean stone in the churchyard of St Mary Magdalen Roman Catholic Church Mortlake in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.[1] It contains the tombs of the Victorian explorer Sir Richard Burton (1821–90), who took part in the search for the source of the River Nile and translated The Arabian Nights, and his wife Isabel, Lady Burton (1831–96), who designed it.[2] The coffins of Sir Richard and Lady Burton can be seen through a glass panel[1] at the rear of the tent, which can be accessed via a short fixed ladder. The inscription includes a commemorative sonnet by Justin Huntly McCarthy (1859–1936), who lived in Putney.[3]

The mausoleum was completed in time for Sir Richard's funeral at the church on 15 June 1891.[4] It was restored in 1975[4] and, with the support of the Friends of Burton and the Environment Trust for Richmond upon Thames, in 2012–13.[5] It is now maintained by Habitats & Heritage.

Close-up of inscription on the mausoleum

Next to the lady chapel in the church there is a memorial stained-glass window to Burton, erected by his widow.[6]


Burtons' mausoleum is carved from sandstone in the shape of the tent that the couple used for expeditions into the Syrian desert.[7] The building is decorated with symbols of both Islam and Christianity, reflecting the Catholicism of Isabel Burton and Burton's fascination with Middle Eastern philosophy and religion.


  1. ^ a b c Historic England. "Mausoleum of Sir Richard and Lady Burton, Churchyard of St Mary Magdalen (1065392)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  2. ^ Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner (1983). The Buildings of England – London 2: South. London: Penguin Books. p. 513. ISBN 0-14-0710-47-7.
  3. ^ "Deaths." The Times [London, England] 23 March 1936: 1. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 31 May 2015.
  4. ^ a b "After Sir Richard Burton's death". Local study notes. London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. 3 August 2009. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  5. ^ Amy Dyduch (24 October 2013). "Victorian explorer's Mortlake mausoleum restoration celebrated". Richmond and Twickenham Times. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  6. ^ "About the Church: The Tomb of Sir Richard Burton". St Mary Magdalen Roman Catholic Church Mortlake. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Burtons' Mausoleum". Habitats & Heritage. Retrieved 7 July 2022.

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