Benedict Arnold burial location in London

London ghosts, the burial spot of Benedict Arnold

by Michael on October 6, 2013

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Not far from the murky River Thames winding though London lies the burial location of Benedict Arnold; the most notorious traitor of the American Revolution. The American general plotted a handover of the fort at West Point to the British for a tidy sum of money, making his name synonymous with treachery.

He moved to London after the war to evade capture; bringing along his young wife Peggy Shippen, the daughter of a prominent Philadelphia judge and granddaughter of the founder of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.

The Arnolds lie buried in the crypt below St. Mary’s of Battersea, a Georgian-era stone church overlooking the Thames. Visitors can call the church to gain special access to the tomb.

Benedict Arnold buried in London crypt (1024x781)

Sunny, the parish administrator, led us into the lower recesses of the church. The word “crypt” conjured up images of a gloomy spider-web infested cave. What we saw surprised us. The space bears the low vaulted stone ceilings one would expect, but the brightly-lit walls are painted a vivid white.

burial location of benedict arnold

Colorful accents are provided by a tropical fish tank and children’s artwork adorning the walls. The Arnolds’ burial tomb is now located in St. Mary’s kindergarten. In fact, the plaque adorning their grave is almost obscured by the aquarium, giving new meaning to the term “swim with the fishes.”

benedict arnold buried in london

Arnold’s headstone is telling of his convoluted life. It states, “Benedict Arnold, 1741-1801, Sometime general in the army of George Washington. The two nations whom he served in turn in the years of their enmity have united in enduring friendship.” The plaque is a recent addition, donated in 2004 by an American who felt Arnold’s accomplishments as a hero of the Revolution, before he became a turncoat, have been overlooked.

Upstairs in the church sanctuary an ornate stained glass window is also dedicated to Arnold. British Union Jacks and American Stars-and-Stripes are crisscrossed in friendship. It was donated by yet another American during the Bicentennial in 1976. Benedict Arnold, who died a traitor to the Americans and in obscurity by the British, managed to garner a following some 200 years after his death.

benedict arnold buried in london battersea church



Visitor information:

Call ahead to visit Benedict Arnold’s tomb at St. Mary’s of Battersea.

This article originally appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

For more American Revolution history in England read about the Benjamin Franklin house in London.

Like it? Share it . . . Pin it!American traitor or British hero? The tomb of Benedict Arnold lies in an unlikely spot in a London church.

28581550060_131210d7e7_mLarissa and Michael are your typical middle-aged couple from Philadelphia who’ve been traveling the world full-time since 2011, seeking off-beat, historic and tasty sights. To receive monthly updates and valuable travel tips subscribe here.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

MissElaineous October 6, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Super interesting. Who knew?

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Mike October 7, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Great find!

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Keryn @ walking on travels October 14, 2013 at 12:37 pm

How bizarre. And in a kindergarten classroom no less. I wonder what the kids think of that or if they even realize. Crazy!

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Michael October 15, 2013 at 10:35 am

I imagine they are not aware of who Benedict Arnold is but the fish are pretty.

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Justin Mickatavage May 15, 2015 at 10:56 am

I just assumed he was in an unmarked grave somewhere..

Not bad.. for treason..

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Michael May 15, 2015 at 11:01 am

I guess it’s a matter of perspective, to the British he was a hero although I imagine he was never completely trusted.

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Paul Davis June 7, 2016 at 3:23 pm

As a recent college grad, who wrote his American History senior paper on Arnold (U of Pittsburgh,1962), I traveled to London two weeks following graduation. I found in a library there where Arnold and Shippen were buried, and took a cab across the Thames to St. Mary’s, Battersea.
I called at the church and met a priest who told me that for sure Arnold and Peggy were buried there. He took me down a couple of levels and, believe me, the crypt was nothing but a cement floor with absolutely no beautiful reference to Arnold to be seen. Not seeing a marker I asked where exactly were they buried. He kind of apologized and told me that, unfortunately, the Thames had flooded badly sometime right after 1900, the result being that there was no way to tell exactly where they were. The flood had kind of mixed together all of the people buried down there, so there was no way to define where, under the floor, the Arnold’s were. Kind of a sad climax to a sad life’s ending.

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Russell November 16, 2016 at 4:51 pm

How awesome is this?!? I had no idea that the crypt of Benediction Arnold is in London! Definitely added to the To Visit List now! Thanks so much for sharing 😃

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Chad December 30, 2016 at 4:42 pm

I do think its kinda funny how we Americans kneejerk and immediately get nasty about Benedict. I think we forget who the terrorist were? Us. We were the treasonous traitors to the crown. We British citizens attacked and killed members of the British military on British land and we dare call Benedict names?

History is very interesting. Sometimes one needs to come off his or her high horse and grasp that we are a nation of traitors to the crown. Then we can get some perspective on Benedict. He was treated very badly by our traitorous congress and by the people he was entrusted with. We even lied and brought up falls charges to have him court martialed. After he won us multiple major victories and protected our traitorous persons and suffered permanent wounds. We were such a hateful and grievous people. It is too bad that we treated such a man so poorly that our cause was stained by the loss of this good man. Poor Benedict is just another Dr. Samuel Mudd. Another poor soul destroyed by Americans seeking vengeance.

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Michael January 2, 2017 at 10:50 am

Interesting that he would have been a hero if the Brits had won.

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Art January 15, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Most Americans know Arnold to be a traitor and not much else. What they don’t know, or even care to know. Is that Arnold was a brilliant man who considered himself to be severely bullied and frequently humiliated by persons of lesser talent and ability. I suspect he reached an emotional tipping point at which all reasonable decisions led to further emotional pain and confusion. I think his traitorous actions were a cry for help from a tortured soul.

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John March 8, 2017 at 12:12 pm

Chad
I was interested to read your comments. They are the kind of comments that I, an Englishman, would have made but am surprised at them coming from an America. Will you be looking for sanctuary over here soon (LOL). I hope to visit the tomb next time I am in London.
To me Washington is painted far whiter than he was. I was interested to hear of the death of the French officer after the Battle of Jumonville Glen. You could reasonable claim the Washington started the Seven Years war.
John

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