Compton Verney chapel, Warwickshire: Monument to the Hon. John Verney, commissioned by the 14th Lord Willoughby de Broke, c1760, executed (2)
The Hon. John Verney (1699-1741) was the fifth son of the 12th Lord Willoughby de Broke, although three of his older brothers predeceased him. Verney was a lawyer and MP for Downton, Wiltshire (1721-34 and 1741). In 1724 he married Abigail (d 1760) daughter of Edward Harley of Eywood (Edward was the brother of Queen Anne’s Lord Treasurer, Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford). Verney was made King's Counsel in 1727, and a year later he inherited Compton Verney from his father as his older brother, the 13th Lord, had quarrelled with the family and been disinherited. Verney was appointed as Attorney General to Queen Caroline in 1729; was made Chief Justice of Chester in 1733; and Master of the Rolls in 1738, although his severe gout caused him to resign this position in 1741, and he died a few months later.
Verney's only son, John, succeeded his uncle in 1752 as the 14th Lord Willoughby de Broke, and when Abigail died in 1760 the 14th Lord commissioned a double monument, designed by Adam, to commemorate his parents. The design includes a coat of arms, divided party per pale with cross details from the Willoughby de Broke arms impaled with the Harley arms, and surmounted by an antelope, which is the Willoughby de Broke supporter. It is not known by whom the monument was sculpted, although it may have been either by Isaac Gossett (1713-99) who undertook unidentified and undated work for the 14th Lord, or Peter Scheemakers (1691-1781) who undertook unidentified work for which the 14th Lord made a payment of £123-5s. in 1762.
The monument survives in the chapel at Compton Verney, which was built by Lancellot (Capability) Brown (1716-83), in 1772. Although the monument predates the chapel, various earlier monuments have been re-erected inside.
See also: Compton Verney, Warwickshire
Literature: A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume I, pp. 223, 226, Volume II, Index p. 7; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, p. 261; N. Pevsner, and Alexandra Wedgewood, The buildings of England: Warwickshire, 2003, pp. 240-41