Beaney, James (memorial)

Dr James George Beaney MD (1828-1891) rose from humble origins in Canterbury to become a successful doctor, businessman and politician in Australia. He gave his name to the Beaney Institute in Canterbury High Street (click here to read his biography).  

What to see:

  • his flamboyant memorial standing on the south aisle of the nave, depicting Beaney, apparently dressed in a Roman toga (Images 1 and 2)
  • the scene of the Good Samaritan (Image 3 – Beaney presumably seen as the Samaritan); this memorial was financed by a bequest in Beaney’s will – he also left £1000 for cathedral repairs.

It marked the end of an era during which wealthy individuals, many with limited genuine contact with the church or the cathedral during their lifetimes, were able to ‘purchase’ elaborate memorials through bequests in their wills. The Dean and Chapter decided to revise their policy on donations of this type – in future memorial tablets would be small and restricted to text explaining how the donation had been used.

Sources:  see standard cathedral sources