Henry V’s grave at the far end of Edward the Confessor’s chapel is marked by a chantry in the shape of a giant H. His son Henry VI used to spend hours there during the Wars of the Roses, a weak son seeking inspiration from a dead but mighty father. William Shakespeare may have stood there too, studying Henry V’s grave and wondering if there was a play in it.
In the 1760s, a famous American lived on the top two floors of this house (second from the left) close to the Houses of Parliament. He was very pleased with his accommodation.
‘I lodge in Craven Street near Charing Cross,’ he wrote to his wife. ‘We have four rooms, furnished, and everything about is pretty genteel.’
The American’s bedroom was the second floor front (two floors above the ground, for American readers). A visitor from the colonies called on him there in 1767, bearing the latest news from home.
The door was slightly ajar. The visitor was shocked to see the American, in a blue-green suit and gilt buttons, energetically kissing the young woman on his knee, who clearly wasn’t his wife.
HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 7. Who was this naughty American cheating on his wife?
‘Scintillating’ – Literary Review
‘Sets an example that will be hard to equal’ – Daily Mail
Waterstone’s recommendation of the month