31 December 2009

London and Westminster Abbey




I decided today that waiting for the weather to improve before embarking on a day of exploration around London could make for a very long wait. So, off we went, rain and all to visit Parliament Square, St. Margaret's Church and Westminster Abbey.






Absolutely fascinating...would have been even better if I had taken the time to stand in line to pick up the audio tour at Westminster Abbey but with three fidgety teenagers trailing behind me I thought it might be asking to much.  Within the first three minutes of walking into this majestic building I was mesmerised by the tomb of William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle (1593-1676) and his wife Margaret (1623?-1673).






I was so taken by the inscription underneath the effigies that I had to write it down. 

"Here lyes the Loyall Duke of Newcastle and his Dutches his second wife, 
by whome hee had noe issue, her name was Margarett Lucas yongest sister 
to the Lord Lucas of Colchester a noble familie for all the Brothers were Valiant 
and all the Sisters virtuous. This Dutches was a wise wittie & learned Lady, 
which her many Bookes do well testifie. She was a most Virtuous & a Loveing & 
carefull wife & was with her Lord all the time of banishment & miseries & 
when he came home never parted from him in his solitary retirements."


Margaret was a young bride of 20 when she married 52 year old widower William Cavendish, The Duke of Newcastle.  She was a poet, philospoher and the 'only seventeenth century woman writer to publish numerous books on natural philosophy'. It appears she was a force to be reckoned with. A book has been written about her life.... 



Mad Madge: The Extraordinary Life of Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle, 
the First Woman to Live by Her Pen


Images 1-4 taken by my on a cold and balmy day in London, others via Google and  http://www.westminster-abbey.org/our-history/people/william--and--margaret-cavendish. Information researched on Wikipedia

4 comments:

  1. Dear Jeanne - what a brave soul you are! London in the rain...I think you are now qualified to attempt anything! Great post incidentally - my lovely aussie bloke is totally in love with this country and all the inscriptions on ancient tombs up and down the land - Winchester Cathedral is also v. interesting if you get a chance to visit. Happy new year exploring this currently rather sodden country (it does get better - I know that seems unlikely - you'll have to have faith!) Love & best wishes, Susie x

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  2. I'm so glad you thought to include the quote regarding the Duchess of Newcastle. What a fascinating woman. She reminds me of a "Proverbs 31" woman from the bible. Aren't you lucky to be surrounded by such incredible stories and history on your doorstep?

    Hope you and your lovely ones are settling in beautifully in your new home and hugging each other extra tight this NYE after such a busy few weeks. So glad you blog...I love it here. Meredy xo.

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  3. Oh, how wonderful to have those sites to see and explore. The rain just really made it a true 'London' experience.

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  4. HI Jeanne,
    Glad you are settling in and enjoying the English weather! and the culture. I love it too... (the culture not the weather at present) Tombstones are interesting reading. I spent a week drawing misericords in Wells Cathedral years ago.
    On New Years Eve I checked out the winter sales in Oxford street and High Street Kensington which was crowded but culturally not quite so deep and meaningful.
    Enjoy.
    Ros Lowrey

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