A story of note
WILLIAM ASLET rightly emphasises the Jacobite influences behind James Gibbs’s appointment as the architect for St Mary le Strand (‘On the threshold of the City’, November 7). However, a poignant later connection between the church and the Jacobites also deserves to be remembered and perhaps commemorated by a plaque in St Mary’s itself.
Between September 16 and 22, 1750, Prince Charles Edward was in London, staying at the house of Lady Primrose in Essex Street. During that time, he decided that a proposed coup in London was impractical, but his visit had another purpose.
As he wrote later: ‘In order to make my renountiation of the Church of Rome the most authentick, and the less liable to malitious interpretations, I went to London in the year 1750; and in that capital did then make a solemn abjuration of the Romish religion, and did embrace that of the Chiurch of England as by Law established in the 39 Articles in which I hope to live and die.’
That ‘renountiation’ took place ‘in the new church in the Strand’. Had it taken place in Scotland five years earlier, British history might have taken a different path. Huon Mallalieu, London