A story of note

Country Life Every Week - - Letters To The Editor -

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

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