Page 252. " The gates of the Charterhouse still survive. "
The Tudor gateway into the London Charterhouse. 2008
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Tudor gateway into the London Charterhouse. 2008 - Credit: Alan Murray-Rust

Charterhouse, London dates back to the 14th century as a Carthusian priory, after which it takes its name.  After 1537, it was redeveloped into a large house until it became an almshouse and school in 1611, when it was extended. 


The priory was dissolved in 1537, but, as the priory attempted to resist, it suffered accordingly.  The prior, because he supported Thomas More in his resistance to the King's plan to marry Anne Boleyn, was hanged, drawn and quartered, and one of his 'quarters' was nailed to the gates.  Of the ten other monks who were imprisoned, nine starved themselves to death and the tenth was executed three years later.


St Hugo of Grenoble in the Carthusian Refectory by Francisco de Zurbaran. 1630-1635.
Public DomainSt Hugo of Grenoble in the Carthusian Refectory by Francisco de Zurbaran. 1630-1635. - Credit: Wikimedia Commons




The Carthusian Order (Order of St Bruno) of Roman Catholic Monks is an enclosed order dating back to the 11th century.  The name 'Carthusian' originates from the Chartreuse Mountains, where St Bruno built his first hermitage.  'Charterhouse' is the English name, deriving from the same source, for a Carthusian monastery. 


Page 254. " Above, in the pannelled plaster ceiling modelled after Serlio "
Interior of the Church of Carolus Borromeus in Antwerp. Built between 1615-1621
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeInterior of the Church of Carolus Borromeus in Antwerp. Built between 1615-1621 - Credit: Ad Meskens

Sebastino Serlio (1475-1554) was an Italian architect. He was part of the team that built the Palace of Fountainebleau

His work on the classical orders of architecture, The Seven Books of Architecture, became very influential and his style was copied widely, including at the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace where Mary I was laid in her coffin before the funeral. 

Page 263. " and the conduit in Cheapside (which would flow with wine) was regilded "


Google Map


One of the five pageants staged for Elizabeth as she made her triumphal way to her coronation was at Cheapside, in the City of London.  Formerly the site of the capital's produce markets, the word 'cheap' derives from 'market' in Medieval English.  Indications of the market can still be seen in many of the roads leading into it: Poultry; Bread Street; Honey Lane, and so on.   It is also where the church of St Mary-le-Bow with its Cockney and Dick Whittington associations, is situated.  It is also where Geoffrey Chaucer grew up and where John Milton and Robert Herrick were born.

Page 263. " This had been selected as propitious by the astrologer, Dr John Dee "
Dr John Dee. Artist Unkown. c.1608
Public DomainDr John Dee. Artist Unkown. c.1608 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

John Dee (1527-1608/9) was one of the most fascinating characters of the Elizabeth Age.  An extremely learned man, he was all of these things: mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, navigator, occultist, alchemist and sometime consultant to Elizabeth I.  Born in London to a Welsh family, Dee's father was a minor courtier to Henry VII, himself of Anglo-Welsh stock.  John Dee, always a gifted scholar, won his lifelong reputation as a magician while at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he produced the special effects for a production of Aristophanes' Peace. 


Elizabeth would certainly have known Dee for some time before her coronation as he was charged and tried for 'calculating', that is, for casting the horoscopes of both Mary and Elizabeth in 1555.  Although the charges were changed into treason against Mary, he managed to exonerate himself and in 1558 he chose the date for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth I.  Not only did Dee live dangerously with his horoscopes but he was also very likely involved with the circle of conspirators surrounding Elizabeth while she was a princess and closely watched by Mary.  There is also evidence that Elizabeth maintained a lively interest in the occult, unlike her sister Mary to whom it was heresy and her father, Henry VIII who showed no interest in the subject.

Page 267. " like Daniel from the lions' den - all this, theatrically, as she passed the lions in the Tower menagerie "

The story of Daniel, as told in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament was invoked by Elizabeth as a metaphor of her own time of imprisonment.  In the Book of Daniel, Daniel, for refusing to give up his prayers to God, was thrown into a den of lions and left overnight with every expectation of him being dead, and eaten, by the morning.  However, when the stone blocking the entrance to the den was removed the next day, Daniel was alive and well.  King Darius, who had been tricked into this act, instead threw Daniel's enemies into the den, where they were all killed.


Panorama of the Outer Curtain Wall of the Tower of London 2006
Creative Commons AttributionPanorama of the Outer Curtain Wall of the Tower of London 2006 - Credit: Joy

There is no longer any evidence of the site of the medieval menagerie at the Tower of London but Edward I, who carried out major renovations to the Tower, added an outer curtain wall containing a new entrance with inner and outer gatehouses and a barbican.  This became known as the Lion Tower in association with the animals kept in the Tower's menagerie since about the 1330's.  The Lion Tower no longer exists.

Page 269. " Elizabeth/Deborah was shown enthroned under a date palm (carefully labelled 'A Palm Tree' - like Bottom's 'Wall' in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream. "
Tatania adoring the ass-headed Bottom by Henry Fuseli .1790
Public DomainTatania adoring the ass-headed Bottom by Henry Fuseli .1790 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 Nick Bottom is a central character providing comic relief in William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream.  An essentially stupid character, he believes he can do more than he actually can and, courtesy of the mischievious sprite, Puck, gets his head changed into that of an ass. 

Bottom recruits an actor to play a crucial wall in a dreadful production of Pyramus and Thisbe.  Another actor has to explain to the audience exactly what he is.



Some man or other must present wall: and let him have
some plaster, or some loam, or some rough-cast about him, to
signify wall; and let him hold his fingers thus, and through that
cranny shall Pyramus and Thisby whisper.

Act III, Scene 1



This man, with lime and rough-cast, doth present
Wall, that vile Wall which did these lovers sunder;
And through Wall's chink, poor souls, they are content
To whisper, at the which let no man wonder.

Act V, Scene 1


The story of the prophetess Deborah is told in the Old Testament's Book of Judges.  The reference to Deborah, who ruled over the Jews for forty years, was meant as an obvious foretelling of Elizabeth's long reign, as indeed it proved to be, exceeding Deborah's forty years.

Page 271. " based on designs by Raphael. "
The Wedding of the Virgin by Raphael. 1504
Public DomainThe Wedding of the Virgin by Raphael. 1504 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The painter known as Raphael (1483-1520), full name Raffaello Sanziono da Urbino, is generally acknowledged to be one of the great High Renaissance Italian painters and architects.  Although his life was short, he managed to produce an impressively large number of works.  His reputation has perhaps been somewhat overshadowed by his contemporaries Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci but he is still admired for his purity of line and the quality of harmony that are typical of his style.

Page 271. " St Edward's Chair with the Stone of Scone beneath the seat "
Coronation Chair with the Stone of Scone. By an unknown engraver, published in A History of England 1855
Public DomainCoronation Chair with the Stone of Scone. By an unknown engraver, published in A History of England 1855 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons


The Stone of Scone, for centuries housed at Westminster and used for the coronations of English monarchs, is now in Edinburgh Castle.  For a stone, it has led an interesting life, with many variations on the story of its origins and journeys.  What does seem certain is that the stone held special significance for Scotland in that it was used for the coronations of Scottish monarchs.


Wherever the stone originates from, it was captured by Edward I during his Scottish campaign in 1295 and brought back to England as spoils of war.  In Westminster Abbey it was fitted into a wooden chair known as Edward's Chair and has since been used as a coronation chair, as it was for the coronation of Elizabeth I.   In 1914 the chair, and presumably the stone, were damaged by an explosion credited to the Suffragettes and on Christmas Day 1950 it was kidnapped by a group of Scottish students intent on returning it to Scotland.  Eventually the stone was returned to London, but in 1996 the then Conservative Government officially returned it to Scotland with the proviso that it could be borrowed and used in Westminster for a future coronation of a British sovereign.