This map plots the settings and references in Prophecy
To start exploring, click a red pin
London was the principal city, a crowded, bustling, noisy, smelly and incredibly dirty place. It was a centre of international trade, and the River Thames would have been packed with boats and ships of all sizes. The houses, taverns and shops were built of wood and packed in close together, a big fire risk. A huge variety of shops lined the streets, from bakers and cloth merchants to apothecaries (pharmacists) and barber-surgeons. Pedlars and street vendors would cry their wares on the streets.
Just outside the city, in the richer areas, stood the palace and the homes of wealthy, important nobles. Inside the city, the area of Southwark (see map below) was renowned for its inns, prostitutes, theatres, and bear-baiting pits.
Court was the household of the monarch, and comprised all those who regularly attended on him or her. This included menial servants such as cooks and cleaners, officials, the noble attendants of the monarch (e.g. maids of honour), and those looking to improve their standing or hoping for financial gain (courtiers).
Those who served closest to the ruler, such as the cup bearer, or the person who looked after his or her clothes, would almost always be a noble. Later, many of these titles were preserved, but they lost all but a few of their original duties. For example, the maids of honour (for a queen regnant) or ladies in waiting (for a queen consort) were daughters of the nobility sent to serve the queen but not considered servants. They acted as companions to the queen, wrote letters for her, read to her, sewed and played instruments, and were expected to know all the latest dances. These were extremely important positions, and girls who became maids of honour could expect to make good marriages later in life. Many such roles were filled by the nobility at court.
Court was also a place of culture and fashion, setting the latest trends. It saw the richest banquets, the newest entertainment, and the best dances. It was also the centre of political life. For the nobility, court was the place to be in order to advance in society.
Richmond Palace was a royal residence on the bank of the Thames, built in 1501. It is no longer standing.
The palace of Whitehall started life as York Place, owned by Cardinal Wolsey. When Wolsey fell from favour, York Place was seized by Henry VIII and turned into a palace. It was a huge, elaborate building, and grew to be the largest palace in Europe. It is no longer standing.
Tudor houses were more comfortable than those of previous eras. Glass windows let in more light, and proper chimneys replaced holes in the roof, allowing rooms to stay warmer and less smoke-filled. The richer houses were built of red brick or stone; the poorer were 'half-timbered', with wooden frames and clay or brick filling the gaps.
None of the houses mentioned in the novel have survived.
John Dee lived in his mother’s manor on the Mortlake estate, adjoining the estate of Richmond Palace. Bruno travels here at various points to visit his friend, or to consult his vast library.
This is the house of Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, who recruits Bruno to spy on the French Catholics at the embassy. Today the area is an open space in Barnes, London.
Salisbury Court is the house of the French ambassador Michel de Castelnau, where Bruno lives. It stood at the western end of London, near the river.
This is the town residence of Philip Howard, the Earl of Arundel. Castelnau sends Bruno in his place to a dinner party here. Bruno uses the opportunity to try to gather information on Henry Howard and the conspirators. The house is a short distance up the river from Salisbury Court. It is described as “one of these grand red-brick houses bristling with tall chimneys whose abundant lawns stretch down to the river’s edge.”
Below is an image of Charlecote Park, a Tudor building of similar description.
Barnes is an area of London located on the River Thames, and was historically a part of Surrey. Barn Elms is now an open area, home to a wildfowl wetland and sports fields.
Ormond Castle, also known as Avoch Castle, was a medieval castle overlooking the village of Avoch on the Black Isle, a peninsula in the Scottish Highlands. The Barony of Ormond became an Earldom for Hugh Douglas, one of the ‘Black Douglasses.’ After the civil war in 1455 between King James II and the Black Douglasses, however, the Earldom of Ormonde was forfeit. The castle was seized and given to George Douglas, 4th Earl of Angus, the ‘Red Douglas’ and enemy of the Black Douglasses. The castle is not still standing today.