The last post promised Lambeth Palace and St Mary’s Church, but I stopped at the gates – now I enter!
‘..The old parish church of St Mary’s adjoins the Palace. The tower, built about the reign of Edward IV (1375) has been lately restored…’, says Mr Bradshaw. ‘..The interior has no especial feature requiring notice, beyond the painting in the south-east window, which represents the full-length figure of a pedlar with his pack, staff, and dog…’.
Mr Bradshaw assured that ‘..A walk though the churchyard, that thickly-tenanted sepulchre of past generations, will repay the observer…’. There I found the tomb of Captain William Bligh, who lived on Lambeth Road; and the Tradescants, extraordinary gardeners and plant collectors.
The Tradescants, father and son, are buried in this impressively carved tomb.
Elias Ashmole, the founder of the Ashmolean Museum, was buried in the church, but apparently his tombstone is now inside a partitioned-off office and no longer visible to the public. He inherited the Tradescant collection, but it was not an amicable arrangement after John Tradescant the Younger’s death, by some accounts. Various other significant tombstones are described here, but I didn’t identify them inside the church, and I also failed to identify the stained glass of which Mr Bradshaw spoke…
The garden lies behind the church – a central knot garden surrounded by borders.
The church is built alongside the walls of Lambeth Palace, adjacent to Morton’s Tower. Lambeth Palace is the London residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury.
I visited on a day when neither the Palace nor the garden were open and was only able to glimpse the buildings over the surrounding walls.