Bishopsgate & Lechlade
|Two other sites of interest to Shelley
scholars are Bishopsgate and Lechlade.
Bishopsgate was (and is) the two-story
Windsor Park cottage Mary and Shelley rented
in August 1815 and settled into during one of
the few calm chapters of their life together.
Warm weather, daily walks, and a
well-regulated course of study contributed
greatly to Shelley's health; and the absence
of Claire Clairmont (no one is certain
exactly where she spent the summer of 1815)
probably had a great deal to do with Mary's
peace of mind.
Today, Bishopsgate is a beautifully
kept, lovingly restored private home. The
building looks much as it would have to the
Shelleys, except that the original small
wing on the south wall of the house has
been cut back and turned into a charming
glassed-in sitting area.
During their stay at Bishopsgate, Percy,
Mary, Thomas Love Peacock, and Charles
Clairmont (Claire's brother) set off on a
boating expedition from Old Windsor,
seeking the origin of the Thames. The party
managed to journey above Lechlade in
Gloucestershire, where they were stopped by
enormously thick weeds. They stayed in
Lechlade for two nights, at what is now the
New Inn Hotel.
|There, they visited the adjacent church,
where Shelley drew the inspiration for "A
Summer Evening Churchyard, Lechlade,
|Today, the church exterior looks much as
it would have in Shelley’s time,
retaining many early details such as
gargoyles—although, like the interior,
they have undergone a bit of remodeling.
There is a plaque placed in Shelley’s
memory, designating the single lane that
meanders through the churchyard as