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Elizabeth Newcomen

19th April 2021

The Elizabeth Newcomen memorial was installed in Southwark Cathedral in the nineteenth century

...And so allow me now to introduce
Elizabeth Newcomen, subject of 
this wordy, gothic tablet which was placed
here in the nineteenth century when the school
for girls she built was in its heyday. Eighteen
forty-one the installation of
this eulogy. It has a pointed arch
and columned pinnacles with sculpted faces
of the girls. Heraldic colours - gold
and blue. Victorians romanticised
the mediaeval age of chivalry
in gothic spires, turrets and round towers
where a strong-willed, long haired damsel span
wth infinite resilience. The court
was Camelot, Victoria and Albert
as the young and loving queen and knight.
Even on a small memorial like this
the gothic theme continued in design.
The text commemorates
a woman, Mrs Newcomen, for all
the things she did for her own sex.
and how her legacy had multiplied
from her investments down the years.
The tablet tells the reader she bequeathed
to wardens of Will Shakespeare's parish church
the rents from several properties she owned
in Southwark: Brough High Street for example -
several there; and King Street which became
Newcomen Street once this memorial 
had ben unveiled before a group of guests.

Her ladyship was born at regime change.
The country had a Scotsman for a king.
The Stuarts. Weren't they papists? James the Sixth
of Scotland and the First of England proved
his anglophilia by calling for 
a new translation of the Bible into
English, not the first but his became 
definitive - The King James Version. That
was Shakespeare Birthday lecture twenty twelve,
The Rude Bits of the K.J.V., to mark
four centuries since it was published after
seven years of writing and translating.
Shakespeare was dragged in apparently...