St Mary Redcliffe Church
St Mary Redcliffe Church was to be at the centre of Chatterton's life from the start. He was baptised here on the 1st of January, 1753. He was Confirmed sometime between 1762 - 1764 by Bishop Thomas Newton, a man he was later to despise.
Mary Chatterton, and Dr. Lort (B11457) say that Chatterton was Confirmed in 1764. Taylor states that if it was 1764 then 'On the Last Epiphany' is not by Chatterton. Meyerstein Disagrees and seems convinced that it is Chatterton's work. It's just another conundrum - who to trust?
At around 10 years of age Chatterton, according to his sister, "Was more cheerful after he began to write poetry."
The engraving of St Mary Redcliffe, above, is by William Henry Toms, it shows the church as Chatterton would have seen it. It lost its spire in 1446 after a lightning Strike.
It is said that the engraving adorned a wall of the house of Mr Kator, a Sugar-Baker. The son of the family, Henry Kator, was a friend of Chatterton's, so it is reasonable to assume that Chatterton saw the engraving and would have been influenced by the historic detail.
The historic details on the engraving is said to refute the claim by Rowleyites that Chatterton could only have learned the history of St Mary Redcliffe church from the manuscripts in Canynges' Coffer, which was stored in the Muniment Room of the church.
The image on the postcard above shows the church after the spire was rebuilt in 1872. A mere 426 years after it was destroyed by a lightning strike.
The St Mary Redcliffe website has a nice page about Chatterton. It has a couple of poetry readings and is well worth the visit : View
Research St Mary Redcliff (Redcliffe)
'An examination of St Mary Redcliffe to ascertain if the claim usually accorded to Simon de Burton, and the two Canynges, as founders and re-constructors of that edifice is based upon fact' See George Pryce 1853 - View online
Guides to St Mary Redcliffe