1. Walpole, 2. Chatterton,
3. Tom the Church Cat
Now that's what I call a Memorial!
I must admit to being a little shocked that so many millions of dollars have been spent on saving Horace Walpole (sometimes called a privileged dilettante) from obscurity - totally against Chatterton's expectations, who once said: 'I shall live and stand by Rowley's side, when thou art dead and damned,' but then, Chatterton could not possibly have imagined a man like Lefty Lewis becoming infatuated with Walpole.
It is thanks to Lefty's deeply obsessive character, that a fabulously grand and expensive library containing Walpole's manuscripts and artifacts, has been created. The Lewis Walpole Library at Yale University, demonstrates the architects sensitivity to the subject - what a joy it must be to sit and read a book in such surroundings!
While back in England, Horace's Strawberry Hill House, which he claimed was 'little more than a cottage' (cheeky devil), was refurbished in 2010, at a cost of £9 million, and stands as another memorial to him and his 'twaddling Letters to some Fair indite', as Chatterton once wrote.
Chatterton was born in the Master's House, Pile Street, Redcliffe, Bristol. These days the house is a café and coffee shop serving great coffee and nice buns and well worth the visit.
All that remains of Pile Street Charity School is the facade butted up against the house (mentioned above), but at least it has a plaque to Chatterton.
There is currently an opportunity for the site to be incorporated into the plans for the redevelopment of the setting around St Mary Redcliffe church; perhaps they should rebuild the school as a memorial, which would give more space to present the Chatterton story.
A rather simple, oval plaque in memory of Chatterton, sited on a wall in St Mary Redcliffe church; it must have cost all of £17.52 - not enough to pay for the cleaning of a window at Strawberry Hill House.
The final plaque, which rounds off Chatterton's life, is on an office building in Holborn, London; close to the house where Chatterton died.
Finally, we have a fanciful but handsome bronze statue of Chatterton, sat on a park bench in Millenium Square, Bristol.
The problem here is that William Seward claims that Chatterton was short and stocky.
The statue is by Lawrence Holofcener.
Obviously, I was having a bit of fun with some of my remarks about Walpole but there is some truth in it. I have read some of Walpole's letters and found them entertaining and well worth the reading, but I am not so sure about Otranto? I have two editions, both are small books with one being a miniature and not easy to read - and I am not only talking about the size of the type! That being said, I will give it another go in 2021, but this time I will be wearing my 18th-century head.
I hope that this website will offer a counterbalance to the untold riches of the Walpolean behemoth!
Memorial to Tom, the Church Cat
Tom, the Redcliffe Church Cat.
The headstone says all that needs to be said about the cat; it was a cat and the cat is dead!
However, we do know a little more about this illustrious feline. For a start, it went by the name of Tom and lived for nearly as long as Chatterton - but wait, all is not as it seems, there are claims that the cat's name was Blackie and not Tom; so what are we to believe? What I can add is that I have seen a photograph of the cat and it looks like a tabby to me.
There is a rumour that the cat's headstone secretly hides the grave of Chatterton - you can't blame this one on Dix - more on this in the future! (.QE!.)