Bishopsgate & Lechlade

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, Gloucestershire."
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 "Shelley’s Walk."