Tomb of Archbishops of Canterbury uncovered

The Sunday Times reported this week that the hidden tombs of five Archbishops of Canterbury have been found beneath the floor of St-Mary-At Lambeth church in London.

Of particular interest to the society is the possibility that one of these tombs contains the remains of Archbishop Thomas Tenison.

In his will Francis Bacon bequeathed various papers, including letters and finished and unfinished work to his secretary William Rawley, who subsequently published works such as The New Atlantis. On his death, Rawley left the papers to his friend Thomas Tenison, an ardent admirer of Bacon.

In 1679 Tenison published Baconiana, an account of the life and works of Bacon, after which the Society journal is named. Tenison writes in the preface to Baconiana or Certain Genuine Remains of Sir Francis Bacon, Baron of Verulam, and Viscount of St Albans:

‘Easie it is to add to things already invented, but to invent, and to do it under Discouragement, when the world is prejudiced against Invention, and with loud Clamour hooteth at the Projector, this is not an undertaking for Dullness or Cowardice’.

Later, in 1695, Tension was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury and the papers were lodged in the Library of Lambeth Palace, where they remain today. Daphne Du Maurier, Lady Browning, Vice President of the Society, commissioned a team of researchers to examine the papers and used their findings in her books: Golden Lads and The Winding Stair.

Coincidentally, Lambeth Palace has also just announced that it has been granted planning permission to rebuild the library:

The society hopes that the Bacon papers will be available to view at the new library when it is built.

For members interested in early accounts of Bacon’s life and works, other writers in English include
Dr Rawley in 1657
Sir William Dugdale in 1675

Stephens in 1702
Blackbourne in 1730
Mallet in 1740
And the 33 poetic lamentations Manes Verulamiani of 1626

For more on the new Lambeth library, visit

For more on the Lambeth church tomb, visit

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