Literary References and Famous Personalities.

The poet, Abraham Cowley, spent the last two years of his life in Chertsey  (1665-1667) after an adventurous period serving the exiled Royalists during Cromwell’s rule. However, he failed to gain Royal preferment at the Restoration  and had to rely on the largesse of the Earl of St Albans and the Duke of Buckingham who found him £300 a year and a place to live at Chertsey.   He is buried at Westminster Abbey but his name is remembered locally at Cowley Avenue and the Abraham Cowley Unit, St Peter’s hospital.   Chertsey  was possibly still a damp place in his time because he caught a terrible cold the first night he arrived, and it is alleged that he literally caught his death of cold after locking himself out of his house following a night  of revelry. His self-composed Latin epitaph is pithy. It concludes – “He feels not penury’s chilling hand / nor slave to indolence and pleasure  lies / the snares of wealth he firmly can withstand / and what the world enjoys, he can despise”. Cowley’s fame as a poet diminished rapidly  in the 18th century but he is still celebrated for his Essays which were written during his retirement at Chertsey.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s