Southwark Cathedral

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Gower Tomb

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In the north aisle is the elaborate medieval canopied tomb of John Gower (died 1408), the first English poet and a friend of Chaucer. A recumbent effigy of Gower, with his head resting on copies of his three greatest works, adorns the tomb.

Gower studied law but dedicated his life to "poetry and pleasure". He was held in great esteem by Richard II. When Henry IV usurped the throne, Gower switched allegiance and became the favourite of the new king. One disapproving biographer commented that "he was no gentleman". 

Gower Tomb
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His three most famous works were a series of love stories "Confessio Amantis", a philosophical treatise "Speculum Meditantis" and a political satire "Vox Clamantis". His wife, Agnes, is supposed also to be buried here.

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1999 Diocese of Southwark
Last updated: 07/03/01

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