That's how London's Covent Garden got its name. It was once the garden of a convent. Quite a few centuries back. But if you walk along Long Acre, you still see these plaques and busts on the north side of the street which - I was once confidently told - mark the boundaries of the old convent.
I suspect this is all sentimental tosh - but there is an interesting story all the same behind these rather grand (more regal than saintly, to my eyes) women who stare down on Long Acre.
Many of the properties on the north side of the street are owned by the Mercers' Company, one of the oldest of the livery companies of the Corporation of London. Indeed they own six blocks of property here - worth many tens of millions.
What's more, their website explains that: 'an interesting feature of the Mercers’ Company’s property is the tradition of placing a figure of the Mercers' Maiden, the Company’s badge, on its exterior'.
So these wonderful women are not about God but Mammon. Might have known! Still, I'm glad they have survived.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
Welcome - read - comment - throw stones - pick up threads - and tell me how to do this better!