Francis Bacon took out a 99-year lease on Canonbury Tower, about five miles from Charing Cross. On a wall, close under a ceiling in a dark corner, is an inscription consisting of the sovereigns of England since the Norman conquest. It appears to run as follows:
WILL. CON. WILL. RUFUS. HEN. STEPHANUS. HEN. SECUNDUS. RI. JOHN. HEN… RICH. TRES. ED. BINI. RI. TERNUS. SEPTIMUS. HENRY. OCTAVUS. POST. HUNC. ED. SEXT. REG. ELIZABETHA. SOROR. SUCCEDIT FR. JACOBUS. SUBSEQUITUR. CHAROLUS. QUI. LONGO…
Of note is towards the end: “ELIZABETHA” is Queen Elizabeth I; “SUCCEDIT FR” indicates her reign was followed by that of “FR”; the “JACOBUS” which follows means King James I.
The puzzle is, who is this “FR”? We are normally told the reign of Elizabeth was immediately followed by that of King James. Yet there is an “FR” between them.
Francis Bacon lived in Canonbury Tower for an appreciable time. Later, an unknown hand attempted to obliterate the “FR”.
Suppose. Suppose the “Virgin Queen” (Elizabeth) had been secretly married to the Earl of Leicester. And that two unacknowledged sons were born of that union: Francis Bacon, the first-born, and Robert, Earl of Essex. If this be true, then Francis Bacon would have rightfully been Prince of Wales and heir to the throne, and explains the “FR”. This leads to the tragedy of Francis Bacon, that he, knowing his true status, was condemned to go through life hidden from his patrimony.
Francis Bacon reconciled himself to his fate. Ended was his great desire to reign, sublimated by a larger work than majesty: “to wield th’ penne doth ever require a greater minde then to sway the royall scepter.” Not reconciled was his fiery younger brother Robert: “His planne was nothing lesse than mad designe to take possession of th’ Court…”
(Source: The Tragedy of Sir Francis Bacon, by Harold Bayley. London: Grant Richards, 1902. Reprint by ForgottenBooks.com)