“Exemplary for her Conduct”

The Epitaph of Frances Unwin 1726–1814

News of Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar and heroic death on board his ship was slow to reach England. On Wednesday November 6 1805 the first reports were published of the dispatches received at the Admiralty in the small hours of that morning. A palpable sense of national mourning, mixed with the triumph of naval victory, immediately sprang up. That evening, in the theatres of Drury Lane, Rule Britannia was played as the curtain rose, and reiterated, with the audience joining in the chorus, with “the most enthusiastic ardour”. In one theatre a…