Novelist Henry Fielding (1707-54) had a house near St Ann’s Gate, at
the Close, from which he wooed the Craddock sisters, who lived at
Vicar’s Moral, in the Close. He holidayed in Salisbury when the London
theatres closed down for the summer.
Well-known as a good-natured
libertine at home in the coffee houses and brothels of Covent Garden,
and making his name as a dramatist, Fielding wooed Charlotte Craddock with a
long poem, ‘Advice to the Nymphs of New Sarum’ (1727)
Sarum, thy Candidates be nam’d,
Sarum, for Beauties ever fam’d,
Whose Nymphs excel all beauty’s flowers,
As thy high Steeple doth all Towers
He married Charlotte and lived at her mother’s house, 14 The Close, in February 1734.
He returned in the summer of 1746 and wrote part of The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1749).
Charlotte (amongst others) was the model for Sophia Western, and local friends inspired much
of the novel’s characterisation. The couple lived happily together,
despite Fielding’s recklessness, until Charlotte died of a fever in Bath
in 1744. He married her former maid, Mary Daniel, who was six months
pregnant, in 1747.
Loving, forgiving, yet strong and spirited, Charlotte was also the basis for Fielding's characterisation of Amelia in Amelia (1752).