Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson, painted by Joshua Reynolds
Today, 13 December, Dr Samuel Johnson is remembered across the Church of England. His commemoration is one of those 'lesser festivals' of the church calendar in which we glimpse a particular Christian life.

We have a reason to remember him because of his close friendship with St Mary's vicar, George Strahan, but he is truly world-famous for his contribution to the English language in poetry, essays, publishing and for his great Dictionary of the English Language of 1755.

In his biography of Dr Johnson, James Boswell wrote,
"On Wednesday, May 5, 1784, I arrived in London; and next morning had the pleasure to find Dr. Johnnson greatly recovered. I but just saw him; for a coach was waiting to carry him to Islington, to the house of his friend the Rev. Mr. Strahan, where he went sometimes for the benefit of good air, which, notwithstanding his having formerly laughed at the general opinion upon the subject, he now acknowledged was conducive to health. The Rev. Mr. Strahan, who had been always one of his great favourites, had, during his last illness, the satisfaction of contributing to sooth and comfort him. That gentleman's house at Islington afforded Johnson occasionally and easily an agreeable change of place and fresh air; and he also attended on him in town in the discharge of the sacred offices of his profession."

He died on this day in 1784 and is buried in Westminster Abbey. Revd Strahan published Johnson's Prayers and Meditations in the year after his death.