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London’s Mediæval Parish Churches: Part 3 – From the Walbrook to Cheapside (p1)

London’s Mediæval Parish Churches: Part 3 – From the Walbrook to Cheapside
by Bill McCann

The Mediæval London skyline was dominated by church spires. There were 126 parish churches crammed into the “Square Mile” in the 12th century. By the 14th century the number had been reduced to 110. This is the third in a series of four articles which provides a brief description and history of each mediæval parish church. Where possible the dates of foundation or the date of the first documentary reference are given. The dates of destruction, reconstruction and suppression, where appropriate, are given for each parish church. These articles are the prologue to a more comprehensive coverage of the individual parish churches which will follow later in the year.

London’s Mediæval Parish Churches: Part 3 – From the Walbrook to Cheapside

The Church was one of the most important agencies in the shaping and characterisation of mediæval London. Not only was London the seat of an important Bishopric but it also had a large number of wealthy monasteries, friaries and nunneries within the City walls or just outside. And it had more than 100 Parish Churches. The panorama of the city above shows how in 1611, the skyline was dominated by church spires.
The church also dominated daily life. Religion and provision for the afterlife were extremely important in the mediæval mind. Every facet of one’s daily routine was dominated by the need to ensure the soul’s salvation and therefore by the Church. Thus, the daily round was regulated according to the ringing of the church bells, contracts were invalid unless “God’s penny” had been paid and, of course, all oaths were sworn on the gospels.

In his Description of London, (late 12th century) FitzStephen says :
In the Church of St. Paul is the Episcopal See … Also as concerns Christian worship, there are both in London and the Suburbs thirteen greater Conventual churches, and a hundred and twenty-six lesser parochial”.

By the time that the Taxatio Ecclesiastica was drawn up in 1291 there were a total of 119 churches, including St Paul’s and various churches outside the walls and in Southwark. By the end of the 14th century it is estimated that there were a total of one hundred and ten Parish Churches, ninety-seven of them within the City walls and the names of these are known to us. This concentration ensured that people could belong to small tightly-knit groups and the churches themselves became an important physical focus for secular parish life. Many of the churches were substantially rebuilt during the 14th and 15th centuries, largely financed by the parishioners themselves. The Great Fire of 1666 wrought great devastation, destroying a total of eighty-nine churches. Of these only 51 were rebuilt. New churches were added in the eighteenth and nineteenth and centuries but the bombing of London in the Second World War destroyed many so that at the end of the conflict less than forty had survived. A terrorist bombing campaign in the 1990s claimed the dishonourable trophy of St Ethelburga on Bishopsgate, one of the dozen mediæval churches which had until then survived in their entirety.

This series of articles will list the Mediæval parish churches whose names are known to us. For each is given the common name used today together with the original or alternative names where applicable, the date of its original foundation if known, its location and the dates of reconstruction and/or destruction. For ease of future reference, the churches are numbered consecutively from east to west. Detailed descriptions of individual churches will follow in later articles.There are links to these at the bottom of the page.
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55. St Michael Bassishaw.

Situated Basinghall Street EC2.
Destroyed 1666, rebuilt by Wren, sold 1899, demolished 1900.
Parish united with St Lawrence Jewry 1897

56. St Martin Pomary.

Also: St Martin Irenmonger
Situated Ironmonger Lane EC2.
Destroyed 1666 and not rebuilt
Parish united with St Olave Jewry 1670, St Margaret Lothbury 1886

57. St Antholin

Also St Antonin
Situated Watling Street EC4 Destroyed 1666, rebuilt by Wren, sold 1874, demolished 1875.
United to St Mary Aldermary 1873
St Antholin Watling Street

58. Michael Paternoster Royal

also St Michael Paternoster in the Riole
Situated: College Street EC4
First mention 1219. Rebuilt at expense of Dick Whittington in 1409. Burned down in Great Fire and rebuilt by Wren 1689-94
St Michael Paternoster Royal

59. St Pancras

Situated Soper Lane EC4.
First mentioned 1257Destroyed 1666 and not rebuilt
Parish united with St Mary le Bow 1670

60. St Lawrence Jewry

Situated: Gresham Street EC2
Founded in 12th century and destroyed in 1666. Re-built by Wren 1671-7. Suffered bomb damage in 1940 and rebuilt by Cecil Brown 1954-7.
St Lawrence Jewry

61. St Thomas the Apostle

Situated Queen Street EC4.
First mentioned 1170and rebuilt by John Barnes, the Lord Mayor, in 1371. Destroyed in1666 and not rebuilt.
Parish united with St Mary Aldermary 1670.

62. St Martin Vintry

Also St Martin de Beremand
Situated College Hill EC4
First mentioned in 11th century and rebuilt in 1399 and restored in the mid 15th century. Destroyed in 1666 and not rebuilt.
Parish united with St Michael Paternoster Royal 1670

63. St Mary Aldermanbury

Also: St Mary The Virgin Aldermanbury
Situated Aldermanbury EC2.
Destroyed 1666 and rebuilt by Wren. Destroyed in 1940 and not rebuilt.
Parish united with St Alphage London Wall 1917, St Giles Cripplegate 1954.
St Mary le Bow

64. St Mary Le Bow

Also: Bow Church
Situated: Cheapside EC2
First mentioned 1091. Tower collapsed in 1271 and was not rebuilt until 1521.Destroyed in the Great Fire and rebuilt by Wren 1670-3. The upper part of the spire was rebuilt by George Gwilt in 1818-20 and the interior was refurbished by Sir Arthur Blomfield in 1878-9. Bombed in WW2 and rebuilt 1956-62 by Laurence King.

65. St Mary Aldermary

Also St Mary Aldermarychurch
Situated: Queen Victoria Street EC4
Possibly earlier than the 11th century, it was rebuilt, except for the tower in1510-18. Destroyed in the Great Fire and rebuilt by Wren 1681-2, The tower was completed 1702-4. Restored in 1867-8, it was damaged in WW2 and restored again in1954.

66. All Hallows Honey Lane

Situated Honey Lane EC2
First mentioned in 1235 and repaired in 1625. Destroyed 1666 and not rebuilt.
Parish united with St Mary le Bow 1670

67. St James Garlickhithe

Situated: Garlick Hill EC4
Founded in the 12th century and rebuilt in 1326. Destroyed in 1666 and rebuilt by Wren 1676-83. The steeple was added 1714-17. Damaged in WW” it was restored in 1954-63 by Lockhart Smith and Alexander Gale.

68. St Mary Magdalen

Situated Milk Street E C2
Known at least from the mediaeval period it was destroyed in 1666 and not rebuilt
Parish united with St Lawrence Jewry 1670

69. St Alban

Situated Wood Street EC2
Situated: Wood Street
Built on alleged site of the palace chapel of King Offa in 793. Rebuilt in the Gothic style in 1633-4 but destroyed in 1666. It was rebuilt by Wren 1682-7 and destroyed again in 1940. Only the Tower remains.
Parish united with St Vedast Foster Lane 1954
The tower of St Alban Wood Street

70. Holy Trinity The Less

Situated Knightrider Street EC4
First mentioned in 1258 and rebuilt in 1607-8. Destroyed 1666 and not rebuilt but the site was acquired for the German church by Hanseatic merchants.
Parish united with St Michael Queenhithe 1670, St James Garlickhithe 1875

71. All Hallows Bread Street

Also All Hallows Watling Street
Situated Bread Street EC4
First mentioned in 1221, enlarged in1349 and chapel added in 1350. In 1559 the steeple was destroyed by lightening and the church itself was substantially repaired in 1625. Destroyed in 1666, rebuilt by Wren Demolished in 1876.
Parish united with St Mary le Bow 1876

72. St Michael Wood Street

Situated Wood Street EC2
First mentioned in 1170. Destroyed 1666 and rebuilt by Wren 1670-5. Demolished 1894.
Parish united with St Alban Wood Street 1894, St Vedast Foster Lane 1954.
Interior of St Michael Wood Street

73. St Peter Westcheap

Also St Peter’s at the Crosse in Cheap
Situated Cheapside EC2
Built in the 12th century in and rebuilt in the 16th.Destroyed 1666 and not rebuilt, part of churchyard remains.
Parish united with St Matthew Friday Street 1670, St Vedast Foster Lane 1882

74. St Olave Silver Street

Situated Noble Street EC2
Destroyed in 1666 and not rebuilt. Part of churchyard remains.
Parish united with St Alban Wood Street 1670, St Vedast Foster Lane 1954
Interior of St Mildred Bread Street

75. St Mildred Bread Street

Situated Bread Street EC4
Built before 1252. Destroyed in 1666 and rebuilt by Wren 1677-83. Bombed and completely destroyed in1941 and not rebuilt.
Parish united with St Mary le Bow 1954

76. St Michael Queenhithe

Situated Upper Thames Street EC4
First recorded in the 12th century. Destroyed in1666 and rebuilt by Wren 1676-7. Demolished 1875.
Parish united with Michael Paternoster Royal 1875.

77. St Mary Staining

Situated Staining Lane EC2
First mentioned in 1189 and rebuilt in the late 16th century. Destroyed in 1666 and not rebuilt, a garden with some tombstones remain in Oat Lane.
Parish united with St Michael Wood Street 1670, St Alban Wood Street 1894, St Vedast Foster Lane 1954

78. St John The Evangelist Friday Street

Situated Friday Street EC4
Originally dedicated to St Wereburga in the mid 13th century. Re-dedicated to John the Evangelist in the 15th century. Repaired in 1626 but destroyed in1666 and not rebuilt
Parish united with All Hallows Bread Street 1670, St Mary le Bow 1876

79. St Margaret Moses

Also St Margaret Moyses
Situated in Friday Street EC4
Very little is known. Destroyed in 1666 and not rebuilt
Parish united with St Mildred Bread Street 1670, St Mary le Bow 1954

80. St John Zachary

Also St John the Baptist
Situated Gresham Street and Noble Street EC4
First mentioned in 1120 and rebuilt in 1390. It was repaired several times in the 17th century but was destroyed in 1666 and not rebuilt. The churchyard is now a garden.
Parish united with St Anne and St Agnes 1670, St Vedast Foster lane 1954

81. St Matthew Friday Street

Situated Friday Street EC4
First mentioned in 1261.Destroyed in1666 and rebuilt by Wren 1681-7. Repaired in 1861 but demolished in 1881.
Parish united with St Vedast Foster Lane 1882

82. St Nicholas Olave

Situated Bread Street Hill EC4
First mentioned in 1188. Destroyed in1666 and not rebuilt
Parish united with St Nicholas Cole Abbey 1670
St Mary le Bow in the 18th century

The following looped links will allow you to scroll through the series.

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