St Martin Vintry

Another in the series on historic churches in the City of London …

By the time of the Great Fire of London in 1666, there were over a hundred parish churches and other places of Christian worship within and immediately without the walls of  the City, despite a number having been closed down during the Reformation. To be precise, according to  Parish Clerks’ records, there were 97 churches within the walls of the City, and 16 without, making a total of 113. 

St Martin Vintry (“Y”  on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London), also known as St Martin Bare-mannechurch, was originally built sometime before 1291, being mentioned in Pope Nicholas IV’s “Taxatio Ecclesiastica” of that year, and possibly as long ago as the eleventh century. It was subsequently rebuilt by the executors of Mathew de Columbars, “a stranger born, a Bordeaux merchant of Gascoyne and French wines”, in 1399; and “new roofed … with timber, covered … with lead, and beautifully glazed” at the expense of Ralph Austrie, fishmonger, sometime before his death in 1494. In his “Survey of London” of 1598, Stow recorded a number of memorials in the church, including that of “John Gisors, mayor 1311”.

The church was burnt down   in the Great Fire of 1666, and not rebuilt again afterwards, the former parish uniting with that of  St Michael Paternoster Royal.   The site of the churchyard is now occupied by Whittington Garden.

St Martin Outwich

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Another in the series on historic churches in the City of London …

By the time of the Great Fire of London in 1666, there were over a hundred parish churches and other places of Christian worship within and immediately without the walls of  the City, despite a number having been closed down during the Reformation. To be precise, according to  Parish Clerks’ records, there were 97 churches within the walls of the City, and 16 without, making a total of 113. 

St Martin Outwich (not individually identified on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built at least as long ago as 1291, being mentioned in Pope Nicholas IV’s “Taxatio Ecclesiastica” of that year, and possibly as long ago as 1217. The church was evidently either rebuilt or extended – in the Perpendicular Gothic style – in the later Middle Ages. At that time, it was commonly known as St Martin “at the well with two buckets” (“so fastened that the drawing up of the one let down the other”). In his “Survey of London” of 1598, Stow wrote that “of late that well is turned into a pump”.

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The church survived the Great Fire of 1666.  It was subsequently damaged in another fire in 1765, and  rebuilt by Samuel P. Cockerell in 1796, only to be demolished in 1874, the former parish uniting with that of St Helen Bishopsgate.  A Corporation “Blue Plaque” marks its former site.

At this time, the tomb of one of its  benefactors, John de Oteswich, who is thought to have died in circa 1400, was relocated to St Helen Bishopsgate. 

At the same time, other Medieval remains from the church were reinterred in the City of London Cemetery in the East End, including those  of one Abigail Vaughan, who in her will had left four shillings to the parish to buy faggots to burn heretics!

St Martin Orgar

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Photo credited to “Look Up London”

Another in the series on historic churches in the City of London …

By the time of the Great Fire of London in 1666, there were over a hundred parish churches and other places of Christian worship within and immediately without the walls of  the City, despite a number having been closed down during the Reformation. To be precise, according to  Parish Clerks’ records, there were 97 churches within the walls of the City, and 16 without, making a total of 113. 

St Martin Orgar was originally built in the twelfth  century,  at which time it was known as St Martin Candlewick Street, and subsequently added to in the fifteenth. Some sources maintain that it took its second name from one Odgarus or Ordgarus, “who some time before Richard I gave the church … to the canons of St Paul’s Cathedral”. In his “Survey of London” of 1598, Stow described the church as “a small thing”, although he also added that three mayors were buried there, namely William Crowmer, mayor in 1413, who “built a proper chapel on the south side thereof, and was buried there 1433”; John Mathew, mayor in 1490; and William Huet, mayor in 1559.

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The church was badly damaged  in the Great Fire of 1666,  and was not repaired or rebuilt, and the former parish was united with that of St Clement Eastcheap.   Nonetheless, even in its damaged state, the church still continued to be used, by French Protestant Huguenots, until it became unsafe and was substantially demolished in 1826. 

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The tower, which was rebuilt in the Italianate style in 1851-2, still stands.

A Corporation “Blue Plaque” marks the site of the church and churchyard. 

St Martin Ludgate

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Another in the series on historic churches in the City of London …

By the time of the Great Fire of London in 1666, there were over a hundred parish churches and other places of Christian worship within and immediately without the walls of  the City, despite a number having been closed down during the Reformation. To be precise, according to  Parish Clerks’ records, there were 97 churches within the walls of the City, and 16 without, making a total of 113. 

St Martin Ludgate (“14” on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built at least as long ago as the twelfth century   (Geoffrey of Monmouth claimed that it  was founded in the  seventh, and St Martin died in the fourth). It was subsequently rebuilt and extended in the fifteenth, and repaired, after sustaining damage in a storm – in which “ye steple was torne … and diuers great stones casten down” – in the sixteenth, in 1561.   In his “Survey of London” of 1598, Stow noted that “in the year 1437, John Michael, mayor, and the commonalty, granted to William Downe, parson of St Martin’s at Ludgate, a parcel of ground, … to … build their steeple upon”. He also recorded a number of monuments in the interior of the church, including those of “William Sevenoake, mayor, 1418” and “Stephen Peacock, mayor, 1533 [actually, 1532]”.

The church was burned down in the Great Fire of 1666, and rebuilt by Wren and Hooke between 1677-86.  It was then restored in 1894, only to be damaged by bombing in the Second World War, and restored again in the post-war period,  and yet again in 1990.   The west wall is part of the Medieval City Wall.  Some of the interior fittings were salvaged from St Mary Magdalen Old Fish Street, including a plaque of 1586, and a sword-rest.  William Penn Senior married Margaret Jasper, the daughter of a Dutch merchant, here in 1643.  Their son William Junior, baptised in All Hallows Barking in 1644, went on to found Pennsylvania in 1681.

St Martin Pomary

Another in the series on historic churches in the City of London …

By the time of the Great Fire of London in 1666, there were over a hundred parish churches and other places of Christian worship within and immediately without the walls of  the City, despite a number having been closed down during the Reformation. To be precise, according to  Parish Clerks’ records, there were 97 churches within the walls of the City, and 16 without, making a total of 113. 

St Martin Pomary (not individually identified on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built sometime before 1291, the earliest written record of it – as “S. Martinus Pomarius” – being in Pope Nicholas IV’s “Taxatio Ecclesiastica” of that year; and subsequently rebuilt in 1627. The church’s patronage was at least some of the time up to the Reformation with the Priory of St Bartholomew, and thereafter with the Crown. As Huelin had it in his “Vanished Churches of the City of London” of 1996, “St Martin’s was one of the places where the Reformation got off to too early a start, for in 1547, the rector and churchwardens without authority removed the images, set up the royal arms in place of the crucifix, and painted the walls with scriptural texts, ‘whereof some were perversely translated'”. For their transgressions, “they were bound over in the sum of £20 per head, and ordered to erect a new crucifix”. In his “Survey of London” of 1598, Stow described St Martin’s as a “small parish church”, adding, somewhat disparagingly, as to monuments, “none to be accounted of”. He also noted that its unusual suffix “is supposed to be of apples growing where houses are now lately built” (note in this context that pomarius is Latin for a fruiterer). Others have suggested a derivation from the family name Pomeroy.

The church was burned down   in the Great Fire of 1666,  and not rebuilt again afterwards, the former parish uniting with that of St Olave Jewry.   Only the  former churchyard survives, in the open space in front of St Olave, together with some parish boundary markers.

St Mary Woolnoth

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Another in the series on historic churches in the City of London …

By the time of the Great Fire of London in 1666, there were over a hundred parish churches and other places of Christian worship within and immediately without the walls of  the City, despite a number having been closed down during the Reformation. To be precise, according to  Parish Clerks’ records, there were 97 churches within the walls of the City, and 16 without, making a total of 113. 

St Mary Woolnoth (reversed “P” on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built at least as long ago as 1191, and subsequently rebuilt in 1438, and extended in 1485.    In his “Survey of London” of 1598, Stow noted that the steeple, part of the body of the church, and “a chapel called the Charnell” were “new built” by “Sir Hugh Brice, goldsmith, mayor in the first year of Henry VII [1485], … deceased 1496 … [and] … buried in the body of the church”. He also noted a large number of monuments, including that of “Sir John Percival, merchant tailor, mayor about 1504 [actually 1498]”, and “Sir Martin Bowes, mayor [in 1545], buried about 1569”. Thomas Kyd, the author of the “Spanish Tragedy” was baptised in the church in 1558.

The church was severely damaged    in the Great Fire of 1666, and repaired by Wren  between 1670-4, in the Gothic style.

It was then rebuilt by Wren’s brilliant pupil and later successor Nicholas Hawksmoor between 1716-24, in the Baroque style (and restored in 1875-6, and again in the 1990s). 

Hawksmoor’s Other London Churches

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Hawksmoor’s other London churches are the equally impressive, yet individually distinct, St Alfege Greenwich (1712–14), …

… Christ Church Spitalfields (1714–29), …

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… St George-in-the-East (1714–29), …

… St Anne Limehouse (1714–30), …

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… and St George Bloomsbury (1716–31).  He was also responsible for the spire of St Michael Cornhill (1715-24) and the west towers of Westminster Abbey (1734-45), and partly responsible for St John Horselydown (1726-33), just off Tooley Street, and St Luke Old Street (1727-33), with its striking, obelisk-like spire.   Sadly, St John Horselydown was substantially destroyed during and  demolished after the Blitz, and  the surviving parts were subsequently incorporated into the London City Mission.  A photograph of the bombed church taken in 1940 still survives, which shows a spire in the form of a fluted Ionic column similar to that of St Luke Old Street, topped by a weathervane supposed to be shaped like a comet, but in actuality more like a louse! 

Hawksmoor’s brand of Baroque is characterised by an  imaginative use of geometry, with, as the architectural historian Ian Nairn put it, “intellect and emotion … exactly matched”, as exemplified in the distinctive proportions and broach spire of Christ Church, and in the towers of St Anne Limehouse and St George-in-the-East.  It is also diagnosed by constant allusion to antiquity, and in this sense may be said to anticipate the later Neo-Classical style. Note in this context the  serliana of St Alfege, and the  portico and pyramidal tower of St George Bloomsbury. The portico of St George Bloomsbury was modelled on that of the Pantheon in Rome (pictured, for comparison, below); the tower on the tomb of Mausolus, or Mausoleum, in Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

St Mary Woolchurch Haw

Another in the series on historic churches in the City of London …

By the time of the Great Fire of London in 1666, there were over a hundred parish churches and other places of Christian worship within and immediately without the walls of  the City, despite a number having been closed down during the Reformation. To be precise, according to  Parish Clerks’ records, there were 97 churches within the walls of the City, and 16 without, making a total of 113. 

St Mary Woolchurch Haw (“Q”  on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built by one Hubert de Ria during the reign of William the Conqueror between 1066-1087, and subsequently rebuilt during that of Henry VI, in 1442, in part to allow for the expansion of the neighbouring Stocks Market. In his “Survey of London” of 1598, Stow wrote that it was “so called of a beam placed in the churchyard, which was thereof called Wool Church Haw, of the tronage or weighing of wool there used”. He also recorded a number of monuments inside the church, including that of “John Winyar, grocer, mayor 1504, a great helper to the building of this church, … there buried 1505”. The rector at the commencement of the Civil War in the mid-seventeenth century, one John Tireman, was compelled to retire in consequence of his loyalty to the Crown rather than to Parliament. After the war, and the Restoration of the Monarchy, an equestrian statue of the then-King, Charles II (r. 1660-1685), was erected outside the church. Andrew Marvell wrote a poem featuring an imagined dialogue between the horse in this statue and the one in the statue of Charles I at Charing Cross (which latter is still there). In this poem, the Woolchurch horse expresses an unexpected sneaking regard for Oliver Cromwell: “Though his government did a tyrant’s resemble|He made England great and his enemies tremble”.

The church was burned down   in the Great Fire of 1666,  and not rebuilt again afterwards, the former parish uniting with that of St Mary Woolnoth.   The churchwarden at the time, Thomas Langley, was evidently able to save some of the church’s treasures from the fire, but sadly not his personal possessions.

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A Corporation “Blue Plaque” on the wall of the eighteenth-century Mansion House marks the former site of the church.

Kingston

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Another in the occasional series on historical sites on the “Thames Path” walk …

Kingston was first recorded in an Anglo-Saxon charter of 838 as Cynings tun, meaning the king’s estate or manor, and alluding to the fact that in Saxon times it was owned by the  king.

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Seven Saxon kings are reputed to have been crowned here, on a site now occupied by the church of All Saints, including  Athelstan, the first king of the united England, in 924/925.

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The nearby Market Place is a Scheduled Conservation area, with some buildings purporting to date back to the  fifteenth or sixteenth centuries.

Church of All Saints

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The church of All Saints was originally built in the twelfth century, around 1130, on the site of an earlier, Saxon church dedicated to St Mary, although it has subsequently been much modified, most notably in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

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A surviving part of the wall of the Saxon church  may be seen in the churchyard.

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There are a number of interesting surviving Medieval and post-Medieval features in the interior, …

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… including part of a late tenth- or eleventh- century Saxon cross-shaft, …

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… a fourteenth-century wall painting of St Blaise, …

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… and the early seventeenth-century tomb of Sir Anthony Benn.

St Mary Staining

Another in the series on historic churches in the City of London …

By the time of the Great Fire of London in 1666, there were over a hundred parish churches and other places of Christian worship within and immediately without the walls of  the City, despite a number having been closed down during the Reformation. To be precise, according to  Parish Clerks’ records, there were 97 churches within the walls of the City, and 16 without, making a total of 113. 

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St Mary Staining (“18” on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built at least as long ago as 1189, the earliest reference to it – as Ecclesia de Stainingehage – dating to that year. The patronage belonged to the Nunnery of St Mary in Clerkenwell until the dissolution of the monasteries in the early sixteenth century. In 1278, one Richard de Codeford, who was accused of robbery, sought sanctuary in the church, and fatally stabbed one of his pursuers through a hole in a window. In his “Survey of London” of 1598, Stow wrote that there remained at that time ” no monument worth the noting”. He – erroneously- attributed this to the church “being but newly built”. During the “Plague Year” of 1665, the rector, Samuel Austin, was one of the few in the City to remain at his post, and, sadly, there he died. He was succeeded by Israel Tongue, who went on to become an associate of Titus Oates, of “Popish Plot” fame.

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The  church was burned down   in the Great Fire of 1666,  and never rebuilt, the former parish uniting with that of St Michael Wood Street.   Nothing of it remains at its former site, a commemorative plaque that once stood there having been destroyed during the bombing of the Second World War. However, the churchyard survives, as a pocket garden, at the junction of Staining Lane and Oat Lane.