St John Zachary

Leopard's head (insignia of Goldsmiths' Company), churchyard of St John Zachary 2

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 John Zachary (“17” on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built at least as long ago as the  twelfth century, the oldest record of it being from 1181, and subsequently rebuilt in the late fourteenth, and enlarged in the early seventeenth.  Stow described it as “a fair church, with the monuments well preserved”.  These included those to “Sir Nicholas Twiford, goldsmith, mayor 1388, and Dame Marjery his wife, of whose goods the church was  made and new built,  with a tomb for them, and others of their race, 1390”, and to “Drugo Barentine, mayor 1398”, another goldsmith.   James Pemberton, yet another goldsmith, mayor in 1611, was buried here in 1613, after Stow’s time.  Here, too, was interred the body of John Sutton, alderman, who was killed on London Bridge during Jack Cade’s rebellion of 1450.

The church was burned  down in the Great Fire of 1666 and never rebuilt, its former parish merging with that of St Anne and St Agnes.

St John Zachary

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

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The former churchyard survives, as a city garden provided by the Goldsmiths’ Company.

St John Friday Street

St John the Evangelist

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 John Friday Street (“10” on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London), also known as St John the Evangelist, was originally built at the turn of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, between 1098-1108, at which time it was known as St Werburga, after a Mercian princess and Abbess of Ely.  It was subsequently rebuilt in the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries, renamed St John in 1356 (not necessarily at the same time as the rebuilding), and repaired in 1626.

Stow notes that among the monuments in the church was that of Sir Christopher Askew, Draper, Mayor of London, 1533.  Rev. George Walker was rector of the church between 1614-50, and became widely known for his Puritanical views and sermons (*).  The parish was unique in suffering no deaths during the Great Plague of 1665 – possibly at least in part because it was so small, occupying less than an acre.

The  church was burned  down in the Great Fire of 1666, and not rebuilt afterwards, the former parish merging with that of All Hallows Bread Street.

St John the Evangelist (2)

A Corporation “Blue Plaque” marks its former site.

(*) In 1636,  Walker was described by the anti-Puritanical Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, in his yearly report to the King, Charles I, as “a disorderly and peevish man”.   And in 1638, he was briefly imprisoned for “things tending to faction and disobedience to authority”, an illegal act which became one of those with which Laud was charged at his trial in 1643.

 

 

Rotherhithe

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

Ship and Whale - Copy

Rotherhithe was first recorded as Rederheia in around 1105, and as Rotherhith alias Redderiffe in 1621.  It takes its name from the Old English “redhra”, meaning mariner, and “hyth”, meaning haven.

King Edward III Manor House plaque

Remains of King Edward III Manor House

Mayflower plaque, St Mary's

It appears to have been a small settlement surrounding the church of St Mary in the Medieval period, when Edward III had a retreat on the river here, built in 1349; and then to have undergone a major phase of development in the Post-Medieval, when a timber wall and number of shipyards and docks were built along the river-front.  The Mayflower set sail from Rotherhithe  in 1620 for Plymouth and eventually the Americas.  Among those on board was one Dorothea or Dorothy Bradford, nee May, a distant relative of mine, on a different branch of the family tree, similarly descended from Robert Belknap (1330-1401).

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Maritime Rotherhithe and the so-called Surrey Docks flourished in the later seventeenth to early twentieth centuries.  Much of its maritime trade was with Scandinavia and the Baltic, Russia, Greenland  and Canada.  Some of it was in timber; some – at least until the early nineteenth century – in whale products, including oil, used for  lighting and for  lubrication, and bone, used in  the manufacture of corsets.

St Mary's Church (rebuilt in the eighteenth century)

St Mary Rotherhithe Free School (1797)

The present church of St Mary was built, on the site of the previous – Medieval – church, in 1715, and St Mary Free School in 1797.

St Olave

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Rotherhithe was also to become home to Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish churches and seamen’s missions.  The Norwegian church, St Olave’s, features a Viking longship on its steeple!

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The area around the docks was badly damaged during the bombing of the Second World War, much of it taking place on the  first night of the “Blitz”, on 6th/7th December, 1940.

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Greenland Dock

Rotherhithe  has been  subject to  much regeneration in the post-war period.

There are no fewer than three tunnels under the Thames here, one pedestrian, one road and one rail.  The pedestrian one was built by Marc Isambard and Isambard Kingdom Brunel between 1825-43, and is now disused.  Part of its superstructure houses the Brunel Museum.

Brunel Museum

 

St John Walbrook

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 John the Baptist upon Walbrook (“W” on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built around 1150, and subsequently rebuilt in 1412, and repaired in 1621 and again in 1649-50.   John Stow wrote, in  “A Survey of London written in the year 1598” : “There be no monuments in this church of any account, only I have learned William Cobarton, skinner, who gave lands to that church, was there buried 1410; and John Stone, tailor, one of the sheriffs 1464, was likewise buried there”.

The church burned down in the Great Fire of 1666, and was not rebuilt again afterwards, the former  parish merging  with that of St Antholin Budge Row.

St John the Baptist upon Walbrook (site of)

A  tiny portion of the churchyard  survives, in Cloak Lane, together with a commemorative plaque put up in 1671.

St John the Baptist upon Walbrook (2)

Some  parish boundary markers also survive.

 

St James Garlickhythe

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

fire plaque

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 James Garlickhythe (“1” on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built in around 1100, and subsequently rebuilt in 1326, by the Vintners Richard de Rothing and his son John.  According to Stow, among those buried here was one Richard Lions “a famous merchant of wines, and a lapidary, sometime one of the Sheriffs, beheaded in Cheap by Wat Tyler and other rebels in the year 1381 [i.e., during the “Peasants’ Revolt”]”.  Lions was depicted on his gravestone “with his hair rounded by his ears, and curled; a little beard forked; a gown, girt to him down to his feet, of branched damask, wrought with the likeness of flowers; a large purse on his right side, hanging on a belt from his left shoulder; a plain hood about his neck, covering his shoulders, and hanging back behind him”.

St James Garlickhythe 1

The church burned down in the Great Fire of 1666, and was rebuilt by Wren between 1676-82 and 1714-17.  It was then  damaged by bombing in the First World War, and narrowly escaped total destruction in the Second, when a 500-lb bomb landed in the south-east corner but failed to explode, after which it was  rebuilt between 1954-63.  It was also damaged by,  and repaired after, a freak accident involving a falling crane in 1991.

interior

clerestory

The church is popularly known as “Wren’s lantern” on account of the illumination from the clerestory windows, which are of clear rather than stained glass.

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pulpit

Some of the interior fittings were salvaged from St Michael Queenhithe, including the fine carved pulpit (with wig-peg), the choir stalls, and a wrought-iron sword-rest.  The church registers date back to 1535, and are the oldest in England.

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St James Garlickhythe clock

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The recurring stylised scallop motif, for example above the doorway, on the clock above the doorway, and on the parish boundary markers, is in allusion to the sea-shells carried by pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, where St James’s bones were miraculously discovered some 800 years after his death (the church  being the customary point of departure for pilgrims leaving from London).

 

 

 

 

St James Dukes Place

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 James Duke’s Place was originally built in 1622, on land that before the Dissolution used to belong to Holy Trinity Priory.  It was undamaged  in the  Great Fire of 1666, but fell into disrepair and had to be rebuilt in 1727, only  to be demolished in 1874, when the parish was merged with St Katharine Cree.

St James Dukes Place (site of)

St James Dukes Place parish boundary marker, St Katharine Cree churchyard

Essentially nothing now remains of the church at its former site, other than the name, which lives on in that of St James’s Passage, and some parish boundary markers in Creechurch Lane and in St Katharine Cree churchyard in Mitre Street.

St James Dukes Place plaque in St Katharine Cree

Some memorial plaques salvaged from the church survive in St Katharine Cree.

 

Deptford

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

Deptford  was first recorded in 1293 as Depeford, meaning deep ford (across the River Ravensbourne, a tributary of the Thames).

The ford, and the trackway leading to and from it, had almost certainly been in existence in the pre-Roman period, and became incorporated into Watling Street in the Roman.

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By Medieval times, a small village had sprung up here, on what had by then become part of the pilgrimage route from London to Canterbury, and it was  referred to in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”, written in 1400.  The Battle of Deptford Bridge was fought here in 1497.

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In later post-Medieval times, the former village  grew into a sizeable town, with strong and lasting links to the Royal Navy, and to maritime trade (including the iniquitous slave trade).  One of the Royal Naval Dockyards was built here in 1513, Trinity House in 1514 (the first master being Captain Thomas Spert of the “Mary Rose”), and the East India Company Yard in 1607.

In 1549, a mock naval battle was staged here for the entertainment of Edward VI; in 1581, Elizabeth I knighted Francis Drake here aboard his ship the “Golden Hind(e)”, recently returned from its successful circumnavigation of the globe; and in 1698 the Russian Czar Peter the Great stayed in John Evelyn’s house here in order to study the shipyards.

The area’s comparative prosperity began to decline in the eighteenth century, after the seventeenth-century rebuilding of Chatham Dockyard, which was more accessible to ocean-going shipping, being situated in the Thames estuary, some twenty-five miles further downriver.

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The decline continued into the nineteenth century, as evidenced by William Booth’s “Poverty Maps”, and was accelerated by the bombing of the Blitz of the Second World War in the twentieth, but is now in the process of being reversed by regeneration.

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Deptford was historically part of the county of Kent, but since 1965 has been officially part of Greater London.

Church of St Nicholas

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The church of St Nicholas was originally built at least as long ago as the twelfth century, and subsequently rebuilt in the fourteenth or fifteenth century and again, partly through the benefaction of the East India Company,  in the late seventeenth,  around 1697, only to be badly damaged in the Blitz of the twentieth.  The fourteenth- or fifteenth- century tower still stands.

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The poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe – he of the “mighty line” – is buried in the churchyard, having been murdered in a  nearby tavern in 1593.  There are also a number of surviving post-Medieval memorials in the interior, including those to Sir Richard Browne of Sayers Court (d. 1604), who was John Evelyn’s father-in-law, and to other members of both Browne’s and Evelyn’s families; and to Jonas Shish (d. 1680) and his sons  Michael (d. 1685) and John (d. 1686), all of them Master Shipwrights.  And a late seventeenth-century carved wooden panel of “Ezekiel in the Valley of the Dry Bones” that has been attributed to Grinling Gibbons, who is known to have once lived and worked nearby.

Nicholas is the patron saint not only of children but also of mariners and fishermen (and of those wrongly condemned).

St Helen Bishopsgate

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 Helen Bishopsgate (“S. Elen” on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built as a parish church at least as long  ago as 1010, and subsequently rebuilt to incorporate  a – Benedictine – nunnery  church in 1210, and  extended and embellished between the fourteenth and early seventeenth  centuries (the nunnery was suppressed in 1538, whereupon its buildings and land were given to Thomas Cromwell’s adopted son Richard Wyllyams, who sold them  to the Leathersellers’ Company).  The original construction of the church made use of much Roman dressed stone and tile, most likely sourced  either from a   Roman building  that once stood on the site, or from the city wall that once stood a short distance away.  The dedication to Helen is interesting, as she was the mother of the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine.

It was undamaged by the Great Fire of 1666, although nonetheless requiring to be restored in 1893, …

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… only to be damaged by IRA bombs in 1992 and 1993,  and restored again in 1994-5.

St Helen's Bishopsgate, with the Gherkin in the background

East end

The church is dubbed “The Westminster Abbey of the City” because of its  beauty and of the richness of its memorials.

West Front

The exterior is substantially surviving early thirteenth-century, and in the Early English Gothic style, although  both  west front doors are later replacements, …

St Helen Bishopsgate (2)

… and the porch housing the south side door is early seventeenth-century, and in the Renaissance style.

Nuns' quire and east window

Arcade (2)

In the interior, the arcade separating the former nuns’ quire from the nave dates to 1475; …

Nuns' squint

… the nuns’ squint, built into the monument to Johane Alfrey, to 1525.

The carved wooden figure of a beggar supporting the poor-box,  the intricately carved and panelled  pulpit, and the south doorcase all date to the first half of the seventeenth century;  the inscribed wooden sword-rest to 1665.

Oteswich memorial (c. 1400), St Helen Bishopsgate

The alabaster effigies of Sir John de Oteswich and his wife, salvaged from the church of St Martin Outwich, date to the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century, …

Crosby memorial (1478), St Helen Bishopsgate

… and numerous other monuments to the fifteenth to seventeenth, including those of Sir John Crosby (d. 1476), …

Pickering memorial (1574), St Helen Bishopsgate

… Sir William Pickering (d. 1574), …

Gresham memorial, with nuns' squint to left

… Sir Thomas Gresham (d. 1579), …

Bond

… and Martin Bond (d. 1643), …

Cotesbrok memorial (1393), St Helen Bishopsgate

… together with some brasses with their “superstitious inscriptions” deliberately defaced by Puritans in 1644.

 

 

St Gregory by St Paul’s

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 Gregory by St Paul’s (“St Gregory” on “Map of Medieval London”) was originally built sometime before 1010, when the bones of the martyred St Edmund, King and Martyr, were  brought here from East Anglia so as to be safe from Viking raiders (they were later returned).  It was subsequently rebuilt after a fire in 1087, and  thereafter occasionally used for services ordinarily conducted in St Paul’s when the cathedral  itself was out of commission, as in 1561 (“[S]erves at Saint Gregore Chyrche be-syd Powlles … tyll Powlles be rede made”).

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The church was then restored at considerable expense by its parishioners in 1631-2 and 1637, only to – controversially – demolished and rebuilt by Inigo Jones in 1641, as part of his redesign of the west front of St Paul’s  (according to one source, it was Archbishop Laud who ordered its  demolition).  It is shown abutting the south-west tower on the above engraving.

My eleven-times Great Uncle and Aunt, John and Frances West, were married in the church in the February of 1666 (Frances’s first husband, Robert Mickell, having died of the  Plague  the previous year).  It burned down in the Great Fire of the September of 1666, and was not rebuilt again afterwards, its parish merging  with that of St Mary Magdalen Old Fish Street.

St Gregory by St Paul's (site of)

Nothing  now remains of the church, whose former site is now occupied by the statue of  Queen Anne in front of St Paul’s.  Some church records survive, though, in the Guildhall Library.

Gregory was the Pope responsible for sending Augustine to England to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity   in 597.

 

St George Botolph Lane

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 George Botolph Lane (not individually identified on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built at least as long ago as the twelfth century, being referred to in a deed of 1180 (as “St. George’s in Estchepe”).  It was renovated in the late fourteenth century, in 1360, and again in the early seventeenth, in 1627.  Adam Bamme, Mayor of London, died in office in 1397, and was buried in the church  (whereupon Dick Whittington was appointed to succeed him as Mayor).  Many of the church’s monuments were, as Stow put it, “well preserved from spoil” (during the Reformation of the mid-sixteenth century).

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The church burned down in the  Great Fire of 1666, and was subsequently rebuilt by Wren in 1671-6, using material from “Old  St Paul’s”, only to be allowed to fall into disrepair, and declared an unsafe structure and demolished in 1904, when the parish was merged with St Mary-at-Hill.

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It is one of the twenty-one lost Wren churches.

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Essentially nothing now remains of it  at its former site, other than the name, which lives on in that of St George’s Lane, …

Parish boundary marker (1)

… and parish boundary markers in  Botolph Alley and on Pudding Lane.  Two seventeenth-century chairs salvaged from the church survive, in St Margaret Pattens.

George was martyred in the fourth century, and made the patron saint of England in the fourteenth.  Surprisingly, this was the only church in the City of London ever dedicated to him.