All Hallows 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.


All Hallows Staining (reverse “C” on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built  around 1177, and rebuilt in the fourteenth  or fifteenth century (sources differ) .



The church was undamaged   in the Great Fire of 1666, but large parts of it  collapsed  in 1671, and it was subsequently rebuilt in 1674-5, only to be substantially demolished in 1870 (the year this etching was made).    The parish was then merged with that of St Olave Hart Street.



It is thought that the collapse of 1671 was due to undermining of the foundations by burials following the “Great Plague” of 1665.  The “Bills of Mortality” show that 112 parishioners died of the plague in 1665, most of them in the late summer or early autumn.


The  fourteenth- or fifteenth- century tower still stands, thanks to the initiative of the Clothworkers’ Company, who were also responsible for restoring it in 1873.  The foundations are  original, twelfth-century.  The crypt is also twelfth-century, although it has been transported from its original location in the chapel of St James-in-the-Wall.  Two sword-rests salvaged from All Hallows can be seen in St Olave Hart Street, a third in St Andrew Undershaft.


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