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 Andrew Undershaft, Leadenhall Street (“30” on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London).was originally built in the twelfth century, and rebuilt in the fourteenth, and again, in the Perpendicular Gothic style, in around 1520-32. The Henrician court artist Hans Holbein was a parishioner here.
The church was undamaged both in the Great Fire of 1666 and in the Blitz of 1940-5, although the seventeenth-century stained-glass windows were destroyed by an IRA bomb in 1992.
Among the many memorials inside is one to the Merchant Taylor and amateur antiquarian John Stow (d. 1605), the author of “A Survay of London”.
Stow appears with a quill-pen in his hand. Every third year, on or around the anniversary of his death on April 5th, as part of a special service in his memory, he is ceremonially presented with a new quill (and his old one is given to the winner of an essay competition for local children, with London as its subject).