St Margaret Moses

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 Margaret Moses  (“9”  on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built in the twelfth  century, the first record of the church being in a deed of that date, which refers also to a priest named Moyses.  Stow recorded it as “St Margaret Moyses” in his “Survey of London” of 1598 (“so called, it seemeth, of one Moyses, that was founder”).  Stow  also recorded  a number of memorials in the church, including that of two Mayors, Richard Dobb(i)s, Skinner, who died in 1551, and John Allet, Fishmonger, who died,  in office, in 1591.

John Rogers, a Protestant, was rector here in 1550, before moving on to St Sepulchre Newgate Street, and being burned at the stake for heresy in   1555, in the Counter-Reformation of the Catholic Queen Mary’s reign (he was the first of the so-called “Marian martyrs”).

In 1559, the first full year of Mary’s successor, the Protestant Elizabeth I’s,  reign,  John Jewel, the newly-appointed Bishop of Salisbury, gave a famous sermon here in which he “said plainly that there was no Purgatory” (according to the  diarist Henry Machyn).

Site of St Margaret Moses

The church was burned  down in the Great Fire of 1666, and was never rebuilt,  the former  parish uniting with that of St Mildred Bread Street.   Essentially nothing now remains of the church on its former site, as the Corporation Plaque that once marked it was lost in the Second World War.     A silver dish given  to the church in 1631 is now in the Museum of London.


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