St Margaret New Fish Street Hill

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. 

What is now known as St Margaret New Fish Street Hill (not individually identified on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built in the twelfth  century. It was previously more generally known as St Margaret Bridge Street. In the Medieval era, the church was renowned for its relics. According to the “Book of Saint Margaret Fish Street” of 1472, these included – among others – at least fragments of “the bush of Moses”, “the rod of Moses wherewith he divided the Red Sea”, “the manger that our Lord Jesus Christ was laid in”, “the clothing of St Mary the Mother of Christ Jesus” and “the stone whereon Mary Magdalene did her penance”. In his “Survey of London” of 1598, Stow described it as “a proper church”, although he also added, somewhat disparagingly, “monuments it hath none”.

The church burned down in the Great Fire of 1666, and was never rebuilt, the former parish uniting with that of St Magnus the Martyr.   The former Preacher, Thomas Brooks, wrote in his “London Lamentations” of 1670 of that “Fatal Fire … that turned London into a ruinous heap”.

A Corporation “Blue Plaque” marks its former site, which is where the  Monument (to the Great Fire) now stands (the church was the closest to the seat of the fire in Pudding Lane). 

There is also a parish boundary marker on the tower of St Magnus the Martyr. 

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