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 Martin Orgar was originally built in the twelfth century, at which time it was known as St Martin Candlewick Street, and subsequently added to in the fifteenth. Some sources maintain that it took its second name from one Odgarus or Ordgarus, “who some time before Richard I gave the church … to the canons of St Paul’s Cathedral”. In his “Survey of London” of 1598, Stow described the church as “a small thing”, although he also added that three mayors were buried there, namely William Crowmer, mayor in 1413, who “built a proper chapel on the south side thereof, and was buried there 1433”; John Mathew, mayor in 1490; and William Huet, mayor in 1559.
The church was badly damaged in the Great Fire of 1666, and was not repaired or rebuilt, and the former parish was united with that of St Clement Eastcheap. Nonetheless, even in its damaged state, the church still continued to be used, by French Protestant Huguenots, until it became unsafe and was substantially demolished in 1826.
The tower, which was rebuilt in the Italianate style in 1851-2, still stands.
A Corporation “Blue Plaque” marks the site of the church and churchyard.