St Mary Magdalene Milk Street

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 Mary Magdalen Milk Street (“16” on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built at least as long ago as 1162, there being a written record from that year of one William the Vicar ministering there. William Cantlow, a merchant of the Staple, added a chapel to the church in the fifteenth century, and was buried there in 1495. In his “Survey of London” of 1598, Stow describes the church as small, and records no monuments there, although Wilberforce Jenkinson, in his “London Churches before the Great Fire” of 1917, states that four Lord Mayors were buried there. The lantern holding the bell is recorded as having had to be taken down in 1648/9 on account of “the wind having great power on it, … to do prejudice to the church”. The rector at that time was Anthony Farindon, a noted preacher, who drew a large congregation, and a Royalist, who was deprived of his benefice in 1656. Farindon’s successor was Thomas Vincent, who went on to write a vivid account of the Great Fire of 1666.

The  church was burned down   in the Great Fire of 1666, and never rebuilt, the former parish uniting with that of St Lawrence Jewry.  

Only parish boundary markers survive  at  its former site (actually, on Cheapside).

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