St Thomas the Apostle

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 Thomas the Apostle, Great St Thomas Apostle (reversed “Z” on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built at least as long ago as the twelfth century, the oldest written reference to it being from 1181, and at that time dedicated to St Thomas Becket. It was subsequently substantially rebuilt in the fourteenth century, in part by John Barns, mercer, mayor in 1371. In his “Survey of London” of 1598, Stow described it as a “proper church”, adding, though, that “monuments of antiquity there be none”. He also noted that among those known to have been buried in the church was “Sir William Littlesbery, alias Horne, for King Edward IV. so named him, because he was a most excellent blower in a horn”. Littlesbery alias Horne, salter and merchant of the staple, had been mayor in 1487.

The  church was burned down   in the Great Fire of 1666,  and not rebuilt afterwards, the former parish uniting with that of St Mary Aldermary.   A Corporation “Blue Plaque” marks its former site.

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