Category Archives: London History

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.

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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.

 

Lambeth

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Another in the series on historic sites on the “Thames Path” walk …

Lambeth was first recorded as Lambehitha in 1062.  It takes its name  from the Old English for a place where lambs were either landed from or else boarded onto boats.

Lambeth Palace

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Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury,  was originally built here in the thirteenth century, and subsequently extended in the late fifteenth and sixteenth, under Henry VII and Mary respectively.  The surviving Chapel and Lollard’s Tower date to the late Medieval; the Gate-House, built by Cardinal John Morton, to the post-Medieval, to  1495.  The famous Garden was probably originally laid out in the late fifteenth or sixteenth century.

St Mary-at-Lambeth

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The church of St Mary-at-Lambeth was originally built in the  eleventh century, and subsequently rebuilt in the fourteenth and  eighteenth.  The tower of 1377 survives from the fourteenth-century rebuild.

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Here are buried, among others,  John Tradescant Sr. (c. 1580-1638), the gardener to Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury; and his son John Tradescant Jr. (1608-62), the gardener to Charles II.  As well as being gardeners, the  Tradescants were also  travellers, collectors of curiosities, and joint founders of the Musaeum Tradescantianum, in a building called “The Ark” in Vauxhall, which was England’s first museum open to the public (at a cost of 6d).  In time, their  collections were  acquired by Elias Ashmole, and in 1691 donated by him to Oxford University, to form the nucleus of the Ashmolean Museum.

St Margaret Lothbury

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.

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St Margaret Lothbury (“S. Marget, Lothbur” on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built at least as long ago as the twelfth century, the first record of it being from 1181.  It was recorded as “S Margareta de Lotheber'” in Pope Nicholas IV’s “Taxatio Eccesiastica” of 1291.  In his “Survey of London” of 1598, Stow notes the church  was  subsequently rebuilt, by Robert Large, Mercer, the then-Mayor, in 1440.  Stow also records a number of monuments there, including that of John Leigh (d. 1546), whose epitaph describes him as ” … to sundry countries knowne,|A worthy knight well of his prince esteemde”.

St Margaret Lothbury

The church was burned down in the Great Fire of 1666, and rebuilt again by Wren between 1683-92 and by Hooke between 1698-1700.

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The Wren-period chancel screen, tester and candelabra were  salvaged from All Hallows the Great; the font, from the workshop of Grinling Gibbons,  and the reredos, from St Olave Jewry; …

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… and the seventeenth-century bronze sculpture by Hubert le Sueur and paintings of Moses and Aaron, from St Christopher-le-Stocks (when it was demolished in 1781).

Close up of roll of benefactors (St Margaret Lothbury), showing John West's name

A board listing the benefactors of the church bears the names of my eleven-times great uncle and aunt, John and Frances West, who in 1717 contracted “£5 per annum each to 3 poor persons  to be elected by the Vestry”.

St Margaret of Antioch was martyred in the fourth century, after having been treacherously denounced to the authorities for her Christianity.  Legend has it that she was then swallowed by a dragon, who promptly regurgitated  her because she was wearing a cross.  She is often depicted with a dragon.

 

St Magnus the Martyr

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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.

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St Magnus the Martyr  (“S. Mangnus” on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was probably originally built in the twelfth century (Magnus, Earl of Orkney,  was martyred sometime between 1115-18 and made a saint in 1135).  It was recorded in Pope Nicholas IV’s “Taxatio Ecclesiastica” of 1291 as “S. Magnus ad Pontem” (St Magnus by the bridge).  The church is referred to  in a contemporary account of Jack Cade’s Rebellion of 1450, as follows: “Now had the Londoners lost the Bridge, and were driven to S. Magnus Corner, but a fresh supplie being come, they recouered the Bridge and drove the Kentish beyond The Stoupe in Southwarke”.  It is also referenced in Shakespeare’s later account of the event, in “Henry VI“.

Henry Yevele, who was the master mason to three successive kings, Edward III, Richard II and Henry IV, between c. 1360-1400, during which time he either built or rebuilt large parts  of Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster,  was buried here, in 1400, Stow noting in his “Survey of London” of 1598 that “his monument yet remaineth”, despite many others being “utterly defaced”.   Miles Coverdale, who, with William Tyndale, published the first authorised version of the Bible in English in 1539, and who was church rector here between 1564-66, was also buried here, in 1569.

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The church was burned down in the Great Fire of 1666, and rebuilt by Wren in 1671-87, and, despite eighteenth- to twentieth- century modifications and restorations, retains much of the  “inexplicable splendour of Ionian white and gold” alluded to by T.S. Eliot in his 1922 poem “The Waste Land”.

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Among the many treasures inside the church are: a modern statue and stained-glass window depicting St Magnus in a horned Viking helmet; …

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… further modern stained-glass windows depicting the churches of St Margaret New Fish Street and St Michael Crooked Lane, burned down in the Great Fire of 1666, and the chapel of St Thomas (a) Becket on the Medieval London Bridge, demolished in 1831; …

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… and a modern scale-model of the bridge as it would have looked in its heyday.

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On the outside wall is a Corporation Blue Plaque marking the approach to the Medieval bridge.

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Nearby are some stones from the bridge, and a timber from the Roman wharf purporting to date to 78, but in fact recently shown on tree-ring evidence to date to 62, i.e., the year after the destruction of Roman Londinium during the Boudiccan Revolt.

Most believe the  dedication to be to Magnus Erlendsson, a piously Christian Viking (!), who was the Earl of Orkney at the turn of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and who was murdered on the island of Egilsay sometime between 1115 and 1118 (sources differ), evidently by his loyal servant Lifolf, acting on the orders of his  covetous and treacherous kinsman  Hakon.  According to the Orkneyinga Saga, this was despite his, Magnus, having made three placatory offers to Hakon: first, to  go   on a pilgrimage to Rome, or the Holy Land; second, to  be kept under guard; and third, to be mutilated or blinded, and locked in a dungeon.  He, Magnus, was made a saint in or around 1135.  St Magnus’s Cathedral in Kirkwall in Orkney was built in his honour, and to house his remains,  by his nephew Kali Kolson, also known as Rognvald, in 1137. Magnus’s remains were recently uncovered here, and a reconstruction of him made.

However, some believe the dedication to be to another Magnus, who was martyred under the Emperor Aurelian in 276.

 

St Leonard Foster

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 Leonard Foster Lane (not individually identified on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built around 1278, and subsequently enlarged in the sixteenth century, following the demolition of the nearby Collegiate Church of St Martin in 1548.   It was referred to as “S. Leonardus juxta S. Martinus” in Pope Nicholas IV’s “Taxatio Ecclesiastica” of 1291. In his “Survey of London” of 1598, Stow noted a memorial  without the church to John Brokeitwell, “an especial re-edifier, or new builder”.  He also noted a small number of monuments in the interior, including one to Robert Trappis, goldsmith (d. 1526),  engraved with the epitaph: “When the bells be merely roung,|And the Masse devoutly soung,|And the meate merely eaten,|Then shall Robert Trappis, his wyffs,|and his children be forgetten”. In or around 1636, with James I of England and VI of Scotland not long dead, the rector of the church, William Ward, was forced to resign after having preached against the Scots.

The church burned down in the Great Fire of 1666, and was never rebuilt, the former parish uniting with that of Christ Church Newgate Street.

St Leonard Foster Lane

A Corporation “Blue Plaque” marks its former site.  A communion cup of 1616 salvaged from the church is now in St Sepulchre.

Bankside

Another in the series on historic sites on the “Thames Path” walk …

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Bankside in the Borough of Southwark, that is, the area adjacent to the riverbank on the south side of the Thames, opposite the City of London, was first recorded as Banke syde in 1554.  It is shown above in the foreground of   the Visscher panorama of 1616.

Southwark itself was was first recorded as “Sudwerca” in the “Domesday Book” of 1086, taking its name from the Old English “suth”, and “weorc”, meaning defensive work or fort, in reference to the Roman defences south of the river.  The area was indeed first settled by the Romans in the years immediately after the conquest in 43AD, i.e., concomitantly with the City north of the river.  A nunnery was established there in the Saxon period that became the priory of St Mary Overie in the Norman, the priory church becoming the parish church of St Saviour after the Dissolution of the post-Medieval, and the collegiate church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie, or Southwark Cathedral,  in more modern times (see last week’s posting).

Historically, Southwark was a so-called “liberty”, free of many  of the regulations governing life in the City across the river.  Over time it  became one of the poor places in which it, the rich City, attempted to locate  – and forget – some of its more “undesirable” buildings (including prisons such as the Clink, King’s Bench, Marshalsea and White Lion), industries (including tanning) and activities (including – in the numerous “stews” – prostitution; animal-baiting; and the performance of stage plays; all of which attracted large and unruly crowds).

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Stews, animal-baiting arenas and playhouses of Bankside

The first “stews” were founded in Bankside  in  the early twelfth century (the word “stew” meant originally a fish pond, subsequently a public bath-house, and eventually a brothel).  They lay between the Thames to the north, Bank End to the east, what was then Maiden Lane and is now Park Street to the south, and Cardinal’s Cap Alley to the west.  Most lay on land owned by the Bishops of Winchester (non-highlighted area on above map), who had built a palace on nearby Clink Street in c. 1144, parts of which still stand, the rest on land owned by the Prioresses of Stratford Priory (highlighted area on above map).

Ordinances for their governance had to be put in place as long ago as 1161, under Henry II.  Some of the ordinances were concerned with the welfare of the working girls, for example “no brothel-keeper to prevent his whore entering or leaving the premises at will” and “quarterly searches of every brothel must be carried out to ensure no woman is imprisoned there against her will … ”.  Others, though, restricted their rights, for example “all whores to wear some agreed garment indicating their profession” (and “no whore to wear an apron”).   Still others were concerned with public health, for example “no brothel-keeper to let any whore work on his premises if he knows she has ‘the burning sickness’”.  Or with public order, for example “no whore to entice any man into the brothel by pulling on his coat or any other item of clothing”, “no whore to throw stones at passers-by or pull faces at them for refusing to come in” and “no whore to chide with any man and make a fray”.

Tax records from the fateful year of 1381 show that there were seven open  at this time; further records from the later 1400s, that there were eighteen at this time.  The stews were temporarily closed in 1505 by the first Tudor King, Henry VII, after an outbreak of syphilis, although most re-opened within the year.  They were supposedly permanently closed in 1546 by Henry VIII, who wished Bankside “no more to be used as a common Bordell[o]”, although most if not all re-opened after Henry’s death in 1547.  There were twenty-two in operation in Bankside in 1546, namely, the “Antelope”, “Barge”, “Bear”, “Bell”, “Boar’s Head”, “Bull’s Head”, “Cardinal’s Hat”, “Castle”, “Cock”, “Crane”, “Cross Keys”, “Elephant”, “Fleur de Lys”, “Gun”, “Hart”, “Hart’s Horn”, “Horseshoe”, “Lion”, “Little Rose”, “Rose”, “Swan” and “Unicorn” (the infamous “Holland’s Leaguer” in Paris Gardens opened during the reign of the first Stuart King, James I,  in 1603).

Edward VI's coronation procession (1547)

Their more-or-less precise locations have been established by painstaking historical work involving a wide range of source materials (including a Tudor mural depicting Edward VI’s coronation procession in 1547, in which they all appear in the background).

Readers interested in further details are referred to E.J. Burford’s estimable “Bawds and Lodgings – A History of the London Bankside Brothels”, published by Peter Owen in 1976 (and republished as “The Bishop’s Brothels” by Robert Hale in 2015).

Crossbones Graveyard

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Just off Borough High Street, at the corner of  Union Street and Redcross Way, is the unconsecrated burial ground known as the “Crossbones Graveyard”.  Here from Medieval times were interred the “Outcast Dead”, including the “Winchester Geese”, which is to say women who worked as prostitutes in brothels or “stews” licensed by the Bishops of Winchester.

Having recently been at least temporarily spared from “development”, the site, which is owned by Transport for London,  is currently in use as a community garden of remembrance (under the auspices of the Bankside Open Spaces Trust).  It is generally open  between 12-3 on weekdays.  Regular vigils for the dead are also held here, at 7:00 pm on the 23rd of every month.

a-facial-reconstruction-of-elizabeth-mitchellA “Museum of London Archaeology Service” monograph describes in detail the findings of recent archaeological excavations at the site.  One of the excavated skeletons, of a  nineteenth-century woman,  aged only around sixteen to nineteen,  exhibited pathological indications of advanced syphilis.  Research undertaken for an episode of the BBC television series “History Cold Case” in 2010  indicated  that this skeleton was likely to be that of one Elizabeth Mitchell, who is recorded as having been admitted to nearby St Thomas’s Hospital suffering from the running sores all over the body symptomatic of advanced syphilis, and as having died there, on 22nd August 1851, aged nineteen.

Animal-Baiting Arenas

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The first animal-baiting arena on Bankside was probably built either in the late fifteenth century or the early sixteenth.  The last would appear to have closed down sometime in the late seventeenth century or the early eighteenth, after the opening of a new  venue in Hockley-in-the-Hole in Clerkenwell (note, though, that the barbaric practice of animal-baiting was not actually outlawed until  as recently as 1835).

At one time or another, there were six animal-baiting arenas in operation in Bankside.  Henry VIII is known to have witnessed a bear-baiting at Paris Gardens, from a barge moored offshore, in 1539.  In succeeding Stuart times, the actor Edward Alleyn and theatrical impresario Philip Henslowe, having just been jointly  appointed “Master Overseer and Ruler of the Bears, Bulls and Mastiff Dogs”, announced sometime in 1604: “Tomorrow being Thursdaie shall be seen at the Bear-gardin on the bankside a great mach plaid by the champins of Essex who hath challenged all comers whatsoever to plaie v dogges at the single beare for V pounds and also to wearie a bull dead at the stake and for your better content shall have pleasant sport with the horse and ape and whipping of the blind beare”.

“The Hope” was built as a bear-baiting arena cum playhouse by Philip Henslowe in 1614, the year after the original “Globe” burned down (see below).  Its use as a playhouse was short-lived, however, as one of the players, Ben Jonson,  complained that it was “as durty as Smithfield and as stinking every whit”.  It was closed down in 1653, and pulled down in 1656.

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The first play-house on Bankside was “The Rose”, built in 1587, the second, “The Swan”, built in 1595, and the third, The Globe”, built in 1599.

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“The Rose” was originally built  by Philip Henslowe to a fourteen-sided design in 1587, subsequently rebuilt to a less regular design in 1592, and demolished in 1606.    The site is currently conserved in the basement of  Rose Court in Park Street, and marked by a Corporation Blue Plaque on the outside of the building.  Christopher Marlowe’s plays were first performed here.

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“The Swan” was built in 1596, decayed by 1632, and last recorded in 1634. Ben Jonson’s lost play “Isle of Dogs” was performed here in 1597, drawing such criticism for its “seditious and slanderous” content that the author was temporarily thrown into – the  first Marshalsea – prison!

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“The Globe” was built by the theatrical impresario Cuthbert Burbage in 1599, using some materials salvaged from his father James’s “The Theatre” in Shoreditch, after the expiry of the lease on that latter property.  According to the Shakespearean scholar Steve Sohmer, it opened on June 12th, 1599.   It was burnt down in a fire on June 29th,  1613, after sparks from a theatrical cannon set some  thatch  alight during a performance of Shakespeare’s “Henry the Eighth”. It was rebuilt in 1614, but fell into disuse after the performance of plays was banned by an Act of Parliament forced through by the Puritans in 1642, and it  was demolished, by order of the Puritan City authorities, on April 15th,  1644.  A plaque marks its site, on Park Street.  This was “Shakespeare’s (own) play-house, and the venue where many of his plays were first performed”.

Readers interested in further details are referred to Julian Bowsher’s “Shakespeare’s London Theatreland”, published by Museum of London Archaeology in 2012.

 

 

St Leonard Eastcheap

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 Leonard Eastcheap

St Leonard Eastcheap (not shown  on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built in around  1214,  and subsequently partially rebuilt in 1584, and completely  rebuilt after a fire in 1618.  In his “Survey of London” of 1598, John Stow records it as St Leonard Milk Church, “so termed of one William Melker, an especial builder thereof”, whose name appears in the Calendar of Wills towards the end of the thirtenth century.  Stow  also records in the church monuments to various members of the Dogget family, including “William Dogget, vintner, one of the sheriffs 1380”.

The church burned down in the Great Fire of 1666, and was not rebuilt again afterwards, the former  parish uniting with that of St Benet Gracechurch.

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A Corporation “Blue Plaque” marks its former site.

Leonard of Lienard of Noblac (d. 559) was a Frankish noble in the court of Clovis I, the founder of the Merovingian dynasty.  Along with the king, he  was converted to Christianity by St Remigius, Bishop of Reims, in 496.  He then declined the offer of a bishopric, and instead became a monk, at Micy, near Orleans, and later a hermit, in the forests of Limousin, and went on to found his own monastery at Noblac, near Limoges.  He is the patron saint of prisoners, reputedly having had the power to miraculously free any who invoked his name.  His cult became widespread in Europe in the twelfth century.

 

 

St Laurence Pountney

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.

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St Laurence Pountney (“N” of sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built at least as long ago as the mid-twelfth century, the earliest reference to it being in a charter of that date, and subsequently restored in 1631-2, when the spire was releaded, a set of five new bells was hung in a new frame, and the floors were raised and levelled.  In its earlier  days it went by various names,  including, in Pope Nicholas IV’s “Taxatio Ecclesiastica” of 1291, “S. Laurentius Candelwikstrat”.  Stow noted in his “Survey of London” of 1598 that “the … church … was increased with a chapel of Jesus by Thomas Cole … ; the which was made a college of Jesus and of Corpus Christi … by John Poultney, mayor [in 1330, 1333 and 1336], and was confirmed by Edward III., the 20th of his reign [1331]: of him was this church called St. Laurence Poultney”.  Poultney or de Pulteney, Citizen and Draper, went on to die in 1349, possibly of the Black Death, and was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral.

The church burned down in the Great Fire of 1666, one eye-witness telling the Government inquiry into the fire  “I saw the Fire break out from the inside of Lawrence Pountney Steeple, when there was no fire near it”, implying the possibility of arson.  It was never rebuilt, the former parish uniting  with that of St Mary Abchurch. 

St Laurence Pountney

The church ground and churchyard survive, and a Corporation “Blue Plaque” marks the  former site of the church.

 

 

 

 

St Lawrence Jewry

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.

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St Lawrence Jewry (“23” on sixteenth-century “Agas” map/Map of Early Modern London) was originally built in the Saxon  period, a large number of timbers from coffins in the churchyard having been dendrochronologically  dated  to the  late tenth to early eleventh centuries, and an admittedly much smaller number even to the seventh to ninth.   It was subsequently rebuilt in the Norman period, in 1136, and repaired in 1618.

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Interior

The church burned down in the Great Fire of 1666, and was rebuilt again, by Wren,  between 1670-87.  The font of 1620 was salvaged from Holy Trinity Minories.

Fire damage at St Lawrence Jewry, City of London, WW2

It was later  gutted by German bombing during the  Second World War – to be precise, during the “Second Great Fire of London”, on the night of 29th December, 1940 – and rebuilt yet again between 1954-57.

St Lawrence Jewry

The weather-vane in the shape of a grid-iron honours the story that Saint Lawrence was put to death in 258 by being roasted alive on one such.  The upright is in the form of a German Second World War  incendiary bomb.

St Lawrence Jewry

The grid-iron motif also features on the parish boundary markers.

The church  was described by Sir John Betjeman as “very municipal, very splendid.”  It is the official church of the City of London Corporation, and also has strong links with the  Livery Companes. The so-called “Spital Sermons”, originally given   in the priory church of St Mary Spital, are currently given in St Lawrence Jewry, and are attended by the Mayor, Aldermen, and other civic dignitaries.

 

Borough

Another in the series on historic sites on the “Thames Path” walk …

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Borough, at the south end of London Bridge (the historic City of London being at the north end), was first recorded as “Southwarke borrow” in 1559, taking its name from the Old English  “burh” (*).  It  was unaffected by the Great Fire of London in 1666, the southward progress of which across the river was halted at a gap in the buildings on the bridge that formed a natural firebreak.  However, it suffered its own Great Fire in 1676.

Borough Market

Borough High Street is  part of, and was once known as,  Stane Street, the Roman road to the south, and Borough Market was first established here at least as long ago as the early Medieval period.  Throughout the later Middle Ages, it would have constituted an important part of the pilgrimage route from London to the shrine of St Thomas in Canterbury Cathedral.

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Immediately to the west of the bridge-head lies what is now Southwark Cathedral.  This began its life as a nunnery in 606, becoming the priory of St Mary Overie in 1106, the  parish church of St Saviour  following the Dissolution in 1540, and Southwark Cathedral and the Collegiate Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie in 1905.  Some elements of the present structure are survivors  from the  twelfth century building, although most are from the thirteenth or early fifteenth rebuilds following fires in 1212 and 1390 (the former of which, incidentally, reportedly killed 3000 people).

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The interior contains  many memorials, including a wooden effigy of a knight who died in around 1275, and the tombs of Chaucer’s contemporary and fellow Ricardian poet John Gower (d. 1408), who introduced the iambic tetrameter into English verse, and Lancelot Andrewes (d. 1626), who produced the Authorised or King James Version of the Bible.

Shakespeare (Edmond) (d. 1607)

Also interred here is Edmond Shakespeare (d. 1607), brother of the more famous William.

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To the east of the bridge-head lies what is now St Thomas’s and Guy’s Hospital, which began its life in 1225, as an infirmary attached to the priory of St Mary (see above).

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The oldest surviving part of which is the one-time chapel and later operating theatre and herb garret, which now houses a museum.

Lunatick Chair

One of the alcoves from the eighteenth-century restoration of “old” London Bridge still survives in the grounds of the hospital.  It is known as the “Lunatick Chair”, and houses a statue of John Keats, who studied to become a surgeon in the hospital, before turning his hand to the poetry for which he is more famous.

St Olaf

The church of St Olave once  stood nearby, on a site now occupied by Olaf House.

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White Hart - Copy

Famously, there were some  fifty  inns and other drinking establishments on and around Borough High Street in the Medieval to post-Medieval periods.  These included the “Tabard” and  “White Hart”, which were known to and written about by Chaucer and Shakespeare, respectively.

Queen's Head - Copy

And also the  “Queen’s Head”, owned by a family named Harvard, most of whom  died during an outbreak of the plague in 1625.  At this, one of the survivors, John Harvard, sailed to the Americas to seek his fortune, going on to help found a university in Cambridge in Massachusetts that today bears his name.

Many of the inns were burned  down in the  Great Fire of Southwark in 1676.  The “Tabard” and the “White Hart” were later rebuilt, but  no longer stand, having been demolished in the late nineteenth century.

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The “George”, originally built sometime before 1542, was also rebuilt after the Great Fire of Southwark, in 1677, as a galleried inn, and still stands.

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Part-way down Borough High Street, on the west side, once stood Suffolk House, depicted above on a colourised version of the Wyngaerde panorama of 1543.

Suffolk House

This was the London residence of the Dukes of Suffolk, the Brandons.

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Towards the southern end of the street, on the east side,  is the  church of St George the Martyr, originally built in the twelfth century,  and subsequently rebuilt in the fourteenth (and again in the eighteenth, in the Neo-Classical style).  Henry V was met here by the Aldermen and Mayor of London upon his triumphal return from the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.

Marshalsea

In the churchyard is a surviving part of the wall of the second Marshalsea Prison, written about by Charles Dickens in “Little Dorrit”.  This is where Dickens’s father John was once imprisoned for debt.

(*) Southwark itself was was first recorded as “Sudwerca” in the “Domesday Book” of 1086, taking its name from the Old English “suth”, and “weorc”, meaning defensive work or fort, in reference to the Roman defences south of the river.