Tag Archives: St Peter-le-Poer


Another in the occasional series on historical sites on the “Capital Ring” walk  …

Ham was first recorded in c. 1150 as Hama, from the Old English hamm, meaning an area of land substantially enclosed by a bend in a river (in this case the Thames).

The church of St Peter was originally built here in the thirteenth century; Ham House in the Jacobean period of the early seventeenth.

Church of St Peter

The church of St Peter was originally built here in the thirteenth century, and subsequently substantially rebuilt in the seventeenth.  The west  tower was  rebuilt again, with an attractive octagonal lantern, in 1790, and the south transept was enlarged in 1840.


In the interior of the church are memorials to, among others, George Cole (d. 1624); Sir Thomas Jenner, Recorder of London (d. 1683); and Captain George Vancouver, explorer (d. 1798).

Ham House

Ham House was built by Sir Thomas Vavasour, Knight Marshal to James I, in 1610.  In 1637, it was acquired by William Murray, 1st Earl of Dysart, whose family continued to live here for the next three hundred years.  It passed to Sir Lyonel Tollemache, the second cousin of the 9th Earl of Dysart, in 1935, and was given by him to the National Trust in 1948.

John Evelyn visited the house in 1678, and wrote in his diary:

“After dinner I walked to Ham to see the House and Garden of the Duke of Lauderdale, which is indeed inferior to few of the best villas in Italy itself; the House furnished like a great Prince’s; the Parterres, Flower Gardens, Orangeries, Groves, Avenues, Courts, Statues, Perspectives, Fountains, Aviaries, at the banks of the Sweetest River in the World, must needs be surprising”.


City of London Buildings that survived the Great Fire of 1666

ChurchesOf the 97 parish churches within the walls of the City of London at the time of the Great Fire of 1666, only 8, namely, All Hallows Barking, All Hallows Staining, St Alphage, St Andrew Undershaft, St Ethelburga, St Helen, St Katharine Cree, and St Olave Hart Street, survived,  and still survive, with at least some pre-Great Fire structures standing, above ground (*).

Tower of London.JPG


Of the secular buildings, only the Tower of London and the Guildhall, and parts of the Merchant Taylors’ and Apothecaries’ Livery Company Halls, and of the “Olde Wine Shades” public house, still survive.

(*) A further 5 churches, namely All Hallows on the Wall, St James Duke’s Place, St Katherine Coleman, St Martin Outwich and St Peter-le-Poer, also survived  the fire but were either rebuilt or demolished afterwards.

And 84 were burnt down in the fire, of which 49 were rebuilt afterwards, and 35 were not.

Tower of London.JPG

Lost Wren churches – St Benet Fink

Another in the occasional series on churches built by Wren after the Great Fire of 1666 that have been lost  since …

St Benet Fink drawingSt Benet Fink, Threadneedle Street was originally built in around 1216, burnt down  in the  Great Fire of 1666, and rebuilt by Wren in 1670-5, only to be demolished, to make way for the rebuilding of the Royal Exchange, in 1841, when the parish was merged with St Peter-le-Poer.  A Corporation “Blue Plaque” marks  its former site.  Some salvaged communion plate  still  survives,  in the church of St Benet Fink  in Tottenham.  Salvaged paintings of Moses and Aaron, which were formerly part of the altar-piece, ended up  in Emmanuel School in Wandsworth.

St Benet Fink plaque