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Gallery: Churches of Central London
by Peter Kessler, 3 January 2010
City of London Part 16: Churches of Queenhithe &
St Nicholas Olave stood either here, on the
south side of Queen Victoria Street, or on the lower west side of Bread
Street, opposite, both a short way east of St Nicholas Cole Abbey. Its
dedication was for the former St Olave Bread Street, which was
removed by the Augustinian Friars for the erection of their monastic
buildings in the thirteenth century, and which parish was merged to
that of St Nicholas. The church existed before 1242, and was
destroyed in the Great Fire.
St Matthew Friday Street stood on the
corner of Friday Street (on the right here), immediately alongside
Bread Street, looking out on Queen Victoria Street. The dedication
probably originates from fishmongers selling their wares on the
street (Friday being a traditional day for fish sales). The church
was first mentioned in the 1200s, and had strong ties with
dissenters in the 1700s. Destroyed by the Great Fire and rebuilt
by 1685, it was demolished in 1885.
St Margaret Moses was on Bread
Street, situated on the north-south street between Queen Victoria
Street and Cannon Street. The church was first mentioned in the
twelfth century, along with a good many churches in the area. Its
dedication originates from a wealthy benefactor in its early days
who was called Moyses. The Protestant martyr, John Roberts, was the
priest in 1550. Destroyed by the Great Fire, the church was not
selected to be rebuilt.
Holy Trinity the Less used to lay a little
further east along Queen Victoria Street, at the junction with
Cannon Street on the south-eastern corner. It was first mentioned in
1266, and was rebuilt in 1606, only to be destroyed by the Great
Fire. The site was later used as the entrance to Mansion House
Underground Station when the line was opened on 3 July 1871 by the
Metropolitan District Railway, but this construction meant the
destruction of the surviving churchyard.
St Thomas the Apostle was located a little
way to the east of Holy Trinity, on the north-western corner of Great
St Thomas Apostle (on the left here) and the north-south Queen Street.
The church was first mentioned in the twelfth century, which is when
a great many local churches must have been built, and was firmly in
the Royalist camp during the English Civil War. In 1666 the church
was completely destroyed by the Great Fire and was not selected to
St Antholin Budge Row was on Budge Row,
opposite Sise Lane, on the southern side of Queen Victoria Street.
From there it overlooked St Benet Sherehog and many other churches
close to what is now the Bank of England. The church was first
recorded in 1119 and was rebuilt in the 1400s. Destroyed by the
Great Fire, Wren rebuilt it by 1684. It was demolished in 1874, and
by 2008 the site was covered by a sixties office block which itself
was scheduled for demolition.
The Guild Church of St Mary Aldermary lies
on a corner of land between Watling Street, Queen Victoria Street,
and Bow Lane (which was formerly known as Cordwainer Street). Its
dedication is usually taken to mean that it was the earliest of the
City churches to be dedicated to St Mary ('aldermary' meaning 'elder
Mary'). In 1510, Sir Henry Keeble, a grocer and lord mayor, financed
the building of a new church on the site, one of the largest and
finest in the City.
When Keeble died in 1518 the tower was
substantially unfinished and remained so until 1629 when two
legacies enabled it to be completed. The church was destroyed by the
Great Fire, although the foundations and parts of the walls, as well
as the base of the tower, remained intact. It was rebuilt on the
same foundations between 1679-1682 by Christopher Wren's office, the
only one in the Gothic style in order to keep it as close to the old
church's style as possible.
St Mary le Bow lies on Cheapside, opposite
the site of All Hallows Honey Lane, in a jump to the north of the
location of St Mary Aldermary. The site of St Benet Sherehog, now 1
Poultry, can be seen in the distance. Most of the church building is
hidden behind modern shops and an office, with only the tower fully
visible. It was founded in or around 1080 as the London headquarters
of the archbishops of Canterbury. The medieval building partially
collapsed three times.
The Norman church of circa 1081 may have
replaced a building of Saxon origin. This was heavily damaged by a
tornado in 1091, and the rebuilt church was destroyed by fire in
1196. The tower collapsed onto the street in 1271, and rebuilding
was not completed until 1512. In 1666 the church was completely
destroyed in the Great Fire. Rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren, it was
destroyed once more in 1941 but was again rebuilt and re-consecrated