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Access to the Parish Archives

Most of our records were probably lost when the church was destroyed by firebombs in 1941. Any remaining records are held by the London Metropolitan Archives. This is true of many of the City churches. ‘St Mary-le-Bow’ is in the heart of the City of London, not in Bow, which is a couple of miles outside the City. If your research has led you to Bow (formerly a village, now a suburb) the likely church is ‘St Mary, Bow’ 020 8981 7916. Our church, St Mary-le-Bow (Bow, in this instance referring to an architectural feature of the Crypt), has the famous Bow Bells, which rang curfew in the Middle Ages and called Dick Whittington back to London; St Mary, Bow Road was a country church until the 1860s saw London expand. Dick Whittington heard our bells as he rested on Highgate Hill, and returned to the City where eventually he became Lord Mayor three times. Highgate Hill is five miles from St Mary-le-Bow – so many people can claim to have been born with the sound of the bells, who are not actually connected with the church. Our Churchyard only has deep burials; others were removed from the Crypt shortly before 1960. St Mary, Bow has a small churchyard surrounding it. But be warned – while once it was a country church, nowadays it sits in the centre of a busy multi-lane road system. We hope this information is helpful and we wish you success in your research.