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History Overview

The London parishes

Eight old London parishes now linked to St Mary-le-Bow

As mentioned above, eight other parishes have been amalgamated with St Mary-le-Bow since 1666. The first group of mergers took place after the Great Fire of that year. In 1878 the combined parish of All Hallows Bread Street and St John the Evangelist Friday Street became part of St Mary’s. The last mergers were then effected in the aftermath of the Second World War.

St Pancras, Soper Lane
The parish of St Pancras Soper Lane lay to the south of Cheapside and largely to the east of what is now Queen Street but whose predecessor street in medieval times (give or take a dozen yards or so) was called Soper Lane. (Soper Lane was actually built in the early thirteenth century, more than a century later than the church of St Pancras itself, and whilst it ran north-south it did not extend further than Watling Street which marked its southern boundary). A small part of the parish of St Pancras lay to the west of Queen Street but the bulk of the parish ran eastwards meeting Bucklersbury at its north-eastern corner and extending south-east almost as far as what is now Queen Victoria Street. The parish of St Pancras Soper Lane was joined to St Mary-le-Bow after the Great Fire of 1666.

All Hallows, Honey Lane
The thoroughfare of Cheapside marked the southern boundary of the parish of All Hallows Honey Lane. The parish itself was located directly north of the church of St Mary-le-Bow: the eastern boundary was just to the west of Laurence Lane (which is now blocked over but lay to the west of today’s King Street) while the western boundary of the parish lay just beyond Honey Lane itself. To the north lay Russia Row and Russia Court. The parish of All Hallows Honey Lane was joined to St Mary-le-Bow after the Great Fire of 1666

St Faith under St Paul’s
The parish of St Faith is probably the most intriguing of the parishes now joined to St Mary-le-Bow. Its territory once covered a large part of the area lying to the north of St Paul’s Cathedral. The southern boundary of the parish ran partly along and partly to the south of Paternoster Row. In the west the parish boundary ran up along Warwick Lane, then just south of Newgate Street (taking in Paternoster Square) before looping back down to the east to take in much of Old St Paul’s Churchyard. A small section of the original parish area lay under the ground on which the present-day St Paul’s Cathedral now stands.

The parish church of St Faith stood on the north side of Old St Paul’s until 1255 when the cathedral was lengthened and the church was demolished to make way for the extension. In return the parishioners of St Faith’s were given the western end of the crypt under St Paul’s quire as their new place of worship. The eastern section of the crypt became the Jesus Chapel. Stowe records that in the reign of Edward VI the parish church of St Faith’s was then moved entirely into the Jesus Chapel. St Faith’s parish was joined to St Augustine Watling Street after the Great Fire of 1666. (St Augustine Watling Street was itself joined to St Mary-le-Bow in 1954).

St Augustine, Watling Street
A group of three City parishes lay along an east-west axis from St Paul’s Cathedral in the west to St Mary-le-Bow in the east, with Watling Street serving as the 'spine' along which they ran. The most westerly of the three parishes was St Augustine Watling Street which, as we have seen, incorporated the old parish of St Faith-under-St-Paul’s after the Fire. Then came the parish of St John the Evangelist Friday Street (Friday Street ran north-south across Watling Street). And finally, between St John’s and St Mary-le-Bow itself, lay the parish of All Hallows Bread Street. St Augustine’s and All Hallows each gained a Wren church after the Fire. St Augustine retained its church until the Blitz but the Wren church of All Hallows Bread Street was pulled down in 1878 to make way for some warehouses. The parish of St Augustine Watling Street was joined to St Mary-le-Bow
in 1954. The tower survives as part of the Cathedral School.