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 History Overview

 The Great Fire - continued

The doorways at the base of the tower have been described more prosaically by Gerald Cobb (in his London City Churches - A Brief Guide (1962) as 'perhaps the finest classical entrances in England'.

Wren’s original design for St Mary’s included a loggia running along Cheapside. This was never built but a wonderful drawing by Nicholas Hawksmoor of the proposed tower and loggia of St Mary’s, which is reproduced in the Parish history, shows that it was intended to be a two-bay arcaded structure supported by Doric columns and with a balustrade and full-size figures overhead. It was abandoned in October 1672 when the City re-let the plot: Paul Jeffery comments that it was probably written out of the plan for want of funding.

A drawing by Edward Woodroffe, dating from 1671-2, shows the first plan for the new tower and steeple of St Mary-le-Bow. Woodroffe located the tower where the vestibule now stands: sometime after this date the decision must have been taken to push it northwards so that it stood flush with the street. In May 1671 the mason Thomas Cartwright was back on the scene: he was given the contract to demolish the old tower and lay the foundations for a new one. It was Cartwright and his men who dug the hole which was 38 feet by 38 feet and 20 feet deep and which uncovered the Roman causeway of rough stone some 18 feet beneath street level. In March 1672 Cartwright and John Thompson were given the contract to erect the lower stage of the tower and in September 1676 they got the contract for the second stage, which was finished by 1680. The total cost came to £8,071.18s.1d. for the church (1670-75) and £7,388.8s.7d. and three farthings for the tower and steeple (1668-80).