Famous Residents # 21: Residing at St Magnus Martyr

gatewayST MAGNUS MARTYR Lower Thames street - This church dates back prior to the Norman Invasion of 1066. Rebuilt by Wren after the Great Fire, it stood at the foot of the old London Bridge and as such the frontage has been much altered. TS Eliot admired the church, and described it in 'The Waste Land'. It has a remarkable organ from 1712 and plenty of statues, monuments and gilded sword rests.

Opening Times: Tues to Fri 10am to 4pm / Sun 10am to 1pm

Famous Residents # 22: Residing at St Olaves, Hart street

St-Olaves ST OLAVES, HART STREET, named after the Norwegian King Olaf, an ally of Ethelred the Unready who fought the Danes in the Battle of London Bridge in 1014. Also, includes Pepys' monument to his wife Elizabeth (who seemingly died of grief after finding him in flagrante with their serving maid) Pepys himself is buried in the nave. Mother Goose is also buried here as well as the 17th C's 'Patient Zero': Mary Ramsey who brought the great plague to London.

Sign of the skulls above the archway to the churchyard
where Pepys and Mother Goose are buried

Opening Times: Mon to Fri 10am to 5pm

Famous Residents # 23: Residing at Bunhill Fields

Bunhill Fields

Bunhill or Bone Hill fields as it was once known was a plague pit, first opened in 1665 and according to Daniel Defoe new corpses from the great plague were buried on top of the old ones. When the plague subdued the London Council enclosed the pit with a brick wall and leased it for the dissenters, those who objected to the burial service laid down in the common prayer book.

John Bunyan

John Bunyan writer of the "Pilgrims Progress" died in 1688 after his ride from Reading to London through the rain, lies buried here.

Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe who wrote Robinson Crusoe and died in 1731.

Isaac Watts

Here lies Isaac Watts author of the hymn; "When I survey the Wondrous Cross" died in he year 1748.

William Blake

And another great writer the poet William Blake lies here near "the dear and too careful and over-joyous woman" who was his wife.

Famous Residents # 24: Residing at St Mary's church Lambeth


St Mary's church Lambeth where Captain Bligh, of the famous Mutiny of the Bounty is buried along with his wife.

The Sealy Family: One of the most interesting tombs in the graveyard is the Sealy Tomb. This is a Coade stone tomb of fine quality made in 1808 by Sealy and Coade. John Sealy (d. 1813) was a cousin of Eleanor Coade and was made a partner in the factory c.1798. This factory in Lambeth invented a high quality, durable artificial stone made from a 'secret' mixture of materials. The old church now houses The Garden Museum.

Famous Residents # 25: Residing At St Bartholomew The Great
Church House, Cloth Fair E.C.1

The only surviving part of a Norman priory that was established in 1123 by a monk named Rahere. Rahere was a jester-minstrel to King Henry I, who had worked his way up from a poor family. At the hight of his jestering, he turned his back on the royal courts and sank into poverty and obscurity. He went on a pilgrimage to Rome and became a monk; afterwards, he hid among the most outcast of the poor of London. Thinking himself an idiot, he collected a small band of children, lepers, and poor people inducing them to gather up stones from the surrounding wasteland just outside the city walls of Smithfield. All around lay the ruins of Roman London, quarried stones, pillars, fragments of arches. Rahere had dreamed of building a noble monastery and hospital for the poor and sick. Day by day, year by year the heap of stones grew, Rahere was a brooding genius architect, who built the Hospital and Priory from 1102 and completed it by 1123. The present church is only a small part of the far-spreading priory, and opposite stands the hospital which he had seen in vision long before. Inside the church is the grand tomb of Rahere, in London's oldest parish church.
This church was used in the films Four Weddings and a Funeral, Shakespeare in Love and The End of the Affair.
Admission fee now applies, worth a visit.

St Bartholomew The Great
St Bartholomew the Great

Famous Residents # 26: Residing At St Clement Danes

Oranges and Lemons said the bells of St Clement. On or around the 31st of March each year an Orange and Lemon service takes place. The church is situated in the centre of the busy Strand by the law courts and a stone's throw from the Covent Garden the old fruit and veg market. St Clement was first built in the ninth century by the Danish community and in 1040 Harold Harefoot the son of King Canute was buried here. Rebuilt by William the Conqueror, and again by Sir Christopher Wren 1681, the steeple being added in 1719 by James Gibbs. During the 17th to 19th centuries, many people were buried in the crypt and the chain hanging on the crypt wall was used to secure the coffin lids against body-snatchers. In World War II a German incendiary bomb left only this wall and the steeple, the remaining wall still shows the shrapnel damage from the bombings. Adopted by the Royal Air Force in 1956. Restored by Anthony Lloyd and re-opened by Queen Elizabeth the II in 1958.

St Clement Danes with the bomb-damaged wall from World War II.

Famous Residents # 27: Residing At St Brides

St Bride's Church, built by Sir Christopher Wren in the 1680s stands on the site occupied by the earlier medieval church dedicated to St Bridget or St Bride of Kildare. On this site, the Romans dug a ditch soon after they reached London, where the original Roman pavement still remains. During the Great Plague 0f 1665 many bodies were buried here and when the graveyard became full, plague pits were made in nearby Dorset Rise and another by St Bride's Lane. The Great Fire of 1666 completely destroyed the medieval St Bride's church. Sir Christopher Wren rebuilt the new church from Portland stone; he also built a tavern The Old Bell to house the workmen, so the church could be finished sooner. One of his assistance was Nicholas Hawksmoor who became renowned as a church architect himself. Perhaps the most identifying aspect of St Brides is its fine steeple with its tiers that have been copied over the years on wedding cakes worldwide. Samuel Pepys was born close by the church and was baptised here. Later to recorded in his Diary how he bribes the gravedigger with sixpence to 'jostle together' coffins in the crypt to make way for his brother Tom. Other famous interments here are Mary Frith (1659), otherwise known as 'Moll Cutpurse', a rather notorious local criminal, and the Cavalier poet Richard Lovelace (1658), who wrote while doing time for his Royalist beliefs, 'Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage'.

Opening Times: Mon-Fri - 8am - 6pm Sat - 11am - 3pm Sun - 10am-1pm - 5-7.30pm History of St Brides

Famous Residents # 28: Residing At St Michaels

church on black heath

On this site at Blackheath in 1381, Wat Tyler assembled his Kentish rebel army before the peasant's revolt marched on London. And here also in 1450, Jack Cade marshalled his troops to again attack the city of London with another peasant revolt. Blackheath is said to have taken its name from Bleak Heath because of its barren situation and the countless Highwaymen that operated here in those times.

About three hundred years later a great attraction was the finding of Jack Cade's Cavern when it was uncovered by workmen in 1778. The four connecting caves became popular when a young woman fell down a shaft and died, afterwards a larger entrance and lighting was added to the caves to encourage more visitors to see these subterranean winding passageways with their strange carvings. Wild parties were held and by 1854 the authorities decided to seal up the entrance, opening for a brief time from 1940 to 1946 but have remained closed ever since. It would appear that the origins of the caves were less romantic and were due to a family of lime-burners who operated on the site in the 1770's. The church of St Michael was built in 1829 as the population around this barren heath grew, and was often referred to as "the needle of Kent," and it is considered a good example of the Gothic revival.

Famous Residents # 29: Residing At
St Paul’s Covent Garden

St Pauls Covent Garden

“The most handsome barn in Europe” in the words of its designer Inigo Jones in 1633. Rebuilt after a fire in 1798 to the original Inigo Jones design by Thomas Hardwick. It has a portico at the east side through the main entrance where our picture was taken. A silver casket on the south wall contains the ashes of Dame Ellen Terry the actor who died in 1928. There is also a memorial to the actor Charles Macklin who died in 1797. Dr Thomas Arne 1778 the composer of Rule Britannia is also buried here. J.M.W Turner was born in nearby Maiden Lane and was baptized in this church.

Famous Residents # 30: Residing At
St Margaret's Church, Westminster

St Margaret's Church

The first church that stood on this site survived until the reign of Edward III (1327-77). The present church of St Margaret's was built by Robert Stowell in 1482. The church being consecrated on 9 April 1523. Although having restoration work carried out in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, the structure is still substantially the same. It was built next door to its famous neighbour Westminster Abbey to allow the monks to pray undisturbed while the general congregation could hold their services here.

St Margaret's is a 'royal peculiar' this means it is outside the diocesan and provincial structures of the Church of England and is directly accountable to the monarch.

The west window by Clayton and Bell, commemorates Sir Walter Raleigh voyages of exploration to establish Virginia, one of the earliest settlements in America and introducing tobacco to England during the reign of Elizabeth I. Raleigh was executed for treason only a few yards away from the east wall of the church in Old Palace Yard and is buried in the chancel.

King Charles I bust

King Charles's head in an alcove on the east wall looking over to the statue of Oliver Cromwell that stands across the road outside Westminster Hall.

Famous names in the marriage registers are those of Samuel Pepys, who married here in 1655, John Milton 1656 and Winston Churchill 1908. William Caxton the printer is also buried here.

The East window

East Window

The east window depicts Catherine of Aragon and her husband Prince Arthur and was commissioned by her parents Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain. Before it was completed prince Arthur died, Catherine married his younger brother Henry who became King Henry VIII. He had had the window sent to Waltham Abbey where it remained until the 18th century before it was relocated a St. Margaret's.

Famous Residents # 31: Residing At The Queen's Chapel of the Savoy

Hidden in a side street off the Strand on the same spot where once stood John of Gaunt's palace, which was razed to the ground during the Peasant's Revolt of 1381.

The Queen's Chapel of the Savoy has a long association with the Duchy of Lancaster.

The Chapel is the last surviving building of a hospital founded by Henry VII for homeless people in 1512. It stands on the area of London known as the Savoy. Belonging to Her Majesty the Queen in her right as Duke of Lancaster, and not falling within any bishop's jurisdiction, but remaining firmly within the Church of England. It still continues its spiritual service to the community, as it has done for nearly 500 years where the public is most welcome to attend services in The Queen's Chapel of the Savoy. These are held on Sundays and every Wednesday lunchtime (except in August and September). The chapel is open to the public every day except Monday.

Famous Residents # 32: Residing AtSt Ethelreda's

St Ethelreda's

Built in 1291, St Ethelreda's is the oldest pre-Reformation Roman Catholic Church in London, like Westminster Abbey dates back to the reign of Edward the confessor.

This church is the only surviving part of the Bishop of Ely's once extensive London palace. St Ethelreda founded the monastery at Ely in AD 673 a pre-Reformation model of Ely Palace can be seen in the vaulted undercroft of the church.

The gardens of St Ethelreda were said to produce the finest strawberries in London and were mentioned in Shakespeare's Richard III. (Act II, scene 4), Gloucester: My Lord Ely!
Ely: My Lord?
Gloucester: When I was last in Holborn, I saw good strawberries in your garden there: I do beseech you send for some of them.
A Strawberry Fair is still held every June in Ely Place for charity.

Famous Residents # 33: Residing AtThe Queen's Chapel

Queens Chapel

When Charles I decided to marry the Spanish infanta in 1623 he instructed Inigo Jones to build a chapel for his intended Queen inside St James's Palace. Built on the same design as the Venus in Rome work was halted when the marriage did not take place, being continued in 1626 for the Kings marriage to Queen Henrietta Marie.

Famous Residents # 34: Residing At St Michael Paternoster

The original church on this site dates from 1219, and its famous next-door neighbour Richard Whittington, four times Lord Mayor of London he has been credited with founding it, with his endowments that enabled the church to expand in the 1400s. Destroyed by the Great fire of 1666 and rebuilt by Wren 1686-94 with the steeple completed in 1713. It is said that a mummified cat was found by Wren, hidden in the wall, during the rebuilding. The famous story of Dick Whittington and his cat being performed in pantomime throughout the years has made him a household name. Richard Whittington died in 1423 and was apparently buried here on three separate occasions, although his exact grave has been missing since the church was destroyed by the Great Fire.

Famous Residents # 35: Residing At Wesley's Chapel

Wesley Chapel

John Wesley was the founder of Methodism and lived and died in this chapel in City Road. It was designed by George Dance the Younger and erected in 1778 by the builder Samuel Tooth who was himself a local preacher. Built on the derelict ground used by St Paul's as a dumping ground, standing opposite Bunhill Fields. John Wesley with his statue is in the foreground is buried here.

Famous Residents # 36: Residing At All Hallows Staining

All Hallows Staining
The 15th century tower of All Hallows Staining in Mark Lane is all that is left of this ancient church.

"Staining", which comes from the word "Staniggecherch" or "stone church" was built in the Perpendicular style in the 1400's.

Princess Elizabeth, later Elizabeth I, donated new bell ropes to the church, as she said that the church bells had been music to her ears during her imprisonment at the nearby Tower of London. One of those famous bells, dated to 1458, is preserved at Grocers Hall in London. Famous resident buried in the churchyard was the Rev. Stephen Bachiler, the founder of Hampton, New Hampshire in the United States.

“Steeven Batchiller Minester that dyed att Robert Barbers was buryed in the new church yard Octob 31th 1656”

The above record refers to the aged founder of Hampton, New Hampshire.

Famous Residents # 37: Residing At St Mary's Church, Chigwell

‘Chigwell is the greatest place in the world...such an out of the way rural place,’ wrote Charles Dickens in his novel Barnaby Rudge.

This may have been true in the times of Charles Dickens though not any more with the Central line underground station taking you less than thirty minutes from the city. Just a couple of hundred yards away from Chigwell underground station is the pretty village of Chigwell with its beautiful church of St Mary’s that dates back to Norman times. The first vicar Samuel Harsnet 1597 to 1605 inspired William Shakespeare’s, King Lear.

The well-kept graveyard is one of the largest that I have seen and it is still being used for burials. The most famous resident is George Shillibeer the founder of the Omnibus and a local resident from Chigwell Row. The family plot also includes his wife Elizabeth and Daughter Elizabeth Mary Ann.

Inside the church is a brass memorial plaque from the Busmen in remembrance for his service to the travelling public.

The George Shillibeer grave Chigwell

The family grave of George Shillibeer, founder of the first London Omnibus

William the Conquerer came to Chigwell and took over the Manor of Woolston in 1066 the church itself dates from 1160 with the original doorway still remaining.

The present vicar the Reverend Peter J. Trendall is happy for people to visit his church with its doors open Monday and Tuesday early afternoon. Visit the official website For more deatails

Famous Residents # 38: Residing At Southwark Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral

St Saviour and St Mary Overie, and now known as Southwark Cathedral has been a place of worship for over 1,000 years.

Shakespeare buried his brother, Edmund, here in an unmarked grave in 1607, which sadly has been lost in the passages of time. The Cathedral contains a 19th-century large stained glass window dedicated to William Shakespeare, depicting scenes from all of the plays he wrote, at the base of the which is a statue of a reclining, William Shakespeare holding a quill. It was a popular resting place for dramatists John Fletcher and Philip Massinger are also buried here. Lancelot Andrews is buried by the high altar, and John Harvard founder of the American University with the same name was baptised here.

Official Website

Famous Residents # 39: Residing At St Peter’s Cornhill

St Peter’s Cornhill viewed from St Peter's Place

Said to have been founded by King Lucius in AD 179. Burnt down in the Great Fire of 1666, the church was rebuilt by Christopher Wren in 1680-81. Charles Dickens comments on the raised churchyard in a striking passage in “Our Mutual Friend”, noting how the graves were “conveniently and healthfully elevated above the living".

cornhill devils
The Cornhill Devils.

The story of the Cornhill Devils goes like this. During the building of an office block next door to the church the builders took an extra foot of the church ground. This act was noted by the rector, the building plans were put back, and the architect was made to re-plan his works. So bitter was the architect he engrossed the rectors face upon one of the devils and set three devils upon the roof to add curses to anyone that entered the church.

More Famous Residents # 1 - 20

London Time

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