St Bartholomew by the Exchange - The Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks

St Bartholomew by the Exchange

• St. Bartholomew-by-the-Exchange was located on Bartholomew Lane, off Threadneedle Street. Recorded since the 13th century, the church was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666 and then rebuilt by the office of Sir Christopher Wren. The rebuilt church was demolished in 1840.

• St. Bartholomew was dedicated to the apostle who, by tradition, was martyred in Armenia by being flayed alive. The Royal Exchange was opened next to the church in 1571.

• The earliest surviving reference to the church is in a document of 1225/6. As this was three centuries before the foundation of the Royal Exchange, early references to the church are as ‘St. Bartholomew the Less’ or ‘Little St. Bartholomew’, to distinguish it from the priory of St Bartholomew the Great. In 1547, upon the dissolution of the monasteries, the nearby chapel that stood within St Bartholomew Hospital itself, was renamed St Bartholomew the Little, as the parish church and now known as St Bartholomew the Less. In the interim between this date and the building of the Royal Exchange, the church later called ‘St. Bartholomew-by-the-Exchange’ became lytyll saynt Bathellmuw besyd sunt Antony's.

• Although he was rector of St Magnus the Martyr, Miles Coverdale, the creator of the first complete translation of the Bible into English - was buried in St. Bartholomew-by-the-Exchange in 1568. Upon the destruction of the church, his remains were moved to St. Magnus.

• When it was rebuilt the plan of the new church was irregular as it was built on the foundations of its predecessor!

• Only the west face of the church, on Bartholomew Lane, was exposed. St. Bartholomew’s was one of the few Wren churches to have a protruding chancel. In addition to the tower, also projecting from the quadrilateral body from the church was a chapel on the south side, on the site of the 1509 Capel chapel.

• In 1838, the Royal Exchange, which had also been rebuilt after the Great Fire, burnt down. In order to improve access to the site of the Exchange, the Corporation of London petitioned Parliament for permission to demolish the church, as well as the neighbouring St Benet Fink, so that Threadneedle Street may be widened. This was granted and the church demolished in 1840. The parish was combined with that of St Margaret Lothbury.

• The organ built in 1731 is now in St Vedast Foster Lane having been restored by Noel Mander, a Past Master of the Company Since the demolition of St. Bartholomew’s, 31 City churches have been lost due to demolition or bombing during World War II.


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