St Mildred Bread Street - The Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks

St Mildred Bread Street

• The church of St Mildred, Bread Street stood on the east side of Bread Street. It was dedicated to the 7th centurySt Mildred the Virgin, daughter of Merewald, sub-king of the West Mercians.

• The earliest record of the church of St Mildred is of its rebuilding in around 1300. This was probably paid for by Lord Trenchaunt of St. Albans, who was buried in the Church at about that time.

• Sir John Shadworth, Lord Mayor in 1401, who was also buried in the church, gave a parsonage house, a vestry and a churchyard. The patronage of the church belonged to the monastery of St Mary Overie until 1533, when it passed into private hands.

• Records show that the church was repaired throughout in 1628, when most of the north wall, the nave arcades and the windows above them were rebuilt. A major benefactor of the church during the 17th century was Sir Nicholas Crisp, a wealthy merchant and ardent supporter of Charles I who, by 1663, owned the patronage of the church. His gifts included two large silver flagons, which were still in use into the 20th century, and a five light stained glass east window. He was interred in his family vault in the church, although his heart was buried at Hammersmith in a monument he had erected to the memory of his king.

• St Mildred's was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. Its silver plate, however, survived, having been taken to safety in Hackney in a hired carriage.

• After the fire the parish of the church of St Margaret Moyses, which was also destroyed but not rebuilt, was united to that of St Mildred. The church was rebuilt in 1677-83 to the designs of Sir Christopher Wren.

• The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley married Mary Godwin in the church on 30 December 1816.

• In 1898 many bodies were disinterred and removed to Brookwood Cemetery

• The remains of Sir Nicholas Crisp, found in a stone coffin, were, however, reunited with his heart at Hammersmith.

• The church, with its original fittings, remained in good condition until its destruction by bombing in 1941 a grievous loss as this was one of the finest and least altered of the Wren churches.

• There is a lion and unicorn in St Anne and St Agnes which was saved from the ruins.

• The parish became one of the eight to have been reunited with St Mary le Bow at different times.

• The site was excavated by the Museum of London Department of Urban Archaeology in 1973- 4. Remains of a 1st century Roman building, probably a house, were found beneath those of the church.


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