St Peter Cheap - The Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks

St Peter Cheap

• St Peter Westcheap sometimes known simply as St Peter Cheap stood at the south west corner of Wood Street in the ward of Farringdon Within.

• St Peter Westcheap was originally built in the twelfth century. Both church and steeple were rebuilt with funds left in his will by Sir John Shaw, following his death in 1503; one of Shaw's stipulations was that the church should be reconstructed with a flat ceiling.

• The sixteenth century church was an aisled building and it was thought that Thomas Wood, Goldsmith and Sheriff in 1491was accounted a principal benefactor, because the roof of the middle isle was supported by images of woodmen.

• Repairs were carried out in 1616-17.

• The patronage of the church belonged to the Abbots of St Albans until the dissolution of the monasteries. Henry VIII then granted it to Lord Wriothesly, and it was inherited by his descendants the Earls of Southampton. The rector of the church from 1529 to 1534 was Thomas Goodrich, later Bishop of Ely and Lord Chancellor.

• On the 14th January, 1559, during a royal progresses through the City, Elizabeth I was presented with a Bible in English as she passed the church door.

• Along with the majority of the churches in the City, St Peter's was destroyed by the Great Fire in 1666. A Rebuilding Act was passed in 1670 and a committee set up under Sir Christopher Wren. It decided to rebuild 51 of the parish churches, but St Peter's was not amongst them. Instead the parish was united with that of St Matthew Friday Street.

• The site of the church was retained as a graveyard, and turned into a public garden in the nineteenth century. Three gravestones survive, as do the railings, which date from 1712.


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