Inventory Site Record

St Benet Welsh Church

St Benet Welsh Church (City of London)

Summary

The church was first recorded here c.1111, Bene't being a corruption of St Benedict, founder of the order of Benedictine monks in the C6th. St Benet's burnt down in the Great Fire of 1666 and was rebuilt in 1678-84 by Wren and possibly Robert Hooke. Early recorded burials include Sir William Cheyny and Margaret his wife (d.1425), and famous people associated with the church include Inigo Jones (d.1652) who was buried beneath the chancel and Henry Fielding who married the former maid of his first wife here in 1747. Part of the former churchyard survives to the north of the church, but had been reduced in size in the 1870s when Queen Victoria Street was laid out. In 1879 the church was saved from destruction when it became the London Church of the Welsh Episcopalians.

Basic Details
Previous / Other name:
St Benet Paul's Wharf
Site location:
Bennet's Hill, off Queen Victoria Street/Upper Thames Street
Postcode:
EC4V 4ER
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Date(s):
C12th onwards; 1677
Designer(s):
Listed structures:
LBI: St Benet Paul's Wharf Church
Borough:
City of London
Site ownership:
St Benet's Welsh Church
Site management:
City of London Corporation Open Spaces Dept.
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
unrestricted. Church open by arrangement
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Events:
Public transport:
Tube: Blackfriars; Mansion House (District, Circle)

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/06/2010
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/openspaces

Further Information
Grid ref:
TQ320809 (531980,180910)
Size in hectares:
0.0346
On EH National Register :
No
EH grade:
None
Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No
Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:
No

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
No
In Conservation Area:
No
Tree Preservation Order:
No
Nature Conservation Area:
No
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
No
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Thames Policy Area/St Paul's Heights Policy Area
Other LA designation:
Strategic View - Consultation Area
Fuller information

The church of St Benet was first recorded here c.1111, Bene't a corruption of St Benedict, founder of the order of Benedictine monks in the early C6th. The church burnt down in the Great Fire of 1666 as did that of St Peter Paul's Wharf after which the two parishes amalgamated when the latter was not rebuilt. St Benet's was rebuilt in 1678-84 by Wren probably with design work also by Hooke. Early recorded burials include that of Sir William Cheyny and Margaret his wife (d.1425), and famous people associated with the church include Inigo Jones who was buried beneath the chancel. Henry Fielding married the former maid of his first wife here in 1747, the church in the C18th having become a place where quick marriages could take place as a result of its associations with the Ecclesiastical Lawyers. Among the tablets in the church is that of John Charles Brooke who was one of a number of people who died at the Haymarket Theatre on 3 February 1794 'being thrown down a flight of steps, through the impetuosity of a crowd there assembled'.

Part of the former churchyard of St Benet Paul's Wharf survives to the north of the church, but had been reduced in size in the 1870s when Queen Victoria Street was laid out. In 1879 the parish joined that of St Nicholas Cole Abbey (q.v.) and the church was saved from destruction when in the same year it became the London Church of the Welsh Episcopalians; it remains the Metropolitan Welsh Church with services conducted in Welsh. When the Blackfriars Underpass was built in the 1970s the church was cut off and it is overlooked by the new flyover of White Lion Hill. It was badly damaged in a fire in 1971. An engraving of 1838 shows the churchyard.

Sources consulted:

Simon Bradley & Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London 1: The City of London', 1997 (1999 ed.); Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); George Godwin & John Britton 'The Churches of London: A history and description of the Ecclesiastical Edifices of the Metropolis, Volume I', London, 1838; London Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches data

Photos

St Benet Welsh Church

St Benet Welsh Church, June 2010. Photo: S Williams

Click photo to enlarge.

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