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Inventory Site Record

St Botolph without Bishopsgate Churchyard (City of London)

Brief Description

The parish of St Botolph is mentioned in a document of 1213 and the churchyard was recorded as having a female anchorite in 1413. A Norman church predated the medieval church, which was replaced by the current church in 1729. In 1760 the churchyard was extended to its present size with ground donated by the Common Council. The tennis court that abuts the churchyard is on an area of burial ground added in 1617, once part of the ditch outside the City walls. A Church School for infants was built west of the graveyard in 1861. The churchyard was one of the first to be made into a public garden in 1863, following the Burial Act of 1855. It was laid out with seats and fenced with railings from old London Bridge. Two stone pillars with drinking fountains stand at the entrance on Bishopsgate.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Bishopsgate Churchyard
Site location:
Bishopsgate
Postcode:
EC2M 3TL
What 3 Words:
fears.alert.tidy
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Borough:
City of London
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
unrestricted. Church: Mon-Fri 8am-5.30pm
Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend 4 times, most recently in 2013.
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Tennis and netball court (for more information and hire charge contact the church)
Events:
Events in church
Public transport:
Rail: Liverpool Street. Tube: Liverpool Street (Central, Metropolitan, Circle, Hammersmith & City)
Research updated:
01/09/2008
Last minor changes:
19/07/2023

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.botolph.org.uk; www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/openspaces

Full Site Description

The parish of St Botolph is mentioned in a document of 1213; St Botolph was the Anglo-Saxon patron saint of travellers, and consequently churches dedicated to him were usually located at city gates. In 1413 the churchyard was recorded as having a female anchorite. A Norman church was replaced in the Middle Ages by a church that was then demolished in 1724; the current church was built in 1725-9 by James Gold and George Dance the Elder. The church largely escaped damage in World War II aside from losing its west window, but later suffered damage by terrorist bombs in 1993, restored in 1994/5.

Numerous famous people are associated with the church including Edward Alleyn, founder of Dulwich College (q.v.) who was baptised here in 1566; poet John Keats was baptised here in 1795; the 7th Earl of Argyll married the daughter of William Cornwallis in the church, and Sir Paul Pinder was a parishioner.

An area of land to the south was added as burial ground in 1617 previously part of the city ditch outside the walls. In 1760 the churchyard was extended to its present size with ground donated by the Common Council. A Church School for infants was built west of the graveyard in 1861 with Coade stone figures of a boy and a girl, which dated from 1821 and were brought from a building in Peter Street and placed either side of the door. Since 1905 the school has been used as the Parish Hall. To the west of the Hall is an area with balustrading, stone urns and steps leading down to basement level.

The churchyard was one of the first to be made into public garden in 1863, following the Burial Act of 1852 and its subsequent revisions that led to the closure of many overcrowded churchyards in London. The Churchwardens were responsible for keeping it in good order and it was laid out with seats and fenced with railings from old London Bridge. Two stone pillars with drinking fountains stand at the entrance on Bishopsgate as a gift from the Church Wardens in 1866. A central paved path runs through the churchyard garden, with two ornamental overthrows with lamps across it, probably early C19th. Either side are garden areas with raised lawns, a number of tombs, seats, flower and shrub beds. Memorial trees include a Quercus Robur Fastigiate presented to the church in 2001 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Worshipful Company of Coopers; a Pride of India tree was planted in 2001 by Lord Mayor J M Y Oliver and the International Tree Foundation.

Adjacent to the church is a stone memorial cross, believed to be the first memorial of the Great War to be set up in England, erected in 1916 following the Battle of Jutland and the death of Lord Kitchener. In the south area of garden is a small fountain installed by the Corporation of London in 1972; on one of the gate piers to this area is a memorial plaque to Maude Royden (1876-1956), wife of Revd W. Hudson Shaw, 'pioneer of women's work, 16 years minister of The Guildhouse, Eccleston Square'. Near the Parish Hall is the fine railed tomb to Sir William Rawlins (d.1838) and his wife Mary (d.1886); Sir William was Sherriff of London in 1801 and a benefactor of St Botolph.

The tennis court that abuts the churchyard is on the area of burial land that was added to the south in 1617.

Sources consulted:

B. Cherry and N. Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London Vol. l: The Cities of London and Westminster', London, 1985; F E Cleary, 'The Flowering City', The City Press, 1969; London Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches data; B Plummer and D Shewan, 'City Gardens', London, 1992

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ331814 (533174,181490)
Size in hectares:
0.2012
Site ownership:
Diocese of London
Site management:
City of London Corporation Open Spaces Dept
Date(s):
C12, 1727-9; 1863
Designer(s):
Listed structures:
LBII*: St Botolph without Bishopsgate Church. LBII: St Botolph's Church Hall; 8 Bishopsgate Churchyard; Gatepiers, overthrows and lanterns in churchyard.
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

No
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:
No
Other LA designation:
None
Photos

St Botolph without Bishopsgate Churchyard

St Botolph without Bishopsgate, September 2008. Photo: S Williams

St Botolph without Bishopsgate Churchyard, September 2008. Photo: S Williams
2008
St Botolph without Bishopsgate Churchyard, Rawlins Tomb and Parish Hall, September 2008. Photo: S Williams
2008
St Botolph without Bishopsgate Churchyard, September 2008. Photo: S Williams
2008
St Botolph's Bishopsgate, c1838 illustrated in Godwin, 'The Churches of London' Vol II, 1839
1838

Click a photo to enlarge.

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