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Inventory Site Record

St Mary at Hill Churchyard (City of London)

Brief Description

The church of St Mary at Hill is referred to in the late C12th and there was a churchyard on the north side by 1299. A number of former Lord Mayors of the C14th to C16th were buried here. The medieval church was partially destroyed in 1666 and rebuilt by Wren in 1670-74 re-using the medieval west end and heightening the north and south walls of the earlier building, much of which had survived. The churchyard was closed to burials in 1846 and it is simply laid out as a public garden, with paving stones, a central rectangular flower bed and a small tree; a lead rainwater butt (dated 1788) is used as a planter and two seats were provided by the MPGA. It is surrounded by a brick retaining wall.

Practical Information
Site location:
St Mary at Hill/Lovat Lane
Postcode:
EC3R 8EE
What 3 Words:
option.gains.others
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Borough:
City of London
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
As church: Mon-Fri 11am-4pm
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Events:
Public transport:
Tube: Monument (District, Circle) / Bank (Central, DLR, Northern, Waterloo & City)
Research updated:
01/11/2002
Last minor changes:
19/07/2023

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

Full Site Description

The church of St Mary at Hill is referred to in the late C12th and there was a churchyard on the north side by 1299. At one time the Abbots of Waltham Abbey had a house adjacent on the south side, the then abbot Walter de Gaunt having acquired the ground for the purpose in 1177. A chantry was founded here in 1336 by Rose de Wrytell. In 1500 when a new south aisle was being built on the site of the Abbot of Waltham's kitchen a timber coffin was discovered containing the body of Alice Hackney, wife of Richard Hackney who was Sheriff in 1321. A number of former Lord Mayors of the C14th to C16th were buried here. There are references in the C15 and C16th to 'The Great Churchyard' ,'The Great South Churchyard' and the 'Pardon Churchyard', which suggests that it was once considerably larger in extent and the current site is to the north of the church. The medieval church was partially destroyed in 1666 and rebuilt by Wren in 1670-74 re-using the medieval west end and heightening the north and south walls of the earlier building, much of which had survived. The parish of St Andrew Hubbard was joined with St Mary at Hill after the Fire. A lantern was added to the west tower in 1694/5, but a brick tower replaced the old one in 1780. Alterations were made to the church in the 1820s and 1840s by James Savage and in 1988 the church suffered a bad fire when roof and ceiling were burnt, since restored.

The entrance to St Mary at Hill churchyard is through a gateway and passage from the street. The churchyard was closed to burials in 1846 and a stone plaque by the church door records this. The garden is simply laid out with cracked paving stones and a central rectangular flower bed and a small tree. It is surrounded by a brick retaining wall with a stone coping and is approximately two feet higher than the path around it. Within the garden is a lead rainwater butt (1788) now used as a planter, two seats with plaques provided by the MPGA, in need of repair. The east end is marred by two portacabins. A good example of a completely enclosed churchyard, which still retains a peaceful tranquillity.

Sources consulted:

B. Cherry and N. Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London Vol. l: The Cities of London and Westminster', London, 1985; George Godwin & John Britton 'The Churches of London: A history and description of the Ecclesiastical Edifices of the Metropolis, Volume II', London, 1839; Simon Bradley & Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London 1: The City of London', 1997 (1999 ed.); Philip Norman, 'The London City Churches, Their Use, Their Preservation and Their Extended Use', The London Society, (1920s); London Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches data

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ330807 (533078,180760)
Size in hectares:
0.0228
Site ownership:
Diocese of London
Site management:
City of London Corporation Open Spaces Dept.
Date(s):
C12th, 1670-6
Designer(s):
Listed structures:
LBI: St Mary at Hill Church
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:
Yes
Conservation Area name:
Lovat Lane
Tree Preservation Order:
No
Nature Conservation Area:
No
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
No
Special Policy Area:
No
Other LA designation:
Strategic View - Consultation Area
Photos

St Mary at Hill Churchyard

St Mary at Hill Church, May 2010. Photo: S Williams

St Mary at Hill Churchyard, November 2002. Photo: S Williams
2002
St Mary at Hill Churchyard, November 2002. Photo: S Williams
2002
Engraving of St Mary's At Hill, c1839 reproduced from Godwin, 'The Churches of London' Vol II, 1839
1839

Click a photo to enlarge.

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