Inventory Site Record

St Peter Cheap (City of London)

Brief Description

The garden is on the site of the medieval church of St Peter Cheap, also called West Cheap, which burnt down in the Great Fire in 1666 and was not rebuilt, the parish joining that of St Matthew Friday Street. There was a market in this area from early times, 'cheap' being the Anglo-Saxon word for market. Three gravestones survive set into remnants of the wall, including a stone tablet of 1687, and the railings on the boundary with Wood Street date from 1712, with an inset plaque of St Peter. The churchyard was laid out as a public garden in the C19th and has a large plane tree that William Wordsworth referred to in his poem, 'The Reverie of Poor Susan'. Overlooked on three sides, the sheltered garden is largely paved, and has seats and a number of low raised beds, each now planted with a tree fern in recent years.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
St Peter West Cheap
Site location:
junction of Wood Street/Cheapside
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Gardens
City of London
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Tube: Mansion House (District, Circle), St Paul's (Central)
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

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

Full Site Description

The garden is the former churchyard on the site of the medieval church of St Peter Cheap, also called West Cheap, which burnt down in 1666 in the Great Fire and not rebuilt, the parish uniting with that of St Matthew Friday Street. One of Edward I's Eleanor Crosses was erected here, which became a shrine and was later removed by the Puritans. The area was from early times a market, 'cheap' being the Anglo-Saxon word for market and Wood Street like other street names in the locality recalls what was sold here. The churchyard is now laid out as a garden and is largely hard-surfaced, with seats and a large plane tree, which appears in the poem by William Wordsworth, 'The Reverie of Poor Susan'. In 1850 the plane tree contained 4 rook's nests. The planting of a tree fern is a recent addition to the garden. There are three gravestones surviving including a stone tablet of 1687 set into remnants of the wall, originally C17th but since refaced. The railings of 1712 survive and within these on the boundary with Wood Street is a plaque of St Peter with his keys set into the railings above, which was erected at a cost of £107 11s 0d.

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); London Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches data; Gerald Cobb 'The Old Churches of London', Batsford, 1942.

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ322812 (532290,181220)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Diocese of London
Site management:
City of London Corporation Open Spaces Dept. (small portion of site maintained by church)
medieval, C19th
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


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:
In Conservation Area:
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
Strategic View - Consultation Area

St Peter Cheap

St Peter Cheap, Plaque of St Peter on Railings, June 2010. Photo: S Williams

St Peter Cheap, June 2010. Photo: S Williams

Click a photo to enlarge.

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