Inventory Site Record

St Peter de Beauvoir Churchyard (Hackney)

Brief Description

St Peter's Church was built in 1840/41 to serve as the parish church for the new residential population of the De Beauvoir Town development. Next to the church is the former vicarage, No. 85 Mortimer Road. The churchyard is largely surrounded by the original brick walls with 3 pairs of wrought iron gates. A flower garden is planted in front of the church, where a path leads to the entrance.

Practical Information
Site location:
De Beauvoir Road
N1 5AT
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Open to public?
Opening times:
unrestricted (check church opening times)
Special conditions:
St Peter's Crypt
Concerts, exhibitions in church
Public transport:
London Overground: Haggerston then bus. Rail/Tube (Northern): Old Street then bus. Bus: 67, 76, 141, 149, 242 [243, 243A]
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. http://www.stpeterdebeauvoir.org

Full Site Description

The mid C19th De Beauvoir Estate has been described as the 'first large-scale building enterprise in Hackney'. The land used to be part of the Balmes estate, named after two Spanish merchants who built a moated house here in the 1540s. In 1687 the estate was acquired by the de Beauvoir family whose land extended into Shoreditch. Balmes House was rebuilt in c.1635 for Sir George Whitmore and used to stand midway between what is now de Beauvoir Road and Downham Road, north of Regent's Canal. Plans for development of the area had begun in c.1818, in part due to the cutting of the Regent's Canal, when brick-maker and speculator William Rhodes acquired the building lease for housing development here on a site of 150 acres, which in 1834 was said to be the largest single amount conveyed to a speculative builder in London. A layout by James Burton shows four squares and a central octagon marking the position of de Beauvoir Square, but little of his plan was built at that time apart from the east side of de Beauvoir Square in 1823. Richard Benyon then inherited the family estate and wished to regain control of the property; ten years of lawsuits ensued that he finally won in 1834. The 1830s and '40s then saw the main period of development carried out by Benyon, who, having changed his name to Benyon de Beauvoir, gave his name to the new scheme. His 130-acre De Beauvoir Town estate was laid out by Robert Lewis Roumieu and Alexander Dick Gough and has been praised for its 'conspicuous consistency in the housing stock'. The other three sides of De Beauvoir Square were built in 1839 and by the C20th the area was densely developed.

St Peter's Church was built in 1840/41 to serve the new population of De Beauvoir Town. It was designed by W C Lochner and is built of stock brick in minimal Gothic style, with a west tower with corner pinnacles; its Romanesque chancel was added in 1884, designed by H R Gough. Since its early days, St Peter's Crypt has provided a wide range of services to its local community, seeing use as a community school, a soup kitchen and refugee centre, and now provides a cold-weather night shelter and community café among other uses. The churchyard, laid out as a garden, is largely surrounded by the original yellow stock brick walls, with stone coping and wrought iron railings above, and at intervals are octagonal brick/stone capped piers and 3 pairs of wrought iron gates.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); 'Mike Gray, Isobel Watson, David Mander 'Discover De Beauvoir Town and environs' (Friends of Hackney Archives, 2003); See also History of De Beauvoir on www.debeauvoir.org.uk/dbhistory.html

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ332841 (533230,184180)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Church of England, Diocese of London
Site management:
St Peter's Church
Church: W C Lochner
Listed structures:
LBC: St Peter's Church. LBII: walls around churchyard, with wrought iron railings and gates.
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:
Conservation Area name:
De Beauvoir
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:

Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.