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Memorial

St John the Baptist Upon Walbrook - plaque St John the Baptist upon Walbrook - monument and plaques

Plaque: St John the Baptist Upon Walbrook - plaque

Inscription

Before the late
Dreadfull fire anno domini
1666 here stood the parish
Church of St John Baptist
Upon Walbrook
William Wilkinson
James Whitchurch
Churchwardens this present
Year anno domini 1671 {or possibly 1670}

The above stone was new
faced & the letters fresh
Cut anno domini 1830
Revd John Gordon MA
Rector
Edward Jones
Lewis Williams
Churchwardens

The inscription on the upper plaque requires careful examination to read but it is all legible. We have found two references to these stones on-line, as follows.

In The Gentleman's Magazine, Feb 1827,  we found a letter with this transcription: "Before the late dreadfull fire, Anno Domini 1666 here stood the parish church of St John Baptist upon Wallbroke, etc. The above stone was new faced and the letters fresh cut, AD 1774."

The correspondent (HCB of Myddelton House, probably one of the Bowles family of the Enfield Myddelton House) quotes 6 other memorials to churches lost in the Great Fire. One of these (at the church of St Peter Pauls Wharf) also refers to being "new faced", in 1779.

The other online transcription is in Sir Walter Besant's 1910 London City  Referring to the church: "The site of the building was converted into a churchyard, and upon the wall is a stone with this inscription: ‘Before the dreadfull Fire, anno domini 1666, here stood the parish church St. John Baptist, upon Walbrook—William Wilkins, James Whitchurch, churchwardens this present year anno domini 1674.’ The above stone was refaced, and the letters fresh cut anno domini 1836—Rev. John Gordon M.A. rector, Edward Jones, Lewis Williams, churchwardens.'”

We can't ignore both these transcriptions, independently, saying that the stone was fresh cut in 1774, especially since there was another stone also fresh cut at a similar time. Our suggestion is that the stone was originally erected in 1671, shortly after the fire, and that it required remaking in 1774 and again in 1830, when the spelling of Walbrook was modernised. Given these two recreations it's difficult to know where the error crept in and who was Whitchurch's co-churchwarden: "Wilkins" or "Wilkinson", which is particularly annoying given the Wilkinson plaque also at this site.

 

As an aside, in HCB's entry to the Gentleman's Magazine he refers to another entry in the magazine, which we found - it's another entry by HCB ("Enfield" is specified this time, so surely of the Bowles family) where he lists all the London churches not rebuilt after the fire of 1666 (about 35 of them).

He writes: "Several of the under mentioned burying-grounds, etc. have a tablet conspicuously affixed to their respective walls, thereby pointing out to the curious perambulator the site and name of the late church, and to whom dedicated; it is to be regretted that many of the burying-grounds, etc. are deficient in this useful and necessary piece of information." Well said!

Site: St John the Baptist upon Walbrook - monument and plaques (3 memorials)

EC4, Cloak Lane

Whenever we visit this site the gate into the space beside the monument is always locked shut. The gate is made of railings with the addition of a metal mesh. Andrew Behan found our image on Google Street View, 2008 being the only date on which the Google camera captures the gate open.

On the back wall of this small gated enclosure are 4 plaques, the top one being for the Wilkinsons; the lowest one being for the church. The middle two read: ‘Walbrook Ward 1892’; ‘Cord.Ws Ward 1853’. 

This 1828 map shows that the Walbrook Ward and the Cordwainders Ward did meet in Cloak Lane. So we take these two plaque to be boundary markers which are often dated.

This 1904 map shows that the site, after the 1884 disruption, had no buildings and that the monument was free-standing in an oblong walled off area to the west of the site. Sir Walter Besant's 1910 London City describes the layout: “The churchyard is no more; the greater part of its site is enclosed by a brick wall which screens the opening in the roof {the yellow square on the map, we think} of the station below. At the extreme west end an asphalted square has been railed in and reserved as a home for gravestones, and a large ornament {the monument}…”.

From the text on the Wilkinson plaque we think its original location was on the west wall of the space, on the building labelled "Grosvenor, Chater & Co, Ltd" on the map, and that the Wilkinson grave was north of the monument.

Besant goes on to describe what was found in the excavations: remains of the church, Roman artefacts and a channel through which the Walbrook would have run.

Mike Coleman directed us to BBC Autos - an excellent long post with lots of images, concerning cemeteries, plague pits, and the construction of the railways.

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This section lists the subjects commemorated on the memorial on this page:
St John the Baptist Upon Walbrook - plaque

Information Subjects commemorated

St John the Baptist upon Walbrook

First recorded in the 12th century. Destroyed in the Great Fire and never reb...

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Great Fire of London

Started on a Sunday morning. After 4 days the destruction included: - an area...

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This section lists the subjects who helped to create/erect the memorial on this page:
St John the Baptist Upon Walbrook - plaque

Information Created by

Rev John Gordon

Rector of St. Antholins including the old parish of St John the Baptist upon ...

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Edward Jones

Co-churchwarden of St Antholin in 1830.

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James Whitchurch

Co-churchwarden of St Antholin in either 1670 or 71.

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William Wilkinson

Co-churchwarden of St Antholin in 1670 or 71. The name on the plaque may be i...

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Lewis Williams

Co-churchwarden of St Antholin in 1830.

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This section lists the other memorials at the same location as the memorial on this page:
St John the Baptist Upon Walbrook - plaque

Information Also at this site

John and Uriah Wilkinson

This plaque is puzzling in a number of ways: Material? Date erected? Where er...

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St John the Baptist upon Walbrook - monument

An unusual and unsuccessful siting of a three-dimensional monument. One face ...

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