Erection date: 1736
Favente optimo Principe Georgio Secundo
Ex Senatûs Britannici Auctoritate.
Instauratâ Turre atq refectâ
Altius, Honore Superbiens attollit Caput,
Sanctae Margaretae Deo sacra Aedes,
Anno Domini MDCCXXXVI.
Honoratissimis Viris, et ob Beneficia in Parochianos
Saepius collata non sine Laude nominandis,
Senatûs Britannici, maximo suo merito, iterum Prolocutore;
Nobilissimi Ordinis â Periscelide Equite,
Praefectorum Aerarij Primo, et Scaccarij Cancellario;
Viro in Consilijs ac Laboribus Publicis
Maxime omnium indefesso, unoq multis pare.
CAROLO WAGER Equite Aurato.
Summo Rei Navali praepositorum Septem viro;
Et Gulielmo Barone Sundon de Ardagh in Hibernia,
Fisco Publico Curando Quinque viro;
Duum viris Senatorijs Westmonasteriensibus.
Paid for by the people.
With the great support of King George the Second and by decree of the British Government.
Renovated and repaired in the year of our Lord 1736, with the tower now higher and magnificent in its beauty, the holy shrine of St Margaret has raised its head to God.
Enabling the parishioners to assemble more often, the following most honourable gentlemen must not go without praise:
- Arthur Onslow, who because of his great service, is once again Speaker of the British Parliament
- Robert Walpole, Knight of the noble Order of the Garter, First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer, a man who is unmatched and tireless in his projects and public works
- Charles Wager, Knight of the Golden Spur, and head of the seven-man commission of commanders of the Navy, and
- William, Baron Sundon of Ardagh in Ireland, who is in charge of the five-man commission of public finance.
And the most honoured and distinguished joint office of Westminster representatives.
We thank David Hopkins, our Latin consultant, for yet again providing the Latin translation, without which we really would have no idea what the plaque was about. David points out that he has translated "duum viris" as "joint office" and thinks it probably refers to the two Houses of Parliament. That makes good sense to us.
The inscription suggests that the works in 1736 didn't just rebuild the tower but also raised the height.
Site: St Margaret's new tower - 1736 (1 memorial)
SW1, Parliament Square, St Margarets church
The plaque is above the door in the north face of the tower.
In the late 11th century this church was created to serve the local people, while the monks used Westminster Abbey for worship and provided the ministry at St Margarets. This continued until the dissolution of the monasteries. The Listing gives: The church was largely rebuilt c.1500. In 1735-7 the tower was rebuilt and the building re-clad in Portland stone, by John James.
Nowadays known as the 'parish church of the House of Commons' it actually serves both Houses with baptisms, weddings and memorial services of national significance. For example Winston Churchill and Clementine were married here in 1908.
April 2019: IanVisits informs that the tower used to hold a 1712 clock by Langley Bradley. It was turned off in 1972 and in the 1980s the mechanism was removed and the clock faces replaced with sundials. Summer 2019 the tower was under wraps: the Portland stone was restored; 3 sundials were renovated; and the old mechanism and a clock face was restored to the north side.
October 2020: The tower has recently emerged from a renovation, which has left all the stonework looking much whiter than in our photos.