Here stands Sir Christopher Wren’s church of St Mary Aldermanbury – or at least it once did. It has since been exported to America, leaving only its foundations. The church was first built in around 1181, but it was re-designed by Wren after the Great Fire of 1666.
It was bombed during World War II and eventually demolished in 1966 and transported – all 7,000 stones of it – to Fulton, Missouri in the United States where it now graces the campus of Westminster College (see picture below) as a memorial to Sir Winston Churchill, who made his celebrated “Iron Curtain” speech in the gymnasium there in 1946.
The site of the original church is close to the Guildhall off a road named Love Lane. It has a Grade II listing and is now a public space with trees and bushes, but it also hosts a memorial to two men to whom history owes a big debt.
The actors Henry Condell and John Heminges were friends of William Shakespeare and part of his acting troupe. It was they who gathered together all the known manuscripts of his plays to produce the First Folio. Without this, many of Shakespeare’s plays would have been lost forever.
Condell and Heminges were buried in this churchyard as was, less salubriously, the notorious “hanging judge” Judge Jeffreys. He was re-interred there by friends in 1694, a few years after his body had been first buried in the Tower of London.
If you are wondering how the church got its name, wonder no longer. It was named after a local benefactor called….Alderman Bury.
Instalments 1-20 of Vic Keegan’s Lost London can be found here.