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Cripplegate Ward
Key:  Current observations and notes    Holmes (1897)     Other sources     Maps


Existing grounds

St. Mary Aldermanbury
Laid out as a garden, including the site of the church which was bombed in WW2 and rebuilt in the U.S.A. Still heavily used in 1841.

Early 19th cent. 

Pre war



Site of the church

St. Giles, Cripplegate
The Green-ground, an extension to the south
The churchyard is paved. The Green Ground is now partly a lake, partly open ground running down beside the London Museum. This extension was made in 1662, 'on a piece of ground near Crowder's Well'. Like many additional grounds, it was in the old city ditch. 
The whole area was flattened during the war, the church barely surviving. 
John Milton was buried in this church; in 1793 a corpse said to be that of Milton was dug up and exhibited for sixpence, then twopence, then for a pint of beer. Ribs, teeth and hair was stolen from the corpse. As Cowper put it:

'Ill fare the hands that heaved the stones
Where Milton's ashes lay!
That trembled not to grasp his bones
And steal his dust away! 

Also burial place of map maker John Speed (d. 1629)


Ariel view post bombing, 1947

View of Green Churchyard 1841

Same view 2004


c 1920



St. Alphege, London Wall.  
To the south of the City wall, part of which remains and forms the northern boundary of the ground.   The original St Alphege church was on the site of the burial ground, but it became ruinous in the 16th century. The congregation moved to the old chapel of Elsing Spital after the reformation. Ground and chuech shown on map below. 

Lost grounds

St. Alban's, Wood Street.
A very ancient foundation - St Alban's was, according to tradition,  the palace chapel of Offa, King of Mercia (757 - 796).
 Church bombed WW2 - the tower remains in Wood Street.  Churchyard was to the north of the church. Partly incorporated into road, partly covered by adjacent buildings. 


Elsing Spital Priory
A Priory of Augustinian Canons and a hospital for blind men, called the Hospital of St. Mary within Cripplegate or Elsing Spital
, founded around 1330. The chapel  became St Alphege church in the 16th century. The church was rebuilt in 1777 and largely demolished in the 1920s - the tower remains in London Wall.  The site of the burial ground would be beneath the present London Wall road.  
Warehouses in London Wall cover the site (Holmes) 

St, James' Hermitage Burial-ground  
South of the city wall, east of the postern. See Lamb's chapel, just above the big number 9, in the Rocque map at the top of this page for the site.)
St James Hermitage was the London branch of the Garendon  Monastery, a  Cistercian foundation in Leicestershire. It was founded in the 13th century. It appears to be more substantial than the idea of a hermit's cell would suggest. In 1543 Following the dissolution of the monasteries the chapel and burial ground was granted to William Lamb or Lambe, a cloth worker. Lamb founded his own chapel in the 1570s in Monkwell Street,  on the site of the earlier chapel. It came into the possession of the Clothworkers company, who built almshouses on the site of the burial ground. The chapel was rebuilt in 1825 and pulled down in 1872.  When it was demolished an ancient crypt from the earlier chapel was found. This was preserved and moved to Allhallows Staining, also property of the Clothworkers. Here it remains today. 
Houses south of the postern and the south wall of St, Giles' Churchyard, Cripplegate cover the site (Holmes)
Medieval Jewish cemetery outside the city wall.
Covered a wide area, but built over probably by the 14th century. In the area of Jewin Street, which was lost in the war and now covered by the Barbican development.
St Michael, Wood Street.
Church demolished 1894, and replaced by a bank. No ground shown on any map as far back as Ogilby and Morgan.  Not mentioned by Holmes. However, there is a record of extensive churchyard exhumation when the church was demolished, with remains dispatched to Broowood. (The Brookwood Necropolis Railway, J M Clark, 2006.) The mystery - remains. 
According to Stow, the head of James 4th of Scotland ended up here:
'There is also . . . the head of James, the fourth King of Scots of that name, slayne at Flodden field, and buried here by this occasion. After the battell the body of the saide king being founde, was closed in lead and conveyed from thence to London, and so to the monastery of Sheyne in Surrey, where it remained for a time . . . but since the dissolution of that house, in the raigne of Edward the sixt, Henry Gray Duke of Suffolk being lodged there, I have been shewed the same body so lappd in lead, close to the head and body, thrown into a wast roome amongst the olde timber, leade, and other rubble, since the which time workmen there, for their foolish pleasure, hewed off his head; and launcelot Young Maister Glasier to her majestie, feeling a sweet savour to come from thence, and seeing the same dryed from all moisture, and yet the forme remaining, with the hayre of the head and beard red, brought it to London to his house in Wood Street, where for a time he kept it for the sweetness, but in the end caused the sexton of that church to bury it amongst other bones, taken out of their charnell, &c.'