All Hallows Honey Lane

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• All Hallows Honey Lane was one of the smallest parishes in the City covering about 1 acre and was located at the north end of Honey Lane, a narrow lane leading north from Cheapside. The church was surrounded on three sides by churchyard and enclosed by private houses. It was situated about 200 feet (61 m) north of Cheapside.

• After the Great Fire, the site, together with that of the adjoining church of St Mary Magdalene Milk Street and several houses, was acquired by the City, cleared, and laid out as a market-place, called Honey Lane Market. The former church was situated in the northwest corner of this market.

• The church may have originated as a private chapel associated with a nearby property, though it is not certain which property this might have been. The earliest historical reference to the church dates from the end of the 12th century in a deed (dated between 1191 and 1212) referring to a “Helias presbyter de Hunilane.” Other early spellings include: parochia Omnium Sanctorum de Hunilane (1204–1215), St. Elfegi de Hunilane (1216–1222, the only occurrence of an apparent alternative dedication being All Hallows de Honilane (1279), All Hallows in Honylane (1287), and Parish of Honylane (1297).

• In the late 12th and early 13th century, the small parish of All Hallows Honey Lane became one of the first centres in the City for the trade of mercery: trading in cloth, typically silk and other fine cloth that was not produced locally. The earliest known patron of the church was Henry de Wokyndon, in the mid-13th century. The advowson then passed to various private owners until 1446, when it was willed to The Grocers’ Company which retained the advowson until the Great Fire.

• At the time of the Protestant Reformation, the church was known for its Lutheran sympathies. Thomas Gerrard (or Garret), appointed rector in 1537, was active in spreading Lutheran doctrines. In 1540, Gerrard was found guilty of heresy and burnt at the stake in Smithfield along with other Protestants.

• The Mortality Bill for the year 1665, published by the Parish Clerks’ Company, shows 97 parishes within the City of London. In the Great Fire of 1666, 86 churches were destroyed. By 1670 a Rebuilding Act had been passed and a committee set up under the stewardship of Sir Christopher Wren to plan the new parishes. Fifty-one were chosen although All Hallows Honey Lane was one of the unlucky minority never to be rebuilt. Its parish was united with that of St Mary le Bow. Archaeologically, no trace of the church is known to survive. After the church’s destruction in the Great Fire, the site was cleared. When the City of London School was built there in 1835, the site was excavated to a depth of over 15 ft. (4.57 m.) before concrete foundations were laid. Tiles, the pavement, and vaults of a church described as “Anglo-Norman” were found at that time.

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