St Mary’s Church, Rotherhithe

It would be remiss of me if during this series of posts on my walk through Rotherhithe if I did not mention in some way or other St Mary’s Church.  These days Rotherhithe may well be almost right in the middle of London but it wasn’t always the case.

Long before the notorious Victorian slums, the riverside smugglers and even the Kings Manor House, there has been a church here with life and indeed death revolving around the church for a millenia or so with records of a church being here since at least 1282.  However renovation work in the 19th century discovered a substantial amount of Roman brickwork which implies that there has been some sort of building here for at least 2,000 years.

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Long before the notorious Victorian slums, the riverside smugglers and even the Kings Manor House, there has been a church here with life and indeed death revolving around the church for a millenia or so with records of a church being here since at least 1282.  However renovation work in the 19th century discovered a substantial amount of Roman brickwork which implies that there has been some sort of building here for at least 2,000 years.

 

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St Marys Church, Rotherhithe

 

The current church was built around 1715 with the steeple around 50 years later.  There is a whole wealth of churches around these narrow streets, many of them scandinavian due to all the martitime connections between the British Isles and those few lands even further north.

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Inside the church… internal glass doors were sadly locked when I visited but further inside are timbers from the famous Temeraire were carved into a communion table in the Lady Chapel and two bishop’s chairs

Of course the most famous and prominent maritime connection is that the churchyard contains the final resting place of Captain Christopher Jones who captained the famous Mayflower ship full of intrepid travellers to begin the English colonisation of North America in 1620.  Though many did not, Christopher survived the journey across the Atlantic, the treacherous winter there and the return journey.  Sadly he died not too much later on the 5th March 1622 back in Rotherhithe.

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The actual position of his grave is now unclear, at least to visitors such as myself.  However there is asmall but fitting tribute to the brave journey let by Captain Christopher.

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Memorial to Captain Christopher Jones and the intrepid crew and passengers of The Mayflower

 

If you’d like to tour with me on this trail that will culminate inside the Mayflower pub with its famous connections with the Pilgrim Fathers who established the USA then visit

stephenliddell.co.uk/ye-olde-england-tours-2/our-tours/london-tours/from-shakespeares-globe-to-the-mayflower-the-american-dream/

If you missed my first post on the area, you can read all about the The Angel Pub in Rotherhithe, which has a long and often murky history and is actually adjacent to the statue of Dr. Salter.  The second post is all about the notorious Jacobs island which incredibly is now a luxory housing and retail area whilst the third and  on the ruins of a manor house belonging to King Edward III which is also about 20 feet from the statues.  Don’t forget the more recent post on The Watch House Cafe with its fascinating, gory past and very yummy present and future.

Don’t forget my most recent post on Dr Alfred Salter and his formidable wife Ada who more than a century ago did so much to improve Rotherhithe and the desperately poor people who lived here.

Finally check out my post earlier this week on my personal favourite part of the entire walk, the Sands Film Studio and Rotherhithe Picture Library

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About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
This entry was posted in history, Life, London, Travel, Ye Olde England Tours and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to St Mary’s Church, Rotherhithe

  1. Pingback: The Brunel Museum and the first tunnel in the world that goes under water | Stephen Liddell

  2. Pingback: The Mayflower Pub – Rotherhithe | Stephen Liddell

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