St John the Evangelist Friday Street

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St John the Evangelist Friday Street
Site of St John Friday Street.JPG
Current photo of site

St John the Evangelist Friday Street[1] was a church in Bread Street Ward of the City of London.[2] It was destroyed in the Great Fire of London of 1666, and not rebuilt, the parish being united with that of All Hallows Bread Street.


The church stood on the south side of Bread Street, on the corner with Friday Street.[3] In the early 18th century, some years after the destruction of the church itself, the parish was described as covering "part of Watling Street", the number of houses being "24 and an half."[4] The patronage of the church belonged to the prior and abbey of Christchurch, Canterbury until the dissolution, and then to the dean and chapter of Canterbury Cathedral.[5]

In the early 1620s a debate was held between George Walker, the church's puritan rector, [6] and some Roman Catholics. The pastor argued that the Church of England was the "true church" and that the Church of Rome was "the whore of Babylon." The Catholic priests replied that "you Protestants in England, have no Church nor Faith." The debate, which was conducted mainly in a series of syllogisms, was published in a pamphlet.[7]

The building was renovated at the cost of the parishioners in 1626, and in the same year a gallery was added at the sole expense of one of them, Thomas Goodyeare.[4] Burials at the church included Sir Christopher Askew, who was Lord Mayor of London in 1533.[3]

The parish was the only one in the City parishes not to register a single death during the Great Plague of 1665-6.[8]


St John the Evangelist was, along with most of the other churches in the City of London, destroyed by the Great Fire in September 1666.[9] In 1670 a Rebuilding Act was passed and a committee set up under Sir Christopher Wren to decide which would be rebuilt.[10] St John the Evangelist Friday Street was not one of those chosen, perhaps because of the small size of its parish, which covered just under an acre.[11] Instead the parish was united to that of All Hallows Bread Street and the site of the church retained for use as a graveyard, a wall and railing being erected by subscription in 1671.[3]


  1. ^ Sometimes referred to as St Werburgh, Friday Street
  2. ^ "The London Encyclopaedia" Hibbert,C;Weinreb,D;Keay,J: London, Pan Macmillan, 1983 (rev 1993,2008) ISBN 978-1-4050-4924-5
  3. ^ a b c Malcolm, James Peller (1803). Londinium Redivivium, or, an Ancient History and Modern Description of London. 2. London. p. 14.
  4. ^ a b Seymour, Robert (1733). A Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, Borough of Southwark, and Parts Adjacent. 1. London: T. Read. p. 713.
  5. ^ Newcourt, Richard (1708). Repetorium Ecclesiasticum Parochiale Londinense. 1. London. pp. 374–5.
  6. ^ White, J.G. (1901). The Churches and Chapels of Old London. pp. 66–7.
  7. ^ The title page reads: "The Summe of a Disputation, between a Mr. Walker Pastor of St. John Evangelists in Watling-street London; and a popish Priest, calling himselfe Mr. Smith, but indeed Norrice, assisted by other Priests and Papists. Held in the house of one Thomas Baterson, in the Old Bailey, in the presence of some worthy Knights, with other Gentlemen of both Religions. Printed 1624."
  8. ^ Borer, M.I.C. (1978). The City of London: A History. New York: D.McKay. ISBN 0-09-461880-1.
  9. ^ Reynolds, H. (1922). The Churches of the City of London. London: Bodley Head.
  10. ^ Whinney, Margaret (1971). Wren. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-20112-9.
  11. ^ Huelin, G. (1996). Vanished Churches of the City of London. London: Guildhall Library Publishing. ISBN 0-900422-42-4.

External links[edit]

51°30′43″N 0°5′36″W / 51.51194°N 0.09333°W / 51.51194; -0.09333Coordinates: 51°30′43″N 0°5′36″W / 51.51194°N 0.09333°W / 51.51194; -0.09333