St Nicholas Shambles

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St Nicholas Shambles
BT Centre, Newgate Street - - 699720.jpg
BT Centre from the southwest, on the site of the church
CountryUnited Kingdom
DenominationRoman Catholic

St Nicholas Shambles was a medieval church in the City of London,[1] which stood on the corner of Butcher Hall Lane (now King Edward Street) and Newgate Street.[2] It took its name from the Shambles, the butchers area in the west of Newgate Street.[3] The church is first mentioned as St. Nicholas de Westrnacekaria.[4] In 1253 Walter de Cantilupe, Bishop of Worcester granted indulgences to its parishioners.[5]

In 1546, Henry VIII gave the church, along with that of St Ewin (also known as St Audoen) and the dissolved Christ Church priory to the City corporation. A new parish was created for Christ Church, out of those of St Nicholas and St Ewin, and part of that of St Sepulchre.[6] St Nicholas' was demolished in 1547.[7]

The site was extensively excavated in 1975–79 in preparation for construction of the GPO headquarters,[8][9][10] (now the BT Centre). The excavations identified several phases of building. The original nave and chancel probably dated from the 11th century. They were extended in the late 12th century. Chapels were added to the east end in the 14th century, a north aisle was added to the nave in the first half of the 15th century, and, finally, the east end was rebuilt and a sacristy added on the north. The excavations included the grave yard. Among the finds was a woman who died in the later stages of childbirth.[8]

Surviving parish records, now held among the archives of St Bartholomew's Hospital, include an exceptionally detailed inventory of church books, plate, vestments and other possessions of 1457, and a series of churchwardens' accounts running from 1452 to 1526.[11][12]


  1. ^ National archive details
  2. ^ Elmes, James. A Topographical Dictionary of London.
  3. ^ "The London Encyclopaedia" Hibbert,C;Weinreb,D;Keay,J: London, Pan Macmillan, 1983 (rev 1993,2008) ISBN 978-1-4050-4924-5
  4. ^ Harben, Henry A. (1918). A Dictionary of London. London: Herbert Jenkins.
  5. ^ Records of St Nicholas Shambles parish, 1253–1526 (Held at St Bart's Hospital)
  6. ^ Godwin, George; John Britton (1839). "Christ Church, Newgate Street". The Churches of London: A History and Description of the Ecclesiastical Edifices of the Metropolis. London: C. Tilt. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  7. ^ Guildhall Library data
  8. ^ a b "Site record GPO75". Museum of London.
  9. ^ Schofield, John (1997). "Excavations on the site of St Nicholas Shambles, Newgate Street, City of London, 1975–9" (PDF). Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society. 48: 77–135.
  10. ^ White, William J. (1988). Skeletal Remains from the Cemetery of St Nicholas Shambles, City of London. London: London and Middlesex Archaeological Society. ISBN 9780903290333.
  11. ^ Combes, Helen (1997). "Piety and belief in 15th-century London: an analysis of the 15th-century churchwardens' inventory of St Nicholas Shambles" (PDF). Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society. 48: 137–152.
  12. ^ Steer, Christian (2018). "A community of the dead in late medieval London". Medieval Prosopography. 33: 181–94.

External links[edit]

"Details of excavations of cemetery 1975-77". Museum of London.

Coordinates: 51°30′56″N 0°5′54″W / 51.51556°N 0.09833°W / 51.51556; -0.09833