All Hallows Bread Street

All Hallows Bread Street

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All Hallows Bread Street

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All Hallows Bread Street was a church in the Bread Street ward of the City of London on the south side of Watling Street. First mentioned in the 13th century, the church was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. The church was rebuilt by the office of Sir Christopher Wren and demolished in 1878.


The dedication All Hallows, meaning all saints, suggests a Saxon foundation, although the earliest surviving reference is in a document of 1227. Bread Street runs from Cheapside, the main street and market place of medieval London (Cheap means market) – Bread Street was the site of the bread market.

Two separate land grants to the church are recorded in 1349 and 1350, allowing the church to be expanded. The pre-Fire church had a stone steeple, which was struck by lightning in 1559. Part of the steeple fell to the ground, killing a dog. The remainder of the steeple was taken down to save money on repairs.

During the reign of Henry VIII, the church was closed for a month following a bloody fight between two priests. They were obliged to walk in penance from St Paul’s to Cheapside.

In 1555, during the reign of Mary I, the rector, Laurence Saunders, was burnt at the stake for preaching Protestant doctrine.

A stone plaque now in Bow Churchyard, commemorates the christening of John Milton in All Hallows Bread Street in 1608.

After the church’s destruction in the Great Fire, the parish was combined with that of St John the Evangelist Friday Street, also destroyed...
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