St Botolph Bishopsgate

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St Botolph without Bishopsgate , as its name suggests, was built just outside one of the main gates in the old Roman wall that encircled London. The wall and Bishopsgate were demolished in the 1760s but the church is still there. Its origins are medieval, sometime before its first mention in the written record in 1212. An image of the church appears on the Copperplate map of 1555.

A watercolour of St Botolph Bishopsgate
St Botolph Bishopsgate on the Copperplate Map of 1555

The church is dedicated to St Botolph also known as Botwulf, who was a 7th century Anglo Saxon Saint. He was revered as the patron saint of trade and travel which is why there are other churches to St Botolph which still exist at Aldersgate and Aldgate. Travellers setting off on a journey could ask for a blessing at the church just outside the walls, so that God would look favourably on their venture. Bishopsgate was particularly important as it stood across the famous Roman road of Ermine Street which ran all the way to York. This has led to suggestions that St Botolph Bishopsgate has Roman origins but these are as yet unproven. 

The church survived the Great Fire of London in 1666 with relatively little damage but was demolished and rebuilt in 1728 by James Gould. It was during this rebuilding that the Anglo-Saxon foundations were discovered. The church again suffers minor damage in the Blitz of WW2 and the Bishopsgate bombing by the IRA in 1993 which destroyed nearby St Ethelburga. 

There are two parish boundary markers for you to discover as shown in the photos. One is on a wall in Devonshire Square.  The other is in Brushfield Street, just off Bishopsgate, which leads to Spitalfields market.

Parish Boundary marker for St Botolph Bishopsgate in Devonshire Square
Parish Boundary marker for St Botolph Bishopsgate in Brushfield Street near Spitalfields market