At the corner of Queen Street and Upper Thames Street stood the church of St Martin Vintry. It was one of the many churches destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and never rebuilt. The parish was combined with that of St Michael Paternoster Royal next door.
The first mention of the church is in 1067 when it was called St Martin “baermannecyrce”. In Old English a “baermen” was a porter – presumably referring to the porters who carried barrels of wine landed at the nearby Thames side docks up the hill to the vintners around the church. In 1200, it is called “Sancti Martin ubi vina venditur” which means St Martin where wine is sold. The church was rebuilt in 1299 by Mathew Columbars, wealthy Bordeaux merchant. This part of the city, where the wine merchants were based, is still called Vintry Ward today. The Worshipful Company of Vintners still have their hall there and St Martin is their Patron Saint.
It is frustratingly difficult to find remains of St Martin Vintry today. The Wyngaerde Panorama of 1543 shows a substantial church, as does the Copperplate map of 1555. Looking at this map the church St Martin Vintry seems much grander than either of its neighbouring churches of St James Garlickhythe and St Michael Paternoster Royal. But today, both those churches still exist while you will be hard pressed to find any remains of St Martin Vintry.
A fellow collector kindly gave me a photo of the parish boundary markers of St Martin Vintry and All Hallows the Great which used to be on the side of Walbrook Wharf at 80 Upper Thames Street. But when the building was redeveloped this marker disappeared. The Museum of London has another parish boundary market for St Martin Vintry in its collection, but it is not on show to the public.
The foundations of the church of St Martin Vintry were exposed in 1957 when the site was being redeveloped, revealing a 21 foot wide nave, north and south aisles and walls of ragstone and chalk. Further remains were found when that 1950s office building was again redeveloped in 1986, including seven skeletons.
With great excitement, I visited the City of London Cemetery in Manor Park to try and trace the reburial of these remains, hoping to find a memorial to the lost church of St Martin Vintry like the many others that exist for lost churches in that place. My hopes were dashed when I found that the reburial plot set aside for the remains had no headstones nor monument at all – as you can see in the photo. So if anyone reading this comes across any tangible remains of St Martin Vintry please get in touch.
The wikipedia page for St Martin Vintry is here
The Parish Clerks page for St Martin Vintry is here