On the corner of Walbrook, opposite the Bank of England, you will find a blue plaque commemorating the church of St Mary Woolchurch Haw. This church is first mentioned in 1260 as “St Mary of Woollechurche-hawe”. The names comes from a beam in the churchyard that was used for weighting wool according the historian John Stow. It was sometimes known as “St Mary Stocks” as it stood next to the Stocks Market and also as “St. Mary Newechirche” as it was built somewhat later than the other churches dedicated to St Mary in the City of London.
The church was rebuilt in 1422 because it had become so dilapidated, and it was again repaired and beautified in 1629. Sadly it was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and not rebuilt and the parish was united with the nearby church of St Mary Woolnoth. The Mansion House – the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London – was built on the site.
Luckily, we have a fairly good idea of what this church looked like because it appears on two early maps of London the Copperplate Map and the Agas Map shown below.
This is not the end of the story as St Mary Woolnoth – the church that the parish of St Mary Woolchurch Haw was united with – also underwent some changes. Bank underground station now lies directly beneath St Mary Woolnoth. It was built in 1897 by the City and South London Railway, who were originally given permission to demolish the church. But a public outcry saved the building, so only the crypt was cleared and reinforced with steel girders to support the church above. The remains of both parishes of St Mary Woolnoth and St Mary Woolchurch Haw were reburied in the City of London Cemetery and a monument to the reburial stands there today as shown in the picture. The inscription reads as follows :
Beneath this spot are deposited all that is mortal of those who for centuries past have been buried in the vaults of the church of St Mary Woolnoth and Saint Mary Woolchurch Haw in the City of London.
In as much as the ways of men and death are wildly different, in death all distinctions vanish. It would therefore be invidious to record the names of those who lie buried here either rich or poor, illustrious or noble. For he accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor, for they all are the work of his hand
The remains were removed pursuant to an Order in Council dated 25 August 1892 and by virtue of a faculty issued by the Consistory Court of London dated 1 December 1892 under the supervision of the rector and the churchwardens of the above parishes with all care and reverence in the month of December 1892
De manu mortis liberabo eos de morte redimam eos ero mors tua o mors ero morsus tuus inferne. Credis Hoc
(Translation – I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction. Believe this)
J.M.S. Brooke Rector
Joseph Savory Church Wardens of St Mary Woolnoth
William M Cross
Joseph Bowles Church Wardens of St Mary Woolchurch Haw
Joseph H. Batty