Sunday, March 27, 2011

Time for a tour of churches in London

As I work through all of this wonderful genealogy information that I have gathered, I long to visit the churches where my ancestors were baptized, married and buried.  Just to stand in the same place where I know they had been would be so moving.  Someday...

I thought that I would introduce John Savage, my 3rd great grandfather, and his wife, Mary Bridcutt, through photos and descriptions of the churches where some of these milestones occurred.

John was baptized September 22, 1782 at St. Mary's Whitechapel.  Here is a bit of history of St. Mary's.

"The name Whitechapel came from the chapel called St Mary Matfelon, which had white walls. This was situated in what is now Altab Ali Park . The chapel was originally built in the 13th century and the last of a series of chapels with this name was so badly damaged in World War 2 that it was pulled down after the war. Its floor plan can be seen in the park as can a few of the graves. Matfelon was the name of the family responsible for the 14th century building.

On the corner of Whitechapel Road and White Church Lane. The inscription states that this fountain had been in the Old Church railing and was moved here in 1879, and that it was "Erected by one who is known yet unknown." Presumably, the benefactor wished to remain anonymous. Round the central fountain is written:

(The grey letters are damaged and may not be correct) The old chunk of stone in the centre has a hole, from which presumably the water came out. In the 19th century, when this was first built, drinking fountains providing clean water were an important means of preventing the frequent cholera epidemics that caused many deaths in the East End.)"

This is an image from Google Earth of the remaining foundation of St. Mary's.

John was married to Mary Bridcutt on February 9, 1806 at St. Leonard's, Shoreditch.  Here's what St. Leonard's looks like today.

John was buried on February 22, 1852 at Christchurch, Spitalfields. (see previous post for picture of Christchurch) I always wondered what the heck the name Spitalfields was all about.  It never sounded very nice to me!  Here's the explanation:

"The name Spitalfields was derived from St Mary's Spital (Hospital) which was founded in 1197. Recent excavations have uncovered the Charnel House, which can be seen in Bishop's Square. Many centuries before the hospital, the Romans used part of the area as a burial ground, and a decorated lead coffin found here is on display in the Museum of London."

For those of you doing research in the East of London areas, I have found the site very helpful.


  1. John and Mary Savage are my husband 3rd great grandparents as well. Thanks for this info-- it's very interesting!

  2. Cornelius was my husband grandfather.

  3. Hi Deborah - this blogging thing is really great! It is nice to meet you and please tell your husband I said hi. I guess we are cousins of some sort. I had a quick look at my database and I have a copy of Cornelius' death certificate and a picture of his gravestone if that is of interest. If you have any photos/information that you can share about Cornelius, I would really appreciate it.