City Churches | St Margaret Pattens | Look Up London

City Churches | St Margaret Pattens

If you find yourself in the City of London with a bit of spare time, it’s always worthwhile to soak up some history by popping into one of the 50-odd City churches.

This week, with some time between private tours, I did just that and think this might be a fun series so let me know if you’d enjoy that!

St Margaret Pattens

St Margaret Pattens | Look Up London

The first church dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch on Eastcheap was back in 1067.

Presumably a small wooden building, it was later replaced in the 16th century with a stone building and ‘St Margaret Pattens’ is written on the Agas map, with a church building appearing to the right.

The Agas Map (c16th – layersoflondon.org)

There is some debate over the meaning of ‘pattens’. The first spelling is ‘Patynz’ and the church’s own history account suggests it could be related to a 13th century family name or even a reference to starry decoration. More likely, it seems is John Stow’s account which attributes a link with the Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers.

What’s a Patten?

Picture the scene. It’s London in the 14th century and you’re about to leave your home for a short walk to the local church. Proudly slipping on your exquisite new brocaded shoes, you open your front door to see the thick sludgey mess of horse manure – and worse – lining the city’s streets.

So pattens were under-shoes, often with a chunky platform, helping the City elite avoid getting the worst of London’s grime on their clothes and shoes.

The Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers were first recorded in 1379 as a trade guild producing pattens. The trade appears to have been based in nearby Rood Lane, so it makes sense that there was a close association with the local church.

Rebuilt by Wren

The current St Margaret Pattens was rebuilt by Christopher Wren between 1684-9, following the Great Fire of London in 1666.

City Churches | St Margaret Pattens | Look Up London

From the outside the church seems dwarfed by modern buildings. However, its surviving spire is an impressive 200ft, only St Bride’s on Fleet Street and St Mary-Le-Bow (as well as St Paul’s Cathedral) are taller Wren churches.

Interior Details  

St Margaret Pattens escaped The Blitz unscathed and so boasts a number of interesting internal features.

City Churches | St Margaret Pattens | Look Up London

As you enter you can find a display case of pattens (shown above) as well as another celebrating the link with the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers, also a local Eastcheap trade during the Medieval period.

City Churches | St Margaret Pattens | Look Up London

Inside the nave there are panels listing the Masters of the Pattenmakers Company from the Great Fire to the present day, cementing the links with the church.

City Churches | St Margaret Pattens | Look Up London

Today St Margaret Pattens is a Guild Church. Nothing to do with the Trade Guilds, but meaning it doesn’t have a traditional Sunday parish and rather hosts services midweek, reflecting its position in the midst of London’s financial centre.

In the main body of the church, looking back towards the West end can be admired an 18th century organ case and impressive Royal coat of arms.

City Churches | St Margaret Pattens | Look Up London

On the theme of pomp, one of the grandest memorials in the church, high on the South wall is dedicated to the former Lord Mayor and Governor of the Bank of England; Sir Peter Delmé who died in 1728.

City Churches | St Margaret Pattens | Look Up London

As well as his memorial he dedicated a sword rest to the church, a place where the Lord Mayor’s sword can be safely left while worshipping in the church.

City Churches | St Margaret Pattens | Look Up London

Prior to 1883 it was common practice that the Lord Mayor would visit a different church each Sunday so you can find a few sword rests in City Churches.

In contrast there are far plainer mentions of some of the choristers, two of whom died tragically young.

And finally, I felt that this sign held far more meaning than just an instruction for Margaret Pattens, rather it could be a fitting message for anyone entering a City Church…

City Churches | St Margaret Pattens | Look Up London

More London Inspiration

Get the latest London secrets to your email
See the city from a new angle, discovering little things you miss everyday and get the latest news about upcoming tours.
Once a week. No spam, just inspiration.
Your details will never be shared with any 3rd parties

Latest Blog Posts

  • Wandsworth Quaker Meeting House

    London’s Oldest Quaker Meeting House

    Along the busy Wandsworth High Street it’s easy to miss this small brick building. Even if you do take a moment to appreciate the ‘Society of Friends’ sign, you might not realise quite how historic a building it is. Built in 1778, this is the......

  • Trinity Church Square | Look Up London

    Trinity Church Square | City Links and London’s Oldest Statue?

    Tucked off the busy Borough High Street is Trinity Church Square. It’s a little residential enclave which seems more Bloomsbury than Borough. It was laid out in the early 19th century and seems simple enough, a lovely church and garden with surrounding terraced houses. But,......

  • Idol Lane City Bollard | Look Up London

    A Peculiar City Bollard on Idol Lane

    I might have reached peak geek with this blog post but I’m very happy about it. Along Idol Lane – right by the gorgeous St Dunstan-in-the-East Garden – you can find an extravagant bollard. Not only is it decorated with the City of London crest......

  • Lots Road Power Station | Look Up London

    Lots Road Power Station

    Just under two miles away from Battersea Power Station is Lots Road Power Station. Not quite as famous perhaps, but this fascinating place is currently undergoing its own major renovation. Derelict since 2002, It’s being transformed into Powerhouse, a luxury residential address complete with riverside......

  • Endell Street Military Hospital | The WWI Hospital Run by Women

    Along Endell Street, just north of Covent Garden, it’s easy to miss this fairly simple plaque that celebrates the former Endell Street Military Hospital. It commemorates an inspiring story of courage, defiance and dogged determination. The two heroines are Louisa Garrett Anderson and Flora Murray. ......

  • Josiah Wedgewood Soho Plaque, Greek Street | Look Up London

    The Wedgwood Soho Workshop

    For such a tiny area of London, Soho has helped fuel well over its quota of the nation’s creative talent. Look up along its network of streets and blue plaques abound with nods to musicians, artists and scientists. So next time you’re walking along Greek......

Loading comments...
BOOK NOW