Place:St. James Garlickhithe, London (City of), London, England

NameSt. James Garlickhithe
Alt namesSt. James Garlickhythesource: Wikipedia
Coordinates51.5111°N 0.0938°W
Located inLondon (City of), London, England     (bef 1200 - the present)
Also located inMiddlesex, England     ( - 1889)
Greater London, England     (1965 - )
See alsoSt. Michael Queenhithe, London (City of), London, Englandparish merged with St. James following the Great Fire
Holy Trinity the Less, London (City of), London, Englandadded to the parish in the 19th or 20th century
St. Michael Paternoster Royal, London (City of), London, Englandadded to the parish in the 19th or 20th century
St. Martin Vintry, London (City of), London, Englandadded to the parish in the 19th or 20th century
All Hallows the Great, London (City of), London, Englandadded to the parish in the 19th or 20th century
All Hallows the Less, London (City of), London, Englandadded to the parish in the 19th or 20th century
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is a condensation of an article in Wikipedia

St. James Garlickhithe (#48) is a Church of England parish church in Vintry ward facing the Thames in the City of London. The church is nicknamed "Wren’s lantern" owing to its profusion of windows.

Recorded since the 12th century, the church was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and rebuilt by the office of Sir Christopher Wren. It is also the official church of eleven City livery companies.

The church is dedicated to the disciple St. James known as 'the Great'. St. James Garlickhithe is a stop on a pilgrims' route ending at the cathedral of Santiago da Compostela in Spain. Visitors to the London church may have their credencial, or pilgrim passport, stamped with the impression of a scallop shell.

'Garlickhithe' refers to the nearby landing place, or "hithe", near which garlic was sold in medieval times.

The earliest surviving reference to the church is as ecclesiam Sancti Jacobi in a 12th-century will. Other records of the church refer to it as St James in the Vintry, St James Comyns, St James-by-the-Thames and St James super Ripam.

The ships from France loaded with garlic also carried wine and St James Garlickhithe has a long association with wine merchants. The church is located in the city ward of Vintry, and in 1326 the Sheriff of London and vintner Richard de Rothing paid to have the church rebuilt. Another company with long associations with the church is the Joiners' Company, who trace their origins back to a religious guild founded in St James in 1375.

St. James became a parish church upon the dissolution of the monasteries (1535-1539) under Henry VIII. A change introduced under the reign of Henry VIII was the order that all parishes in England were to maintain a weekly register of births, deaths and marriages. The oldest surviving registers are those of St. James, the first entry being the baptism of Edward Butler on 18 November 1535.

St. James was repaired and expanded several times during the first half of the 17th century – the north aisle being rebuilt in 1624 and a gallery added in 1644.

Six years after the ending of the Commonwealth under Cromwell, all of St. James Garlickhithe was lost in the Great Fire. Rebuilding began a decade later with the body of the church completed in 1683. Building on the steeple did not begin until 33 years later and was finished in 1717 by Nicholas Hawksmoor.

Image:London southern parishes 1870.png

The second half of the 19th century saw a movement of population from the City of London to suburbs in Middlesex, Kent, Essex and Surrey. This left many of the city churches with tiny congregations. In 1860, Charles Dickens attended a Sunday service at St. James Garlickhithe which he describes in The Uncommercial Traveller. The congregation had dwindled to twenty, the building was pervaded with damp and dust, which Dickens used to convey an impression of the presence of dead parishioners.

The Union of Benefices Act 1860 was passed by Parliament, permitting the demolition of City churches and the sale of land to build churches in the suburbs. While several nearby churches – some of architectural eminence – were destroyed under the Union of Benefices Act, St. James was spared, perhaps due to its links to the guilds.

During World War I, a bomb dropped by a Zeppelin missed the church. In May 1941, during the London Blitz a 500 lb German high explosive bomb crashed through the roof of St. James and buried itself below the floor in the south aisle. It did not explode, but was removed to Hackney Marshes and detonated. The buildings surrounding St. James were destroyed by incendiary bombs and this caused much external damage to the church, including the destruction of its clock. While this damage was being repaired in 1953, it was found that the woodwork was infested with the death watch beetle. This caused the church to be closed until 1963.

In 1991, during construction of Vintners Hall across Upper Thames Street, a crane collapsed and the jib buried itself in the south wall. This caused the church to be closed again while the south face was rebuilt and some of the furnishings replaced.

Present day

The official dedication is "The Parish Church of St James Garlickhythe with St Michael Queenhythe and Holy Trinity the Less". The parish stretches from Gardners Lane in the west to Angel Passage in the east. Its southern border is the River Thames, and to the north it snakes through the lanes south of Cannon Street.

The area now covers seven pre-Fire parishes: St. James Garlickhithe, St. Michael Queenhithe (#88), Holy Trinity the Less (#11), St. Michael Paternoster Royal (#87), St. Martin Vintry (#67), All Hallows the Great (#7), and All Hallows the Less (#8). Some of the parishes are located to the east of the area shown on the map above.

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article St. James Garlickhythe.

Research tips

  • The FamilySearch Wiki article entitled St James Garlickhithe, London Genealogy leads to many sources connected with the church and its parish. This page has a useful map (quite a ways down the page) for placing the parish in relation to its neighbours.

Greater London Research Tips

A reminder that Greater London was not formed until 1965 and covers a much greater territory than its predecessor, the County of London formed in 1900. The City of London was only a part of the County of London. A map of the boroughs of Greater London is reproduced on all Greater London borough pages. A map of the boroughs of the smaller County of London is reproduced on all County of London borough pages.

Researching ancestors in London will probably be more successful than researching ancestors in the rest of England, particularly for the period before 1837 and the advent of civil registration. Baptisms, marriages and burials are available online for County of London parishes, and possibly for parishes throughout Greater London as well.

  • Anglican Parishes in London is a wiki here on WeRelate listing the places of worship of the established church throughout London. The churches are grouped within the post-1965 boroughs and for each is the street address, a link to the Booth Map (inner boroughs only), the time span for which the database AIM25 holds records, the FamilySearch Wiki link (see below), the Wikipedia link, and further notes. This is a work-in-progress and not all churches are listed as yet, but it is a guide to a great deal more information on those for which information has been gathered.
  • The London Metropolitan Archives (40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0HB) holds records relating to the whole of Greater London. Ancestry (subscription necessary) has produced transcriptions and provides images of lists of baptisms, marriages, and burials in churches across Greater London. Many of these lists start in 1813 and stretch into the 20th century; some start even earlier.


  • A street-by-street map of London (both sides of the Thames, and stretching from Limehouse, Stepney and Greenwich in the east to Hyde Park and Kensington in the west) drawn by Edward Mogg in 1806. Blows up to a very readable level. Highly recommended viewing. Shows named areas on the edge of the County of London (1900-1965) as the small villages they were in 1800. Streets in the City are named, but churches are missing.
  • The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers edited by Cecil Humphery-Smith and published by Phillimore & Co Ltd (edition of 1995) provides a map of the City of London indicating all the parishes and includes dates of commencement of registers for parishes formed before 1832.
  • Wikipedia has an expandable map of the area of devastation of the 1666 fire. The map includes the location of Pudding Lane where the fire started.
  • A map of London in the 1890s provided by the National Library of Scotland. There are a few steps between the home page index and the individual maps which may be difficult to follow for those who don't know London, but the maps themselves are produced at the scale of 5 feet to the mile on the original and are very clear. Houses on streets are marked, but not numbered.
  • Ordnance Survey map of London 1900 (provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time) showing London parishes just after the reorganization of 1899. The map was originally drawn over a street map at a scale of 1 inch to the mile and can be blown up to inspect a single borough. Only the major streets are marked and are only visible at maximum magnification. The City of London is an inset in the top right hand corner.
  • Ordnance Survey map of Middlesex 1900 (provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time) showing the parishes remaining in Middlesex after the reorganization of 1899 when much of the former area of Middlesex had been transferred into London.
  • Ordnance Survey map of Surrey 1900 (provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time) showing Surrey parishes (chiefly Southwark) just after the reorganization of 1899 when the most urban parts of Surrey were transferred into London.
  • Ordnance Survey map of Kent 1900 (provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time) showing Kent parishes just after the reorganization of 1899 when the western part of Kent had been transferred into London.
  • Ordnance Survey map of Essex 1900 (provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time) showing Essex parishes (West Ham, East Ham, Ilford) which were absorbed into Greater London in 1965.

Registration Districts

  • Registration Districts in London, Registration Districts in Middlesex, Registration Districts in Surrey, Registration Districts in Kent, and Registration Districts in Essex are lists of the registration districts used for civil registration (births, marriages and deaths, as well as the censuses). There are linked supporting lists of the parishes which made up each registration district, the dates of formation and abolition of the districts, the General Register Office numbers, and the local archive-holding place. This work has been carried out by Brett Langston under the agency of GENUKI (Genealogy United Kingdom and Ireland) and UKBMD - Births, Marriages, Deaths & Censuses on the Internet, and has been updated into the 21st century. If the only information about an individual has been obtained from UKBMD, the name of the registration district is considered a "placename" within WeRelate and can be used to provide a broad estimate of the location.


  • Deceased Online includes four of the "Magnificent Seven" cemeteries (Brompton, Highgate, Kensal Green, and Nunhead) in its inventory of 65 London cemeteries. Transcripts for Abney Park are free with registration online at Ancestry (international subscription necessary) has "London, England, City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery Registers, 1841-1966". That leaves West Norwood without comprehensive online access to burial records. (Deceased Online and Ancestry may have increased their provision since this was written in 2016.)
  • As of October 2019 Ancestry has a file titled "England & Scotland, Select Cemetery Registers 1800-2016" which includes Abney Park Cemetery, Greenford Park Cemetery, Acton Cemetery, Ealing & Old Brentford Cemetery, Havelock Norwood Cemetery, Hortus Cemetery, South Ealing Cemetery, Queens Road Cemetery, and Chingford Mount Cemetery.
  • The City of London Cemetery, at Manor Park, near Wanstead in the London Borough of Redbridge also contains remains transferred from former parishes in the City of London whose graveyards have been replaced by streets and commercial buildings.
  • Brookwood Cemetery, beyond the Greater London borders in Surrey, was opened in 1854 for burials for Londoners. See the Wikpedia article.

Other online sources

  • See the FamilySearch Wiki under "London" and also under "Middlesex", "Surrey", "Essex" and "Kent" for key information about Greater London's jurisdictions and records, plus links to indexes, reference aids and Family History Library holdings.
  • GENUKI has a long list of websites and archive holders in addition to London Metropolitan Archives above. (The list from GENUKI is not maintained so well that there is never a dead link in it. However, it is often worth googling the title given on the page just in case the contributor has reorganized their website and GENUKI has not picked it up.)
  • GENUKI also has a list of the Archives and Local Studies Libraries for each of the boroughs of Greater London.
  • The London Encyclopaedia by Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert. An e-book available online through Google, originally published by Pan Macmillan. There is a search box in the left-hand pane.
  • London Lives. A very useful free website for anyone researching their London ancestors between the years 1690-1800. This is a fully searchable edition of 240,000 manuscripts from eight archives and fifteen datasets, giving access to 3.35 million names.
  • London Ancestor, a website belonging to one of the London family history societies, has a list of transcriptions of directories from the 18th century, listing in one case "all the squares, streets, lanes, courts, yards, alleys, &C. in and about Five Miles of the Metropolis..." In other parts of the same website are maps of various parts of 19th century London and Middlesex.
  • The proceedings of the Old Bailey, London's central criminal court, 1674-1913. A fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. This website is free to use.
  • A History of the County of London: Volume 1, London Within the Bars, Westminster and Southwark is only a part-volume from the Victoria County History Series provided by British History Online. It does not offer articles on each of the ecclesiastical parishes in the City of London, but there may be some references to churches that were linked to monasteries.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at St. James Garlickhythe. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.