Posts Tagged ‘Christchurch Greyfriars’

All that remains of the Medieval Franciscan Monastery in London, or the famous school which occupied the same site, are two blue plaques on the wall of a London office building.

The friary was founded in Stinking Lane, part of the Butchers quarter, in 1225. The land was donated by merchants, the timber by King Henry III and the church building was financed by the Mayor of London. It was a prestigious foundation and rapidly expanded -within 20 years it housed 80 friars. The church was expanded again in the 13th century to have 11 chapels and amongst those buried there are 3 queens of England – Eleanor of Provence (Henry III); Margaret (Edward I) and  Isabella (Edward II).

Greyfriars-site-map in early 16th century By Peter Damian – The Grey Friars of London by C.L. Kingsbury, Public Domain, https/commons.wikimedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=12313224

It continued on the site until it was closed down in 1538 on the orders of Henry VIII as part of his dissolution of the monasteries.  The building passed to the City of London and the church continued to be used for worship. Henry’s son, Edward VI founded Christ’s hospital, a school for Orphans, in the friary buildings in 1552.

The church was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666 and was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren and became known as Christchurch.

Remains of Christchurch

For more details on Christchurch go to

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View of Greyfriars site 1895 = Public Domain, httpsen.wikipedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=27356487

Christ’s Hospital school remained on the site until 1902 when it relocated to Horsham in Sussex. The site was redeveloped and now houses the offices of Merrill Lynch International.




The original church on this site was part of the Franciscan Monastery which occupied this area. It was the 2nd largest Medieval church in London.  It had a strong royal connection and those buried within its building or grounds included:

Marguerite of France, Queen of Edward I

Isabella of France, Queen of Edward II

Joan of the Tower, Queen of Scotland

Princess Isabella, daughter of Edward III

Princess Beatrice, daughter of Henry III

The heart of Eleanor of Provence, Queen of Henry III

The medieval church became a parish church following the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538. It was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666  and was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren.






One of the wall capitals

One of the wall capitals

The rebuilt church was destroyed on the night of 29th December 1940 during one of the heaviest nights bombing of World War II. There were no plans to rebuild the church and the site was acquired by the corporation of London and laid out as a garden.