Tired of London, Tired of Life - A website about things to do in London

26 April 2011

Visit St Pancras Old Church

Thought to be one of the oldest places of Christian worship in England, St Pancras Old Church was rebuilt in 1847 on a site believed to have been home to a Christian church since at least 314 AD.

The Victorian structure which stands today apparently contains some remnants of the older church, and both Roman bricks and tiles and Norman masonry have been traced in the North wall of the nave.

The tomb of Sir John Soane can be found in the graveyard, along with those of composer Johann Christian Bach, sculptor John Flaxman, and William Franklin, the illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin.

For more information, see http://www.victorianweb.org/art/architecture/london/77.html


  1. I can't believe you left out the biggest star in the graveyard: Mary Wollstonecraft, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) and much else. In this week of monarchical hyperbole, I made a little pilgrimage there myself. Not only an early feminist, laying the groundwork for the suffragettes a century later, she also made significant contributions to human rights and the field of education. She married the anarchist philosopher William Godwin at Old St Pancras Church, and they lived -- in separate accomodation, as befit radicals re-imagining relationships -- in Somers Town. She was brought to bed of a daughter, promptly died of childbed fever, and was buried here. The baby grew up to write Frankenstein, after canoodling with the tousle-hair'd poet Shelley over her mother's grave, where he woo'd her with sonnets.

    PS I love your blog!

  2. Any old building, if it is still standing, will have changed and grown over the centuries. But the part of this church that I love most is the C13th tower. It seems to be surviving well :)

  3. Apologies for the omission Roberta. She certainly sounds very worthy of inclusion!

  4. There's also the Hardy Tree at the back of the churchyard. When the railway line was built some of the the graves were exhumed to make way for the track. The headstones were placed around an ash tree that has grown around them. The young architectural student who was in charge of the exhumation was Thomas Hardy, later poet and novelist...

  5. Chaz...don't give it away, I'm saving that for another day!

  6. I heard the backyard served as a shooting location for a Beatles album cover - not sure which one though. Any info on this?

  7. Very interesting post.
    Roberta Wedge is right about Mary Woolstonecraft (to whom she bears a remarkable resemblence!)
    The only Beatles cover I can think of is Rubber Soul.
    Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

  8. According to Wikipedia -
    On 28 July 1968, The Beatles were photographed in the churchyard grounds, in a famous series of pictures designed to promote the single "Hey Jude" and the album The Beatles, better known as The White Album.

  9. I live in a village called Upton Lovell and I am researching the family which has given the village its name. I have come across a ballad, Lord Lovel, which describes an incident in 'St Pancridges church'.Does anyone know anything more about this? Gwen