London Westminster & Middlesex Family History Society

The Ancient Parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields

Charing Cross, Drury Lane and Trafalgar Square are all places in St Martin-in-the-Fields, which is an Ancient Parish in the Liberty of Westminster. The City and Liberty of Westminster was succeeded as an administrative body by the Metropolitan Borough of Westminster in 1900 and then by the London Borough of Westminster in 1965. Various parishes were taken out of the original area of St Martin in the Fields: St Paul Covent Garden in 1645, St James Piccadilly in 1685, St Anne Soho in 1687 and St George Hanover Square in 1724. Surrounding St Martin in the Fields now are the parishes of St Anne Soho, St Margaret & St John, St George Hanover Square and St James, Westminster.

The Society has produced a Parish Guide to St Martin-in-the-Fields.

 

St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square

There is reference to a church here in 1222, which seems to have been used by monks attached to the Abbey of Westminster. In 1542, Henry VIII built a new church and extended the parish boundaries in order to prevent plague victims from being carried through his Palace at Whitehall for burial at Westminster. The church was rebuilt in 1726. Records of St Martin-in-the-Fields include baptisms (1551-1965), marriages (1551-1968) and burials (1551-1853) and very much more are at Westminster Archives Centre.

 

St Martin in the Fields

 

St John the Evangelist, Drury Lane

The church of Saint John the Evangelist on Drury Lane was established in 1855, having previously been the Tavistock Proprietary Epsicopal Chapel (see below). Its parish was taken from St Martin-in-the-Fields. The church was closed in 1938 and the parish united to Holy Trinity Kingsway. Records include baptisms (1855-1936) and marriages (1855-1933) and are at LMA, Ref: P96/JNE1.

St Michael, Burleigh Street

This church was built in 1831 on the south west corner of the junction of Burleigh Street with Exeter Street and was originally a chapel within the parish of St Martin. It subsequently became a separate parish but was joined with St Paul Covent Garden in 1905 and St Michael’s Church was demolished.

Records include baptisms (1849-1905) and marriages (1849-1905) and more are at Westminster Archives Centre.

Tavistock Chapel, Drury Lane

Tavistock Proprietary Epsicopal Chapel opened in Broad Court, Drury Lane in the early 1760s. The Clergy Database (https://theclergydatabase.org.uk/) names preachers here from John Warner in 1763 to Charles Burton in 1832. In 1833 it was made a chapel of ease to St Martin-in-the-Fields and became known as St John the Evangelist from 1855 (see above). Records include baptisms (1838-1853) and marriages (1849-1905) and more are at Westminster Archives Centre.