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This text was copied from Wikipedia on 8 May 2015 at 6:00AM.

City of London Corporation road sign indicating St. Martin's Le Grand is located in EC2.

St. Martin's Le Grand is the name of a street and a former liberty in the City of London between Newgate Street and Cheapside to the south and Aldersgate Street to the north.

Collegiate church

To the east of the road once stood the collegiate church and monastic precinct of St. Martin's, of ancient origin. The precinct was within the City, but was not subject to its jurisdiction, constituting a liberty with the privilege of sanctuary.[1]

According to a somewhat dubious tradition the church dated back to the 7th or 8th century and was founded by King Wihtred of Kent.[2][3] It was, more certainly, rebuilt or founded about 1056 by two brothers called Ingelric and Girard, in the reign of Edward the Confessor. This foundation was confirmed by a charter of William the Conqueror, dating to 1068.[1] The church was responsible for the sounding of the curfew bell in the evenings, which announced the closing of the City's gates. It was dissolved by Henry VIII and demolished in 1548. However, it retained certain rights of sanctuary until 1697 and, as such, was a notorious haven for malefactors. One of those who sought sanctuary here was Miles Forrest, one of the reputed murderers of the Princes in the Tower.[1][4]

General Post Office

General Post Office headquarters in St. Martin's Le Grand (1820s).

The General Post Office established its new headquarters on the site of the monastic precinct in 1829. From here mail coaches departed for destinations all over the country. Coaches bound for the north went up St. Martin's Le Grand through Aldersgate – the first stage of the Great North Road (now the A1 road) to York and Edinburgh.[5] This replaced the previous starting point at Hicks Hall in Smithfield Market. The Post Office building, a grand Neoclassical design by Robert Smirke, was demolished in 1911, having been replaced by new premises immediately to the west, on the former site of Christ's Hospital school.[6]

Olympic marathon course

St. Martin's Le Grand formed part of the marathon course of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.[7][8]

Transport links

The nearest London Underground station is St. Paul's, at the southern end of the one-way street.

References

  1. ^ a b c Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert (1983) The London Encyclopedia: 735
  2. ^ Walter Besant (1906) Medieval London, Vol II: 234
  3. ^ History of London (1878) by Walter Thornbury
  4. ^ Dictionary of City of London Street Names ISBN 0-7153-4880-9
  5. ^ Norman Webster (1974) The Great North Road: 17
  6. ^ Davies, Philip (2009). Lost London 1870–1945. Croxley Green: Transatlantic Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-9557949-8-8. 
  7. ^ http://www.london2012.com/athletics/event/men-marathon/coursemap/
  8. ^ http://www.london2012.com/athletics/event/women-marathon/coursemap/

External links

Coordinates: 51°30′59″N 0°5′49″W / 51.51639°N 0.09694°W / 51.51639; -0.09694

2 Annotations

Bill  •  Link

Martin's (St.) Lane, the street which, since the rebuilding of the City after the Great Fire, has been called St. Martin's-le-Grand.

Martin's (St.) Le Grand, a collegiate church and sanctuary, on the site of the General Post Office (no traces remain), founded or enlarged by Ingelric, Earl of Essex, and Girard, his brother, in 1056, and confirmed by a charter of William the Conqueror in 1068. It stood within the walls of the City of London, but was a liberty by itself, the Mayor and Corporation often endeavouring, but in vain, to interfere with the privileges of the precinct. Criminals on their way to execution from Newgate to Tower Hill passed the south gate of St. Martin's, and often sought, sometimes successfully, to escape from their attendants into the adjoining sanctuary. ... At the dissolution of religious houses the college was levelled to the ground, and a kind of Alsatia established, let to "strangers born," and highly prized from the privileges of sanctuary which the inhabitants, chiefly manufacturers of counterfeit ware, latten and copper articles, beads, etc., continued to enjoy, till the Act 21 James I. c . 28 (1623), declared that all such privilege of sanctuary should thereafter be void. ... When the excavations were making in 1818 for the General Post Office, an early English crypt and the vaults of a still earlier foundation were discovered and destroyed.

The wide street now known as St. Martin's-le-grand extends north from Cheapside and Newgate Street to Aldersgate Street. It occupies the line of the old St. Martin's Lane, but is much wider. The college lay on the east of it, but the sanctuary included the west side of St. Martin's Lane. The General Post Office (the older building) occupies the whole of the east side of St. Martin's-le-Grand to St . Ann's Lane; and the entire west side is occupied by the new portion of the General Post Office, and an open space (1889) upon which the extended premises of the Post Office are to be built.
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.

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References

Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.

1661

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1665