St. Giles-in-the-Field

stgilesHistory of St. Giles-in-the-fields

St Giles in the Fields is situated on the south side of the High Street, and receives its addition from the circumstance of being formerly in the Fields, to distinguish it from that of St Giles, Cripplegate.

This parish was anciently a village of the same name, and its church is supposed to owe its origin to the chapel which belonged to the hospital founded about 1117, by Queen Matilda, consort of Henry I, for the reception of a certain number of leprous persons belonging to the city of London and the county of Middlesex.

In 1354, Edward III granted this hospital to the master and brethren of the order of Burton, St Lazar, of Jerusalem, in Leicestershire, for certain considerations, for which it became a cell to that order, till the general dissolution of religious houses by Henry VIII, who, in 1545, granted it to Lord Dudley.

Soon after this period the chapel or church was made parochial, and on the 30th of April 1547, William Rawlinson was instituted Rector.

The ancient church being very small, and much dilapidated, was taken down in 1623, and a church of brick was erected in its stead. [This was the church Edward and Sarah were married in and baptized Edward, Jr.] This also became in its turn too small and inconvenient, when the inhabitants applied for an act of parliament to enable them to rebuild it; accordingly the old fabric was taken down in 1730, and the present very handsome edifice, designed by Gibbs, was erected and completed in 1733. This substantial church is built of Portland stone, its interior is seventy-five feet in length, exclusive of the recess for the altar, and sixty feet in width, and is divided into nave and aisles, by Portland stone columns of the Ionic order, which assist the main walls in carrying the roof. The tower and spire are also of Portland stone, and are 160 feet high to the vane.


The Great Plague

In 1665, the Great Plague of London broke out in the parish of St. Giles-in-the-fields and spread throughout the city of London.

In the span of one month, the earthen mounds of 1,391 burials covered the parish churchyard. Eventually, the foundation of the church was weakened by the “boggy” ground caused by the decaying graves and the church had to be rebuilt.

The London Hearth Tax: City of London and Middlesex of 1666 shows no Mashborne or Sindery families living in the parrish.

Edward Mashborne, Jr. Baptism Record

In 1676, Edward MASHBORNE was baptized at St Giles in the Fields. His parents were listed in the parish records as Edward and Sarah MASHBORNE. Rev. John Sharp was the rector at the time. He later became the Chaplain to Charles II, the Dean of Canterbury and Archbishop of York.

The Parish in Edward Mashborne’s Later Lifetime

In 1727, the joint parishes of [[St Giles in the Fields]] and St George erected a parish workhouse in Holton at the north side of the junction of Endell Street and Short’s Gardens.

English records of this period document the poor conditions in which the people of the parish lived. If Edward Mashburn was still living at this time, he was better off in America than if he had stayed in his home parish.


St. Giles-in-the-fields: London West End’s Local Church. (n.d.) Website. Retrieved 29 Novemeber 2011 from