(St.) Benet Gracechurch


(St.) Benet Gracechurch
   On the east side of Gracechurch Street at its junction with Fenchurch Street. In Bridge Ward Within (Elmes, 1831). Parish extends into Langbourn Ward.
   Early mention found in records : In Inquisition 1181 (H. MSS. Com. 9th Rep. 68), but See below.
   Forms of name : "St. Benedict of Garscherche," 34 H. III. "St. Benedict Garscheche" (Anc. Deeds, A. 2227). "St. Benedict at Garschirch," 45 H. III. 1260 (Cal. Ch. Rolls, II. 33). "Scs Bndcs de Greschirche," 1285 (MS. D. and C. St. Paul's, Lib. L. fo. 93). "S. Benedict de Gaschirche," 1285 (Ct. H.W. I. 73). "S. Benedict de Graschurche," 1307 (ib. 189). "S. Benedict in Langbourne Ward" (ib. II. 441). "S. Benedict de Graschirchestrete," 1375 (ib. 180).
   Called "Gracechurch" in Leake, 1666.
   In early records relating to the City there are numerous references to a church in this neighbourhood, styled "Grascherche," "Garscherche," etc., but without any other designation.
   The earliest reference is in the Charter of Brihtmaer to Christ Church Canterbury, dated 1053 : "Her snotelen on disen yurite embe do norewerde de Bridmer at Gerschereche wrogte wid Stigant archebiscop...and wid alle pem hird at Xpes Chereche at Cantwarberi. Det is danne det he ude Criste into Cristes chereche dane homestal det he on set and alre Halgene chereche efter his dage etc" (Thorpe, Dip. Ang.-Sax. p. 372-3). And if, as seems probable, "Gerschereche" is not to be identified with "alre Halgene chereche " (All Hallows), then it may be identified with St. Benet, Gracechurch, in which case this church must have been in existence some time prior to the Norman Conquest.
   The name "Gracechurch" in its earlier forms would seem to be derived from the Anglo-Saxon word "gaers," "gers" "graes" = a blade of grass, herb, hay," and it may well have been that a market was held in this place from very early times, as in later days, and that the church derived its appellation from the herbs and hay sold there. The metathesis "er" to "re" or "ar" to "re" is of constant occurrence in the development of a language.
   Repaired and beautified 1630 (Strype, ed. 1720, I. ii. 177).
   Burnt in the Great Fire and rebuilt by Sir C. Wren 1685.
   After the Fire the parish of St. Leonard Eastcheap was united to it (Strype, ed. 1720, I. ii. 177).
   Taken down 1867-8 to widen the thoroughfare and the parish united to All Hallows, I,ombard Street.
   A Rectory. Patrons : Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's.
   See Gracechurch.

A Dictionary of London. . 1918.

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