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Ward of Candlewick Common Councillors

Painting of the Alderman and Deputy of Candlewick Street Ward by Hugh Alley, 1598. Image courtesy of the Folger Digital Image Collection

Smearmongers' Ward and Candlewick Street

The Ward of Candlewick, Smearmongers, or Candlewright-street-ward, as it is found in ancient records, takes its name from the street now called Cannon-street; formerly chiefly inhabited by candle-wrights, or makers of tallow and wax candles; a very profitable business during the medieval times when society consumed great quantities of wax lights.


Our Ward is bounded on the north by Langbourn ward; on the east by Bridge ward; on the south by Bridge and Dowgate-wards; and on the west by Dowgate and Walbrook wards. The principal streets in this small ward, are, the west end of Cannon-street, Great Eastcheap, and parts of some considerable lanes that run into them from the north and south, as will appear by the plan. Great Eastcheap originally took its name from a market kept there, to serve the east part of the city; which was afterward removed to Leadenhall.

By the early account we have of Eastcheap-market, and its vicinity to the ferry, or Roman trajectus, over the Thames, there is great reason to suppose this to be the first, or one of the first markets in London. In this state it continued for some ages, especially for victuals; as may be collected from the song, called London Lickpenny, made by John Lydgate, a monk of Bury, in the reign of Henry V.

The Guild church of St Mary Woolnoth – from the Anglo-Saxon Wulnoth or Wulfnoth – dominates our northern boundry. The church more or less survived the fire but had to be totally rebuilt in 1727 by Hawksmoor, his only London church: it is in his uncompromising English Baroque. The great John Newton, reformed slaver and author of Amazing Grace and Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken, was the rector here for 28 years. Its crypt was sold to make part of Bank Underground station. On Lombard Street the decorated arcade with a reclining Mercury marks where the General Post Office stood, from its move here from Bishopsgate in 1678 until 1829 when it moved to St Martins le Grand. It was in its time the only place in London at which mail could be posted; dozens of scarlet-coated clerks laboured in the sorting office. One arch now contains a lift to the Dockland Light Railway below. One King William Street on the east is a Grade II listed 1920s neo-classical block, and beyond it the Rising Sun flag flutters at Daiwa’s offices, which sport a rare working street clock. To the east on Lombard Street are the 17 bays of the Edwardian façade of what was Scottish Provident Bank, now a swish eatery.


The narrow Martin Lane (once St Martin’s Lane) running downhill from Cannon Street meets Arthur Street (possibly named for the Duke of Wellington) has the clock tower at 29 Martin Lane which marks the site of the lost church of St Martin Orgar, together with a garden. Named for the 12th century deacon who gifted the church to St Paul’s, it was demolished in the 1820s. This is also where you will find our most famous pub: the Old Wine Shades - “where charm and character collide”, truly - with its curious banknote safe opening onto the passage.


THE Oldest tavern in London

The Boar’s Head was a tavern on Eastcheap in candlewick and was the meeting place of Sir John Falstaff, Prince Hal and other characters in Shakespeare's Henry IV plays.

The Boar's Head Tavern is featured in historical plays by Shakespeare, as a favourite resort of the fictional character Falstaff and his friends in the early 15th century. The pub was established before 1537, but destroyed in 1666 in the Great Fire of London, it was soon rebuilt and continued operation until some point in the late 18th century, when the building was used by retail outlets. What remained of the building was demolished in 1831. The boar's head sign was kept, and is now installed in the Shakespeare's Globe theatre.


The site of the original inn is now part of the approach to London Bridge in Cannon Street. Near the site, at 33–35 Eastcheap, the architect Robert Lewis Roumieu created a neo-Gothic building in 1868; this makes references to the Boar's Head Inn in its design and exterior decorations, which include a boar's head peeping out from grass, and portrait heads of Henry IV and Henry V. Roumieu's building originally functioned as a vinegar warehouse, though it has since been converted into offices. Nikolaus Pevsner described it as "one of the maddest displays in London of gabled Gothic brick". Ian Nairn called it "the scream you wake on at the end of a nightmare".


St. Mary Abchurch

St. Mary Abchurch stands near the south west end of Abchurch-lane, and is named from its dedication to the Virgin Mary, with the additional appellation of Ab or Upchurch, on account of its elevation in comparison of the neighbouring ground toward the Thames; to distinguish it from the many other churches of the same name in this city. A church dedicated to St. Mary has stood here from very early times; and we find that in the year 1448, it was in the patronage of the prior and canons of St. Mary Overy's; but devolving to the crown in the reign of queen Elizabeth, she granted the perpetual advowson to Corpus Christi college in Cambridge, in whom it has continued to the present time.

St Mary Abchurch is one of Sir Christopher Wren's finest parish churches. Set back from the bustle of Cannon Street, in Abchurch Yard off Abchurch Lane, it is a haven of quiet for reflection and prayer. The present church was completed in 1686, and has altered little in appearance over the centuries. Its glories include a magnificent altar screen by the master carver Grinling Gibbons, and a shallow painted dome of 1708 by parishioner William Snow, as well as many original features, including the communion table of 1675, pulpit and font of 1685-86, and many fine monuments. St Mary Abchurch is now the home of The Friends of the City Churches, a heritage charity devoted to the support of the historic churches of the City of London.

The Church is usually open from 11:00 until 15:00, from Monday to Thursday, and other times by appointment. There is usually a short midweek service of Holy Communion from the Book of Common Prayer on Wednesdays at 12:30, and an organ recital on Tuesdays at 12:30.

St. Clement's Eastcheap

In the 19th century the church's interior was remodelled, its ceiling a replica of the original, depicting a wreath of flowers and fruit. The canopied pulpit is resplendent with elaborate carvings and the panelled walls are typical of the 17th century.

St Clement Eastcheap considers itself to be the church referred to in the nursery rhyme that begins "Oranges and lemons / Say the bells of St Clement's". So too does St Clement Danes Church, Westminster, whose bells ring out the traditional tune of the nursery rhyme three times a day. St Clement Eastcheap's claim is based on the assertion that it was close to the wharf where citrus fruit was unloaded.

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St Martin Orgar was a church in the City of London in Martin Lane, off Cannon Street. Most of the building was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, but the tower and part of the nave were left standing. The parish was then merged with St Clement Eastcheap.

The remains of the church were restored and used by French Protestants until 1820. Most of the remaining building was then pulled down, but the tower remained and was rebuilt in 1851 as the campanile of St Clement Eastcheap. The churchyard of St Martin's remains to the south of the campanile.

St Clement Eastcheap is hidden away in a lane near London Bridge and the Monument.



Our success, as your Candlewick Ward Team, is to add value to the quality of your business and your working life or your home if a resident in our Ward.


Without the business, retail, food, entertainment and personal services provided by the many smaller businesses we have in our ward, the City would be a far less pleasant and convenient place to work.


We believe that democracy is strongest when it draws out the views and opinions of the electorate and this is something that is central to our engagement with the Ward.

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