The English people are a nation and an ethnic group native to England who speak the English language. The English identity is of early medieval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Angelcynn, their ethnonym is derived from the Angles, one of the Germanic peoples who migrated to Great Britain around the 5th century AD. England is one of the countries of the United Kingdom, the majority of people living there are British citizens; the English descend from two main historical population groups – the earlier Celtic Britons and the Germanic tribes who settled in Britain following the withdrawal of the Romans: the Angles, Saxons and Frisians. Collectively known as the Anglo-Saxons, they founded what was to become the Kingdom of England by the early 10th century, in response to the invasion and minor settlement of Danes beginning in the late 9th century; this was followed by the Norman Conquest and limited settlement of Anglo-Normans in England in the latter 11th century. In the Acts of Union 1707, the Kingdom of England was succeeded by the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Over the years, English customs and identity have become closely aligned with British customs and identity in general. Today many English people have recent forebears from other parts of the United Kingdom, while some are descended from more recent immigrants from other European countries and from the Commonwealth; the English people are the source of the English language, the Westminster system, the common law system and numerous major sports such as cricket, rugby union, rugby league and tennis. These and other English cultural characteristics have spread worldwide, in part as a result of the former British Empire; the concept of an'English nation' has become popular after the devolution process in Scotland and Northern Ireland resulted in the four nations having semi-independent political and legal systems. Although England itself has no devolved government, the 1990s witnessed a rise in English self-consciousness; this is linked to the expressions of national self-awareness of the other British nations of Wales and Scotland – which take their most solid form in the new devolved political arrangements within the United Kingdom – and the waning of a shared British national identity with the growing distance between the end of the British Empire and the present.
Many recent immigrants to England have assumed a British identity, while others have developed dual or mixed identities. Use of the word "English" to describe Britons from ethnic minorities in England is complicated by most non-white people in England identifying as British rather than English. In their 2004 Annual Population Survey, the Office for National Statistics compared the ethnic identities of British people with their perceived national identity, they found that while 58% of white people in England described their nationality as "English", the vast majority of non-white people called themselves "British". It is unclear. In the 2001 UK census, respondents were invited to state their ethnicity, but while there were tick boxes for'Irish' and for'Scottish', there were none for'English', or'Welsh', who were subsumed into the general heading'White British'. Following complaints about this, the 2011 census was changed to "allow respondents to record their English, Scottish, Northern Irish, Irish or other identity."
Another complication in defining the English is a common tendency for the words "English" and "British" to be used interchangeably outside the UK. In his study of English identity, Krishan Kumar describes a common slip of the tongue in which people say "English, I mean British", he notes that this slip is made only by the English themselves and by foreigners: "Non-English members of the United Kingdom say'British' when they mean'English'". Kumar suggests that although this blurring is a sign of England's dominant position with the UK, it is "problematic for the English when it comes to conceiving of their national identity, it tells of the difficulty that most English people have of distinguishing themselves, in a collective way, from the other inhabitants of the British Isles". In 1965, the historian A. J. P. Taylor wrote, "When the Oxford History of England was launched a generation ago, "England" was still an all-embracing word, it meant indiscriminately Wales. Foreigners indeed continue to do so.
Bonar Law, by origin a Scotch Canadian, was not ashamed to describe himself as "Prime Minister of England" Now terms have become more rigorous. The use of "England" except for a geographic area brings protests from the Scotch."However, although Taylor believed this blurring effect was dying out, in his book The Isles, Norman Davies lists numerous examples in history books of "British" still being used to mean "English" and vice versa. In December 2010, Matthew Parris in The Spectator, analysing the use of "English" over "British", argued that English identity, rather than growing, had existed all along but has been unmasked from behind a veneer of Britishness. David Reich's laboratory found that 90% of Britain's Neolithic gene pool was overturned by a population from North Continental Europe characterized by the Bell Beaker culture around 1200BC who carried a large amount of Yamnaya ancestry from the Pontic-Caspian Steppe, including the R1b Haplogroup; this population lacked genetic affinity to other Bell Beaker populations, such as the Iberian Bell Beakers, but appeared to be an offshoot of the Corded Ware single grave people
Sir Christopher Wren PRS FRS was an English anatomist, astronomer and mathematician-physicist, as well as one of the most acclaimed English architects in history. He was accorded responsibility for rebuilding 52 churches in the City of London after the Great Fire in 1666, including what is regarded as his masterpiece, St Paul's Cathedral, on Ludgate Hill, completed in 1710; the principal creative responsibility for a number of the churches is now more attributed to others in his office Nicholas Hawksmoor. Other notable buildings by Wren include the Royal Naval College and the south front of Hampton Court Palace; the Wren Building, the main building at the College of William and Mary, Virginia, is attributed to Wren. Educated in Latin and Aristotelian physics at the University of Oxford, Wren was a founder of the Royal Society, his scientific work was regarded by Isaac Newton and Blaise Pascal. Wren was born in East Knoyle in Wiltshire, the only surviving son of Christopher Wren the Elder and Mary Cox, the only child of the Wiltshire squire Robert Cox from Fonthill Bishop.
Christopher Sr. was at that time the rector of East Knoyle and Dean of Windsor. It was, their son Christopher was born in 1632 two years another daughter named Elizabeth was born. Mary must have died shortly after the birth of Elizabeth, although there does not appear to be any surviving record of the date. Through Mary Cox, the family became well off financially for, as the only heir, she had inherited her father's estate; as a child Wren "seem'd consumptive." Although a sickly child, he would survive into robust old age. He was first taught at home by his father. After his father's royal appointment as Dean of Windsor in March 1635, his family spent part of each year there, but little is known about Wren's life at Windsor, he spent his first eight years at East Knoyle and was educated by the Rev. William Shepherd, a local clergyman. Little is known of Wren's schooling thereafter, during dangerous times when his father's Royal associations would have required the family to keep a low profile from the ruling Parliamentary authorities.
It was a tough time in his life, but one which would go on to have a significant impact upon his works. The story that he was at Westminster School between 1641 and 1646 is substantiated only by Parentalia, the biography compiled by his son, a fourth Christopher, which places him there "for some short time" before going up to Oxford; some of Wren's youthful exercises preserved or recorded showed that he received a thorough grounding in Latin and learned to draw. According to Parentalia, he was "initiated" in the principles of mathematics by Dr William Holder, who married Wren's elder sister Susan in 1643, his drawing was put to academic use in providing many of the anatomical drawings for the anatomy textbook of the brain, Cerebri Anatome, published by Thomas Willis, which coined the term "neurology." During this time period, Wren manifested an interest in the design and construction of mechanical instruments. It was through Holder that Wren met Sir Charles Scarburgh whom Wren assisted in his anatomical studies.
On 25 June 1650, Wren entered Wadham College, where he studied Latin and the works of Aristotle. It is anachronistic to imagine. However, Wren became associated with John Wilkins, the Warden of Wadham; the Wilkins circle was a group whose activities led to the formation of the Royal Society, comprising a number of distinguished mathematicians, creative workers and experimental philosophers. This connection influenced Wren's studies of science and mathematics at Oxford, he graduated B. A. in 1651, two years received M. A. Receiving his M. A. in 1653, Wren was elected a fellow of All Souls' College in the same year and began an active period of research and experiment in Oxford. His days as a fellow of All Souls ended when Wren was appointed Professor of Astronomy at Gresham College, London in 1657, he was provided with a set of rooms and a stipend and was required to give weekly lectures in both Latin and English to all who wished to attend. Wren took up this new work with enthusiasm, he continued to meet the men with.
They attended. It was from these meetings that the Royal Society, England's premier scientific body, was to develop, he undoubtedly played a major role in the early life of. In fact, the report on one of these meetings reads: Memorandum November 28, 1660; these persons following according to the usual custom of most of them, met together at Gresham College to hear Mr Wren's lecture, viz. The Lord Brouncker, Mr Boyle, Mr Bruce, Sir Robert Moray, Sir Paule Neile, Dr Wilkins, Dr Goddard, Dr Petty, Mr Ball, Mr Rooke, Mr Wren, Mr Hill, and after the lecture was ended they did according to the usual manner, withdraw for mutual converse. In 1662, they proposed a society "for the promotion of Physico-Mathe
John Cosin was an English churchman. He was born at Norwich, was educated at Norwich School and at Caius College, where he was scholar and afterwards fellow. On taking orders he was appointed secretary to John Overall, Bishop of Lichfield, domestic chaplain to Richard Neile, Bishop of Durham. In December 1624 he was made a prebendary of Durham, on 9 September 1625 Archdeacon of the East Riding of Yorkshire. In 1630 he received his degree of Doctor of Divinity, he first became known as an author in 1627, when he published his Collection of Private Devotions, a manual stated to have been prepared by command of King Charles I, for the use of Queen Henrietta Maria's maids of honour. This book, together with his insistence on points of ritual in his cathedral church and his friendship with William Laud, exposed Cosin to the hostility of the Puritans. In 1628 Cosin took part in the prosecution of a brother prebendary, Peter Smart, for a sermon against high church practices. On 8 February 1635 Cosin was appointed master of Cambridge.
In October of this year he was promoted to the deanery of Peterborough. A few days before his installation the Long Parliament had met, his petition against the new dean was considered. Articles of impeachment were presented against him two months but he was dismissed on bail. For sending the university plate to the king, he was deprived of the mastership of Peterhouse, he went to France, preached at Paris, served as chaplain to some members of the household of the exiled royal family. At the Restoration he returned to England, was reinstated in the mastership, restored to all his benefices, in a few months raised to the see of Durham – he therefore resigned from the Mastership of Peterhouse on 18 October 1660, he was elected to that See on 5 November. Cosin was responsible for a style of church woodwork unique to County Durham, a sumptuous fusion of gothic and contemporary Jacobean forms; the font cover in Durham Cathedral is a splendid example of this, as are the displays in the churches at Sedgefield and elsewhere.
The Cosin woodwork at Brancepeth has sadly been destroyed by fire. At the convocation in 1661 Cosin played a prominent part in the revision of the prayer-book, endeavoured with some success to bring both prayers and rubrics into better agreement with ancient liturgies, he administered his diocese for eleven years. He died in London in 1672, he had married Frances, the daughter of Marmaduke Blakiston on 15 August 1626 at St Margaret's, Durham. Though a classical high churchman and a rigorous enforcer of outward conformity, Cosin was uncompromisingly hostile to Roman Catholicism, most of his writings illustrate this antagonism. In France he was on friendly terms with Huguenots, justifying himself on the ground that their non-episcopal ordination had not been of their own seeking, at the Savoy conference in 1661 he tried hard to effect a reconciliation with the Presbyterians, he differed from the majority of his colleagues in his strict attitude towards Sunday observance and in favouring, in the case of adultery, both divorce and the remarriage of the innocent party.
Among his writings are a Historia Transubstantiationis Papalis and Collections on the Book of Common Prayer and A Scholastical History of the Canon of Holy Scripture. A collected edition of his works, forming 5 vols of the Oxford Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology, was published between 1843 and 1855. Among his notable work was the translation of "Veni Creator Spiritus" included in the 1662 revision of the Book of Common Prayer. 1594–1623: John Cosin Esq. 1623–1624: The Reverend John Cosin 1624–1625: The Reverend Prebendary John Cosin 1625–1630: The Venerable John Cosin 1630–1640: The Venerable Doctor John Cosin 1640–1660: The Very Reverend Doctor John Cosin 1660–1672: The Right Reverend Doctor John Cosin This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Cosin, John". Encyclopædia Britannica. 7. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 213–214. Project Canterbury: The Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology
The Puritans were English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who sought to purify the Church of England of Roman Catholic practices, maintaining that the Church of England had not been reformed and needed to become more Protestant. Puritanism played a significant role in English history during the Protectorate. Puritans were dissatisfied with the limited extent of the English Reformation and with the Church of England's toleration of certain practices associated with the Roman Catholic Church, they formed and identified with various religious groups advocating greater purity of worship and doctrine, as well as personal and corporate piety. Puritans adopted a Reformed theology and, in that sense, were Calvinists. In church polity, some advocated separation from all other established Christian denominations in favour of autonomous gathered churches; these separatist and independent strands of Puritanism became prominent in the 1640s, when the supporters of a Presbyterian polity in the Westminster Assembly were unable to forge a new English national church.
By the late 1630s, Puritans were in alliance with the growing commercial world, with the parliamentary opposition to the royal prerogative, with the Scottish Presbyterians with whom they had much in common. They became a major political force in England and came to power as a result of the First English Civil War. All Puritan clergy left the Church of England after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 and the 1662 Uniformity Act. Many continued to practice their faith in nonconformist denominations in Congregationalist and Presbyterian churches; the nature of the movement in England changed radically, although it retained its character for a much longer period in New England. Puritanism was never a formally defined religious division within Protestantism, the term Puritan itself was used after the turn of the 18th century; some Puritan ideals, including the formal rejection of Roman Catholicism, were incorporated into the doctrines of the Church of England. The Congregational churches considered to be a part of the Reformed tradition, are descended from the Puritans.
Moreover, Puritan beliefs are enshrined in the Savoy Declaration, the confession of faith held by the Congregationalist churches. In the 17th century, the word Puritan was a term applied not to many. Historians still debate a precise definition of Puritanism. Puritan was a pejorative term characterizing certain Protestant groups as extremist. Thomas Fuller, in his Church History, dates the first use of the word to 1564. Archbishop Matthew Parker of that time used it and precisian with a sense similar to the modern stickler. Puritans were distinguished for being "more intensely protestant than their protestant neighbors or the Church of England"."Non-separating Puritans" were dissatisfied with the Reformation of the Church of England but remained within it, advocating for further reform. "Separatists", or "separating Puritans", thought the Church of England was so corrupt that true Christians should separate from it altogether. In its widest historical sense, the term Puritan includes both groups.
Puritans should not be confused with more radical Protestant groups of the 16th and 17th centuries, such as Quakers and Familists who believed that individuals could be directly guided by the Holy Spirit and prioritized direct revelation over the Bible. In current English, puritan means "against pleasure". In such usage and puritanism are antonyms. In fact, Puritans placed it in the context of marriage. Peter Gay writes of the Puritans' standard reputation for "dour prudery" as a "misreading that went unquestioned in the nineteenth century", commenting how unpuritanical they were in favour of married sexuality, in opposition to the Catholic veneration of virginity, citing Edward Taylor and John Cotton. One Puritan settlement in western Massachusetts banished a husband because he refused to fulfill his sexual duties to his wife. Puritanism has a historical importance over a period of a century, followed by fifty years of development in New England, it changed character and emphasis decade-by-decade over that time.
Elizabethan Puritanism contended with the Elizabethan religious settlement, with little to show for it. The Lambeth Articles of 1595, a high-water mark for Calvinism within the Church of England, failed to receive royal approval; the accession of James I to the English throne brought the Millenary Petition, a Puritan manifesto of 1603 for reform of the English church, but James wanted a religious settlement along different lines. He called the Hampton Court Conference in 1604, heard the teachings of four prominent Puritan leaders, including Laurence Chaderton, but sided with his bishops, he was well informed on theological matters by his education and Scottish upbringing, he dealt shortly with the peevish legacy of Elizabethan Puritanism, pursuing an eirenic religious policy, in which he was arbiter. Many of James's episcopal appointments were Calvinists, notably James Montague, an influential courtier. Puritans still opposed much of the Roman Catholic summation in the Church of England, notably the Book of Common Prayer but the use of non-secular vestments during services, the sign of the Cross in baptism, kneeling to receive Holy Communion.
Some of the bishops under both Elizabeth and James tried to suppress Puritanism, though other bishops were more to
Tower of London
The Tower of London Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill, it was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite; the castle was used as a prison from 1100 until 1952, although, not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence; as a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion under Kings Richard I, Henry III, Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries; the general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite activity on the site.
The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times, controlling it has been important to controlling the country; the Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office, the home of the Crown Jewels of England. From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on the coronation of a monarch. In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower is in charge of the castle; this was a trusted position in the medieval period. In the late 15th century, the castle was the prison of the Princes in the Tower. Under the Tudors, the Tower became used less as a royal residence, despite attempts to refortify and repair the castle, its defences lagged behind developments to deal with artillery; the peak period of the castle's use as a prison was the 16th and 17th centuries, when many figures who had fallen into disgrace, such as Elizabeth I before she became queen, Sir Walter Raleigh, Elizabeth Throckmorton, were held within its walls.
This use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower". Despite its enduring reputation as a place of torture and death, popularised by 16th-century religious propagandists and 19th-century writers, only seven people were executed within the Tower before the World Wars of the 20th century. Executions were more held on the notorious Tower Hill to the north of the castle, with 112 occurring there over a 400-year period. In the latter half of the 19th century, institutions such as the Royal Mint moved out of the castle to other locations, leaving many buildings empty. Anthony Salvin and John Taylor took the opportunity to restore the Tower to what was felt to be its medieval appearance, clearing out many of the vacant post-medieval structures. In the First and Second World Wars, the Tower was again used as a prison and witnessed the executions of 12 men for espionage. After the Second World War, damage caused during the Blitz was repaired, the castle reopened to the public. Today, the Tower of London is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions.
Under the ceremonial charge of the Constable of the Tower, operated by the Resident Governor of the Tower of London and Keeper of the Jewel House, the property is cared for by the charity Historic Royal Palaces and is protected as a World Heritage Site. The Tower was orientated with its strongest and most impressive defences overlooking Saxon London, which archaeologist Alan Vince suggests was deliberate, it stood out to traffic on the River Thames. The castle enclosures; the innermost ward is the earliest phase of the castle. Encircling it to the north and west is the inner ward, built during the reign of Richard I. There is the outer ward which encompasses the castle and was built under Edward I. Although there were several phases of expansion after William the Conqueror founded the Tower of London, the general layout has remained the same since Edward I completed his rebuild in 1285; the castle encloses an area of 12 acres with a further 6 acres around the Tower of London constituting the Tower Liberties – land under the direct influence of the castle and cleared for military reasons.
The precursor of the Liberties was laid out in the 13th century when Henry III ordered that a strip of land adjacent to the castle be kept clear. Despite popular fiction, the Tower of London never had a permanent torture chamber, although the basement of the White Tower housed a rack in periods. Tower Wharf was built on the bank of the Thames under Edward I and was expanded to its current size during the reign of Richard II; the White Tower is a keep, the strongest structure in a medieval castle, contained lodgings suitable for the lord – in this case, the king or his representative. According to military historian Allen Brown, "The great tower was by virtue of its strength and lordly accommodation, the donjon par excellence"; as one of the largest keeps in the Christian world, the White Tower has been described as "the most complete eleventh-century palace in Europe". The White Tower, not including its projecting corner towers, measures 36 by 32 metres at the base, is 27 m high at the southern battlements.
The structure was three storeys high, comprising a basement floor, an entrance level, an upper floor. The entrance, as is usual in Norman keeps, was above ground
Bishop of Norwich
The Bishop of Norwich is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Norwich in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese covers most of part of Suffolk; the most recent Bishop of Norwich was Graham James. The see is in the city of Norwich and the seat is located at the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity; the Bishop's residence is Norwich. It is claimed that the Bishop is the Abbot of St Benet's Abbey, the contention being that instead of dissolving this monastic institution, Henry VIII united the position of Abbot with that of Bishop of Norwich, making St Benet's the only monastic institution to escape de jure dissolution, although it was despoiled by its last Abbot. East Anglia has had a bishopric since 630, when the first cathedral was founded at Dommoc to be identified as the submerged village of Dunwich. In 673, the see was divided into the bishoprics of Elmham. After the Conquest the seat was moved in 1070 to Thetford, before being located in Norwich in 1094 under William II, ahead of the completion of the new cathedral building.
In about 630 or 631, a diocese was established by St. Felix for the Kingdom of the East Angles, with his episcopal seat at Dunwich on the Suffolk coast. In 672, the diocese was divided into the sees of Dunwich and Elmham by St. Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury; the line of bishops of Elmham continued until it was interrupted by the Danish Viking invasions in the late 9th and early 10th centuries. By the mid 950s, the sees of Elmham and Dunwich were reunited under one bishop, with the episcopal see at Elmham. After the Norman conquest, the see was transferred to Thetford in 1075, soon afterwards to Norwich in 1094. Though the see took the name Norwich in the 11th century, its history goes back 500 years earlier, to the final conversion of the kingdom of East Anglia by St Felix; the East Angles became Christian during the reign of Sigeberht, who succeeded to the kingdom in 628. Felix fixed his see at Dommoc, which may have been at Dunwich, now entirely submerged off the coast of Suffolk. From there he evangelized the areas corresponding to the modern counties of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, which were to form the diocese of Norwich.
He was succeeded in turn by Thomas in 647, Bifus. Upon the death of Bifus, in 673 Theodore, the Archbishop of Canterbury, divided the see between Dunwich and Elmham; the see of Elmham came to an end in about 870, after the East Anglian king Edmund and the bishop Humbertus were murdered by the Danes. East Anglia was ravaged, the churches and monasteries destroyed, Christianity was only practised with difficulty. Wilred, Bishop of Dunwich seems to have reunited the dioceses, choosing Elmham as his see; the line of his successors at Elmham descended to Herfast, a chaplain to William the Conqueror, who removed his see to Thetford Priory and died in 1084. Herbert de Losinga obtained his appointment in 1091 by means of a simoniacal gift to King William Rufus to secure his election, but being subsequently struck with remorse went to Rome in 1094 to obtain absolution from the pope. Herbert founded a priory in Norwich in expiation for his sin and at the same time moved his see there from Thetford in 1094 under William.
The See of Thetford was formed when Herfast moved the episcopal see from Elmham to Thetford in 1075. This short-lived see continued until it was moved to Norwich in 1094; the chapter of secular canons was dissolved and monks took their place. The foundation-stone of the new cathedral at Norwich was laid in 1096, in honour of the Blessed Trinity. By the time of his death in 1119, Herbert de Losinga had completed the choir, apsidal and encircled by a procession path, which gave access to three Norman chapels, his successor, completed the long Norman nave so that the cathedral is a early twelfth-century building, modified by additions and alterations. The chief of these is the Lady Chapel; the cathedral suffered much from iconoclasm during the civil wars. The Norwich diocese consisted of Norfolk and Suffolk with some parts of Cambridgeshire, being divided into four archdeaconries: Norfolk, Norwich and Sudbury. At the end of the seventeenth century there were 1,121 parish-churches, this number had not changed much since Catholic times.
The main religious houses in the medieval diocese were the Benedictine Abbeys of Bury St Edmunds, St Benet's of Hulme, the cathedral priory of Norwich, along with the Cistercian Abbey of Sibton, the only Cistercian Abbey in East Anglia, the abbeys of the Augustinian Canons at Wendling and Laystone. Both Dominican and Franciscan convents were to be found at Lynn, Yarmouth and Ipswich, while the Dominicans had houses at Thetford and Sudbury and the Franciscans at Bury St Edmund's and at Walsingham, where the great shrine of Our Lady was, a foundation of Augustinian canons; the Carmelites were at Lynn, Norwich and Blakeney. The last bishop before the start of the English Reformation was Richard Nykke, succeeded by William Rugg in 1536. After him came in 1550 Thomas Thirlby, appointed Bishop of Westminster by the King alone but was reconciled to the Pope in the reign of Queen Mary. After him in 1554 came John Hopton, the last Bishop of
St Peter, Westcheap
St Peter, Westcheap called "St Peter Cheap", "St Peter at the Cross in Cheap", or "Ecclesia S. Petri de Wodestreet", was a parish and parish church of medieval origins in the City of London; the church stood at the south-west corner of Wood Street where it opens onto Cheapside, directly facing the old Cheapside Cross. In its heyday it was a familiar landmark where the City waits used to stand on the roof and play as the great processions went past, it was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, together with most of its surroundings, was never rebuilt. In its place three shops were built on the Cheapside frontage in 1687, the land behind continued to be used as a burial-ground and garden, enclosed with railings in 1712; the ancient Cheapside plane tree grows there, with the group of houses and garden survived the Second Great Fire of London in December 1940. The garden is still maintained for public use. Here William Wordsworth was moved to write of "Poor Susan" who, hearing the song of a thrush in the busy London thoroughfare, was transported by the vision of a stream flowing through the fields and her solitary cottage in the countryside.
The small parish of St Peter Westcheap lay on the north of Cheapside, between the lower ends of Gutter Lane in the west and Wood Street in the east, enclosed the whole of Goldsmith Street. It was in the Ward of Farringdon Within, but touched on Bread Street Ward and Cripplegate Ward. After the Fire it was united with St Matthew Friday Street; that church was demolished in 1885 and the parishes were united with St Vedast Foster Lane. The seventh-century foundation of St Paul's stood within the Roman walls of the former Londinium; the routes leading from the Barbican or Cripplegate in the north down towards Queenhithe on the river, from Aldgate in the east passing north of St Paul's towards Ludgate and Newgate in the west, crossed at the junction of Wood Street with the western part of Cheapside. This is the backdrop for the location's importance within the developing medieval street-grid; the tradition that King Offa of Mercia had his palace adjacent to St Alban's church in Wood Street as its chapel may be legendary, but it draws upon Offa's role as the founder of St Albans Abbey.
The pre-Conquest origins of St Albans Wood Street and of St Mary-le-Bow, of St Michael Wood Street, indicated by evidence of their physical remains, preceded the development of neighbourhood churches or private chapels nearby. The name "Chepe" refers to a market area on the north side of the present thoroughfare, serving many different trades, replaced by formal structures. In the Middle Ages Cheapside formed part of the processional concourse through the city towards Westminster, witnessed all the pageantry of Coronation processions and diplomatic entries and, from the time of Edward I until the 16th century, of the tourneys and civic spectacles including the annual "Midsummer Watch". At the Wood Street crossing, between St Mary-le-Bow church and the north side of St Paul's Churchyard, directly in front of St Peter's, the Cheapside Cross was set up by King Edward I in 1291-94 as one of the "Eleanor crosses" marking the resting-places of the body of Queen Eleanor on the way to Westminster Abbey.
This became a central place of public proclamation, being densely populated by merchants and their apprentices of all kinds, was the scene of many public punishments and executions, the focus of frequent popular disturbances. In late medieval times this locality was famous for its community of wealthy gold- and silversmiths. Within the sphere of St Paul's, of Paul's Cross, belonging to the Diocese of London, St Peter Westcheap stood in the heart of London's civic and ecclesiastical life; the church and parish of St Peter Westcheap were in existence in the 12th century. A deed of Ralph de Diceto, Dean of St Paul's c. 1180-1200, grants land in "Godrune Lane" in the parish of St Peter. The patronage of the church belonged to the Abbots of St Albans until the Dissolution of the monasteries. In early times it may have stood within the ward of Cheap. Walter Hervey, alderman of Cheap, who at the end of the reign of King Henry III was elected Mayor by folkmoot, sought to reorganize the Guilds and Crafts of London and issued several charters.
When these were repudiated by his successor Henry le Walleis in 1273 and by Gregory de Rokesley, coming from the Guildhall, assembled a great crowd of supporters at St Peter's church in Chepe, promised to maintain their charters if he could. Although the repressive clearance of the Chepe followed, this was a critical moment in the development of the Guilds. In June 1302, soon after the building of the Cheapside Cross, King Edward I presented William de Stanham to the church of St Peter in Wodestrete, it being in his hands by the voidance of St Albans Abbey. Two years the clerk of the church, John Blome, was arrested by the Sheriffs for his part in an armed affray in the Chepe between tailors and cordwainers at All Hallows Eve. A long connection arose with the Mystery of the Goldsmiths, whose Hall stood in Foster Lane, whose constituted patron was St Dunstan; the Craft was concentrated within the parish. Edward III, granting his first charter to the Goldsmiths in 1327, stipulated that all licensed goldsmiths in the City should have their shops in the high street of Cheap, so that the assay of precious metals could be controlled and conducted near to the King's Exchange.
Thomas de Winton is mentioned as re