St. Peter upon Cornhill

roseAgas Map
St. Peter upon Cornhill stood at the highest point of the city, on the south side of Cornhill street near the corner of Gracechurch Street. It was located in the south east of Cornhill ward and was featured on the Agas map with the label S. Peter.
St. Peter’s upon Cornhill was of medieval origin. An often cited tablet preserved within the church claimed that St. Peter’s was the first Christian church in London founded by King Lucius in 197 CE. St. Peter’s served as the chief church of King Lucius’ kingdom for 400 years until the reign of Augustin the Monk. Skepticism over the veracity of the account was expressed by Stow, since Lucius’ claim as the first Christian king was contested by ecclesiastical historians. The inscription on the tablet was believed to have been authored in a later century:
Be hit known to all men, that the yeerys of owr Lord God, An. CLXXIX. Lucius, the fyrst Christen king of this Lond, then callyd Brytayne, fowndyd the fyrst chyrch in London, that is to sey, the chyrch of Sent Peter apon Cornhyl; and he fowndyd ther an archbishop’s see, and made that chirch the metropolitant and cheef chirch of this kindom, and so enduryd the space of CCCC. yeerys and more, unto the commyng of Sent Austen, an apostyl of Englond, the whych was sent into the Lond by Sent Gregory, the doctor of the chirch, in the tyme of king Ethelbert, and then was the archbishoppys see and pol removyd from the aforeseyd chirch of Sent Peter’s apon Cornhyl unto Derebernaum, that now ys callyd Canterbury, and ther yt remeynyth to this dey. And Millet Monk, whych came into this Lond wyth Sent Austen, was made the fyrst bishop of London, and hys see was made in Powllys chirch. And this Lucius, kyng, was the fyrst foundyr of Peter’s chyrch apon Cornhyl; and he regnyd king in thys ilond after Brut, MCCXLV. yeerys. And the yeerys of owr Lord God a CXXIV. Lucius was crownyd kyng, and the yeerys of hys reygne LXXVII yeerys, and he was beryd aftyr sum cronekil at London, and aftyr sum cronekil he was beryd at Glowcester, at that plase wher the ordyr of Sent Francys standyth. (Noorthouk 606)
Adding to the legend, the second archbishop of London, Elvanus, built a library next to St. Peter’s which helped to convert many Druids to Christianity (Stow 1:194).
Records show that William Kingston donated his tenement called the Horse Mill in Gracechurch Street to the library before 1298. St. Peter’s rectory included the patronage of Sir Hugh Nevil, Lady Alice Nevil, Richard Earl of Arundel and Surrey in 1362, and then passed through many hands before it became common property in 1411 under the London Mayor Richard Whittington. St. Peter’s library was re-installed as a grammar school in 1447 as one of four established by the parliament under King Henry VI (Stow 1:194-195). According to Stow, despite its ancient appearance, St. Peter’s had been almost entirely rebuilt, except for its steeple (Stow 1:194).
Although the clergy of St. Peter’s was chiefly composed of members of the Fishmongers’ Company (Harben 469), Stow remarks that some inhabitants of Limestreet Ward went to St. Peter’s for church service while their parish churches, such as St. Augustine’s Papey, were suppressed during the Reformation (Stow 1:161).
St. Peter’s burned down in the Great Fire and was rebuilt by Christopher Wren between 1675-1681 (Weinreb 815). The tablet was destroyed by the fire but its inscription was re-inscribed on a brass plate, which remains in the church today.


Cite this page

MLA citation

McKenna, Katie, Catriona Duncan, and Kate LeBere. St. Peter upon Cornhill The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 7.0, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 05 May 2022,

Chicago citation

McKenna, Katie, Catriona Duncan, and Kate LeBere. St. Peter upon Cornhill The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 7.0. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed May 05, 2022.

APA citation

McKenna, K., Duncan, C., & LeBere, K. 2022. St. Peter upon Cornhill In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London (Edition 7.0). Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from

RIS file (for RefMan, RefWorks, EndNote etc.)

Provider: University of Victoria
Database: The Map of Early Modern London
Content: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

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A1  - Duncan, Catriona
A1  - LeBere, Kate
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - St. Peter upon Cornhill
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
ET  - 7.0
PY  - 2022
DA  - 2022/05/05
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  -
UR  -
ER  - 

TEI citation

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