St Mary’s Old Church Door

A church has been at the site of St Mary’s Old Church, Stoke Newington, London since the time of the Domesday Book (1086). The current Elizabethan Church (16 c.) was erected by Lord William Patten as an Anglican church in Stoke Newington, then a village on the outskirts of London.

Patten, Lord of the Manor from 1549 to 1571, decided to rebuild the almost derelict parish church in1563. On the south side is Patten’s private chapel with its own door at the east end with the date and his motto “ab alto” (“from above”) over the door. The door inside to his private chapel has his family crest with its motto “Prospice” (“look forward”). The red brick walls and arcade separating the chapel from the nave date from then. Patten’s design included a vestry at the east end and a schoolroom at the west end. The parish school is four hundred years old.

In 1805 the seating in the church was replaced with high pews with panels and doors. In 1829 Sir Charles Barry enlarged the church. After bomb damage in 1940 the Church was restored in 1953. The church interior was remodeled in 2013 and the majority of the pews were removed. It is now used as an arts and community space.

John Dudley, Patten’s successor as Lord of the Manor, has an elaborate tomb behind the pulpit. Dudley held offices at court and was one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorites. The memorial to the Hartopp family (end of the north aisle) commemorates some of Charles Fleetwood descendants; such as, Oliver Cromwell’s son-in-law, who lived in Fleetwood House, Church Street.

Buried in the south-eastern part of the churchyard is James Stephen, William Wilberforce’s brother in law, a chief adviser on the final draft of the Bill to abolish the slave trade in 1807. Wilberforce’s sister and daughter are also buried there. Wilberforce wished to be buried there, but was interred at Westminster Abbey instead. The poet and abolitionist Anna Barbauld is entombed to the right of the path to the main south door (Source:

Post created mainly for Norm’s Thursday Doors from photos take on December 21, 23 and 29, 2015. This is my third posting on Stoke Newington. The other two are:

St Mary's Old Chirch door, Stoke Newington
St Mary’s Old Chirch door, Stoke Newington

13 thoughts on “St Mary’s Old Church Door

  1. Sherry Lynn Felix 2016-01-30 / 3:12 pm

    Thanks. I used to live there as a child so I have lots of memories to build on.


  2. janemorley2014 2016-01-30 / 5:18 am

    Looks beautiful Sherry Lynn, some perfect churchyard light there too!


  3. Steve Schwartzman 2016-01-28 / 5:48 am

    If I can stoke the etymological fire, let me cite what I just found in Wikipedia: “Stoke is one of the most common place names in the United Kingdom and in historical documents. Originally from the Old English ‘stoc’ meaning ‘place’, it came to be used in two special senses, i) a religious place and ii) a secondary settlement.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jet Eliot 2016-01-25 / 1:26 pm

    I very much enjoyed this visit to St. Mary’s, Sherry. The history is fascinating, and I am completely humbled by how far back one English structure can be traced. Your photos are wonderful, as always. I see you have been very busy posting on your recent England visit, and look forward to visiting England more with you. Thanks so much, or should I say “cheerio.”

    Liked by 1 person

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