St Mary Aldermanbury

The church and churchyard site was acquired by the City of London in 1970 and laid out as a public garden.

The site contains the footings of the 1437 church of St Mary Aldermanbury, A church existed here since the 12 th century at the time this belonged to the Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s.

Then in 1331 it became a hospital, and remained so until the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

The church was partially rebuilt in the early 15th century. Come 1666 and St. Mary Aldermanbury was destroyed by the Great Fire of London – It was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren.  Then in 1940 during WW2 the church was bombed leaving only the walls.

In 1966 the remains of the church were shipped to Fulton, Missouri, USA, where the restored church now stands. The reason for this was Nine months after Churchill failed to be re-elected as Britain’s Prime Minister, Churchill travelled by train with President Harry Truman to make a speech. On March 5, 1946, at the request of Westminster College in the small Missouri town of Fulton (population of 7,000), Churchill gave his now famous “Iron Curtain” speech to a crowd of 40,000. In addition to accepting an honorary degree from the college, Churchill made one of his most famous post- war speeches. In this speech, Churchill gave the very descriptive phrase that surprised the United States and Britain, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.”  Before this speech, the U.S. and Britain had been concerned with their own post-war economies and had remained extremely grateful for the Soviet Union’s proactive role in ending WW11

It was Churchill’s speech, which he titled “The Sinews of Peace,” that changed the way the democratic West viewed the Communist East. Though many people believe that Churchill coined the phrase “the iron curtain” during this speech, the term had actually been used for decades (including in several earlier letters from Churchill to Truman). Churchill’s use of the phrase gave it wider circulation and made the phrase popularly recognized as the division of Europe into East and West. Many people consider Churchill’s “iron curtain speech” the beginning of the Cold War.

There is also the plaque showing the site of Aldermanbury Conduit here from 1471 to the 18th century providing free water.

Among those buried here in 1693 was Judge Jeffreys ‘often boasted that he had hanged more men than all the judges of England since the time of William the Conqueror’

The garden includes a bust of Shakespeare by Charles Allen This was ‘given to the nation’ in 1896 in memory of John Heminge and Henry Condell, who were fellow actors of Shakespeare and who lived & died in the parish of St Mary’s Aldermanbury. It is due to them that Shakespeare’s works were handed down; after his death in 1616 they collected his works and published them in 1623 at their own personal expense.

photo By H. R. Allenson – http://www.exciting.org.uk/postcards/allenson/hra09.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18985074

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