The Billingsgate Gossip
14th December 2011
A brief history of Charlie Caisey by spitalfields life - still championing fish at 81 years young! please click here to read
The President attended the Carol Service by Candlelight at St Mary at Hill – Church for the Ward of Billingsgate.
The President and his wife were invited to the service by Reverend Canon Flora Winfield, and was asked to give a reading to the congregation, he delivered the Sixth Lesson of the Gospel of St Luke, Chapters 8 - 16.
The service was a great success and was supported not only by The National Federation of Fishmongers but also:
Billingsgate Ward Club
The Master of the Worshipful Company of Fuellers
The Worshipful Company of Water Conservators
Clyde and Company
Canary Wharf Contractors Ltd
St Mary-at-Hill has served in the Parish of Billingsgate for nearly a thousand years. An 'ancient church' on this site is mentioned in a legal document dated 1177, so we can conjecture with some certainty that a church dedicated to St Mary the Virgin has stood here since at least the end of the 11th Century.
Billingsgate Quay was an important Anglo-Saxon harbour in the 10th and 11th centuries. The route north into the old city would have led past the church, the steep rise up from the river giving it the name of St Mary at or on the Hill.
The original church was no doubt smaller than the present building which has been extended, altered and renovated throughout its history - The Churchwardens' accounts from the C15th inform us that by then it had side chapels dedicated to St Stephen, St Katherine, St Ann and St Christopher.
Badly damaged in the Great Fire of London which started in Pudding Lane, a stones throw from St Mary at Hill, the church was rebuilt under the supervision of Christopher Wren and works were completed in 1677 at a cost of £3980.
St Thomas a 'Becket was an early rector at this important Church in the history of the City of London - the National Federation of Fishmongers have a long association with this church, due to its proximity to the Old Billingsgate Market and support several services throughout the year which includes the Harvest Festival of the Sea and also the Carol Service by Candlelight.