The Parish Registers of St James Garlickhythe are the oldest in England.
The first entry being the Baptism of an Edward Butler on 18th November 1535. William Boyce the composer was baptised here on 11th September 1711.
The full name of the present parish is: St James garlickhythe with St Michael Queenhithe and Holy Trinity-the-Less. However, Holy Trinity-the-Less, whilst rebuilt in 1673 as the first Lutheran Church in London, was later destroyed and St Michael Queenhithe was pulled down in 1894. In the redrawing of parish Boundaries in 1954 four more ancient Parishes were acquired.
Of the seven churches originally in the parish, only St James Garlickhythe and St Michael Paternoster Royal exist today. 13th century St Michael’s, rebuilt by the famous Richard (Dick) Whittington who was buried there in 1423, became a Guild Church in 1954 and is now an extra-parochial Chapel served by the Missions to Seamen, whose headquarters are there.
The ancient registers and other City records can be seen in the Guildhall Library.
This Wards Club is very active, some members being regular worshipers at the church. Victorian archives record that the Club sent deputations to Downing Street in support of local issues. Over recent years, a range of interesting visits and functions is arranged throughout each year, including the Annual Luncheon at The Guildhall. For further information please write to the Hon. Secretary at 66 Alleyn Park, Dulwich, London, SE21 8SF.
Are you a Liveryman of any of the 12 Companies that use the church? Do you frequently use Mansion House tube station, the river walkway or some of our many pubs, wine bars and cafés? Are you a member of the Prayer Book Society, or one of its sister societies in Canada, the United States or Australia? Are you a shopkeeper in the surrounding area? Are you a member of a choir that rehearses at St James, or come to the occasional meetings and lectures here? Do you work in one of the many offices surrounding the Church? Are you visiting the area? Then — in all these situations — we are happy and keen to be your ‘Parish’ church in the parish of St James Garlickhythe.
The City of London comprises 25 different Wards each represented by an Alderman elected from within the Ward. The City’s Local Authority, the unique Corporation of London, manages the City’s affairs through both the Court of Common Council and the Aldermanic Court from which the Lord Mayor of London is nominated and then elected by Liverymen of the City. The Corporation has recently received the authority of Parliament to introduce a new voting franchise that will include, for the first time, businesses within the Square Mile. This major project has presented the opportunity for the Corporation to review Ward boundaries and it is expected that some proposed changes will be presented in the early part of 2004.
Vintry & Dowgate Wards
The majority of the parish area comprises the Wards of Vintry and Dowgate. Part of the Ward of Queenhythe forms the western area of the parish together with a very small part of the Ward of Walbrook to the north east.
After many years of devoted service to the parish and the Ward of Vintry, Alderman Sir John Chalstrey KB was succeeded, on retirement, by Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley the Director of Music and Organist to St James Garlickhythe. At the same time, Alderman Alison Gowman succeeded Alderman Sir Christopher Leaver GBE to represent the Ward of Dowgate that is within the parish.
The Vintry Ward Club was founded in 1877 and the name changed in 1957 to the Vintry and Dowgate Wards Club. A number of Lord Mayors have been elected from the Vintry & Dowgate Wards including both Patrons, Alderman Sir Christopher Leaver and Alderman Sir John Chalstrey.
The Hanseatic League
The earliest international company in the world was set up by the Hanseatic League in the 13th century, on the site now occupied by Cannon Street rail station within the parish of St James Garlickhythe. Old records describe the building as the principal factory in Dowgate Ward, provided with handsome spacious quays for the import and export of goods throughout the League. This area was soon extended with additional warehouse space and housing for the traders and their agents from Germany.
The business grew thanks in part to ‘special arrangements’ negotiated with the City through the League’s own representative Aldermen. It more than once threatened to monopolise the foreign trade of London and aroused the jealous animosity of English citizens. The League became the most powerful force in Europe in its time, involving not only Germany and the City but also the, now named, Baltic States including parts of Scandinavia, Russia etc.
In the middle of the 16th century, competition of the English merchant adventurers out-paced the Hansa merchants of the Hanseatic League who were finally expelled from England by Queen Elizabeth towards the end of that century.