All Hallows the Great and All Hallows the Less, London Family History Guide

All Hallows the Great and All Hallows the Less is an Ecclesiastical Parish in the county of London, created in 1670 from All Hallows the Great Ancient Parish and All Hallows the Less Ancient Parish; located on Allhallows Lane.

Parish church:

Parish registers begin: 1667

  • Separate registers exist for: All Hallows the Less: 1558

Nonconformists include:

Parishes adjacent to All Hallows the Great and All Hallows the Less

  • St Swithun London Stone with St Mary Bothaw
  • St Mary Abchurch with St Lawrence Pountney
  • St Clement Eastcheap with St Martin Orgar
  • Southwark St Peter
  • St Michael Royal with St Martin Vintry
  • Southwark St Saviour

Historical Descriptions

London Parishes 1824

ALHALLOWS the GREAT, and ALHALLOWS the LESS.

These parishes are so called from their being dedicated to All Saints, and the words Great and Less are added be cause one is larger than the other. I believe there is no certain account when or by whom these churches were founded, but, being destroyed by the fire in 1666, the church of Alhallows the Great was rebuilt in 1683, at the charge of £5641. 9s. 9d; and Alhallows the Less was united to it by act of parliament.

It stands on the south side of Thames street, in the ward of Dowgate, within the walls of London.

It is a rectory in the gift of his grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. Rated in the King’s books at, £41. 13s. 1½d. Value, per act of parliament 44 Geo. III, £333. 6s. 8d. Rector, Rev. Mr. Vincent. Lecturer, Rev. Mr. Lawrance. Parish-clerk, Mr. W. L. Lord. Divine service at 11 and 3. — 2 bells. — About 110 houses. The vestry of Alhallows the Great cons?sts of 32 persons; that of the Less is general.

The boundaries of Alhallows the Great extend from Campion-lane to where Joiners’-hall formerly stood on the south side of Thames-street; and on the north side from Suffolk-lane to within one house of Elbow-lane (including part of Friar-lane, Campion-lane, Doublehood-warehouse, Hand- court, and Chequer-yard). On the left of Chequer-yard, towards Dowgate, only one house; from thence to Bush- lane, (where Plumbers’-hall formerly stood,) three houses leading to Great Bush-lane, and on the east of ditto to Cross-lane, round to Suffolk- lane, where they end.

Those of Alhallows the Less begin at Suffolk-lane end on the west side, and extend to Lawrence Pountney-lane (including the west side of George-alley, to the water-side;) from thence to the right as far as Cole-arbour; three houses on the west of Lawrence Pountney-lane, with the courts, &c.

Source: London parishes: containing the situation, antiquity, and re-building of the churches within the bills of mortality. B. Weed 1824

A Topographical Dictionary of London and Its Environs 1831

ALLHALLOWS THE GREAT the church of is situated at the north east corner of Allhallows lane on the south side Upper Thames street nearly opposite the lower end of Bush lane Cannon street It derives its name from its dedication to all the saints or hallows and its epithets to distinguish it from an adjoining church the same name which was called the less It is also in ancient books called the more or the greater and ad Faemum in the oropery from its vicinity to some rope walks This church was founded by the ancestors of the Despencer family from whom it passed to the crown till in 1546 Henry the Eighth gave it to Thomas Archbishop of Canterbury in whose successors it has remained to the present day It is a rectory and one of the thirteen peculiars in London belonging to the Archiepiscopal see of Canterbury After the fire of London the parish of Allhallows the Less originally called Allhallows super cellarium from being built on arched vaults or cellars was united to Allhallows the Great and the present church built from the designs of Sir Christopher Wren erected for the use of both parishes Its present rector is the Rev Wm St Andrew Vincent a prebendary of Chichester who was instituted in 1788.

The interior of this church is of the Tuscan order is eighty seven feet long sixty feet broad and thirty three feet high built of brick and stone in a strong and solid manner The tower is plain square and divided into five stories and having neither spire turret or pinnacles has the appearance of being unfinished which is very likely to be the case as Sir Christopher Wren was too good a master of his art to erect such a foundation to carry nothing Among the funereal monuments that were in the ancient church of Allhallows the Great and that were destroyed by the great fire was one of too interesting a nature to be omitted even in a work like the present where brevity is the soul of its excellence if not of its wit It was one erected probably by the parish to the memory of our illustrious if not amiable Queen Elizabeth to whom may very properly be applied the epitaph of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria
Sexu foeinina ingenio vir

The inscriptions on the monument in question ran as follows

If royal virtues ever crown’d a crown
If ever mildness shin’d in majesty
If ever honour honour’d true renown
If ever courage dwelt with clemency
If ever princess put all princes down
For temperance prowess prudence equity
This this was she that in despite of death
Lives still admir’d ador’d Elizabeth

“Many daughters have done virtuously but thou excellest them all”

On the representation of a book above her bust is the following

“They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Sion which shall not be removed”

On the right side of the monument

“Spain’s rod Rome’s ruin the Netherland’s relief
Heaven’s gem earth’s joy world’s wonder nation’s chief

On the left side

“Britain’s blessing England’s splendour Religion’s nurse and Faith’s defender”

And beneath

“I have fought a good fight I have finished my course”

Queen Elizabeth died the 24th March 1602 

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of London and Its Environs 1831; James Elmes; Whittaker, Treacher and Arnot, 1831

A Topographical Dictionary of London and Its Environs 1831

ALLHALLOWS THE LESS stood the south side of Thames street adjoining to that of Allhallows the Great but having suffered in the common calamity in 1666 the parish was united to that of Allhallows the Great which see.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of London and Its Environs 1831; James Elmes; Whittaker, Treacher and Arnot, 1831

Allhallows The Less A Handbook for London 1849

Allhallows The Less, or, Allhallows on the Cellars, in Dowgate Ward. A church in Upper Thames-street, destroyed in the Great Fire, and not rebuilt. It was called the Less to distinguish it from a larger church of the same name in the same street, and on the Cellars, from the vaults or arches on which it stood.

“The steeple and choir of this church standeth on an arched gate, being the entry to a great house called Coldharbour.” – Stow, p. 88.

The burying-ground and parish still remain; the church of Allhallows the Great serving indifferently for both parishes.

Source: A Handbook for London, Past and Present. Peter Cunningham. Published by John Murray 1849.

Administration

  • County: London
  • Civil Registration District: London City
  • Probate Court: Court of the Archdeaconry of London
  • Diocese: London
  • Rural Deanery: Pre-1869 – None, Post-1868 – West
  • Poor Law Union: West London
  • Hundred: London, Within the Walls
  • Province: Canterbury