Abchurch Lane, EC4N

Place Name

The lane is named after the church of St Mary Abchurch, which is on the western side of the lane. There are two possible sources for the term Abchurch, the first being Upchurch, as the building stands on slightly rising ground. The second is that it derives from its patron’s name, as was common in early City churches. The church was first recorded as Habechirce¬†sometime around 1200 and as Abbechurch a little more than a decade later which leads David Mills in Dictionary of London Place Names to suggest it may be after a man called Abba, possibly from a priest or founder. Sheila Fairfield in The Streets of London writes: “Early City churches, particularly those dating from the Danish settlement, were commonly known by a patron’s name.” The lane’s name came a few years later written as Abechirchelane in 1274 and Abbechirchelane in 1292. Like many City churches from the period it was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666 and the present church built by Sir Christopher Wren in 1686.

 

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