St Mary Axe, EC3A

Place Name

Named after a former church dedicated to St Mary that held an axe that is said to have been used to behead 11,000 virgins who had joined St Ursula on a pilgrimage of Europe. According to the legend, the young princess Ursula was shot by an arrow and the virgins were beheaded three at a time after being besieged by Huns in Cologne, Germany. One of the axes used found its way to the church. This treasured relic remained in the church’s possession until the Reformation. It was first recorded as Sainte Marie Strate in 1260 and strata Sancte Marie atte Ax in 1275. The church was closed down in 1560.

 

 

 

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