This former City church – now part of the parish of St Helen’s Bishopsgate – once stood on the corner of Threadneedle Street and Bishopsgate (the site is marked by a blue plaque).

St-Martin-OutwichA medieval church which was apparently rebuilt in the 14th century in the Gothic style, it was dedicated to St Martin while there is some discrepancy over the use of the name Outwich – some sources say it comes from a corruption of the name of the family who paid for its reconstruction – the Oteswich family – while others say the family in fact took their name from the church and that ‘outwich’ simply means the outer side of the wich (one of a number of Saxon words for a town).

It survived the Great Fire of 1666 but gradually fell into disrepair and in 1765 was badly damaged in another fire which destroyed some 50 houses.

In 1796, Parliament passed an act allowing the parish to raise money for its building – the donations included some from the powerful City livery companies – and after a couple of years of construction, it was consecrated in November, 1798.

Designed by Samuel P Cockerell, the church was unusual in that it featured an oval interior. Medieval stained glass from the original church was placed in a window over the altar while some of the monuments that had been present in the old church – including one commemorating John Oteswich and his wife – were transferred to the new. The dead buried at St Martin Outwich, meanwhile, were reburied in the City of London churchyard (where a memorial to them can now be seen).

A painting from 1838 shows a curved interior with high semi-circular windows, some intricate medieval monuments and closed in box pews.

Thanks to a falling population and pressure to widen the streets, the church was eventually demolished in 1874 and the parish amalgamated with St Helen’s. As had previously happened, a number of monuments – including the Oteswich memorial – which were in the old church were moved to St Helen’s before its demolition.

Proceeds from the sale of the church grounds were used to fund the construction of Holy Trinity Church in Dalston. Built in the late 1870s to the designs of Ewan Christian, it is perhaps best known as the Clown’s Church and is where the clown service is usually held each year.

PICTURE: sleepymyf

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Clowns turned out en masse for the annual clown service held in honour of the ‘father of modern clowning’, Joseph Grimaldi, at Holy Trinity Church in Dalston last weekend. The London-born clown, who lived from 1778 to 1837, is became widely known for his pantomine performances and is believed to have been the first ‘white face’ clown. He has been honored at a “clown service”, held on the first Sunday in February, since the mid-1940s. It was originally held at St James’ Church, Islington – where Grimaldi was buried – but was moved after the church was demolished. His grave is preserved in a memorial garden on the site.

• Sir William Ramsay, the Nobel Prize-winning chemist credited with discovering the noble gases, has been commemorated with a blue plaque at his former home in Notting Hill. The Glasgow-born Ramsay moved to London in 1887 when appointed chair of chemistry at University College London and it was while living at 12 Arundel Gardens, Notting Hill, that he discovered the five noble gases. Ramsay lived at the property until 1902. He died in 1916. English Heritage unveiled  the plaque on Wednesday.