St Mary the Virgin Church, Lewisham

A Brockley woman has pleaded guilty to the theft of a war memorial from St Mary the Virgin Church, near the Ladywell section of Lewisham High Street. It's a pretty sad tale all round, and means the names of some who lost their lives in the First World War may be lost forever. Rising metal prices mean that metal theft (like the copper cabling theft that occasionally wipes out telecommunications in the area) is becoming more common and as many as 100,000 memorials are thought to be at risk, according to SmartWater (full disclosure: client).

The story is, however, an opportunity to celebrate one of the area's finest buildings, seen here peeping over the trees in Ladywell Fields (Copyright: Steven Craven). St Mary's was built between 1774 and 1777, designed by the architect George Gibson, who also built the Stone House on Lewisham Way. The church is surrounded by the St Mary's Conservation Area, which was the birthplace of Lewisham town.

The church says of its origins:

"Lewisham people have worshipped here for at least a thousand years. The site of the church is close to, and almost certainly linked with, the ancient well at nearby Ladywell. Although the foundation date of the church is not known a tenth century charter, confirming the gift of Lewisham and the surrounding area to the Abbey of St. Peter’s in Ghent, refers to “churches.” The ownership by St.Peter’s Ghent continued from the tenth century to 1414."

See also:

The Presbyterian Church of Wales
St Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church