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St Mary's Rotherhithe
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St Mary's has a notable part in the story of the Mayflower, which took the Pilgrim Fathers to North America in 1620, for its master, Christopher Jones, lies buried there. He is not the only reminder of Rotherhithe's maritime past. Among the memorials there is one to Captain Anthony Wood, Jones's contemporary, which features a fine carving of a ship. On the south wall there is a memorial to Joseph Wade (died 1743), King's Carver at Deptford. In the 18th and 19th centuries, many ships were built at Rotherhithe for the Royal Navy and many were eventually broken up there. These included the Temeraire, which Turner famously painted. Chairs made from the Temeraire's timbers are kept in the church.

St Mary's Rotherhithe

Four giant columns divide the interior, which preserves much of its 18th-century atmosphere, despite Victorian alterations.


St Mary's stands in a narrow street near the Thames, opposite a charity school of about 1700 and the rectory, and amidst old warehouses. It has a tall, balustraded west tower of red brick with stone quoins, which is surmounted by an open circular stage of Corinthian columns and a short spire. Lancelot Dowbiggin added this tower in 1747-8, to a church John James had rebuilt in 1714-15.

St Mary's Rotherhithe

Lancelot Dowbiggin's tower and steeple were added in 1747-8 to John James's church of 1714-15.


The interior is divided by four tall Ionic columns into three unequal bays. Their panelled bases speak of the box-pews that once filled the church. The west gallery houses a celebrated organ built by John Byfield the younger in 1764-5. At the east end, there is the original reredos, carved by Joseph Wade. Above, 16th-century German glass depicts the Assumption.
A brass in the north aisle commemorates Peter Hills (died 1614), who founded the charity school. Lee Boo (died 1784), a prince from the Pacific island of Belau, has a tomb that is inscribed: 'Stop reader, stop! let Nature claim a tear/A Prince of mine, Lee Boo, lies buried here'.


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