Ceremony and Commemoration

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London, St Martin Ludgate, sword rest

One oddity seen in some City churches is the sword rest, which was used by the Lord Mayor of London when he visited on Sunday services, moving on to a different church every week of his year of office. A parish usually had a sword rest made when one of its parishioners was elected to the mayoralty, so some churches have several. That at St Martin is a simple wrought-iron example from the 18th century, brought from another City church after its demolition in the 1880s.

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London, St Martin Ludgate, benefactors' board

Charities and bequests were another key feature of parish life. Donations to St Martin's are recorded on a handsome Benefaction Board in the south galleryGlossary Term, which from its style probably dates from the late 18th century. A permanent public notice like this kept a record of the entitlements of the poor, the duties of the clergy, and the generosity of the donors. They are also a fascinating resource for historians.

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London, St Martin Ludgate, Belchier monument

Other parishioners were commemorated by stone monuments, usually fixed to the wall. Frances Belchier's takes the form of a sarcophagusGlossary Term represented in relief. She died in 1832, a few decades before the fashion for stone wall-monuments began to peter out. The signature of W. Mullane, a London monumental mason, appears below.

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London, St Martin Ludgate, stained glass

"The medieval practice of ornamenting churches with stained glass never quite died out, and in the 19th century it was revived on a massive scale. St Martin's windows, by the firm of James Powell & Son of London, are on the north side. The style is RenaissanceGlossary Term rather than the more common medieval, as the winged cherubs and the classicalGlossary Term architecture of the saint's aediculeGlossary Term show. Windows of this kind replaced wall monuments as the most conspicuous form of individual memorial, although those at St Martin were installed simply to beautify the church. Modern taste has often been less appreciative of this kind of window, especially in a classicalGlossary Term church built with simple, clear glazing in mind.


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