St Pancras Old Church, Pancras Road, London

St Pancras Old Church is believed to be one of the oldest sites of Christian worship in London. Documentary evidence for the early history of the church is scanty, but it is believed to have existed since around 314AD.

Originally it was the parish church of St Pancras, which then almost stretched from Oxford Street to Highgate. However in the 14th century the population abandoned the site and the church fell into disrepair. It lost its status as the central church of the parish when St Pancras New Church in Euston Road was consecrated to the south in 1822, and it then became a chapel of ease.

By 1847 the Old Church was derelict, but as the local population grew it was decided to restore it and in 1863 it regained its status as the principal church of a new parish. The two parishes were then referred to separately as Saint Pancras, Pancras Road (ie the Old Church, but a new parish) and Saint Pancras, Euston Road (ie the new church completed in 1822, but the original parish). Records dated 1660-1822 therefore relate to Saint Pancras Old Church when it was the main parish church of the ancient parish of Saint Pancras. Records of Saint Pancras Old Church dated 1863 onwards refer to the new, smaller and separate parish assigned to this church after that date. 

A replacement tower was built and the building was lengthened, though it still remained quite small.  In the 1860s, over 10,000 graves were excavated to make way for the new London train terminus at St Pancras rail station. The poet Thomas Hardy was employed in this task, giving rise to one of the churchyard’s most iconic sights, the ‘Hardy Tree’. In 1877 the churchyard was transformed into an expansive Victorian garden and the church underwent further refurbishment in 1888.

There have been further restorations since then, particularly in 1948 following Second World War bomb damage. Between 2002-2003, the churchyard was completely excavated to make way for the new High Speed 1 rail link extension.

Today the building is a grade II* listed building, and in the churchyard is the tomb of Sir John Soames, one of only two Grade I listed tombs in the country.

Those known to have been baptised here:
Joseph Reffell Partridge, baptism date: 7 April 1823
James Partridge, baptism date: 15 May 1825
Arthur John Charles White, baptism date: 13 May 1829
Mary Ann Reffell, baptism date: 9 August 1840

Those known to have been married here:
Thomas West and Fanny Reffell, marriage date: 29 August 1802
John Thomas Langton and Margaret Reffell, marriage date: 22 November 1882