The Great Fire of London
Then, early on Sunday, 2nd September, 1666, a fire in a bakery near London Bridge became out of control and a strong wind fanned the f1ames westward. Not only the wooden houses and their furnishings, but warehouses with their stocks, and public buildings, and churches of brick and stone, were consumed in the fierce heat - molten lead running in the gutters, while stone was burnt to lime. Within twenty-four hours, St. Stephen Walbrook as burnt to the ground.
The Great Fire destroyed over three quarters of the City. The disaster was felt by the whole nation, and King Charles II appointed a commission to plan rebuilding, which had to be done quickly in order to avoid a fresh start in a different place. The old street plan was retained and timber buildings were naturally banned. Many churches were not rebuilt: St. Bene't Sherehog, for example, was united with St. Stephen Walbrook as it could not simply be abolished. Churches had to be the appointed places for the legal recording of baptisms, marriages and burials.