The Act

THE ACT FOR BUILDING FIFTY NEW CHURCHES

At about 4 o’clock on the morning of Wednesday 29th November 1710, the roof of the church of St Alfege, Greenwich collapsed after a severe storm. The minister and church wardens of Greenwich having petitioned the Commons on St Valentine’s Day, on Tuesday 12th June 1711 Queen Anne gave royal assent to “An Act for granting to Her Majesty several Duties upon Coals for building fifty new Churches in and about the Cities of London and Westminster, and Suburbs thereof, and other Purposes therein mentioned” (9 Anne c 17).

Section III provided that one of the churches was to be erected in the parish of East (sic) Greenwich. Section V provided for the establishment of the first of the Commissions for Building Fifty New Churches. The commissioners appointed by letters patent dated 21st September 1711 included Wren, Archer and Vanbrugh. On 10th October 1711, they appointed Hawksmoor as one of their surveyors.

In the event, the various commissioners built only 12 churches (although they also bought, bought and altered or subsidised seven others).

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