Historic Churches


Wapping has several places of worship, including the Church of the Sea Captain’s – St Paul’s, Shadwell. St Paul’s was built in 1657 and parishioners have included Captain James Cook and Thomas Jefferson’s mother. John Wesley preached his last sermon from the St Paul’s pulpit and the church’s strong links to the maritime trade mean that there are over seventy sea captains buried in the graveyard. The church we see today was built in 1820, funded by a large grant from parliament to celebrate victory at Waterloo.

On Wapping Lane sits St Peter’s London Docks, the Anglican Parish Church of Wapping from the Prospect of Whitby to Tower Bridge. St Peter’s was the first Anglican mission to the poor of London. When the church began its work in 1856, Wapping was on of the poorest wards in London, a place of petty criminals and prostitutes who were attracted by maritime cargo. The church we see today was built in 1866.

St John of Wapping was built and consecrated in 1617 as a chapel of ease to St Mary, Whitechapel. An Act of Parliament passed in 1694 made it into a separate parish. A new church was built in 1760 on a site opposite the old church. It was badly damaged by bombing in 1940 and most of the church had to be demolished but the striking tower, designed by Joel Johnson to be seen from the river, still stands. The parish was united with St Peter, London Docks. The tower now forms part of a residential development.

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