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A Day in Our Life - May

5 May 1881

The Rev Richard Parnell who had been a curate at Bow Church and had gone on to be vicar of St Stephen, North Bow, was buried in Tower Hamlets Cemetery on this day after drowning while on holiday.


7 May 1940

George Lansbury who was a local councillor, mayor and MP for Bow, and ultimately a member of the Labour government and Leader of the Labour party, died on this day. His funeral took place at the church on 14 May.


8 May 1689

Alice Coborn, daughter of Prisca Coborn, died on this day. She was buried on 14 May which would have been her fifteenth birthday and was to have been her wedding day. A monument commemorating her life is in the church opposite the one for her mother.


10 May 1941

A night of the full moon, and the church was badly damaged by bombing during the last big raid of the Blitz on London. The tower and the west end of the church received most damage.


The raid was one of the worst attacks involving 550 bombers. 1,436 Londoners were killed. The House of Commons was gutted. The Law Courts, the Tower of London and the Mint were all hit. St Clement Danes and St Mary le Bow were burnt out. St Marylebone was the only mainline station not put out of action. 250,000 books were burnt at the British Museum. Beckton gasworks was blown up.


Our church was closed for seven months. In December of the same year, the eastern two-thirds of the church were opened up for worship.


15 May 1556

Two men - one lame and one blind - were brought from Newgate Prison and burnt to death outside the church.


20 May 1825

The churchyard was in a terrible state and very overcrowded. An Act of Parliament, passed on 20 May 1825, empowered the church authorities to purchase the adjacent buildings: the old Market Hall which had been out of use for a long time; the Three Tuns Tavern; and other buildings. These were demolished, as well as a low wall surrounding the churchyard, and the present railings were erected. The new churchyard is 2,716 square yards. Four feet of topsoil and bones were carted away at the time and deposited on Stratford Marshes.