Who was St. Pancras?
St Pancras was an early Christian under the Roman Empire. At the age of 14, St Pancras was called before the Emperor Diocletian and told to renounce his religion. When he refused, Diocletian was so impressed with the young boy’s fortitude that he offered him wealth and power. St Pancras, however, told the emperor that he would rather die with his fellow Christians, and so he was martyred in 304. He is a patron saint of children and his feast day is the 12 May.
Is there still an active congregation?
Yes, St Pancras Old Church is a parish within the Church of England, servicing the Camden community in North London. Masses are held Sundays at 930am and Tuesdays at 7pm. More information can be found here. The church is open to visitors 7 days a week.
What is worth seeing in the Churchyard?
St Pancras Churchyard was used as a site of burial until 1854. It is estimated that in the 300 years before that date, approximately 1.5% of all of London’s 6 million burials were at St Pancras. Records indicate that between 1689 and 1854 88 000 burials took place, over 32 000 in the final 23 years.
Some of the most famous features of our Churchyard include: the John Soane memorial, the tombstone of Mary Wollenstonecraft, the Hardy Tree, the Gravestone of Charles Dickens’ Mr Jones and the site of one of the last Beatles’s reunions. UCL has created an interactive map of our churchyard, with some of the most prominent monuments.
Most of the building is the result of Victorian restoration projects, however, there is still some medieval stone visible. Unfortunately, many of the church’s artefacts disappeared following the Cromwellian regime of the mid-seventeenth century. Our oldest item is an altar stone dating from the 7th century, which has been restored to its place in the centre of the altar still used today.
How can I contribute to the preservation of St Pancras’s history?
The survival of St Pancras – a Grade II* listed building – is being threatened by the ancient drains which surround it, and damage has already been caused to the fabric of the church. We are launching the St Pancras Old Church Appeal on St Pancras Day, 12 May 2013, to help raise funds to preserve this historic building. All money raised will go towards building new drains and securing the cracks in the stone walls. To support the Appeal, please join us at our lecture series on the history of the church and community given by leading historians and authors. For more information about the appeal, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://sosstpancras.org/
You can also contribute to the history of St. Pancras by sharing your stories, research or pictures with us on our Contributions page, by following this blog or by visiting us at the church.