The ebb and flow of history has taken its toll on the fabric of the church and its congregation.
Whilst the building contains remnants of both Roman and Norman elements, much of the building we see today is of later Victorian construction.
It has long been suggested that the church stands on the site of a Roman shrine, and the discovery of Roman bricks in the walls of the church may lend support to that theory. An altar stone was found during the restoration of 1848, and has been dated to the sixth century on the basis of the shapes of the crosses. So the present building was perhaps here by the sixth or seventh century, but the first recorded mention is in a manuscript dating to 1160-80. The first recorded visitation was in 1251, and considerable re-building was noted in 1331 when it was damaged by floods.
The tower shown in the image above may date to this period, though the roof is later. Fragments of Norman stonework were also discovered in the 1848 restoration, used as rubble to make up the masonry of the tower. In the early 1800s the area was still quite rural. Following the consecration of St Pancras New Church on Euston Road in 1822, the old church became a chapel of ease. But by the 1840s, growth in the neighbourhood prompted plans for its enlargement, leading to the substantial restoration by A.D. Gough in 1848. But whatever ancient fabric survives has long been hidden.
In 1805, the Gentleman’s Magazine reported that “the ancient outline … has been repaired until it has almost the appearance of a modern religious structure. The materials used in the original building are so totally covered with repeated coats of plaster that I cannot really say what they consist of…”
In addition to the information on this site please visit our special history project website where we are aiming to recover some of this 1600 years of history through archival and scholarly research, as well as building on the collective memory of a thousand years of parishioners and visitors to St Pancras.