Civil War and Revolution
For centuries the Norman structure of the church survived relatively unchanged, some remnants of which still remain visible even today.
In the 17th century, the church's rural location did not allow it to escape the turmoil of the Civil War and it gained the attention of the Parliamentarians.
In the North wall of the nave there is an exposed section of Norman masonry (see above). Within this, and predating it by some hundreds of years, is a scattering of Roman bricks and tiles. These provide us with a clue to the antiquity of the site. But many rebuildings and restorations have overlaid and obscured our view of the distant past.
It is difficult now to imagine St Pancras as a rural community, but in 1650 the church was described as standing “…in the fields remote from any houses in the said parish.” More than once the vicar and many of his parishioners were driven to living in Kentish Town and worshipping there in the Chapel of Ease to escape the “foul’d ways and great waters” caused by the Fleet and its tributaries.
Impact of the Civil War
During the Civil War, London and its surroundings were in the hands of the Parliamentarians, whose regime was notoriously unfriendly towards ‘popery’ and all who practised it. When, in the November of 1642, information came to Parliament that “…. The King was advanced to Redding,” they sent to the city to have care, “…and further ordered the deserted Church of Pancras to be disposed of unto lodgings for fifty Troupers.”
Perhaps it was at this time that the church treasures of St Pancras parish were secretly spirited away – by whom is not known. Certain it is that when the crisis was over a unique VI century altar stone was missing, together with certain holy relics (which may or may not have been those connected with King Oswy). Also lost were valuable articles of Elizabethan and Jacobean silverware.