Are These London's Oldest Boundary Markers?

By M@
Are These London's Oldest Boundary Markers?

This weathered relic lurks on Carey Street, off Chancery Lane. The letters are faded, but still legible.

To the left we have an anchor, symbol of St Clement Danes church (St Clement was martyred when thrown into the sea, weighed down by an anchor.) One the right are the letters WSD — which stand for St Dunstan in the West. This is, of course, a boundary marker showing where the two parishes meet.

Nobody knows the age of the stones. Historic Britain reveals that they are formed of Portland stone, and Grade II listed. Their antiquity is given vaguely as 17th/18th century.

Peter Jackson in his marvellous book London Explorer (1953) describes them as 'two of the oldest' in London.  

We wonder if this is true, and if any readers can suggest other parish boundary markers that might out-wizen them.

We've found a number around town with specific dates. Here, for example, is an 18th century marker we found in Bermondsey — this time clearly noted as 1794.

Still older is this 1731 survivor in Stratford. This is the oldest dated example we know of, but we'd love to hear about other contenders.

Last Updated 26 February 2018

Mike Horne

Nice photos but (not wishing to be pedantic) the Bermondsey and Stratford marks are not strictly parish boundary marks as they were not located on boundaries. I am fairly confident they are property marks, the first for a the joint workhouse of St Olave and St John which was over the road (well away from any parish boundary) and the second for property belonging to St Mary Rotherhithe (which was of course south of The River). If of any interest I have been recording Greater London parish (and other administrative) boundaries for some years and my list includes 25 I know to be prior to 1800 but this omits obviously very old ones that are undated or where it cannot be read, though I fear a couple are replicas. You can see where they are at if interested. I have recorded over 1300. This sounds a lot but it is only about 5% of those originally installed and even today several each year are destroyed. I don't think most people know what they are.