Wren 300, a city full of people

Andrew Niblett of St Vedast

Andrew Niblett

(d. 1736)



St Vedast

Researched by Simon Wartnaby

Andrew Niblett began his career as a coppersmith in 1699 when he was apprenticed to the armourer Edward Collingwood.

Between 1706 and 1717 Andrew completed the copper work on five City Churches, including the ball and cross on the very baroque spire of St Vedast in 1712. In 1710 he made the copper ball and cross on top of the lantern of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Following his work on the City Churches, Andrew supplied the Navy Board with copper work for its ships. In 1723, 1726, 1728-30, and 1732-35 he supplied various Naval Dockyards on the south coast from Deptford to Plymouth.

According to tax records for the years 1722-8 and 1732-35 Andrew’s workshop was in Birchin Lane. Demand for work was so high that he took on a least nine apprentices to help. However, neighbours were unhappy with the noise of the constant hammering and in 1722 they petitioned the Court of London Aldermen to complain.

Later, Andrew lived in Mitcham and in 1731 he is recorded as tenant of a copper mill on the Wandle. In 1736 he proposed digging a ditch near Beddington, presumably to improve the water flow to the mill. Andrew died at Mitcham and was buried at St Mary’s, Beddington, in August 1736.


Local churches were the focal point of sixteenth-century City life. Weekly worship and all the milestones of parishioners’ lives took place here: christenings, marriages and funerals. Many churches were lost in the Great Fire.

Read the stories of four that either survived or succumbed to the flames, and how they reemerged from the ruins.

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