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Edward Strong senior of St Vedast

Edward Strong senior




St Vedast

Researched by Alessandra Brogioli

Edward Strong, son of Valentine Strong, probably learned the mason’s trade in the family quarries at Taynton or Little Barrington. Edward was in London by June 1675 and it seems that he came to London to assist his brother Thomas.

According to his memorial in St Peter’s Church in St Albans, Edward witnessed his brother lay the foundation stone at St Paul’s Cathedral. There is, however, no evidence that Edward was apprenticed to his brother. He was made free of the Masons ’company by redemption on 30 March 1680 at the age of twenty-seven by order of the court of Aldermen.

It is clear, however, that Edward was his brother’s sole executor, and that he took over Thomas’s business. In October 1681 and May 1682 Thomas’s two apprentices, Richard Cowdrey and John Miller, bound on 23 April 1678, were turned over to Edward.

Commenii Orbis sensualium pictus by John Amos, first published 1658 - The mason.

Edward also assumed his brother’s contracts at St Benet Paul’s Wharf and St Augustine Waitling Street, both of which were completed in 1684. He continued to work at St Stephen Walbrook ‘till the said Church and the Tower to the Lanthorn were finished’. In 1695, Edward began to work on the parish church of St Vedast alias Foster in London. In 1695 he was employing 65 masons while working at St Paul’s.

Edward married Martha, sister of Ephraim Beauchamp who was another famous mason from Oxfordshire. Edward and Martha had three sons: Edward junior, Thomas who died in 1736 and John who died in 1737. He was Warden of the Masons ’Company in 1694, Master in 1696, and he held the post of treasurer of the company for several years before resigning on 26 July 1716.

Edward settled in Hertfordshire later in his life and is known to have built and restored several houses in or close to St Albans. At the beginning of the eighteenth century he restored Sopwell House and probably lived there until his death. He drew up his extensive will on 30 July 1723 before dying on 8 February 1724, at the age of seventy-one.


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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