Wren 300, a city full of people

Matthew Banckes of St Martin Ludgate

Matthew Banckes

(d. 1706)



St Martin Ludgate

Researched by Simon Wartnaby

Matthew Banckes’s father had been Master of the Carpenter’s Company in 1636/7. In 1665 Mathew married Patience Grove, daughter of John Grove, Master Plasterer of the Office of Works, at St Martin in the Fields.

Matthew was involved in the rebuilding seven of Wren’s City Churches between 1668 and 1686. These included St Martin Ludgate where he worked on the tower and spire in 1686.

In 1683 Matthew was appointed Master Carpenter in the Office of Works. After the Glorious Revolution of 1688 work at the Office of Works dramatically increased when William and Mary decided to hastily transform Hampton Court into a baroque royal palace.

Hampton Court by Sutton Nicholls, c1689-1729 © The Trustees of the British Museum

The Banckes family lived in Court Cottage, the Master Carpenter’s house on Hampton Green, along with the houses of other officials such as the Surveyor, Christopher Wren. The large Banckes family included two sons, Henry, a mason, and Mathew, a carpenter. There were also four daughters: Anne, married to Sir Charles Hopson, Master Joiner at the Office of Works; Mary, married to John Churchill, Master Carpenter of the Office of Works; and Patience, married to Henry Wise, Royal Gardener. Matthew’s niece Hannah Banckes also lived with the family and married Master Carpenter John James.

Matthew Banckes died in 1706 at Hampton Court and was buried at Hampton Church.


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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