Wren 300, a city full of people

Robert Saxton of St Vedast

Robert Saxton

(d. 1693)



St Vedast

Researched by Nicky Scowen

Robert Saxton was a maker of belts and girdles. He became a freeman in the Girdlers’ Company in 1659 and donated a spoon to the guild.

He married Eugenia Blanks in 1670 at St James, Clerkenwell. Robert and Eugenia had six children, all baptised in St Vedast’s, although three died in infancy and were buried there too. Two of their sons, Joseph and Robert junior, followed in their father’s footsteps and became freemen girdlers in their own right. Robert junior sadly died aged just 22 and was buried in St Vedast’s, but Robert the elder and Joseph continued in business together at the Sun by the conduit in Cheapside.

One of the items they sold was ferret ribbon, the green version of which was used by the legal profession to tie their papers, much like red tape. It is a modified form of Italian fioretti, floss-silk, which consisted of untwisted filaments of silk shed from cocoons during spinning. Some of this ribbon was stolen in 1697 and charges were brought against the thieves, Jane and Susan Harris.

Robert paid his taxes in Farringdon Ward and was well-to-do enough to have at least one servant as well as several apprentices.

Robert died in 1693 and was buried in the north aisle of St Vedast’s. He left no will but letters of administration were granted to his widow who lived another ten years before being buried with her husband and children.


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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