There has been a church on this site for over 900 years and its name is usually taken to mean that it is the oldest of the City churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Stow, in his 1598 Survey of London, mentioned various dignitaries who were benefactors or who were buried in the early church. These include Richard Chaucer, vintner, a relative of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer.
In 1510, Sir Henry Keeble, a grocer and Lord Mayor, financed the building of a new church on the site. When he died in 1518, however, the tower was substantially unfinished and remained so until 1629 when two legacies enabled it to be completed. The church was said to have been among the largest and finest of the City's churches and a number of City notables were buried there. John Milton, the poet, married his third wife in the church in 1663. The parish registers date from 1558, the year Elizabeth I ascended the throne. All documents now extant are deposited in the Guildhall Library.
In 1951 the Cordwainers received a request from the Church of St Mary Aldermary, Bow Lane, to be allowed to use the Cordwainers' Arms in a stained-glass window in the church at the expense of the War Damage Commission.
Note: Previously Bow Lane had been called Cordwainer Street and other Livery Companies in the area had also been approached.
Permission was readily granted, although it was pointed out that the Company had no direct connection with the Church.
Information kindly provided by the Cordwainers 2007
The photo shows the organ and west end of St Mary Aldermary as it appeared in 1864
St Mary Aldermary