Global Connections

St Giles and Maryland, USA

Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore and the first Proprietory of Maryland, fitted out the ships Ark and Dove which sailed with 200 adventurers, including some from St Giles’ parish, in 1633. He did not travel with them, but adminstered the colony from England. He died in the parish in December 1675 and was buried in St Giles-in-the-Fields.

Charles Calvert, third Lord Baltimore, was both Proprietory and Governor, spending much time in the colony, but he lost the authority to govern during the revolution of 1688 as he was a Roman Catholic. His daughter-in-law, Mrs Jane Calvert was buried at St Giles in May 1692, and his second wife, Jane, was buried at St Giles in January, 1701. His third wife, Mary, was also buried at St Giles in March 1710.

A memorial to Cecil, Lord Baltimore was inaugurated on 10th May 1996 in the presence of the United States Ambassador. It is on the west wall, under the gallery, and was unveiled by the Governor of Maryland, Parris N. Glendening.

St Giles and Australia

William Balmain, one of the founders of New South Wales and Principal Surgeon of the Colony, after whom a suburb of Sydney is named, was buried at St Giles in 1803. A memorial to William Balmain was placed on the north-west wall, under the gallery, with the assistance of the Balmain Society of Sydney in 1996.

St Giles and the Catholic Martyrs

The testimony of Titus Oates, led during 1678-81, to the burial in St Giles Churchyard of twelve Roman Catholic martyrs who were later beatified – Whitebread, Harcourt, Fenwick, Gavan, Turner, Coleman, Langhorne, Mico, Ireland, Grove, Pickering and Oliver Plunket, Archbishop of Armagh. All were priests except Coleman, who was secretary to the Duchess of York, Langhorne, who was a barrister, Grove, and Pickering, who was a lay brother; and all except Mico, who died after his arrest, had been executed at Tyburn (then close to where Marble Arch now stands). The first five are the Jesuit fathers with whom Plunket asked to be buried in the churchyard of St. Giles. The burial place is said to be near the north wall of the church. Though the body of Oliver Plunket, who was canonised in 1975, was later exhumed and taken to Lamspringe in Germany (the head being now at Drogheda and the body at Downside), there is in the St. Giles Burial Register for 1 July, 1681 a most legible entry of the burial.

Melanesia

John Coleridge Patteson, the first Bishop of Melanesia, whose parents lived in Bedford Square, was baptised in the font of St Giles. He was murdered and later was commemorated by a wall tablet at the south east corner of the Church.