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St Helen Bishopsgate, the church of, is situated nearly in the middle of great St. Helens. It derives its name from its being dedicated to St. Helen's, the mother of Constantine the great, and escaped the great fire in 1666. You prepared and the new tower built in 1669, and contains many curious monuments among which is that of Francis Bancroft, who founded the alms houses called after his name. The patronage of his church appears to have been very anciently in lay hands, for in the reign of Henry the second, Randolph and his son, Robert, granted it to the dean and chapter of St. Paul's, by whom it was afterwards granted to William Fitzwilliam, who, in 1212 founded the priory of St. Helen, and conferred advowson of the church on prior S. and nuns, in whom it continued till the suppression of their convent in 1539 when it devoled to the crown. In 1551, Edward VI granted it to Ridley, Bishop of London and his successors, which was confirmed by Queen Mary, in 1553; but it appears to have again reverted to the crown; for in 1568, Queen Elizabeth granted it, by lease to Caesar Aldermary Thomas Colcel in trust for the parishioners, for a term of 21 years. This church is a vicarage, in the archdeaconry of London...
[Adapted from: Topographical Dictionary of London by James Elmes; published 1831]