‘Ludgate’ was the ancient Westerly entrance into the City of London. The gateway formed part of the Roman Wall that encircled the city and was destroyed in 1760. The first St. Martin’s was built just inside the gate in the 12th Century, hence ‘Within’ Ludgate. A section of the Roman Wall forms part of the West side of the present church that Wren’s office built, they also moved the church slightly further North to allow for the road widening of Ludgate Hill. This is one of the best preserved Wren churches, largely due to it’s lack of bomb damage during World War II, fortunately only the roof suffered during this period.
The Post-Fire building cost £ 5378 and is the work of Stonemason Nicholas Young. It was rebuilt from 1677-1686, and like many of the city churches and St. Paul’s Cathedral it is faced with Portland Stone. The design of the elegant Spire would seem to have the view of St. Paul’s Cathedral from Fleet Street and up Ludgate Hill in mind, as St. Martin’s Spire is in the Westerly view of the Cathedral.
Internally the church has many 17th Century furnishings, these include some transferred from the city church of St. Mary Magdalene Old Fish Street, demolished in 1893. In the 1890’s St. Martin’s had several modifications made to it, these included the exhuming of bodies from the graveyard, which were reburied at Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey.
The church had major restoration work on the Spire and Roofs as well as considerable internal renovation and redecoration during the early 1990’s
St. Martin’s is no longer a Parish Church, becoming a Guild Church in 1954. It now serves the local city workers as well as enjoying a close relationship with the Guilds and Law Companies within the city.