The Places of Pride and Prejudice: Where, Oh Where, Did Wickham and Lydia Marry? Or the Dilemma of the Two St Clements

“La! You are so strange! But I must tell you how it went off. We were married, you know, at St. Clement’s, because Wickham’s lodgings were in that parish. And it was settled that we should all be there by eleven o’clock. My uncle and aunt and I were to go together; and the others were to meet us at the church. Well, Monday morning came, and I was in such a fuss! I was so afraid, you know, that something would happen to put it off, and then I should have gone quite distracted. And there was my aunt, all the time I was dressing, preaching and talking away just as if she was reading a sermon. However, I did not hear above one word in ten, for I was thinking, you may suppose, of my dear Wickham. I longed to know whether he would be married in his blue coat.

“Well, and so we breakfasted at ten as usual; I thought it would never be over; for, by the bye, you are to understand, that my uncle and aunt were horrid unpleasant all the time I was with them. If you’ll believe me, I did not once put my foot out of doors, though I was there a fortnight. Not one party, or scheme, or any thing. To be sure London was rather thin, but, however, the Little Theatre was open. Well, and so just as the carriage came to the door, my uncle was called away upon business to that horrid man Mr. Stone. And then, you know, when once they get together, there is no end of it. Well, I was so frightened I did not know what to do, for my uncle was to give me away; and if we were beyond the hour, we could not be married all day. But, luckily, he came back again in ten minutes time, and then we all set out. However, I recollected afterwards that if he had been prevented going, the wedding need not be put off, for Mr. Darcy might have done as well.”

“Mr. Darcy!” repeated Elizabeth, in utter amazement.

Pride and Prejudice, v. III, ch. IX

St Clement Danes -Strand 1 London Views

St Clement Danes – Strand (London Views)

Jane Austen often gives clues to the whereabouts of her locations, especially in her London passages – we know she knew London well and placed her characters in just the right spot to tell her readers who they were by where they lived.  We famously have a few “____shire”s scattered about regarding the militia, for an element of secrecy one might assume? But in Pride and Prejudice there are two locations that she specifies that bring only confusion, and both involve Wickham and Lydia: St. Clement, where they were married, and Edward Street, home to Mrs. Younge, Georgiana’s former governess and friend and devious helper to Wickham. Today I will deal with the former…

When Lydia remarks that “We were married, you know, at St. Clement’s, because Wickham’s lodgings were in that parish.” – she gives a clue that perhaps contemporary readers would not have found confusing, but we are left with not being completely sure which St. Clements she is referring to: St Clement Danes in the Strand, or St. Clement Eastcheap. Neither is mentioned in her extant letters.

Pat Rogers notes in her 2006 Cambridge edition of Pride and Prejudice that the fairly large parish of St. Clement Danes had a population of 12,000 in 1801 and “contained areas of cheap lodgings and some raffish districts, notably a part of Drury Lane” (531-32). Most who have written on this would agree (see Kaplan and Fullerton cites below), largely because the other St. Clement (Eastcheap), on St. Clement’s Lane between Lombard Street and Great Eastcheap, would have been too close to the Gardiner’s who lived on Gracechurch Street [see maps for location of both churches]. Wickham would not have placed himself in such a smaller parish, with a population of 350 in 1801 (Rogers, 531), and so close to those who might find him out. Another reason that Rogers selects this as the best option is that in order to marry in this parish, one of the parties had to have residence there for fifteen days (Rogers, 532). Laurie Kaplan adds that “the length of time required for residency functions perfectly for the elopement plot of the novel, for tension increases the longer Lydia and Wickham remain unmarried” (Kaplan, 7). But we know Wickham had no mind to marry Lydia … .another story entirely… (the text is very clear on this: Mrs. Gardiner relates to Elizabeth: “…it only remained, he [Darcy] thought, to secure and expedite a marriage, which in his very first conversation with Wickham, he easily learnt, had never been his design.” (357).

But perhaps in the end, we should just abide by Susannah Fullerton, where in her Celebrating Pride and Prejudice, she blames Lydia for the whole confusing mess: “How typical of Lydia to be inexact in her information!” (p. 94-95)


London map - londonlives

Map of City boundaries: The City of London is indicated in dark blue, Westminster in purple, Middlesex in brown, and Southwark in green.  The base map is John Rocque’s, London, Westminster and Southwark, 1746. © Motco 2001 from

Horwood panel 14

St Clement Danes is located at the heart of London, placed on an island in the middle of the Strand,
opposite the Royal Courts of Justice, the Temple and Fleet Street – on the map above circled in purple.
(Click on map and zoom in; map courtesy of Sue Forgue at Regency Encyclopedia, from the Guildhall Library, London)

St. Clement Danes: The first church on the site was founded by Danes in the 9th century, and named after St. Clement, patron saint of mariners. It has been rebuilt by William the Conqueror, later again in the Middle Ages, and rebuilt yet again in 1680-82 by Christopher Wren, a steeple added in 1719-20.  It was gutted during the blitz, only the walls and tower left standing, and since reconstruction has served as the central church for the Royal Air Force.

St Clement Danes - 1753

An early street view of the Strand and St Clement Danes Church, 1753. On the right is the original entrance to the building.
cTrustees of the British Museum; image from Christina Parolin, Radical Spaces (ANU, 2010).

St Clement Danes today: when in London in May 2011 I visited the Church for the first time, finding it a quite lovely and peacful setting on its little island in the midst of bustling London – here are a few shots, alas! not that well focused and no exterior shots of the facade, so I include one from, with thanks.

St Clement Danes

St Clement Danes

St Clement Danes, interior

St Clement Danes, interior

St Clement Danes ceiling

St Clement Danes ceiling

St Clement Danes

flag in St Clement Danes

St Clement Danes - geographSt Clement Danes exterior – cPhilip Halling,

[A movie aside: You will notice that there are no entrance steps, as there are no steps for St Clements Eastcheap – if you recall from the 1995 movie, Lydia is running up the steps to the church, so neither of these sites were used in the movie [and I find no picture of this scene – if anyone knows where that exterior shot was filmed, please let me know!]

St Clement Eastcheap - Harrison engraving 1777 - wikipedia

Facade St Clement Eastcheap

c.1760, from Walter Harrison’s History of London (1777) – wikipedia


St. Clement Eastcheap:  located on St. Clement’s Lane between Lombard Street and Great Eastcheap [today on Clement’s Lane, off King William Street] and close to London Bridge and the River Thames – see here on the Horwood panel 15:

Horwood panel 15

The purple marks Gracechurch Street, home ot the Gardiners, and ends at the botton at Great Eastcheap,
go one block to the left to find St. Clement’s Lane, the Church is on the right.
(Click on map and zoom in; map courtesy of Sue Forgue at Regency Encyclopedia, from the Guildhall Library, London)

Though we are quite sure that this is not where Austen had Lydia and Wickham marrying, it is still worth noting – perhaps we are wrong in our assumptions after all, and Wickham was just “hiding in plain sight”?  This St. Clement has possible Roman origins; it was destroyed in 1666 in the Great Fire of London, and rebuilt in the 1680s and also designed by Wren.  And one should note that “cheap” is an old Saxon word meaning “market” and does not mean “cheap” as we associate it today.  Here are a few images:

St Clement Eastcheap - London Views

St Clement Eastcheap – London Views

St Clement Eastcheap today - wikipedia

St Clement Eastcheap today – wikipedia

There are a number of fine images of St. Clement Eastcheap on flickr here:


The St Clement argument does not just revolve around Jane Austen [and indeed may she just been throwing out a very sly reference to her sailor brothers? – just a thought, St. Clement being the patron saint of sailors] … The Churches apparently have a long-standing “quibble” over which is the St. Clement referred to in the nursery rhyme “Oranges and Lemons” – here is the full rhyme: [the long version from wikipedia: ].  It is the bells of St. Clement Danes that ring out the tune of the rhyme three times a day.

Bouvier - oranges lemons - wp

 “Oranges And Lemons”, Nicholl Bouvier Games 1874, “The Pictorial World” by Agnes Rose Bouvier (1842 – 1892) – wikipedia

Gay go up and gay go down, To ring the bells of London town.

Oranges and lemons, Say the bells of St. Clements.

Bull’s eyes and targets, Say the bells of St. Margret’s.

Brickbats and tiles, Say the bells of St. Giles’.

Halfpence and farthings,  Say the bells of St. Martin’s.

Pancakes and fritters, Say the bells of St. Peter’s.

Two sticks and an apple, Say the bells of Whitechapel.

Pokers and tongs, Say the bells of St. John’s.

Kettles and pans, Say the bells of St. Ann’s.

Old Father Baldpate, Say the slow bells of Aldgate.

You owe me ten shillings, Say the bells of St. Helen’s.

When will you pay me? Say the bells of Old Bailey.

When I grow rich, Say the bells of Shoreditch.

Pray when will that be? Say the bells of Stepney.

I do not know, Says the great bell of Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,

Here comes a chopper to chop off your head.

Chip chop chip chop, The last man’s dead!


You can hear more of the history of the rhyme here on youtube; and you can listen to the rhyme here:


And finally, to bring this back to Jane Austen, where all begins and ends after all, there is behind the St Clement Danes church a statue, by Percy Hetherington Fitzgerald and erected in 1910, of all people, Jane Austen’s very own Dear Dr. Johnson.  I think she would be pleased, don’t you?

Samuel Johnson - St Clement Danes

Samuel Johnson – St Clement Danes

Further reading:

1. Laurie Kaplan. “London as Text: Teaching Jane Austen’s “London” Novels In Situ.” Persuasions On-Line 32.1 (2011).

2. Pat Rogers, ed. Pride and Prejudice: The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge UP, 2006. Google link:

3. Susannah Fullerton.  Celebrating Pride and Prejudice (Voyageur Press, 2013).

4. has maps and commentary:

5. Patrick Wilson in his Where’s Where in Jane Austen … and What Happens There, (JASA), says it is Danes church in Strand: see

6. At

7. Google Maps of Jane Austen places in the novels: this site notes that the St. Clements in is Eastcheap – you can zoom in here in the London area and choose locations.

8. St. Clement Danes website:

9. English Heritage:

10. London Lives:

11. Geograph interior image [better than mine!]:

12. St. Clement Danes at Wikipedia:

13. St. Clement Eastcheap at wikipedia:

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

19 thoughts on “The Places of Pride and Prejudice: Where, Oh Where, Did Wickham and Lydia Marry? Or the Dilemma of the Two St Clements

  1. Well Janite Deb in her 1954 book, Oranges and Lemons, dealing with the churches of the rhyme, Gladys Taylors settles the rhyme dispute by pointing out that St Clement Danes is on “the route taken by fruit porters to Clare Market, which is quite near.” alas in a major oversight she makes no mention of P&P. From Wikipedia “Clare Market was originally centred on a small market building constructed by Lord Clare in c.1657, but the retail area spread through a maze of narrow interconnecting streets lined by butchers’ shops and greengrocers.” Weren’t the Bennet’s London cousins grocers? Wonderful post! Joe Trenn


    • Hello Joe! – thanks for this – though the fact is that the Eastcheap church is close to the route of fruit porters as well – so hence the dispute of how the rhyme came to be… I don’t think we shall ever really solve either riddle, but horrible of Taylors to not bring Austen into the discussion – I should indeed have searched more about the rhyme, but alas! can only go so far afield from Austen without that pull back to what life is all about!

      Thanks for stopping by – knew you would be pleased with a London post – next up is the enigma of Edward Street, even more of a dilemma than St Clement, and no rhyme in the mix for entertainment. Know anything about it? I am suffering Londonitis – how about you?


    • Hi Deb
      St Clement Danes and no doubt Clare Market would have been absolutely familiar to Jane Austen, both being only a few minutes walk from Henry’s house in Henrietta Street. You remarked that all topics lead back to Jane, and in this case they also lead back to Janine Barchas. Clare Market is said in a number of sources (notably just now by Joe Trenn) to have been established by John Holles, 2nd Lord Clare. John’s sister Arabella married Thomas Wentworth, Baron Wentworth of Wentworth Woodhouse. Just to throw a spanner into the works.


      • Hello Ron, yes, all does seem to come back to Austen, whether we are talking about churches, London markets or fruit! – and thank you for being there to connect all the Dots! – and reiterating about the Wentworth connection as explained in Janine Barchas’ book Matters of Fact in Jane Austen.

        Thanks for stopping by Ron, as always,


  2. Really enjoyed this, Deb – especially as I too have been suffering Londonitis! It’s been way too long, and your photos reminded me of my own rambles there.

    Regarding the Eastcheap St Clement, is there any possibility that if this was the church in question, it was because Lydia has been residing with the Gardiners nearby that they could be married there? She did stay with her uncle and aunt for a fortnight (per the P&P timeline arriving on 17 Aug and marrying on 31st, the 15th day). Just another thought on the subject… to muddy the waters further, LOL.

    Can’t wait to read your thoughts on Edward St.


    • Hello Tess, yes good point – I had not gone in to look at the timeline but do know that Lydia did stay with the Gardiners for two weeks or so after Darcy found them: Mrs Gardiner says in her letter: “Lydia came to us; and Wickham had constant admission to the house.” If Wickham remained in his lodgings and needed to be there for the 15 days to get the license as required by the St Clement Danes parish, then they would have had the wedding at Danes. But could they not have gotten a special license and married right away anywhere? But your thought that as she was staying on Gracechurch St the Eastcheap St Clement would have been closer is correct and just does muddy the water further! No explanation is given for the lapse of time other than Darcy leaves for Pemberley and will return for the wedding and “all the money matters were to receive the last finish.” – though by having Lydia stay with the Gardiners, it gave it all a show of respectability which I am assuming was one of the main reasons for the delay…? as well as figuring out all the settlement on LYdia and the payment of Wickham’s debts.

      This is why Jane Austen requires extensive re-reading! – and we are still no closer to the truth of it.

      Thanks Tess for this – I am going to ponder this all day! – and just when all I had going around in my head was “Oranges and Lemons”!


  3. Oh how exciting that you brought this up! In fact when I was younger, I spent a December selling xmas cards for charity at St Clement Dane’s but I never noticed that Jane Austen had mentioned the church in this context!! Amazing!


    • How lovely for you to spend time at St Clement Danes – it was so peacful inside, I spent quite a bit of time there just walking around – the emergence into the crush of modernity was quite the shock and why I was so glad to find Samuel Johnson around back!

      Thanks for visitng Anna,


  4. As for which is the church of the rhyme it must have been noticed before that the churches are called St Clement Danes and St Clement Eastcheap but in the poem the name is plural with no possessive so the rhyme refers to both both of them


  5. St Clement’s Eastcheep or St Clement Danes ;which one saw the marriage of Lydia and Wickham?
    Both are Wren churches, designed and rebuilt by him after The Great Fire of London. St Clement Danes, in The Strand is by far the more elaborate and famous of the two. The Eastcheap church was one of Wren’s plainest designs.
    When Pride and Prejudice was eventually published iin 1813 it had had a reasonably long gestation period. Jane Austen began it in 1796 and originally called it, First Impressions. This early version was turned down by publishers. However by 1813, when Thomas Egerton of Whitehall ( his office was opposite the Old Admiralty building on the site of the Old War office in Scotland Yard) Henry, Jane’s brother had the London branch of his bank situated at number 10 Henrietta Street next to Covent Garden. Anybody living there and frequenting Drury Lane Theatre and buying their tea at Twinings in The Strand would talk of St Clements and they would undoubtedly mean St. Clement Danes in the Strand. It is less than half a mile from Covent Garden and Henrietta Street and is directly opposite Twinings. Jane may well have attended services there, it is so close to where she stayed with her brother . St Clement Danes was also the scene of scandal which Jane would have known about and would have ignited her imagination. In 1725 a portrait hung in the church which everybody thought depicted St Cecelia. However it was discovered that it was actually, Princess Sobieski, the wife of the Pretender, and promptly removed. The location of a portrait scandal may have inspired Jane to set another scandalous moment on the same spot. Who knows? It is also the church of Samuel Johnson, the burial place of John Donnes wife and also the burial place of one of Shakkespeares best actors John Lowin. All this would have been known to Jane Austen and maybe impressed her.
    On the other hand anybody who can be this contrary and waspish in a letter;
    (Thursday 15th /16th September 1796. Rowling) To Cassandra
    “ Miss Fletcher and I were so thick, but I am the thinnest of the two-She wore purple Muslin, which is pretty enough, tho’ it does not become her complexion.”
    is capable of any twist and turn in her writing just to spite everybody’s views and expectations, for fun no less. So she could have had St Clements in Eastcheap in mind just for the hell of it. You might say, well the Eastcheap church is a little close to where the Gardners lived and Wickham would not have wanted to be caught out with Lydia, but sometimes the best place to hide is right under somebodies nose; the place nobody would suspect.
    So which St Clements?
    Who knows!!!!!!!!!!!!! ( Can I hear Jane Austen having a chuckle?)

    All the best,


    • Thanks Tony for all your thoughts – it is a puzzle indeed! Do you think Jane Austen would have contemplated all this chat on her sly puzzles 200 years later?? I too thought that Wickham may have been hiding in plain sight with Lydia, but a larger parish would have made more sense… it all comes down I think to the license – whoever applied for it had to wait the 15 days of residency – would that have been Wickham or Lydia? Since Wickham was not so gung-ho on this marriage, perhaps Darcy had the Gardiners apply for Lydia and that would have been Eastcheap… the puzzle continues…

      I shall be posting my Egerton piece soon, along with your pictures of the area – so much to discover, so little time!


  6. Deb, i am not sure the Grangers could have applied for Lydia and Wickham. I thought the couple had to apply together. That is what usually happens these days.. There is a law now against forced marriage. I don’t know what the law was in the 18th century. Has it changed that much? Wickham,if he was living now, could later have the marriage annulled because of duress, perhaps?. They probably didn’t consider that in the 18th century or did they? We need a lawyer with a knowledge of 18th century marriage law to sort us out Deb!!!!!!!!


    • I am on it about researching licenses! – this whole issue about St Clements goes deep into all sorts of issues – London topography and civil law – who said that Austen wasn’t aware of the world around her? – they must be certainly “stupid” to think she wasn’t giving us all sorts of clues to another world out there…would she not have realized that everyone would query “which St Clements?” for 200 years?!


      • My totally unscientific opinion on which St Clements, is that Jane was so familiar with St Clement Danes that she didn’t consider the one in Eastcheap. A slightly more scientific opinion – in that I’ve frequently observed it in my own research – on marriage licenses, is that the “allegations” (i.e. requests) *could* be made by a third party. Since Jane used it, it mustn’t have been abolished by Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1753.

        Speaking of Hardwicke’s Marriage Act – until 1753, marriages in “the Liberty of the Fleet,” an area around the Fleet debtors prison (which had stood only about a mile to the east of Covent Garden) could be performed on the spot without formalities. A good overview can be found on this site: One would expect that till 1753, Wickham and Lydia would have found a Fleet marriage the most convenient.

        There was an interesting and perplexing incidence of a Fleet marriage in Jane’s own family – her paternal grandparents, William Austen and Rebecca Hampson, married in that way on 13 January 1728. There was no compelling reason, as far as anyone knows, why they should have – she was a widow of at least 30, so responsible for herself, and he was unmarried – aside from the fact that it’s possible that neither of them resided in a London parish. Even that we don’t know.


      • Thanks for this Ron – sometimes the “totally unscientific opinion” is the correct one! – the old “gut-reaction” thing. Interesting about the marriage license third party – one does wonder who did apply for it: the Gardiners on Lydia’s behalf or did Darcy drag Wickham to be sure he was committed. If Austen had this “Fleet marriage” in her family history perhaps why she did not have Lydia and Wickham do this – there was a full-out effort to make it all look respectable: Lydia staying with the Gardiners, Wickham visitng every day, the waiting the two weeks, etc… they were all into damage control..

        We shall really never know shall we?


  7. A very interesting discussion: thank you all! But does any body know the filming location of the wedding of Lydia and Wickham in the 1995 production? Unless I have missed something more specific the only reference I can find is to Clapham (‘London church’ on page 23 of ‘The Making of Pride and Prejudice’)


    • Hello Paul,

      I don’t know – I only have the P&P book you mention as well – but now that you bring this up, it sounds like a great research project! You let me know if you find anything and I will do the same… a quick search online brings up much film location info but not for this church specifically…


    • The church used in the 1995 production for Lydia’s wedding is St. Paul’s, Deptford. A beautiful baroque church built by Thomas Archer.


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