1628 – Joshua Marshall

Baptized June 24 1628, in the City of London. Died April 6 1678 in London.

Joshua Marshall was Mastor Mason to the Crown. He took over this office from Edward, who was either his father or his older brother. According to “The Great Fire of London Papers” in the British Museum, Edward Marshall had a parcel of ground, with buildings and yards:

“to the east of Fetter Lane, on the north to the passage called Bond Stables, on the south adjoining to the buildings of one John Dawling, gent., and on the west butting on the garden of the Master of the Rolls” — Addit. MS. Brit. Mus. 5063 fol. 182.” [1]

What was later the workshop of Joshua Marshall was most likely at the same location.  We also know that in 1658 a “Mr. Marshall” obtained for the sum of 20 shillings per annum the right from St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields church  to store marble stones in Hedge Lane, a narrow road between Pall Mall and Coventry Street.

As the proprietor of a successful masonry and construction business, Joshua Marshall worked under Christopher Wren on the reconstruction of a number of churches, including St. Paul’s.  One of the assistants working under Joshua Marshall on some of these projects was Nicholas Hawksmoor, well-known for his later architectural works.

In 1667-71, Joshua Marshall worked as mason on the rebuilding of the Church of St. Sepulchre. (There is nothing connecting Christopher Wren with this project; the designer may have been Joshua Marshall himself.)

In 1669, before Wren provided a design for rebuilding of the main body, Joshua Marshall built the west tower of St. Clement Danes, to which James Gibbs added a spire in 1719.

From 1670-74 Joshua Marshall was responsible for rebuilding the church of St. Mary at Hill.  The Resurrection Relief, one of a number of Last Judgment scenes, may have been produced by Joshua Marshall’s workshop.

Temple Bar, the former west gate into the City of London, was built 1670-72, by Joshua Marshall and Thomas Knight, perhaps from a design provided by Wren.

Christopher Wren selected Joshua Marshall as the main contractor for the rebuilding of St. Bride’s church, of which Joshua was a parishioner. 

For Westminster Abbey, following a design provided by Wren, Joshua Marshall constructed the white marble sarcophagus that contains the bones of two children, presumed to be Edward V and his brother Richard (sons of Edward IV), discovered in the Tower of London in 1674. 

Joshua Marshall had significant responsibility for construction of the Monument to the Great Fire of London (designed by Christopher Wren) as is indicated by his receiving £11,300 of the total cost of  £13,450 11s 9d. for the monument.

Joshua Marshall also has works at Campden in Gloucestershire and Swansea in Cambridgeshire.


[1] The Builder, Vol. 21, No. 1054, April 18, 1863, p. 270, courtesy of Google Books, downloaded April 3, 2011.