St Stephen’s, in London
Coleman On assignment from Mammy, I stopped in London on my way back to the States. She’d instructed me to see if I could find the original record of Robert and Mary Seely’s 1629 marriage in St Stephen’s Coleman Street. So, dutifully, I found the street on the map and walked its length. Alas, no St Stephen’s.

Coleman Street, however, ends at the Grocers’ Hall, a modern structure, and I fancied that three centuries ago, it might have extended further. So I wandered down Old Jewry and then a few blocks in the same direction. Suddenly, voilà! St Stephen’s Walbrook (“A” on the map). I entered and found myself in the phone-bank facility of a “Samaritans” suicide-prevention organization.

A pleasant fellow in a clerical collar introduced himself as the vicar, informed me that St Stephen’s Coleman Street had been bombed in the War, but that its records survived in his crypt. We descended, and he showed me, indeed, Robert’s and Mary’s signatures in an ancient volume. Wow!

At the time, we thought that Robert and Mary were a pair of seventh great-grandparents. Since then, we’ve learned that the relationship is a bit more complex than that. None of which dulls the day’s marvelous serendipity.
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