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Churches in the City of London (4)

More churches in the Square Mile

People & places (2)People & places (3)The GuildhallThe Churches (1)Churches (2)Churches (3)Saint PaulsInns of CourtLondon BridgeStock Exchange

All Hallows Staining

Saint Mary Aldermanbury

All Hallows Staining is first mentioned in the 1100’s and the name is thought to come from the fact that it was built of stone. Some of the original can still be seen at the base of the tower. Queen Elizabeth I is said to have visited the church and gave it new bell ropes in 1554 after the bells had been “music to her ears” while imprisoned in the Tower of London.
The church was demolished in 1870 but the tower was restored by the clothworkers. In 1872 a 12th. century crypt was transported here stone by stone from the church of St. James in the Wall near Cripplegate (Monkwell Street).

This church was probably on the site in Saxon times but is first recorded in 1181. Stow tells us that the church was rebuilt in 1437. It was repaired in 1633 and then burnt down, like so many other churches, in the 1666 fire.
World War Two bombs left it an empty shell in December 1940 and because of an association (although a very small one) the remaining walls and tower were dismantled and shipped over to America. This was in 1965. It was reconstructed at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri to serve as a memorial to Sir Winston Churchill.
All that remains in the City site at Aldermanbury is a pleasant garden with a few stones on the lawn marking out where the columns would have been, and a plaque giving an explanation of the move.

Saint Alphage London Wall

The only reason that some remains of St. Alphage still exist is that it was designated as a Grade II listed structure on 4 January 1950. First mentioned in 1108-25, though it is said that it was established before 1068. It is dedicated to an Archbishop of Canterbury who was killed by the Danes
in the 11th. century. The land passed into the hands of William Elsing, who founded a hospital on the site, Elsing Spital, in 1331. Originally a secular establishment, it was taken over by Augustinian priors and monks in 1340.  The hospital closed in 1536, with Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries. Most of the building was demolished in 1923.

The Dutch Church

The present church was rebuilt, after WWII bomb damage, by Arthur Bailey in the early 1950's in Portland stone. It is on the site of the Augustine friars monastery which was founded on this site in 1253. It was rebuilt in 1354. There were many Dutch in London in the 1500's and after the dissolution of the monasteries it was given to them as a protestant church. The narrow entrance to Austin Friars can be found at the top of Throgmorton Street.

Saint Edmund King and Martyr

Located in Lombard Street, it is one of the few churches on a north to south axis (most churches are built east to west). Dedicated to Edmund, the young king killed by the Danes in 870. Bury St. Edmonds was founded where he was buried apparently. First mentioned in the 12th. century as Edmund Grasschurch. This came from the grass market from where Gracechurch Street gets it's name.
Another of the churches rebuilt by the office of Wren after the fire of 1666.

Saint Magnus the Martyr

Named after a king of the Orkneys, from Norway, who was killed in 1116. Before London Bridge was moved, after the  Peter Colechurch 600 year old stone bridge was replaced, it was on the approach to it. St. Magnus was one of the first of the 89 churches in the City to be destroyed by the fire of 1666. Rebuilt by Wren in 1671-84.  A 16th. century rector, Miles Coverdale, is buried here. He and William Tyndale published the first English language bible.

Saint Martin Ludgate

Named after a Roman soldier who shared his cloak with a beggar on a freezing day. He then went on to become Bishop of Tours. If you walk down Fleet Street you will come to a point where the steeple of St. Martins meets the exact centre of the dome of St. Pauls. This was Wrens plan. it must have looked spectacular back then. It was rebuilt by Wren (with great influence by Hooke apparently) in 1677-86. One of the few churches to escape war damage. There is a font dating from 1670.

Saint Brides

Saint Dunstans in the West

Named after the Irish St. Bridget born in 453 in Kildare. It is said that the steeple, which is Wren's tallest, gave a baker the inspiration for a wedding cake, with it's diminishing layers. Rebuilt by Wren in 1671-2. Restored by Godfrey Allen in 1955 after WWII damage. It is tucked away behind Fleet Street but the famous steeple can be seen from afar. It had strong associations with the press and was known as the Journalists Church for many years.

Dedicated to a Saxon abbot who became Archbishop of Canterbury. The church stands in Fleet Street. It escaped damage in the fire of 1666 but when the road was widened it was rebuilt by John Shaw in 1830-33. The clock, after spending a century in Regents Park, was returned in 1935 and was the first church clock in the City to have a second hand.

Saint Vedast Alias Foster

Temple Church

First mentioned in 1249 and dedicated to a Bishop of Arras in Flanders who died in 540. It stands in Foster Lane and Foster is thought to be the corruption of the word Vedast. Fire damage was restored in 1669-72 but Wren was not involved until he rebuilt it in 1695-1701.
Restored again after WWII damage, in 1953-63 by Stephen Dykes-Bower.

Film buffs will instantly recognise this church as the one featured in “The Da Vinci Code”. There are marble figures on the floor as seen in the film. Built in 1160 and used by the Knights Templar. The lawyers who made the Inner and Middle Temple site their place of business made the church their own. Refurbished by Wren in 1682 and WWII damage repaired in 1947-57 by Walter H. Godfrey

Saint Augustine

Saint Pauls Cathedral

Named after the missionary sent to Britain by Pope Gregory in 596. St. Augustine’s church stands close to St. Paul's in New Change and, like St. Martins was designed by Wren as a counterpoint to the cathedral. It was first mentioned in 1148. Damage from the great fire left it in a dangerous condition and it had to be demolished in 1671. Completed by Wren in 1684, the steeple was added in 1695-6. The church was destroyed by WWII bombs in 1941 but the tower remained. The steeple was restored in 1966.

Wren’s masterpiecGo to St. Pauls pagee. As much as I would like to give every City church and many other buildings their own page, time and space prevent this. Saint Pauls, in my humble opinion, is one of the most deserving and so I have expanded the article on it and given it a whole page to itself.
Saint Pauls page >>

Churches (3)

There has been a church on this site in Bow Lane for almost a 1000 years. it is the oldest of the City churches dedicated to Mary (alder - older).
In 1510, Sir Henry Keeble, a Lord Mayor, built a new church on the site. When he died in 1518 the tower was unfinished. and it wasn't until 1629 that it was finished due to a cash windfall. John Milton, the poet, married his third wife there in 1663.
Rebuilt by Wren after the fire of 1666, it kept it's gothic look in order to save money by incorporating the undamaged parts. Iron cramps, set in lead, were used to reinforce the stonework but these rusted over the years and early in the 21st. century these had to be replaced with stainless steel ones.
During this work oyster shells were found inside the walls. Oysters were common in the Thames at that time and often used as part of the diet for workmen. It was found that the shells had been used as packing between the stones.

Saint Mary Aldermary