All Hallows On The Wall
Originally founded by Queen Matilda in the year 1108, and constructed on the foundations of the City's Roman wall, the present building is the first church to be designed by George Dance The Younger, who referred to it as 'my first child'. The hall attached to the east was constructed in Edwardian times to provide shelter for early morning commuters.
The exterior is simple dark brick with an ashlar-faced tower, the inside a tunnel-vault nave with simple and delicate decor. Two chandeliers, one a modern replice of the other, hang in the nave. The church is currently being used by Christian Aid, and opening times are limited.
St Andrews Holborn
First mentioned in 951, this church stood on what was once the bank of the River Fleet and is now Holborn Viaduct. It was the largest parish church rebuilt by Wren and was restored after a 1941 incendiary attack. Engineer Marc Brunel and essayist William Hazlitt were married here, and Benjamin Disraeli baptised. The church contains the tomb of philanthropist Thomas Coram (its third resting place), and a brass plaque beyond the altar records the burial of the controversial cleric Henry Sacheverell. William Marsden was prompted to found his famous hospital after finding a homeless urchin dying on the church steps.
St Andrew By The Wardrobe
Boasting one of the best names of a City church, this stood across the road from the long-demolished Baynard's Castle. The name of the church recalls the King's Wardrobe which stood next door, and from which Shakespeare's players acquired costumes for their productions in the nearby Blackfriars Theatre. Both church and Wardrobe were destroyed in 1666, and the rebuild was Wren's final church for the City. The parish was united with that of another destroyed church, St Ann Blackfriars, and masonry remnants of the great monastery can still be found close by in Ireland Yard. John Dowland, Jacobean songwriter, was buried in St Ann's churchyard in 1625 and is remembered by a wall monument at St Andrew's. Also buried at St Ann's were the artist Isaac Oliver and Oliver's daughter, Bridget Cromwell.
St Anne & St Agnes
Now home to the City's Lutheran community, this Wren/Hooke collaboration is the third known church on the site. Wartime damage almost saw it demolished, but it was saved by the persistence of a verger who insisted upon keeping the church open despite a Dangerous Building notice. It was also considered briefly as a possible residence for the Bishop of London.
The church interior, a Greek cross within a square, holds many relics from other,destroyed City churches and the churchyard is second only to St Olaves Hart Street for rusticity. Supposedly the burial place of Peter Heywood, d1640, the man who apprehended Guy Fawkes. To the rear of the church can be seen the junction of two Roman walls - the City wall and the Fortress wall.
St Bartholomew The Less
Dating from the late twelfth century, this was originally the chapel of the medieval St Bart's hospital. It became the parish church after the Dissolution, its boundaries being those of the hospital itself. The present building was first designed in wood by Dance The Younger, but rebuilt in stone a few decades later by Thomas Hardwick. The tower and vestry are survivors from the medieval building. Inigo Jones was baptised here in 1573, and in the early 1590's it hosted the burials of two poets, Thomas Watson and John Lyly. A fifteenth century brass to William Markeby, described by Stow, survives in the vestry and there is a memorial erected by Thomas Bodley (founder of the Bodleian Library) to his wife.
St Benet Paul's Wharf
The church was mentioned as far back as the year 1111, and is recalled by Shakespeare in Twelfth Night. He would have known it from his visits to the College Of Arms, just over the road. Inigo Jones was buried here in 1652, leaving £100 in his will for a sumptuous tomb which was destroyed in 1666. The attractive Dutch-style replacement church has been attributed to both Wren and Hooke, and the New Atlantis author DelaRiviere Manley was buried here in 1724, and author Jane Collier in 1755. Until recently, hemmed in by very busy roads, St Benet was used by the City's Welsh community.
St Botolphs Aldersgate
St Botolph is the patron saint of travellers, and his dedication is found at gates in the City wall: Aldersgate, Aldgate, Bishopsgate and at one time Billingsgate. This church goes back to early Norman times, the present building a 1791 rebuild by Nathaniel Wright. The oblong exterior hides interior apses at both east and west, and much graceful and well proportioned decoration. The rosettes along the ceiling of the nave conceal gas lamps, and what at first looks like a painted panel in the eastern apse turns out, upon closer inspection, to be a painted window. Wesley preached on land adjacent to the church and received the inspiration that led to the founding of Methodism. Two notable Tudor figures were buried here; the philanthropist Lady Anne Packington in 1563 and Sir William Cavendish (one of Bess of Hardwick's husband) in 1557. To the south is the burial ground, now known as Postman's Park and containing Victorian and Edwardian memorials to unsung heroes.
St Botolphs Aldgate
Dating back to Saxon times, the present building is a sturdy and imposing Dance The Elder design of 1744. Daniel Defoe was married here and wrote of the church in his Journal Of The Plague Year; Isaac Newton was a parishioner while he worked for the Royal Mint; and the philosopher Jeremy Bentham was baptised here. The traitors Thomas D'Arcy and Henry Carew, executed by Henry VIII, were interred here, as was the head of Henry Grey Marquess of Dorset. Other notable burials are Robert Armin, stage comedian and friend of Shakespeare, and the steamship pioneer William Symington.
St Botolphs Bishopsgate
Mentioned in 1212, the church was rebuilt first in 1571, then in 1728 by the elder Dance and his father-in-law James Gould. Unconventionally, they placed the tower at the east end where it dominates Bishopsgate. In 1863, the churchyard became the first in the City to be landscaped into a public garden. John Keats and the philanthropical actor Edward Alleyn were baptised here - the present font is the one at which Keats was christened. A memorial marks the burial of Sir Paul Pindar - his nearby house had a facade which is now an exhibit in the V&A Museum.
St Clements Eastcheap
Probably the original Oranges and Lemons church, despite the later pretensions of St Clements Dane, as citrus fruit was once unloaded from a nearby wharf. It was first mentioned in 1067, but the present building was created by Wren and enlarged to accommodate the congregation of fellow Great Fire victim St Martin Orgar. A modest and quiet church, no longer in Eastcheap since the Victorians created King William Street. Today, it houses the National Interpreting Service and hosts a year-round second hand book sale.
St Dunstan In The West
The church with the eye-catching lantern tower which now stands overlooking Fleet Street dates to 1829, its predecessor having been demolished to accommodate the widening of the street, but the dedication - to a Saxon Archbishop of Canterbury - implies that a church has stood here for much longer. A statue of Elizabeth I, the only such statue in London, was brought from the demolished Lud Gate and placed on the outside of the building; in the vestry are statues of King Lud and his sons, rescued from the same source. The interior is octagonal and richly decorated, a blend of Anglican and Romanian Orthodox styles. Buried here were Lord Baltimore, after whom Baltimore in the U.S. is named; also Thomas White the founder of Sion College and the Cavalier poets Thomas Campion and Thomas Carew.
The Dutch Church, Austin Friars
Closed in by towering office blocks north of Cornhill, this is one of the better-hidden City churches. The present building was constructed after its predecessor was flattened during the Blitz, its foundation stone laid by the 10 year old Princess Irene of Holland. The exterior is attractive Dutch-style, the interior straightforwardly modern and somewhat dull, offering no clues to the site's colourful history. Originally it was an Augustinian monastery at which Richard II's brother Edward was buried, as well as receiving the bodies of many nobles slain at the Battle of Barnet in 1471. The humanist scholar Erasmus lodged there, but disliked the wine. After Dissolution the land was briefly owned by the Marquess of Winchester before Edward VI granted it to the City's Dutch community, under whose auspices it has remained ever since!
The smallest City church, a medieval building at which Henry Hudson and his crew prayed before setting out on their unsuccessful search for the North-West Passage. Seriously damaged by the 1993 Bishopsgate bomb, it was gradually pieced back together in something of a patchwork fashion. Most of the previous fittings were destroyed or removed; the church's single aisle has been converted into an office. It is now a Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.
St James Garlickhythe
Dating back to the twelfth century, this church is named after a nearby wharf at which garlic was unloaded. Pilgrims also used to arrive here from Compostela, having visited the shrine of St James, hence the church's dedication. James' symbol of a shell can be found all over thebuilding. The present church is sometimes known as Wren's Lantern, although Hawksmoor was responsible for the tower, and it has the highest nave in the City. A bomb fell between two pillars during the Blitz, but failed to explode; in 1991, a crane toppled onto the church and landed between the same two pillars! The damage has since been repaired. Ritual processions by the Vintners' and Skinners' Companies, dating back to medieval times, still occur at St James.
St Katherine Cree
The suffix is a contraction of Christ Church, named after the Priory in the grounds of which the church was built. The original church, only a few decades old, was demolished at the Dissolution but rebuilt a century later, possibly by Inigo Jones. The tower, 'vilely snail-pointed' by the Victorians according to Betjeman, is a 1504 survivor from the earlier church. The new building was consecrated by Archbishop Laud, to whom a chapel is now dedicated. Its best monument is the tomb and effigy of Sir Nicholas Throgmorton, Elizabethan courtier and the father-in-law of Walter Raleigh. A brass in the Sanctuary commemorates John Gayer, a Lord Mayor who survived a lion attack in Africa and, in gratitude, endowed an annual 'Lion Sermon' which is still carried out. Despite interesting monuments and windows, the interior aesthetic is poor due to the conversion of both north and south aisles into offices. A small churchyard, reached from Mitre Street, contains a 1631 doorcase built in Portland stone and paid for by a goldsmith named William Avenon. The artist Holbein may have been buried here during a plague outbreak in 1543.
St Magnus Martyr
First mentioned when William I granted it to Westminster Abbey, the church's next claim to fame was its Rector in Tudor times, the Bible translator Miles Coverdale. He was originally buried at St Bartholomew By The Exchange, but when that church was demolished in 1840 for the enlarging of the Royal Exchange, he was moved here. Windows on the north were bricked up in an attempt to alleviate traffic noise from the very busy Lower Thames Street. The tower and portico stood on the footway to the old London Bridge; footings for the bridge's supports can still be seen, as can a piece of Roman wharf timber excavated nearby. Thomas Farriner, in whose bakery the Great Fire of London started, was buried here in 1670.
St Margaret Lothbury
The Banker's Church, due to its proximity to the back door of the Bank of England. It stands over the Walbrook, for a stone arch was erected over the brook in 1440 so that the church could be extended. Wren rebuilt the fire-damaged church but the tower may be the work of Hooke. Many of the fittings are survivors from demolished City churches. Lord Mayor Hugh Clopton, after whom the Clopton Bridge is named in his native Stratford-Upon-Avon, was buried here. Some memorials were transferred here from the demolished St Place Jewry.
St Margaret Pattens
Named after the wooden shoes worn to protect proper shoes from the mud of London's pre-tarmacadam streets, a pair of which were on display in the vestibule when I last visited. First mentioned in 1067, but rebuilt in Tudor times and post-Fire by Wren. Its spire, almost 200ft tall, is a local landmark and probably by Hawksmoor. One of the church's canopied pews bears the monogram CW; it is unknown whether this stands for Christopher Wren or Church Warden.
St Martin Ludgate
In legend, the burial place of King Lud and Cadwallader. The west wall of this church is actually a section of the City's Roman wall, against which the church was constructed. Although the post-Fire church was probably the work of Hoke, the spire was designed by Wren as a foil to the great Dome of St Paul's Cathedral, and from a point along Fleet Street the spire can be seen to bisect the Dome.The interior, somewhat dark, contains curious relics: bread shelves and a double-seated chair for the two churchwardens. Travel writer Samuel Purchas was buried here in 1626.
St Mary At Hill
Described by Betjeman as having 'the most gorgeous interior in the City', St Mary suffered a calamitous fire in 1988. Some fittings were destroyed; others survived but are presently in storage, hance the interior's somewhat 'empty' feel. It has suffered at least four fires in its history. The exterior is relatively plain, but boasts an eye-catching protruding clock. A Fish Harvest Festival' is held here in October, reflecting the church's historic connection with Old Billingsgate Market.
St Mary Moorfields
This replaced a RC proto-Cathedral which was demolished in 1899. The new church was built in 1903 and became the only RC church in the City when the boundary of the City was moved from the front to the rear of the building. Its entrance blends well with its neighbours but retains modest grace. The altar was originally intended as a sarcophagus for Cardinal Wiseman, whose seat was the earlier 'cathedral'.
St Mary Woolnoth
During the reign of Queen Anne, a series of new churches were constructed in the suburbs around the City, and it is here that Hawksmoor's power can be seen - at Christ Church Spitalfields, St George In The East and St Ann Limehouse - but he did manage to rebuild one City church, and that was St Mary Woolnoth. Despite this attribution, it came close to demolition when Bank station was being constructed by the Victorians. Hawksmoor's towered facade is an interesting contrast to the exteriors designed by his teacher Wren. The Elizabethan playwright Thomas Kyd was christened here; the slaver-turned-preacher John Newton, who wrote 'Amazing Grace', was Rector here and was buried here until being translated to a Home Counties church in 1893.
St Michael Paternoster Royal
This church goes back to at least 1219 but was famously refounded in 1409 by the wealthy merchant and oft-times Lord Mayor, Richard Whittington. It had to be completely rebuilt after both the Fire and the Blitz, and is now HQ of the Mission To Seafarers. Whittington is remembered by a stained glass window and a inscribed tile south of the altar; post-War excavations failed to recover his coffin but, curiously, did recover the skeleton of a cat! Also buried here was the Cavalier poet John Cleveland.
St Peter Cornhill
The highest church in the City, it stands on the site of the Roman Forum and somewhat fancifully claims to have been founded in AD79, although the foundation is more likely Saxon. It contains a Wren chancel screen in its original position, and the City's most upsetting church memorial - to seven young siblings who died in a house fire in 1782. The churchyard was described in Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens, who ironically noted the 'healthy' proximity of crowded graveyard to crowded neighbourhood! The churchyard is still crowded by other buildings, but has long since been an attractive public garden.
St Nicholas Cole Abbey
This never was an Abbey; the name is a mutation of 'Coldharbour'. The spire is notably surmounted by a gilded ship, brought from a demolished church. Built by Wren and restored after the Blitz, its war-blackened walls featured in the Ealing comedy Lavender Hill Mob. At the Counter-Reformation, it was the first church to celebrate Mass in Latin, and until recently was being used by Scottish Presbyterians. It has recently opened as a cafe.
St Vedast Alias Foster
Thanks to parochial amalgamations, this parish can boast the name of 'St Stephen with St Michael le Querne, St Matthew Friday Street, St Peter Cheap, St Alban Wood Street, St Olave Silver Street, St Michael Wood Street & St Mary Staining, St Anne & St Agnes and St John Zachary Gresham Street'. A cloister between the church and its rectory contains a section of Roman tessellated pavement which was excavated nearby.
This RC chapel in Holborn is all that remains of Ely Palace, the London residence of the Bishop of that see. It has an atmospheric vault, many colourful windows and statues of various London martyrs. Alexander D'Arbley, son of the novelist Fanny Burney, was Reverend here in the 1830's. The 13th-century crypt in the Palace of Westminster is almost identical to the contemporary crypt here.
St Mary le Strand
Rebuilt by the architect James Gibbs in the eighteenth century, St Mary stands in a sea of traffic at the junction of Aldwych and the Strand. Its once extensive churchyard was curtailed by the construction of its neighbour Somerset House. Father John Huddleston, who accepted Charles II's deathbed conversion to Catholicism, was buried here in 1698.
The original Savoy Palace belonged to John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and was burned down in the Peasant's Revolt of 1381; the present Duke, HM The Queen, is the current owner of the Savoy Chapel. It is all that remains of a Hospital built by Henry VII for the 'pouer, needie people'. Burial place of Gavin Douglas, Bishop of Dunkeld and poet, in 1552.
City Road Chapel
Probably the closest the Methodists have to a cathedral, this stands in an area famous for its dissenting traditions. John Wesley's House stands alongside, and the man himself occupies an eye-catching tomb in the garden to the rear. The crypts are the site of an impressive museum of Methodism, and just across the busy City Road is the famous dissenters' burial ground of Bunhill Fields, which contains figures such as Bunyan, Defoe, William Blake, Susannah Wesley, the radical Richard Price and the hymnwriter Isaac Watts.
St James Piccadilly
Commissioned by the rakish Henry Jermyn and built by Wren in the 1680's, plain brick with Portland stone dressing. Williams Blake and Pitt were baptised here, and indeed it is now the meeting-place of the Blake Society. Burials include the Dutch maritime artists Van Der Velde (Elder and Younger), the essayist and wit Dr John Arbuthnot, Dr Thomas Sydenham the populariser of laudanum, and artist Mary Beale.
St James Clerkenwell
Originally the site of a Priory of St Mary, this became the Parish church after the Dissolution and was rebuilt in its present form in 1792 by James Carr. It is a dignified old building in a somewhat untidy but vibrant area, dominating Clerkenwell Green. It could possibly claim to be the Playwright's Church if it had a mind to; Elizabethan writer George Peele was buried here and may have been followed by the Jacobean dramatists Thomas Dekker and John Webster. Also here is Henry Penton, after whom Pentonville is named.
St Mary Lambeth
Standing next to Lambeth Palace, this redundant church is now a Museum Of Garden History, which is perfectly appropriate considering the botanical connections of its famous interments: John Tradescent father & son, travellers and Royal Gardeners; Elias Ashmole, who founded Oxford's Ashmolean Museum; James Sowerby, botanical illustrator; and commander of The Bounty William Bligh, whose 1789 mission to transport breadfruit from Tahiti to Jamaica met with a minor delay. Also here is a Howard Chapel containing Elizabeth Boleyn, mother of Anne.
The present church, consecrated in 1817, is the fourth to bear the name. Its outstanding feature is its splendid apse, added in 1884. Robert Browning and Charles Dickens were born in the parish and would have worshipped here; the marriage of Browning to fellow poet Elizabeth Barrett also took place here, and the church retains the entry in the Marriage Register. Baptisms include 'Bad' Lord Byron and Horatia, daughter of Emma Hamilton and Horatio Nelson. In the 'old' churchyard were buried Revd. Charles Wesley, the animal artist George Stubbs, the sculptor John Rysbrack, the codifier of whist Edmund 'according to' Hoyle, and architect James Gibbs. This ground was cleared in 2004 to make way for a subterranean school gymnasium; reburials took place at the East London Cemetery.