City of London Parish Churches
|Fri, 16 Nov 2007 14:06
|Let's have a quick wander around the Square Mile, and imagine what the City would have looked like before the Great Fire, when there were 111 parish churches within the City limits, amid none of the tower blocks which are so prominent today.
Almost 50 survive, a few with just the tower intact, and we will start at Byward Street, alongside the Tower of London (which is itself just outside the City) and proceed in a generally anticlockwise direction.
In Byward Street we come across All Hallows-by-the-Tower; up Seething Lane we come across the tower of All Hallows Staining and then St. Olave Hart Street; moving northeast along Fenchurch Street and Aldgate we come to St. Botolph Aldgate. Then backtracking slightly and turning right into Leadenhall Street we pass St. Katherine Cree on the way to St. Andrew Undershaft.
Heading north up Bishopsgate we find this street has three eponymous churches – St. Helen Bishopsgate (tucked away in Great St. Helen's), St. Ethelburga Bishopsgate and St. Botolph without Bishopsgate. Moving along London Wall we come across All Hallows-on-the Wall and the remains of St. Alphage London Wall before turning right (north) along Wood Street and round the corner into the Barbican complex where we will find St. Giles Cripplegate.
Going back down Wood Street, the tower of St. Alban Wood Street is unmissable in the middle of the street, at which we turn right through a walkway which comes out at the garden on the site of St. Mary Staining. At the end of Staining Lane is the garden on the site of St. John Zachary and, on the opposite corner of Noble Street we find St. Anne & St. Agnes. We will go along Noble Street where, on the corner of London Wall, is a stone on the site of St. Olave Silver Street. Across Aldersgate Street in Little Britain is St. Botolph Aldersgate, and at the top of Little Britain we find, through an arch, St. Bartholomew the Great. Back through the arch and straight ahead into West Smithfield, we will find St. Bartholomew the Less within the grounds of St. Bart's Hospital.
Coming down Giltspur Street, we find on our right, when we reach the junction with Holborn Viaduct/Newgate Street, Holy Sepulchre without Newgate. Before we continue westwards, we'll go along Newgate Street to see the war-torn remains of Christ Church Newgate Street. Backtracking and continuing along Holborn Viaduct, we see St. Andrew Holborn on the corner of St. Andrew Street, before turning left down New Fetter Lane until we reach Fleet Street by St. Dunstan-in-the-West. Almost opposite, we turn right to find the circular-ended St. Mary Temple (or Temple Church).
We have now completed the northern half of our tour, and will return towards the Tower along the southern part. But, for now, let's stop and put our feet up for a while, maybe have a spot of lunch, and reconvene a bit later. An hour's time OK?
|Fri, 16 Nov 2007 15:50
|OK, all refreshed? Quick headcount, let's continue.
Continuing eastwards along Fleet Street, just before New Bridge Street we see the distinctive tower of St. Bride Fleet Street. Continuing along Fleet Street and into into Ludgate Hill, we find St. Martin within Ludgate on our left. We will make a little detour through along Carter Lane and down the path Church Entry, along which we find the site of St. Ann Blackfriars. Now we make our way down to St. Andrew's Hill, at the bottom of which is St. Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe. Turning left along Queen Victoria Street, we soon see St. Benet Paul’s Wharf on our right and then St. Nicholas Cole Abbey on our left. Turning right, once again, towards the Thames down Lambeth Hill, we see the tower of St. Mary Somerset in a small park at the bottom. It is now necessary to make a little detour back north, until we find ourselves in the southeast corner of St. Paul's Churchyard. There we see the tower of the Cathedral Choir School, which was originally the tower of St. Augustine Watling Street, though not on this site.
Following the eastern edge of St. Paul's Churchyard, we turn right onto Cheapside where, almost immediately, we see St. Vedast alias Foster on the left, just up Foster Lane; continuing along Cheapside we will find St. Mary-le-Bow on our right, just after which we turn left up King Street, coming out at St. Lawrence Jewry by the Guildhall. Turning right along Gresham Street and again into Ironmonger Lane, we will see St. Olave's Court tucked away on the left, one of whose offices is the tower of the former St. Olave Jewry. Making our way back to Queen Victoria Street, we will find, near the junction with King and Queen Streets, St. Mary Aldermary, of which I offer two views here.
Down Queen Street, then, to Upper Thames Street, and we will quickly turn right to see St. James Garlickhythe before a U-turn to continue along Upper Thames Street and left to College Street, brings us to St. Michael (Paternoster) Royal. Making our way onto Cannon Street, onto which we turn right, and we see the tower of St. Martin Orgar on our right, in Martin Lane. On the other side of Cannon Street is Abchurch Lane, in which – hidden among tall offices – is St. Mary Abchurch. Back along Cannon Street for a moment and right into Walbrook is St. Stephen Walbrook.
From here we will head north once again, up Princes Street and round the back of the Bank of England, to St. Margaret Lothbury, before returning to the hub of the City where, on the acute corner of King William and Lombard Streets, we will see St. Mary Woolnoth. Going along Lombard Street, we see St. Edmund King and Martyr on the left, where we turn left and right onto Cornhill, with its two eponymous churches on our right – St. Michael Cornhill and, rather hidden away just before we reach Bishopsgate, St. Peter-upon-Cornhill. We turn right at the lights along Gracechurch Street and sharp right into King William Street, just up to the first right turn, Clement's Lane, where St. Clement Eastcheap is on the corner.
We will now pop down to the Monument and from there down Fish Street Hill, at the bottom of which we will see St. Magnus the Martyr ahead of us. Turning left into Lower Thames Street and left again into St. Dunstan's Lane, we will see what is left of St. Dunstan-in-the-East. By the tower, we can turn left into St. Dunstan's Lane and right into St. Mary-at-Hill, where we see St. Mary-at-Hill (although the tower is best viewed from Lovat Lane). It will not have escaped your notice, as we ascended St. Mary-at-Hill, that the spire of St. Margaret Pattens is a prominent feature at the top, on the corner of Great Tower Street. Turning right here will take us back down to the Tower and we will see All Hallows-by-the-Tower once again, at the bottom of the street.
|Fri, 16 Nov 2007 20:01
|In case you are wondering whether I have deliberately omitted London's most famous church:
St. Paul's Cathedral is ex-parochial – that is to say, it is not a 'parish church' but sits outside the parish system.
You should note that the pictures are not necessarily taken from the direction suggested by the route I have described above.
Further information on the churches abounds on the Internet. Here is a brief selection of websites based on a search of none of them in particular. A search for information on a particular church will doubtless bring up more fruitful, more specific results.
Some photos and general information on the surviving churches will be found here:
List of parish churches, including those no longer in existence, with details of when built/destroyed/demolished etc.
Wikipedia has some excellent entries on City churches – here is a list (scroll down to City of London), from which there are links to individual entries.