lunes, 15 de septiembre de 2014

City of London Churches

St Helens Bishopgate dates from around 1210 when it was built as part of a Benedictine priory. One of the twin naves belonged to the priory nuns, the other to parishioners. Two doorcases in classical style were added in the 17th century. The last monastic buildings, which the church had belonged to, were demolished in 1799. The church was heavily restored in 1891-93 and again the 1990s due to bomb damage from an IRA attack in 1992-93.

All that remains of All Hallows Staining is a tower from around 1320. The church collapsed in 1671,  not due to the fire of 1666, but probably because the foundations had been weakened by too many burials close to the church walls. It was rebuilt in 1674 but the main body of the church was demolished in 1870 when the parish was joined to St Olave Hart Street. The first record of a church on this site is from the late 12th century. The word Staining refers to the fact that the church was built in stone at a time when many churches were still built in wood. 

St Ethelburga Bishopsgate was built around 1411 on the site of a previous church of unknown origin that was first recorded in 1250. The facade was partially covered with a wooden porch housing shops in the 16th century and a bell turret was added in 1775. The shops were removed when Bishopsgate was widened in 1932. The church was damaged during the blitz and restored after the war. Further damage was inflicted by an IRA bomb blast in 1993 prompting further restoration.

St Olave Hart Street was built around 1450, following two previous rebuilding campaigns in the 13th and 15th centuries. The first stone church on the site is probably from the 13th century and was recorded as St Olave Towards the Tower. The central tower in brick was added in 1732, while the entrance arch to the churchyard is from 1658. The church was destroyed in the blitz but was rebuilt and reopened in 1954. 

The present St Andrew Undershaft was built around 1532, replacing a previous church from the 14th century. The first church on the site was probably built in the 12th century and was first recorded in 1147. The name Undershaft is thought to refer to a Maypole that was set up opposite the church every year.

St Katharine Cree was built in 1628-30, but retains a somewhat medieval look due to the tower, which dates from 1504 and which was kept when the church was rebuilt. The parish originally used the church of the Augustinian Holy Trinity Priory and a separate church for the parishioners was only created in 1280. 

The entrance arch to the churchyard of St Olave Hart Street was built in 1658 and is decorated with grinning skulls. It is mentioned in Charles Dickens' Uncommercial Traveller.

St Dunstan in the East was among the churches that were patched up rather than built anew after the fire in 1666. The new elements were designed in gothic style in order to blend with the retained fabric of the old church. The repaired structure was reopened in 1671 and the steeple by Christopher Wren was added in 1695-1701. In 1817, it was decided to completely rebuild the nave due to structural weakness. however, only the outer walls remain from this rebuilding effort as it was decided to leave the church as a ruin after WWII. The original church was first built in 1100.  

The church of St Augustine Watling Street was rebuilt after the fire in 1666 to a design by Christopher Wren. It was completed in 1683 but the steeple wasn't finished before 1695. The church was destroyed by bombing in 1941 but the tower was restored in 1954. The earliest record of a church on this site is from 1148. It was enlarged in 1252-53 and and had been rebuilt little more than 30 years before the great fire.  

St Margaret Pattens was built after the old structure was destroyed in the fire of 1666 to a design by Christopher Wren. It was completed in 1687. The first record of a church on the site is from 1067 while a later church was demolished in 1530 and replaced with a new-build in 1538.

St Michael Paternoster Royal was one of the last of the 51 churches to be rebuilt after the London fire of 1666.  Construction began in 1685, was interrupted due to the revolution in 1688 and was finally completed in 1694. The steeple was completed in 1713-17. Only the walls and tower survived the blitz and a number of 19th-century renovations were wiped out. The rebuilding was completed in 1966-68. The earliest record of a church on this site is from 1219.

St Mary Somerset was one of the last churches to be rebuilt after the great fire of London. Work began in 1686 and was completed in 1694 after construction slowed down due to a lack of funds. It was one of only two churches that depended on funds from the coal tax to be completed. The parish was combined with St Mary Mounthaw, a nearby church that was not rebuilt after the fire. The church was demolished in 1871 but the tower was preserved. The earliest church on the site was first recorded in the 12th century. The pinnacles of the tower have been attributed to Nicholas Hawksmoor    on stylistic grounds.

At Ludgate, we find the church of St. Martin within Ludgate. The present structure was built by Christopher Wren during the reconstruction of the city after 1666. A plaque at the entrance explains that the first church here was built some 1,300 years ago by a King Cadwal, whose crypt is supposed to be somewhere under the church. There is also a plaque next to the church marking the former site of Ludgate, one of the ancient gates to the city.

Christchurch Greyfriars was destroyed in the blitz and the nave was converted into a park. A plaque nearby explains that a Franciscan priory called Greyfriars used to exist around here until it was swept away by the reformation. The medieval church was destroyed in 1666 and replaced with a new design by Christopher Wren.

 St Botolph without Aldersgate: A church has stood on this site for almost one thousand years. The church survived the fire of 1666 but was demolished because it had become unsafe to use. The present building dates to 1788-91 and was designed by Nathaniel Wright.

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