Friday, 8 April 2011

The Great Churches of the City of London

Most people probably think of the City of London as a grey place of enormous office buildings. Not so; at least it's only partly true. The City is also very beautiful, and its wealth ensures that it stays that way. It's scrupulously clean and well-ordered, partly because so few tourists go there, and if one doesn't care for modern office buildings, one can marvel at the 35 glorious churches. They are mostly by Sir Christopher Wren, Robert Hooke and Nicholas Hawksmoor who rebuilt them after the Great Fire of London destroyed no less than 86 of them. These churches and their often hidden churchyards are the gems of the City, beautifully maintained through their association with one or more of the wealthy Livery Companies. Yesterday I visited St Bartholomew the Great in Smithfield, one of the oldest, and was astonished at its near perfect survival since the C13th - in recent centuries through support with the Butchers' Livery company and others. My Livery Company, the Drapers' has had the advowson (right to appoint the priest) of St Michael's Cornhill, since 1503. And on another glorious spring day, I visited St Paul's and was astonished at its scale and magnificence. Click the heading for some photos of St Bartholomew the Great and here for photos of St Paul's.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely beautiful Herry, tell me do these churches have much of a Sunday congregation. I would think being in the City they might lack for worshippers.