St Sepulchre-without-Newgate is more
formally entitled The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and is
located on the corner of Holborn Viaduct and Giltspur Street. It
was built on the site of a Saxon church which was dedicated to St
Edmund and which became known as St Edmund and the Holy Sepulchre
during the years 1103-1173, when it was in the care of Augustinian
canons who were Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. Later the name became
abbreviated to 'St Sepulchre'.
The church was rebuilt and greatly enlarged in
1450, when the present walls, tower and porch were built. Badly
damaged in the Great Fire, the interior was restored in 1670 by
Wren. The current layout dates to 1875, with interior remodelling
added in 1932. The church also contains the Regimental Chapel of the
Royal Fusiliers, who were founded in 1685, and the tower holds the
twelve bells of Old Bailey, featured in the nursery rhyme 'Oranges
St Bartholomew-the-Less was built within
St Bartholomew Spital, outside the Aldersgate. The first church here
was the Chapel of the Holy Cross, founded nearby in 1123 and moved
to the present site in 1184. It became the parish church for the
hospital during the Reformation, when the monasteries which cared
for the poor were closed and their hospitals had to be reorganised
to cater for the sudden increase in the destitute. This is when the
church was renamed.
In the fifteenth century, the church gained its
tower and west end. Two of its three bells date from 1380 and 1420
and reside within an original medieval bell frame which is believed
to be the oldest in the City. The octagonal interior which can be
glimpsed here was built by George Dance the Younger in 1793, and the
body was entirely rebuild in 1825 by Thomas Hardwick, including a
new iron roof. World War II bomb damage was repaired and the church
reopened by 1951.
St Bartholomew the Great is in West Smithfield,
across the square from St Bartholomew-the-Less. It is one of London's
oldest surviving churches, founded in 1123 within the bounds of the
Augustine Priory of St Bartholomew, outside the Aldersgate. It has
been a place of continuous worship since at least 1143. Dominican
friars were briefly introduced by Mary Tudor, before Elizabeth
restored the status quo. Perhaps the first improvements were done
in the 1860s.
The church managed to escape the Great Fire, but
became increasingly neglected, so much so that squatters moved in
during the eighteenth century. Restoration work began in the
mid-nineteenth century, and more was undertaken by Sir Aston Webb
in the 1880s and 1890s, although the church's Norman interior was
retained. Thankfully it avoided suffering any damage during the
Blitz. This is the church used in the final part of Four Weddings
and a Funeral.
St Botolph-without-Aldersgate stands on
the corner of St Martin's Le Grand and Little Britain, just outside
the former location of the Roman Aldersgate into the City. A church
has existed on the site for nearly a thousand years, with the first
being built during the reign of Edward the Confessor as a Cluniac
priory with an attached hospital for the poor. Henry V seized the
church on the grounds that it was not English and granted it to the
parish as its local church.
The present, mostly plain brick building dates
to 1788-1791, when it replaced entirely the Late Saxon church. Its
churchyard was combined with those of St Leonard, Foster Lane and
Christchurch Newgate Street into the attractive Postman's Park which
also contains the Watts Memorial of 1900 to London's civilians who
died heroic deaths. The church is used by the London City
Presbyterian Church, part of the Free Church of Scotland.
St Anne & St Agnes Lutheran Church
is on Gresham Street and Noble Street. The first mention of a church
here dates to around 1150, although there was confusion over the
name, with both St Anne and St Agnes being used separately. For the
first century or so the church appears to have been called St Agnes,
but by 1467 the names had been combined. In 1322-1326 the parish had
300 communicants and in its Norman tower hung five great bells and
one small one.
The church was gutted by fire in 1548 but was
rebuilt soon after. Further work was done in 1624, and the steeple
was repaired in 1629. All but the tower was destroyed by the Great
Fire, and it was the eleventh church to be rebuilt by Wren, planned
in the form of a Greek cross. An organ was installed in 1782, gas
lighting in 1862, and electric lighting in 1894. The church was
severely damaged by incendiary bombs on 29-30 December 1940, but
was restored by 1968.
Nine photos on this page by P L Kessler, with
additional editing to one photo by Dana Grohol. Sound file from
'Bells on Sunday' on BBC Radio 4, 2009.