City Churches Walk

Thursday 30th July 2015

Due to the initiative of the Worshipful Company of Constructors and the Worshipful Company of Plumbers, a large number of Livery Masters and Mistresses with the odd Clerk and Warden in attendance, gathered in St Paul’s Crypt restaurant for a bacon butty and coffee before setting off on a walk around ten of the City’s wonderful churches most of them of course designed by Sir Christopher Wren. The day was thankfully dry and we were in the company of two excellent City guides who knew almost everything there is to know about the City and its churches. 52 out of around the 80 that were destroyed in the Fire of London were rebuilt financed in the main by a tax on coal. Every tun of coal landed in London docks was charged a rate determined by parliament and the proceeds went to the city churches and the rebuilding of St Paul’s Cathedral. Wren was the King’s Surveyor and he got the job of this massive re-design. A lot of the practical work was done by others of course but Wren’s imprimatur was on every new church.

It just isn’t possible to mention everything we saw but highlights stick in the memory like the garden of St Vedast Foster Lane and the magnificent domed St Stephen’s Wallbrook, a showpiece church as befits the church of the Lord Mayor, whose dome predates that of St Paul’s. One of the last on our list was St Olave close to the Tower of London and the burial place of Samuel Pepys and his wife. Her effigy stands on a plinth looking across the church at his. St Olave’s is a rare medieval survivor which the fire never reached. We ended, a little footsore it must be said, having coffee and cake in the café at All Hallows by the Tower. There are plans to make this an annual walk. I couldn’t recommend it more highly and well done to the organisers for having the idea and managing it so well.