City Of London Churches


Stephen Millar who originally created this site to be mainly a photographic record and celebration of the churches, did a spectacular job. Eventually the site's domain registration expired. The new owner of the domain applauds the hard work by Steve Millar and decided to keep a very edited version of the original content as a homage to this man's labor of love and the spectacular 57 City of London Churches.
Content is from the site's 2003 archived pages.


The City of London Churches

The ‘Square Mile’ that constitutes The City of London is a world financial centre where 300,000 people work and nearly 500 foreign banks have an office. Less well known is that amongst the largely uninspired office blocks are hidden around 50 current or former churches and other places of worship, either complete, converted into offices, or in ruins. Once there were nearly 100 parish churches within the City boundaries but the Great Fire of London, the migration of residents to the suburbs, and Hitler’s bombs have done most to reduce that figure. Many of the surviving churches are, famously, Wren churches. After the Great Fire he had the unique opportunity of designing over 50 churches, and he gave full rein to his imagination. It is unlikely that any architect will have such an opportunity again, and indeed, after nearly one thousand years of building it seems unlikely that any new churches will grace the City.

During the weekdays the City’s streets are crammed full of suited commuters, hurrying to or from work, or to meetings, or just to buy another café latte. You can struggle to walk down Lombard Street because of the sheer weight of people, yet enter the church of St Edmund and stand alone in eerie silence, a calm unknown to the most of the City’s day-time inhabitants. In contrast, at the weekend the City streets are the quietest streets in London. Building workers fill the few snack bars that are open, and tourists flock to see the Monument. The lack of activity attracts film crews taking advantage of the empty streets to make television commercials.

Today’s surviving churches have been through a great deal. They have weathered the arrival of the Danes, occupation by the Normans, great plagues, fires, the onset of the industrial revolution and subsequent growth of the City as an economic power-house. They have been devastated by the Blitz, and more recently terrorist attacks. However, the real threat to their future is not bombs or disease but indifference.

Most of the churches are little used. A minority still thrive – the Filipinos who enliven St Margaret Pattens; the Orthodox Romanians at St Dunstan in the West; the Welsh at St Benet and German Lutherans at St Anne and St Agnes; St Giles and St Bartholomew the Great serve the largest City residential concentration at the Barbican. But mostly the churches are historical relics, trying to encourage workers in at lunch time with classical concerts, to stir enthusiasm within a museum.

But what history! The histories of the surviving churches read like a ‘who’s who’ of some of the most famous and influential people in World history, both politics, science, and culture.

Some brief examples: how many people know that Benjamin Franklin worked as a printer in St Bartholomew the Great?; that poet John Donne was rector of St Dunstan in the West? That US President John Quincy Adams was married at All Hallows-by-the Tower? That Oliver Cromwell was married in St Giles’, and John Milton buried there? That St Thomas More preached at St Lawrence Jewry?

This is not an ‘official’ site, and was designed mainly to be a photographic record and celebration of the churches. I have spent many hours trudging through deserted streets with my tripod, tracked by a thousand security cameras, and being moved on by over-zealous security guards. I hope you enjoy the site. Now get out and visit those churches!

Stephen Millar





1: All Hallows Barking
  2: All Hallows London Wall
  3: All Hallows Staining
  4: Christ Church Newgate
  5: St Alban Wood Street
  6: St Alphage London Wall
  7: St Andrew Holborn
  8: St Andrew Undershaft
  9: St Andrew by the Wardrobe
10: St Anne and St Agnes
11: St Augustine Watling Street
12: St Bartholomew the Great
13: St Bartholomew the Less
14: St Benet Paul's Wharf
15: St Botolph Aldersgate
16: St Botolph Aldgate
17: St Botolph Bishopsgate
18: St Bride
19: St Clement Eastcheap
20: St Dunstan in the East
21: St Dunstan in the West
22: St Edmund the King
23: St Ethelburga
24: St Ethelreda Ely
25: St Giles Cripplegate


26: St Helen Bishopsgate
27: St James Garlickhithe
28: St Katharine Cree
29: St Lawrence Jewry
30: St Magnus the Martyr
31: St Margaret Lothbury
32: St Margaret Pattens
33: St Martin Ludgate
34: St Martin Orgar
35: St Mary Abchurch
36: St Mary Aldermary
37: St Mary le Bow
38: St Mary at Hill
39: St Mary Somerset
40: St Mary Woolnoth
41: St Michael Cornhill
42: St Michael Paternoster Royal
43: St Nicholas Cole Abbey
44: St Olave Hart Street
45: St Olave Jewry
46: St Peter upon Cornhill
47: St Sepulchre
48: St Stephen Wallbrook
49: St Vedast alias Foster
50: Temple Church
51: St Mary Moorfields (R.C.)
52: City Temple
53: Dutch Church
54: Jewin Welsh Church
55: Spanish and Portuguese



All Hallows London Wall was rebuilt by George Dance the Younger in 1765, and restored after the blitz. It lies squashed into a narrow site between the road and the ancient Wall of London. Medieval brickwork is visible in the adjoining garden, and the shape of the vestry is determined by an old Roman bastion. Inside it is elegantly sophisticated - a long hall with apsed end, lavishly decorated. The pulpit, clinging to the wall, has a surprise entry door leading from the vestry, from where the preacher must have been able to burst dramatically upon his audience.

London Wall EC2
Open 11am - 3pm Fri






Christ Church Newgate. In 1224 an order of the Franciscans was given a piece of land within Newgate. The area where the Friars settled was poor, as evidenced by the names of local streets such as Stinking Lane and the Shambles. In 1306 the Franciscans commenced 'a magnificant edifice' and it was probably the largest church, at around 300 feet in length, in England at the time. It became a parish church after the dissolution and was rebuilt, on a more modest scale, by Wren after the Great Fire. The church was gutted during the war and has been left as a garden. The steeple is formed of triple-tiered squares of columns that ascend as they diminish into the sky.

Newgate Street EC1




St Alphage London Wall. St Alfege was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1006. In 1012 he was martyred by the Danes at Greenwich when he refused to allow a ransom to be paid for his release. The church was built in around 1013. It was demolished in the 16th century, rebuilt in the 17th, escaped the Great Fire, was demolished and rebuilt in 1777, and finally pulled down in 1923, leaving only the porch and part of the tower standing. The porch was badly burnt in the blitz, and what remains after nearly a thousand years of history is now huddled forlornly between the traffic and the concrete walkways of London Wall.





All Hallows Staining. The name comes from 'Staniggecherch', or 'stone church'. It was probably one of the first to be so built in the city. According to legend Princess Elizabeth, the future Elizabeth I, click to enlarge/imagesvisited the church on her release from the Tower and presented the church with new bell-ropes as the bells had 'been music to her ears' during her captivity. A bell from the church bearing the date 1458 can still be seen in the Grocer's Hall. In 1587 its peals had been heard over the Tower of London again, this time ringing "for joye of ye execution of ye Queene of Scots."
The church escaped the Great Fire but collapsed in 1671 'because of excessive burials.' A new church was built in 1675 in Perpendicular style and all but the tower was removed in 1870. The site was sold to the Clothworker's Company for £12,418 with the provision that they would maintain the tower in perpetuity.

Mark Lane EC3




St Alban Wood Street. Offa, King of Mercia, was believed to have had a palace on this site which included a chapel. Offa founded the abbey of St Albans (named after St Alban, who had been Britain's first martyr) in 793 and subsequently a number of churches were dedicated to St Alban in the City. The church was rebuilt by Wren after the Great Fire, and was destroyed in the blitz leaving only the perpendicular, elegantly pinnacled tower, now marooned on a traffic island in the middle of Wood Street.

click to enlarge




St Andrew Holborn escaped the Great Fire, mainly due to the natural barrier of the Holborn Valley, through which ran the river Fleet. Before the building of the viaduct the steep Holborn Hill was one of the most dangerous parts of London. The church was rebuilt by Wren anyway. The tower alone survived the blitz and the rest of the church was restored. It was one of Wren's biggest churches, to serve what was then a very big parish. Chatterton, the much romanticised teenage poet-forger was buried nearby after his suicide by poison in 1770. Hazlitt was married here in 1808, with Charles Lamb as his best man. In 1817 Benjamin Disraeli, future prime minister, was baptised at the age of twelve. This decision was made by his father as a reprisal for aspersions cast on the latter by the elders of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in Bevis Marks.

St Andrews Street EC4
Open 8.15am - 4.30pm Mon-Fri




Great St Helens EC3
Open 9am - 5pm Mon-Fri

St Helen Bishopsgate was formed originally of two medieval churches joined together. On the left is the nave of a Benedictine Nunnery, which, in the early 13th century was built onto the existing parish church. The two congregations were then separated by a solid screen (now columns). The nuns were once rebuked for waving over the screen, and another time were instructed that "alle daunsyng and revelyng be utterly forborne amongst you except Christmasse....". Inside the church is packed, Westminster Abbey style, with tombs and memorials dating back to the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages. Many of the City merchant adventurers of those times are here, from the great Thomas Gresham, to the (by all accounts) mean Lord Mayor Sir John "Rich" Spencer.




Bride Lane EC4
Open 8am-5pm Mon-Fri
9am-5pm Sat

St Bride's is famous for its spire. At 226 feet it is Wren's highest. He is thought to have been inspired by illustrations of the Tower of the Winds in Vitruvius. It is best known for its lasting influence on weddings. This originated when a Mr Rich, an 18th century pastrycook of Fleet Street, modelled his famous wedding cakes on the spire.
Samuel Pepys was baptised in the church in 1633. He visited it on the 18th of March 1664 and with the grave-maker, "chose a place for my brother to lie in, just under my mother's pew. But to see how a man's tomb are at the mercy of such a fellow, that for 6d he would - in his own words - 'jostle them together but I will make room for him' - speaking of the fullness of the middle aisle, where he was to lie, and that he would for my father's sake do my brother that he is dead, all the civility he can; which was to disturb others' corps that are not quite rotten, to make room for him."
The church is closely associated with journalism which dates back to Wynkyn de Worde, a student of Caxton, who established a press alongside St Brides. The church was restored after the war at the expense of the then neighbouring newspapers as the "Cathedral of Fleet Street". Newpapers and journalists are remembered inside on labels in the pews.




St Michael Paternoster Royal is one of Wren's later churches (1714-17), with a charming, three-tiered spire. Richard Whittington, Mayor of London, who lived next door and paid for the church to be rebuilt in 1409, was buried in the pre-Wren church. The 'Royal' of the church's name comes not from any connection with royalty, but from fact that the wine merchants who once populated this area of London did a lot of trade with the vineyards of La Réole in Bordeaux.
Inside there is a stained glass window by John Hayward depicting Dick Whittington and his cat.

College Street EC4




St Martin Ludgate forms part of a famous view from the East end of Fleet Street. There its spire stands like an elegant exclamation mark bisecting the dome of St Paul's Cathedral. It is a Wren church, with one of his most noble facades. Inside the ceiling is tunnel vaulted in the shape of a Greek cross, accentuated by a huge brass candelabra. There is a large screen with a gallery above it that separates the body of the church from the entrance, which was designed to keep out the noise of Ludgate Hill. On the 17th century font there is a Greek palindrome - Niyon anomhma mh monan oyin (Cleanse my sin and not my face only).
Ludgate, like the other City gates, was demolished in about 1760. It is thought that it got its name from Lud, an old pagan god. The west wall of the church is part of the old medieval city wall.

Ludgate Hill EC4
Open 11am - 3pm Mon-Fri





St Mary at Hill is the old fisherman's church, as for centuries the fish trade was carried out at nearby Billingsgate and in the surrounding streets. It is by Wren (1670-6), except the tower of 1780,on the site of an earlier church dating from the twelfth century. The historian Stow says that Thomas Becket was parson there
In the late 19th century the church was closed for two years for major refurbishment. During the closure 3,000 bodies were exhumed and re-interred at Norwood Cemetery.

Lovat Lane EC3
Open 10am - 3pm Mon-Fri