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Top Ten Essential Architecture top ten London Churches  
     
  For a more complete list, see the main list  
1 Saint Paul's Cathedral  
026-StPaulsCathedralSouth.jpg (78835 bytes)

architect

Sir Christopher Wren

location

On the river, in the heart of the Roman / mediaeval city (on Ludgate Hill).

date

1675 to 1710

style

English Baroque

construction

masonry dome peaks at 366 feet

type

Church

St Paul's Cathedral is a cathedral on Ludgate Hill, in the City of London, and the seat of the Bishop of London. The present building dates from the 17th century, and is generally reckoned to be London's fourth St Paul's Cathedral, although the number is higher if every major medieval reconstruction is counted as a new cathedral.
 
     
2 Westminster Abbey  
The Abbey's western façade

architect

Henry Yevele, two western towers were built between 1722 and 1745 by Nicholas Hawksmoor. Further rebuilding and restoration occurred in the 19th century under Sir George Gilbert Scott.

location

Westminster, London

date

1245-1517

style

early example of a Gothic Revival design

construction

constructed from Portland stone

type

church

getting there

Nearest London Underground stations: 
St. James's Park (District, Circle lines) 
Westminster (Jubilee, District, Circle lines) 

The Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster, which is almost always referred to as Westminster Abbey, is a mainly Gothic church, on the scale of a cathedral, in Westminster, London, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English monarchs.
 
     
3 St. Mary Le Bow  
035-StMaryLeBowChurch.jpg (84880 bytes)

architect

Sir Christopher Wren

location

Cheapside, east London

date

1670 to 1683

style

English Baroque

construction

masonry 

type

Church

St Mary-le-Bow is a historic church in the City of London, off Cheapside.

The current building was built to the designs of Christopher Wren, 1671-1673, steeple completed 1680, after the Great Fire of London burnt the previous church on the site down. The mason-contractor was Thomas Cartwright, one of the leading London mason-contractors and carvers of his generation. The last church had been there since before the Normans arrived, and under that name. Its steeple had been a landmark before the Fire, and Wren fittingly provided it with a unique replacement. The Bow bells were once used to signal a curfew in the City of London. Before modern traffic noise, they could be heard as far away as Hackney Marshes.

 
     
4 St. Mary-le-Strand  
034-St-Mary-Le-Strand-Feb05.jpg (45535 bytes)

architect

James Gibbs

location

The Strand, London The nearest tube station is Temple.

date

1714 to 1717

style

English Baroque

construction

masonry

type

Church

St Mary-le-Strand is a Church of England church on Strand, London, in the City of Westminster, London. It was designed by James Gibbs and completed in 1717, with funding from the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches. It stands to the North of Somerset House and South of Bush House, on what is now a traffic island.
 
     
5 St. Martin-in-the-Fields  
033a.jpg (52665 bytes)

architect

James Gibbs

location

Trafalgar Square, London

date

1722 to 1726

style

English Baroque

construction

masonry

type

Church

St Martin-in-the-Fields is a Church of England church at the northeast corner of Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, London.

The earliest reference to the church is recorded in 1222, with a dispute between the Abbot of Westminster and the Bishop of London as to who had control over it. It was decided in favour of Westminster, and used by the monks of Westminster Abbey. The church was rebuilt by Henry VIII in 1542. At this time, it was literally "in the fields" in an isolated position between the cities of Westminster and London.
 
     
6 St. Mary Woolnoth  

architect

Nicholas Hawksmoor

location

London

date

1716 to 1724

style

English Baroque

construction

masonry

type

Church

St. Mary Woolnoth is an Anglican church in the City of London, located on the corner of Lombard Street and King William Street near the Bank of England.

The church's site has been used for worship for at least 2,000 years; traces of Roman and pagan religious buildings have been discovered under the foundations of the present church, along with the remains of an Anglo-Saxon wooden structure. Its name is first recorded in 1191 as Wilnotmaricherche. It is believed that the name "Woolnoth" refers to a benefactor, possibly one Wulnoth de Walebrok who is known to have lived in the area earlier in the 12th century. Its full (and unusual) dedication is to St. Mary Woolnoth of the Nativity.
 
     
7 Christ Church  

architect

Nicholas Hawksmoor

location

Commercial Street Spitalfields near Fournier Street, on the east end of London.

date

1715 to 1729

style

late English Baroque

construction

masonry

type

Church

Christ Church Spitalfields, lies on Commercial Street, E1, just outside the eastern border of the City of London, and was started in 1714 and completed in 1729. Its architect was Nicholas Hawksmoor.

An Act of Parliament of 1711 established the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches which was to acquire sites and build fifty new churches to serve London’s new suburbs. The Commissioners, including Sir Christopher Wren, Thomas Archer and Sir John Vanbrugh appointed two surveyors, one of whom was Nicholas Hawksmoor. Of the planned fifty churches only twelve were built, including six designed by Hawksmoor.
 
     
8 St. Clement Danes  
030-St_Clement_Danes_Jan2005.jpg (65913 bytes)

architect

Sir Christopher Wren

location

The Strand, London

date

1680. Spire added by Gibbs, 1719 to 1720. 

style

late English Renaissance  

construction

masonry 

type

Church

St Clement Danes is a church in the City of Westminster, London. It is situated outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand. The current building was completed in 1682 by Sir Christopher Wren.

The church is sometimes claimed to be the one featured in the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons and the bells do indeed play that tune. However, St Clement Eastcheap, in the City of London, also claims to be the church from the rhyme.
 
     
9 St. Antholin  

architect

Sir Christopher Wren

location

Watling Street

date

1678 to 1691

style

late English Renaissance to NeoBaroque

construction

masonry- dome peaks at 366 feet

type

Church

St Antholin, Budge Row or St Antholin, Watling Street was a former church in the City of London, which was demolished in 1874. Nowadays it has resurrected as: St Anthony and St Silas, Nunhead.

The original church was first recorded in 1119. It is known to have been rebuilt in the 1400s. In 1666, the church was destroyed in the Great Fire of London. It was rebuilt in 1678-1684 by Sir Christopher Wren. The church was demolished in 1874 as part of the Union of Benefices Act.
 
     
10  Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great  

architect

Rahere

location

West Smithfield in the City of London

date

1123

style

the most significant Norman (Romanesque) interior in London

construction

stone

type

Church

The Priory Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great is an Anglican church located at West Smithfield in the City of London, founded as an Augustinian priory in 1123.
The church possesses the most significant Norman interior in London, which once formed the chancel of a much larger monastic church. It was established in 1123 by one Rahere, a prebendary of St Paul's Cathedral and later an Augustinian canon, who is said to have erected the church in gratitude after recovering from a fever. Rahere's supposedly miraculous recovery contributed to the church becoming known for its curative powers, with sick people filling its aisles each 24 August, St Bartholomew's Day.
 
     
11 Temple Church  

architect

refurbished by Christopher Wren

location

between Fleet Street and the River Thames

date

1185

style

gothic

construction

stone

type

church

The Temple Church is a late 12th century church in London located between Fleet Street and the River Thames. It was originally constructed as the church of a monastic complex known as the Temple, the headquarters in England of the Knights Templar. The Temple was the scene of important negotiations leading to the signing of Magna Carta in 1215. After the destruction of the Templar order in the early 14th century, the Temple became Crown property and was let to two groups of lawyers that evolved into the Inner Temple and Middle Temple, which are two of the four Inns of Court. The two Inns both use the church, which is famous for its effigy tombs. It was heavily damaged during the Second World War but has been largely restored. The area around the Temple Church is known as "Temple" and nearby is Temple tube station. It was also featured in the controversial "alternative history" novel the Da Vinci Code by American author Dan Brown.
 
     
12 St. Stephen's Walbrook  

architect

Sir Christopher Wren

location

London

date

1672 to 1687

style

late English Renaissance to NeoBaroque (glorious interior)

construction

masonry 

type

Church

St Stephen, Walbrook is a small church in the City of London, part of the Church of England's Diocese of London. It is located at 39 Walbrook, EC4, near the Bank and Monument Underground stations.

Dating back to a Saxon church from the 7th century, this church is on the former site of the River Walbrook, which now runs underground. It originally stood on the west bank of the stream, but was rebuilt around 1439[1] on the east side. The 15th century building, destroyed in the Great Fire of London, contained a memorial to the English composer John Dunstaple. The wording of the epitaph had been recorded in the early 17th century, and was reinstated in the church in 1904, some 450 years after his death.
 
     
13 St. Nicholas Cole Abbey  

architect

Sir Christopher Wren

location

Queen Victoria Street.

date

1671 to 1681

style

late English Renaissance  

construction

masonry 

type

Church

St. Nicholas Cole Abbey is a church in the City of London located on what is now Queen Victoria Street. Recorded from the twelfth century, the church was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and rebuilt by the office of Sir Christopher Wren. The church suffered substantial bomb damage during the Second World War and was reconstructed by Arthur Bailey in 1961-2.
 
     
14 Westminster Cathedral  
094-WestminsterCathedralFull.jpg (46893 bytes)

architect

Bentley

location

42 Francis Street SW1 in the City of Westminster

date

1903

style

Edwardian blood and bandage

construction

brick and stone banding

type

Church

Westminster Cathedral is the mother church of the Roman Catholic faithful of the Archdiocese of Westminster and the metropolitan church of the Westminster Province, located at 42 Francis Street SW1 in the City of Westminster in London. It is the largest Roman Catholic church in England and Wales. Not to be confused with Westminster Abbey of the Church of England, Westminster Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Westminster Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, shepherd of the Archdiocese of Westminster. As a matter of custom each newly appointed Archbishop of Westminster has been created a cardinal in consistory.
 
     
London is the location of many famous churches, chapels and cathedrals, in a density unmatched anywhere else in England.

Wren
Before the Great Fire of London in 1666, the City of London had over 107 churches in an area of only one square mile (2.6 km²). Of the 86 destroyed by the Fire, 51 were rebuilt along with St Paul's Cathedral. The majority have traditionally been regarded as the work of Sir Christopher Wren, but although their rebuilding was entrusted primarily to him, the role of his various associates, including Robert Hooke and Nicholas Hawksmoor especially, is currently being reassessed and given greater emphasis.
The designs of the Wren office have provided a benchmark for church architecture ever since. Their character of pragmatism and fitness for purpose combined with a joyous inventiveness do seem to reflect Wren's personality in particular. Wren also designed a number of churches outside the City, including St James's, Piccadilly and St Clement Danes. After Wren, Hawksmoor was by common consent London's most significant church architect, being responsible in his own right for six great churches in the East End of London, of which most still stand (for example St George's Church, Bloomsbury and Christ Church, Spitalfields) .

Metropolitan area
London's churches are extraordinarily numerous and diverse. Most lie within the Anglican dioceses of London to the north and the Southwark to the south. There are still some two thousand churches across the capital, of every age and style, to the design and evolution of which at least six hundred different architects have made contributions. As London expanded during the early 19th century, many new churches were built to cater for the growing urban population; the "Waterloo churches" programme, for example, saw numerous churches constructed across south London in the first half of the century.

Significance
Although many churches were entirely or partly lost to 19th-century demolitions and to bombing in the Second World War, London's remaining churches are renowned worldwide for their historical and architectural value. Today, London's greatest concentrations of historic churches and cathedrals are in the City of London and the neighbouring City of Westminster. A number of the churches are mentioned in the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons. Unless noted otherwise, this list of churches belong to the Anglican church.