September is the MS Society’s month of fund-raising, carrying the hashtag #IChallengeMS to improve social media visibility. One month to give something up, take something up, or just do something to raise money.
My challenge is to visit the 41 churches in the City of London (bonus points for ruins and gardens that occupy former sites and non-Anglican churches!). Today was my first batch, and I visited thirteen churches… I'm now back on target.
St Mary Abchurch had a beautiful domed ceiling; and some gorgeous wood furnishing. My favourite were the lion and the unicorn facing off near the sanctuary - waiting to chase each other all around the town?!
St Mary Abchurch
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St Clement Eastcheap is a solid looking church. The most startling feature of the church is undoubtedly the sky-blue ceiling.
St Clement Eastcheap
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St Peter-upon-Cornhill is tucked away off the main street. No access to the inside the day that I was there as it is now a private study centre. The churchyard/garden is a peaceful area.
St Peter Upon Cornhill
St Michael Cornhill is on the main street, but the church has been subsumed by the city surrounding it leaving a small but impressive entrance as the only real indication to the church behind
St Lawrence Jewry (after St Paul's Cathedral) is probably one of the churches I have passed most in my travels around the City... I'd never been inside before though. One of the more visited churches thanks to the location adjacent to Guildhall.
St Anne and St Agnes is a very Dutch looking church. No longer in use regularly as a church but now a concert venue, so another one not open when I came to visit.
It is easy to imagine in this corner of London what the concentration of churches must have been like before the Great Fire of London decimated the area and so many weren't rebuilt. A stones throw from St Lawrence and St Anne is St Botolph. There are (and/or were) a few St Botolphs so the "without-Aldersgate" giving its location differentiates from the others. This method is often used, either indicating a physical location or the Ward in which the church is sited. St Botolph had the builders in when I was there so I didn't go inside. Again I've been to a service there, so I have seen the beautiful interior.
St Vedast alias Foster (excellent name) was holding a service when I got there, so I didn't disturb them by going inside. I have actually been inside before as it is very near where my Mum used to work, and on the way from Cheapside to London Wall.
St Vedast alias Foster
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Heading back up to Cheapside and walking back along towards the Bank of England brings us to St Mary-le-Bow - the bells of which are credited with turning Dick Whittington back to London; are the bells which, if born within the sound of, makes a true cockney and are the end of the children's rhyme "Oranges and Lemons" - 'I do not know says the great bell of Bow'.
St Mary Aldermary is another church passed often and never visited. Recently refurbished it has a very modern interior (try and pop by at Christmas and see the lights of the nearby lanes light it up at night). Now home not only to a church but also a cafe (the lemon -poppy seed cake is my personal recommendation).
|Across the road and down the hill is St James Garlickhythe. Another church closed for the day. I have been inside there a very long time ago. Back when I was a choirister for reasons that have been lost in the mists of time our church choir boarded a minibus and sang at a wedding there! I particularly like the statue of the bargemaster and the swan.|
St Nicholas Cole Abbey
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Last stop of the day; and really because of the location and difficulties more than anything was St Benet. On the wrong side of Queen Victoria Street it is accessible from where I was only by a steep set of steps down to a subway system. With nobody else about Walt-the-Walker and I made the trip down, only to find the church closed. So we went back up the steps - and made a rude observation to the church on our return to Queen Victoria Street!
To keep up the pace I'll be off again on Friday so watch this space!