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St Lawrence Jewry

St Lawrence Jewry
Church Interior
Country United Kingdom
Denomination Church of England
Dedication St Lawrence
Architect(s) Christopher Wren
Style Baroque
Diocese City of London

St Lawrence Jewry next Guildhall is a Church of England guild church in the City of London on Gresham Street, next to the Guildhall. It was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, and rebuilt to the designs of Sir Christopher Wren.


Medieval era

The church was originally built in the twelfth century and dedicated to St Lawrence; the weather vane of the present church is in the form of his instrument of martyrdom, the gridiron.[1] The church is near the former medieval Jewish ghetto,[2] which was centred on the street named Old Jewry.[3]

Sir Thomas More preached in the older church on this site.[4]

17th century

In 1618 the church was repaired, and all the windows filled with stained glass paid for by individual donors.[5]

The medieval church was destroyed in the Great Fire of London and rebuilt by Christopher Wren between 1670 and 1687.[6] The parish was united with that of St. Mary Magdalen, Milk Street, which was not rebuilt.[5] The church is entirely faced in stone, with a grand east front, on which four attached Corinthian columns, raised on a basement, support a pediment placed against a high attic.[6]George Godwin, writing in 1839, described the details of this facade as displaying " a purity of feeling almost Grecian", while pointing out that Wren's pediment acts only as a superficial adornment to the wall, rather than, as in Classical architecture, forming an extension of the roof.[5]

Inside, Wren's church has an aisle on the north side only, divided from the nave by Corinthian columns, carrying an entablature that continues around the walls of the main body of the church, where it is supported on pilasters. The ceiling is divided into sunken panels, ornamented with wreaths and branches.[5] The church is 81 feet long and 68 feet wide.[7]

20th century

The church suffered extensive damage during the Blitz on 29 December 1940,[8] and was restored in 1957 by Cecil Brown to Wren's original design. It is no longer a parish church but a guild church, and the official church of the City of London Corporation.

The church was described by Sir John Betjeman as "very municipal, very splendid."[9] It was designated a Grade I listed building on 4 January 1950.[10]

The church was the burial place of John Tillotson, archbishop of Canterbury;[11] and of merchant Francis Levett, as well as the site of the wedding of his niece Ann Levett, daughter of William Levett, Dean of Bristol and former Principal of Magdalen Hall, Oxford .[12]

Vicars (incomplete list)


See also

Anglicanism portal

External links

  • London City Churches
  • Large photo
  • Recitals

Coordinates: 51°30′55″N 0°05′33″W / 51.5152°N 0.0925°W / 51.5152; -0.0925

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