St Lawrence Jewry

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File:St Lawrence Jewry.jpg
Exterior of St Lawrence Jewry

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

File:Col gag 1028 large.jpg
St Lawrence Jewry from the south-east

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. The church is near the former medieval Jewish ghetto, which was centred on the street named Old Jewry.

Sir Thomas More preached in the older church on this site.<ref name="taxi">Template:Cite web Template:Dead link</ref>

17th century

In 1618 the church was repaired, and all the windows filled with stained glass paid for by individual donors.<ref name=godwin>Template:Cite book</ref>

The medieval church was destroyed in the Great Fire of London and rebuilt by Christopher Wren between 1670 and 1687.<ref name=city/> The parish was united with that of St. Mary Magdalen, Milk Street, which was not rebuilt.<ref name=godwin/> 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.<ref name=city> Template:Cite book</ref>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.<ref name=godwin/>

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.<ref name=godwin>Template:Cite book</ref> The church is 81 feet long and 68 feet wide.<ref name=elmes> Template:Cite book</ref>

File:St Lawrence Jewry Organ.jpg
Interior, looking east toward the organ at the rear of the church

20th century

The church suffered extensive damage during the Blitz on 29 December 1940, 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." It was designated a Grade I listed building on 4 January 1950.

The church was the burial place of John Tillotson, archbishop of Canterbury; 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 .

Vicars (incomplete list)

  • 1566-1570 William Palmer
  • 1578-81 Samuel Perkins
  • 1650-1656 Richard Vines was minister
  • 1661-1662 Seth Ward
  • 1662-1668 John Wilkins
  • 1668-1683 Benjamin Whichcote
  • 1686-1721 John Mapletoft
  • 1898-1920 James Stephen Barrass



See also


  • List of churches and cathedrals of London
  • List of Christopher Wren churches in London

External links

Template:Commons category


Template:Churches in the City of London