Tuesday 18th October – 37th meeting of 2016
Today we planned a revisit to All Hallows by the Tower, the oldest church in the City of London and had a guided tour booked for 2 o’clock. All nine of us had a later meet at Cannon Street and underground to Tower Hill where we went for lunch. Nice that we were all present today so lots of things to chat about!
We went to the church and met our lady guide at 2 o’clock as planned. She was very good, plain speaking and full of interesting information about all aspects of the church and it’s work. There has been a church here since 675 AD and being near to the Tower has dealt with many beheaded bodies, including Thomas More, John Fisher and Archbishop Laud. It survived the Great Fire of London in 1666 thanks to the efforts of Admiral Penn (William Penn’s father and Samuel Pepys the famous diarist. In 1940 during the Blitz the church was bombed with only the tower and walls surviving. It was rebuilt and rededicated in 1957 with the Queen Mother in attendance.
Our guide took us into the crypt where we saw St Francis Chapel used by the early monks and an even smaller chapel used by the nuns of Poor St Clare. There is also a Roman Floor that can be viewed.
The church is full of history and our guide made it very amusing and interesting. At the time of the rededication The Reverend Philip (Tubby) Clayton was the vicar and we learnt of him forming the charity Toc H during the war, which is still working today. The movement’s lamp of maintenance still burns in the Lady Chapel and the founder’s effigy and body rest in the church. Being so near to the river the church has long links with sailors and seafarers and has many ships and boat models around.
On display around the walls of the church were photographs which have been entered into The Great City Photography Project. I really enjoyed looking at them and found it interesting how differently people see London!
The tour lasted about one hour and the donation was £5 per person. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour and was amazed at how much history one building can hold!
We walked back to Tower Hill and our trains home in yet another sunny day. This year October has certainly been sunny and warm!