London historical churches worth visiting

London is not only the capital of the Anglican church. Religious history of this city has thousands of years. Behind the majestic grandeur of St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey it is easy to miss some smaller sights. From the stunning churches of the capital, we chose five, which combine historical, architectural and spiritual values.

Old St. Pancras church. Behind the station St. Pancras, St. Pancras Old Church is located - a charming village church with a garden. The church parish here was founded in the IX century. Strikingly unusual local atmosphere. Although the foundation of the building is medieval, it resembles a Victorian one, because in 1847 it was restored under the guidance of the architects Gough and Roumieu. St. Pancras looks cute, but it has rather scandalous story. In the 17th century, illegal marriages were contracted here, dueling took place and even the vicar was arrested for debts. Then the church was united with the St. Giles in the Fields - they say that it has become a place of rest for murderers, blackmailers and thieves. The church keeps the magnificent tomb of Sir John Soane, the famous architect of the Lincolns Inn Fields Museum and the Dulwich Picture Gallery. And those who are fond of Dickens, we inform: the old St. Pancras is mentioned in A Tale of Two Cities. According to the story, a spy Old Bailey was buried here.

St. Pancras Old Church, Pancras Road, Kings Cross, London, UK

St. Dunstan in the East. Between the London Bridge and London Tower, on the hill of St. Dunstan’s, the St. Dunstan in the East church is located. It was built in 1100, but the building suffered considerably during the great London fire of 1666. In 1817, the roof collapsed, and during the Second World War the church was destroyed. Now only ruins remained from it, but the beautiful garden, which was opened in 1971, is a great opportunity to relax and enjoy nature.

St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden, London, UK

St. James's Church. On Piccadilly there is a small pearl under the name St. James`s Church. It was ordered by Henry Jermin, the Earl of St. Alban, the courtier of King Charles II, and the construction was entrusted to Christopher Wren. The church was consecrated in 1684. St. James's was built of common brick, trimmed with Portland stone and fitted with rounded windows. There is a beautiful gallery here: daylight pours from windows onto white walls, gently illuminating stunning works of art, for example the altar. Inspired by its beauty, John Evelyn said that there is no other beautiful altar anywhere in the world such as that- neither in England, nor abroad. Also, the stunning pipe organ of Renatus Harris, which was presented to the church by Queen Mary in 1691, and the works of the Danish seascapes Van de Velde are also stored here. In addition, in St. James's concerts, exhibitions, discussions and weekly events are conducted: Piccadilly Market, where on Mondays they sell food (11:00 to 17:00), on Tuesdays - antiques and collectibles (10:00-18:00), and Wednesday to Saturday - works of art (10:00- 18:00).

St. James's Piccadilly, 197 Piccadilly, London, UK

St. Bartholomew the Great. Behind the hospital St. Bartholomew, the Augustinian monastery St. Bartholomew the Great is located. It was founded by Rahere, the former court jester of Henry I, when he returned from Rome. After many years of disputes, the hospital and the monastery were separated from the church in 1420. And it began to decline. A small amount of funding was obtained by placing workers - blacksmiths and carpenters - until the XIX century, when these crafts were destroyed by progress. Now in the dark interior of the church St. Bartholomew the Great's with massive columns supporting round arches, a large stone choir resonates. This building is a sample of Norman architecture. Here, even films were shoot, such as " Four Weddings and a Funeral ", "Shakespeare in Love", " The Other Boleyn Girl " and "Sherlock Holmes."

St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield, London, UK

Westminster Cathedral. The Westminster Cathedral is a stunning neo-Byzantine cathedral located at the top of Victoria Street. It was built in 1895, at the time of the third archbishop, Cardinal Vaughn, under the direction of the architect John Francis. The vaulted ceilings are decorated with neo-Byzantine mosaics that look bright, despite the lack of light. This cathedral plays a role in modern religious politics: in 1977 the Queen visited a local flower exhibition organized in honor of her silver jubilee, and since 1995 she attended the liturgy of the Catholic Church for many years. Moreover, in 2010 Pope Benedict XVI came here for the Mass. This beautiful church is worth a visit, if only in order to enjoy the views of south-west London from the top of the tower just for £5.

Westminster Cathedral, 42 Francis Street, Westminster, London, UK

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