Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Some London Churches


London isn't just about pubs, whether in Tower Hill, Soho, Marleybone, Fleet Street or anywhere else, it's also about churches, and I took the time to visit a few. Corpus Christi Maiden Lane, just off Covent Garden, stood out. A beautiful catholic church, full of the beauty and sense of holiness.

As soon as you enter this hidden away gem of a church you're struck by the hushed reverence of the place, a haven from the secular rush outside. You'll note Corpus Christi doesn't have a knave altar. I lit a candle and prayed.

Corpus Christi

St. Mary le Strand is Church of England and stands on the Strand opposite King's College, it's an architectural masterpiece designed by James Gibbs, replacing an earlier church which was demolished in 1549 to make way for Somerset House. The new St. Mary's was consecrated in 1724 and, curiously, I'd never been inside, despite walking by it daily while at King's. What was it like?

St. Mary le Strand

Stately and perhaps intimate English Baroque, a very medium sized congregation would feel at home in the nave. Was there a sense of the numinous, the holy within? Not compared to Corpus Christi and perhaps that was because of the Vicar holding some kind of planning meeting, under the pulpit. There they were, planning away. Still, a beautiful church and a haven from the rush of the Strand.

St. Bride's

Walk a few minutes east to Fleet Street Street and St. Bride's, the journalist's church. I'd never been there before, oddly, and was somehow moved by the calmness of the place, its sense of reverence, and lit a candle. After visiting the church you can visit a pub, the Old Bell, built by Christopher Wren and pleasantly unspoiled.

St. Anselm & St. Cecilia's

Heading back west, walk north up the Kingsway to St. Anselm and St. Cecilia's, a Roman Catholic church and yet another shelter from the storm of people rushing, in this case, into the vastly expanded maw of LSE (London School of Economics). It's an austere, simple church and I prefer Corpus Christi, still, Christ is most definitely present

Then return to your set up on the Strand via Lincoln's Inn, get ready to meet old friends and wonder at the sheer number of churches in this small section of the city, the above's just a snapshot. 

They weren't built from a lack of faith, may that return again.

God bless,



Wild, wild west said...

Maybe it's just me but I kinda like the austerity of St. Anselm & St. Cecilia's. Less distracting, perhaps?

LL said...

I wonder how many people come to worship at those churches these days not only in absolute numbers but as a percentage of the population. They are worthy monuments but are they still places of sacred instruction?

I appreciate the tour.

Infidel de Manahatta said...

Beautiful churches. May they be spared modernization and "wreckovation."

LindaG said...

All lovely. Thank you for sharing them, Parson.
You all be safe and God bless.

Anonymous said...

I like the Corpus Christi, it appears to be proper ad orientem and has a Communion rail. Too many US churches don’t use ‘that old stuff’, much to their detriment, in my opinion. I do like the simplicity of the St Anselm’s church better. Thanks for the tour.
Southern NH

LSP said...

I have a lovely for St. Anselm's, Wild, and used to live right round the corner. And yes, the austerity certainly has a point.

LSP said...


LSP said...

As a percentage? Very small, LL, which is a tragedy at every level, LL. The RC churches do pretty well in terms of ASA (average Sunday attendance), but still.

More churches as the tour proceeds.

LSP said...

Infidel, the ones posted have mostly escaped the wrecking ball of liturgical expertise, thank God.

LSP said...

Bless you, Linda.

Old NFO said...

Beautiful and serene pictures, thank you!

LL said...

I'm looking forward to more!

Paul M said...

Thank you for these "Cathedral's"...an immediate sense of reverence, lifting the spirit once entering the vertical space. Stunning. Gives one pause with the reminder that those who built them were attempting to capture God's presence in the architecture and adornment...done with hand tools, hard labor, and a grateful heart.

Wild, wild west said...

Another vote for more, please.