About All Hallows by the Tower
The church of All Hallows by the Tower has a history dating back to Saxon times and ranks among the oldest churches in London.
Originally built around 675AD, the church of All Hallows was actually constructed on top of earlier Roman buildings, elements of which can still be seen today. Over time the church was renovated and reconstructed several times and the current incarnation mostly dates to the late 1940s after serious damage was inflicted during a World War II bombing raid.
The central position of All Hallows by the Tower saw it witness some of the most important moments of the city’s history. Standing alongside the Tower of London, the bodies of many inmates of that infamous prison were brought here shortly after their execution – including Thomas More. Other notable figures connected with the church included Samuel Pepys, who watched the Great Fire of London from the church tower in 1666.
All Hallows by the Tower even has an American connection, with William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, baptised here in 1644 and John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States, married here in 1797.
Today visitors can explore the rebuilt church above, along with the 7th century Saxon arch, and then delve into the crypt below ground to see historic remains, including Saxon coffins, stones from a Crusader castle linked to Richard the Lionheart and the mosaic flooring of the 2nd century AD Roman villa.
Within the crypt there is also a small museum examining the history of the church and of London. Largely ignored by the masses, the church of All Hallows by the Tower is one of London’s hidden gems and well worth a visit.