About All Hallows by the Tower
The church of All Hallows by the Tower is among one of the oldest churches in London, with remains dating back to Saxon times. While the church’s interior today largely dates from the 1940s, the crypt below holds a wealth of artefacts from its long and fascinating history.
All Hallows by the Tower history
Originally built around 675, the church of All Hallows was initially constructed on top of earlier Roman buildings, remains of which can still be viewed today. Over time the church was renovated and reconstructed several times, with the exterior largely dating to the 15th century, and the interior rebuilt in the 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 the infamous prison were brought here shortly after their execution – including Henry VIII’s infamous Lord Chancellor Thomas More. Other notable figures connected with the church include 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.
All Hallows by the Tower today
Today visitors can admire the church’s 15th century exterior and beautifully rebuilt interior, also featuring a surviving Saxon-era archway, before delving into the crypt below. Saxon coffins and mosaic flooring from a 2nd century Roman villa can be viewed, while the crypt’s altar is made from stone taken from Richard the Lionheart‘s Crusader castle at Atlit in the Holy Land.
In the crypt there is also a small museum examining the church’s history and that 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.
Getting to All Hallows by the Tower
All Hallows by the Tower is located in the City of London near Tower Hill. The nearest underground station is Tower Hill Station, a 5-minute walk away, while the nearest bus stop is Great Tower Street (Stop TT), a 3-minute walk away.
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