St Bride’s Church | Attraction Guides | History Hit

St Bride’s Church

London, England, United Kingdom

Amy Irvine

06 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About St Bride’s Church

Located in London’s former journalistic heartland of Fleet Street, St Bride’s is a restored 17th century church, steeped in history and originally designed by Sir Christopher Wren.

History of St Bride’s Church

A succession of churches has existed on the site for over 1,000 years and the site’s history stretches even further into the past, back to the Roman era when the Romans established Londinium.

During the medieval period, St Bride’s was re-built on a number of occasions. (Samuel Pepys was born in a house adjacent to St Bride’s and was baptised here). An early medieval incarnation of St Bride’s Church was destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666 before Sir Christopher Wren’s design was built as a replacement. Standing 69 metres high, it is the second tallest of all Wren’s churches – only St Paul’s Cathedral has a higher pinnacle.

St Brides’ tiered steeple has also had a lesser-known significance. William Rich, an apprentice to a baker near Ludgate Circus, fell in love with his master’s daughter. Wishing to create a spectacular cake for the wedding feast, one day he looked up at the steeple of the church where they were to be married in, and was inspired to create a cake in layers, tiered, and diminishing as it rose. Thus began the tradition of the tiered wedding cake. His bride, Susannah, is buried at St Bride’s.

In more modern times St Bride’s Church was severely damaged (on 29 December 1940) during the bombing of London in the Second World War.

St Bride’s Church today

Today visitors can not only see the restored St Bride’s Church itself but also the underground crypt – including the remains of a Roman pavement dating back to around 180 AD – as well as the subterranean Medieval Chapel.

In recognition of the church’s location in Fleet Street, St Brides’ famous Journalists’ Altar was established in the north east corner of the church, which remains a particular focus of prayer for those in the profession who have died, many during the course of their work, as well as those who are missing or fate unknown. The church and churchyard are an oasis of calm amidst the bustle of Fleet Street, and are open and free to visit 6 days a week (closed on Saturdays).

Getting to St Bride’s Church

The nearest tube stations are St Paul’s (Central Line) and Blackfriars (District & Circle Lines). By train, the closest station is City Thameslink (Thameslink line), as well as nearby Blackfriars.

The church is also served by bus numbers 11, 15, 26, 76 and 341 which stop on Fleet Street nearby.

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