St Bride's Church

Infobox church
name = St. Bride's Church
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caption = Exterior of St. Bride's Church from Fleet Street with spire
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denomination = Anglican, earlier Roman Catholic
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address = Fleet Street, City of London
country = United Kingdom
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St Bride's Church is a church in the City of London, England. It could well be one of the most ancient, with worship perhaps dating back to the conversion of the Middle Saxons in the 7th century. It has been conjectured that, as the patron saint is Irish, it may have been founded by Celtic monks, missionaries proselytising the English ["The Visitors Guide to the City of London Churches" Tucker,T: London, Friends of the City Churches, 2006 ISBN 0955394503] .

The building's most recent incarnation was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1672 on Fleet Street in the City of London. Due to its location on Fleet Street it has a long association with journalists and newspapers. The church is a distinctive sight on London's skyline and is clearly visible from a number of locations. Standing 69m high, it is the 2nd tallest of all Wren's churches, with only St Paul's itself having a higher pinnacle. The tiered spire is said to have been the inspiration for the design of modern tiered wedding cakes.

The church, dedicated to St Bridget of Ireland, was gutted by fire-bombs dropped by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War, on the night of 29th December 1940, dubbed the "Second Great Fire of London". It was rebuilt at the expense of newspaper proprietors and journalists.

The present St Bride's is at least the seventh church to have stood on the site. Traditionally it was founded by St Bridget in the sixth century. Whether or not she founded it personally, the remnants of the first church appear to have significant similarities to a church of the same date in Kildare, Ireland. The Norman church, built in the 11th century, was of both religious and secular significance; in 1210 King John held a parliament there. It was replaced by a larger church in the 15th century [The diarist Samuel Pepys was christened here in 1733-"Pepys: the unequalled self" Tomalin,C: London, Viking, 2002 ISBN 0670885681] , but this burned down in the Great Fire of London in 1666 [Samuel Pepys-The Shorter Pepys Latham,R(Ed) p484: Harmondsworth,1985 ISBN 0140094180] . It was replaced by Wren with one of his largest and most expensive works, taking seven years to build ["The Old Churches of London" Cobb,G: London, Batsford, 1942] ..

Buried at St. Bride's is Robert Levet (Levett), a Yorkshireman who became a Parisian waiter, then a 'practicer of physick' who ministered to the denizens of London's seedier neighborhoods. Having been duped into a bad marriage, the hapless Levet was taken in by the author Samuel Johnson who wrote his poem "On the Death of Mr. Robert Levet" eulogizing his good friend and tenant of many years. [ [,M1 London, John Heneage Jesse, R. Bentley, London, 1871] ]

The famous spire was added later, in 1701-1703 ["London:the City Churches” Pevsner,N/Bradley,S : New Haven, Yale, 1998 ISBN 0300096550] . It originally measured 234 ft but lost its upper eight feet to a lightning strike in 1764. The design utilises four octagonal stages of diminishing height capped with an obelisk which terminates in a ball and vane.

In September 2007 the current vicar, Canon David Meara announced a special appeal to raise 3.5 million GBP to preserve the church's unique heritage ["Deadlines and lifelines at St Bride's": article by Clive Aslet in Daily Telegraph Weekend Section page W3, 22nd September 2007 (Issue no 47, 370) ] and on November 2007 The Queen was guest of honour at a service to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the restoration work necessary after the Second World War [ [ Event Details] ]



ee also

* List of churches and cathedrals of London
* St Bride Library

External links

* [ St Bride's Church] - Official Website
* [ St. Bride's Church] - Sacred Destinations
* [ Mystery Worshipper Report] at the Ship of Fools website

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