- St. Clement Danes
name = St. Clement Danes
caption = St. Clement Danes at night
Church of England
constructed_date = several, most recently 1682
City of Westminster, London
St Clement Danes is a church in the
City of Westminster, London. It is situated outside the Royal Courts of Justiceon the Strand. The current building was completed in 1682 by Sir Christopher Wren.
The church is sometimes claimed to be the one featured in the nursery rhyme "
Oranges and Lemons" and the bells do indeed play that tune. However, St Clement Eastcheap, in the City of London, also claims to be the church from the rhyme. It is known as one of the two 'Island Churches', the other being St Mary-le-Strand.
The first church on the site was reputedly founded by Danes living nearby in the 9th century. The location, on the river between the
City of Londonand the future site of Westminster, was home to many Danes at a time when half of England was Danish; being a seafaring race, the Danes named the church they built after St Clement, patron saint of mariners. King Harold I "Harefoot" was buried here in March 1040 after his body was disinterred by his briefly usurped brother Hartha-Canute, and thrown into the marshes bordering the Thames.
The church was first rebuilt by
William the Conqueror, and then again in the Middle Ages. It was in such a bad state by the end of the 17th century that it was demolished and again rebuilt, this time by Christopher Wren. The steeple was added to the tower in the 18th century by James Gibbs.
German bombs almost destroyed the church on
10 May, 1941. The outer walls, the tower and Gibbs's steeple, survived the bombing.
St. Clement Danes Schoolwas constructed on land on Houghton Road, Holborn which the churchwardens had purchased in 1552. It opened in 1862 and remained there until 1928, then moved to Shepherd's Bushuntil 1975, when it was finally re-established as a comprehensive school in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire.
Royal Air Force
Following an appeal for funds by the
Royal Air Force, the church was completely restored and was re-consecrated on 19 October 1958to become the Central Church of the Royal Air Force.
Services are regularly held to commemorate prominent occasions of the RAF and its associated organisations. There are also features throughout and outside the building commemorating people and units of the RAF.
As part of the rebuilding, a
Latininscription was added over the main door of the church, translating as: "Built by Christopher Wren 1682. Destroyed by the thunderbolts of air warfare 1941. Restored by the Royal Air Force 1958"
Outside the church stand statues of two of the RAF's wartime leaders,
Arthur Harrisand Hugh Dowding.
The floor of the church, of Welsh
slate, is inscribed with the badges of over 800 RAF commands, groups, stations, squadrons and other formations. Near the entrance door is a ring of the badges of Commonwealth air forces, surrounding the badge of the RAF.
A memorial to the Polish airmen and squadrons who fought in the defence of the UK and the liberation of Europe in
World War IIis positioned on the floor of the north aisle.
Near the altar are plaques listing the names of RAF and RFC personnel awarded the
Victoria Crossand the George Cross.
Donations and artifacts
In the gallery hang Queen's Colours and Standards which have been replaced, along with standards of several disbanded squadrons (most standards of disbanded squadrons hang in the rotunda of the
RAF College Cranwell).
The church's organ, situated facing the altar in the gallery, was a gift from the
United States Air Force. Pulpits, pews and chairs in the body of the church have been presented by various people, including past Chiefs of the Air Staff, Sir Douglas Bader, the Guinea Pig Club. The lecternwas a gift from the Royal Australian Air Force, the Cross from the Air Training Corps, the altarfrom the Netherlandsembassy. Also from the Netherlands is the fontin the crypt, donated by the Royal Netherlands Air Force.
The church has set up a primary school and a secondary school. The primary school is placed around the corner from the church on the Strand in London. The secondary school is in Hertfordshire, built in 1976 in Chorleywood.
The statue of
Dr Samuel Johnsonat the eastern end of the church land, comes to life as the character 'Dictionary', in Charlie Fletcher's children's book about unLondon " Stoneheart".
List of churches and cathedrals of London
William Webb Ellis, Rector of the Church, often credited with the invention of Rugby football
* The Font in the Crypy was donated by the Royal Nowegian Air Force.
* The Paschal Candle was given by the Begian Air Force
* [http://www.shipoffools.com/Mystery/mws_05/reports/1011.html Mystery Worshipper Report] at the Ship of Fools website
* [http://www.st-clement-danes.co.uk/ St Clement Danes church website]
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Look at other dictionaries:
St Clement Danes — For the civil parish abolished in 1922, see St Clement Danes (parish). St. Clement Danes St. Clement Danes at night Country United Kingdom Denomination Church of England … Wikipedia
St Clement Danes — bei Nacht St Clement Danes ist eine Kirche in der City of Westminster, London. Sie ist in der Nähe der Royal Courts of Justice auf der Strand zu finden. Die Kirche wurde 1682 von Sir Christopher Wren fertiggestellt. Die Kirche taucht auch in dem… … Deutsch Wikipedia
St Clement Danes — [St Clement Danes] a church in central London, England, designed by Christopher Wren in 1682 at a place where a group of Danes are thought to have settled in the 9th century. It was partly destroyed by bombs in ↑World War II and was built again… … Useful english dictionary
St Clement Danes — a church in central London, England, designed by Christopher Wren in 1682 at a place where a group of Danes are thought to have settled in the 9th century. It was partly destroyed by bombs in World War II and was built again as a special church… … Universalium
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