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St Bride's

18 Fleet Street | Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1AA, England
+44 7956 983230
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Review Highlights
One of the best churches in London

St Bride's is on Fleet Street and thanks to its exquisite four tiered wedding cake steeple, towers... read more

Reviewed 3 weeks ago
Nomadman411978
,
London, United Kingdom
Nearly 2000 years of history

The present church is the 8th on this site and is a delightful restoration of one of Wren's first... read more

Reviewed 4 weeks ago
Laurie P
,
Burgess Hill
Read all 85 reviews
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Just down the road from majestic St Paul's Cathedral is another of Sir Christopher Wren's creations, the little known church of St Bride's, also called "The Journalists' Church." Tucked away in a busy corner of Fleet Street, it is easy to miss, but look out for the towering steeple. It may look unremarkable next to the grandeur of St Paul's, but this tiny church was the home of the first printing press, inspired the multilayered wedding cake and triggered a row between Benjamin Franklin and George the III. Among the parishioners of this church were such literary figures as Milton, Dryden, Johnson and Pepys. St Bride takes its name from the Irish saint St Bridget of Kildare, a 5th century Irish saint famous for her hospitality, who founded several churches. Since then, several reconstructions have followed. After the original church was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666, Sir Christopher Wren redesigned the building in 1673. His building, in turn, was destroyed by bombing during the Second World War, but the much-admired steeple survived. The present building is a reconstruction of Wren's design. As you step into the church, you will notice the several memorials to journalists, newspapers and the printing trade. In 1500 William Caxton's assistant, the aptly named Wynkyn de Worde, brought the first moveable type printing press to the church courtyard. It was used to print religious books and messages from the clergy, and later to print books and plays. Nearby churches also began to set up printing presses, and ever since then Fleet Street has been the centre of the publishing industry. Writers including Samuel Johnson, Boswell and Pope lived near St Bride's. That quintessential Londoner, Samuel Pepys, was born just around the corner and baptized in St Bride's. The journalist's altar at one end of the church was established when hostages were being taken in the Middle East. It now commemorates journalists killed or injured worldwide. A brass plaque also commemorates the 300th anniversary of the founding of the world's first daily newspaper, the Daily Courant, in 1702. The graceful spire, originally 234 feet, is the tallest of Wren's steeples and has inspired many a poet. Among these was W.E. Henley, who in his poem "The Song of the Sword" described the spire thus, The while the fanciful, formal finicking charm Of Bride's, that madrigal of the stone Grows flushed and warm And beauteous with a beauty not its own. The spire also inspired a Fleet Street confectioner called Thomas Rich, who made a replica of the spire in icing, a model for the traditional wedding cake still seen today. The party dress of Rich's wife is displayed in a glass case in the church, perhaps in thanks for her contribution! The steeple also triggered a comical row between King George the III and scientist Benjamin Franklin. In 1764 the spire was struck by lightening, which reduced its height by 8 feet. Franklin, by then considered an expert on lightning, was asked to advise the King on the installation of lightening rods. Franklin suggested installing conductors with pointed ends, but the King wanted to install blunt ones. Not surprisingly, the King got his way. The British political press was delighted with the outcome, and published propaganda gleefully praising the King "as good blunt honest George" while the hapless Franklin was described as "a sharp-witted colonist." The church has other connections to America. The parents of Virginia Dare, the first white child born in America and named after the state of Virginia, were married in this church in 1584. A bust of Virginia was originally displayed in the church, but was later stolen. A replica stands in its place. Edward Winslow, one of the leaders of the Mayflower and later Governor of Plymouth in Massachusetts, was also married in this church. It was not until 1953 that archeologists discovered that St Bride's stands on Roman remains dating back to the 2nd century A.D, including a Roman pavement. On a grislier note the church crypt was also found to contain thousands of human remains, thought to belong to victims of the Great Plague of 1665 and the cholera epidemic of 1854. These have now been given a proper burial, and visitors interested in the church's Roman origins can now enter the crypt to see the original Roman ruins. by Kavitha Rao
  • Excellent52%
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  • Average4%
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Travellers talk about
“fleet street” (30 reviews)
“roman times” (7 reviews)
Closes in 14 min
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Hours Today: 08:00 - 18:00
Suggested Duration: < 1 hour
LOCATION
18 Fleet Street | Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1AA, England
City of London
CONTACT
Website
+44 7956 983230
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1 - 10 of 72 reviews

Reviewed 3 weeks ago

St Bride's is on Fleet Street and thanks to its exquisite four tiered wedding cake steeple, towers over the adjoining buildings. The interior is another fine baroque example of Wren's work and you can visit the crypt and see a bit of its history. I...More

Thank Nomadman411978
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

The present church is the 8th on this site and is a delightful restoration of one of Wren's first London churches - beautifully proportioned and full of light, with the famous steeple that inspired the shape of modern tiered wedding cakes. Roman, Saxon, Norman and...More

Thank Laurie P
Reviewed 17 October 2017

One of the most impressive City of London churches I have seen. Very smart, the floor tiles polished to an inch of its life. Impressive statues to St Bride and St Paul. Most pews have an inscription, some are very gaudy, charity comes with a...More

Thank Colin E
Reviewed 14 October 2017

The St Bride's Church is a very famous church on Fleet Street. The structure is absolutely beautiful from the inside and outside, really warm from the inside. The church has a rich history, and connection with many professionals in the city and in the media....More

Thank nrm77
Reviewed 13 October 2017 via mobile

We've been to this church a couple of times. It was bombed during the Blitz and was reconstructed following the war. During this period, Roman artifacts were found beneath the church. You are able to go into the crypt to see what was found. We...More

Thank Tracey L
Reviewed 10 September 2017

Beautiful stained glass in the centre of the church plus an extensive crypt with a lot of interesting artifacts. Well worth a visit if you are passing

Thank KevinRayment
Reviewed 28 August 2017

Very near Blackfriars Tube . Easy to find. The interior is modern but it's the links with the press that make this such a memorable place to visit. The pews are lined with plaques dedicated to the great, the good and the just normal folk...More

Thank vessi80
Reviewed 18 July 2017 via mobile

A nice church a few blocks from St. Paul's Cathedral that is well worth visiting. The church itself is pretty and charming, but the real treat lies below the main floor. There are wonderful rooms with Roman walks and footpaths, along with excellent historical pictures...More

Thank Acinonyx60
Reviewed 12 July 2017

This church is well worth a visit. It is located at the east end of Fleet Street and still has strong links with the newspaper/journalist world from the time when newspaper producers were based in Fleet Street. It is set a few yards back from...More

Thank J150505
Reviewed 28 May 2017

St. Bride's has twice risen from the ashes, firstly in its present incarnation designed by Wren in 1672 to replace its predecessor destroyed in the Great Fire of London of 1666; secondly, it was fully restored after its almost complete destruction in the 1940 Blitz...More

1  Thank futtock21
Nearby
City of London
From its ancient past as a Roman trading outpost to
its 21st century status as the wealthiest square mile
in the world, the financial district known simply as
“The City” is one of London's most historic and
fascinating neighbourhoods. Here high rise office
towers such as Norman Foster’s Gherkin mingle with
Roman ruins and architectural marvels from virtually
every era in between, including Christopher Wren's
...More
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John W
13 January 2016|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from Rampit | Reviewed this property |
none that are available to the public but the will direct you to public toilets nearby
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