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St Bride's

18 Fleet Street | Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1AA, England
+44 20 7427 0133
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Review Highlights
Worth Visiting

A nice church a few blocks from St. Paul's Cathedral that is well worth visiting. The church itself... read more

Reviewed 4 weeks ago
Acinonyx60
,
The Villages, Florida
via mobile
Peaceful

This church is well worth a visit. It is located at the east end of Fleet Street and still has... read more

Reviewed 12 July 2017
J150505
,
London, United Kingdom
Read all 78 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
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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
+44 20 7427 0133
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1 - 10 of 65 reviews

Reviewed 4 weeks ago 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
Reviewed 23 May 2017

A very in depth tour - well presented - time given for questions - very knowledgable tour person, kept us well involved and interested

2  Thank annettegaskin15
Reviewed 30 March 2017

St Bride's is just off Fleet Street and is known, appropriately, as the Journalists' Church. It's a Christopher Wren design and has a lovely interior. The spire is said to be the inspiration for the tiered wedding cake, which is a lovely story, if true....More

1  Thank DawlishRed
Reviewed 24 March 2017

Lovely little church, impressive interior I came here yesterday for a gorgeous concert (including Vivaldi Gloria) it was pretty cold in there, even though it's end of March. Entrance is free, and worth noting there are no public toilets.

1  Thank Louise V
Reviewed 12 March 2017

The link between the newspaper industry and St. Bride's makes this church worth a visit alone. There are many plaques around the building which gave us pause for thought for a profession which is often criticised but can be dangerous judging by the memorials to...More

1  Thank StelucLive
Reviewed 11 March 2017

excellent free exhibition and historical ruins to see under this church. Rebuilt church above ,roman pavement and others below

Thank paul53ok
Reviewed 27 February 2017

Whilst the ground floor of this church has been extensively rebuilt since WW2 bombing the basement area is significantly older with Roman, Saxon and other notable remains which are well displayed.

Thank Madalyn H
Reviewed 24 February 2017

We passed this church on our walk along Fleet Street heading towards St. Paul's Cathedral. The entrance to this amazing church is very narrow. The currently standing church is designed by Christopher Wren and has a unique staple. Besides having a pretty interior, we were...More

Thank Della G
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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Questions & Answers
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
0
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