London Churches: All Hallows by the Tower

Posted: February 3, 2016 in History, London, Post medieval history, Saxon History, UK
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The history of All Hallows dates back to Saxon times when a small wooden church was built here by the Abbey of Barking. This was soon replaced with a stone church around 675AD and part of that church remains in the current building. Interestingly near this Saxon arch is a section of Roman Pavement, believed to be from a domestic dwelling of the late 2nd century. (The change in ground level is evident as this is now in the crypt of the church.).

Saxon arch from building of 675AD

Saxon arch from building of 675AD

2nd century Roman pavement

2nd century Roman pavement

In the crypt is an interesting little museum dealing with the history of the church.

Crypt museum

Crypt museum

Its location adjacent to the Tower of London has meant that it was often the resting place of bodies from the executions and these have included Thomas More, John Fisher and Archbishop Laud. Although it is close to the site of the start of the Great Fire of London in 1666, the church survived through the efforts of Admiral Penn (father of William Penn of Pennsylvania fame). William was baptised at All Hallows and first educated here.

Baptismal register recording the baptism of William Penn

Baptismal register recording the baptism of William Penn

Whilst he was here on diplomatic duties, John Quincy Adams, later to be President of the USA, was married in All Hallows in 1797.

"John Quincy Adams" by Charles Robert Leslie - [1]Another copy at [2] (b/w, higher resolution 2063x2700). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:John_Quincy_Adams.jpeg#/media/File:John_Quincy_Adams.jpeg

“John Quincy Adams” by Charles Robert Leslie – Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Having survived the Great Fire, the church was not so fortunate in 1940 when bombs fell on it and only the tower and walls were left standing. However rebuilding efforts were soon in place and the new foundation stone was laid in 1948 and the rebuilding was completed 9 years later.

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