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All Hallows by the Tower – a church in London you should definitely visit


Many visitors to London forget the many old churches, several of those can be found in what  is called The City of London. Those found in today’s City have almost all been damaged or destroyed by the Great Fire and/or by the German bombings during the Second World War. Many have been rebuilt and should be visited, an example is the church of All Hallows by the Tower.

The oldest church in the City of London

This is a church that managed to survive the Great Fire but was damaged during the Second World War, whose real name is  All Hallows Barking. The reason for the name is that the land where it stood belonged to the abbey of Barking. We are talking of a timea few centuries before the year 1000, just to give you an idea of how old this place of prayer is.

Foto: © Copyright John Salmon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

In fact this church, the oldest in the City of London, was founded in 675, 300 years before the Tower of London! The original structure no longer exists, but you can still admire an old Saxon arch. At the end of 1100 Richard I  had a chapel built inside All Hallows by the Tower. It is said that his heart was buried here (obviously after his death).  But the chapel was destroyed by Henry VIII at the time of the dissolution of churches and monasteries. Therefore we will never know.

In 1640 the church was partially reAll Hallows by the Towerbuilt. It was then damaged by a gunpowder explosion that destroyed at least 50 houses a few years later. If the church survived the Great Fire in London it is also thanks to the efforts of a  Admiral Penn who tried to protect it from the flames. He also happened to be the father of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania.

Foto: © Copyright Christine Matthews and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

In 1940 the church was bombed by the Germans and almost completely destroyed, the walls remained, together with the tower (which was rebuilt in 1600) and some medieval objects.

The church was then completely rebuilt in the 1950s,  thanks to donations from all over the world. The pulpit you will see now was that of St Swithin’s church, which was also destroyed by bombs.

Visit All Hallows by the Tower

When you visit the church now you can also see a small museum of Roman and Saxon artifacts that have been excavated here. Notice now in many panoramic views of the City of London from the Thames, you can see the green tower of All Hallows by the Tower.

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