St Lawrence Jewry in London

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St Lawrence Jewry is a Church of England guild church in the City of London on Gresham Street, next to the Guildhall.


The church was originally built in the twelfth century and dedicated to St Lawrence (the instrument of whose martyrdom, the gridiron, can still be seen on the present church's weathervane.) The church is near the former medieval Jewish ghetto, which was centred on the street named Old Jewry.

The church was destroyed in the Great Fire of London and rebuilt by Christopher Wren between 1670 and 1687. The church is entirely faced in stone, with a grand east front on which four attached Corinthian columns support a pediment.George Godwin described the details of this facade as displaying " a purity of feeling almost Grecian", while pointing out that Wren's pediment acts only as a superficial adornment to the wall, rather than, as in Classical architecture, being integrated into the structure of the building.

The church suffered extensive damage during the blitz on December 29, 1940. It was restored in 1957 by Cecil Brown to Wren's original design. It is no longer a parish church but a guild church, and the official church of the City of London Corporation.

The church was described by Sir John Betjeman as "very municipal, very splendid." It was designated a Grade I listed building on January 4, 1950.

Sir Thomas More preached in the older church on this site.. The church was the burial place of merchant Francis Levett, as well as the site of the wedding of his niece Ann Levett, daughter of William Levett, Dean of Bristol and former Principal of Magdalen Hall, Oxford (today's Hertford College).

Vicars (incomplete list)

  • 1566-1570 William Palmer
  • 1578-81 Samuel Perkins
  • 1650-1656 Richard Vines was minister
  • 1661-1662 Seth Ward
  • 1662-1668 John Wilkins
  • 1668-1683 Benjamin Whichcote
  • 1686-1721 John Mapletoft
  • 1898-1920 James Stephen Barrass


See also

  • List of churches and cathedrals of London
  • List of Christopher Wren churches in London

External links