Tuesday, 31 March 2009

St Magnus the Martyr, City of London

Located under the gaze of the nearby Monument, St Magnus is regarded by many as one of Wren's finest London churches.

However, it is lucky to be there at all: it survived a major fire on London Bridge in 1640, only to succumb to the Great Fire of 1666. Rebuilt by Wren, another fire in 1760 burned the roof. An air raid in 1940 saw yet further damage, and recent restoration was undertaken after - you've guessed it - yet another fire in the 1980s.

Fortunately, much of Wren's interior has survived despite all this trauma and, although much altered, it is a beautiful composition of classical architecture. Beautiful dark wood carving contrasts with whitewashed walls and extensive gilding, set off by some delicate wrought ironwork, colourful glass and a wide range of 18th century (and later Anglo-catholic) furnishings. The services here are equally fine compositions of incense and high-church ritual.

Just inside the nave on the left is a fine model of the Old London Bridge (good for kids). Just a pity they can't divert the traffic away from adjacent Thames Street.

Lower Thames Street, London EC3R 6DN Website

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