Did you know… Shakespeare in Love and Four Weddings and a Funeral both have scenes shot at St. Barts.
> Read Craig’s review of St. Bartholomew-the-Great Check out my London blog for a full review, with more photos
St. Bartholomew-the-Great is one of the oldest churches in London, dating back to Norman times. It was founded by one of Henry I’s courtiers in 1123 as part of the monastery of Augustinian Canons, but became the lowly parish church of Smithfield when Henry VIII instigated the Reformation.
Sir Richard Rich bought St. Bart’s from the Crown in 1539 and turned its grounds to more secular uses – the crypt became a storehouse for kegs of wine, and the cloisters became a stables. The north transept then became a hot and grimy blacksmith’s forge for shoeing the beasts.
The Lady Chapel was turned into a home, and then a printer’s shop where Benjamin Franklin – one of the United States founding fathers – worked in 1725.
By the early 19th-century St. Bartholomew’s was little more than a ruin and extensive repairs were necessary. A massive restoration project was undertaken in 1858, and the porch was added in 1893.
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If you enjoy this then try: Brompton Oratory (catch the tube from Barbican to Brompton Oratory); St. Paul’s Cathedral (you can walk it in 7 mins); Temple Church (walk it in 12 mins or catch a train from Barbican to Temple Church) and Westminster Abbey (catch the tube from Barbican to Westminster Abbey).