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St. Clement Danes sits slap-bang in the middle of the Strand, surrounded on all sides by busy lanes of London traffic.
St. Clement’s church originally dates to the time of William the Conqueror in the late 11th-century, but was rebuilt in the 14th. It survived the Great Fire in 1666 but was demolished and remodelled by Christopher Wren in 1680.
Forty years later the church was remodelled again by the architect James Gibb, who raised the belfry and added a domed vestry.
Sadly, what survives of their work was largely levelled in the Second World War, leaving just the steeple standing. It was rebuilt and dedicated to the Royal Air Force in 1958. Inside, you can see over 700 badges of their various units cut into slate.
Nobody knows for sure how St. Clement’s church came to be known as Danes. Some people suggest that it was due to a large number of Danes living in the area, but others believe that the 11th-century church marked the burial site of Harold Harefoot – an old English king from Scandinavia.
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