Address: Byward Steet, London EC3R 5BJ

Website

Time: Guided tours 2pm - 4pm on most weekdays

Time Information: www.allhallowsbythetower.org.uk/visiting/guided-tours/

Phone: +44 (0) 207 481 2928

Entry Price: Free

300m from Fenchurch Street

250m from Tower Hill

Known as All Hallows by the Tower, due to its proximity to the Tower of London, the Anglican church was founded by the Abbey of Barking and is the oldest church in London, being originally called All Hallows Barking. It dates back to 675 and whilst there has been rebuilding over the years, it still incorporates the original Saxon arch inside, which is even adorned with recycled Roman tiles from centuries before. Under the arch lies a Roman pavement, discovered in 1926.

The Tower and Tower Hill were places of execution in the Middle Ages and All Hallows often had the task of receiving the bodies of the deceased. These included Sir Thomas More who was executed in 1535. The heart of Richard I is rumoured to be buried in the courtyard.

In 1650 the west tower was destroyed together with fifty nearby houses when stored gunpowder ignited. The subsequent rebuilding in 1658 was the only church work carried out during the Commonwealth era of 1649-1660 when the monarchy had been removed. A few years later, in 1666, even greater danger occurred with the Great Fire of London. Admiral William Penn, whose son founded Pennsylvania, is credited with saving the church by demolishing surrounding houses to create a fire break. His son was baptised in the church. Diarist Samuel Pepys, who lived in nearby Seething Lane, observed the fire from the tower.

America has another connection as the marriage of sixth President, John Quincy Adams took place in the church in 1797.

There was further structural damage and rebuilding after Second World War bombing and today the building is given Grade I listed status. It is situated on Byward Street.

This is one of those great London landmarks which is steeped in history and often visited by only the discerning traveller.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.