Churches

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ALL HALLOWS by the TOWER

All Hallows by the Tower was founded in 675AD - it is the oldest church in the City of London. An arch from this original church remains and, beneath that, a fragment of Roman pavement. The church has looked after the bodies of those beheaded on nearby tower hill, including Thomas More's and, from the tower of the church, Samuel Pepys watched London burn in 1666. The founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn, was baptised here and notable weddings included those of John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the USA, and Judge Jeffries, famous for his 'bloody assizes' in the aftermath of the Battle of Sedgemoor of 1685. All Hallows survived the Great Fire, thanks to the efforts of Pepys' friend Admiral Penn, but was fairly comprehensively bombed during WW2 and rebuilt in the 1950s. A long-serving vicar of the church was 'Tubby' Clayton, founder of 'Toc H', the rest and recuperation centre for troops in Belgium during WW1.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Byward Street
County
London
Post Code
EC3R 5BJ
Main Historic Period
Tudor
Useful Website Address
Tip/Nearby
Tower of London
Primary Management
Church authorities
ALL SAINTS’, Brixworth

All Saints', Brixworth, is the largest surviving Anglo-Saxon church in Britain. The Saxon builders re-used Roman bricks when constructing their arches. It is also known that a monastery was founded on the site toward the end of the 7th century, sacked by the Danes. The church includes Norman features, an 11th century round tower and a 15th century spire. It is also famous for the Brixworth Relic - a human throat bone that allegedly once belonged to St Boniface.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Church Street
Brixworth
County
Northamptonshire
Post Code
NN6 9DF
Main Historic Period
Saxon
Link to featured article
Tip/Nearby
6 or 7 miles north of Northampton on the A508
ALL SAINTS’, Burton in Lonsdale

All Saints' Burton in Lonsdale, with its tall spire, is a prominent landmark across the valley of the River Greta. It is relatively new, replacing an earlier chapel of ease , dedicated to St James, that stood somewhere to the east of the current building, probably on ground that is now part of a closed churchyard. It was designed in 'early English style' by the Lancaster partnership of Paley and Austin, was funded by Thomas Thornton, nephew of the millionaire trader Richard Thornton, and constructed between 1868 and 1876 partly on the site of his grandparents’ cottage. All Saints is an attractive church, with an interesting lych gate - probably erected at the same time as the church - located in the adjacent closed churchyard.

The church contains some fine stone details,a wonderful font, an impressive barrel-vaulted roof and has a ring of 6 bells. The first vicar of All Saints' Burton in Lonsdale was the Rev Frederick Binyon, father of the poet Lawrence Binyon, author of the poem, 'For the Fallen'. An original WW1 battlefield burial cross is on display inside the church, as well as a selection of renowned Burton in Lonsdale pottery - a specialist industry between the 17th and 20th centuries. Outside the south wall is the font from the old chapel of ease, which has been converted to a sundial and, at the east end, a screen to protect the modesty of choirboys needing a pee. Occasional concerts and events are held inside the church, including the widely popular 'Concert and Cakes' featuring musicians from the Royal Northern College of Music and locally baked goodies.

Location/Address
High Street
Burton in Lonsdale
County
North Yorkshire
Post Code
LA6 3JX
Main Historic Period
Victorian
Useful Website Address
Tip/Nearby
The village has a number of listed buildings as well as the remains of a Norman motte and bailey castle (on private land). Nearby are Ingleton, Kirkby Lonsdale and the Yorkshire Dales
Primary Management
Church Authorities
ALL SAINTS’, Earls Barton

A very special church dating from 10th century. The tower is the main survivor from this period and contains some unique Anglo-Saxon architectural decoration. The rest of the church was built between the 12th and 15th centuries. One of several Saxon churches in the area.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
High Street
Earls Barton
County
Northamptonshire
Post Code
NN6 0JG
Main Historic Period
Saxon
Link to featured article
Useful Website Address
Tip/Nearby
Brixworth church
Primary Management
Church authorities
Alloway Auld Kirk

Alloway Auld Kirk, the ruined old church at Alloway dates from the 16th century, though the site could be much older. It is most famous now due to it being featured in Robert Burns' poem 'Tam o' Shanter' (1791), as the place where witches and warlocks gather. The churchyard is fascinating and includes the graves of Burns' father, William Burnes, and sister, Isabella Burns Begg. Combine with a visit to the Robert Burns' Museum, his birthplace, Burns Monument and Brig o' Doon.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
40 Alloway
County
Ayrshire
Post Code
KA7 4PQ
Main Historic Period
Tudor
Useful Website Address
Tip/Nearby
The Robert Burns' Museum, the cottage where he was born, the Burns Monument and Brig o' Doon are all within walking distance.
Primary Management
National Trust for Scotland
Anne Bronte's burial place

Anne Bronte is the only one of the famous siblings not to be buried in the family vault at Haworth. She worked as a governess in Scarborough and journeyed the 70 miles from home when she was ill, hoping the sea air would help. She arrived on Saturday 25 May 1849, very ill, accompanied by her sister Charlotte and a friend, Ellen and died on the Monday. Charlotte commissioned the very worn headstone seen today, but returning 3 years afterwards found a number of errors on it. The errors, whatever they were, were seemingly corrected – but the inscription still has Anne’s age wrong. A modern plaque has been placed on the ground by the Bronte Society.

St Mary's Church dates from the 12th century and is interesting in its own right. Canons were based in the churchyard during the Civil War, from which Parliamentary troops exchanged fire with the Royalists in the castle.

Location/Address
158 Castle Rd
Scarborough
County
North Yorkshire
Post Code
YO11 1HY
Main Historic Period
Victorian
Link to featured article
Useful Website Address
Tip/Nearby
Scarborough Castle
Primary Management
Church authorities
BEVERLEY MINSTER

Beverley Minster is a stunning medieval Gothic church, one of the largest parish churches in England and larger than many cathedrals.  By tradition, a monastery was founded at a place called Inderawuda in the early 8th C by Bishop John of York, on the present site of Beverley Minster.  Bishop John died in 721 and was buried at Beverly; his tomb in the Minster was a place of pilgrimage up until the Reformation and the alleged site of his bones is marked today.

Beverley Minster’s second great story concerns Athelstan, first King of England, who stopped by to visit the tomb of St John in 934, on his way to fight an alliance of Scots and Norse at Brunanburgh.  He took a banner from the church and won a great victory.  Returning after the battle, he granted several privileges to Beverley, including the right of sanctuary.  The present Minster dates from 1190, following a devastating fire that destroyed much of the previous building and the town.  The Collegiate Church of St. John the Evangelist at Beverley was supressed in 1548, but the church was bought for £100 by townspeople, who raised £120 by pulling down the Chapter House, the adjoining church of St Martin and the charnel house.  Extensive refurbishment was undertaken in the 18th century.  Highlights today include the choir, the Norman font and 18th C canopy, stained glass and stone Saxon chair.

Location/Address
38 Highgate
Beverley
County
East Riding
Post Code
HU7 0DN
Main Historic Period
Medieval
Useful Website Address
Tip/Nearby
St Mary's, Beverley, Market Square, North Bar Gate
Primary Management
Church Authorities
Blackfriars Chapel, St Andrews

The tiny ruins of Blackfriars' Chapel are the only visible remains of a Dominican Friary that was established in St Andrews c1464. The friars wore black robes - hence the name. The chapel was built in 1525 as an extension to the church, but was destroyed during the Scottish Reformation, presumably when, or shortly after, the friars were 'violently expelled' in 1559. So, there's very little to see but it's worth having a look when you're in town.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
South Street
St Andrews
County
Fife
Post Code
KY16 9EH
Main Historic Period
Tudor
Tip/Nearby
West Port, St Andrews Cathedral, St Andrews Castle
Primary Management
Historic Scotland
BRIGHTLING

Brightling is a tiny village in the Weald, surrounded by lovely countryside and other tiny villages. There are two reasons you might want to visit. Firstly, it has an attractive church, dedicated to St Thomas à Becket, which was actually mentioned in the Domesday survey.  So, given that Thomas was murdered in 1170, the church was obviously originally dedicated to someone else, possibly St Nicholas.  The current building dates from the 13th century and among its features are some good brasses, 17th century wall paintings (biblical texts) and a rare barrel organ.  The second reason to visit Brightling is to see the large stone pyramid in the churchyard.  This was built as a mausoleum for John ‘Mad Jack’ Fuller (1757-1834), the local squire.  Fuller was an eccentric, drunk, Member of Parliament, plantation and slave owner, philanthropist, patron of the arts and science (he supported JMW Turner and Michael Faraday) and builder of follies.  Local legend was that he had been buried in his pyramid seated at a table in full evening dress with a bottle of claret but, sadly, that was shown to be untrue.  Among his other structures are a ‘temple’ in the grounds of his house, Rosehill (now Brightling Park) next door to the church, an observatory (now a private residence), an obelisk on a local hilltop, ‘sugar loaf’ (no idea, sorry) and a tower – which is easily accessible a short walk across fields south-east of the church.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
The Street
Brightling
County
East Sussex
Post Code
TN32 5HH
Main Historic Period
Georgian
Tip/Nearby
Bateman's, Bodiam
Primary Management
Local Authority
BURROW MUMP

Burrow Mump is a natural hill rising out of the Somerset levels, with the ruins of a church, St Michael's, on top, giving the place an evocative feel. There was probably a castle on the site once. Burrow Mump also has possible associations with King Alfred, who hid in the marshes around nearby Athelney to escape the Danes.  It is now a war memorial, dedicated to all those from Somerset who died in the First and Second World Wars.

Post Code is for the nearby King Alfred pub. Small free car park at the foot of the hill.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
A361
Burrowbridge
County
Somerset
Post Code
TA7 0RB
Main Historic Period
Georgian
Tip/Nearby
Willow and Wetland Visitor Centre. Glastonbury and Wells aren't far.
Primary Management
National Trust

This is a growing listings directory – over 950 entries have been listed as of September 2022. 

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