St. Magnus the Martyr

Going to the Grinling Gibbons exhibition made me realise that I don’t know the City Churches nearly as well as I should. So, I called in on one I don’t think I have ever been in to – St. Magnus the Martyr, marooned on the wrong side of Lower Thames Street, but open and smelling strongly of incense as a citadel of the high church since the 1920s at least. First to be burnt in the Great Fire, it was one of the first to be reconstructed, reopened in 1676 with an elegant landmark steeple, modelled on the Jesuit church in Antwerp (there was a drawing of it in Wren’s office) and visible from across the river:-

The history of the interior is complicated. The woodwork was initially the responsibility of a joiner, William Grey, then Mathhew Banckes Senior and Thomas Lock, who worked for Wren. But it was considerably reconfigured in the 1920s when the box pews were removed and the reredos reconstructed:-


4 thoughts on “St. Magnus the Martyr

  1. Eliot gives it a mention in The Waste Land …
    Line 263- 265
    “Where the fishermen lounge at noon: where the walls
    Of Magnus Martyr hold
    Inexplicable splendor of Ionian white and gold.”
    Another one of London’s hidden beauties.

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