All Hallows Lombard Street

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Coordinates: 51°30′44″N 0°05′08″W / 51.5122°N 0.0855°W / 51.5122; -0.0855

All Hallows Lombard Street
Hallows lombard godwin.jpg
All Hallows Lombard Street in the 1820s
Location Lombard Street, London
Country England
Denomination Anglican
Previous denomination Roman Catholic

All Hallows Lombard Street was a parish church in the City of London. It stood in Lombard Street near the corner with Gracechurch Street,[1] in Langbourn Ward,[2] The west end faced into Ball Alley. Of medieval origin, it was rebuilt following the Great Fire of London. It was demolished in 1937; its tower was reconstructed at Twickenham as part of the new church of All Hallows, which also received its bells and complete interior fittings.[3]

Medieval church[edit]

All Hallows is first recorded in 1054,[4] when a citizen of London called Brihtmerus gave its patronage to the prior and chapter of Canterbury Cathedral.[1] John Stow calls it "All Hallows Grasse Church" because "the grass market went down that way, when that street was far broader than now it is".[1]

The church was rebuilt around the beginning of the 16th century. The south aisle is recorded as having been completed in 1516. The north aisle and other works were paid for by the Pewterer's Company. The bell tower was completed in 1544 and the stone porch from the dissolved monastery of St John of Jerusalem, near Smithfield was reconstructed at All Hallows. The monastery's bells also were purchased, but, due to the death of a benefactor, never installed, leaving the tower with only one bell.[5]

Following the dissolution of monasteries the patronage was transferred to the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury.[1]

Rebuilding after the Great Fire[edit]

All Hallows was badly damaged in the Great Fire of 1666. The parishioners attempted to patch it up, and had the walls rendered with straw and lime in an attempt to stop any further decay.[1] A bell was hung in the steeple, despite its perilous condition, as late as 1679.[6] Ultimately, however, restoration proved impractical and the old building was replaced with a new one designed by the office of Sir Christopher Wren. It was completed in 1694.[1] at a cost of £8,058 15s. 6d.[7]

The exterior was plain. In the 1830s George Godwin noted that the church was so hemmed in by other buildings, that "it is with difficulty discovered, even when looked for; it has in consequence been called 'the invisible church'."[6] The stone tower stood at the west end of the south wall. It was divided into three storeys, the lowest with a doorway formed by Corinthian columns with entablature and pediment, gaving access to the body of the church through a porch and vestibule. The second storey had round-headed windows, and the third had square openings with louvres, each surmounted by a cornice. A cornice and parapet completed the tower, which was about 85 feet (26 m) tall.[1]

The church was 84 feet (26 m) long and 52 feet (16 m) wide. The interior was a simple undivided space, without aisles; a gallery at the west end was supported on a single column. The ceiling was coved at the sides. There were five windows on the north side, and four on the south, but the only illumination at the east end was through two small windows in the side walls of the recess housing the reredos. In 1880 additional lighting was provided by inserting a rectangular skylight in the ceiling.[1] The walls were panelled with oak to the height of 9 feet (2.7 m). Above the northern doorcase stood a wooden figure of Death, about four feet high, and over the southern one was a similar figure of Time. The upper parts of each of these doorcases were carved with openwork decoration "the view whereof is intercepted by an artificial white curtain, likewise carved, but so natural that many have attempted to draw it on one side".[5] The Corporation pew, in the south-east corner, had two sword-rests. There were high-backed seats for the churchwardens, their ends ornamented with the Lion and Unicorn. Attached to the wall in the vestibule was a frame containing shelves for loaves for distribution to the poor.[1] There was an oak reredos, ornamented with a carved pelican and seven candlesticks.[6]

Parish marks in Lombard Street

An organ built by Renatus Harris was installed in 1695, only being replaced in 1902 by one commissioned from Noble & Sons.[8]

During the Napoleonic wars, the roof space was used as a storeroom for ammunition by a volunteer corps.[6]

John Wesley[edit]

An entry in the Parish record Book for 28 December 1789 states that John Wesley preached at Evensong.[9] He recalled an earlier incident where, just as he was about to preach, he realised he had forgotten his sermon, and confided this to the attendant verger.

The reply came ”What cannot you trust God for a sermon?” and upon this rebuke I went into the pulpit and preached with much freedom and acceptance; and from that time I have never taken a manuscript with me.


In 1879 ten bells from St Dionis Backchurch were hung at the church,[10] but such optimism could not disguise the fact that the residential population of the City was falling, year on year.[11] After the First World War the church was earmarked for demolition, despite fierce opposition.[12] In 1937 the church, which had been found to be unsafe, was demolished[13] and the tower, porch and furnishings were reused in the construction of All Hallows Twickenham.[14] The parish, as stipulated under the Union of Benefices Act 1860[15] was united with that of the nearby St Edmund the King and Martyr. The site now forms part of the plot occupied by the former Barclays headquarters. Ball Alley, which connected the church with Lombard Street and George Yard, also no longer exists. A parish boundary mark survives in Lombard Street.

Present day[edit]

The parish now forms part of the combined parish of St Edmund the King and Martyr, and St Mary Woolnoth Lombard Street with St Nicholas Acons, All Hallows Lombard Street, St Benet Gracechurch, St Leonard Eastcheap, St Dionis Backchurch and St Mary Woolchurch Haw - usually shortened to "St Edmund & St Mary Woolnoth". It is part of the Church of England's Diocese of London.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Daniell, A.E. (1896). London City Churches. London: Constable. pp. 116–9. 
  2. ^ 'Book 2, Ch. 23: Langbourn Ward', A New History of London: Including Westminster and Southwark (1773), pp. 656-661 accessed: 11 January 2009
  3. ^ "All Hallows Twickenham: History". All Hallows, Twickenham. 
  4. ^ Huelin, G. (1996). Vanished churches of the City of London. London: Guildhall Library Publishing. pp. 30–31. ISBN 0-900422-42-4. 
  5. ^ a b Seymour, Robert (1733). A Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, Borough of Southwark, and Parts Adjacent. 1. London: T. Read. p. 420. . Seymour takes his information from Stow's Survey.
  6. ^ a b c d Godwin, George; John Britton (1839). "All Hallows, Lombard Street". The Churches of London: A History and Description of the Ecclesiastical Edifices of the Metropolis. London: C. Tilt. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  7. ^ Reynolds, H. (1922). Churches of the City of London. London: Bodley Head. p. 120. 
  8. ^ Pearce, Charles William (1909). Notes on old London city churches: their organs, organists, and musical associations. London: Vincent Music Company. 
  9. ^ "City of London Parish Registers Guide 4" Hallows,A.(Ed) - M0023878CL( Parish Record Book,1782-1789): London, Guildhall Library Research, 1974 ISBN 0-900422-30-0
  10. ^ Cobb, G. (1942). The Old Churches of London. London: Batsford. 
  11. ^ Borer, M.I.C. (1978). The City of London: A History. New York: D.McKay. ISBN 0-09-461880-1. 
  12. ^ Bell, W., ed. (1936). Should All Hallows Lombard Street be destroyed: the case for preservation. W.H & L. Collingridge. 
  13. ^ Church History
  14. ^ All Hallows Twickenham web site
  15. ^ which permitted the demolition of City churches and mandated the sale of land to build churches in the suburbs,
  16. ^ Diocese of London St Edmund & St Mary Woolnoth

External links[edit]