Tired of London, Tired of Life - One thing a day to do in London

A website about things to do in London

17 November 2010

Visit St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney

Apparently a place of worship for over a thousand years, the first church was built on the present site of site of St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney, 'sometime between St Augustine's conversion of the English in the 6th century, and 952 when a second church was erected on the site by St Dunstan', which is fantastically vague.


Your author doesn't have religion, but it is getting to be a bit of a habit to examine church histories here, so let's take the time to examine St Dunstan's, Stepney.

Originally called All Saints, the church was probably named after St Dunstan, the former Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of London, at some point following his death in 1029, and in 1896 the names were combined. The only part of the original church which survives is a tenth century stone relief panel of the Crucifixion, beneath the east window.

The 'modern' church was built between the thirteenth century, when the chancel was built, and the fifteenth century, when the nave was built, to serve residents in what was then a country retreat. As such, it is notable for having survived both the Great Fire of London and the Blitz.

For more on St Dunstan and All Saints, visit the website here.

4 comments:

  1. That it survived the Blitz is notable, less so they Great Fire of London, I'd say. In 1666, Stepney would have been well outside the City of London!

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  2. Oh you don't have to be personally religious to value religious architecture. It is at the very heart of nearly 2,000 years of national history. And the current version of St Dunstan's had all its high medieval bits on show - blissful :)

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  3. I visited St. Dunstan in '04. The church is indeed beautiful - and the reason for my visit is that the marriage of my 10th gt. grandparents in 1608 is recorded there before they traveled to Jamestown as "original planters". It is, indeed, a place to visit but unfortunately, at that time, was "off the map" for tourism in E. London.

    I contacted the church rector to be sure the church would be open and he arranged for someone to meet me. The ladies of the church were working on beautiful needlework pieces to be hung in the chapel at the Tower of London.

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