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6 September 2012

Pop into St Benet's, the metropolitan Welsh Church

Shuffling into the porch of St Benet's Church last month during a break from the rain of the Women's Olympic Marathon, it took a moment to work out in what language the service inside was being conducted. Though your author's mother suggested it was 'Roman', it turned out to be Welsh, for since 1879, when Queen Victoria granted the Welsh community the right to worship here St Benet's has been a Welsh church for the people of London.

The small church near the Thames in the City, St Benet's stands on a site which has been a place of worship since 1111, and though the surrounding area was badly damaged during the Second World War, the present building - designed by Sir Christopher Wren and completed in 1685 - survived intact, and as such is the only undamaged and unaltered Wren church in the City.

The small church hides a rich history, and was mentioned in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, claims it may have been where Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey received the last rites, is the final resting place of Inigo Jones and was where Henry Fielding - the author of a book called Tom Jones - married his second wife.

For more, see http://www.stbenetwelshchurch.org.uk

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