Had my first results today. I managed a 68% in DITA (Digital Information Technologies and Architectures) which I’m pleased with. One down, three to go.
A while ago I blogged about the church ruins at the Barbican (Snow at the window) and I have managed to track down its history. It is St Alphage, London Wall.
Alphage (Alphege, Elphege) was the archbishop of Canterbury from 1005. In 1012, he refused to pay the Danegeld (the Viking ‘tax’) so the Danes had a big party, became very, very drunk, grabbed the bones of a handy oxen and beat him to death, finishing him off with an axe. Just goes to show. You really have only two certainties: death and taxes. Brave and stupid, Alphage proved it, clearly. Anyway, he was buried in St Paul’s and quickly became a national hero. In one of those typically Christian procedures, his body was dug up in 1105 to discover he wasn’t rotten. So he was made a saint. Naturally. But enough of him.
The original church was built a short time after he was killed and, because everyone loved him to the point of celebrity, it was clear it would be dedicated to him. Today a few bits of the first church remain scattered in, what could loosely be described as, a garden. At least they might be bits from the first church. I mean who really knows. They’re just stones, after all. Anyway, the church backed onto London Wall, the medieval city boundary.
This first church was dangerously close to collapse in the 16th century. During this time, the church was demanding payment for paintings and a sort of witch hunt for Anabaptists. It managed to just survive the Great Fire (1666) but by 1777, a lot of it needed rebuilding. This happened, leaving only the tower. Lots of repairs were ongoing up until 1924 when the parish was united with another and the church was not longer required.
When the parishes were united, a lot of St Alphage’s was transported to the new parish church (St Mary Aldermanbury) and, basically, just the tower remained. It managed to survive the German bombing raids in WW2, although most of the area around it was completely destroyed. Now, all that remains to tell the story, are the lower sections of three walls of the tower. A gap has been left in the Barbican and a little fence has been built around it.
Sadly, there is no information board and only a bit of searching will find any mention of it. I found most of the story in Gordon Huelin’s Vanished Churches of the City of London, a thrilling read for all the family…