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St Stephen Walbrook - walk london sightseeing tour

forth attraction visitSt Stephen Walbrook

St Stephen Walbrook, re-built in 1680 after the great fire of London, is one of Christopher Wren’s most famous churches, a timeless work of art and, as stated by the prominent art historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, one of the 10 most important buildings in England.

St Stephen Walbrook was built on the site of a 2nd century Roman temple and later, a 7th century church.christopher wren church

Interior splendour

Widely admired throughout 18th century Europe the Italian sculptor-architect, Canova considered Wren’s church as a masterpiece and compared it to the best architecture in Rome.

The church was originally connected to other building so the roughly finished exterior does not indicate the beauty and splendour of the interior, “so rich a jewel in so poor a setting”- Bumpus.

St Stephen Walbrook, modest exterior hides Christopher Wren's masterpiece interior.anglican church 7th century

At that time Christopher Wren was King Charles II’s architect and surveyor, lived at No. 15 Walbrook and was a parishioner of St Stephens. His plans for St Stephen Walbrook, considered a prototype for his construction of St Paul’s Cathedral, were based on perfectly rectangular geometry and natural sources of light so making everything fit into place with apparent simplicity.

The 65ft roman dome, the first in Britain, is centred over a square of twelve columns. The base of the dome is supported by eight equal arches. The arches, which form a circle within the square are supported by eight of the twleve columns.

1888 Gothic mosaic replaced Wren’s Neo-Classic paving stones.wren masterpiece church

The lath and plaster facings on elaborate carpentry frames, the omission of galleries and the light shining through the eight arches give “an unparalleled feeling of lightness of weight and brightness of illumination”.

The interior also includes the great St Stephen’s altarpiece, a mosaic floor and Henry Moore's controversial massive white polished stone altar.

St Stephen Walbrook steeple added in 1717. church bell tower

One of the most famous vicars of St Stephen’s was Chad Varah, the founder of the Samaritans, the world-wide voluntary listening and counselling service to those in personal distress.

River Walbrook, a key freshwater source in Roman London, was covered over in the 15th century and still runs underground today.

Visitor Infomation

St Stephen Walbrook is an Anglican Parish Church holding services, lunchtime concerts and many other events.

Further information:

St Stephen Walbrook