St Bartholomew the Great is directly linked to St Bartholomew’s Hospital and is the oldest parish church in London.
The site was established during Henry I reign. Rahere, the man who established the church and hospital, went on pilgrimage to Rome, became ill and was close to death. As he lay delirious, he prayed for his life vowing that, if he survived, he would set up a hospital for the poor in London. His tomb can still be found in the church today. The church bares a unique look, as the medieval Norman styling remains. The church has a rich history from surviving the dissolution of monasteries during the Tudor period, to being the home of the Black Friars in the reign of Mary I.
It survived the Great Fire of 1666, the bombs dropped in Zeppelin raids in World War I and the Blitz in World War II. The church was briefly abandoned but was restored in the 19th century.
Today the St Bartholomew has a reputation not only for wonderful Romanesque architecture, but also for traditional formal worship, marvellous music, and intelligent preaching. It has appeared in a series of award-winning films including Four Weddings and a Funeral, Shakespeare in Love, The End of the Affair, Amazing Grace, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and The Other Boleyn Girl. It has also appeared in a number of television programmes including Madame Bovary, The Real Sherlock Holmes, Spooks, and The League of Gentlemen Christmas Special.
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