St Magnus the Martyr

Lower Thames St


St Magnus the Martyr is a parish church located at the head of the old London Bridge, in Lower Thames Street. The site is located close to the Roman Bridge Wall and a piece of the wall can be found inside.

The medieval church was built in the early 12th century to accommodate those living close London Bridge. It is disputed who the church is dedicated to, however, evidence would suggest it is St Magnus of Orkney. The building was a common meeting place as its location was by main entrance into the city.

Henry Yevele, the master mason whose work included the rebuilding of Westminster Hall and the naves of Westminster Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral, was a parishioner and rebuilt the chapel on London Bridge between 1384 and 1397. He served as a warden of London Bridge and was buried at St Magnus on his death in 1400.

The site survived the Great Fire of London, however, was rebuilt by Christopher Wren. It is one Wren’s most expensive projects. St Magnus has strong indicators that it is a Wren church. You can see the chequered marble floor and the large steeple that was added 1703 and 1706. The London skyline was transformed by Wren’s tall steeples and that of St Magnus is thought to be one his finest.

Other unique parts are the clock, donated by the Mayor of London, that dates back to 1709 and the organ casing which was made in Grinling Gibbons’ workshop.

For many years before the New London Bridge that was built in 1832, St Magnus used to be the gateway into London. Parts of the Old Bridge can still be found in the churchyard. This church is a very significance part of London’s history.

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