St Margaret Patterns is a City Guild Church that was first recorded in 1067, at which time the church was probably built from wood.
It was rebuilt in stone at an unknown subsequent date, but fell into disrepair and had to be demolished in 1530. It was rebuilt in 1538 and then destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. The present building was built by Sir Christopher Wren in 1687. It is one of only churches to have escaped significant damage in the Second World War. The spire is the third highest to be built by Wren and the only one to be designed in the medieval style. It has been called Wren’s ‘True Spire.’
In 1954 St Margaret Pattens ceased to be a parish church and became one of the City’s Guild Churches, under the patronage of the Lord Chancellor and under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London.
The interior is a simple rectangle with the only surviving canopied pews in London, dating from the 17th century. These are for the churchwardens. The initials “CW” which appear in one of the pews have been thought to refer to Christopher Wren, but they may also signify church warden.
The interior is full of monuments that span over the church’s long history. An interesting feature is the punishment box, where wrongdoers would have sat during the service. There is some wonderful wood carving to see in this church, including a wood panelled inner vestry with a fireplace.
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