St Mary Le Bow has been a place of worship since 1080, when the first church on this site was founded as the London headquarters of the Archbishops of Canterbury.
The medieval church of St Mary-le-Bow survived three devastating collapses before being destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. Rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren, it was destroyed once more in 1941 but was again rebuilt and re-consecrated in 1964. The church is the third highest of Wren’s churches. It is also the second most expensive church Wren designed.
During the medieval period the bells used to ring to indicate the end of the working day. The bells were destroyed during the Second World War but was restored in 1964 and can still be heard today. The bells have been linked to the nursery rhyme ‘Oranges and Lemons.’ The most famous tradition linked to St Mary-le-Bow is that only someone born within the sound of the bells can be considered a true Cockney.
Famous people who attended the church include Captain John Smith, founder of Virginia and Admiral Arthur Phillip, the first Governor of Australia.
This church is full of traditions and London culture.
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