All Hallows the Great - The Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks

All Hallows the Great

• All-Hallows-the-Great was located on what is now Upper Thames Street and first mentioned in 1235. Destroyed in the Great Fire of London of 1666, the church was rebuilt by the office of Sir Christopher Wren. All-Hallows-the-Great was demolished in 1894 when many bodies were disinterred from the churchyard and reburied at Brookwood Cemetery.

• All Hallows (meaning All Saints) was one of six churches in London having the same dedication. The church's suffix was given to distinguish it from another All Hallows located above a gate in a large house nearby, which was known as All-Hallows-the-Less.

• The earliest surviving reference is in a charter of Bishop Gilbert of London in 1100–07, as Omnium Sanctorum in London quae dicitur Semannesire (All Saints that is called Seamen's church, in London). Other early records refer to the church by a number of names, including All Hallows the More, All Hallows Thames Street, All Hallows in the Hay and All Hallows in the Ropery. According to John Stow, the latter descriptions were given because hay was sold at the nearby Hay Wharf and ropes were made in the high street.

• All Hallows the Great was also the church of the German community of the nearby Steelyard, since the Hanseatic community only had a chapel of their own on the Steelyard premises. The church was sufficiently large to include a large cloister on its south side and accommodate a grammar school, founded by Henry VI in 1447.

• After the church's destruction in the Great Fire, the parish was combined with that of All Hallows the Less. In 1669, the joint parishes erected a temporary structure in the churchyard of All Hallows the Great in which to hold services while the body of the church was being restored. This was the first of 27 tabernacles erected in the City of London in the years immediately following the Fire, from funds collected from the coal tax, for the temporary use of parishes. Two of the parishes (St Mary Somerset and St Andrew by the Wardrobe) waited 22 years after the Fire before their churches were complete. The church of All Hallows the Great was rebuilt between 1677 and 1684. A watch house was later built in the churchyard as a precaution against grave robbers. • In 1894, the church was demolished, the furnishings dispersed and the parish combined with that of St Michael Paternoster Royal.

• The church was a slightly irregular rectangle with exposed north and west frontages. The exterior was plain and possibly designed by Robert Hooke to the site suggest that it was his design.

• The church was rich in furnishings, many of which survive in other churches. It was one of two Wren churches to have a rood screen, commissioned by the parish after seeing that erected for St Peter upon Cornhill. This can now be seen in St Margaret Lothbury. The life size images of Moses and Aaron flanking the Decalogue on the reredos are now in St Michael Paternoster Royal, which also received the lectern (now stolen) and the chandelier. The former pulpit of the church is now in St Paul's Hammersmith.


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