I was reading a flyer this morning from the City of London Festival and posted a quote they used relative to one of the events, on my facebook status: “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination…no more men!” Albert Einstein, and got to thinking about Christopher Wren and his bee-hive, which they also mention.
did you know that Christopher Wren, the architect of St Paul’s Cathedral, designed a wooden box beehive whilst a student in Oxford in the 1650s in order to study more closely the bees’ behaviour.
Sir Christopher Wren also designed 51 other churches in and around London. You probably would not have enough time to visit all of those that have survived with only 3 days in London, so here are 2 of those within a short walk of St Pauls that you could easily visit whilst in London.
St Bride’s – The Cathedral of Fleet Street
Brief – History of St Bride’s: There are places where history passes by with a step as light as gossamer, leaving no trace. St. Bride’s, ‘the cathedral of Fleet Street’, is not one of them. In this place the Romans dug a ditch soon after they reached Londinium and it is now one of London’s earliest known Roman remains. This site spans two thousand years’ development of an island people – seven previous churches have occupied the site. Little of importance that has happened in England’s story has not been echoed in St. Bride’s. From the time when the Romans built here through the rise and fall of its seven previous churches, this place has been nationally, and indeed, internationally, involved. Celts, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Normans, so many peoples, made this place. Today, in the exchange of news, it is parish pump to the world.
In 1671 the Churchwardens of St Bride’s took Mr Christopher Wren (Surveyor General and Principal Architect for rebuilding the City) to dinner at the Globe Tavern at a cost of £2 17s. 0d. It would take another year before they could convince him of their cause which would result in St Bride’s being one of the first post-Fire churches to be opened.
The Fire destroyed 87 City churches. St Bride’s was among the 51 to be rebuilt despite Wren’s claim that only 39 were necessary in such a small area. (reference)
Another of Sir Christopher Wren’s churches is situated on Ludgate Hill, a short walk from St Paul’s and on the right hand side;
Brief – History of St Martin-within-Ludgate: St Martin, Ludgate is an Anglican church on Ludgate Hill in the ward of Farringdon, in the City of London. St Martin Ludgate, also called St Martin within Ludgate, was rebuilt in 1677-84 by Sir Christopher Wren.
Some legends connect the church with legendary King Cadwallo (now usually referred to as Cadwallon ap Cadfan, father of Cadwaladr. A sign on the front of the church reads “Cadwallo King of the Britons is said to have been buried here in 677″. Modern historians would place his death about 682. Cadwallo’s image was allegedly placed on Ludgate, to frighten away the Saxons.
There was a medieval church on the site from 1174. This was rebuilt in 1437 and the tower was struck by lightning in 1561. Before the Reformation the patronage of the church belonged to the Abbot and Chapter of Westminster till 1540,then till 1554 to the Bishop of Westminster, when it passed to the Bishop of London and then to the Chapter of St Paul’s, with whom it remains. These patrons are represented in the stained glass windows in the north wall.
In 1643 William Penn, whose son founded Pennsylvania, USA, was married in the church. On 4th September 1666 the Great Fire of London engulfed St Martin’s which was gutted. Rebuilding was not immediate, was largely completed by 1680, but not finally till 1703. At the same time the church was set back from the old site, as Ludgate Hill was widened. (ref wikipedia & St Martin website)