St Stephen Walbrook - Walbrook, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 30.763 W 000° 05.406
30U E 701908 N 5710858
Quick Description: St Stephen Walbrook is a church re-built after the Great Fire of London in 1666 to a design by Christopher Wren. Records show that the church has two bells.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 8/19/2012 6:41:21 AM
Waymark Code: WMF3WD
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member scrambler390
Views: 3

Long Description:

The website of Loves Guide to the Church Bells of the City of London [visit link] tells us:

Bell Weight Diameter Note Cast Founder
Service Bell 9.5 cwt approx 37.5 in B 1601 Robert Mot
Unhung Sanctus 2.5 cwt approx 16 in A 1761 Lester & Pack


The 5 bells were rehung in a new frame. John Kebyll wheelwright paid for "tymbur and Frame, making and hanging of v belles" etc £6.6.8.Church rebuilt by Wren with a tower and spire rising to 130 ft, although part of the tower is pre-Reformation.A small bell was cast by Lester & Pack.
1475 Records mention a second bell.
1476 Records mention the purchase of clamps to let down the bells in the steeple, taking down the Lytell bell, for three baldricks of the "iij lest bellys" and payment to a chestyr for 3-1-3 of bell metal more than it weighed when it was changed.
1552 Record of 5 bells in the tower ("It'm five bellys and one small bell in the steple. Also in ye olde stepil over owre parsonage bene iij bellis, and hanging whelis and Ropis and al yt longith to hem").
1558 Record of 5 bells ("It'm five Belles and a Sayntes Bell in the steple").
1652 Record of "Five greate bells, one small Bell".
1601 The 4th (of 5) was recast by Robert Mot.
1666 The church was destroyed in the Great Fire, but it appears that the 5 bells and Sanctus remained undamaged.
1679 The vestry ordered that "the little bell be hung in the window of the tower next Wallbrook forthwith, for their better coming to Church". It had previously been suggested that it should hang in the lantern on the top of the tower.
1681 Vestry ordered "that ye fourth bell be hung with ye saints bells and that the other four bells be sold".
1824 Record of 2 bells.
1888 Church reopened.

The church's website [visit link] tells us:

The first stones of the new Church were laid on 17th December, 1672, by the Lord Mayor of London, the Lieutenant of the Tower of London, one of the Chicheley family, six members of the Court of the Grocers' Company (patrons of the Church), the Rector, two churchwardens and four other parishioners. Two months later the Vestry gave Wren 'or his lady' a silk purse with twenty guineas for 'his great care and extraordinary pains taken in contriving the design of the Church' - the usual formula for the person who designed a building, indicating that the design had been finalised. Wren's chief draughtsman was given five guineas; like Wren, he had been working simultaneously on designs for the Church as well as for St. Paul's Cathedral.

The whole London building trade was now working at full capacity, and it was still five years before the roofing of the Church was complete. In 1678 the high box pews were installed; Wren had allowed for their height in the high bases of the sixteen internal columns. The pews and font, like William Newman's font cover, pulpit, reredos and western screen, introduced in 1679, were paid for not out of the coal tax but by private subscriptions.

The portico to the north, which was never built, was intended to have colonnades on either side, continuing down the sides of the market place, at the opposite end of which was placed on 29th May, 1672, a marble equestrian statue of Charles II on a high pedestal, the gift of Sir Robert Viner. The sculpture is now resited at Newby Hall near Ripon. Wren may well have had in his mind that this open space should resemble the Forum of ancient Rome.

On 27th May, 1679, the Vestry planned a dinner for the architect, masons and joiners, as the Church was ready for use. The steeple was not built until 1713-1717; it closely resembles the steeples of St. James Garlickhythe and St. Michael Paternoster Royal.

The church is a Grade I listed building with the entry at the English Heritage website [visit link] telling us:

"1672 to 87 by Wren. Rectangular body with stone columns supporting large, plaster dome with barrel-vaulted arms (additional bay to west) and flat ceilings to corner compartments. West lobby and porch (plus vestry and tower to north) extend to street frontage. Plain exterior of ashlar, rubble and brick, partly rendered, with simple cornice and blocking. Round-arched, circular and elliptical windows. Recessed clerestory. Copper roofed dome arid lantern. Plain tower in 4 stages of squared stone with dressings and part refacing of Portland stone. Crowning cornice and balustrade, and open, stone steeple in 5 diminishing stages with weather vane and order of Ionic columns to lowest stage. New, enclosed staircase at base of north side of tower. Corniced porch, with round-arched entrance and enriched elliptical opening above. Stone steps inside rise to corniced doorway. Interior has order of Corinthian columns and pilasters, on low pedestals, with rich entablature. 8 arches support the coffered dome and lantern, all with plaster enrichment. Clerestory windows segmentally arched or lunettes. Pavement and some fittings of Cl9 date but following are original: fine wainscot with benching, reredos (with Cl9 pediment), communion table and rails, pulpit and tester, west gallery with organ and doorway below, font and cover. Large, later C18 altar piece by Benjamin West, now in north transept. Good wall monuments."

The church holds events on Thursdays and Fridays as listed in the church website [visit link]:

"Weekly Sung Eucharist
 Thursdays at 12.45pm
 Classical Masses
 Sung by the St Stephen's Choir
 Followed by a light lunch

Friday Organ Recitals
 Fridays at 12.30pm
 Organ Recital
 Given by visiting organists with a varied programme of works often taking into account the season of the church in the programme.
 Recitals are free and you are welcome to bring your lunch.
 There will be a retiring collection"

Address of Tower:
St Stephen's Church
London, United Kingdom

Still Operational: yes

Number of bells in tower?: 2

Relevant website?: [Web Link]

Rate tower:

Tours or visits allowed in tower?: Unknown

Visit Instructions:
Please post an original picture of the tower taken while you were there. Please also record how you came to be at this tower and any other interesting information you learned about it while there.
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