St Dunstan's Church - Stepney High Street, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 31.010 W 000° 02.521
30U E 705225 N 5711449
Quick Description: The Anglican church of St Dunstan's is located on the east side of Stepney High Street in a large churchyard. The first church was built here in 952 AD with the current church being constructed in the 15th century with later additions.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 2/13/2016 2:53:43 AM
Waymark Code: WMQDXZ
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Dorcadion Team
Views: 1

Long Description:

St Dunstan's is a Grade I listed building with the entry at the Historic England website telling us:

Parish church. Kentish ragstone, rubble and flint, with stone dressings and tiled roof An ancient foundation rebuilt C10; C13 chancel with seven-bay C15 nave and aisles, with battlemented parapets, two-light clerestorey windows and renewed three-light windows. C15 west tower, three stages with battlements, pinnacles and angle buttresses. Beacon tower on south side. North and south porches and hexagonal vestry room at north-cast corner added 1871-72 by Newman and Billing.

Interior: nave north and south aisles rebuilt cl500, when chancel arch-removed. Seven-bay arcades of two-centred arches on quatrefoil piers. C13 sedilia in chancel. Vestry room has open timber roof.

Alterations: extensively restored in 1849 by Benjamin Ferrey; in 1872 by Newman and Billing; by Cutts and Cutts in 1899 and again in 1901-2 following a fire, when the nave roof was rebuilt; in 1949 by C Wontner Smith, following war damage, when the flooring was renewed and the cast end reordered.

Fittings: Anglo-Saxon stone relief panel of the Crucifixion, early C11. Relief of the Annunciation, c1400, over north chancel door. Numerous funerary monuments, C16-C19, including recessed tomb chest to Sir Henry Colet, d.1510, in chancel; Dr John Berry, d1689, bust with in aedicule in north aisle; Benjamin Kenton, d.1800, by Westmacott showing relief of the Good Samaritan between Doric columns, in chancel. East window by Hugh Easton, 1949, depicting the Crucifixion above tableau of blitzed Stepney. Sailors' memorial window, also by Easton in north aisle. Organ by Father Willis, from St. Augustine's, Haggerston, installed in north-west aisle, 1971. Clock retains original working by Thwaites, 1804. Stone, reputedly from Carthage, set into south aisle wall with 1663 inscription.

Wikipedia also tells us about St Dunstan's:

St Dunstan's, Stepney is an Anglican Church which stands on a site that has been used for Christian worship for over a thousand years. It is located in Stepney High Street, in Stepney, London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

In about AD 952 the Bishop of London — who is also Lord of the Manor of Stepney — replaced the existing wooden structure with a stone church dedicated to All the Saints. In 1029, when Dunstan was canonised, the church was rededicated to St Dunstan and All Saints, a dedication it has retained.

Up until the early fourteenth century the church served the whole of Middlesex east of the City of London. Then new churches were built at Whitechapel and Bow. The existing building is the third on the site and was built of Kentish ragstone mainly in the fifteenth century (although the chancel dates from 200 years earlier). A porch and octagonal parish room were added in 1872.

The church was restored extensively in 1899, at a cost of £5,600. The vestries and some of the main building were destroyed by fire on 12 October 1901, including the organ which had carvings by Grinling Gibbons. The restoration cost £7,084.

The ring of ten bells, the heaviest weighing 28¾ hundredweight, which hang in the belfry, were cast at the local Whitechapel Bell Foundry and are tuned to C#. The seven oldest bells were cast by Thomas Mears and Son, Whitechapel, in 1806. The bells were re-hung in 1899. Three were recast in 1952 when repairs were made to the tower. The bells are mentioned in the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons: "When will that be, say the bells of Stepney."

Buried here is Lord Darnley, the elder brother of the husband of Mary Queen of Scots. He died aged 12. His resting place is marked with a 12 feet (3.7 m) slab of Purbeck marble.

The church is surrounded by a churchyard of nearly seven acres (28,000 m²). In 1658 William Greenhill was appointed vicar whilst retaining his position as a preacher at Stepney Meeting House. He held this post for about seven years, till he was ejected immediately after the Restoration in 1660.

Shortly after this, the churchyard was enlarged to cope with the massive number of deaths during the Great Plague of London. In one eighteen-month period 6,583 died, with 154 being buried in one day in September 1665.

The church has a long, traditional link with the sea and many sailors were buried here. It was once known as the 'Church of the High Seas'. The graveyard is also where Roger Crab, the 17th-century hermit who lived on a diet solely of herbs, roots, leaves, grass and water, is buried.

Building Materials: Stone

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