900 Years of St Bartholomew the Great: The History, Art, and Architecture of London's Oldest Parish Church

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This important book presents a comprehensive history of St Bartholomew the Great, the oldest parish church in London. In 2023, the Priory Church and Hospital will celebrate the 900th anniversary of their foundation.

At the heart of the Smithfield area, with its hospital, pubs, restaurants and market, is a church built when Henry I, son of William the Conqueror, was king of England. Overlooking the fields where kings confronted rebellions, knights jousted and heretics were burnt, St Bartholomew’s Priory and Hospital played a central role in the history of medieval London.

Partially torn down by order of Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Priory was reborn as a parish church. It served the City of London through the tumultuous years of the Reformation and the Civil War and has played host to many of London’s most famous residents. William Hogarth was baptized in its font. Charles Wesley preached in its pulpit. Benjamin Franklin served as a printer’s apprentice in its former Lady Chapel. John Betjeman lived across the street and memorialized it in his poetry.

The history of St Bartholomew’s is a tale of miraculous survival and continual renewal. It came out unscathed from the Great Fire of 1666 and the bombs dropped in Zeppelin raids in World War I and during the Blitz in World War II. Its splendid Romanesque core has been added to by each successive generation.

This volume – the first comprehensive history of the Church since 1921 – will survey the art, architecture and historical significance of the City of London’s oldest parish church in a scholarly, yet accessible tone. Richly illustrated, this book will appeal to those interested in the history of the City of London, in medieval and Victorian church architecture, in funerary monuments, and in the history of the Church of England.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAd Ilissum
Number of pages320
ISBN (Print)978-1-915401-03-8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Cite this