City of London

St. Sepulchre-without-Newgate, City of London

The largest parish church in the City of London it is also one of those that survived the Great Fire of 1666.

The Church is closely associated with the Old Bailey which stands close by and with Newgate Jail which once stood across the road. The bells which were rung in the condemned’s ears the night before their execution are kept in St. Sepulchre’s, as are the rhyming admonitions chanted at them as they left for the scaffold. The tenor bell of the tower was rung at 8 in the morning for those about to die… “do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee” to coin a phrase.

Some remnants of the old medieval church do survive. The porch has 15th Century fan vaulting and the exteriors have a touch of Victorianised-medieval about them. However the interiors are a mix of Classical and Victorian with an exceptionally tall straight ceiling from 1834 supported by thin stuccoed columns. The overall impression is of a Wren church, strange as he was entirely uninvolved.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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© Text copyright - Raving Loony Productions and Andrew J. Müller, Roy Barton
and Shaun Runham
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