ST. DUNSTAN and ALL SAINTS' CHURCH
of the earliest churches in
St Dunstan’s was the parish church of all of Middlesex east of the City of London until the early 14th Century when the parish was split between Stepney, Whitechapel and Bow. The current church dates to the 15th Century with some remains from earlier. Additions were made in the 1870s.
famed Bells of Stepney were cast nearby at
Whitechapel Bell Foundry (where the Liberty Bell was also cast) and are
mentioned in the
What appears to be a particularly big green space around the church (by Stepney standards) is in fact a result of the churchyard being enlarged to cope with the Great Plague burials (in 18 months 6,583 died and on one single day in September 1665 154 people were buried here).
In the churchyard is the grave of the 17th Century hermit, Roger Crab, who lived a strange proto-hippy life during the Puritanical reign of Oliver Cromwell. He was a vegan from a very early age and in the last years of his life famously ate little but grass and parsnips, he rejected the church and wrote several treaties to this end, he was imprisoned both by the Republic under Cromwell and the restored Monarchy under Charles II … and yet he is still buried in one of London’s premier churches, a reflection of his skill as an early alternative medicine practitioner.
This is the "Bells of Stepney" in the Oranges and Lemons Rhyme.
Photo - Andrew J. Müller
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Andrew J. Müller,
and Shaun Runham
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