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Address: Fleet Street | Fleet Street, London EC4Y 8AU, England
Phone Number:
+44 20 7427 0133
08:00 - 18:00
Closed now
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Sun 10:00 - 18:30
Mon 08:00 - 18:00
Fri 08:00 - 18:00
Sat 10:00 - 16:00
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour

Just down the road from majestic St Paul's Cathedral is another of Sir...

Just down the road from majestic St Paul's Cathedral is another of Sir Christopher Wren's creations, the little known church of St Bride's, also called "The Journalists' Church." Tucked away in a busy corner of Fleet Street, it is easy to miss, but look out for the towering steeple. It may look unremarkable next to the grandeur of St Paul's, but this tiny church was the home of the first printing press, inspired the multilayered wedding cake and triggered a row between Benjamin Franklin and George the III. Among the parishioners of this church were such literary figures as Milton, Dryden, Johnson and Pepys. St Bride takes its name from the Irish saint St Bridget of Kildare, a 5th century Irish saint famous for her hospitality, who founded several churches. Since then, several reconstructions have followed. After the original church was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666, Sir Christopher Wren redesigned the building in 1673. His building, in turn, was destroyed by bombing during the Second World War, but the much-admired steeple survived. The present building is a reconstruction of Wren's design. As you step into the church, you will notice the several memorials to journalists, newspapers and the printing trade. In 1500 William Caxton's assistant, the aptly named Wynkyn de Worde, brought the first moveable type printing press to the church courtyard. It was used to print religious books and messages from the clergy, and later to print books and plays. Nearby churches also began to set up printing presses, and ever since then Fleet Street has been the centre of the publishing industry. Writers including Samuel Johnson, Boswell and Pope lived near St Bride's. That quintessential Londoner, Samuel Pepys, was born just around the corner and baptized in St Bride's. The journalist's altar at one end of the church was established when hostages were being taken in the Middle East. It now commemorates journalists killed or injured worldwide. A brass plaque also commemorates the 300th anniversary of the founding of the world's first daily newspaper, the Daily Courant, in 1702. The graceful spire, originally 234 feet, is the tallest of Wren's steeples and has inspired many a poet. Among these was W.E. Henley, who in his poem "The Song of the Sword" described the spire thus, The while the fanciful, formal finicking charm Of Bride's, that madrigal of the stone Grows flushed and warm And beauteous with a beauty not its own. The spire also inspired a Fleet Street confectioner called Thomas Rich, who made a replica of the spire in icing, a model for the traditional wedding cake still seen today. The party dress of Rich's wife is displayed in a glass case in the church, perhaps in thanks for her contribution! The steeple also triggered a comical row between King George the III and scientist Benjamin Franklin. In 1764 the spire was struck by lightening, which reduced its height by 8 feet. Franklin, by then considered an expert on lightning, was asked to advise the King on the installation of lightening rods. Franklin suggested installing conductors with pointed ends, but the King wanted to install blunt ones. Not surprisingly, the King got his way. The British political press was delighted with the outcome, and published propaganda gleefully praising the King "as good blunt honest George" while the hapless Franklin was described as "a sharp-witted colonist." The church has other connections to America. The parents of Virginia Dare, the first white child born in America and named after the state of Virginia, were married in this church in 1584. A bust of Virginia was originally displayed in the church, but was later stolen. A replica stands in its place. Edward Winslow, one of the leaders of the Mayflower and later Governor of Plymouth in Massachusetts, was also married in this church. It was not until 1953 that archeologists discovered that St Bride's stands on Roman remains dating back to the 2nd century A.D, including a Roman pavement. On a grislier note the church crypt was also found to contain thousands of human remains, thought to belong to victims of the Great Plague of 1665 and the cholera epidemic of 1854. These have now been given a proper burial, and visitors interested in the church's Roman origins can now enter the crypt to see the original Roman ruins. by Kavitha Rao

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St. Bride's Church

We passed this church on our walk along Fleet Street heading towards St. Paul's Cathedral. The entrance to this amazing church is very narrow. The currently standing church is... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
Della G
Coquitlam, Canada
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66 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 56: English reviews
Coquitlam, Canada
Level Contributor
282 reviews
229 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

We passed this church on our walk along Fleet Street heading towards St. Paul's Cathedral. The entrance to this amazing church is very narrow. The currently standing church is designed by Christopher Wren and has a unique staple. Besides having a pretty interior, we were able to view the crypt area even though it was late in the day. We... More 

Thank Della G
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
303 reviews
218 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

St Bride's is a lovely church to visit for a quiet moment away from the traffic on Fleet St. There's are some norman ruins in the crypt below the renovated church above. Many ties to history as well. It's known as the journalists' church, given its proximity to the historic home of the media in the UK. A number of... More 

Thank armrestdominance
Frome, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
232 reviews
165 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 November 2016

A lovely church dedicated to journalism as it is just off Fleet Street and home for printing for centuries. As with so many churches in the City, rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666 and bombed during the WWII but faithfully restored. Interesting history in the crypt Do look at the spire - just like a tiered wedding... More 

Thank lgmsomerset
Level Contributor
220 reviews
134 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 November 2016

Despite so many new tall buildings in this part of London, the spire of St. Bride's stands out as being highly distinctive. The architectural pundits criticise it for looking like an extendable telescope. the interior is slightly over whelmed by timber panelling which might not be an original feature.

Thank Vincent D
Level Contributor
33 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 October 2016

A lovely church just off Fleet Street, beautiful quiet and peaceful courtyard that several people were sitting in and enjoying as I walked up. A friendly woman welcomed me into the church and invited me to walk around. In the basement there is an informative historical display and excavations to view.

Thank mom2mggm
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
324 reviews
206 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 October 2016

This is another beautiful Christopher Wren church, very light and airy on the interior, more so than any other church I have visited. Beautiful use of wood to break up the stone. And the steeple sets the pattern for wedding cakes, world round. The church offers free lunchtime recitals on Tuesdays and Fridays at 1:15 pm - so check their... More 

Thank Jack B
Weston, Florida
Level Contributor
175 reviews
61 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 August 2016 via mobile

Nice and historical place in London city, full of history specially with the origin of the church, it's actually a wedding cake design and then the tradition of such cakes began!

Thank ManuelEGarcia
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Level Contributor
376 reviews
148 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 August 2016

This beautiful church was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and was begun in 1673 but not completed until 1703. The spire is the tallest that Wren built and is the model for traditional wedding cakes. Although the interior of the church was destroyed in WWII, it has been rebuilt. St. Bride's is a beautiful church and the large crypt is... More 

Thank TravelFan48105
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
74 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 July 2016

Found this church while waiting for a meeting. I was dumbstruck. It is one of the most lovely churches in London. A great place to think, smile and relax with no disturbance. The interior is amazing with classical floor and light pews either side, there is also a hidden world and alternative altar in the crypt 100% worth a trip... More 

Thank Barrie G
Clanfield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
208 reviews
51 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 July 2016

OK so there is a major renovation underway but this no way detracts from the beauty and tranquility of the church. History oozes from every pore. The wonderful crypt area with its exposed sections of Roman pavement is also a treat and the whole building encapsulates the entire history of London over the last 2000 years. If you are visiting... More 

Thank Andy S

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