St Alfege's Church, Greenwich

Coordinates: 51°28′49.7″N 00°00′34.8″W / 51.480472°N 0.009667°W / 51.480472; -0.009667

St Alfege Church is a Church of England place of worship in the town centre of Greenwich in the eponymous London Borough.


The church is dedicated to, and reputedly marks the place where Alfege (also spelt 'Alphege'), Archbishop of Canterbury, was killed by Viking raiders on 19 April 1012.

The second church built on this site was constructed around 1290. It was here that Henry VIII was baptised in 1491.

During a storm in 1710 the building collapsed, having had its foundation weakened by burials both inside and outside. The current building, incorporating the earlier tower, was designed by Baroque architect Nicholas Hawksmoor in 1714, and was funded by the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches. It was completed in 1718.

The tower later became unsafe and was encased within a new tower designed by John James in 1730. The spire was again replaced in 1830, when it was struck by lightning. Notable burials in and around the church, include: Renaissance composer Thomas Tallis (d. 1585), General James Wolfe (d. 1759), English-born explorer of Canada Henry Kelsey (d. 1724), and actress Lavinia Fenton (1760). Noted merchant, Lloyds underwriter and art collector John Julius Angerstein (d. 1823) was a churchwarden there during the early 19th century.

During the Blitz on March 19, 1941, incendiary bombs landed on the roof causing it to collapse, burning into the nave. The walls and the tower remained standing, but much of the interior was gutted. The church was restored by Sir Albert Richardson in 1953.

The Church is currently used to celebrate 'Founder's Day' of Addey and Stanhope School and The John Roan School.

Literary connection

In Charles Dickens's novel Our Mutual Friend, Bella Wilfer marries John Rokesmith in St Alfege Church.


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