St Stephen Walbrook
St Stephen, Walbrook is a small church in the City of London, part of the Church of England's Diocese of London. It is located in Walbrook, next to the Mansion House, and near to Bank and Monument Underground stations.

In the second century A.D. a temple of Mithras stood on the bank of the River Walbrook, a stream running across London from the City Wall near Moorfields to the Thames. The foundations of this temple were discovered when Bucklersbury House was built in 1953-1957, and they are preserved to this day . A Saxon church of the 7th century stood on this site and the River Walbrook is now culverted beneath it. It originally stood on the west bank of the River Walbrook, but was rebuilt around 1439 on the east side. The 15th century building, destroyed in the Great Fire of London of 1666, contained a memorial to the English composer John Dunstaple. The wording of the epitaph had been recorded in the early 17th century, and was reinstated in the church in 1904, some 450 years after his death. In 1670, St Benet Sherehog was merged. The current church was built by Sir Christopher Wren in 1672-80 , following the 15th century building's destruction in the Great Fire. The 63 feet high dome is based on Wren's original design for St Paul's, and this is centred over a square of twelve columns. The circular base of the dome is not carried, in the conventional way, by pendentives formed above the arches of the square, but on a circle formed by eight arches that spring from eight of the twelve columns, cutting across each corner in the manner of the Byzantine squinch . This all contributes to create what many consider to be one of Wren's finest church interiors. Sir Nikolaus Pevsner lists it as one of the ten most important buildings in England. It suffered slight damage from German bombers during the London Blitz of 1941 and was later restored. In 1954, St Mary Bothaw and St Swithin London Stone (merged in 1670) were merged. Nowadays, its claims to fame include:
  • Henry Moore's controversial massive white polished stone altar, commissioned by churchwarden Lord Palumbo and installed in 1987, which stands unusually in the centre of the church , as allowed by a rare judgment of the Court of Ecclesiastical Causes Reserved.
  • A telephone in a glass box, a tribute to the founding of the Samaritans at the church by the rector, Dr Chad Varah, in 1953. This voluntary organisation began with this telephone, and today staffs a 24-hour telephone hot-line for people in emotional need. The first Samaritans branch (known as Central London Branch) operated from a crypt beneath the church before moving to Marshall Street in Soho.
  • A painting on the left wall by Benjamin West, titled Burial of St Stephen.
The church was designated a Grade I listed building on 4 January 1950.

  • John Dunstaple
  • John Vanbrugh
The nearest London Underground station is Bank.

Building Activity

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