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All Hallows by the Tower
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The oldest standing fabric of any London church is to be found at All Hallows'. A tall, narrow arch built of 'recycled' Roman tiles in the south-west corner could be part of a 7th-century church belonging to the great abbey at Barking, miles away across the Essex creeks and marshes. The church has therefore also been known for centuries as All Hallows Barking.

All Hallows by the Tower

Тhe font cover was carved in limewood by Grinling Gibbons in 1682 to represent three putti holding fruit and flowers.


The church has a prominent green copper-covered spire that was built after the Second World War by Lord Mottistone, which surmounts a brick tower of 1658-9 by Samuel Twyne. It was this tower that Samuel Pepys climbed to watch the Great Fire in September 1666 ('up to the top of Barking steeple', where he 'became afeard to stay there long and down again as fast as I could'). Fortunately, the church survived the Great Fire but it was not so lucky in 1940, for the bombing left only the tower, the aisle walls, the north porch, the crypts and various furnishings. These were incorporated in the church that Lord Mottistone and Paul Paget built between 1948 and 1957. They introduced Gothic arcades of Painswick stone and reinforced concrete roofs, which blend well with the unplastered mediaeval aisle walls.

All Hallows by the Tower

Тhis arch of reused Roman tiles might date back to the late 7th century.


The most celebrated furnishing is the font cover of 1682, which Grinling Gibbons carved in limewood. Three putti hold fruit and flowers on a circular base, with a dove perched above. An equally well-known fitting from the 20th century is the Toc H Lamp of Maintenance, which stands on the tomb of Alderman John Croke in the north or Toc H chapel. The Reverend P. B, (or 'Tubby') Clayton, who became Vicar in 1922, had run a wartime mission near Ypres called Talbot House, which was translated in signallers' code as Toс H'. The arms of Ypres appear over the north porch. The other prominent monument on the south side is an effigy of Alfred Henry Forster by Cecil Thomas, 1919.

All Hallows by the Tower

The green copper-covered spire was added after the war to Samuel Twyne's tower of 1658-9 by Lord Mottistone.


No fewer than 17 brasses survive from between 1389 and 1651. The finest commemorates Andrew Evyngar and his wife Ellyn. It dates from about 1533 and is of Flemish workmanship. The church has a pulpit of Wren's time, brought from St Swithin's, London Stone, and three 18th-century sword-rests. The stained glass in the aisle windows is post-war heraldic glass by Reginald Bell and Michael Farrar Bell, chiefly with maritime allusions.
Lancelot Andrewes, the saintly Jacobean Bishop of Winchester, was baptized here in 1555 and called All Hallows' his 'nursing mother' in the faith. Admiral Sir William Penn, who saved the church in 1666 by having houses blown up to create a firebreak, had his son, also William, baptized here in 1644; the son became the founder of Pennsylvania.


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