St Lawrence Jewry next Guildhall is a Wren Church, one of 51 he built after the Great Fire of London, and this is considered to be his most expensive. In the heart of central London, it has an ornate interior and also the only depiction of Wren himself in a stained glass window.
Photograph Diego Delso
The first question that puzzles visitors about this church is answered by a plaque outside; how does it come by its extraordinary name?
The explanation is that the church, first built in the 12th century, sits in the area of the City occupied by a Jewish community from 1066 – 1290. The name was coined to distinguish it from another St Lawrence, which existed nearby until it was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.
It is now the official church of the Lord Mayor of London and the City of London Corporation and stands in the Yard of the Guildhall, hence the addition to its title.
This St Lawrence was also destroyed by the Great Fire but, happily, was one of the 16 churches handed to Sir Christopher Wren to be redesigned and was completed in 1677. Extensively damaged in the Blitz of 1940, the interior was restored in 1957 to Wren’s original design, while the exterior walls of the 17th century still stand.