London Wonders – All Hallows Church, part 2

In my previous post I spent some unforgettable time in the crypt of the All Hallows by the Tower church in London.

Now we are going upstairs.

What treasures can we find here? Oh, God, where do I start?

There are several very old brasses on the floor, some dating from 16th century

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Also there are three outstanding wooden statues of saints dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. Hard to believe they are centuries old!

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In a small  cell I found an exquisite Baptismal font cover which was carved in 1682 by Grinling Gibbons, the most famous 17-18th century Royal sculptor and wood carver  who’s work you can see in St Paul Cathedral, Blenheim  Palace and Hampton Court Palace. It was bought for ₤12 –  I wonder, how much would it be in today’s money? Not cheap, I bet. Unfortunately, you can’t see all the details very well as it is behind a glass wall but still you realise that it is as one of the finest pieces of carving in London.

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The original font, in which William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, was christened is now in America. The present font is carved by a Sicilian prisoner of war (how strange…)

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Can you believe all this is carved out of wood?! Stunning!

My wonderful guide told me that because of the close proximity of the Tower of London and the Tower Hill scaffold site, the beheaded victims of the executions often were sent for temporary burial or just for three days before burial at All Hallows. Among them – William Loud (Archbishop of Canterbury, 1645), Thomas More (statesman, philosopher, writer,  1535), John Fisher (Archbishop of Rochester, 1535). Oh, hello! John Fisher – he was the archbishop in  Rochester, where I live!

Near the altar there was an interesting Flemish panel painted around 1500. Beautifully preserved!  In the 16th century the painting disappeared (??) until the present panels were found in the 18th century – one is still missing. My guide hinted that it had been stolen and had been in some private collection.

Sorry, not a very good photo but, again, it was behind the glass.

Sorry, not a very good photo but, again, it was behind the glass.

This is it for now. More to follow!

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