An occasional saunter through the churches of the Square Mile                                
        An occasional saunter through the churches of the Square Mile

                                 
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St Bartholomew the Less

   
          Blessed Virgin and Child by Hugh Easton
 
                             
         

This church is one of the City of London's best-kept secrets, but the City has so many best-kept secrets that it is hard to wander around it without stumbling upon at least one of them. To find St Bartholomew the Less you will need to enter the gates of St Bartholomew's hospital, for this church is the hospital chapel. Until 2015 it was also a parish church, a unique combination in England, but the parish boundaries have been redrawn and St Bartholomew the Less now has the status of a chapel of ease within the parish of St Bartholomew the Great, whose church lies a hundred yards off.

The church had acquired parish status in the 1540s at the time of the Reformation, and was rebuilt in a pleasing Georgian octagonal shape by Thomas Hardwick in the 1820s, completing the plan and work of George Dance. The tower survives from the late medieval church.

Of all City churches, St Bartholomew the Less can be guaranteed to be open all day, every day, and so you will be able to step into its simple, pleasing and in some ways surprising interior. The floor is raised, a theatrical effect, and the sanctuary contributed by Hardwick gives the building focus. The linenfold woodwork is delightful. The jolly postwar glass (the church suffered blast damage) is by Hugh Easton, not always a safe pair of hands but here he was on top form.

Most of the memorials are to former surgeons and doctors associated with the church, but Easton's windows remember the nurses. Most unusually for the City of London churches, St Bartholomew the Less has brasses, and these contribute to the feel of a church which is quite different to any of its City compatriots.

On my last visit I was followed into the church by four Italian tourists, who quickly realised their mistake and headed back out to find St Bartholomew the Great. The only other visitor was a woman in a dressing gown who lit a candle and sobbed quietly. Sometimes you need this in the City to remind you what the churches are actually there for.
                         

Simon Knott, December 2015


location: St Bartholomew's Hospital EC1A 7BE - 1/013
status: parish church and hospital chapel
access: 7am-8pm every day

St Bartholomew the Less St Bartholomew the Less St Bartholomew the Less St Bartholomew the Less Blessed Virgin and Child by Hugh Easton St Bartholomew the Less font Remembering those Nurses by Hugh Easton St Luke the Physician by Hugh Easton St Bartholomew the Less remembering those nurses St Bartholomew and Rahere by Hugh Easton remembering those nurses remembering those physicians and surgeons St Bartholomew the Less nurses died at Zungeru W Africa on his way to Sokoto Sir James Paget Sigilium Hospitalis S Bartholomei St Bartholomew the Less 24 years treasurer of this hospital Alice Markeby William Markeby St Bartholomew the Less Hugh Easton Launcelot W R Andrews opthalmic surgeon the officer nurses, NCOs and privates of the 1st London General Hospital clerk of works steward of this hospital

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          home   index   map   latest   e-mail   about this site   resources   small print   simonknott.co.uk   norfolkchurches.co.uk   suffolkchurches.co.uk
     
An occasional saunter through the churches of the Square Mile
                               
        An occasional saunter through the churches of the Square Mile

                                 

St Bartholomew the Less