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 Margaret Pattens                                          
          Domine Dirige Nos                                    
         
I have a fondness for this little church, which sits pleasingly on the north side of Great Tower Street. The paved area in front gives it rather a provincial air, as if we were in the main shopping street of Norwich or York, and the building itself similarly has no airs and graces. Here, where London bends towards the grim old tower, Wren turned disciplinarian and built one of the simplest, starkest patterns of his career opined Wayland Young in an uncharacteristically purple passage. Yes, it is plain, and the interior is plain too, a simple box-like nave with a north aisle beyond. Plain glass, plain benches, a plain wooded sanctuary - even the reredos is understated. And yet there is a pleasing harmony here. I thought the church well-chosen by the tramp snoring away on one of the back benches - there were no discordant excitements here to keep him awake!

But there is plenty to interest, too. At the back are the churchwardens pews for St Margaret Pattens and St Gabriel Fenchurch, and these are the only surviving examples in the City. The beadle's pew survives too, and there are hat pegs for gentlemen, and perhaps all in all no other City church still has the calm and simplicity of 18th Century London life before the Victorian storm began. Mind you, those 18th Century gentlemen might have raised an eyebrow at the succession of young women carryng large exercise balls up the north aisle on their way to a pilates class in the north gallery, now a conference room.

A patten is a kind of wooden shoe, and a window of 2000 commemorates the Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers. But in fact the dedication was probably not a reference to pattenmakers at all, but to Ranulf Peyton, a Canon of St Pauls who owned the land in this parish.

Simon Knott, December 2015


location: Great Tower Street 4/038
status: guild church
access: open Monday to Friday

St Mary at Hill and St Margaret Pattens St Margaret Pattens St Margaret Pattens St Margaret Pattens St Margaret Pattens St Margaret Pattens St Margaret Pattens St Margaret Pattens St Margaret Pattens St Margaret Pattens St Margaret Pattens St Margaret Pattens royal arms mace rest Worshipful Comany of Pattenmakers

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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