EC3 London

Churches and Synagogues in EC3

There are twelve churches, one synagogue and two church towers in EC3.

Also see: History of religous Orders in EC3


St Andrew Undershaft
St Andrew Undershaft

Situated in St Mary Axe, this little church stands next to the Cheesegrater (Leadenhall Building) and across the road from Lloyd’s of London and the Scalpel (52-54 Lime Street).

There has been a church on this site since the 12th century and the current building dates to the early 16th century. The church survived the Great Fire of London and the Blitz of World War 2.

It suffered some damage from the IRA bomb at the nearby Baltic Exchange in 1992.

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All Hallows by the Tower
All Hallows by the Tower

The first church on this site in Byward Street was founded in 675AD. The church was extended in the 15th century and survived the Great Fire of London.

It originally stood on the corner of Seething Lane and Tower Street until the construction of Byward Street at the end of the 19th century. In December 1940 the church was bombed twice and the second time the church was set alight leaving only the outer walls and the crypt.

During the Roman period there was a building on the site and in the 1920s workmen discovered the original tessellated floor tiles from the 2nd or 3rd century. The church has a rich and fascinating history.

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St Botolph Without Aldgate
St Botoiph Without Aldgate

Once encircled by traffic, this church on Aldgate High Street has benefited from the creation of Aldgate Square in 2017 which created a traffic free public space on the west side of the church.

At the same time the area in front of the church was improved as was the churchyard garden. 

It’s believed there has been a church on this site since Saxon times. The current building dates to the 1740s and was designed by George Dance the Elder. 

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St Clement Eastcheap
St Clement Eastcheap

Located in Clements Lane off Lombard Street, this church is tucked away and its name suggests it’s sited on or off Eastcheap.

Until the 1830s Clements Lane joined Great Eastcheap but with the construction of King William Street, Great Eastcheap became part of Cannon Street.

The has been a church on the site since the 12th century. The church was destroyed in the Great Fire of London and rebuilt by Christopher Wren and underwent further restoration in the 19th and 20th centuries.

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St Helen’s Bishopsgate
St Helen's Bishopsgate

Located in Great St Helen’s, a courtyard off Bishopsgate and close to the Gherkin. 

There has possibly been a church on the site since the 11th century and certainly since the 12th century.

In the 13th century a Benedictine nunnery was built alongside the church. The church lay north of the area affected by the Great Fire of London but was fortunate to survive the bombing of World War 2.

However, it was damaged by the IRA bomb that went off at the nearby Baltic Exchange in 1992. 

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St Katherine Cree
St Katherine Cree

On the corner of Leadenhall Street and Creechurch Lane the first church on the site in the 13th century was built in the grounds of the Holy Trinity Priory.

The current church was built in the early 17th century and was undamaged by the Great Fire of London.

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St Magnus the Martyr
St Magnus the Martyr

Situated on Lower Thames Street between London Bridge and the old Billingsgate fish market there has been a church on this riverside site since the 12th century.

The 17th century church stood less than 300 yards from the bakery in Pudding Lane where the Great Fire of London started and was one of the first buildings to be destroyed by the fire. It was rebuilt in the 1670s.

In World War 2 the church suffered some bomb damage but was repaired after the war.

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St Margaret Pattens
St Margaret Pattens

There has been a church on this site in Rood Lane, Eastcheap since the 12th century.

Destroyed by the Great Fire of London the church was rebuilt by Christopher Wren and has an impressive spire.

It suffered from some bomb damage during World War 2 but was restored in the 1950s.

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St Mary at Hill
St Mary at Hill

Situated in Lovat Lane, off Eastcheap the church dates back to the 11th century.

Lovat Lane is a very narrow lane leading towards the river and walking down it provides a helpful reminder of how narrow the streets were in the medieval city.

St Mary at Hill was severely damaged by the Great Fire of London and rebuilt by Christopher Wren. Restored during the 18th and 19th centuries it suffered from a fire in the 1980's and was restored yet again.

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St Michael Cornhill
St Michael Cornhill

Set back in St Michael’s Alley, off Cornhill the church building is largely Victorian although there has been a church on the site since the mid-11th century.

In Roman Londinium the site was occupied by the northwestern corner of the Roman Basilica. There is a garden behind the church accessible from St Michael’s Alley.

Outside, by the entrance to the church, is a memorial to the 170 men from the parish who died in World War 1.

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St Olave
St Olave

Located on the corner of Hart Street and Seething Lane, this church has a charming, enclosed garden, a 15th century crypt and is the burial site of diarist Samuel Pepys and his wife Elizabeth.

Above the churchyard gates in Seething Lane are a row of rather grisly skulls and bones which apparently led Charles Dickens to use this church as the church of St Ghastly Grim in his book The Uncommercial Traveller.

The church was one of very few in the City of London to survive the Great Fire of London in 1666 but suffered badly in 1941 from bombing during the blitz. The tower and the arches survived, and the church was restored in the 1950s.

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St Peter Cornhill
St Peter Cornhill

Located in St Peter’s Alley, this church was first mentioned in the 12th century although it is believed there was a church on the site in much earlier.

It was destroyed in the Great Fire of London and rebuilt by Christopher Wren and survived the bombing during World War 2. The east façade, on Gracechurch Street is particularly impressive, one of Wren’s grander designs for its most visible façade.

The steeple and south façade can best be viewed from St Peter’s Alley. The church isn’t usually open to the public.

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Bevis Marks Synagogue
Bevis Marks

This is Britain’s oldest surviving synagogue built between 1699-1701 by a Quaker Joseph Avis.

After the expulsion of the Jews in 1290 by Edward 1 it was another 300 years before Oliver Cromwell readmitted Jews into England.

Initially, a house in nearby Creechurch Lane was converted into a synagogue in 1657 before the building of a new synagogue off Bevis Marks.

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Surviving Church Towers

All Hallows Staining
All Hallows Staining

A surviving church tower standing in Mark Lane next to the Clothworker’s Hall. 

The tower dates back to the early 16th century, so a survivor of the Great Fire of London and World War 2 bombing.

With the exception of the tower, the church was demolished in the 1870s.

Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth 1) was imprisoned in the Tower of London, by her sister Mary for two months in 1554. 

Following her release the Princess stopped at All Hallows Staining for a service of thanksgiving. 

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St Dunstan in The East
St Dunstan in the East

The original church was built here on St Dunstan’s Hill at the beginning of the 12th century. Damaged by the Great Fire of London it was rebuilt by Christopher Wren.

Bombing during World War 2 only left Wren’s Gothic tower and steeple and the 19th century north and south external walls. The church was not rebuilt but instead is the site of a peaceful and hidden away garden with seating visited by office workers and visitors.

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