My son took us around London on December 19, 2015. I chose the Parish and Ward Church of St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate, London for this post for this week’s Norm’s Thursday’s Doors.
History (source: http://www.botolph.org.uk):
St Botolph’s is thought to be a Christian site since Roman times. The original Saxon church foundations were discovered when the present church was erected, and is first mentioned as “Sancti Botolfi Extra Bishopesgate” in 1212. The church survived the Great Fire of London in 1666. St. Botolph’s, the fourth on this site, was completed in 1729, designed by James Gould. It is unique among the City churches in having its tower at the East End, with the chancel underneath. The font, pulpit and organ are eighteenth century.
1992 and 1993 St. Botolph’s was one of the many buildings to be damaged by IRA bombings. Restoration was completed in 1997. St Botolph’s was the first of the City burial grounds to be converted into a public garden. The transformation caused much opposition.
Botolph (died 680AD) and his brother Adolph were 7th century Saxon nobles. They were sent to a Benedictine Abbey in France for education. Adolph rose to be a Dutch Bishop, and Botolph returned to his native East Anglia. King Anna gave him a grant of land to build a monastery, either at Icanhoh (in a marshland area) near Boston (Botolph’s Town) in Lincolnshire, or Iken near Aldeburgh in Suffolk. Botolph was said to have expelled the swamps of their “Devils.” He probably drained the marshes and eliminated the marsh gas with its night glow.
The monastery was destroyed by Danish invaders in 870AD. King Edgar (963-967AD) had the remains of the saint divided into three parts: the head to be taken to Ely, the middle to be taken to Thorney, and the remainder to be taken to Westminster Abbey. The relics were brought, via various towns, to London. Over 70 Churches, along with are five towns and villages, are dedicated to him. The churches at the entrances to the four City gates of Aldersgate, Bishopsgate, Aldgate and Billingsgate were named after him. The one at Billingsgate was destroyed in the Great Fire (1666) and never rebuilt. As his relics traveled from place to place, his name became associated with wayfarers and travelers.