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St Botolph's Aldgate

St Botolph's Aldgate
General information
Architectural style Georgian architecture
Town or city London
Country United Kingdom
Construction started 1115; 16th century; 1741
Completed 1744
Design and construction
Architect George Dance the Elder
St Botolph's Aldgate
St Botolph without Aldgate and Holy Trinity Minories
Denomination Anglican, earlier Roman Catholic
Churchmanship Liberal
Parish St Botolph without Aldgate
Diocese London
Bishop(s) Bishop of London
Rector Laura Burgess
Curate(s) Richenda Leigh, Mark Speeks

St Botolph's Aldgate (St Botolph without Aldgate and Holy Trinity Minories in full, sometimes known simply as Aldgate Church[1]) is a Church of England parish church in London, standing at the junction of Houndsditch and Aldgate High Street in the historic City of London. The current 18th-century church building is made of brick with stone quoins and window casings.[2] The tower is square with an obelisk spire.[3]

The ecclesiastical parish was united with that of the Church of Holy Trinity, Minories, in 1899.


  • Dedication 1
  • Medieval church 2
  • Present church 3
  • Organ 4
  • Notable parishioners 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The church was one of four in medieval London dedicated to St Botolph, a 7th-century East Anglian saint, each of which stood by one of the gates of the London Wall. The others erected were St Botolph's, Billingsgate (destroyed by the Great Fire and not rebuilt); St Botolph's, Aldersgate; and St Botolph's, Bishopsgate.[4]

Medieval church

The earliest known written record of the church dates from 1115,[5] when it was received by the Holy Trinity Priory (recently founded by Matilda, wife of Henry I) but the parochial foundations may very well date from before 1066.[6]

The church was rebuilt in the 16th century[3] at the cost of the priors of the Holy Trinity,[7] and renovated in 1621.[8] It escaped the Great Fire of London, and was described at the beginning of the 18th century as "an old church, built of Brick, Rubble and Stone, rendered over, and ... of the Gothick order".[8] The building, as it stood at that time, was 78 feet long and 53 feet wide. There was a tower, about 100 feet tall, with six bells.[8]

Present church

Ceiling detail
The church interior looking north-west

St Botolph's was completely rebuilt between 1741 and 1744, to a design by

  • Church website
  • Website of Goetze and Gwynn, containing pictures and specification of the organ

External links

  1. ^ Hughson, D.; Higham, T.; Reid, W.H.; Sherwood, Neely, and Jones (1817). Walks Through London,: Including Westminster and the Borough of Southwark, with the Surrounding Suburbs; Describing Every Thing Worthy of Observation in the Public Buildings, Places of Entertainment, Exhibitions, Commercial and Literary Institutions, &c. Down to the Present Period: Forming a Complete Guide to the British Metropolis 1. Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, Paternoster-row; Murray, Albermarle-Street; Clarke, New Bond-Street; Lindsell, Wigmore-Street; Chapple, Pall-Mall; Colnaghi, Cockspur-Street; Walker, Strand; Taylor and Hessey, Fleet-Street; J.M. Richardson, Cornhill; Cowie and Company Poultry; Blackwood, Princes-Street, Edinburgh; Brash and Reid, Glasgow; and M. Keene, and J. Cumming, Dublin. p. 36. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Cobb, G (1942). The Old Churches of London. London: Batsford. 
  3. ^ a b c d Saunders, Ann (1984). The Art and Architecture of London: An Illustrated Guide. Oxford: Phaidon. p. 80. 
  4. ^ Daniell, A.E. (1896). London City Churches. London: Constable. p. 317. 
  5. ^ Hibbert, C.; Weinreb, D.; Keay, J. (2008). The London Encyclopaedia (revised) ed.). London: Pan Macmillan.  
  6. ^ "The City of London Churches" Betjeman, J Andover, Pikin, 1967 ISBN 0-85372-112-2
  7. ^  
  8. ^ a b c  
  9. ^ a b Proposed Demolition of Nineteen City Churches. Odhams Press for London County Council. 1920. p. 20. 
  10. ^ a b c Pearce, Charles William (1909). Notes on Old London City Churches: their organs, organists, and musical associations. London: Vincent Music Company. 
  11. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus; Bradley, Simon (1998). London:the City Churches. New Haven: Yale.  
  12. ^ Tucker, T. (2006). The Visitors Guide to the City of London Churches. London: Friends of the City Churches.  
  13. ^  
  14. ^ Organ restoration press release
  15. ^ Restorers website


Notable parishioners

Donated by Thomas Whiting in 1676, it was built between 1702 to 1704. It was enhanced for the new church (the current building) by Harris' son-in-law, John Byfield, in 1740. The organ was considerably enlarged several times in the 19th century and again rebuilt by Welbeck, Nottinghamshire. The instrument was reinstalled in May 2006.

The organ by The Elusive English Organ.


The church was designated a Grade I listed building on 4 January 1950.[13]

St Botolph's was often referred to as the "Church of Prostitutes" in the late Victorian period. The church is sited on an island surrounded by roadways and it was usual in these times to be suspicious of women standing on street corners. They were easy targets for the police, and to escape arrest the prostitutes would parade around the island, now occupied by the church and Aldgate tube station.

The interior was redecorated by John Francis Bentley, the architect of Westminster Cathedral in the late 19th century.[11] The church was severely bombed at intervals during the Blitz in the Second World War and then, after its restoration by Rodney Tatchell, was much damaged by an unexplained fire in 1965, necessitating further restoration.[12] St Botolph's was rehallowed on 8 November 1966 by the Bishop of London, in the presence of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and Sir Robert Bellinger, the Lord Mayor of London, who attended in state.[3]

[10] The monuments from the old building were preserved, and reinstalled in the new church.[9] supporting a flat ceiling. There are galleries along three sides. The church is lit by two rows of windows in each side wall, one above and one below the gallery.[10] The interior of the building is divided into nave and aisles by four widely-spaced piers[9] The exterior is of brick with projecting quoins, stone windows surrounds and a stone cornice. The tower, also of brick, has rusticated quoins, and a stone spire.[3]

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