St Alphage London Wall: Church Ruins In The Middle Of Moorgate

In the middle of a sleek new office block lies something far older. Now the hoardings have come down, the public can explore the ruins of St Alphage London Wall.

St Alphage London Wall

Originally it was wedged right into the Roman London Wall, hence the name. Today, though parts of the old wall can be found nearby, it’s only the street name that reminds us.

History of St Alphage London Wall

The earliest mention of a church here goes back to the 1100s but was closed by act of Parliament in in the late 1500s.

St Alphage London Wall

It was one of many other monastic organisations in Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. Previously they had a large garden connected to the church but after some years as a carpenter’s yard this was laid out as a public garden in 1837 because laws prevented anyone from building on consecrated ground.

St Alphage London Wall

There was a major renovation to the actual church buildings in the 1770s, when the 12th century priory was rebuilt with a larger tower and the walls we can see are the base of that tower.

The tower survived when the nave was demolished in 1923 and then the whole area was decimated by bombing during both world wars.

St Alphage London Wall

Today only the base of that tower remains, dating from the 14th century.

In a twist of fate, bombing uncovered the remains of the Roman wall behind the church, previously hidden by more recent buildings.

Unusual City Churches

Post-war planning

For years these ruins were placed awkwardly in the middle of a post-world war two office complex, with pedestrian access cut off at ground level.

St Alphage London Wall

In the 1960s developers had grand plans that everyone would walk through the city on pedestrians walkways, above traffic level. But these were never popular; pedestrians disliking the inconvenience of alighting from a bus, only to then walk out of their way upstairs rather than continue on a pavement.

St Alphage London Wall

The new development tries to have the best of both world, making the ground level access more pedestrian-friendly, as well as including a beautifully curved walkway above.

St Alphage London Wall

Directly behind the church ruins, a new hall for the Salters’ Livery Company was built in 1976. Today the gardens are part of that hall, but open to the public.

St Alphage London Wall

The gardens and ruins are free to have a wander around, below is a map to find it in Moorgate.

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  • Hi Katie

    I am doing some research for an architecture walk and came across your piece. I am trying to find out more about who is living in the St Alban Tower.

    Well done for getting near the top of the search engine sites.

    May 4, 2020 at 6:56 pm

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