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