london panoramic cityscape
All Hallows-by-the-TowerLondon
Byward Street
London EC3R 5BJ
TfL Fare Zone 1
 
    
Not many visitors know about this interesting City church. It is very close to The Tower of London (just behind the Tower Ticket Offices). The church is much older than the Tower of London and has a fascinating history.
 
Many famous people such as William Penn, John Quincy Adams, Dr Albert Schweitzer and ‘Tubby Clayton’ are associated with this church.
 
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The church was bombed during World War II but the 15th century walls and tower survived and restoration was carried out within these walls.
 
History
In 675 AD All Hallows Barking abbey church was built. The 7th century Saxon arch incorporated into the west wall is part of this abbey church.
 
Occupation of the site goes back even further. In the crypt are excellent remains of a Roman mosaic floor and many other ancient artifacts.
 
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Maritime Connections - Beautiful Models
From the moment the visitor enters the church they are struck by the church’s obvious maritime connections.
 
In the south aisle are the most beautifully constructed models of ships – hanging from the arches, sitting on window ledges, and attached to walls. The collection is unique and the models are tangible ‘thanks’ for safe voyages and successful cargoes.
 
Hanging above the gallery door is the oldest model, Christopher Columbus’s "Santa Maria", and next to her Nelson’s "Victory". In a glass case beside the stairs is a modern model of the "MV Royal Daffodil", well known as one of the ‘little ships’ involved in the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk in 1940.
 
Church Treasures
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The church is a treasure trove of medieval memorial brasses, 14th and 15th century wooden statues, a glorious wooden font cover carved by Grinling Gibbons in 1682 and a Mariners’ Chapel with a crucifix made of wood from the Cutty Sark Sailing Clipper with an ivory Christ said to have come from the flagship of the Spanish Armada.
 
Amongst the most treasured possessions of the church are its memorial brasses. There are 17, mainly in the floors of the Sanctuary and the Lady Chapel.
 
Memorial Brasses
One of the most interesting brasses is the Resurrection Brass on the north side of the Sanctuary. It shows Christ stepping from the tomb with the resurrection banner. The soldiers' armour and swords, shown as scimitars, indicate that the brass could show Middle Eastern influence. The brass is all that remains of a set of 5 thought to be dated 1500.
 
Great Fire of London
The church’s connection with the Merchant and Royal Navy saved it from being burnt to the ground during the Great Fire of London in 1666. Parishioner, Admiral Penn, ordered the blowing up of houses nearby to create the necessary fire brake. We know so much about the Great Fire thanks to Samuel Pepys who climbed All Hallows tower to record his contemporary accounts of the devastating fire.
 
Traitors
A more gruesome fact about the church is that it was the temporary resting place for the beheaded bodies of ‘traitors’ who had been executed on Tower Hill.
 
American Connection - William Penn & John Quincy Adams
More happily William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania was baptised in the church in 1644 and was a regular attendee until he disagreed with the established church and became a Quaker.
 
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John Quincy Adams, the 6th President of the USA was married in the church in 1797. Dr Albert Schweitzer recorded his world famous Bach recitals on the organ at the church, and former vicar, ‘Tubby Clayton’, founder of the humanitarian Christian Service Club Toc H, is buried in the church.
 
Virtual Tour
The Church’s website has an excellent Virtual Tour. Web:  All Hallows-by-the-Tower Virtual Tour
 
Plan Your Visit
Church Opening Hours & Admission Costs
Every day, all day. Services are held each day and visitors are requested to wait until a service is over before wandering around the church.
There are generally no services on Saturdays.
Admission is free but donations are always welcome.
 
Summer Guided Tours
Between April & October: Available most weekdays from 14:00 – 16:00 hours.
Tours are free and last 20 minutes.  Web:  Guided Tours
 
Disabled Access
The body of the church is accessible. The Undercroft Museum is not disabled accessible. For full details, please contact the Church by either telephone or email.
 
Contact & Further Information
Telephone  +44 (0)2074 812 928
Mail  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Getting There
To find the best way for getting to All Hallows-by-the-Tower, visit TfL Journey Planner.
 
- By Underground
Tower Hill Station         District & Circle Lines. Exit on to Tower Hill and turn right, passing Trinity Square on your right. Tower Hill becomes Byward Street and All Hallows-by-the-Tower church is on the left side of Byward Street.
 
- By Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
Tower Gateway Station 
 
- By Bus
Routes Nos. 15, 42, 78, 100, RV1, N15
We suggest that you use the Transport for London 'Journey Planner'.
 
- By Thames River Boat
Alight at Tower Pier. Walk up Byward Street to the church on the right hand side.
 
Google Maps - All-Hallows-by-the-Tower