Friday, February 18, 2022

St Pancras Old Church

 

London The Unfinished City
St Pancras Old Church

Wednesday February 16, 2022.

It was an unseasonably warm morning as Keilyn and I headed to London, for a wander long the Regent's Canal from St John's Wood to King's Cross.

London The Unfinished City
Altar

Towards the end of our journey, as a slight drizzle could be felt on the breeze, we visited St Pancras Old Church where we also saw the Hardy Tree and the Sir John Soane Mausoleum.

Monument removed from the Old Chapel, Highgate.

Fortunately for us the church was open, so we stepped inside this historic building and had a good look around. Before we left we made a small donation for some votive candles, lit them and then continued on our journey.

London The Unfinished City
Sir John Soane Mausoleum

Brief History

St Pancras Old Church stands on one of Europe's most ancient sites of Christian worship, possibly dating back to the early 4th Century. The present building has been here since the 11th or 12th Century and is situated close to the River Fleet, which was culverted in the 19th Century.

The church has stood here through good times and bad: it was ruinous in the 13th Century, rebuilt in the 14th Century, half abandoned in the 16th Century, restored in the 17th Century and again substantially rebuilt in the mid 19th Century, when the 13th Century West Tower was dismantled and the new bell tower added.

During the Civil War the church was used as a barracks and stable for Cromwell's troops. Before the troops arrived, the Church's treasures were buried for their protection and then lost, only to be rediscovered during restoration work in the early 19th Century. A 6th Century altar stone was among the items discovered. Legend has it that the stone belonged to St. Augustine of Canterbury. Little remains of the original medieval church, but in the north wall of the Nave there is an exposed section of Norman masonry.

St Pancras Old Church continues to function as the Anglican Parish Church for this part of London.

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