All Hallows Berkyngechurch

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The Saxon Abbey of Barking founded the church of All Hallows by the Tower in 675 AD. In the 1291 taxatio it was listed as Omn Sior de Berkyng. An arch from the original Saxon church remains. Beneath the arch is a Roman pavement, discovered in 1926, providing evidence of city life on this site for the best part of two thousand years. 

Following their execution on Tower Hill, numerous beheaded bodies were brought into the church including those of Thomas More, Bishop John Fisher and Archbishop Laud.  

William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, was baptised in the church and educated in the schoolroom (now the Parish Room). In 1666 the Great Fire of London started in Pudding Lane, a few hundred yards from the church. All Hallows only survived through the efforts of Samuel Pepys and Admiral Penn, William Penn's father.

John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the USA, was married in All Hallows in 1797, as was the infamous Judge Jeffreys.

In 1940 the church was bombed and only the tower and the walls remained. However, the late Queen Mother laid a new foundation stone in 1948 and attended the re-dedication service some nine years later. The Vicar at the time was "Tubby" Clayton, founder of Toc H. The movement's lamp of maintenance still burns in the Lady Chapel and the founder's effigy and body rest in the church.

Each year one of the most quirky of the historic City ceremonies takes place in the church. The Lord Mayor is presented with a single rose in the Knollys Rose Ceremony. This commemorates an event in 1381 when Sir Robert Knollys was ordered to pay the fine of one red rose for the offence, attributed to his wife, of building a bridge between two of his properties in Seething Lane.


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