St Andrew Undershaft - The Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks

St Andrew Undershaft

• St Andrew Undershaft is a located at St Mary Axe, in the Aldgate Ward of the City and is now overshadowed by the Lloyds building. It is a rare example of a City church that has managed to escape both the Great Fire in 1666 and the bombing during the Blitz of 1940-1941.

• The first church on the site was built in was recorded in 1147. It was rebuilt in the fourteenth century and again in 1532 when the present church building was constructed. It is in the Perpendicular style with its entrance located at the base of its off-centre tower. The interior is divided into six bays, with a many of the original fittings that have fortunately survived Victorian renovation.

• Formerly, the church had one of London's few surviving large stained-glass windows, installed in the 17th century, but this was destroyed in an IRA bomb attack in 1992.

• The church's curious name derives from the shaft of the maypole that was traditionally set up each year opposite the church. The custom continued each spring until 1517, when student riots put an end to it, but the maypole itself survived until 1647 when a Puritan mob seized it and destroyed it as a "pagan idol".

• The church is currently administered from St Helen’s Bishopsgate and was designated a Grade I listed building on January 4, 1950.

• The organ was installed in 1696 by Renatus Harris. A swell was added in 1750 by John Byfield. There have been other restorations and enhancements in 1810-11 and 1826. The organ is of such historic significance that it has been awarded a Grade I Historic Organ Certificate.

• Hans Holbein the Younger 1497-1543 was a parishioner.

• John Stowe the author of the Survey of London was buried in the church in 1605. The quill pen in the hand of the alabaster monument is renewed every three years.


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