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Tucked away down some little side streets, shaded and sheltered from the view and the hustle and bustle that is London is St Dunstan in the East. This is one of the lanes leading to it and the cross street at the end of this laneway is called St Dunstan’s Hill.
I first came across this little gem of tranquility over ten years ago during a visit to London. Everytime I visit London, I always try to stop by here as it is an amazingly peaceful garden surrounded by an extremely busy part of the city.
The best time to visit is around dusk when all the city workers have departed and there’s hardly anyone about. Take some time to just sit on one of the many benches and listen to the city sigh as night falls.
There is a sign at the entrance from St Dunstan’s Hill that reads as follows:
’*St Dunstan in the East*
A church was first built on the site of this garden in Saxon times. It was restored by St Dunstan in 950AD and then rebuilt in 1697 by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London (1666). Only the tower of the Wren church survives. The garden was laid out following severe damage to the church in the blitz, and opened as a public space in 1967.’
If you live in London or are visiting London then I’d highly recommend visiting St Dunstan’s in the East.
Canon Lens 15-85mm
HDR, 3 images, tonemapped then adjusted further in PS
19 August 2010 Featured in The Male Photographer
8 October 2010 Featured in Reflections in Building Windows
More about St Dunstan’s in the East from Wikipedia below:
The church was built about 1100. It was severely damaged in the Great Fire of London in 1666. Rather than being completely rebuilt, the damaged church was patched up between 1668 and 1671. A steeple, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, was added 30 years later. This was unusual in that Wren designed it in the Gothic style, to match the old church.
By the early 19th century the church was in a very poor state; and it was rebuilt between 1817 and 1821 by David Laing, with assistance by William Tite. Wren’s steeple was retained in the new building.
The church was severely damaged in the Blitz of 1941, during the Second World War. In the re-organisation of the Anglican Church in London following the War it was decided not to rebuild St Dunstan’s, and in 1967 the City of London Corporation decided to turn the ruins of the church into a public garden. This was opened in 1971.
Wren’s tower and steeple survived the bombs intact and now house the All Hallows House Foundation, a registered charity that provides core and complementary health services to those who live or work in the City of London, through its trading arm, The Wren Clinic. Of the rest of the church only the north and south walls remain. A lawn and trees have been planted within the ruins and a low fountain sits in the middle of the nave. The gardens are claimed to be the most beautiful public gardens in the City of London.
The church is now comprised within the parish of All Hallows by the Tower and occasional open-air services are held in the church, such as on Palm Sunday prior to a procession to All Hallows by the Tower along St Dunstan’s Hill and Great Tower Street. The church ruin was designated a Grade I listed building on 4 January 1950.
More about St Dunstan below from Wikipedia:
Dunstan (born 909 — died 19 May 988) was an Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, a Bishop of Worcester, a Bishop of London, and an Archbishop of Canterbury, later canonised as a saint. His work restored monastic life in England and reformed the English Church. His 11th-century biographer, Osbern, himself an artist and scribe, states that Dunstan was skilled in “making a picture and forming letters”, as were other clergy of his age who reached senior rank.
Dunstan served as an important minister of state to several English kings. He was the most popular saint in England for nearly two centuries, having gained fame for the many stories of his greatness, not least among which were those concerning his famed cunning in defeating the Devil.
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