"A wonderful Hawksmoor Church." St. Alfege Church Tip by planxty

St. Alfege Church, Greenwich: 4 reviews and 13 photos

  St. Alfege Church, Greenwich, UK.
by planxty
 
  • St. Alfege Church, Greenwich, UK. - Greenwich
      St. Alfege Church, Greenwich, UK.
    by planxty
  • St. Alfege Church, Greenwich, UK. - Greenwich
      St. Alfege Church, Greenwich, UK.
    by planxty
  • Concert, St. Alfege Church, Greenwich, UK. - Greenwich
      Concert, St. Alfege Church, Greenwich, UK.
    by planxty
  • Memorial, St. Alfege Church, Greenwich, UK. - Greenwich
      Memorial, St. Alfege Church, Greenwich, UK.
    by planxty
  • St. Alfege Church, Greenwich, UK. - Greenwich
      St. Alfege Church, Greenwich, UK.
    by planxty
 

I could not guess how many times I have walked past the Church of St. Alfege in Greenwich and admired it, yet I had never been in it until last week. don't aske me to describe in architectural detail how it does, but it is so evidently the work of Nicholas Hawksmoor, a great architect who studied under Sir Christopher Wren and assisted him on some of his projects including the nearby Naval College. Hawksmoor designed many churches in the East End including Christ Church Spitalfields, St. Geroge in the East, St. Anne's Limehouse and this which some people think is his finest.

Hawksmoor, however, was only one in a series of churchbuilders on this site, as there has been a Christian place of worship on this site since 1012. The site was chosen as it was the site of the martyrdom of St. Alfege, one time Archbishop of Canterbury who was captured by Vikings and murdered here. Several buildings later and including a complete collapse in 1710 we have the magnificent structure you see today.

The place is absolutely loaded with history, so much so it is difficult to know where to begin. King Henry VIII was baptised here, Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal worshipped here, which is probably not surprising given the proximity of the Greenwich Observatory and the Prime Meridian. There is an evident military connection here, as evidenced by the numerous military memorials on the walls. Perhaps the most famous is General Wolfe (of Quebec fame) who is buried here. One of my photos is his memorial which is on the left as you go in the door.

Another interesting thing is that the place is used for musical recitals. On an October midweek lunchtime I was treated to a recital by students from Trinity Laban Chamber Orchestra, led by Steven Devine of a piece by Thomas Arne and two by J.C. Bach featuring not one but two harpsichords. I am not a great fan of classical music but the sound, in this wonderful space, was quite wonderful. Check the website for further concerts.

Whilst many people come to Greenwich for other things like the Maritime Museum and so forth, you sohuld really set aside a little time to see this incredible place.

Address: Greenwich Church Street, SE10.
Directions: Walk up from the river pas the Cutty Sark, go past Creek Road on the right and it is aobut 100 years further on on the right, you will see the tower from a distance.
Phone: +00 44 (0)20 8853 0687
Website: http://st-alfege.org/

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Oct 18, 2011
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