Sunday, 1 August 2010

St Alfege’s, Greenwich

St Alfege’s Church was built by Nicholas Hawksmoor in 1711 – 1718 to replace the previous church that had been destroyed by a storm in 1710. It was the christening place of Henry VIII in 1491 and stands on the spot where St Alfege, appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 1005, was murdered by Danish invaders for refusing to pay ransom money that would have saved his life.

The interior of the church was destroyed by German bombing in 1941 during the Blitz and restored in 1952 by Albert Richardson. I’m sure the restoration work is a faithful imitation of the original but the interior feels new and at odd’s with its exterior.

The church has been turned back to front. The east end, where these cherubs stand, slowing being destroyed by the pollution from Greenwich High Road, was originally the front entrance but access to St Alfege's is now from the west.

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