Various versions of this church have stood on the site since the 11th century. In 1284 a local goldsmith took refuge here after committing a murder, only to be killed inside by enraged relatives of his victim. The church was abandoned for a time afterward, but was rebuilt as its current form by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire. This 1673 incarnation has a tall steeple (in The City, only St. Bride's is taller) and one of the most famous sets of bells in England—technically, a Londoner must be born within the sound of the "Bow Bells" to be a true Cockney. The origin of that idea may have been the curfew rung on the bells during the 14th century. The Bow takes its name from the bow-shaped arches in the Norman crypt. The church was rebuilt again after severe bomb damage in World War II. The garden contains a statue of local boy Captain John Smith, who founded Virginia in 1606 and was later captured by Native Americans.
Apr 6, 2008
The rather modern interior is thoroughly bland and uninteresting. The outside is the only thing remotely worth a look, and that not so much either. With so many worthwhile things to see in London, it's just not worth the visit.