London Sights

St. Mary-le-Bow

  • Cheapside Map It
  • The City
  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Published 08/30/2016

Fodor's Review

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. Opening times can be a little unpredictable, so it's wise to call ahead. Classical music concerts are held here regularly; check the website for listings.

Sight Information


Cheapside, London, EC2V 6AU, England

Map It



Sight Details:

  • Free

Published 08/30/2016


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