Guild Church of St Margaret Pattens, London

We walked from the Temple down to the Thames, had a boat ride to North Greenwich, then crossed the Thames on the cable car. A ride to Canary Wharf and an explore there. Back to the City, and we walked past the Guild Church of St Margaret Pattens is in Rood Lane, just off Eastcheap, with its lead-covered spire reflected in the nearby buildings. The church is dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch. She died in the Diocletian persecutions of the fourth century – I wondered if she is commemorated here because someone returned from the Crusades. The fourth church on this site was destroyed by the Great Fire, and this replacement is by Christopher Wren between 1684-87 (interesting that it was twenty years after the fire before it was rebuilt). It was damaged during WW2 and restored in 1955-6. The tower and spire were built and finished by means of the tax on coal entering the Port of London, and is the only lead-covered spire left.

Entering the church there are two substantial church warden pews, and the Royal Stuart coat of arms, probably that of James II. The organ dates to 1749 and was originally the work of Thomas Griffen Esq. It is still housed in its fine C18 case, and has a Grade 1 Historical Organs Certificate awarded by the British Institute of Organ Studies (hope you’re impressed!). It is a lovely open church, which feels typically Wren, and I love the chandelier.

The windows reflect the two Livery Companies – basket makers are self explanatory, pattens are the wooden undershoes which were made nearby. Both the Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers and the Worshipful Company of Basket Makers have been attached to this church since the C15. The last patten maker in London retired in the C19, there is a display about them in church.

The altar and wooden surroundings are rather nice. The reredos contains a painting by the Italian painter Carlo Maratta (1625-1713) depicting Christ with the ministering angels in Gethsemane.  My photo is lousy, so have a look at the church website to see much better photos (of this and all the other things I missed. Enjoy the virtual tour). I like the top painting of the meal at Emmaus – Luke tells us it was Cleopas and his companion. I have always thought it was Cleopas and Mrs Cleopas – and it looks as if this painter (name not mentioned in the leaflet) agrees with me. Good solid altar rails too.

The font is nice too, but that’s not mentioned in the guide either. I need to go back and have a better explore.



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