As the most populous metropolis in the west until well into the twentieth century, and as capital of a nation notorious for its multitudinous shades of churchmanship, it is not surprising that London possesses the largest number of churches, and the greatest variety of ecclesiastical architecture to be found in any single city. Subjectivity must play a role in selecting these seven, as do logistics, but it is fair to claim that they are among the best of their kind. This is an extraordinarily fascinating day, enriching aesthetically, historically and spiritually.
There are two medieval buildings, the decorated Gothic of St Etheldreda’s Ely Place and the Knights Templars’ church. Wren’s ingenious domed church of St Stephen Walbrook, the faultless St Mary-le-Strand by Gibbs and St Mary Woolnoth by Hawksmoor are outstanding examples of the classical phase of architecture – as is the Bevis Marks Synagogue of 1699, one of the City’s little-known treasures. Butterfield’s All Saints Margaret Street is a seminal masterpiece of the Gothic Revival, of which the sublimely lovely St Cyprian’s, Clarence Gate, by Sir John Ninian Comper, is one of the last great examples.
The speaker concentrates on the essentials, highlighting what is distinctive and significant about the architecture and decoration and pointing out only the most distinguished artworks and furnishings. Time at each building does not allow for detail that is of merely local interest. Thus the day provides immersion in the beauty of greater things.
9.15am, St-Bartholomew-the-Great in the City (tube station: Barbican).
c. 5.45pm, Baker Street Station.
£210. This includes lunch (at Middle Temple Hall, the finest Elizabethan interior in London), refreshments, one admission charge and a donation to each church.
Travel is by a combination of tube and taxi journeys and there is quite a lot of walking.
Maximum 18 participants.
We will return the full amount if you notify us 22 or more days before the event. We will retain 50% if cancellation is made within three weeks and 100% if within three days. Please put your cancellation in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. We advise taking out insurance in case of cancellation and recommend that overseas clients are also covered for possible medical and repatriation costs.
'A very interesting selection was covered. The lecturer was very knowledgable and assessed shrewdly his audience. The tour manager was both competent and charming.'
'I thought it was a marvellous day and I cannot wait for the next Martin Randall Day. The itinerary was very well planned and seamlessly accomplished.'
'We had enough time in each place to take in the differences of each venue. Enviably articulate and knowledgeable leader, who made our day most enjoyable. Thank you.'
'An excellent way of discovering different styles of church architecture and having points of interest explained by an enthusiastic expert.'