St Benet’s Paul’s Wharf (St Benet’s Welsh Church)

The Church of St Benet, sometimes spelt as St Bennet’s, and derived of course from St Benedict’s, is today the City's Welsh Church. It stands just to the side of Queen Victoria Street, towards Upper Thames Street, and is a work of Christopher Wren, replacing a medieval church destroyed in the Fire of London. Some remnants of the walls apparently survive in the core of the current building, which was put up between 1677 and 1685. Wren's mason for this church was Edward Strong.

St Benet Paul's Wharf (St Benet Welsh Church).

St Benet's as we see it today is built of darkened red brick with edges, corners and window surrounds of Portland Stone. From the outside, it is notable for its short square tower, rather stripy, with lead-covered steeple above, and also for its relatively large arched windows. It is rather small, rather square, though this is more noticeable from the inside than the outside. Above each of the windows is a complicated carved festoon of fruits and flowers, 10 in all, similar in overall shape from one to the next, but each with different component vegetation, and replacing close study. On the south side, one of the festoons also contains a chubby cherubic head with wings. At the end of the 19th Century this little church passed to the Welsh Church. Inside, the church is rather cubical, with Corinthian flat pilasters, much by way of brown wood fittings, and galleries to the north and west sides. There are also cherubic heads, gilded, at the tops of the walls. All this is largely unaltered, so that St Benet's looks much as it was intended to look like when it was first built by Wren.

Two of the festoons on St Benet's.

Monuments:

The Pre-Fire Church contained a monument to Chief Justice Sir William Cheyny [Cheney], knight, and his wife Margaret, d.1442, and a variety of monuments from the 16th Century, including Sir Richard Caldwell, d.1585, and of particular interest to these pages, the architect Inigo Jones. d.1652, a white marble monument (the 19th Century monument to him is noted below), as well as two embroiderers to Queen Elizabeth, but none of these survived the 1666 Fire. The monuments which exist today include a variety of mostly modest wall panels dating from 1684 when the church was not yet quite complete, through to the majority which date from the early 19th Century, through to three late 20th Century memorials. The more elaborate panels are generally the earliest.

Also, a panel to Inigo Jones, d.1651, with Latin inscription, a copy from his monument in the medieval St Benet's church, recorded by direction of his descendent, Lieut. Col. Inigo Jones of Kelston, Somerset, d.1878.

Inigo Jones text (click to enlarge).

Also in the Church

Also in St Benet's Church, we may note:

With thanks to the Church authorities for permission to show pictures from inside St Benet's: their website is at http://www.stbenetwelshchurch.org.uk/pages/history1685ENG.html

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West to Victoria Embankment // West and South to Blackfriars Bridge // West and North to St Martin's Ludgate // East to St James Garlickhythe

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