Great St. Barts (1) by Aremay

Great St. Barts (1)


21 January 2014 at 06:34:10 MST

Great St Bartholomew's (St Barts) is a remarkable survivor of a church. It comprises the transepts, choir and lady chapel of a Norman monastery, together with fragments of the cloister, and is located deep inside London, between the Smithfield markets and St Bart's hospital. Through various trials it has lost its nave, east end, outbuildings and monks; the rounded east end visible here is a later Victorian insertion. Later generations built houses up against the outside of what remained of the church. Yet it persists, and today hosts a proud musical tradition as well as being the set for films and television dramas.

This is a view from the organ loft down the former choir of the monastery church. That the building is Norman is in little doubt - thick set pillars and rounded arches betray that much. To the right you can see the oriel window inserted in the triforium, where the abbot of the monastery would have sat. Left of the altar is the tomb of the founder of the monastery. You may well have seen this space before - it has served as John of Gaunt's palace in the BBC's production of Richard II in 2012, for example. It is a remarkable survivor, and well worth a visit on any trip to London.

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