All Hallows by the Tower

Church in The City

The oldest church in the City, All Hallows (meaning 'all saints') has been a place of worship since AD 675. Those executed at Tower Hill would often be buried here temporarily, including Thomas More (beheaded in 1535). It was virtually unscathed by the Great Fire (Samuel Pepys watched it briefly from the church tower), while destruction by German bombs in 1940 revealed the Saxon archway at the west end of the nave. Don’t miss the 2nd-century Roman tile pavement in the undercroft (crypt).

The pulpit was taken from a Wren church on Cannon St that was destroyed in WWII and the beautiful 17th-century font cover by the south door was decorated by master woodcarver Grinling Gibbons.

The church, which has a decent cafe, also has two strong American connections: William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, was baptised here in 1644 and schooled in the Parish Room, and John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the USA, married here in 1797.

Free 20-minute tours are available between 2pm and 4pm most weekdays from April to October. Services begin daily at 8am; arrive from 10am so not to make an entrance.