Skeletons in the Closet: St Brides Church

SKELETONS! Skeletons in lead coffins; skeletons carefully packed in cardboard boxes; great piles of skeletons in sealed vaults; skeletons EVERYWHERE!

It’s the beautiful, mind-boggling, hair-raising St Bride’s Church. Read on…. If you DARE

In 1650, a poor coach driver named Tom Cox was heading home down Water Lane when he saw a tall, darkly dressed gent hailing him from the gutter. Deciding to accept one last fare for the night he picked-up the mysterious stranger who wished to be taken to St Bride’s Churchyard.
After a short, difficult journey where the horses kept on shying and rearing up in panic, he turned back to the passenger to ask if he had an animal with him, or if he might be carrying the scent of something that might upset the horses. There in the churchyard the man began to transform, growing to over twice the height of any person. Foul matted fur burst from his skin and his teeth elongated into jagged fangs. Finally a bear-like demon with eyes of fire bore down on Tom Cox; who spurred by primal fear, lashed out at the creature with his whip. The beast roared diabolically and vanished in a burst of flame.

Whatever the reason for this visitation, there is no question that the site of St Bride’s is brimming with spiritual energy. There has been a holy place on this site for 2000 years and the current church incorporates a Roman footpath, a Saxon undercroft, a medieval chapel, Christopher Wren’s tallest spire (the inspiration for the classic tiered wedding cake!) and – following incendiary bombing in the Blitz – a tasteful 1950′s restoration.

Most compelling of all however are the SKELETONS of St Bride’s! Preserved from parishioners of the church’s various incarnations over the centuries; these bones are painstakingly boxed and catalogued in St Bride’s ossuary. Because the church traditionally buried its dead in lead coffins clearly labelling the name, date and cause of death, this collection is a resource to archaeologists and medical students alike.
Just as striking is the adjoining charnel house where ancient parishioners are interred as piles of skulls and long-bones.

Today it stands proudly off Fleet Street as ‘The Journalist’s Church’. Boasting worshippers as diverse as King Henry VIII, Samuel Pepys, Benjamin Franklin and Rupert Murdoch; St Bride’s continues to make incredible history – and fantastic cakes!


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