St. James Garlickhithe

Sir Christopher Wren
1674-87; tower: 1714-17

A medieval church had been here, destroyed by the Great Fire. The name apparently derives from the fact that garlic had been sold in the area. The church's dedication to St. James of Compostela is evident in the use of his symbol,the cockleshell, a motif in woodwork in the interior and in the pediment above the portal. The church is five bays long with a forty foot high ceiling--the highest in the City (with the exception for St. Paul's Cathedral). The spire, particularly in the use of paired columns, has parallels with the west towers of St. Paul's Cathedral. The tower, faced with Portland stone, is square through 3 stories and finished with a graceful balustrade with urns at the corners.
Then the steeple progresses in three stages, all square and progressively smaller; the first two stages have pairs of columns set diagonally at the corners. The small dome at the top has a weather vane.

The lower portions of the tower

Note the cockleshell on the pediment above the door, a reference to St. James of Compostela.

See Index for additional works by Wren.

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© 2003 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

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