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Our History


In 1631, Inigo Jones was commissioned by the 14th Earl of Bedford to design a square, surrounded by mansions, a church and four streets. Work on the church began in 1631, and was completed in 1633, at a cost of £4,000. The church was consecrated in 1638, and dedicated to St Paul.

People often ask why the great east door onto the piazza doesn’t open. Inigo Jones’ original intention was that this should be the main entrance with the Altar at the West End of the church. However, this went against Christian tradition where the Altar is normally placed at the east end. At the last moment therefore, the Altar was placed at the East end and Portico door is in fact a fake!

The Painter JMW Turner and WS Gilbert (of Gilbert & Sullivan fame), and Thomas Arne (the composer of Rule Brittania) are amongst the many famous people baptised at St Paul’s.
Among those buried at St Paul’s are Samuel Butler and the woodcarver Ginling Gibbons as was the first victim of the Great Plague of London - Margaret Porteous on 12th April 1665.
Burials ceased in the 1850’s, when all burials in central London churches were closed by Act of Parliament. At that point, the headstones were removed, and the gardens laid out as you see them today.

In 1788, Thomas Hardwick began a major restoration but in 1795 there was a terrible fire which destroyed much of the original structure. The Parish records were saved as was the pulpit, the work of Grinling Gibbons or one of his pupils and the church was restored largely to Jones’ original design. Further changes were undertaken by Butterfield in 1872.

The Church and the Theatre


St Paul's connection with acting and the theatre industry dates back to the 17th century.

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Rectors of St Paul's


The Rector of St Paul is the clergy member with responsibility for the church and parish. The current Rector is The Reverend Simon Grigg. Click below for the history of the Rectors of St Paul's.

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Memorial Plaques list


Our walls are lined with memorial plaques for theatrical folk and parishioners from the famous to the humble.

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Phone: 1225 6387 020

Email: gro.hcruhcsrotca@ofni

St Pauls Church
Bedford Street
London
WC2E 9ED

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