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Description: Tower of Former Church of St Augustine
Date Listed: 4 January 1950
English Heritage Building ID: 199745
OS Grid Reference: TQ3215081110
OS Grid Coordinates: 532150, 181110
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5135, -0.0970
627/9/214 ST PAUL'S CHURCHYARD EC4
04-JAN-50 TOWER OF FORMER CHURCH OF ST AUGUSTINE
(Formerly listed as:
WATLING STREET (OLD CHANGE)
REMAINS OF CHURCH OF ST AUGUSTINE)
Church tower rebuilt 1680-4 and completed in 1695-6, by Christopher Wren with a spire designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor; church body destroyed in 1941 and spire of 1830 reconstructed by Paul Paget of Seely and Paget, 1966. Square plan.
EXTERIOR: Portland stone tower in three stages with oculus at second stage and rectangular belfry apertures at the third stage, this capped with a cornice, a lacy Baroque pierced parapet and corner pinnacles of Baroque obelisks. Rising behind this is the lead spire, restored in 1967 to Hawksmoor's original design, and featuring curved brackets rising to an open stage with urns and the distinctive elongated onion dome. To the south is a pedimented door, and to the east, exposed rubble walling and quoins at lower stage.
Attached to the north is the Grade II* St Paul's Cathedral Choir School (q.v.) of 1962-7 by the Architects' Co-partnership.
INTERIOR: Stages of the tower include a full height open well stair cases that serves as a fire escape for the attached school. Ladder stair into spire not inspected.
HISTORY: The church had been rebuilt 1680-4 following the Great Fire of 1666, and the tower was completed in 1695-6 with a tall leaded spire that was modified in 1830. However, the body and spire were destroyed in 1941 bombing and a 1953 photograph shows all that remained standing were the bottom two stages of the tower with its four Baroque obelisk finials. In 1966, the spire was reconstructed according to its original design by Paul Paget of Seely and Paget. Drawings survive in the hand of Nicholas Hawksmoor to show that he designed the original spire, with its brackets rising to an open stage with urns and the distinctive elongated onion dome. His drawing c.1695, however, shows the onion dome as an elongated pineapple with the crown serving as an extra finial. This design, but with the onion, not the pineapple, is largely what we see today, although it is an immaculate post-war reconstruction.
The adjacent school was built in 1962-67 and the brief dictated that the new building should incorporate the restored spire of St Augustine and that no part of the school would be higher than its cornice.
Simon Bradley and Nikolaus Pevsner. The Buildings of England. London: The City Churches. Yale University Press, 1998. p.61.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: A 1695-6 Wren tower with post-war restored Hawksmoor spire that forms an ensemble of outstanding special interest. It is one the more admired City church spires with its spire culminating in the distinctive elongated onion dome. It has particularly strong group value being the closest of the City Churches to Wren's Cathedral. Although the most characteristic feature is post-war in date, and the church body is now lost, it remains a special landmark tower, both for its original design and for its strong relationship with St Paul's.
Listing NGR: TQ3215081110
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.