The history is written on a plaque
behind the font. Society becomes
more secular with time and parishes
amalgamate while churches disappear.
St Mary Aldermary swallowed up
St Thomas the Apostle following
The Fire. Then, in the eighteen seventies,
the dwindling congregations of St John
the Baptist and St Antholin began
to worship at St Mary's, while the land,
on which their now redundant churches stood,
was sold or rented out for profit which
enriched St Mary's and paid for church-building
in the suburbs where their flocks had moved.
St Antholin had been by Wren - there is
a picture of it on the wall outside -
and as a Wren church had a unique spire,
another octagon in fact, a slender
pyramid in Portland stone which now
is in a cul-de-sac in Forest Hill
or just the upper third of it at least.
St Antholin's church warden bought it for
five pounds before the demolition team
moved in and re-erected it in S.E.
twenty-six. He had a mansion there
with lots of space. His name was Robert Harrild
and he'd made a pile from printing
for the Fleet Street press. To keep a spire
by Wren is to preserve that feature which
distinguishes one Wren church from another.
St Antholin was otherwise destroyed,
although St Anthony's in nunhead S.E.
fifteen was created from the funds.
That's now a noisy Pentecostal church.
The St Antholin Lecture meanwhile is
a yearly discourse about Puritan
theology delivered in St Mary's.
The first took place in fifteen fifty-nine.