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4. LONDON Smithfield Meat Market and the Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great (St Barts!)

 

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One of the entrances to the huge Smithfield meat market - Scenes of London Town and City, England

One of the entrances to the huge Smithfield meat market seen from near the entrance to the great church of St Bartholomew-the-Great.

 

The entrance to the church of St Bartholomew-the-Great - Scenes of the Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great in London Town and City, England

The entrance to the church of St Bartholomew-the-Great, one of London's oldest churches founded by Rahere, an Augustinian monk and a former member of the Court of Henry I, in 1123. The tower is 17th century, but the porch dates from the early 13th century. In its hey day it was the largest priory-Monastery in London.

 

The nave and transept (built at the end of the 12th century) - Scenes of the Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great in London Town and City, England 

The choir (quire) and transept crossing (built at the end of the 12th century) and the early English style exterior was completed around AD 1300. It is a bit dark inside but the entering shafts of light combined with the magnificent stonework give this church quite a 'presence' and well worth a visit!

The massive Norman 'Romanesque' round arches of the choir were built in 1123 - Scenes of the Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great in London Town and City, England

The massive Norman 'Romanesque' round arches of the choir were built in 1123. By the 18th century it had lost its roof as well as parts of the building being used as a smithy and stables, barn, warehouse,  a printing works and a tavern! However in 1929 a massive rebuilding and restoration project was started that incorporated as many of the surviving medieval remains as possible.

 

tomb of Rahere (1143), the founder of St Bartholomew-the-Great - Scenes of the Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great in London Town and City, England

In the north side of the sanctuary is the tomb of Rahere (1143), the founder of St Bartholomew-the-Great. The statue dates from the 12th century but the decorated canopy and wall covering from the 15th century. At the feet of the sleeping Rahere is a crowned angel holding a shield of the coat of arms granted to the Priory by Henry I. The figures are impressively painted in bright colours.

tomb of Rahere (1143), the founder of St Bartholomew-the-Great - Scenes of the Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great in London Town and City, England

 

The Chancel and painting above the alter - Scenes of the Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great in London Town and City, England

The Sanctuary and Lady Chapel of St Bartholomew-the-Great with the painting above the alter of the Madonna and Child by the distinguished Spanish artist Alfredo Roldan, commissioned in 1998.

Madonna and Child by the distinguished Spanish artist Alfredo Roldan, commissioned in 1998 - Scenes of the Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great in London Town and City, England

 

typical early Norman architecture - Scenes of the Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great in London Town and City, England  typical early Norman architecture - Scenes of the Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great in London Town and City, England

Thanks to its restoration, the church is now one of the finest surviving early Norman churches in England. The two pictures above illustrate typical early Norman architecture e.g. the multi-storied nave arcade with the columns and curved arches, above the triforium arcades and passages and above these, the clerestory windows and the nave ribbed vaults.

 

Prior Bolton's Window - Scenes of the Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great in London Town and City, England  The wonderful stone vaulting of the remaining cloisters - Scenes of the Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great in London Town and City, England

(left) Opposite Rahere's tomb is Prior Bolton's Window. Prior Bolton was in charge from 1506-1532 and apart from restoration work, he had this 'window' built (upper centre of picture) so that the monks at worship could be overseen. It dates from about 1517 and consists of rows of five glazed panels in the shape of an oriel.

(right) The wonderful stone vaulting of the remaining cloisters seen through the Norman gateway of 1405.

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