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Saint Martin-in-the-Fields

Saint Martin-in-the-Fields (65)

The first documental reference to a church located on the land today occupied by Saint Martin-In-The-Fields, in the northeast corner of Trafalgar Square, dates back to the Norman period, specifically 1222. In 1542, in the period of Henry VIII, the parish lands were extended and a new church was built.

However, the appearance of the buildings dates from 1726, when the church designed by the architect James Gibbs was completed, a few years after the church from Henry VIII’s times had been demolished.

Buried inside the church are figures such as the actress Nell Gwyn, lover of King Charles II, and the painters William Hogarth and Joshua Reynolds.

Saint Martin-In-The-Fields, considered as Gibbs’s masterpiece, is a beautiful temple in Baroque style which features the neoclassical spire and main façade, the portico of which is supported by Corinthian columns, giving it airs of a Roman temple. 

Gibbs’s design has been largely copied around the world, but if you get the chance to travel to North America, it is most likely you will come across many replicas of this place of worship, since it was used there as the model for a colonial church.

Regarding the diverse activities that make Saint Martin-In-The-Fields quite a unique place, it is worth mentioning the many concerts of all kinds held here, as well as the charity it gives out to the most needy. As far back as the First World War, Dick Sheppard, the parish vicar, decided to follow the charitable example of Saint Martin and give shelter to the homeless and to soldiers on their way to France.

You will be surprised to know that this church also serves the needs of the Chinese Anglican community living in London, and every Sunday the corresponding services are held in Mandarin and Cantonese.

Finally, do not miss the chance to attend the Jazz Nights held in the café that is in the crypt of the church, where you can enjoy a snack or a delicious meal while listening to the classics of Dixieland.

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