Friday, November 4, 2011

St. Martin-in-the-Field, London

 St. Martin-in-the-Field, London

As you can see, St. Martin-in-the-Field (with the tall spire) is no longer in the field, but I guess it's hard to break a habit. Anyway, not only is St. Martin's an active Anglican church, but there are free noon-time concerts daily with donations encouraged and also evening concerts, for which there is an admission fee.

The pews are for the truly devoted, for there's nothing comfy about them, but they do adequately accommodate the crowd that gathers for a concert or service.

From St. Martin-in-the-Field website:

The lunchtime concerts continue a tradition reaching back to the start of WWII and pianist Dame Myra Hess's war effort. Hess's series of Lunchtime Concerts held at the National Gallery occupy a central position in the history of war time London where they kept hope for a life beyond war alive in the hearts of embattled Londoners. When the Board of the National Gallery closed the concerts at the end of the war, St Martin's took up the series where it has been running ever since.

Descending to the Crypt

The Crypt is home to a gift shop (still wish I'd bought that mug for my collection!) and a great cafeteria with reasonable prices. It's definitely a convenient and good place to get lunch while in London. Nearby are The National Gallery of Art and the Portrait Gallery. Check out this link to a sample menu from the Cafe in the Crypt. The menu changes daily, and actually looked a lot better when we were there.

 The pillars in the Crypt

As you can see, I was fascinated by the massive pillars and arches in the Crypt. Good place to hide out during a bombing raid. 


This well known church was shelter for many homeless people during World War II, and still looking after homeless people today. Named after the Hungarian, St Martin, who was Bishop of Tours in the fourth century. It received its name in-the-fields like its sister church of St Giles, when they both stood in the village fields of Charing and St Giles. There was an earlier Norman church on this site dating from before 1222. The building of the present church was started in 1721.

In a different light

Have a great weekend everyone! 

...and more!

Check out all my soaps at



Marti said...

Enjoyed your guided tour of St Martin's, especially liked the picture of the crypt ceiling.

Heide at ApronHistory said...

Lovely! I have read alot about St. Martins, nice to actually see pictures! I never thought about it not being in a field. Lol

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Ooh, I love the way the tree in the foreground frames the photo! That menu didn't look very interesting; maybe at a different time of year. Only you would take a photo as you start down the stairs to the crypt--good shot!

Ruth Kelly said...

It's funny how place names stay but surroundings change. England has some very interesting names. I enjoyed your tour.

forgetmenot said...

Beautiful church, and such a lovely spire. Great shots of the inside of the Crypt--a most impressive place. Mickie :)

Anonymous said...

A lovely article about a place that I love, so thank you. If I might correct a bit of the detail about the history - it seems that knowledge of London doesn't know as much as it ought - no-one knows whether the original church on the site was Norman (or Saxon, or whatever). From St Martin-in-the-Fields own website:

There is no official reference to a church on the site of St Martin's until Norman times, when in 1222 a dispute was recorded between William, Abbot of Westminster, and Eustace, Bishop of London on the Bishop's authority over the church. The Archbishop of Canterbury decided in favour of the abbot and St Martin's, then surrounded by fields, appears to have been used by the monks of Westminster.

In around 1542, Henry VIII, as ruthless with the monks as with his wives, built a new church and extended the parish boundaries to keep plague victims from being carried through his palace. This was enlarged in 1607 at the cost of Prince Henry, the son of King James I. This church was pulled down in 1721 to be replaced by the current building.

J_on_tour said...

Nice post. I remember looking for the field the first time I visited London when I was eight. It was a very small field !! As it was London, I just thought that they had built on it.

Later in life I remember the cafe in the crypt well and your third photo is visibly imprinted in my head.
Around about 1996 - 2000, a charter rail company ran relentless trips to London for £20, I took my Mother with me on some occasions and within the time that was available 12 - 6 pm ( realistically 5pm to be back in good time for the train), we did Debenhams for lunch (a reasonable price and decent enough hot food ) on Oxford street, a major or smaller tourist site and more often than not ended up in Trafalgar square about 4pm ... although there wasn't much left to eat, it became a haven for the feet. I never remember visiting the church though as we always entered from the ground floor on the street.
The charter company had some other strange travel ideas that didn't mix with the profile of the rail passengers and consequently their business folded.

Cranberry Morning said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for setting us straight! I should have stuck with St. Martin's own website. :-)

Judy S. said...

I think when we were there years ago we were allowed to do some rubbings. Very fun!

Just Wedeminute said...

So beautiful!

PS I LOVE your soap blog and pinned some of them on Pinterest!

Tiffanee said...

You never cease to amaze me! Beautiful.

Diane said...

OMGosh, that place is gorgeous. My grandson would love to visit there. He ♥ places like that Ÿ

Robin said...

Judy, another great blog. I love St. Martin's in the Field. Pictures are great as usual. Thanks for sharing.

Joyce said...

Love the crypt at St. Martins. We went to our little village church in the girls would say every Sunday they imagined it was how the pilgrims felt : ) No way you'd doze off in those pews!

laurie said...

So interesting...I enjoyed your tour!

GretchenJoanna said...

My daughter and I ate dinner in the crypt while in London six years ago -- it was one of the few Rick Steves recommendations we were able to accomplish in our three weeks of UK ramblings... a great experience, and I was so happy to actually be in the church whose name I had heard all those years in classical music recordings. :-)


Related Posts with Thumbnails