Bow Church

To be a true Cockney you have to be born within the sound of Bow Bells. However, Bow Bells aren't actually in Bow in East London, but are in fact the bells of the Church Of St Mary Le Bow in the City of London, four miles to the west. Nothing to do with the East End at all (apart from the fact that they were cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry).

St Mary's church in Bow is almost as old as its famous City counterpart. Bow Church was founded during the reign of Edward III to save the local villagers from having to walk miles to [Stepney]? and back every Sunday. The main tower structure is 15th century, the font dates from Henry V's time and the organ from 1551. The upper part of the tower was rebuilt about 1829, being finished with battlements, an octagonal turret and two illuminated clocks. The tower suffered severe bomb damage in May 1941 and had to be rebuilt yet again.

In 1648 the Civil War came to Bow, which found itself sandwiched between Cavalier forces camped at Stratford and opposing Roundheads at Mile End. The people of Bow took sides against the crown, ill-advisedly as it turned out, and were forced to retreat inside Bow Church. Surrounded on all sides by soldiers the frightened civilians eventually caved in, and were forced to take an oath that they would never again fight against the king's men.

St Mary's church now stands alone in the middle of the [A11]?, isolated on a small island, surrounded on all sides by a sea of traffic. Once the heart of a bustling medieval village, Bow Church has been swallowed whole by the road that created the village of Bow in the first place.

The church has its own website which you can access by clicking on the link below:

(Latitude: 51.528120 Longitude: -0.015578)
Last edited 2007-05-11 16:42:32 (version 5; diff). List all versions.