Something more than a clock: Good works

St Martin in the Fields Trafalgar Square-2

St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields is an English Anglican Church at Duncannon Street and Charing Cross Road near the corner of Trafalgar Square.  Originally, the church was indeed surrounded by fields, thus the name.  In 1721, the former building was demolished and the present building erected, completed in 1726.  The architect was James Gibbs, designing a Neoclassical building, with eight columns of the Corinthian Order. The pedimented entablature showcases the Royal Arms of George I.


The Newcastle Weekly Courant, Dec. 19, 1724, p. 9.

In June 1726, the new bells were brought to the church with plans for installation the first of August (The Ipswich Journal, Jun 11, 1726, p. 3.).  In July,

Royal Standard

The Ipswich Journal, Jul 30, 1726, p. 3

St Martin in the Fields Trafalgar Square

The Vicar from 1914-1927, Dick Sheppard, began to call it the “Church of the Ever Open Door.”  During World War I, the doors of the church were opened to provide refuge for soldiers traveling to France. He also began ministry to homeless, and in 1948, the church founded a Social Service Unit to continue to address homelessness.  In addition, St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields was involved with other social issues, including the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

St Martin-in-the-field

According to the Survey of London, Volume 20, 1940, the steeple is “192 feet in height above the church floor, is square at the lower stages and changes at the clock face to octagonal, finishing with a steeple surmounted by a ball and weather-vane” (Chapter 3: The Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, The Present Church).  The link to the chapter includes detailed descriptions and sketches of various interior facets.

While I love clocks on buildings including church buildings, I love a church that engages in social service and social action even more.  If ever I am able to return to London, I will be sure to take time to visit St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields.

This entry was posted in churches, London, Neo-Classical and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Something more than a clock: Good works

  1. peggyjoan42 says:

    A beautiful church. There seem to be so many beautiful buildings in London and throughout Europe. I have never been to London – so I thank you for sharing these lovely pictures. The architecture of this building is stunning.


  2. Suzassippi says:

    Thank you, Peggy, and I am glad you are enjoying it–I am finding the same thing about the London posts from Anne! It has been great fun for me to be going back through them and discovering more about them.


  3. Beth says:

    What an amazing building, I can only imagine the blueprints and the construction trials. Designed and built without a computer! Churches should be beautiful and as part of sharing the Gospel serve their community. My church’s mission statement is: Love God, Serve Others, Change the World.


  4. Val says:

    I know the church as right next door to it was the building in which, in the mid 1970s, I met the man I eventually married! 🙂 In those days, the church also used to host a folk club (in its basement, I think).. I can’t remember if I ever went but sometimes could hear strains of music from there.


  5. I saw the church many times. I think we went inside at least once.


  6. It is beautiful. Old churches are a wonder. I mean, they had to do everything by hand and honestly, they are stunning compared to buildings today. I also really love your photo with the pigeons flying. Thank you for today’s dose of architecture and beauty.


    • Suzassippi says:

      Thank you M+M, for your observation and for stopping in. I ended up with several photographs of flying pigeons, from all directions! Isn’t it amazing that the buildings made then are still functional and the ones of today barely last 50 years? I think that says something. Hope you have a lovely day and are managing to dig out from under your storm. 🙂


      • I agree, it is crazy. I think it has something to do with time investment that people before are more willing to do. Now we want it fast, easy, and convenient. After all, we can just replace or dispose of things in a snap. And thanks, it has been taken cared of. Everything looks back to normal, and in a weird way, like nothing happened!


  7. I love visiting old churches but I too missed visiting when I was in London years ago. And I know I will never get back. Thanks for this history and “tour.”


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