wardrobe

St. Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe

St. Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe is a Church of England church located on Queen Victoria Street, London in the City of London, near Blackfriars station.

First mentioned around 1170, the church was almost certainly founded considerably earlier; during the 13th century the church was a part of Baynard's Castle, an ancient royal residence. In 1361, Edward III moved his Royal Wardrobe (a storehouse for Royal accoutrements, housing arms and clothing among other personal items of the Crown) from the Tower of London to just north of the church. It was from this association that the church acquired its unique name. The Wardrobe and the church, however, were both lost in the Great Fire of London in 1666.. Of the 51 churches designed by Sir Christopher Wren after the Fire, St. Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe is among the simplest of his designs, rebuilt in 1695 but again destroyed by German bombing in the Second World War, with only the tower and walls surviving. It was re-dedicated in 1961.

St. Andrew's is situated on a terrace overlooking the street, its plain red brick exterior contrasting with the stone buildings on each side. The interior is aisled, with arcaded bays supported by piers rather than the usual columns. The original interior fittings were mostly destroyed during the war, and many of the church's features come from other destroyed London churches - for instance, the weathervane on the tower comes from St Michael Bassishaw (demolished 1900).

St. Andrew's can boast of one of its former parishioners, William Shakespeare. Shakespeare was a member of this parish for about 15 years while he was working at the Blackfriars Theatre nearby and later he bought a house within the parish in Ireland Yard. In his honour, a memorial was erected in the church.

This church has been alive and had by regular weekly Sunday services conducted by the Syrian Orthodox church (founded by St Thomas the Apostle in India) for the last 30 years.

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