St Mary-le-Bow is an historic church rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666 by Sir Christopher Wren in the City of London on the main east–west thoroughfare, Cheapside. According to tradition a true Cockney must be born within earshot of the sound of Bow Bells (which refers to this church's bells rather than St Mary and Holy Trinity, Bow Road, in Bow, an outlying village until the 19th century).BellsThe sound of the bells of St Mary's is prominent in the story of Dick Whittington and His Cat where the bells are credited with having persuaded him to turn back from Highgate and remain in London to become Lord Mayor.Details of the bells:Weights in hundredweights, quarters and pounds.The previous "great bell at Bow", the tenor bell of the ring of bells installed in 1762 and destroyed in an air raid of 1941, weighed 58 hundredweight, with six tons of ironwork braces cut into the inside walls of the tower as reinforcement. Earlier still, the first great bell was a byword for having a sonorous tone as, in 1588, pamphleteer Robert Greene sarcastically likens the verse of Christopher Marlowe to the bell's "mouth-filling" resonance. The present bells are also hung for full circle ringing.Make St. Mary-le-Bow a centerpiece of your London vacation itinerary, and find what else is worth visiting using our London route planner .
Tours to St. Mary-le-Bow
History of London Photography Tour BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $26
Duration: 2 hours
The Ghosts of the secret alleyways of old London town BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $103
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
St. Mary-le-Bow Reviews
A beautifully restored Wren church famous for its bells that the sound of signify if you are a real cockney. Tower at present under restoration. Lovely wooden pulpits on either side. more »
The 6 Bow Bells. If you can hear the sound of those bells at the place where you were born, then you are classified as a true Londoner - a Cockney! This 1000 year old church has stood through everythi... more »
A beautiful church that is a part of London history. It is a quiet space amidst the hustle of the outside and is a real sanctuary of peace. The cafe in the crypt serves excellent food and drink and is a real haven. A real blessing in the heart of the city and well worth a visit
Christopher Wren will be well impressed with the church having undergone 4 months stone restoration to the four finials and pot du fur (pot of fire) and the stone gallery balustrades to the clock tower.
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