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St Paul's Church Gardens, London

4.1
#140 of 186 in Parks in London
St Paul's Church is a church located in Bedford Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9ED. It was designed by Inigo Jones as part of a commission for the 4th Earl of Bedford in 1631 to create "houses and buildings fit for the habitations of Gentlemen and men of ability". As well as being the parish church of Covent Garden, the church has gained the nickname of "the actors' church" by a long association with the theatre community.
Completed in 1633, St Paul's was the first entirely new church to be built in London since the Reformation. Its design and the layout of the square have been attributed to Inigo Jones since the 17th century, although firm documentary evidence is lacking. According to an often repeated story, recorded by Horace Walpole, Lord Bedford asked Jones to design a simple church "not much better than a barn", to which the architect replied "Then you shall have the handsomest barn in England".
The building is described by Sir John Summerson as "a study in the strictly Vitruvian Tuscan Order" and "almost an archaeological exercise". The description of a Tuscan or Etruscan-style temple in Vitruvius, which Jones closely follows in this building, reflects the early forms of Roman temple, which essentially continued Etruscan architecture, though quite what Vitruvius intended by his account has divided modern scholars. It has been seen as a work of deliberate primitivism: the Tuscan order is associated by Palladio with agricultural buildings.
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St Paul's Church Gardens Reviews
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4 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • We accidentally ended up here after trying to return to Covent Garden and it was a lovely stroll through the gardens- they're all done up beautifully, although you are made to stick to the path and so...  more »
  • Lovely peaceful church garden. Good to be able to enjoy some quiet time and the decent size green space.  more »
Google
  • I thought the church inside was beautiful... Saint Paul's Church is also known as the Actors Church & linked to famous people. I had recently lost my dad when I called into this church and it was a beautiful place to light a candle and reflect. Very peaceful inside even though it is so busy outside of course. They also have concerts & a lovely little garden. Definitely worth popping in if you are in the area.
  • This is a fine little church in the heart of Covent Garden’s bustle. There is a false rumour circulating about in certain publications called “Welcome to London” or “Tips for Visitors to London”. These are actually practical joke sheets with very poor advice. The bit for this church - which you are well advised to ignore - says: “St. Paul’s church in Covent Garden is known as ‘the actors church’. The connection to the theatrical profession is reflected in the service. During the lesson, anytime the reader says something like “Abraham begat Isaac”, visitors are expected to get up and say “Oh, no he didn’t”.
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