Tuesday, July 12, 2011

St. Bride’s Church: A Trip Back in Time

            Following lunch, the journalism class ventured back across the street to St. Bride’s Church.  Two of the church’s guilds, which are organizations that are part of the church ministry whose members help with ministry and the running of the church, provided our class with a guided tour of the historic building. 
            St. Bridget, for whom St. Bride's is named, was born to an Irish prince, and may have been a contemporary of St. Patrick. Tales of St. Bride being able to turn water into beer were spread, but the truth of these stories remains unknown. Also, it is unclear whether she actually came to England at some point in her life, but her life inspired some Celts in England (on the outskirts of London at the time) to start the church in her name.
          The tiered spire tower at the top of the church helps make the church easily recognizable.  The tower is supposedly the source of inspiration for the modern day wedding cake. 
          The church actually stands on top of six previous churches that were closed years ago. These were left underground and unnoticed until the bombing of the church during World War II that left only the outer walls standing. When it came time to rebuild the church, Professor W. F. Grimes went to explore the grounds and stumbled upon one of the crypts. The bombing had helped discover more than 1000 years of history of the church.
            In the crypts, there is an exhibit depicting the history of the church. The area had originally been used for burial purposes but was closed following a plague in 1854. A back corridor of the crypt houses many of the remains of the deceased who were buried in the church. The ages ranged from young to old and the deaths were also varied including gout, childbirth, and decay. One part of the crypt has an altar and chairs for parishioners, which is actually used for services each week. 
            The tour was very enjoyable, and the class was very intriguing. Our guides were very passionate about the stories that they passed on to our class, which made it an even more special experience. 
            For more information, visit their website at http://www.stbrides.com/history/press/index.htm.
                                                                  -- By John Barr

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