St Botolph’s Church without Bishopgate
In 1982 Chris Brackley took a famous photograph whilst he was in St Botolph’s Church. The photograph was of the interior of the church, taking in the aisle, altar and main stain glass window. In the upper right hand side of picture there appears to be ghostly image of a figure dressed in period costume in the Choir Loft. There were supposedly only three people in the church at the time the photograph was taken and none were said to be in the Choir Loft.
According to an article entitled ‘Londons Most Haunted Venues’ by Niki Chesworth in the London Evening Standard on 20 October 2009; “A builder contacted Chris and told him that, while working on the crypt restoration, he accidentally disturbed a pile of dusty old coffins, one of which came open. Gazing back at him was a well preserved body whose face bore an uncanny resemblance to that of the woman in Chris’s picture.”
Some sources mistakenly think this photograph was taken in the close by St Botolphs, Aldgate, rather than St Botolphs without Bishopgate.
St Boltoph without Bishopgate is a Grade II listed building and sits on the foundations of a much earlier Anglo-Saxon Church. It is even speculated that the site may have been used for Christian worship from Roman times. The first written mention of the church dates from 1212. The present church dates from 1725 and was built by George Dance the Elder. The previous church building (who’s Parish Registers date back to 1558), having survived the Great Fireof London in 1666 had fallen into disrepair and the decision was made to demolish it.
During World War II it took minor damage from a German bomb during an air raid and a window needed repairing. However at 10:25 am on 24 April 1993 it was heavily damaged by a truck bomb detonated by the terrorist organisation known as the IRA. One person died in this attack on the City of London and forty were injured.