St Bride’s Was Often Referred to as the ‘Printers’ Cathedral’ and the ‘Journalists’ Church’:
When it comes to ancient churches in the City of London, St Bride’s Fleet Street is up there with the oldest. Dedicated to St Bridgit or St Bride of Kildare, it is believed that Christians have been worshipping at this site since the time of the Saxons in the 7th century. When Christopher Wren designed St Bride’s church in 1672, it became the eighth church to stand on this Fleet Street site.
Printers’ Cathedral and Journalists’ Church
Located just off the eastern end of Fleet Street, St Bride’s has a long association with Fleet Street press. The first printing press, with moveable type was brought here in 1500 and it is the reason that St Bride’s is often referred to as the ‘Printers Cathedral’ and the ‘Journalists Church’.
Its Fleet Street location made it the spiritual home of printers, newspaper proprietors and journalists for 500 years and it was also the traditional venue for memorial services for departed journalists. Inside are plaques commemorating Fleet Street printers and journalists.
Interesting Facts About St. Bride’s
The newspapers and printing presses have long since vacated Fleet Street, but the skeletons of history, stretching back much further than the days of the Fleet Street press, are still contained within the walls of St Bride’s. Yes, there are skeletons in St Bride’s – two separate series were found, one of them containing nearly seven thousand human remains.
In the Crypts of St Bride’s visitors can see the pavement on which Romans walked in AD180 as well as an interesting exhibition of archaeological remains of earlier churches on the site. These, and the skeletons, were uncovered after a bomb destroyed the church in 1940. It was the newspaper proprietors and journalists who funded the rebuild of St. Bride’s.
Virginia Dare’s parents got married here. She was the first English child to be born in Colonial America in 1587.
St Bride’s is said to be one of Wren’s favourite church designs. St Bride’s steeple, the highest spire or steeple that Christopher Wren ever built, was the inspiration for the first tiered wedding cake.
Notable Londoners with connections to St. Bride’s included John Milton who lived in the Churchyard, Samuel Pepys who was baptised here, Samuel Johnson lived across the road, Charles Dickens lived just up the road and King John who held several of his councils in this church.
Map of Fleet Street: