Thomas Cranmer was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and, for a short time, Mary I. He helped build the case for the annulment of Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, one of the causes of the separation of the English Church from union with the Holy See. Along with Thomas Cromwell, he supported the principle of Royal Supremacy, in which the king was considered sovereign over the Church within his realm. During Cranmer's tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury, he was responsible for establishing the first doctrinal and liturgical structures of the reformed Church of England. Under Henry's rule, Cranmer did not make many radical changes in the Church, due to power struggles between religious conservatives and reformers. However, he succeeded in publishing the first authorised vernacular service, the Exhortation and Litany; when Edward came to the throne, Cranmer was able to promote major reforms. He wrote and compiled the first two editions of the Book of Common Prayer, a complete liturgy for the English Church.
With the assistance of several Continental reformers to whom he gave refuge, he changed doctrine or discipline in areas such as the Eucharist, clerical celibacy, the role of images in places of worship, the veneration of saints. Cranmer promulgated the new doctrines through the Homilies and other publications. After the accession of the Roman Catholic Mary I, Cranmer was put on trial for treason and heresy. Imprisoned for over two years and under pressure from Church authorities, he made several recantations and reconciled himself with the Roman Catholic Church. However, on the day of his execution, he withdrew his recantations, to die a heretic to Roman Catholics and a martyr for the principles of the English Reformation. Cranmer's death was immortalised in Foxe's Book of Martyrs and his legacy lives on within the Church of England through the Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty-Nine Articles, an Anglican statement of faith derived from his work. Cranmer was born in 1489 at Aslockton in England.
He was a younger son of Thomas Cranmer by his wife Agnes Hatfield. Thomas Cranmer was of modest wealth but was from a well-established armigerous gentry family which took its name from the manor of Cranmer in Lincolnshire. Thomas was lord of the manor of Whatton, which had come to his great grandfather Edmund Cranmer by marriage with the heiress of the Aslactons, who held it from the reign of Henry II, it passed by an heiress of Cranmer, to Sir John Molyneux, who sold it to the Marquis of Dorchester, in 1792 was owned by the representative of the Duke of Kingston. A ledger stone to one of his relatives in Whatton Church, near Aslockton is inscribed as follows: Hic jacet Thomas Cranmer, qui obiit vicesimo septimo die mensis Maii, anno dni. MD centesimo primo, cui aie ppcietur Deus Amen; the arms on it are: A chevron between three cranes and Argent, five fusils in fesse gules each charged with an escallop or. The figure is that of a man in flowing hair and gown, a purse at his right side, their oldest son, John Cranmer, inherited the family estate, whereas Thomas and his younger brother Edmund were placed on the path to a clerical career.
Today historians know nothing definite about Cranmer's early schooling. He attended a grammar school in his village. At the age of fourteen, two years after the death of his father, he was sent to the newly created Jesus College, Cambridge, it took him a long eight years to reach his Bachelor of Arts degree following a curriculum of logic, classical literature and philosophy. During this time, he began to collect medieval scholastic books, which he preserved faithfully throughout his life. For his master's degree he took a different course of study, concentrating on the humanists, Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples and Erasmus; this time he progressed with no special delay. Shortly after receiving his Master of Arts degree in 1515, he was elected to a Fellowship of Jesus College. Sometime after Cranmer took his MA, he married. Although he was not yet a priest, he was forced to forfeit his fellowship, resulting in the loss of his residence at Jesus College. To support himself and his wife, he took a job as a reader at Buckingham Hall.
When Joan died during her first childbirth, Jesus College showed its regard for Cranmer by reinstating his fellowship. He began studying theology and by 1520 he had been ordained, the university having named him as one of their preachers, he received his Doctor of Divinity degree in 1526. Not much is known about Cranmer's experiences during his three decades at Cambridge. Traditionally, he has been portrayed as a humanist whose enthusiasm for biblical scholarship prepared him for the adoption of Lutheran ideas, which were spreading during the 1520s. However, a study of his marginalia reveals an early antipathy to Martin Luther and an admiration for Erasmus; when Cardinal Wolsey, the king's Lord Chancellor, selected several Cambridge scholars, including Edward Lee, Stephen Gardiner and Richard Sampson, to be diplomats throughout Europe, Cranmer was chosen to take a minor role in the English embassy in Spain. Two discovered letters written by Cranmer describe an early encounter with the king, Henry VIII of England: upon Cranmer's return from Spain, in June 1527, the king interviewed Cranmer for half an hour.
Cranmer described the king as "the kindest of princes". Henry VIII's first marriage had
An antiphon is a short chant in Christian ritual, sung as a refrain. The texts of antiphons are the Psalms, their form was favored by St Ambrose and they feature prominently in Ambrosian chant, but they are used in Gregorian chant as well. They may be used for the Introit, the Offertory or the Communion, they may be used in the Liturgy of the Hours for Lauds or Vespers. They should not be confused with processional antiphons; when a chant consists of alternating verses and responds, a refrain is needed. The looser term antiphony is used for any call and response style of singing, such as the kirtan or the sea shanty and other work songs, songs and worship in African and African-American culture. Antiphonal music is that performed by two choirs in interaction singing alternate musical phrases. Antiphonal psalmody is the singing or musical playing of psalms by alternating groups of performers; the term “antiphony” can refer to a choir-book containing antiphons. The'mirror' structure of Hebrew psalms renders it probable that the antiphonal method was present in the services of the ancient Israelites.
According to historian Socrates of Constantinople, antiphony was introduced into Christian worship by Ignatius of Antioch, who saw a vision of two choirs of angels. Antiphons have remained an integral part of the worship in the Armenian Rite; the practice did not become part of the Latin Church until more than two centuries later. Ambrose and Gregory the Great, who are known for their contributions to the formulation of Gregorian chant, are credited with'antiphonaries', collections of works suitable for antiphon, which are still used in the Roman Catholic Church today. Polyphonic Marian antiphons emerged in England in the 14th century as settings of texts honouring the Virgin Mary, which were sung separately from the mass and office after Compline. Towards the end of the 15th century, English composers produced expanded settings up to nine parts, with increasing complexity and vocal range; the largest collection of such antiphons is the late-15th-century Eton Choirbook. As a result, antiphony remains common in the Anglican musical tradition: the singers face each other, placed in the quire's Decani and Cantoris.
The Greater Advent or O Antiphons are antiphons used at daily prayer in the evenings of the last days of Advent in various liturgical Christian traditions. Each antiphon is a name of one of his attributes mentioned in Scripture. In the Roman Catholic tradition, they are sung or recited at Vespers from December 17 to December 23. In the Church of England they have traditionally been used as antiphons to the Magnificat at Evening Prayer. More they have found a place in primary liturgical documents throughout the Anglican Communion, including the Church of England's Common Worship liturgy. Use of the O Antiphons was preserved in Lutheranism at the German Reformation, they continue to be sung in Lutheran churches; when two or more groups of singers sing in alternation, the style of music can be called polychoral. This term is applied to music of the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods. Polychoral techniques are a definitive characteristic of the music of the Venetian school, exemplified by the works of Giovanni Gabrieli: this music is known as the Venetian polychoral style.
The Venetian polychoral style was an important innovation of the late Renaissance. This style, with its variations as it spread across Europe after 1600, helped to define the beginning of the Baroque era. Polychoral music was not limited to Italy in the Renaissance. There are examples from the 19th and 20th centuries, from composers as diverse as Hector Berlioz, Igor Stravinsky, Béla Bartók, Karlheinz Stockhausen. Marian antiphon Polyphony Polyphonic form Polyphonic singing Polychoral compositions Latin church music by George Frideric Handel — includes three antiphons. Antiphon "O Sapientia quae ex ore Altissimi..." Antiphon O Adonai II Great Advent Antiphon File:Schola Gregoriana-Antiphona et Magnificat.ogg
Waltham Abbey Church
The Abbey Church of Waltham Holy Cross and St Lawrence is the parish church of the town of Waltham Abbey, England. It has been a place of worship since the 7th century; the present building dates from the early 12th century and is an example of Norman architecture. To the east of the existing church are traces of an enormous eastward enlargement of the building, begun following the re-foundation of the abbey in 1177. In the Late Middle Ages, Waltham was one of the largest church buildings in England and a major site of pilgrimage, it is still an active parish church for the town. The monastic buildings and those parts of the church east of the crossing were demolished at the dissolution, the Norman crossing tower and transepts collapsed in 1553; the present-day church consists of the nave of the Norman abbey church, the 14th-century lady chapel and west wall, a 16th-century west tower, added after the dissolution. King Harold Godwinson is said to be buried in the present churchyard. Archaeological investigations between 1984 and 1991 have revealed a much earlier origin of the site than had been believed.
There is evidence for five distinct churches at Waltham. Traces of the flint rubble foundations of a 7th-century wooden church have been found under the choir of the present building. A proposed date of circa 610 would place its construction in the reign of Sæberht of Essex, noted for his church-building activities. Other finds included a 7th-century Kentish jewellery book-clasp depicting eagles grasping a fish. During the reign of King Offa of Mercia, whose rule extended to Essex in the late 8th century, a building of Barnack stone was constructed around the earlier wooden church, it was half the length of the present building, was a porticus-type church with chambers along each side of the nave. It was intended as a minster serving several communities in the area. At the beginning of the 11th century, the church and manor of Waltham were held by an Anglo-Danish Thegn called Tovi the Proud. A legend, recorded in the 12th century De Inventione Sanctœ Crucis Nostrœ or "Waltham Chronicle", relates that, in about 1016, the blacksmith at another estate belonging to Tovi, at Montacute near Glastonbury, found a large black flint crucifix buried at the top of a hill, after a dream.
Tovi had the cross loaded onto an ox-cart, but the oxen would only go in one direction and continued every day until they reached Waltham, a journey of some 150 miles. This Holy Rood or Cross soon became the subject of pilgrimage. Tovi is said to have rebuilt the church, but modern evidence suggests that he retained the 8th century fabric of the building. After Tovi's death, his son fell into the estate passed to King Edward the Confessor, he gave it to Harold Godwinson, who rebuilt and richly endowed the church, dedicated in 1060. The new church was placed under a college of twelve married priests. Evidence suggests that stone and some of the foundations of the previous church were re-used for the new building, which had a nave the same length as the present one, aisles, a large transept and a small eastern apse. Starting in about 1090, Harold's building was demolished and a new church with crossing tower and transepts was begun in the Norman style, it reused the Saxon foundations and some of the stonework, with additional stone from Reigate and Caen in Normandy.
The church was cruciform, with two smaller towers at the west end. The nave had massive Norman pillars with incised decoration and semi-circular arches supporting a triforium and clerestorey above. A long eastern chapel may have housed the Holy Cross; the rebuilding, which had started at the eastern end, was completed by about 1150. Although there is a marked stylistic resemblance to Durham Cathedral, a recent study of the features of the church and comparison with other sites has concluded that the master mason at Waltham was trained in East Anglia; this construction is the fabric that has survived to the present. In 1177, the abbey was re-founded once more, this time as an Augustinian priory with 16 canons, by Henry II as part of his penance for the murder of Thomas Becket; the rebuilding, in the Early English style, made the abbey far more extensive than the original Norman establishment, as can be seen today from traces in the abbey grounds. Those parts of the Norman church east of the Norman crossing were demolished, a new church, with its own nave, a second pair of transepts and a further tower at the new crossing, were constructed.
The Norman nave was retained as a parish church, divided from the new work by a screen. The whole building was now longer than Winchester Cathedral. A cloister was built to the north of the new nave. A short passage that led into the cloister still exists. In 1184, Henry raised the status of the church to an abbey; the completed abbey was re-dedicated on 30 September 1242, by William, Bishop of Norwich. The Holy Cross attracted many pilgrims and the Abbey became a popular place for overnight stays for kings and other notables hunting in Waltham Forest. Henry VIII was a frequent visitor and is said to have had a house or lodge at Romeland, adjacent to the abbey. During their summer progress of 1532, Henry an
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by other Christian churches related to Anglicanism. The original book, published in 1549 in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English Reformation following the break with Rome; the work of 1549 was the first prayer book to include the complete forms of service for daily and Sunday worship in English. It contained Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, the Litany, Holy Communion and the occasional services in full: the orders for Baptism, Marriage, "prayers to be said with the sick", a funeral service, it set out in full the "propers": the introits and epistle and gospel readings for the Sunday service of Holy Communion. Old Testament and New Testament readings for daily prayer were specified in tabular format as were the Psalms; the 1549 book was soon succeeded by a more reformed revision in 1552 under the same editorial hand, that of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury.
It was used only for a few months, as after Edward VI's death in 1553, his half-sister Mary I restored Roman Catholic worship. Mary died in 1558 and, in 1559, Elizabeth I reintroduced the 1552 book with modifications to make it acceptable to more traditionally-minded worshippers and clergy. In 1604, James I ordered some further changes, the most significant being the addition to the Catechism of a section on the Sacraments. Following the tumultuous events surrounding the English Civil War, when the Book was again abolished, another modest revision was published in 1662; that edition remains the official prayer book of the Church of England, although through the twentieth century alternative forms which were technically supplements displaced the Book of Common Prayer for the main Sunday worship of most English parish churches. A Book of Common Prayer with local variations is used in churches around, or deriving from, the Anglican Communion in over 50 different countries and in over 150 different languages.
In some parts of the world, the 1662 Book remains technically authoritative but other books or patterns have replaced it in regular worship. Traditional English Lutheran and Presbyterian prayer books have borrowed from the Book of Common Prayer and the marriage and burial rites have found their way into those of other denominations and into the English language. Like the King James Version of the Bible and the works of Shakespeare, many words and phrases from the Book of Common Prayer have entered common parlance; the full name of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer is The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, according to the use of the Church of England, Together with the Psalter or Psalms of David, pointed as they are to be Sung or said in churches: And the Form and Manner of Making and Consecrating of Bishops and Deacons. The forms of parish worship in the late medieval church in England, which followed the Latin Roman Rite, varied according to local practice.
By far the most common form, or "use", found. There was no single book; the chant for worship was contained in the Roman Gradual for the Mass and in the Antiphoner for the offices. The Book of Common Prayer has never contained prescribed chant; the work of producing a liturgy in the English language books was done by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, starting cautiously in the reign of Henry VIII, more radically under his son Edward VI. In his early days Cranmer was somewhat conservative: an admirer, of John Fisher, it may have been his visit to Germany in 1532. In 1538, as Henry began diplomatic negotiations with Lutheran princes, Cranmer came face to face with a Lutheran embassy; the Exhortation and Litany, the earliest English-language service of the Church of England, was the first overt manifestation of his changing views. It was no mere translation from the Latin: its Protestant character is made clear by the drastic reduction of the place of saints, compressing what had been the major part into three petitions.
Published in 1544, it borrowed from Martin Luther's Litany and Myles Coverdale's New Testament and was the only service that might be considered to be "Protestant" to be finished within the lifetime of King Henry VIII. It was only on Henry's death in 1547 and the accession of Edward VI that revision could proceed faster. Cranmer finished his work on an English Communion rite in 1548, obeying an order of Convocation of the previous year that communion was to be given to the people as both bread and wine; the ordinary Roman Rite of the Mass had made no provision for any congregation present to receive communion in both species. So, Cranmer composed in English an additional rite of congregational preparation and communion, to be undertaken
In music, polyphony is one type of musical texture, where a texture is speaking, the way that melodic and harmonic aspects of a musical composition are combined to shape the overall sound and quality of the work. In particular, polyphony consists of two or more simultaneous lines of independent melody, as opposed to a musical texture with just one voice, monophony, or a texture with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords, called homophony. Within the context of the Western musical tradition, the term polyphony is used to refer to music of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. Baroque forms such as fugue, which might be called polyphonic, are described instead as contrapuntal; as opposed to the species terminology of counterpoint, polyphony was either "pitch-against-pitch" / "point-against-point" or "sustained-pitch" in one part with melismas of varying lengths in another. In all cases the conception was what Margaret Bent calls "dyadic counterpoint", with each part being written against one other part, with all parts modified if needed in the end.
This point-against-point conception is opposed to "successive composition", where voices were written in an order with each new voice fitting into the whole so far constructed, assumed. The term polyphony is sometimes used more broadly, to describe any musical texture, not monophonic; such a perspective considers homophony as a sub-type of polyphony. Traditional polyphony has a wide, if uneven, distribution among the peoples of the world. Most polyphonic regions of the world are in sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania, it is believed that the origins of polyphony in traditional music vastly predate the emergence of polyphony in European professional music. There are two contradictory approaches to the problem of the origins of vocal polyphony: the Cultural Model, the Evolutionary Model. According to the Cultural Model, the origins of polyphony are connected to the development of human musical culture. According to the Evolutionary Model, the origins of polyphonic singing are much deeper, are connected to the earlier stages of human evolution.
Although the exact origins of polyphony in the Western church traditions are unknown, the treatises Musica enchiriadis and Scolica enchiriadis, both dating from c. 900, are considered the oldest extant written examples of polyphony. These treatises provided examples of two-voice note-against-note embellishments of chants using parallel octaves and fourths. Rather than being fixed works, they indicated ways of improvising polyphony during performance; the Winchester Troper, from c. 1000, is the oldest extant example of notated polyphony for chant performance, although the notation does not indicate precise pitch levels or durations. European polyphony rose out of melismatic organum, the earliest harmonization of the chant. Twelfth-century composers, such as Léonin and Pérotin developed the organum, introduced centuries earlier, added a third and fourth voice to the now homophonic chant. In the thirteenth century, the chant-based tenor was becoming altered and hidden beneath secular tunes, obscuring the sacred texts as composers continued to play with this new invention called polyphony.
The lyrics of love poems might be sung above sacred texts in the form of a trope, or the sacred text might be placed within a familiar secular melody. The oldest surviving piece of six-part music is the English rota; these musical innovations appeared in a greater context of societal change. After the first millennium, European monks decided to start translating the works of Greek philosophers into the vernacular. Western Europeans were aware of Plato and Hippocrates during the Middle Ages; however they had lost touch with the content of their surviving works because the use of Greek as a living language was restricted to the lands of the Eastern Roman Empire. Once these ancient works started being translated thus becoming accessible, the philosophies had a great impact on the mind of Western Europe; this sparked a number of innovations in medicine, science and music. European polyphony rose prior to, during the period of the Western Schism. Avignon, the seat of the antipopes, was a vigorous center of secular music-making, much of which influenced sacred polyphony.
It was not polyphony that offended the medieval ears, but the notion of secular music merging with the sacred and making its way into the papal court. It gave church music more of a jocular performance quality removing the solemn worship they were accustomed to; the use of and attitude toward polyphony varied in the Avignon court from the beginning to the end of its religious importance in the fourteenth century. Harmony was not only considered frivolous and lascivious, but an obstruction to the audibility of the words. Instruments, as well as certain modes, were forbidden in the church because of their association with secular music and pagan rites. Dissonant clashes of notes give a creepy feeling, labeled as evil, fueling their argument against polyphony as being the devil’s music. After banishing polyphony from the Liturgy in 1322, Pope John XXII spoke in his 1324 bull Docta Sanctorum Patrum warning against the unbecoming elements of this musical innovation. Pope Clement VI, indulged in it.
The oldest extant polyphonic setting o
Melisma is the singing of a single syllable of text while moving between several different notes in succession. Music sung in this style is referred to as melismatic, as opposed to syllabic, in which each syllable of text is matched to a single note. Music of ancient cultures used melismatic techniques to induce a hypnotic trance in the listener, useful for early mystical initiation rites and religious worship; this quality is still found in Arabic music where the scale consists of "quarter tones". Orthodox Christian chanting bears a slight resemblance to this. Middle Eastern melismatic music was developed further in the Torah chanting, as well as by the Masoretes in the seventh or eighth centuries, it appeared in some genres of Gregorian chant, where it was used in certain sections of the Mass, with the earliest written appearance around AD 900. The gradual and the alleluia, in particular, were characteristically melismatic, for example, while the tract is not, repetitive melodic patterns were deliberately avoided in the style.
The Byzantine Rite used melismatic elements in its music, which developed concurrently with the Gregorian chant. In Western music, the term "melisma" most refers to Gregorian chant. However, the term melisma may be used to describe music of any genre, including baroque singing and gospel. Within Jewish liturgical tradition, melisma is still used in the chanting of Torah, readings from the Prophets, in the body of a service. For an examination of the evolution of this tradition, see Idelsohn. Today, melisma is used in Middle Eastern, African and African American music, Fado and various Asian folk and popular musical genres. Melisma is commonly featured in Western popular music. Early in their careers, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder used it sparingly. Melisma is used by countless pop artists such as Michael Jackson, although this form involves improvising melismata over a simpler melody. During the fadeout of the Beatles' 1966 track "I Want to Tell You", bassist Paul McCartney can be heard singing a high-pitched melisma in the style of classical Indian music.
The use of melisma is a common feature of artists such as Deniece Williams, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, among others. The use of melismatic vocals in pop music grew in the 1980s. Deniece Williams topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in May 1984, with Let's Hear It for the Boy with her melismatic vocals. Although other artists used melisma before, Houston's rendition of Dolly Parton's love song "I Will Always Love You" pushed the technique into the mainstream in the'90s; the trend in R&B singers is considered to have been popularized by Mariah Carey's song "Vision of Love", released and topped the charts at number one in 1990, went on to be certified gold. As late as 2007, melismatic singers such as Leona Lewis were still scoring big hits, but around 2008–2009, this trend reverted to how it was prior to Carey and Houston's success – singers with less showy styles such as Kesha and Cheryl Cole began to outsell new releases by Carey and Christina Aguilera, ending nearly two decades of the style's dominance of pop-music vocals.
The French carol tune "Gloria" arranged by Edward Shippen Barnes in 1937, to which the hymn "Angels We Have Heard on High" is sung, contains one of the most melismatic sequences in popular Christian hymn music, on the "o" of the word "Gloria", held through 16 different notes. "Ding Dong Merrily on High", arranged by George Ratcliffe Woodward, contains an longer melisma of 31 notes on the "o" of "Gloria". George Frideric Handel's Messiah contains numerous examples of melisma, as in the following excerpt from the chorus "For Unto Us a Child Is Born"; the soprano and alto lines engage in a 57-note melisma on the word "born". Play Melisma is used, though and in the music of Jethro Tull: examples include the eponymous track of the album Songs From the Wood and the song "Skating Away". One of the most striking instances in recent pop music occurs in Bruce Springsteen's "The Ties that Bind", in which the "I" in "bind" is iterated 13 times. A striking example is found in Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, in which melisma on the syllables'-co' and'go' forms part of the dramatic structure of the song.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart uses melisma in his Requiem Mass in D minor in the Kyrie sequence, with the "e" in "eleison" being elaborately sung in various notes. Arabic maqam American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language entry on "melisma" Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary entry on melisma
St Alfege Church, Greenwich
St Alfege Church is an Anglican church in the centre of Greenwich, part of the Royal Borough of Greenwich in London. It was rebuilt in 1712 -- 1714 to the designs of Nicholas Hawksmoor; the church is dedicated to Alfege, Archbishop of Canterbury, reputedly marks the place where he was martyred on 19 April 1012, having been taken prisoner during the sack of Canterbury by Danish raiders the previous year. The Danes took him to their camp at Greenwich and killed him when the large ransom they demanded was not forthcoming; the church was rebuilt in around 1290. It was in this building that Henry VIII was baptised in 1491; the patronage of the church was given to the abbey at Ghent during the 13th century. Following the suppression of alien priories under Henry V, it was granted to the priory at Sheen with which it remained until transferred to the Crown by exchange under Henry VIII in 1530. During a storm in 1710 the medieval church collapsed, its foundations having been weakened by burials both inside and outside.
Following the collapse of the medieval church, the present building was constructed, funded by a grant from the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches, to the designs of Nicholas Hawksmoor, one of the commission's two surveyors. The first church to be built by the commissioners, it was begun in 1712 and basic construction was completed in 1714; the church is rectangular in plan with a small apse serving as a chancel. The east front, towards the street, has a portico in the Tuscan order, with a central arch cutting through the entablature and pediment—a motif used in Wren's "Great Model" for St Paul's Cathedral. A giant order of pilasters runs around the rest of the church, a feature Kerry Downes suggests may have been added by Thomas Archer, according to the minutes of the commission, "improved" Hawksmoor's plans. On the north and south sides of the churchwide projecting vestibules rise to the full height of the building, with steps leading up to the doors. Hawksmoor planned a west tower, in the position of the existing one, which had survived the collapse.
However the commission was reluctant to fund it, the medieval tower was retained. In 1730 John James refaced it, added a spire. Hawksmoor's design, published in an engraving in 1714, had an octagonal lantern at the top, a motif he was to use at St George in the East. An organ, built by George England, was installed in the mid-18th century; the crypt served as an air-raid shelter during World War II. During the Blitz on 19 March 1941, incendiary bombs landed on the roof causing it to collapse, burning into the nave; the walls and the tower remained standing. The church was restored by Sir Albert Richardson in 1953. In 2015 a fund-raising cream tea garden party for Christian Aid, held in the churchyard after the Sunday sermon, was stormed by armed police. An attendee said that the vicar's wife was “almost knocked over by a policeman with a huge machine gun”, but “people just carried on drinking their tea” in a display of typical British fortitude though “all these armed police bursting in was like the film Hot Fuzz”.
The police proceeded to the adjacent Saint Alfege Park, where a man was arrested and a firearm found. The Church is used to celebrate "Founder's Day" of Addey and Stanhope School and The John Roan School. Notable burials in and around the church include the Renaissance composer Thomas Tallis. Sarah Barrett Moulton was buried under the doctors vault; the merchant, Lloyd's underwriter and art collector John Julius Angerstein, was a churchwarden during the early 19th century and is buried there. Sir James Creed lies against the outer north wall. Sir John Lethieullier lies on the outer southwest corner of the church. In Charles Dickens's novel Our Mutual Friend, Bella Wilfer marries John Rokesmith in St Alfege Church. List of churches and cathedrals of London Official website Mystery Worshipper Report at the Ship of Fools website