Mr Bradshaw, in his Hand Book to London, has made me keenly aware that London is constantly changing over a ground bass of links to the past, but often with a ‘continuity of purpose’ (read Peter Ackroyd’s London).
In 1101 Queen Matilda, the wife of Henry I of England, founded a leper hospital here, dedicated to St Giles. The hospital was demolished by Henry VIII; this is the second church on the site. St Giles, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, saints worshipped together and particularly effective in intercession with certain diseases, was associated with the plague. On the day I visited there was a soup kitchen in the church yard – a disturbing sight in London in 2013.