1000 Years in St Giles-in-the-Fields

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).

Buildings opposite St Giles in the Fields

Buildings opposite St Giles in the Fields

Reflections in the windows of St Giles

Reflections in the windows of St Giles

St Giles in the Fields

St Giles in the Fields

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.