Sunday, 23 September 2012

Headstones by the River Thames

Church by the River Thames
Battersea Church
On my way home today I stumbled upon a little gem, right in my own hood.I was just about to get soaked when I saw the ‘Open House London’ sign. Underneath it said: This church is open. Please feel free to come inside.

I was killing two birds with one stone: Not only was it not raining inside, this was also the church I always wondered about what it would look like inside. Its location couldn’t be lovelier; it sits on the banks of the River Thames with views towards Chelsea, keeping watch over the ducks, rowers and Thames river cruise boats passing by.

I’ve lived in Battersea for 9 years now in different locations. I’ve really come to love this area with its Saturday market, its square and of course, with its little church by the River Thames and its churchyard full of mysterious headstones. I don’t know how many times I’ve walked and biked by it on my way to and from work.  

Church by the River Thames
Open House London
Church by the river Thames
Entrance of church
I’ve learned today that its official name is St Mary’s Church and that it was built in 1771 on the grounds of yet an older church that was so dilapidated that the decision was made to tear it down. I’ve learned that when it was built that there was nothing else around, which is really hard to comprehend these days. And I’ve learned that Benedict Arnold who fought with George Washington, but later chose to fight against him, is buried in the crypt underneath the church.

 I walked around among the several headstones scattered around the grounds when it started raining some more. Which was my cue to run home. The wonderful things you learn when you’re trying to stay dry on a rainy London afternoon.

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