St Andrew Undershaft, John Stow and “The Changing of the Quill”

1-st-andrew-undershaft-with-the-gherkin-in-the-background

The church of St Andrew Undershaft was originally  built in the twelfth century, and rebuilt in the fourteenth, and again, in the Perpendicular Gothic style, in around 1520-32.  It was undamaged both in the Great Fire of 1666 and in the Blitz of 1940-41, although the seventeenth-century stained-glass windows were destroyed by an IRA bomb in 1992.  The artist Hans Holbein was a parishioner here.

7-stow-seems-happy-with-his-new-quill

Among the many memorials inside is one to the Merchant Taylor and amateur antiquarian John Stow (d. 1605), the author of “A Survay of London”.

6-the-changing-of-the-quill

Stow appears with a quill-pen in his hand.  Every third year, on or around the anniversary of his death on April 5th, as part of a special service in the church in his memory, he is ceremonially presented  with a new quill (and his old one is given to the  winner of an essay competition for local children, with London as its subject).

 

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