St Dunstan’s in the West

The Guild Church of St Dunstan-in-the-West is in Fleet Street in the City of London. The church is of medieval origin, although the present building, with an octagonal nave, was constructed in the 1830s to the designs of John Shaw.

St Dunstan’s in the West is home to the Anglican and Eastern Churches Association, and is a centre of prayer for Christian Unity. It is therefore appropriate that the side chapels contain altars dedicated to various traditions, including the Lutheran Church in Berlin (EKD). There is also an altar of the Oriental Churches (Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Syrian, Syro-Indian) and a shrine of the Lutheran and Reformed Churches. St Dunstan’s continues in its special role of promoting good relations with Churches outside the Anglican Communion, including through its role as the Diocese of London’s Church for Europe. The poet John Donne held the benefice here from 1624-31, while he was Dean of St Paul’s. William Tyndale, who pioneered the translation of the Bible into English, was a lecturer here. The famous diarist Samuel Pepys worshipped here a number of times. Lord Baltimore, who founded the State of Maryland in the USA, was buried here in 1632, as was his son. The church has been associated with the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers (old English for shoemakers) since the fifteenth century. Once a year the company holds a service here to commemorate the benefactors John Fisher and Richard Minge, after which children used to be given a penny for each time they ran around the church.