All Hallows Crypt Museum

The word “crypt” is a favourite of mine. Not only does it conjure up a whole heap of images, it’s also really good for playing hangman (check out that lack of vowels!). The Museum Adventure I’m writing about today is a very fitting one. Today (the day it has been posted) is All Hallows Day – the day that comes after Hallowe’en (or All Hallows Eve as it used to be known) – and today I’m going to take you to All Hallows Church. More specifically, though, I’m taking you under the church; to its Crypt Museum. 

All Hallows By The Tower

All Hallows By The Tower

Being in a Crypt under a church is a somewhat unsettling experience. After all, it’s underground, which is never a settling place to be. Throw in the possibilities of the dead being somewhat close by and you’ve got the perfect recipe for the heebie-jeebies. This is what the Crypt Museum looks like:

The Crypt Museum at All Hallows by the Tower

The Crypt Museum at All Hallows by the Tower

Spooky, non?

Peacocks drinking from the Fountain of Life

Peacocks drinking from the Fountain of Life

Spooky, yes, but also filled with stuff both stunning and rather interesting. Let’s look at these Peacocks. They are drinking from something that we are informed is “the fountain of life”. The stone (called a ‘Pluteus’) is Byzantine in style (which was popular in the 11th century).

Annoyingly,I don’t know exactly how old this one is (because the church/museum doesn’t say), but we are told it’s very similar to a 10th century carving in the Church of Santa Maria dell’Assunta in the island of Torcello in Veneto.

Unexpected American History

London, we know, is steeped in history. Hell, they’re *always* finding new bits of history buried beneath the city. 

What I didn’t expect to find was a link to American history in London (apart from Benjamin Franklin’s old digs that is). What was it that I stumbled upon?

It was this entry in a baptismal register.

William Penn founder of Pennsylvania, baptised 23rd October 1644

William Penn founder of Pennsylvania, baptised 23rd October 1644

You can see an entry for a William Penn for the 23rd October 1644. William grew up to found the American state of Pennsylvania.

So there you have it; an unusual little museum with some unusual objects! If you fancy popping along,  All Hallows by the Tower is right next to the Tower of London, and best of all – it’s free!

 

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