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The Weathervanes Of Old London

February 19, 2022
by the gentle author

Thank you to everyone who has contributed this week to my crowd-funder to launch a COMMUNITY TOURISM PROJECT in Spitalfields as a BETTER ALTERNATIVE to the serial killer tours that monetise misogyny. We still have a way to go, so please help by spreading the word.




Map of The Gentle Author’s Tour of Spitalfields designed by Adam Dant


Spire of St Mary-Le-Bow, Cheapside, by Christopher Wren

Clinging on for dear life in the midst of the raging tempest, it occurred to me that this was the ideal moment to publish these weathervanes. There is no more magical sight to glimpse in a London street on a bright spring morning, after the storm has passed, than that of a gilded weathervane, glinting in sunlight high above the rooftops. At once – in spite of all the changes that time has wrought – you know you are sharing in a visual delight enjoyed by three centuries of Londoners before you and it makes your heart leap.

Consequently, I am grateful to Angelo Hornak who photographed this gallery of magnificent weathervanes in his book AFTER THE FIRE, London Churches in the Age of Wren, Hawksmoor & Gibbs published by Pimpernel Press.

Dragon upon St Mary-Le-Bow, representing the City of London

Arrow & pennant on St Augustine, Watling St

Spire of St Bride’s Fleet St by Christopher Wren

Gridiron on St Lawrence Jewry, symbol of the martyrdom of St Lawrence

Weathervane on St Magnus the Martyr by Christopher Wren

Weathervane on St Michael Paternoster Royal, College St

Galleon on St Nicholas Cole Abbey, moved from St Michael Queenhithe after demolition

Weathervane on St James Garlickhythe

Crown on St Edmund King & Martyr, Lombard St

Key on the Tower of St Peter Cornhill

Cockerell on St Dunstan-in-the-East by Christopher Wren

Comet on St Mary-Le-Strand

Spire of St Martin in the Fields by James Gibbs

Square-rigged ship on St Olave Old Jewry

Flaming red-eyed dragon on St Luke, Old St, described as a flea in popular lore

Weathervane on St Stephen Walbrook by Nicholas Hawksmoor

‘Flame’ on the top of the Monument by Christopher Wren

Photographs copyright © Angelo Hornak

You may also like to take a look at

The City Churches of Old London

The Signs of Old London

10 Responses leave one →
  1. Greg T permalink
    February 19, 2022

    St James’ in Bermondsey also has a very good Dragon

  2. Teresa Chatterton permalink
    February 19, 2022

    Thank you for these – reminded me of my Dad who always taught me to look up. Hope they are all still standing firm after yesterday’s storm.

  3. February 19, 2022

    Wonderful weathervanes, dragons, boats, roosters… In Spanish “veleta”, in French “girouette”. It really sounds much better in English. Thank you, as usual, dear G.A.

  4. Sue permalink
    February 19, 2022

    Wonderful collection.

  5. Sue b permalink
    February 19, 2022

    I hope these have all survived the storm

  6. gkbowood permalink
    February 19, 2022

    I thought the weathervane on St. Luke, Old Street, was a comet!

  7. Marcia Howard permalink
    February 19, 2022

    Fabulous, and Fascinating

  8. February 20, 2022

    Wonderful pictures of the even more wonderful weathervanes. They are difficult to photograph from a distance. I usually fail because of this dilemma…

    Love & Peace

  9. Sue permalink
    February 20, 2022

    Beautiful, the joy of looking up demonstrated.

  10. Nicholas permalink
    February 20, 2022

    What a good idea

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