St. Alfege Church in Greenwich is offering to show visitors the church crypt, which holds General James Wolfe’s family vault, on Easter Saturday the 15th of April 2017 between 10 am and 5 pm. This is a rare chance to visit the crypt of the historic church.
(I emphasized Saturday on purpose.)
Details are below. I wouldn’t hesitate if you’re interested as it sounds like the spaces on the tour are filling up fast.
Thanks to St. Alfege Church in Greenwich for making this possible.
General James Wolfe is famous in Canadian history
This year, 2017, is the 150th anniversary of Confederation in Canada. St. Alfege Church has strong Canadian connections, including to General Wolfe and the explorer Henry Kelsey.
General Wolfe led the British forces to victory against the French at the Plains of Abraham in 1759, a foundational battle in Canadian history.
The general died on the battlefield. His body was brought home and placed in the Wolfe family vault at St. Alfege.
On a regular visit to the church you can see memorials to Wolfe, including the window shown above, but you cannot ordinarily enter the crypt.
Here are the details of the tour as provided by St. Alfege. I invited them to include information about the church as well.
St. Alfege crypt tours and Tall Ships for Canada 150
In the words of St. Alfege Church:
“As the Tall Ships will be setting sail from Greenwich to Quebec, we are giving tours of the crypt where you can see the burial vault of General James Wolfe as well as the vaults of other historical figures connected with Canada. The church will be open throughout the period of the tours and there is an exhibition, James Wolfe Connections, about Wolfe and the people associated with him buried in the crypt or the churchyard. Local schools have also produced artwork based on the Tall Ships and James Wolfe.
“Revd Chris Moody, Vicar of St Alfege Church said: ‘As Greenwich welcomes the Tall Ships to Greenwich, we welcome both local people and visitors to explore our connections with General Wolfe and with Canada as we open up our hidden spaces this Easter’.
“Free tours will run throughout the day. Each tour will last approximately 35 minutes and will start at the crypt entrance on the south side of the church (nearest to the Mitre pub). St Alfege Church, Greenwich Church Street, SE10 9BJ. Places are limited so please book early via Eventbrite.co.uk, under ‘Tours of St Alfege Crypt‘.
St Alfege Church
“St Alfege Church is the Anglican parish church in the centre of Greenwich with a rich musical tradition and a thriving church school.
“There has been a church here for over a thousand years, dedicated to the memory of Alfege, the Archbishop of Canterbury who was martyred on this site in 1012. Henry VIII was baptised here, and many other key historical figures in Greenwich’s royal, maritime and scientific history have close links with the site including Thomas Tallis, General James Wolfe and John Flamsteed.
“A Grade 1 listed building, St Alfege is a key part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. It was the first church built between 1712 and 1718 under the Fifty New Churches Act of 1711, and the first complete church project undertaken by Nicholas Hawksmoor, one of England’s most original and significant architects.
Heart of Greenwich, Place and People
“St Alfege Church has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop our Heart of Greenwich, Place and People project which aims to open up the church’s hidden spaces and rich heritage for everyone. Thanks to National Lottery players, development funding has been awarded to help St Alfege Church progress plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.
“The Heart of Greenwich, Place and People project focuses on the architectural importance of the building and aims to improve access to, and facilities in, the church. It will also explore and reveal the stories of many famous people associated with the church such as Henry VIII, Thomas Tallis and General James Wolfe, as well as many less well-known figures.
Music and St. Alfege Choir
“St Alfege has a rich musical tradition and is the burial place of Thomas Tallis, the father of English church music and composer and directing music, serving four monarchs from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I. St Alfege maintains a fine reputation for cathedral standard music with currently 30 choir members led by Director of Music Stephen Dagg.”
8 am Holy Communion
10 am Sung Eucharist
Last Sunday in the month
Choral Evensong at 6:30 pm
8 am Holy Communion
9:30 am Morning Prayer
The church is open every day between 11 am and 4 pm.
Concerts and events
St Alfege hosts numerous events throughout the year, many of which are free to attend. These events are listed on our website.
How to find us
St Alfege Church is easily accessible by public transport, served by Greenwich mainline station, Greenwich DLR, Cutty Sark DLR and buses 177,180, 188,199, and 386.
Keep in touch
St Alfege Church, Greenwich Church Street, Greenwich, London SE10 9BJ
Telephone 020 8853 0687
Follow us on Twitter @StAlfegeChurch
Thanks to St. Alfege Church for this information and the photos, and especially for their generosity in showing the hidden history of the church to the public. I wish them all the best for Easter, the greatest of all the Christian holy days.