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Covent Garden - Bedford House and the Piazza

  tudor london map coventgarden area

It was in the 17th century that fashionable society began moving to the West End.

So the 4th Earl of Bedford decided to speculate by building, over the Convent garden, houses 'fitt for the habitations of Gentlemen and men of ability'. He called in the architect Inigo Jones who having studied in Italy was eager to build London's first residential square in the style of an Italian Piazza.

Apart from the tall terraced houses which faced on to the Square he also built the church of St Paul, London's first Anglican Church since the Reformation and, as Jones described it, 'the handsomest barn in England'. But the siting of the church meant that the entrance from the Piazza was at the East end, exactly where the Bishop of London insisted that the altar should stand, so that to this day the intended doorway has never been used and the Church is entered from the rear

Next The Market at Covent Garden

or Covent Garden and the West End Theatre