St. Dunstan's, Stepney

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This church is situated on the site of Christian worship since 952, when a stone church was built to replace an even older wooden structure. in 1029 it was dedicated to St. Dunstan and all saints, in the same year that Dunstan himself was canonised. Most of the existing building dates back to the 15th century, although parts of the chancel are a couple of centuries older.

For students of the weird, the church is mainly notable for being the place of the baptism of Jack Sheppard, and the final resting place of Roger Crab.

Jack Sheppard

Jack Sheppard was baptised here the day after his birth in 1702. That his parents moved so quickly to have him baptised (the usual period from birth to baptism being measured in weeks) suggests he was a sickly child 

Roger Crab

Interred here in 1680, Roger Crab's epitaph is writ on his tombstone thus:

Tread gently, reader, near the dust
Committed to this tomb-stone's trust:
For while 'twas flesh, it held a guest
With universal love possest:
A soul that stemmed opinion's tide,
Did over sects in triumph ride;
Yet separate from the giddy crowd,
And paths tradition had allowed.
Through good and ill reports he past,
Oft censured, yet approved at last.
Wouldst thou his religion know?
In brief 'twas this: to all to do
Just as he would be done unto.
So in kind Nature's law he stood,
A temple, undefiled with blood,
A friend to everything that 's good.
The rest angels alone can fitly tell;
Haste then to them and him; and so farewell!

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 15th April 2012 | © Weird Island 2010-2020
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St. Dunstan's, Stepney: location