On the west side of Covent Garden Market stands the church of St. Paul, an unimposing building, designed by Inigo Jones and consecrated in 1638. It is of interest as one of the earliest churches of importance built in England after the Reformation. After a fire in 1795 it was restored or rebuilt by Thomas Hardwich in the original style. The interior was modernized in 1872. The main west entrance of the church is reached from Bedford St. by a paved walk through the churchyard, to which there are side-entrances in King St. and Henrietta St.
This small church (open 9 to 4 or 6), with its churchyard, is said to shelter the remains of more celebrated personages than any other church in London, except St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey; but unfortunately most of the tombstones were shifted when the graveyard was levelled, and in most cases the inscriptions are now illegible. The list of those buried here includes Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset (1590-1645); Samuel Butler (1612-80), the author of ï¿½Hudibras'; Sir Peter Lely (1618-80); William Wycherley (circa 1640-1715); Grinling Gibbons (1648-1721), the wood-carver; Dr. Arne (1710-78), the composer of' Rule Britanniaï¿½; Sir Robert Strange (1721-92), the engraver (tablet on south wall); John Wolcot ('Peter Pindar,ï¿½ 1738-1819), the author; Chas. Macklin (1697 ?-1797), the comedian, erroneously stated by the tablet on the south wall to have been 107 years old; Wllliam Turner, the father of the artist (north west angle of church); and Thomas Girtin (1775-1802), the water-colourist. A tablet (1922) within the church Commemorates Dr. Arne.