Bow Bells (bō) [key], in the church of St. Mary-le-Bow (Bow Church), Cheapside, London, England. The church is located in mid-London, and tradition says that only one who is born within sound of the Bow Bells is a true Londoner, or Cockney. According to legend the Bow Bells called Dick Whittington (see Whittington, Richard) back to London. The fine steeple, which is over 222 ft (68 m) high, was constructed by Christopher Wren when he rebuilt the church after the great fire of 1666; the crypt of the original Norman church, with the arches (bows) for which the church is named, still stands.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.