MuseumSt Katharine Cree Church
About the museum
The present church was built between 1628 and 1630 under the influence of William Laud, at that time Bishop of London, although much of its location as a place of worship goes back much further.
The Priory of the Holy Trinity was founded in 1108 by Matilda, Henry I's consort, for the Canons Regular. By her generous endowment she gave not only the vast Priory Church and Convent, but also the whole ward of Portsoken, four parishes including that of St Katharine and the Aldgate city gate.
Eventually by agreement with the Priory and Convent, the church of St Katharine was built in the churchyard of the said church at the motion of Lord Richard de Graveshende, Bishop of London between 1280 and 1303.
Little is known of this early church other than the tower was added in 1504 with money left by Sir John Percivall, Merchant Taylor.
In 1531, the priory was dissolved and its buildings given to Lord Audley. He in turn offered the Priory Church to the parishioners of St Katharine, but Stow records show that "Having doubts in their heads of afterclaps" (the random notes of bells after ringing) they refused. By 1620 St Katharine Creechurch was in decay. A deed dates 15 September 1629 refers to the "ruin and decay" of the church causing the buildings to fail and as a result it was pulled down.
It was not then until 1628 that a church was back in place at St Katharine's.
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