St  Katharine Cree



The parish church of St Katharine Cree was originally built in the grounds of Holy Trinity Priory in  around 1280, and rebuilt between  1500-4, in the Late Gothic style, and again between 1628-31, this time in the Renaissance  styleIt was undamaged by the Great Fire of 1666, although later requiring restoration  in 1878-9, and again, after being damaged by bombing in the Blitz of the Second World War, between 1956-62.   The tower dates to 1500-4 (although the cupola is eighteenth-century), the porch to 1628-31, and the gateway to the churchyard, on Mitre Street, by William Avenon, to 1631.

Detail of skeleton figure above gateway to churchyard

Detail of skeleton figure above gateway to churchyard



The interior contains some Late Gothic elements, such as the east window, in the form of an elaborately stylised Katharine Wheel, and the intricately ribbed ceiling; and some Renaissance  ones, such as the Corinthian columns in the nave.

It also contains monuments to Sir Nicholas Throgmorton (d. 1570), Bartholomew Ellnor (d. 1636) and Sir John Gayer (d. 1649), a marble font of around 1631, and a Father Smith  organ of 1686, once played by Handel and Purcell (as well as  some  memorial plaques and a reredos salvaged from St James Duke’s Place). 

Throgmorton memorial

Throgmorton memorial

The church is the home of the “Lion Sermons”, given each year on or around October 16th in remembrance of the aforementioned Merchant Adventurer of the Levant Company and former Lord Mayor Sir John Gayer being spared by a lion in Syria on that day in 1643.

It also has strong connections with the Royalist cause, from that same Civil War period. It was  consecrated by Archbishop Laud, who went on to be executed in 1645 for his close association with Charles I, his persecution of Puritans, and his High Church views.  It even contains a wooden statue of the former king, depicted as a martyr and saint.

Ceiling boss bearing insignia of Goldsmiths' Company

Ceiling boss bearing insignia of Goldsmiths’ Company


5 thoughts on “St  Katharine Cree

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