City of London

St. Katharine Cree, City of London

This is an unusual City of London Church in that it is Renaissance (like all of Wren’s post Great Fire rebuilds) but actually pre-dates the Great Fire. It was built between 1628 and 1631. The exteriors look Tudor but seem to have been restored in the 17th Century, meaning the Church may date to earlier.

There was certainly an Augustinian foundation here from 1108 onwards which ended around 1414, although no trace of this older structure survives.

Inside the mix of Gothic, Tudor and Renaissance continues with low Tudor pews, Classical rounded arches and Gothic vaulting which very much shows that this Church was built during a period of rapid architectural change.

The church organ is one of the oldest in London, dating to 1686. Amongst those who have played it are Purcell, Handel and Wesley. There are a number of late 16th Century monuments inside the Church which also hints at an older history than 1628.

The Victorians did a bit of a hatchet job on some of the windows during the 19th Century, but enough survives of the earlier church to show this peculiar amalgam of styles for what it is – one of the City’s most unusual churches.

This is the "St Katherines" in the Oranges and Lemons Rhyme.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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