St. Katherine Cree, London

This church, located in Leadenhall in the Aldgate Ward of the City of London was founded in 1280. The present building dates from 1628-30. It was built in the grounds of Holy Trinity Priory to provide a lay church so as to not interfere with the devotions of the canons of the Augustinian monastery. ‘Cree’ is a corruption of ‘Christ’ (Church), a reference to the monastery. It was rebuilt in 1628 and consecrated by Archbishop Laud in 1631. It is also one of the few churches to have survived both the Great Fire and WWII relatively unscathed.

The present church, which retains the Tudor tower of its predecessor is quite a significant church of the Jacobean period. Not many churches were built at that time and it is the only one to survive in London.

The church has a high nave dominated by a Gothic ribbed ceiling. It is surrounded on either side by narrow aisles with arcades supported on Corinthian columns. The east end contains a magnificent window in the shape of a Catherine Wheel. This is reputedly modelled on the much larger one in Old St Paul’s Cathedral (sadly destroyed in the Great Fire).

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