THE PRIORY CHURCH
The Order of St John is a Christian Order, founded on Christian principles and what we do is motivated by Christian values and ideals. However our services are open to everyone and our staff and volunteers come from all faiths, supported not only by Christian clerics but also Imams and Buddhist monks, in countries such as Kenya and Singapore.
The Priory Church stands on the site of the original round church built by the Knights of St John and consecrated in 1185. The Crypt of this original church survives making it one of the oldest churches in London. The Church stood at the centre of the Priory in Clerkenwell, of which only the Church and St John’s Gate remain. Rebuilt several times, the Church fell into disuse following the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII in 1540. The Church was then used as a private chapel and later as a parish church until 1931 when the Church of England transferred ownership back to the now restored Order of St John. The building was repaired again following bomb damage caused during the Second World War.
On the walls hang the banners of the Sovereign Head, the Grand Prior, the Priories and Commanderies and the Bailiffs and Dames Grand Cross.
A tranquil, light-filled space, the Church itself is a place for meditation and contemplation. The walled Cloister Garden outside the Church is full of flowers and medicinal herbs, and is a haven of peace in the bustling energy of Clerkenwell. It was built as a memorial to St John’s workers who died during the world wars.