St Olave Hart Street and St Katharine Cree: Churches with London at Heart

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Sanctuary in the City

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HISTORY & ARCHITECTURE at St Katharine Cree

Now known as the Guild Church to Finance, Commerce and Industry, the present building dates from 1630, although the tower dates from 1504 and was part of the previous church on the site, which itself originally formed part of the mediaeval Priory of the Holy Trinity (1108).

 

The church is Grade I listed, having survived the Great Fire of 1666, the Second World War (with some damage to the roof) and the Baltic Exchange bomb of 1992, which blew out the central part of the 17th-century east window.

 

In 1873 it subsumed the nearby church of St James, Duke's Place, which was demolished. It is the Ward Church of the Aldgate Ward and wardmotes are held here. The Aldgate Ward is the shipping and insurance ward of the City, and the churchyard is surrounded by offices and flats.

 

The organ, restored in 2003 is an instrument of outstanding quality, having some 17th-century pipes by ‘Father’ Smith and good 19th-century additions. The original instrument was played by Purcell and Handel. View a specification of the instrument here.

 

There is a weekly Eucharist as well as a number of special services, for example:

 

• The St James’s Day Service in July

• The Lion Sermon in October (lunchtime service), a City tradition dating from 1643

• The Patronal Festival in November (evening service)

• Company carol services, memorial services etc.

 

At these special services worship is often accompanied and enhanced by Lloyd’s Choir and the City Singers, who also rehearse in the church and give concerts here from time to time.

 

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Crucifix at St Katharine's

photo Suzanne d'Esperey

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