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St John’s Gate, London: Clerkenwell’s Monastic Past

St. John’s Gate in London stands as a remarkable vestige of Clerkenwell’s monastic heritage. Erected in 1504, this gatehouse serves as a poignant testament to London’s rich history, with its well-preserved structure offering a glimpse into the past. Originally part of the Clerkenwell priory of the Knights of Saint John, the gatehouse underwent extensive restoration in the 19th century, yet retains its historical significance.

Today, St. John’s Gate is repurposed as a museum, showcasing a captivating collection of armor, paintings, and other artifacts. Visitors can explore its chambers and learn about its diverse historical associations, including its role as the printing house for The Gentleman’s Magazine and the childhood home of the renowned painter William Hogarth.

Here are five must-visit places within St. John’s Gate:

  1. Museum Galleries: Delve into the rich history of St. John’s Gate through its diverse exhibits, featuring armor, illuminated manuscripts, paintings, ceramics, and more.
  2. Norman Crypt: Explore the rare 12th-century Norman crypt, offering a unique glimpse into London’s medieval past.
  3. Guided Tours: Join a guided tour to uncover hidden gems and fascinating stories behind this historic site.
  4. St. John’s Ambulance History: Learn about the evolution of St. John Ambulance from its origins with the Knights of Saint John to its present-day role in first aid education and provision.
  5. Historic Rooms: Ascend to the historic rooms upstairs and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of centuries past.

FAQs about St. John’s Gate:

  1. What is the history of St. John’s Gate?
    St. John’s Gate was built in 1504 as the gatehouse for the Clerkenwell priory of the Knights of Saint John. It underwent restoration in the 19th century and now serves as a museum.
  2. What can visitors see at St. John’s Gate?
    Visitors can explore museum galleries featuring armor, paintings, and other artifacts, as well as the Norman crypt and historic rooms upstairs.
  3. Are guided tours available?
    Yes, guided tours are offered to provide visitors with insights into the history and significance of St. John’s Gate.
  4. Is there an admission fee?
    Entry to the museum galleries, garden, and shop is free of charge, although donations are welcomed. Guided tours may have a nominal fee.
  5. What are the opening hours?
    The museum galleries and shop are open Wednesday to Saturday from 9:30 am to 5 pm. Guided tours may have specific time slots, so it’s advisable to check the website for details.

If you’re planning a visit to central London, don’t miss the opportunity to explore this often overlooked gem with its rich historical significance and captivating exhibits.

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