I am pleased to reproduce some aspects of my previous book because people keep asking questions about St Katharine’s, and important to me is spreading the message of the historical importance of this wonderful area which is also my home. The reason I wrote the book was only because noone else had brought the story together- it wasn’t a commercial venture, though I am relieved to have more than covered costs. To buy The Story Of St Katharine’s, click here.
‘In the tenth century, land had been given as a reward by King Edgar, to a group of knights, who formed a ‘Knighten Guild,’ using it extensively for trade. In 1125, their descendants donated it to the Holy Trinity, an Augustian Priory in nearby Aldgate. King Stephen was then king; he and his Queen, Matilda of Boulogne, had lost two of their infant sons, Eustace and William and were buried in Holy Trinity. Matilda planned with the Priory to endow a foundation that would benefit the souls of the Royal family. This led to the building of the Royal Foundation of St Katharine in approximately 1148.’ Queen Matilda resided in the neighbouring Tower of London.
The picture above is a sketch of the ancient St Katharine’s Hospital and Church, founded in 1148 by Queen Matilda. This led to the development of a precinct of 4000+ people, who thrived and evolved through nearly seven hundred years, with its own court, school, industry, cemetries and ‘dokke.’ This was all destroyed in the 1820’s to make way for the luxury Telford Docks, eventually becoming the beautiful St Katharine Docks we know today.