S. Katharine by the Tower
Community ID
Medieval Location
Modern Location
Corporate Status
S. Catherine
Date Founded
1148, refounded in 1273.
Date Terminated
1825. It was demolished to clear the land for St. Katherine's Docks.
Foundation Information

The hospital was founded by Queen Matilda, wife of King Stephen, in memoriam of her two sons, Stephen and Eustace, who died in infancy. At it's foundation the hospital housed three sisters, three brothers, and almsman, and six clerks who cared for up to 23 poor under the supervision of a male master.

Priveleges & Papal Exemptions

In 1442, due largely to the popularity of its musical programme, the hospital was granted a Charter of Privileges, which made the hospital independent from the City of London's ecclesiastical and civil jurisdiction.

Dependency Of

While the custody of the hospital was officially granted to the priory of Holy Trinity, Queen Matilda reserved the right to appoint the master, a right which she also conferred upon her successors. Because of the hospitals special relationship with the queen, it escaped dissolution.


In 1257, the bishop of London made a visitation at the behest of Queen Eleanor of Provence. At that time he dismissed the master of the house, which had been appointed by the canons of Holy Trinity.


Queen Consort Eleanor of Castile, Queen Consort Philippa of Hainault, Queen Consort Eleanor of Provence, John Holland, duke of Exeter; Henry VI,


In 1442, the hospital consisted of 23 acres.


Founded as a hospital for the poor.


In 1255, Queen Eleanor of Provence disputed Holy Trinity's custody of the hospital, perhaps because the hospital seems to have fallen into disrepair, with the brothers being accused of drunken quarrels. However, both the Court of the Exchequer and the mayor and the aldorman of London all decided against Eleanor, thus confirming Holy Trinity's right to appoint the master. Eleanor then turned to the bishop of London, who intervened on her behalf. The bishop dimissed the master appointed by Holy Trinity and stated that Holy Trinity should no longer interfere in any way with the running of St. Katharine's. In 1261, the bishop of London, Henry de Wengham, along with the bishops of Carlisle and Salisbury, convinced the canons of Holy Trinity to renounce their claims to the hospital. At this time, the hospital was formally surrendered to the Queen.

Miscellaneous Information

By the early modern period, St. Katharine's had it's own court system and prison.

WRL Project, Ericka Swensson
Date Started
Date Finished