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St John's Gate

A Grade I Listed Building in Clerkenwell, London

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Latitude: 51.522 / 51°31'19"N

Longitude: -0.1028 / 0°6'9"W

OS Eastings: 531723

OS Northings: 182049

OS Grid: TQ317820

Mapcode National: GBR P8.2K

Mapcode Global: VHGR0.50JK

Entry Name: St John's Gate

Listing Date: 29 December 1950

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1208827

English Heritage Legacy ID: 369305

Location: Islington, London, EC1M

County: London

District: Islington

Electoral Ward/Division: Clerkenwell

Built-Up Area: Islington

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St James Clerkenwell

Church of England Diocese: London

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Listing Text


635-1/74/805 St John's Gate


Originally the south gateway to the Priory of Clerkenwell, the
headquarters of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem; now the
headquarters of the Most Venerable Order of St John. Built
1504 by Prior Thomas Docwra; probably refaced in 1846 through
the efforts of W.P.Griffith, local architect and antiquarian;
further restoration work of 1873-4 by Richard Norman Shaw,
1893 (reworking of coats of arms over the arch) and 1903 by
John Oldrid Scott, all through the efforts of Sir Edmund
Lechmere; east wing, including the Chapter Hall, added 1903 to
the designs of John Oldrid Scott. Brick with dressed ragstone
facings and stone dressings, roof of clay tiles. The building
consists of an arch over the street with a room over it,
flanked by slightly higher tower-like wings differently
arranged on the north and south sides. Four-centred arch with
star-shaped square tierceron vault, and brickwork of English
bond to the interior walls in which are set Tudor-arched
windows and a doorway.
On the north side of the gate a three-light, Tudor-arched
window is set centrally above the arch with coats of arms
immediately below it; on either side of the arch, and in the
same wall face, are four storeys of Tudor-arched openings, the
lowest of them being doorways (that to the west blocked) with
foliage carving to the spandrels. East and west of the central
block are projecting wings of four storeys also, with Tudor-
arched openings, and at the base of the west wing is a doorway
with coats of arms and animal carvings in the spandrels and
square label stops; an answering doorway to the east is partly
set below the level of the road, and blocked up. A moulded
string course runs across the principal front and the inner
faces of the wings just above the main arch. Cornice and
embattled parapet.
The south side follows a similar arrangement except that the
wings abut immediately on the arch, each having a three-light
window to either face on the ground floor and Tudor-arched
single-light windows to three floors above. The east wing
abuts the Chapter House, and on the west side there is a
similar additional wing, shallower but as broad, and without
windows. Gabled roofs to east and west with chimney stacks
chamfered to produce an extended octagon.
The east wing is of three storeys with a four-window range to
St John's Lane. Broad Tudor-arched doorway to the north end,
designed as a carriage entrance for horse-drawn ambulances,
with floral and heraldic ornament to the spandrels and a
stepped panel of cusped ornament above; two four-light
Tudor-arched windows under relieving arches to the ground
floor; first floor has four three-light Tudor-arched windows
under relieving arches; second floor has four pointed-arched
windows with three lights and one transom to the Chapter Hall;
embattled parapet.
INTERIOR: . East tower: C17 dog-leg staircase with closed
string, double-vase balusters, moulded rail, square newels
with ball finials and moulded risers; linenfold dado panelling
probably by John Oldrid Scott; plasterwork to the underside of
the stairs decorated in relief with designed based on the
'langues' of the Order of St John, probably of late C19 date.
Old Chancery on the second floor with panelling by J.O.Scott
and stone fireplace of c.1570 introduced from the former town
house of Sir Thomas Forster: fluted tapering pilasters to
either side and frieze of scrolling foliage and fauna with Sir
Thomas Forster's arms. Top room with panelled partition and
moulded wooden fireplace surround enclosing Dutch tiles and
and a grate with cast-iron hood of ogee profile, all by John
Oldrid Scott.
West tower: spiral staircase of 1504 with newel of chestnut,
and treads of oak or possibly elm, those from ground to first
floor early C20 replacements. The lowest room has a fireplace
with Dutch tiles and a grate with cast-iron hood of ogee
profile, by John Oldrid Scott. The Library and attic of 1874
by Richard Norman Shaw, the Library with Tudor-arched stone
fireplace with heraldic bearings and decorative inscription
including the date 1874.
Council Chamber, over the arch: panelling of late C19 or early
C20 date, inset with commemorative plaques; late C17 or early
C18 fireplace with panelled pilaster and consoles supporting
frieze of geometrical interlacing with festoons to the centre;
dentil cornice to the mantelshelf, which breaks back and
forward; late C19 roof of shallow pitch with arched braces and
central lantern; heraldic stained glass in north and south
windows, 19ll, by Powells of Whitefriars.
Chapter Hall: panelled to sill height; fireplace at south end
with straight-sided Tudor-arched opening , blank arcade with
coats of arms above and embattled parapet, between
barley-sugar columns; panelled roof of oak with central
lantern carried on corbelled vaulting.
(Pamela Willis: St John's Gate. Headquarters of the Order of
St John).

Listing NGR: TQ3172382049

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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