Rebels, Radicals and Rough Justice: Historic Clerkenwell
Order of St John Museum
Stop just in front of the arched gateway. Look up above the entrance, at the coats of arms. The black shield with white chevron was the coat of arms of Sir Thomas Docwra. He was the prior who built the gateway in the Tudor style in 1507. You can also see the Agnus Dei, or the Lamb and Flag, as well as the Maltese Cross, which was the arms of the order of the Knights of St John. The order, along with all monasteries in England, was disbanded by Henry VIII in 1540. It was reinstated by Queen Victoria as the Order of St John in the 1800s. The main purpose of the charity was and is to run the St John Ambulance Brigade.
Now walk through the gateway, and continue straight down the road ahead. If you have time, you can visit the Museum of the Order of St John, which is on your left as you emerge. Here are displayed memorabilia from the original order of Knights, and objects connected with the later history of the building.
If you do visit, just carry on straight down the road when you’re done.