Holy Trinity Priory, Aldgate

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15th-century heraldic version of the Shield of the Trinity diagram; the monastery's coat of arms would have closely resembled this.[1]

The Holy Trinity Priory, also known as Christchurch Aldgate, was a priory of Austin canons (Black Canons) founded around 1108 by Queen Matilda of England, wife of King Henry I, near Aldgate in London.[2][3] The queen received advice and help in the foundation from Anselm of Canterbury, the Archbishop of Canterbury; the house was founded with clergy from St Botolph's Priory in Colchester,[4][5] and the first prior was Norman, who was the queen's confessor.[3] By 1115 the entire soke, or liberty of East Smithfield (including the ward of Portsoken) was given by the Knighten Guilde to the church of Holy Trinity within Aldgate; the prior of the abbey was then to sit as an ex officio Alderman of London.[6]

Matilda of Boulogne continued the close relationship between queenship and the priory. Two of her children were buried here and she took the prior as her confessor.[7] In the 12th century the priory had a reputation as a centre of learning under Prior Peter of Cornwall.[3]

The priory was dissolved in February 1532 when it was given back to King Henry VIII of England;[2] the buildings and land associated with the priory were given, or sold, to prominent courtiers and City merchants. None of the buildings survive today except for some pointed arches within the office building on the corner of Aldgate and Mitre Street. Mitre Street itself follows roughly the line of the nave of the priory church, while Mitre Square corresponds roughly to the former cloister.

Some account of the Priory is given by John Stow,[8] and in the revised Monasticon.[9]



The priors of this house include:

  • Norman d. 1147- a disciple of Anselm of Canterbury
  • Ralph d. 1167
  • William
  • Peter de Cornwall (Prior 1197-1221)
  • Richard de Temple
  • John de Toking
  • Eustace prior from 1264 to 1280
  • William Aygnel
  • Nicholas Hancocke


  1. ^ A Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry by James Parker (1894).
  2. ^ a b 'Austin canons: Priory of Holy Trinity or Christchurch, Aldgate' A History of the County of London: Volume 1: London within the Bars, Westminster and Southwark (1909), pp. 465–475 Accessed November 13, 2007
  3. ^ a b c Burton Monastic and Religious Orders p. 46
  4. ^ Ashdown-Hill, John (2009) Mediaeval Colchester's Lost Landmarks. Published by The Breedon Books Publishing Company Limited. (ISBN 978-1-85983-686-6)
  5. ^ http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=39844 retrieved 22/08/2014
  6. ^ Allen, Thomas The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and parts adjacent pp.709–712 (George Virtue, 1839)
  7. ^ Duggan Queens and Queenship p. 330
  8. ^ John Stow, A Svrvay of London (1603), pp. 141-44 (Google)
  9. ^ J. Caley, H. Ellis and B. Bandinel (eds), Monasticon Anglicanum, New Edition, Volume 6 Part 1 (James Bohn, London 1846), pp. 150-65 (Google).


  • Burton, Janet (1994). Monastic and Religious Orders in Britain: 1000–1300. Cambridge Medieval Textbooks. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-37797-8.
  • Duggan, Anne (1997). Queens and Queenship in Medieval Europe: Proceedings of a Conference Held at King's College London, April 1995; the Boydell Press.

Coordinates: 51°30′49″N 0°04′41″W / 51.5136°N 0.0780°W / 51.5136; -0.0780