The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
Priory of the Holy Trinity.
To the north of formerly stood the magnificent priory of the Holy Trinity, called Christ-church. It was founded by queen Maud, daughter to Malcolm, king of Scotland, wife to Henry I., by the persuasions of Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, and Richard Beaumeis, bishop of London, A. D. , in the same place where Siredus had begun to erect a church in honour of the Holy Cross and St. Mary Magdalene, out of which the dean and chapter of Waltham were entitled to receive ; but the queen gave them a mill in exchange, and had this agreement confirmed by king Henry, her husband, giving the care of the church to Norman, the canon regular in all England, for canons of his own rule.
The same queen also endowed this church, and those that served God therein, with the port of , and the soke thereunto belonging, with all customs, as mentioned in the following deed:--
Henry I. subsequently strengthened this charter by considerable privileges; he confirmed the grant of Maud, and granted them further
The same king also confirmed to them the
which was also confirmed to them by the bull of pope Innocent III.
There was another charter, whereby this priory was privileged to inclose the way along London-wall, and stop the passage, and enlarge their priory to the very wall.
The rights and privileges of this noble foundation were repeatedly confirmed by charters of Henry II. and III. and Edward I.
Norman became Prior of Christchurch in the year , in the parishes of St. Mary Magdalene, St. Michael, St. Catherine, and the Blessed Trinity, which now were made but Parish of the Holy Trinity.
This priory occupied a piece of ground upwards of feet long, in the parish of St. Catherine, towards , near the parochial chapel of St. Michael. In process of time it became a very large church, rich in lands and ornaments, and surpassed all the priories in the city of London or shire of Middlesex, the prior whereof was alderman of Portsoken ward.
In , this priory, with its church, was consumed by fire, but was immediately rebuilt.
After this, priory had swallowed up those parishes above-named, and was appointed the parish church, the inhabitants of the parish of prevailed with the prior to let them build a chapel in the church-yard of the priory, for their more convenient and quiet resort to perform their divine service in, and to appoint them of his canons to say mass to them, on condition that they continued to christen their children in the conventual church and to come thither at all solemn times; their devotion at the altar of St. Mary Magdalene, where they had before resorted, being greatly disturbed by the noise of several celebrating mass together. But in time, the parishioners neglecting to come to the conventual church, the prior insisted upon their
|agreement to resort to the great church for the christening of their children, and upon all the holidays, especially the greater, as in the night and day of our Lord's nativity, Good Friday, the day of the benediction of the Easter wax-candle, the morning of Easter-day, the vespers and vigils of the feasts of the Holy Trinity, and the dedication of the conventual church of the Holy Trinity; on which days he would allow no service to be performed in the parochial chapel. This occasioned great contentions between the prior, Robert Exeter, the convent, and the aforesaid parishioners; which continued to the time of William Haradon, and Richard Clifford, bishop of London, who, in the year , accommodated their differences by a composition between them on the following terms, viz.-That the said parishioners of , Christ's, or Cree-church, should have a baptismal font a new set up in their church, or chapel, for baptising of children, and to have other solemnities to be there performed (about which such contentions had before arisen among them), for all times hereafter. That they should resort to the conventual church on the festivals and dedication of the said conventual church in the eve of St. Bartholomew yearly; and there, in token of their submission and acknowledgment, each should, in those festivals, offer their pence, halfpence, and farthings; and that they might, if they pleased, keep the dedication of St. Catherine in their own said chapel or church; which he, the bishop, out of his paternal affection towards them, yielded unto. Further, that they might not ring the bells on Easter-day, till the mass was finished at the conventual church. That of the canons, to be placed or removed at the pleasure of the prior, should serve in the said chapel, as was usual before this present ordinance, to administer to the said parishioners the sacraments, as anciently was done That the prior and convent henceforth be not obliged to find the ornaments, nor be at other charges for the chapel. All which ordination and composition the prior and convent, and the said parishioners received and promised inviolably to observe perpetually.|
This priory was once taken into the king's hands ( Hen. III.) for receiving a thief within its precincts that had escaped from Newgate.
Eustacius, the prior, about the year , because he would not deal with temporal matters, instituted Theobald Fitz-Juonis, or Ivo, as deputy alderman of Portsoken ward under him; and William Rising, prior of Christ-church, was sworn alderman of the said Portsoken ward in the of Richard II. These priors sat and rode among the aldermen of London, in the same livery, only the prior's habit was in shape of a spiritual peron, as Stow saith he himself saw in his childhood; at which time the prior
|kept a most bountiful house, both for rich and poor, as well within the house as at the gates, to all comers, according to their conditions.|
The following is an account of the spiritualities and temporalities of this priory,
Their common seal represented the blessed Saviour seated on a rainbow, and hating in his left hand a book resting on his knee; his right hand elevated. The legend was .
The ARMS of this priory were az. the representation of the Trinity ar., being expressed by plates, in chief, in the middle point, and in base, conjoined to each other by an orle and a pall ar. On the centre plate is the word , on the dexter-chief plate , on the sinister , and on the plate in base the words ; on the parts of the pall the word , and on each part of the orle the words .
This priory was surrendered , by Nicholas Hancock, prior, George Grevil, and more of the convent, who said they did it because their house was much involved in debt, and the revenues and profits sunk, and in effect come to nothing. The valuation is not recorded.
Among the monuments in this church were the following:--
These, and many more sepulchral monuments, were destroyed at the dissolution of this priory, which happened as above;
says Mr. Maitland, »king Henry VIII. desirous to reward sir Thomas Audley, speaker of the parliament against cardinal Wolsey, sent for
|the prior, and, after commending him for his hospitality, with promises of preferment, persuaded him to surrender all the priory, with the appurtenances, into his hands, in the year of his reign. The canons were sent to other houses of the same order; and the priory, with the appurtenances, king Henry gave to sir Thomas Audley, newly knighted, and afterwards made lord chancellor.|
Sir Thomas offered the great church of this priory with a peal of well tuned bells (whereof the largest are now at , and the other at ), to the parishioners of St. Catherine Christ, or Creechurch, in exchange for their small parish church, being willing to have it pulled down, and to have it built there towards the street; but the parishioners declined the offer. He thereupon offered the church and steeple of the priory church to any person who would take it down and carry it from the ground, but no man would undertake the offer; whereupon sir Thomas was obliged to be at more charges to take it down than could be made of the stones, timber, lead, iron, &c.; for the workmen, with great labour, beginning at the top, loosed stone from stone, and threw them down, whereby the greater part of them were broken, and few remained whole, and those were sold very cheap; for all the buildings, then made about the city, were of brick and timber. Thomas, lord Audley, built a noble mansion of this priory, and dwelt in it during his life, and died there in the year ; whose only daughter being married to Thomas, duke of Norfolk, this estate descended to his grace, and was then called the Duke's Place.
In this mansion, which was called Cree-church, chapters of the heralds were held in ; and Holbein, the celebrated painter, is said to have died here in , though some authors say he died at .
 Cotton makes prior Norman to be the founder, A D. 1107.
 Maitland's History of London, ii. 781.
 Taxatio Spiritualium et Temporalium cleri intra Dioecesim London.-Bib. Harl. No. 60, folio.