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The medieval priory of St. John was once home to the Knights Hospitallers, who sent men and money along the pilgrim routes of Europe. They were basically just a team of nurses trained to aid the troops injured in the Crusades.
The buildings were demolished during the reign of Henry VIII, and all that remains today is St. John’s Gate and the Norman crypt.
The gate was originally built in 1504 and heavily restored in the 1800s when it served as the Old Jerusalem Tavern. The corresponding church had a round nave like the one in Temple – and you can still see the outline picked out in the brickwork of the square.
The gate now houses a small museum of the history of the Order of St. John, with crusader coins and Turkish armour. There are also some exhibits detailing the history of the St. John Ambulance Service, which was created here in Victorian times.
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