St John Historical Society


The St John Historical Society was founded in 1981 to study the history of the Order of St John and of the other military orders and related topics.

There are no formal qualifications for membership, other than an interest in the subject.

The Society holds monthly meetings, usually at St John’s Gate, Clerkenwell. Meetings usually begin at 7pm.

Excursions to sites of interest are usually arranged for the summer months. Overseas visits have been made to the Netherlands, Switzerland, Malta and the Dordogne.

Annual Proceedings are published by the Society, so that members who are unable to attend meetings in London may have the information given in the lectures. A news-sheet of general interest is circulated to members several times each year.

Guests are welcome to attend their first lecture on a drop-in basis. Subsequently, we invite you to become a member of the Society.

Current subscriptions per annum

Single £12, double at the same address £18
If joining after June, pay half annual rate.


Membership forms can be obtained at St John’s Gate or download our application for membership form.

Download application for membership form (35KB – PDF)

2016 Programme

Unless otherwise stated all talks will take place at the Museum of the Order of St John at 7pm.

Thursday 18th February

London Herbal Hospital Care 

Karen Howell Curator and Herb Archivist, The Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garret

Wednesday 23rd March

Souvenirs of the Sepulchre: Devotion to an Empty Tomb at the Time of the First Crusades

Dr William Purkis, University of Birmingham

This talk will be open to the general public however, as it is expected to be extremely popular, non-Historical Society members will need to reserve places. Free tickets will be available through the Museum’s website from the beginning of March. 

Wednesday 20th April

An Architectural Exploration of St John’s Gate and the Priory Church

Tom Foakes, Head of Heritage, The Museum of the Order of St John

This talk will be preceded by the AGM.

Wednesday 11th May at 6pm

Walking Tour: Covent Garden, an old Hospitaller site, followed by the Strand and Temple Precinct.

Meet outside Covent Garden tube station.

David Evans, Society Council Member and registered guide

Saturday 25th June at 2pm

Walking Tour: In the Steps of Sigismund, the Holy Roman Emperor.

Meet at Ely Place, St Ethelreda’s.

Lester Hillman, Society Member and Academic Adviser to Islington Archaeology and History Society

Wednesday 21st September

The Contribution of the Order of St John to the formation of Ambulance Trains during the First World War

Paul Gwilliam Society Council Member

Wednesday 19th October

Constance of France, Female Hospitaller (1126-1190)

Myra Bom

Wednesday 16th November

‘Was it something he ate?’ King John and the Autumn drama of 1216 plus a review of last year’s Magna Carta commemorations in and around St John’s Gate.

Lester Hillman, Society Member and Academic Adviser to Islington Archaeology and History Society


The Museum of the Order of St John would like to thank all those who have supported and continue to support its work. In particular, the Museum would like to thank the following for their generosity: