Eastminster, also known as New Abbey, St Mary Graces, and other variants,[1] was a Cistercian abbey on Tower Hill at East Smithfield in London. It was founded by Edward III in 1350 immediately outside the Roman London Wall[2] in what is now the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It stood just to the north of an older royal foundation, the Hospital and Collegiate Church of St Katharine by the Tower.

Eastminster, based on a drawing by Anton van den Wyngaerde, 1544

Among the abbey's endowments was the reversion of one of the four manors of Shere in Gomshall, Surrey, given by King Edward III in 1350. This manor acquired the name Towerhill, due to its patronage by the abbey.[3]

In 1375, Sir Nicholas de Loveyne bequeathed to the Abbot and Convent the reversion of the mills of Crash Mills, to endow the perpetual singing of masses for the donor.[4] Crash Mills were situated on the River Thames, near East Smithfield.[5]

The Abbey's benefactors were mainly courtiers; it attracted relatively few bequests from the merchants of the City of London.[6]

The abbey was dissolved in 1538. From 1805 to 1966 the site was the home of the Royal Mint,[7] after which it was renamed as Royal Mint Court and used for offices.

A large-scale excavation of the site of the abbey took place between 1983 and 1988. An analysis of the archaeological and documentary evidence uncovered has been published by Museum of London Archaeology.[8]

Burials at the AbbeyEdit


  1. ^ Weinreb, Ben; Hibbert, Christopher, eds. (1983). The London Encyclopaedia. London: Macmillan. p. 740. ISBN 9780333325568.
  2. ^ Page, William, ed. (1909). "House of Cistercian monks: 4. Eastminster, New Abbey, or the Abbey of St Mary de Graciis". A History of the County of London: Volume 1, London Within the Bars, Westminster and Southwark. Victoria County History. London. pp. 461–464 – via British History Online.
  3. ^ H. E. Malden, ed. (1911). "Parishes: Shere". A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  4. ^ Leland L. Duncan. "Medieval & Tudor Wills at Lambeth". Kent Archaeological Society. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  5. ^ 'Stepney: Economic History', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 11: Stepney, Bethnal Green (1998), pp. 52-63. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=22735 Date accessed: 9 June 2017.
  6. ^ Paul Trio, Marjan de Smet, The Use and Abuse of Sacred Places in Late Medieval Towns (Leuven, 2006), pp. 163–164
  7. ^ Harvey, John (1978). The Perpendicular Style, 1330–1485. London: Batsford. ISBN 9780713416107.
  8. ^ Grainger, Ian; Phillpotts, Christopher (2011). The Cistercian Abbey of St Mary Graces, East Smithfield, London. London: Museum of London Archaeology. ISBN 9781907586026.

Coordinates: 51°30′34″N 0°04′20″W / 51.5094°N 0.0723°W / 51.5094; -0.0723