SSC is an Anglo-Catholic society of priests who live under a common rule of life that informs their priestly ministry and charism. The Society was founded on 28 February 1855 at the chapel of the House of Charity, Soho, London, by six priests, among them Father Charles Lowder, founder of St Peter’s, London Docks. The society they formed was initially intended as a spiritual association for their personal edification, but it soon came to be among the driving forces behind the Anglo-Catholic movement, particularly after the first phase of the Oxford Movement had played its course and John Henry Newman had been received into the Roman Catholic Church.

Lowder was the founder of the Society and served as its first master. While visiting France in 1854, he conceived of the idea of an order of Anglican priests based on the Lazarists, a Roman Catholic order founded by St Vincent de Paul. The Society provided its members with a rule of life and a vision of a disciplined priestly life. Mutual support has always been a key element and the life of the Society is experienced primarily through sharing a common rule of life and by meetings of the local chapter. Attendance at chapter is of obligation unless prevented by genuine pastoral duties.

SSC has been intimately connected with the life of St Peter's, London Docks since the two were founded in 1855 and 1856 respectively.