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Southwark Cathedral, London: 38 reviews and 103 photos

  Southwark Cathedral
by toonsarah
  • Southwark Cathedral - London
      Southwark Cathedral
    by toonsarah
  • Southwark Cathedral - London
      Southwark Cathedral
    by toonsarah

"And so over the fields to Southwarke. I spent half an hour in St Mary Overy's church, where are fine monuments of great antiquity."

Samuel Pepys - 21st July 1663
[quoted on the cathedral?s website]

This is one of London?s oldest places of worship. It is believed that there has been a church on this site for over 1000 years. However the site has been in use for even longer as it was once the site of a Roman villa, and small parts of a Roman paving have been incorporated into the floor of the cathedral. The first mention of a church here is a reference to a monastery in the Doomsday Book of 1086, but this was replaced in 1106 by a new church, known as St Mary Overie, or St Mary?s ?over the river?. This was destroyed by fire only a century later, and the rebuilt structure, though it has suffered further damage over the years, is the basis for what we see today, the oldest Gothic building in the city of London. A very full history of the cathedral can be found on the website below if you?re interested, including its transformation to become the Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie in 1905, as the centre for the newly created Diocese of Southwark.

There is a lot to see inside the cathedral, with its comparatively recent (late 19th century) nave and much older choir and transepts. Look out for the window dedicated to William Shakespeare, depicting characters from his plays ? this part of London is closely associated with him as the Globe Theatre was nearby, and his brother is thought to have been buried in the churchyard here. A more recent addition is the memorial to the victims of the Marchioness Disaster, when a River Thames pleasure boat sank near to the Cathedral (in August 1989). Visitors from the USA will be interested in the Harvard Chapel, which commemorates John Harvard, founder of Harvard University. He was born in Southwark in 1607, a butcher's son, and was baptised in St Saviour's, but later emigrated to Massachusetts and endowed the university.

As well as exploring the cathedral, you can have lunch or a snack at the Refectory , shop in the cathedral?s gift shop, or simply relax and enjoy the relative peace and quiet of the churchyard on its south side (a good place too for picnics).

Address: Southwark, SE1
Directions: On the south bank of the River Thames close to London Bridge, which is the nearest tube (Jubilee and Northern lines) and mainline station. Follow exit signs for Borough High Street ? the cathedral is signposted from street level
Phone: +44 20 7367 6700
Website: http://www.southwark.anglican.org/cathedral/

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 4, 2012
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