Southwark Cathedral, or the Cathedral Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie, is a beautiful cathedral, a stone's throw from The Thames, The Golden Hinde, and Borough Market.
Southwark Cathedral, or the Cathedral Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie, is a beautiful cathedral, a stone's throw from The Thames, The Golden Hinde, and Borough Market. Originally the site of a Roman villa, in the 7th century, a nunnery was founded here by a wealthy ferryman in honour of his daughter, Mary. Parts of the villa's pavement can still be seen inside the church today. St Swithun, the Bishop of Winchester, converted the nunnery into a church and monastery in the 9th century and these were then rebuilt in 1106. The Norman church, however, burned down in 1212, and was replaced between 1220 and 1420 by the present building, making it one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in London. The earliest reference to the site was in the Domseday Book of 1086. Despite this, it only became a cathedral in 1906.
Southwark Cathedral sits at the oldest crossing point of the tidal Thames, which was the only place you could cross the river to get to the City for many centuries. It is the lead church in the Anglican Diocese of Southwark. The tower dates back to 1520 and the choir to the 13th century, however the rest of the church is mostly Victorian. Inside, you can see the memorials to Shakespeare (who is said to have worshipped here) and Sam Wanamaker, an American film director and actor who rebuilt The Globe Theatre. Other memorials are for John Gower, the first English poet, Oscar Hammerstein, the musical director, and there is a chapel dedicated to John Harvard, founder of Harvard University. A window depicts the Cathedral's history. You might recognise the interior of the Cathedral, which was used for the filming of the wedding scenes in the film 'The Slipper and the Rose'. Parts of the Doctor Who episode "The Lazarus Experiment" take place at Southwark Cathedral but, although the exterior was used, the interior shots were filmed at Wells Cathedral.
A favourite stop for breaks due to its picturesque surroundings, the Cathedral is a hive of activity. You can catch their regular organ recitals on Monday and varied recitals on Tuesday afternoons. The Cathedral has two choirs: The Cathedral Choir and the Merbecke Choir.
London Bridge, London SE1 9DA
Monday-Friday, 8.00-18.00; Saturdays and Sundays, 8.30-18.00.