Southwark Cathedral or The Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie, Southwark, London, lies on the south bank of the River Thames close to London Bridge. It should not be confused with the nearby Roman Catholic St George's Cathedral, Southwark.
It is the mother church of the Anglican Diocese of Southwark. It has been a place of Christian worship for over 1,000 years, but a cathedral only since 1905. The present building is mainly Gothic, from between 1220 and 1420.
The main railway line from London Bridge station to Cannon Street station passes close to the cathedral, blocking the view from the south side. Borough Market and the Hall of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass by the river are in the immediate vicinity.
The earliest reference to the site was in the Domesday Book survey of 1086, wherein the "minster" of Southwark seems to be under the control of Bishop Odo of Bayeux William the Conqueror's half-brother. It is unlikely that this minster pre-dates the conversion of Wessex in the mid-seventh century, or the foundation of the "burh" ca AD 886. There is no proof of any claims, as presently made by the Cathedral authorities, that a convent was founded on the site in 606 nor of the claim that a monastery was founded by St Swithun in the ninth century. The Saxon minster was a collegiate church servicing a south Thames area. In 1106, Henry I's reign, the latter became an Augustinian Priory: Norman stonework can still be seen, and Thomas Becket preached here before departing to Canterbury, days before his murder in 1170.
The main structure of the present church was built between 1220 and 1420, making it the first Gothic church in London. Peter des Roches, Bishop of Winchester, repaired the church after a 1212 fire. In the 1390's, it was again devistated by fire, and in around 1420, once again a Bishop of Winchester Henry Beaufort, assisted with the rebuilding of the south transept and the completion of the tower.
Heresy trials occurred in the Galilee chapel in 1555, under Mary I of England.
Shakespeare buried his brother, Edmund, here in 1607. (The Cathedral contains a 19th century large stained glass window dedicated to William, depicting scenes from all of the plays he wrote, at the base of the which is a statue of a reclining William Shakespeare holding a quill.) It was a popular resting place for dramatists - John Fletcher and Philip Massinger are also buried here. Lancelot Andrewes, part-author of the Authorised Version, is buried by the high altar and John Harvard was baptised here.
There is a memorial to the victims of the Marchioness disaster and monuments to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. On 16 November 1996 the cathedral became a focus of controversy by hosting a twentieth-anniversary service for the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. Jeffrey John, the Dean of St Albans and former bishop-elect of Reading, was Canon Theologian of Southwark. In 2001, Mandela opened a new northern 'cloister' on the site of the old monastic one, with a refectory, shop, conference centre, education centre and museum. In 2002, these Millennium buildings received an award for being one of the best new buildings of the year.
The cathedral is used by London South Bank University for its annual honorary degree ceremony, by City University London for its degree ceremonies and by King's College London for its medical and dental degree ceremonies; an association stemming from the merger with Guy's and St Thomas' teaching hospitals. Indeed, St Thomas' started as an infirmary attached to the Priory of St Mary. The cathedral is also used to host The London Nautical School's annual Christmas Carol Service. The Choir is supported financially by the St Olave's & St Saviour's Schools Foundation, which stems from the two parochial schools set up in the 1560s.
The cathedral's third choir, the Southwark Cathedral Merbecke Choir, was formed in late 2003. It comprises ex-choristers (boys and girls) and other young singers, and sings regularly in the cathedral.
The Southwark Choir performed the Mr. Bean theme song.
A new millennium at Southwark Cathedral; investigations into the first two thousand years.(Brief article)(Book review)
Nov 01, 2009; 9780954293871 A new millennium at Southwark Cathedral; investigations into the first two thousand years. Divers, David et al....