The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 35 Southwark

Southwark Cathedral

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Southwark Cathedral or ST. SAVIOUR'S CHURCH, the seat of a bishop since 1905, lies in the Borough High St., at the south end of London Bridge. Often rebuilt and repaired, it is the finest Gothic building in London after Westminster Abbey, and it is now the sole survival of mediaeval Southwark. The main entrance is in the south-west corner of the nave; there is another entrance in the south transept. The chief services on Sunday are at 11 and 6.30; on week-days at 5 p.m. HISTORY. According to the legend, a nunnery was founded on this site by a ferryman's daughter called Mary, whence is derived the former title of the church, St. Mary Overy, which is explained as 'St. Mary of the Ferry' or 'St. Mary over the Rie' (water). In 852-862 this nunnery was changed by St. Swithin, Bishop of Winchester, into a house for canons regular of the Augustinian order. In 1106 a new church was erected by William de Pont de L'Arche, William Dauncy, and William Giffard, Bishop of Winchester, of which few traces have survived. The choir and lady chapel were built by Peter de Rupibus in 1207; the transepts are Early English, remodelled in the 15th century. The nave, which had collapsed about 1838 and been replaced by a temporary erection, was entirely rebuilt by Blomfield in 1890-96. Over the crossing rises a noble 16th century tower, 35 feet square and 150 feet high, adorned with pinnacles at the corners. At the Reformation the church became the parish church, and its name was changed from St. Mary Overy to St. Saviour's, the title of the Abbey of Bermondsey. In this church James I. of Scotland was married in 1423 to Joan Beaufort, niece of Cardinal Beaufort.