There has been a church on the site of Southwark Cathedral for over one thousand years and the current building is the oldest building in Southwark

The original church was founded by St Swithun in 860 and in the twelfth century it was known as the Church of St Mary Overie (“Overie” meaning “over the water”). Inside the church there are two rounded Norman arches that survived the fire of 1213.

In 1616, when most of London’s theatres were in its vicinity, the then chaplain denounced those who “dishonour God by penning and acting in plays”. Ironically, William Shakespeare’s brother, Edmund, who was an actor, is buried in the church. And there is a statue of Shakespeare alongside a tablet dedicated to Sam Wanamaker, founder of the present Globe theatre.

The church became a Cathedral in 1905. Read more about London’s historic churches.

You can visit Southwark Cathedral on the cultural walk.

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