London Borough of Southwark
Greater London England
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St. Saviour and St. Mary Overie. Not to be confused with St George's Cathedral (Roman Catholic).
Southwark Cathedral lies on the south bank of the River Thames close to London Bridge.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 1220 to 1420.
It is surrounded by railway lines and buildings, including the historic Borough Market. The churchyard on the south side of the Cathedral is an oasis of calm and is a favourite lunch-time resting place for local office workers.It is known that there has been a church on this site since AD 606. There may well have been a church here even earlier. Southwark Cathedral is the oldest cathedral church building in London, and archaeological evidence shows there was Roman pagan worship here well before that.
Significantly, Southwark stands at the oldest crossing point of the tidal Thames at what was the only entrance to the City of London across the river for many centuries. It is not only a place of worship but also of hospitality to every kind of person: princes and paupers, prelates and prostitutes, poets, playwrights, prisoners and patients have all found refuge here.
The Cathedral's connections with the USA.
The baptismal records for St Saviour's Church record that the son of parishioners Robert and Katherine Harvard was baptised here on 29 November 1607. He was given the name John. Robert was a prominent businessman who had a butcher's business in Pepper Alley and was also warden of St Saviour's. John lost many family members, including his father, in the Southwark Plague. His mother Katherine went on to remarry, possibly twice more. However, after the death of both his mother and elder brother, John and his wife Ann left for Massachusetts in 1637. He died of consumption in 1638 and left half his estate and his library of books to the proposed new college, now known as Harvard University. The Harvard Chapel in the Cathedral commemorates this 'godly gentleman and lover of learning'.The last burials in the churchyard were in 1854. Records of burials from 1538 to 1854 can be found in the London Metropolitan Archives.
Ashes are still interred within the churchyard grounds.
(text added by Geoffrey Gillon)