Southwark Cathedral
Southwark Cathedral
Formerly known as St. Mary Overie ("over the river"), Southwark only became a cathedral in 1905. The church and the area around it have what might charitably be called a colourful history. Founded in Saxon times, it passed to the Augustinian order in 1106.
The chancel and retrochoir were rebuilt after a fire in 1212. The retrochoir is a rare medieval survivor in London. The area around Southwark was governed by the Bishops of Winchester in the Middle Ages as a "liberty", a sort of private kingdom. Here they controlled a prison called the Clink, which gave its name to prisons the world over. Here also was the most infamous red-light district in greater London, whose activities provided the major source of income for the bishops. In fact, the ladies employed in the brothels of Southwark were called "the Bishop of Winchester's geese".