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Published September 15th 2013
A beautiful cathedral with noteworthy tombs and memorials
Southwark Cathedral is located near London Bridge in a thriving area of London. The still and peaceful cathedral has been described by visitors as an 'oasis of calm' in contrast to the hectic pace of the surrounding city.
The ancient church, first built in 606, is unique not only in its intensely serene ambiance, but also in its place in history as a church that offered 'hospitality to every kind of person: princes and paupers, prelates and prostitutes, poets, playwrights, prisoners and patients have all found refuge here'. It is certainly a destination to be visited for its atmosphere, beautiful services, architecture, and great place in history. There are also several noteworthy tombs throughout the cathedral.
John Gower, a contemporary of Geoffrey Chaucer, is remembered by a brightly decorated tomb. Gower wrote in three languages and his political and religious writings were read by fourteenth century kings and leaders. His head rests on three of his most famous works composed in three different languages: Speculum Meditantis (French), Confessio Amantis (English) and Vox Clamantis (Latin).
William Shakespeare's brother, Edmund, is interred in the church in an unknown location. It is believed that Shakespeare worshipped in Southwark Cathedral during his residency in the area. The cathedral contains a large memorial and stained glass window to honour him.
Bishop Lancelot Andrewes served as Bishop of Chichester, Ely, and Winchester during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I. He is most famous for overseeing the translation of the King James Version of the Bible.
Tomb of Lancelot Andrewes. Photo by Erin Connelly.
The unknown effigy of a knight dates back to 1280 and is considered to be one of the oldest wooden effigies in England. The knight's identity is unknown, but it is believed that he was a member of the de Warenne family, who contributed to the priory.