St Thomas Southwark - The Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks

St Thomas Southwark

• The first church of St Thomas Southwark was part of the original St. Thomas' Hospital which was located to the area around the present St Thomas Street, from the infirmary at St Mary Overie priory in 1212.

• The hospital was therefore also an Augustinian house. The hospital and conventual precinct became a parish no later than 1496. It was named after Thomas Becket whose cult pilgrimage began at London Bridge for Canterbury. 

• The church was renamed St Thomas the Apostle following the abolition of the Becket cult in 1538 during the Reformation.

• The present church was built by the Hospital Governors to designs by Thomas Cartwright in 1703. It had a garret that was called the Herb Garret in 1821. In the same year, the Old Operating Theatre was built in the Herb Garret.

• Its use as a church became redundant in 1899 and the parish merged with St Saviour's, which became Southwark Cathedral in 1905; St Thomas' then was used as the Chapter House for the cathedral.

• In the late 20th century it was used as office space by the Chapter Group, an insurance company. The building was undermined by the Jubilee Line workings and repairs have still not been effected (2003) because a dispute between the Jubilee Line and the lease holders.


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