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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.
The main railway line from London Bridge station to Cannon Street station passes close to the cathedral, blocking the view from the south side. Borough Market and the Hall of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass by the river are close by.
The earliest reference to the site was in the Domesday Book survey of 1086. The 'Minster' of Southwark seems to be under the control of Bishop Odo of Bayeux (William the Conqueror's half-brother). Its early history is obscure. A Saxon minster (a teaching church) served a south Thames area. In 1106, Henry I's reign, the latter became an Augustinian Priory: Norman stonework can still be seen, and Thomas Becket preached here before departing to Canterbury, days before his murder in 1170.
The cathedral has three choirs, The main Cathedral Choir is supported financially by the St Olave's & St Saviour's Schools Foundation. They were two parochial schools set up in the 1560s, and still hold their annual services here as their 'foundation' church.
- The Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie
- St Olave's Grammar School and St Saviour's and St Olave's Church of England School for Girls.
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