Saturday, 5 September 2009

Southwark / Suthringa Gewoic

Southwark, or the Borough, is an area of south-east London in the London Borough of Southwark, situated 1.5 miles (2.4 km) east of Charing Cross.

Borough Market Entrance 1850

Southwark (pronounced /ˈsʌðɚk/, locally also [ˈsʌvək]) is the area of London immediately south of London Bridge. It will have the United Kingdom's tallest building in 2012, Shard London Bridge.
It has been called The Borough (pronounced /ˈbʌrə/) since the 1550s, to contrast it with the neighbouring City, in later years to distinguish it from the larger Metropolitan Borough of Southwark and now to distinguish it from the much larger London Borough of Southwark. The core area of the Borough is virtually coterminous with the Guildable Manor.

Southwark Cathedral

The Cathedral precinct and the Borough Market are often misleadingly described as being in Bankside and the Tooley Street area up to the St Saviour's Dockhead is also mistakenly described as part of Bermondsey, whereas they have always been part of Borough.
Manors and vestries
From the Norman period manorial organisation obtained through major lay and ecclesiastic magnates. Southwark still has vestiges of this because of the connection with the City of London. In 1327 the City acquired from Edward III the original 'vill of Southwark' and this was also described as "the borough". However, even at that period the term "Southwark" was used to describe much else on the Surrey bank of the Thames. References are made to both Bermondsey and Lambeth as being "in Southwark". It seems that the informal name for the original settlement arose to avoid confusion, the earliest reference to it as 'Guildable Manor' is in 1377.
The neighbours to this were then:
(West of High Street)
Bishop of Winchester's 'Liberty of the Clink'
The Hospitaller's 'Wyldes' (later 'Paris(h) Garden')
Bermondsey Priory's (later an Abbey) 'west socne' (from taq 1550 'The King's Manor')
(East of High Street)
Archbishop of Canterbury's (from taq 1550 ' The Great Liberty ')
Bermondsey Manor
and two sub manors St Thomas (Hospital precinct); Earl de Warenne's (defunct from 1399)
In 1536 Henry VIII acquired the Bermondsey Priory properties and in 1538 that of the Archbishop. In 1550 these were sold to the City. From 1550 to 1899 it formed part of the City of London as the Ward of Bridge Without but was not included in the representative system at Guildhall.
However, Elizabethan Poor Laws placed statutory burdens onto Parishes and this created a civic authority which at first ran alongside and eventually displaced manorial authority which was essentially tenurial. In Southwark these parishes did not exactly coincide with the Manors:
Southwark parishes from mediaeval period:-
St Margaret's (merged into St Saviour's 1539)
St Mary Magdalen, Southwark (merged into St Saviour's 1539)
St Olave
St George the Martyr
St Thomas (Hospital precinct)
St Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey

The Tabard Inn, around 1850

Civil parishes and District Boards of Works
The process of local authority development was that secular administration in the parishes were placed into 'vestries' i.e. a lay council originally meeting not in the church but in a robing room. The arrangement then became formalised when the Metropolis Management Act 1855 divided civil administration from religious (i.e. Church of England) observance and franchises. The Act created a Metropolitan Board of Works as a local government federation for what then was regarded as greater London out of parts of Middlesex, Surrey and Kent. Their previous parochial authorities were then given the status of 'Civil Parishes' out of the preceding organisations. Where the previous vestry parish was considered too small these were grouped together as 'District Boards of Works '. These sent representatives to the Metropolitan Board.
For Southwark these bodies were as follows:-
St Saviour DBW - St Saviour's and its daughter parish of Christchurch (previously ' Parish Garden') with part of St Thomas. The St Saviour's parish included ' the Clink '.
St Olave's DBW - St Olave's and its daughter parish of St John, Horsleydown with part of St Thomas (Hospital precinct). In 1899 this was given the status of a 'Civil Parish'.
St George the Martyr
The neighbours to these Southwark parishes were now:- St Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey; Lambeth; St Mary, Newington (Walworth).
These and other parishes in Kent, Surrey, Middlesex and Essex were put into the new London County Council created in 1889. In 1900 the London Government Act was to merge the various Civil Parishes and DBWs into ' Metropolitan Boroughs of London ' effectively giving to the metropolitan area municipal corporations on a par with those in the provinces and the City.
The St Saviour DBW and St George the Martyr districts and the neighbouring St Mary, Newington (Walworth) became the 'Metropolitan Borough of Southwark. However, the St Olave's DBW was merged with St Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey and the Rotherhithe district to become the 'Metropolitan Borough of Bermondsey' which meant that the eastern side of Borough High Street was in 'Bermondsey' creating a confusion as to the delineation of both 'Borough' and 'Bermondsey' which lingers on today over forty years after the anomaly was resolved by the 1964 reorganisation which merged the two Metropolitan Boroughs.
Much of the area around the Tate Modern gallery and the Shakespeare's Globe is now referred to by the historic name of Bankside, which was part of the Liberty of the Clink, rather than 'the Borough' but was part of Southwark because within the parish of St Saviour.

Borough Market Entrance

In common with much of the south bank of the Thames, The Borough has seen extensive regeneration in the last decade. Declining light industry and factories have given way to residential development, shops, restaurants, galleries and bars. The area is in easy walking distance of the City and the West End. As such it has become a major business centre with many national and international corporations, professional practices and publishers locating to the area. The massive supertall skyscraper, London Bridge Tower, nicknamed 'The Shard' is under construction at London Bridge Station.
To the north is the River Thames, London Bridge station and Southwark Cathedral. Borough Market is a well-developed visitor attraction and has grown in size. The adjacent units have been converted and form a gastronomic focus for London. Borough High Street runs roughly north to south from London Bridge towards Elephant and Castle. The Borough runs further to the south than realised; both St George's Cathedral and the Imperial War Museum are within the ancient boundaries, which border nearby Lambeth.
The Borough is generally an area of mixed development, with council estates, major office developments, social housing and high value residential gated communities side by side with each other.

Early history
Southwark is on a previously marshy area south of the River Thames. Recent excavation has revealed prehistoric activity including evidence of early ploughing, burial mounds and ritual activity. The area was originally a series of islands in the River Thames. This formed the best place to bridge the Thames and the area became an important part of Londinium owing its importance to its position as the endpoint of the Roman London Bridge. Two Roman roads, Stane Street and Watling Street, met at Southwark in what is now Borough High Street. Archaeological work at Tabard Street in 2004 discovered a plaque with the earliest reference to 'London' from the Roman period on it.

The Roman Stane or Stone Street runs through Surrey

Londinium was abandoned at the end of the Roman occupation in the early fifth century and both the city and its bridge collapsed in decay. Archaeologically, evidence of settlement is replaced by a largely featureless soil called the Dark Earth which probably (although this is contested) represents an urban area abandoned.

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