St Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey

Another in the series on the historic churches of the out-parishes of London …

By the time of the Great Fire of London in 1666, there were over a hundred parish churches and other places of Christian worship within and immediately without the walls of  the City. There were a further twelve  in the out-parishes of Middlesex (north of the river) and Surrey (south of the river).

St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey was originally built as a chapel-cum-parish church attached to the nearby Cluniac Priory and Abbey of St Saviour, or Bermondsey Abbey, at least as long ago as the thirteenth century. In his “Survey of London” of 1598, Stow described it as “a proper church … , built by the priors of Bermondsey serving for resort of the inhabitants (tenants to the prior or abbots there adjoining), there to have their divine service. The church remaineth [despite the Dissolution of the Monasteries], and serveth as afore … “.

The church was subsequently rebuilt in the late seventeenth century, between 1680-90, and remodelled in the  eighteenth and  nineteenth.  The lower part of the tower survives from the Medieval period.

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