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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 P92/SAV
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1443-1962
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 31.48 linear metres (3111 documents).
Name of creator(s): Parish of St Saviour, Southwark | Church of England
Cathedral Church of Saint Saviour and Saint Mary Overy


Administrative/Biographical history:

The history of the corporation of wardens of Saint Saviour begins in 1541 when the parish of Saint Saviour was formed by the union of the parishes of Saint Margaret and Saint Mary Magdalene.

The records of the corporation are older, however, since the wardens inherited the records, as well as the lands, of the Guild of the Assumption of Saint Margaret's Church, dating from 1444 (see P92/SAV/1-34). This Guild was incorporated by letters patent in 1449 and gave the parishioners licence to elect 2 or 3 wardens: the wardens of Saint Margaret's were subsequently incorporated (Act of Pt. 23 Hen. VIII) for the purpose of enlarging the churchyard. Saint Margaret's Church stood in Borough High Street at Saint Margaret's Hill and served the Northern part of Southwark, in 1541 its use as a parish church was abandoned. Saint Mary Magdalene was built by Peter des Roches, Bishop of Winchester, in the 13th century. It stood against the wall of the priory of Saint Mary Overy at the foot of London Bridge. On the dissolution of the priory the parishes of Saint Margaret and Saint Mary Magdalene were united, and the priory church became the parish church of Saint Saviour. It remained so until 1897 when it became a pro-cathedral, and in 1905 it was constituted the cathedral church of the Southwark Diocese. Since 1937 it has been known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Saviour and Saint Mary Overy.

The Wardens' ecclesiastical duties were transferred to the Rector's and People's Wardens by the 1899 London Government Act, but they still exist as a corporate body and retain control of the many parish charities. These are administered by the court of wardens as a whole though the old titles are retained, viz.
(1) the warden of the great account (who administered the funds for the upkeep of the fabric,)
(2) the bell warden,
(3) the warden of the general poor or renter warden (who administered funds not appropriated by the College warden)
(4) the College warden,
(5) Spratt, Young and Jackson's warden who dealt with those respective charity funds, and
(6) the Newcomen warden who administered the charity of Elizabeth Newcomen.
The office of Spratt, Young and Jackson's Warden was abolished by the 1883 Church Rate Abolition Act and a Rector's warden was appointed for the first time in 1884.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records relating to the parish of Saint Saviour, Borough High Street, Southwark; also known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Saviour and Saint Mary Overy. This is a large and extensive collection and it is recommended that researchers consult the detailed catalogue. Summary of some of the major holdings:
* papers relating to the maintenance of the church building including bills for work and repairs done in the church, contracts, and faculties;
* token books;
* marriage licences and registers of baptisms, marriages, banns and burials;
* financial records;
* records of the Vestry including minute books and papers of the clerks;
* minutes of other committees;
* legal documents relating to parish properties including leases, agreements, conveyances and deeds;
* papers relating to legal cases;
* papers relating to poor relief including petitions to the wardens from the poor and sick asking for assistance;
* plans and drawings of parish properties;
* records of constables and other parish officers;
* records relating to local taxation including poor rates and church rates;
* papers of parochial charities;
* papers relating to Saint Saviour's Free Grammar School;
* registers of apprenticeship indentures;
* papers relating to Parliamentary elections for the Borough of Southwark, including lists of persons entitled to vote;
* papers relating to Borough Market;
* records of the parish of Saint Margaret, Southwark, including financial accounts and depositions.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The records have been sorted into categories which reflect divisions between the different functions and operations of the parish and its administration. Order within these categories reflects chronology.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Records deposited on loan, by kind permission of the Wardens, with the Greater London Record Office [now LMA] at various dates since 1951.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

The first extensive use of the records was made by the London County Council for its Survey of London Volume 22: Bankside.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
April to June 2010.

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