Medieval Southwark revealed

McDonald’s in Tooley Street occupies the site of the Prior of Christ Church Canterbury inn.

It is known that for centuries the Bishop of Winchester had a residence in Southwark. The ruin of the great hall is in Clink Street.

Winchester Walk, opposite the present Southwark Cathedral west end, is the old palace entrance with Winchester Square being the surviving courtyard.

But where were the other houses known to pilgrims?

The answer can be found on the new Medieval London map showing the Borough as it was in the late 13th century.

Most great monasteries around the country owned a house in the capital which was not only handy for the abbot or prior when travelling but could also accommodate other travellers.

Winchester Cathedral’s Benedictine monks had their inn handily next door to their Bishop’s palace in what is now Borough Market.

Winchester’s Hyde Abbey maintained The Tabard in today’s Talbot Yard off Borough High Street from where Geoffrey Chaucer had his pilgrims set out.

Canterbury Cathedral‘s inn was in nearby Tooley Street on the site now occupied by McDonald’s.

The map’s main feature is the City of London so we can examine Westcheap, now Cheapside, where St Thomas Becket was born. By the 1390s that site had become the ‘Church of St Thomas’. It is now Mercers’ Hall.

The back of the map includes useful description of Southwark by Martha Carlin who supplied the information for the mapping of the south bank.

Caroline Barron, who is involved in preparations for next year’s Becket 2020 celebrations, contributes a section on St Thomas.

There is also a translation of an account by William FitzStephen, who witnessed Becket’s murder, of life in London around 1170.

The new map includes Southwark around London Bridge’s south end.

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