Romero Way: Linking Southwark’s Cathedrals

The Óscar Romero national shrine at St George’s Cathedral

A new mile long pilgrim route known as the Romero Way links Southwark’s St George’s Cathedral to Southwark Cathedral.

Some will wish to begin their pilgrimage to Canterbury at St George’s where there is the national Oscar Romero Shrine. Relics of the saint, a 20th-century Becket, are also found in Canterbury.

ST GEORGE’S CATHEDRAL, since 1852 the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark which embraces Canterbury, was completed in 1848 to a design by Augustus Pugin. His was the first wedding. The planned but never added spire is reputed to be the one now above Edinburgh’s Tolbooth Kirk. Second World War bombing resulted in massive rebuilding of Pugin’s church. A window depicts Pope John-Paul II’s 1981 visit. The Óscar Romero national shrine was placed here in 2013.

A stamp can be obtained here for your pilgrim passport which is available, along with the Pilgrims’ Way guidebook, in advance from the Anglican Southwark Cathedral shop.

Leave St George’s Cathedral by the west doors. You can turn left and go directly to St George’s Circus. The official route circles the building by turning right in order to pass the house of Pugin’s builder George Myers (left) before bearing right round Archbishop’s House designed by FA Walters of Buckfast Abbey fame. Pass Romero House, the CAFOD HQ (right).

Keep ahead across St George’s Circus into Borough Road.

Go left into Milcote Street and right by the Diversity Garden along King James Street. Just after Lancaster Street crossroads there is Mathieson Court (right).

MATTIESON COURT, on the site of the lost St Alphege Church (1880-1991), is named after the last parish priest Eric Mattieson who was also National Theatre chaplain. The foundation stone survives at the end of the brick wall (right).

Walk under the railway line to go left and, almost at once, right into Webber Street. At Great Suffolk Street bear right to the crossroads and turn left up Southwark Bridge Road.

On the double bend pass the Welsh Chapel.

BOROUGH WELSH CHAPEL dates from 1872 having replaced an 1806 Congregational chapel.

At the Union Street traffic lights go right into Flat Iron Square. On the far side turn left into O’Meara Street. The Church of the Precious Blood is on the right.

PRECIOUS BLOOD CHURCH was built in 1891-2 to a design by F A Walters who was responsible for Archbishop’s House. He described the church as ‘an extremely simple style of Romanesque or Norman’. The baldacchino over the high altar is modelled on the one at San Lorenzo fuori le Mura in Rome. Since 2013 the church has been in the care of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

At O’Meara Street’s far end is Southwark Street. Use the crossing to the left to go right. Turn left into Redcross Way. At the T-junction go right to follow Park Street. As the street bends Southwark Cathedral’s tower can be seen ahead on the far side of Borough Market.

Walk through the Market and turn left past Bread Ahead to reach Southwark Cathedral. The main entrance is on the north (river) side.

SOUTHWARK CATHEDRAL was an Augustinian Priory when visited by Thomas Becket weeks before his death in 1170. The saint and pilgrims are depicted in windows. Shakespeare knew the building as a parish church when he buried his brother here in 1607. This has been the Anglican cathedral since 1905.

The Borough Welsh Chapel in Southwark Bridge Road
The restored Church of the Precious Blood is lovingly cared for.
Cheese in Park Street as the route reaches Borough Market
Southwark Cathedral’s Tudor tower and Borough Market seen from Park Street

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