Inventory Site Record

St Mary Magdalen Churchyard

St Mary Magdalen Churchyard (Southwark)

Brief Description

St Mary Magdalen dates from the C13th, built next to the Priory Church of Bermondsey Abbey dedicated to St Saviour. The Abbey was built in 1082 and existed until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1537, after which its burial ground was incorporated into that of St Mary Magdalen, which became the parish church. The churchyard was enlarged in 1783 and 1810; after it closed for burials, it was given to the Vestry of Bermondsey in 1882. It was laid out as public garden and opened in 1883. The railed garden has a number of fine C18th and C19th tombs among the grass, wide gravelled paths, a number of beds with roses, floral displays, shrubs and trees include mature plane, Lombardy poplar and ornamental varieties.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Old Bermondsey Parish Church; Bermondsey Abbey Burial Ground
Site location:
Bermondsey Street/Tower Bridge Road/Abbey Street
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Rail: London Bridge. Tube: London Bridge (Northern, Jubilee), Tower Hill (District, Circle) then bus. Bus: 1, 42, 47, 78, 188, 381, C10.

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2012
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.;

Full Site Description

St Mary Magdalen dates from the C13th, the medieval parish church rebuilt in 1675-9 to a design of Charles Stanton, with some C15th elements remaining. It was further altered in the 1830s by George Porter. Bermondsey Abbey was founded in 1082 and existed until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1537. Among those buried in the Abbey burial ground were Loufstone, Provost or Domesman of London (d.1115) and Thomas, Duke of Gloucester (d.1387) who was subsequently reinterred at Westminster Abbey. The churchyard was enlarged in 1783 and 1810; after it had closed for burial it was conveyed to the Vestry of Bermondsey on 17 May 1882.

It was laid out as a public garden and opened on 28 February 1883; a stone/granite obelisk records this information. On the corner of Abbey Street and Bermondsey Street is a small early C19th watch house, with a plaque recording this as a 'gift of Henry Sterry, 1859'. In the garden is a drinking fountain erected in 1902 by the first Mayor of Bermondsey dedicated to his father. The churchyard contains a number of fine C18th and C19th monuments including the Harrison Family chest tomb of 1851; the C18th chest tomb of John Sargeant; and an C18th table tomb within its original railings near the entrance from Bermondsey Street. Improvements are due to take place to the churchyard as part of Bermondsey streetscape programme.

Sources consulted:

Ron Woollacott, 'Southwark's Burying Places, Past and Present', Magdala Terrace Nunhead Local History publication, 2001; Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2: South (Penguin) 1999; 'The London County Council and what it does for London: London Parks and Open Spaces' (Hodder & Stoughton, 1924); G W Phillips, 'The history and antiquities of the parish of Bermondsey' (1841); Southwark Listed Buildings data

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Southwark
Site management:
Listed structures:
LBII*: St Mary Magdalen Church. LBII: Dedication stele of c.1882; 1902 Drinking Fountain; Gates and gate piers at north-east entrance; chest tomb c1815; Harrison Family chest tomb, 1851; C18th table tomb; C18th stone and brick chest tomb; John Sargeant tomb chest; Watch House.
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Conservation Area name:
Bermondsey Street
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes (proposed - Local Importance)
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Archaeological Priority Zone
Other LA designation:
Churchyard, Tier Three. Strategic Views Backdrop Consultation Zone

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