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Shakespeare Chapel London
Southwalk Cathedral
London Bridge
London SE1 9DA
TfL Fare Zone 1
 

In the South aisle of Southwark Cathedral is a splendid memorial to William Shakespeare.

In an elaborate stone memorial set into the wall is a reclining, alabaster, William resting on his elbow, his left hand propping up his head. He is turned towards us, quill pen in his right hand, writing one of his plays. Behind him in carved relief, is a scene of 17th century Bankside showing The Globe Theatre, Winchester Palace (refer article Winchester House in this website) and the tower of St Saviour’s. The memorial was carved by Henry McCarthy in 1912.
 
Above the memorial is a modern blue stained glass window depicting characters from Shakespeare’s plays. The original window was destroyed in the Second World War. Christopher Webb designed the new window and it was unveiled on 23 April 1954, on the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
 
Each year on Shakespeare’s birthday (23 April) the Cathedral holds a special service to honour England’s greatest playwright.
 
There is one more Shakespeare family connection in the Cathedral. Shakespeare’s youngest brother Edmund came to London to try his hand as an actor. Unfortunately in 1607 he died at the young age of 27 possibly from the plague.
 
Under normal circumstances a mere actor would not have been accorded a decent burial but in Edmund’s case somebody paid 20 shillings (a great sum in Elizabethan days) to have him buried with the great bell tolling in St Saviour’s church. We do not know the exact position of his grave but a commemorative stone to him lies in the Choir floor. It is presumed that his wealthy older brother was his benefactor.
 
Sam Wanamaker
Beside Shakespeare’s monument is a memorial honouring Sam Wanamaker CBE (1919-1993), the great American actor and director. Without this man’s vision and tenacity we would not have the wonderful Shakespeare’s The Globe Theatre on Southbank.
 
Getting There
 
The Cathedral is well served by Mainline and Underground Rail and by buses. For complete and comprehensive information on 'Getting to the Cathedral' go to Web: Southwark Cathedral/ How to Find Us
 
Google Maps - Southwark Cathedral