Previously called Earl Street. Father Thomas Doyle (December 21, 1793 – June 6, 1879), was a key figure in the building of St George’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Southwark, to serve the growing Roman Catholic population of south London. He set in motion much of the early planning and travelled around Europe raising funds to build it. He met with Augustus Pugin who designed the cathedral, which was built on the site of the Royal Belgian Chapel close to St George’s Fields which were still associated with the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots of 1780. Work started in September 1840, and the building was consecrated on July 4, 1848. Doyle was made provost of the cathedral chapter of the newly erected See of Southwark. Some years before, in 1839, he became involved in controversy when he took on the guardianship of the heiress Augusta Talbot, the of niece John Talbot, 16th Earl of Shrewsbury, following the death of her mother. When Father Doyle put her into a covent, it was claimed he did so to get her £80,000 inheritance for the church if she became a nun, such anti-Catholic sentiment was common at the time. In fact following a court case in which Father Doyle’s motives were cleared, Miss Talbot married shortly afterwards.
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