|Today||Wednesday 11 Dec 2013|
|08:30||Doors open for sightseeing|
|16:00||Last entry for sightseeing|
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Following a fire in the City in 1087, the church had to be rebuilt again. The Normans, who had recently conquered Britain, were determined to create the longest and tallest Christian church in the world. It was finished in 1240 but enlargement work began less than 20 years later and the cathedral was finally consecrated in 1300.
Over the centuries, the Norman cathedral gradually fell into disrepair. After investigations were commissioned in the early seventeenth century, restoration finally began in 1633 under the direction of the architect Inigo Jones.
The nave and transepts were refaced in Portland stone in a classical style and the west front was remodelled with a portico. In 1642 the English Civil War put a stop to further work on what was now the most important classical building in the country.
During the Civil War and the subsequent Republic, which followed the execution of Charles I in 1649, the country became less respectful towards the established Church. Many places of worship were allowed to become dilapidated, including St Paul's, which was used for stabling horses and the nave became a market-place, with a road running through the transepts.
When the monarchy was restored in 1660, King Charles II, threw out the traders and began to return the scarred cathedral to its former status. In 1662, the quire was fitted out for services while the rest of the building was repaired. A year later, a royal commission was set up to examine the state of the building and Christopher Wren was asked to prepare a plan for the restoration.
Wren's plan was accepted in August 1666 but before he had a chance to work, the Great Fire intervened.