St Paul’s Cathedral has been here for over 1,400 years. It has been built and rebuilt five times, and always its main purpose has been as a
place of worship and prayer.
St Paul's, with its world-famous dome, is an iconic feature of the London skyline. Step inside and you can enjoy the Cathedral's awe-inspiring
interior, and uncover fascinating stories about its history.
Learning & Faith
Lifelong learning is a core part of the our work, delivered through a variety of events by St Paul's Institute, and the
Cathedral's Adult Learning and Schools & Family Learning departments.
History & Collections
For more than 1,400 years, a Cathedral dedicated to St Paul has stood at the highest point in the City. The present Cathedral is the
masterpiece of Britain's most famous architect Sir Christopher Wren.
Behind the scenes, the cost of caring for St Paul's and continuing to deliver our central ministry and work is enormous and the generosity of
our supporters is critical.
Widely considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful buildings and a powerful symbol of the splendour of London, St Paul’s Cathedral is a
breathtaking events venue.
150 years overdue - rare book returns to St Paul's library
12 August 2013
A 500-year-old book with instructions for celebrating Mass, has returned to the St Paul’s Cathedral Library
after an absence of more than 150 years.
The rare Missal, printed in 1502 and bound in green Morocco leather, contains all the texts necessary for the celebration of the Mass
throughout the year. The volume pre-dates the Reformation of the Church in England, but alterations to the liturgical calendar and
the coming changes in worship are reflected within it.
The volume, written in Latin, contains elaborately decorated initials, woodcut illustrations and typeset music - signs that the book is a work
of great craftsmanship. It was printed in Paris by Jean du Pré, the dominant liturgical printer of the time, and was intended for sale
among the book sellers whose shops clustered around St Paul’s Churchyard.
The book was first acquired by the Cathedral Chapter in a bequest of nearly 2,000 books from Henry Compton, Bishop of London from 1675-1713.
The Bishop’s own armorial bookplate and the printed label explaining his bequest are present.
The book left the Cathedral in the early- to mid-nineteenth century and little is known of what happened to it following its departure, or of
how it came to be in the Mendham collection, deposited by the Law Society in Canterbury Cathedral Library. It came to light again in July when
items from the Law Society’s collections were sold at auction. An anonymous donor and avid bibliophile kindly donated the money for it to
be purchased for the Cathedral.
Jo Wisdom, Cathedral Librarian said: "It is good that this book has ‘come home’ to rejoin the other volumes of Bishop Compton’s bequest. This
recovered treasure is entirely appropriate to the library’s rich collections of material exemplifying the development of liturgy and belief in