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.
On 23 April 1016, King Æthelred II, known widely as Æthelred the Unready died at
the age of around 48.
At the age of just seven, Æthelred was king of England, following the murder of his half-brother Edward. It is disputed whether nobles in Æthelred's service had a
hand in his brother's killing, but a hostile church was quick to give Edward the epithet The
Martyr and the death cause political unrest which would continue to dog the new king.
As a young monarch Æthelred was poorly advised and as a result, gained his title of The
Unready, meaning 'no counsel'. A poor soldier who could not count on the allegiance of his subjects, Æthelred had to form an
alliance with the Duke of Normandy to help fight off Viking invaders. At one point he ordered the massacre of all the Danes in the country
to help avoid potential treachery.
But the Danish pressure eventually told and in 1013, Æthelred fled to Normandy when the powerful Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark dispossessed him.
After Sweyn's death in 1014, Æthelred returned to reclaim his throne, but it was just two more years before he himself died in 1016.
At that time, the third of five St Paul's Cathedrals stood on this site, an Anglo-Saxon construction, possibly in the shape of a Roman cross
with a long nave and small central tower. Æthelred was buried within the Cathedral, but upon that building's desrtruction by fire, his
tomb was transferred to the next building, the vast medieval structure now known as Old St Paul's, where he was placed next to King Sæbbi of Essex (d.697).
However, the Great Fire of 1666 destroyed both tombs in their entirety.
998 years later, King Æthelred the Unready remains the last monarch to be buried at St Paul's.