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Archaeological account of St Paul's well-received by critics

An archaeological account of St Paul's written by cathedral archaeologist John Schofield, has received a number of positive reviews from critics.

Last November, St Paul's and English Heritage published the major archaeological report about the cathedral in pre-Wren times. Titled St Paul's Cathedral before Wren, it is the first ever comprehensive account of all archaeological observations in and around the cathedral. 

The important work has received a number of reviews:

"John Schofield is to be congratulated on bringing together the fruits of so much painstaking research to give us a better appreciation of the medieval glory that has departed forever."
Ven David Meara, Archdeacon of London, in The Times, 31 March 2012

"No-one is better placed to tackle the medieval cathedral. The author has skilfully selected from a huge body of evidence derived from historic documents, antiquarian illustrations, the structure, tombs, burials, excavations and loose finds, and merged this to create a coherent narrative. The number of illustrations is impressive. In sum, this is a magnificent volume."
Warwick Rodwell, in London Archaeologist Spring 2012.

About the book
St Paul's Cathedral is the City of London's most important monument and historic building. But Wren's great work is only the most recent of a succession of Anglo-Saxon and medieval cathedrals on the site, since AD 604.

The first Anglo-Saxon cathedral is an enigma, and even its precise site somewhere in the churchyard is not known for certain. The medieval cathedral, rebuilt from 1087 and extended in 1269-1314, was probably the largest building in medieval Britain and a rival for the greatest European cathedrals, with its 400ft spire and a magnificent rose window similar to those we now see at Notre-Dame in Paris and elsewhere. Recent excavations and study of documents and plans, together with a series of engravings by Wenceslaus Hollar in 1657, enable us to reconstruct the outside and inside of this remarkable and forgotten building. The cathedral gradually comes out of the ground like pieces of an immense shipwreck, on paper and in the computer.

In the 1630s a classical portico was added to the west end by Inigo Jones, Britain's first truly Renaissance architect. Pieces of the columns of the portico, still covered in soot from the Great Fire of 1666, were found in 1996 when a tunnel was dug through one of the crypt walls of the present building. We now know that many decorated stones from the medieval cathedral survive, jumbled up and reused as rubble in the walls of Wren's cathedral. Overall, we can now appreciate the cultural and religious significance of St Paul's within the City of London and within Europe, over a period of more than 1000 years.

About John Schofield
John Schofield is the Cathedral Archaeologist for St Paul's. He specialises in the archaeology and history of London from Roman times to the present. He has also recently published a popular account of discoveries about the medieval and Tudor city,London 1100-1600: the archeology of a capital city(Equinox, 2011).

St Paul's Cathedral before Wren by John Schofield is published by English Heritage priced at £100.
ISBN 978 1 848020 56 6. 
Copies can be bought from the Cathedral shop or ordered through Amazon and other bookselling sites.