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.
Archaeological account of St Paul's well-received by critics
01 May 2012
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.