Saint Paulís Cathedral

Sheree Klausner
Mrs. Hammock
English L/C
Monday, September 22, 1997

Saint Paulís Cathedral has been standing for thirteen and a half centuries. It was
dedicated to the honor of Saint Paul. It is right on top of Ludgate Hill. The first Cathedral in his
honor was destroyed by a fire. It was rebuilt in stone in 675-685 by Bishop Erkenwald. This time
the church was destroyed in the ninth century by the Vikings and was built again in 962.
In 1087 the Saxon church was also burned down and rebuilding began almost at once.
This was known as ďOld St. Paulís.Ē It was enclosed by walls on Creed Lane and Ave Maria
Lane on the west, Paternoster Row on the north, Old Change on the east, and Carter Lane on the
South. Inside of the walls there were six gates, the main one on Ludgate Hill, the second at
Paulís Alley, the third at Canonís Alley, the fourth leading from Cheapside to Paulís cross (known
as Little Gate), the fifth St. Augustineís Gate at the end of Watling Street, and the sixth from the
river leading to the south transept. The cathedral consisted of a nave of twelve bays, transepts
and a short apsidal choir, which were all built in the round-arched. The cathedral was completed
in 1240. The length of the church was 596 feet. It was the largest church in England. The spire
was 489 feet and was completed in 1315. It was struck by lightening in 1447 and was not
repaired until 1462. Surrounding the Norman cathedral was the bishopís palace, the deanery, and
the houses of the residentiary canons. A chapter house was built on the south side of the
cathedral. The most famous part of the precincts was Paulís Cross. It was an open air pulpit.
The Cathedral School was to the east. It is now very well known as St. Paulís School.
In the fourteenth century there were great changes in the interior of the cathedral. The
floors were marble and the relics of St. Erkenwald were inscribed to a different shrine in gold.
Chantry chapels were built.
During the fifthteenth century St. Paulís Cathedral was were many trials for heresy and
witchcraft took place. Those found guilty passed from the precints to Smithfield to be burned at
the stake.
The marriage of Arthur, Prince of Wales, and Princess Catherine, of Aragon, took place
here. But Arthur died within six months. She remarried to her brother in law, Henry VIII.
Henry often went to Saint Paulís Cathedral on state occasions. Henry VIII and Edward VI saw
great changes in the church of England. The services reduced to great simplicity. Saint Paulís
was deprived of her treasures.
June fourth 1561 during the afternoon there was a severe thunderstorm. The spire was
struck again by lightening (People didnít know of lightening conductors) and caught on fire and
burnt the square tower and the roofs which were badly damaged before they were finally put out.
An improvised roof of boards and lead were constructed very soon after. Three years later they
finally put on a permanent roof which Bishop Grindal paid for.
The Cathedral was completely destroyed in The Great Fire of London in 1666. The only
things left unharmed were part of the walls, a few columns, and a monument of Dr. John Donne,
who was the dean from 1621 until he died in 1631. They still have it today in the south choir
aisle.
They figured that the ruins could be restored on the west end of the building, which the
least damaged, and it was all patched up for services in 1667. The next year work in clearing the
rubble from the rest of the cathedral.
A complete rebuilding was essential. July second 1668, was the first letter written to
request this. This began the plans for the fifth cathedral (which is the one standing in the present).
Seven years later they put the first stone down.
There were three designís made. The king approved all of them but the commissioners
rejected all of them. The first, completed in 1670, is called the ďNew Model.Ē It was rejected by
the commissioners because there were no aisles to the choir and no proper nave. The second is
called the ďGreat ModelĒ, and was presented in September 1673. It was rejected for the same
reasons by the commissioners because it isnít traditional enough. The third is called the