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Thu 18 Dec 2014 @ 12:47

Ideas for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity next month: #WPCU2015

St Paul's Cathedral Before Wren


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Publisher: English Heritage
ISBN-13: 9781848020566
Published: 11/11/2011
Product description
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, where Christianity was first established in AD 604. This report is the first ever comprehensive account of the archaeology and history of the cathedral and its churchyard from Roman times up to the construction of the Wren building which began in 1675. Archaeological excavations and observations go back to the time of Wren. The Anglo-Saxon cathedral is an enigma, and even its precise site somewhere in the churchyard is not known for certain. The medieval cathedral was probably the largest building in medieval Britain and one of the largest in Europe, with its 400ft-spire and a rose window to rival those we now see at Notre Dame in Paris. Recent excavations in and around the Wren building are described, and some of the many architectural fragments of the medieval cathedral, dug up over the last 150 years, are studied. Documents, surveys and early maps show the development of the religious complex and illuminate the lives of its occupants. In the 1630s a classical portico was added to the west end by Inigo Jones, Britain's first truly Renaissance architect. Fragments of the portico, still covered with the soot of the Great Fire of 1666 which destroyed the cathedral, were found in 1996 when a tunnel was dug through one of the crypt walls of the present building. From these varied sources, the cathedrals which preceded that of Wren come to the surface again, and we can appreciate the cultural and religious importance of St Paul's within the City of London, over a period of more than 1000 years.
Product Reviews

'John Schofield is to be congratulated on bringing together the fruits of so much painstaking reseach to give us a better appreciation of the medieval glory that has departed forever.' 20120331 'The sheer quantity of data and analysis presented here will make it a staple reference work of church archaeology research and teaching for years to come, and its deft presentation of a wealth of interdisciplinary information should ensure that it serves as a template for future publications of cathedral excavations.' 'this is a magnificent and seminal volume, and it redounds greatly to the credit of English Heritage to have brought it to publication.' 'Thorough, fascinating and weighty without being elitist, this book ... is an unbeatable landmark publication.'

Author Information

John Schofield

Dr. John Schofield is the Cathedral Archaeologist of St Paul's Cathedral in London. He was an archaeologist at the Museum of London, specialising in the archaeology of the City of London, from 1974 until 2008. He has written or edited several books about urban archaeology and the archaeology of London, particularly in the medieval and Tudor periods: notably The Building of London from the Conquest to the Great Fire (1984, 3rd ed 1999), Medieval London Houses (rev ed 2003) and London 1100-1600: the Archaeology of a Capital City (2011). He is now a freelance archaeologist and architectural historian.

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