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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/313/I
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1631-1940
Level of description: Collection
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Extent: 337 production units.
Name of creator(s): St Paul's Cathedral | London


Administrative/Biographical history:

Following the appointment by letters patent in 1631 of a second commission to investigate repairs, plans for restoration work on the cathedral started under Inigo Jones (who had been appointed Surveyor of the Works in 1628). By May 1633 new sums of money had been raised from subscriptions (paid into the Chamber of London, see section CLC/313/I/B) to allow repairs to the Gothic choir. This work lasted about two years, during which time further funds were collected to recase and classicize the exterior of the nave and transepts. The work on the nave and transepts, the remodelling of the cathedral's west front and the addition of the Corinthian west portico, continued until at least September 1642. In addition, certain buildings adjacent to the cathedral were demolished in the period 1632-6: see Victoria County History (1909), p.416, and Peter Blayney, Bookshops in Paul's Cross Churchyard, pp.3 and 62-3. See also a list of houses adjoining the cathedral "necessary to be taken down ... to secure it from further spoil and annoyance", 1664/5 (CLC/313/L/F/011/MS25190/008), and an account of materials taken from demolished houses adjoining the cathedral and used to repair it, January-August 1666 (Ms 25679). For further details of this period of restoration work, see J Harris and G Higgott, Inigo Jones, Complete Architectural Drawings, (1989), especially pp.238-47; Sir John Summerson, "Lecture on a Master Mind: Inigo Jones" in Proceedings of the British Academy, vol.50 (1964), pp.169-92; and Sir John Summerson, The History of the King's Works, ed. HM Colvin et al., vol.5 (1975), especially pp.147-52.

In October 1642 (under the Commonwealth), the Chapter was abolished by order of Parliament, and the cathedral building turned over to Presbyterian worship. The cathedral was later occupied by a parliamentary army which caused considerable damage. See W Sparrow Simpson, "St Paul's during the Interregnum", in Chapters in the History of Old St Paul's, pp.253-81, and Victoria County History (1909), pp.53-4. For the dispersal of the Cathedral Library in this period, see section CLC/313/P.

The restoration of the Dean and Chapter in 1660 was followed in 1663 by the appointment by letters patent of new commissioners for repairing the cathedral: see Dugdale (1818 edn), pp.116-23. Repair work was just beginning when the Great Fire of September 1666 destroyed most of the cathedral. In 1668 a warrant (for copies, see CLC/313/I/A/001/MS11770 and CLC/313/L/H/003/MS25783/413) was issued to raze what remained of the eastern parts of the building [the old choir and tower], although services continued to be held in the nave until the collapse of the stonework there in 1673. Letters patent were subsequently issued in November 1673 for the building of an entirely new cathedral: see Wren Society, vol.13 (1936), pp.25-31. Certain "old materials" from the cathedral had already been sold by the commissioners in April 1671: see Wren Society, vol.13, p.25.

For repairs proposed immediately before the Great Fire, see Wren Society, vol.13 (1936), pp.13-19; for Wren's report on the Fire (Bodleian Ms Tanner 145, no.129), see Wren Society, vol.13 (1936), pp.20-22; and for details of preliminary repair works,1668-75, see Wren Society, vol.16 (1936), pp.183-213.

Wren (Surveyor General of the King's Works from 1669, and adviser to the cathedral's repair commission since 1663) was appointed Surveyor of St Paul's in 1675. The first stone of the new cathedral was laid in the same year, and the medieval alignment of the building was altered. Wren tried to lay the foundations for the entire new cathedral, rather than building in stages, although work continued at different speeds on various parts of the building. The choir was finished (and the first services held) in 1697, the dome finished in 1708, and the whole building declared complete in 1711. Annual summaries of expenditure, 1675-1710, are given in Wren Society, vol.13, p.11: see section CLC/313/I/B for further details. The decoration of the dome by James Thornhill was completed in 1716-20. Other minor works continued after this date, including repairs to the south transept in 1781-2 (see the introductory note to CLC/313/I/E). Later repairs have included the embellishment of the choir and crossing, the addition of mosaics in 1864 and 1892-1904, and the (controversial) construction of a marble reredos in 1886-8 (see CLC/313/I/E). The reredos was damaged in World War Two and replaced between 1949 and 1958 with a baldacchino. For surviving decorations, see Nikolaus Pevsner and Simon Bradley, The Buildings of England Series: London 1, The City of London (revised edition, 1997), pp.155-83. Many records of 19th century embellishments are not yet fully catalogued: see the CF series, especially CF18, 57 and 84. Others are retained by the Cathedral Librarian.

Records of monuments in the cathedral: see notebook of Michael Shaller, Virger and Under-Chamberlain, late 16th century, including financial accounts and some details of monuments (CLC/313/G/037/MS25532). See also John Weever, Ancient Funerall Monuments (1631); Henry Holland, Ecclesia Sancti Pauli Illustrata: The Monuments...of Kings... and Others, Buried in the Cathedrall Church of St Paul...Continued untill...1633 (1633 edn); and Payne Fisher, The Tombs and Monuments etc Visible in St Paul's Cathedral...Previous to its Destruction by Fire A.D.1666 (1684, edited by G Blacker Morgan in 1885 reprint). Dugdale (1818 edn), pp.37-74, 199-214 & 469-72, also lists monuments (continued to 1816), as well as including drawings by Hollar of certain pre-Fire monuments. See also AJ Jewers, manuscript transcripts of inscriptions compiled in 1919 (Ms 2480/4, pp.1109-1255). For surviving monuments, see Nikolaus Pevsner and Simon Bradley, The Buildings of England Series: London 1, The City of London (revised edition, 1997), pp.155-83. Note: most of the surviving monuments are from the period after ca. 1790. For the Duke of Wellington's monument in the cathedral, see J Physick, The Wellington Monument (Victoria and Albert Museum, 1970), and Public Record Office, Works 6 (Miscellanea), which includes papers on the monument, 1853-1907. For Wellington's funeral, see section CLC/313/F.

Many of Wren's original drawings for the reconstruction of the cathedral are now held by the Prints and Maps Section of LMA. They are calendared in Kerry Downes, Sir Christopher Wren: The Design of St Paul's Cathedral. Introduction and Catalogue (1988). Further drawings are at All Souls College, Oxford: see Wren Society, vol.1 (1924). Additional volumes of the Wren Society, especially vols. 2-3, 8 and 13-16 (1924-38), with index (vol.20, 1943), include copies of the drawings now held at LMA and extracts from other related records

For details of the fabric of the cathedral from the mid 18th century, see: Rev RS Mylne, "The Fabric of St Paul's 1760-1810" in RIBA Journal, 3rd series, vol.23 (1916), pp.207-8; J Mordaunt Crook, "William Burges and the Completion of St Paul's" in Antiquaries Journal, vol.LX, part 2 (1980), pp.285-307; and GF Browne, An account of the Recent Decoration of St Pauls, 1891-1906 (1906) (Guildhall Library Printed Books Section, Pam 2153). See also WR Matthews, Saint Paul's Cathedral in Wartime, 1939-45 (1946), and St Paul's in War and Peace, 1939-58 (1960), for details of war damage and repairs, and the work of the St Paul's Watch.

The cathedral organ is described by JS Bumpus, The Organists and Composers of St Paul's Cathedral (1891), Appendix A, pp.199-212. For the cathedral bells and the Ancient Society of College Youths (a bell ringing society founded in 1637 and based at St Paul's since 1878), see William T Cook, The Bells of St Paul's: An Account of the Bells of St Paul's Cathedral (2nd revised edn, 1984), and The Society of College Youths, 1637-1987: A New History of the Society (1987). LMA holds microfilm copies only of various of the society's records, including "Name books" of members, 1637-1959 (CLC/001/MS21656/001-002) and "Peal books", 1754-1974 (CLC/001/MS21657/001-004).

The medieval chapter house, see section CLC/313/H, was damaged in the Great Fire and not rebuilt. Wren's Chapter House was constructed in 1712-14 on a new site on the north side of the cathedral. The rebuilding accounts (Ms 25471/53) have been edited in Wren Society, vol.15 (1938), pp.211-17. Wren's Chapter House has largely been rebuilt since 1945 following damage in World War Two. Two scrapbooks concerning the cathedral fabric (CLC/313/I/E/014/MS25809) also include details of the Chapter House. Since 1878 St Paul's Churchyard, the open space around the cathedral, has been managed by the Corporation of London. For the cathedral precinct and surrounding area, see two articles in London Journal, vol.16, no.2 (1991): R Thorne, "The Setting of St Paul's in the Twentieth Century" (pp.117-128), and P Murray, "Paternoster - post Holford" (pp.129-139).


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Dean and Chapter of Saint Paul's Cathedral, London, relating to the maintenance of the Cathedral building after 1630, including the reconstruction following the Great Fire of London in 1666. Records include minutes of meetings of the commissioners for the repair and rebuilding of Saint Paul's Cathedral; Works Committee minutes; financial accounts; subscriptions for the rebuilding of the Cathedral and rolls of benefactors; papers relating to the supply of building materials including Portland stone; correspondence; Acts of Parliament and Royal Commissions relating to the rebuilding; surveyor's reports; scrapbooks; and drawings, plans and sections, many by Wren and his assistants.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

This section is arranged in series as follows:
CLC/313/I/A: Minutes;
CLC/313/I/B: Accounts;
CLC/313/I/C: Subscriptions;
CLC/313/I/D: Supply of Materials;
CLC/313/I/E: Miscellaneous.
For a detailed discussion of the overall arrangement of the collection, see the fonds level description for Saint Paul's Cathedral, reference CLC/313.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The bulk of the archives of St Paul's Cathedral were transferred to the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library in September 1980. They were catalogued by a member of Guildhall Library staff in around 1989. Other accessions were received from the 1960s onwards. The Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section merged with the London Metropolitan Archives in 2009.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Further reading:
For Wren's rebuilding of the cathedral, see J Lang, Rebuilding St Paul's after the Great Fire of London (1956); and JH Bettey, "The Supply of Stone for Rebuilding St Paul's Cathedral" in Archaeological Journal, vol.128 (1971), pp.176-85, which concentrates on the supply of Portland stone. For the use of Portland and other types of stone, see D Knoop and GP Jones, The London Mason in the Seventeenth Century (1935), pp.29-31; and R Crayford, "Fluctuations in the Price of Lime in the Period 1672-1711 Recorded in the Accounts for the Rebuilding of Saint Paul's Cathedral" in Association for Studies in the Conservation of Historic Buildings, Transactions, vol.8 (1983), pp.25-27. For Wren , his assistants and other masons and craftsmen employed at the cathedral, see: HM Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840 (3rd Edn, 1995); C Wren [son of the architect], Parentalia (London, 1750: facsimile reprint, Farnborough, 1965); Michael Hunter, "The Making of Christopher Wren" in London Journal, vol.16, no.2 (1991), pp.101-116; and Vaughan Hart, St Paul's Cathedral: Sir Christopher Wren (1995). See also K Downes, "Sir Christopher Wren, Edward Woodroffe [Assistant Surveyor to the Dean and Chapter, 1669-75], JH Mansart and Architectural History", in Architectural History, vol.37 (1994), pp.37-67. Note: many of the craftsmen employed at St Paul's are recorded in the index (vol.20, 1943) to those records of the cathedral which have been edited by the Wren Society.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
August to October 2010.

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