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Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/313/H
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1326-1689
Level of description: Collection
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Extent: 6 production units.
Name of creator(s): St Paul's Cathedral | London


Administrative/Biographical history:

The first cathedral on the present site was begun in 604 by Mellitus, Bishop of London, and was probably constructed in wood. This cathedral was rebuilt in stone by Erkenwald (Bishop of London, 675-693), destroyed by Vikings in 961, and again rebuilt. Following fires in 1086/7 and 1136, an ambitious Romanesque church in Caen stone was initiated on an enlarged site. This phase of building was completed in 1241 when the cathedral was rededicated. The Gothic "New Work" at the east end of the cathedral, which was started in 1256, elongated the choir (completed in 1314) and constructed a new central tower and spire (completed in 1315) and a new south aisle (completed in 1332). The upkeep of the "New Work" was the responsibility of the Dean and Chapter, while the "Old Work", the Western portion of the cathedral built before 1256, was, uniquely, the responsibility of the Bishop of London. In 1300 all offerings in the cathedral were assigned to the completion of the New Work. Few changes were made to the medieval cathedral after this period, except for rebuilding the spire after it was damaged by lightning in 1444. The spire (again), roof and much of the cathedral were damaged by fire in 1561. Extensive repairs were effected in 1561-1564 (although the spire was not rebuilt), but by the early 17th century the cathedral had suffered a long period of neglect, and urgently required repair.

In 1608 James I initiated a survey of the building, which resulted in an estimate for the cost of repairing the fabric and rebuilding the spire. The commissioners appointed in 1620 to investigate the necessary repairs launched a national subscription, and quantities of Portland stone were brought to the site, but again there was a lapse of interest. Subsequent repair and rebuilding work is described in section CLC/313/I.

The body of St Erkenwald, patron of London Diocese, survived the 1086/7 fire which destroyed the Anglo-Saxon cathedral, and was (supposedly) translated in both 1140 and 1148 to a new shrine behind the high altar screen. In February 1326 there was a further translation to a new shrine. The shrine was a major pilgrimage attraction, but was mostly destroyed in September 1547 or shortly after, although a drawing by Hollar records the surviving pedestal of the shrine in 1657: see Dugdale (1818 edn), facing p.74. In 1552 many chapels, altars and much other stonework were demolished: see Victoria County History (1909), p.415, and Dugdale, who records certain monuments damaged in the Restoration period (1818 edn), pp.31-32. The remains of St Erkenwald's shrine were totally destroyedby the Great Fire. The only memorial from Old St Paul's to survive the Fire undamaged was that of Dean John Donne, erected (1631/2), which still survives in the current cathedral. For monuments generally, see section CLC/313/I.

The cathedral's medieval cloister and chapter house, constructed ca. 1332-35 by William Ramsey on land in the angle of the (then) south transept and nave, were very small, being only 32 feet 6 inches in internal diameter. The LMA holds three deeds of 1332 for their construction: see Ms 25121:865, 1077 and 1902 (section CLC/313/H).

St Faith's parish church, within the cathedral precinct, was demolished ca. 1255 to lengthen the cathedral. A chapel in the cathedral crypt subsequently acted as the parish church. A chapel dedicated to St Faith survives in the current cathedral, although parish services no longer take place. The parish church of St Gregory by St Paul, which stood at the south west corner of the cathedral, was destroyed in the Great Fire and not rebuilt. Cathedral services were held in St Gregory's between June and November 1561. Inigo Jones had attempted to partially demolish this church in 1641 to make way for the cathedral portico (described in section CLC/313/I), but following the complaints of parishioners was forced to return the stonework he had taken down. The LMA holds the surviving parish records of St Faith under St Paul (P69/FAI) and St Gregory by St Paul (P69/GRE).

The Bishop of London had a palace in the medieval precinct, originally sited in the area across from the north door of the cathedral and moving some time after the late 13th century to a more extensive site to the north west. For St Paul's School, formerly in the cathedral precinct, see the introductory note to section CLC/313/P.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Dean and Chapter of Saint Paul's Cathedral, London, relating to the pre-1666 Cathedral building. Few fabric accounts survive, by contrast with some other great churches such as Westminster Abbey. Survivals include:

* 1326/7: Payments to carpenters, labourers etc (CLC/313/H/010/MS25170).

* 1561-4: Payments to workmen following the 1561 fire (CLC/313/H/001/MS25618).

* 1566: Account of money received for repair following the 1561 fire (CLC/313/H/012/MS25589).

* 1608: Estimates for repair and restoration work (CLC/313/H/013/MS25619).

* 1620: Survey of repairs to stonework etc. (CLC/313/H/014/MS25490).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Records arranged by MS number, assigned during cataloguing at the Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section. For a detailed discussion of the 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:

The LMA holds a number of title deeds and related sources (dating from ca.1582) for London Diocese properties around the cathedral: see section DL/D/K of the records of London Diocese, and Keene and Harding, Survey of Documentary Sources, pp.51-2.

Many papers relating to the building are effectively strays amongst the series of "London" deeds of City properties (CLC/313/L/H/001/MS25121). Others are records of London Diocese.

- 1175/1176: copy appeal of Richard [of Ilchester]' Bishop of Winchester, for funds to help rebuild St Paul's Cathedral (CLC/313/L/H/001/MS25121:1320). This item is edited by Dugdale (1818 edn), p.63; for further details, see R Graham, "An Appeal about 1175 for the Building Fund of St Paul's Cathedral" in British Archaeological Association Journal, 3rd series, vol.10 (1945-7), pp.73-6.
- 1323 Fragment of "New Work" accounts (CLC/313/L/H/001/MS25121:1911).
- 1389-1454 Accounts of the Keeper of the "Old Work" (incomplete) (DL/D/J/001/MS25413/001-005).
- 1422/3 Accounts of the Keeper of the "Old Work" (Ms 10311).
- 1430 Inventory of building materials (CLC/313/L/H/001/MS25121:1900).
- 1478/9 Payments to workmen of the "Old Work" (DL/D/J/004/MS25414).
- 1584 Inventory of building materials after the re-edifying of the steeple (CLC/313/G/037/MS25532).

See also London Diocese rentals of property assigned to the "Old Work", 1350 (DL/D/J/005/MS25423/001); 1421 (DL/D/J/005/MS25423/002); and 1482 (DL/D/J/005/MS25423/003).

Further documents concerning repairs to the cathedral, 1561-6, are now The National Archives, reference E164 (King's Remembrancer, Miscellaneous Books, Series 1), vol.66.

For indulgences issued for the rebuilding of the cathedral, 1201-1387, and for inventories of the medieval cathedral, see section CLC/313/P.

Publication note:

GH Cook, Old S Paul's Cathedral (1955); Martin S Briggs, 'A Brief History of the Fabric', in WR Matthews and WM Atkins eds, A History of St Paul's, pp.326-59; and articles on the architecture of the medieval cathedral by R Gem, JP McAleer and RK Morris in British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions, vol.10 (1990), pp.47-100. McAleer discusses various sketches and drawings of Old St Paul's (pp.64-73); see also W Sparrow Simpson, 'Some Early Drawings of St Paul's', in Gleanings from Old St Paul's, pp.119-36; and 'A Walk Round Old St Pauls, The Interior', in Chapters in the History of Old St Paul's, pp.77-94.

Accounts of the fire of 1561 are edited by W Sparrow Simpson, "Documents Illustrating the History of St Paul's Cathedral" in Camden Society, new series, vol.26 (1880), pp.113-27, and Chapters in the History of Old St Paul's, pp.129-45. See also C J Kitching, "Re-roofing Old St Paul's Cathedral" in London Journal, vol.12 (1986), pp.123-33.

For the 1620s, see Sir Robert Somerville, "St Paul's Cathedral Repairs: The Propaganda of Henry Farley" in London Topographical Record, vol.25 (1985), pp.163-75.

For a reconstitution of the pre-Fire cathedral, see RHC Finch, "Old St Paul's: A Reconstitution" in The Builder, no.148 (1935), pp.728-30, 772-3 & 778-9.

For the cathedral nave, see W Sparrow Simpson, "Paul's Walk", in Chapters in the History of Old St Paul's, pp.235-50 and LW Cowie, "Paul's Walk until the Great Fire" in History Today, vol.24 (1974), pp.41-9.

Hollar's seventeenth century images of the interior (including certain monuments) and exterior of "Old St Paul's" are reproduced in Dugdale (1818 edn); see also R Pennington, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Etched Work of Wenceslaus Hollar, 1607-77 (1982), especially nos.1015-30.

For details of the medieval buildings in the cathedral precinct, and modern sketch plans of the area ca. 1250 and ca. 1500, see Roderick Macleod, "The Topography of St Paul's Prec inct , 1200-1500" in London Topographical Record, vol.26 (1990), pp.1-4. More detailed is Peter WM Blayney, The Bookshops in Paul's Cross Churchyard, London (The Bibliographical Society, Occasional paper no.5, 1990), which includes modern diagrams of Paul's Cross Churchyard in 1545, 1600, 1640, 1665 & 1675 (pp.75-79), and a detailed modern plan of the whole precinct in 1600 (facing p.3). Blayney also provides other valuable material on the 17th century topography of the precinct. See also James Raven, "Memorializing a London Bookscape: The Mapping and Reading of Paternoster Row and St Paul's Churchyard, 1695-1814", in RC Alston ed., Order and Connexion: Studies in Bibliography and Book History (1997), pp.177-200.

For the chapter house, see JH Harvey, "The Origin of the Perpendicular Style", in EM Jope ed., Studies in Building History, Essays in Recognition of the Work of BH St J O'Neil (1961), pp.134-65; Christopher Wilson, The Development of the Perpendicular Style (University of London, PhD dissertation, 1908); and GH Cook, Old St Paul's Cathedral, p.43. See also FC Penrose, "On the Recent Discoveries of Portions of Old Saint Paul's Cathedral" in Archaeologia, vol.47 (1883), pp.381-92, on excavations of the remains of the chapter house and Paul's Cross. Most of the cloister was demolished in 1549; see Blayney, The Bookshops in Paul's Cross Churchyard, London, p.4. For the location of the playhouse used by the choristers, also known as "the Children of St Paul's", see R Bowers, "The Playhouse of the Choristers of St Paul's, c. 1575-1608" in Theatre Notebook 54, No.2 (2000), pp.70-85, which disputes Gair's suggested site for the playhouse.

See Roderick Macleod, "The Topography of St Paul's Precinct, 1200-1500" in London Topographical Record, vol.26 (1990), pp.1-14 and Peter Blayney as above, as well as W Sparrow Simpson, "The Palaces and Town Houses of the Bishops of London" in London and Middlesex Archaeological Society (LAMAS) Transactions, new series, vol.1 (1905), pp.13-73.

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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