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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/313/P
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1100-1969
Level of description: Collection
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Extent: 64 production units.
Name of creator(s): St Paul's Cathedral | London


Administrative/Biographical history:

Saint Paul's Cathedral was probably founded in 604 by the King of Kent, Saint Ethelbert. The original wooden building was replaced by a stone church between 675 and 685; but this was destroyed by Vikings. The replacement building was destroyed by fire in 1087. The replacement cathedral was begun under the direction of Maurice, Bishop of London and chaplain to William the Conqueror. It was constructed in imported Caen stone and was higher and larger than the present building, topped by the tallest spire ever to have been built. The Cathedral precinct was walled in, and included a Chapter House, Saint Gregory's parish church, the Bishop's Palace, the Pardon Churchyard, a College of Minor Canons, the chapel of Saint Faith, Saint Paul's School, Paul's Cross, and a free-standing bell-tower. Paul's Cross was an important site for London life; sermons were preached here, proclamations made, and the folk moot for free citizens was held here. The cathedral itself was the site of many grand royal and ceremonial occasions: kings married here, lay in state here and gave thanks for military victories.

The Reformation caused great problems for the Cathedral, and the Dean and Chapter were unable to maintain the fabric. The walls of the Precinct crumbled and the open space around the Cathedral, as well as the nave itself, was used for business, selling of goods and meetings. Services were held in the choir. Extensive repairs were not begun until the 1630s, although they were interrupted by the Civil War and Cromwell's army used the nave as a cavalry barracks. The army smashed windows, mutilated statues and burned the woodwork. The nave roof fell in and the Bishop's Palace was destroyed. In 1663 the Dean and Chapter asked Christopher Wren to suggest how repairs could begin. Wren advocated destroying the existing building and starting again, which was rejected. He therefore drew up reconstruction plans which were accepted in 1666, 6 days before the Great Fire of London. The building was almost completely destroyed during the Fire, only the monument to poet and clergyman John Donne surviving.

Wren was forced to demolish the remainders of the walls using a battering ram. He made three designs for the new building; he is said to have burst into tears when his personal favourite was rejected. A design was finally selected in 1675, but Wren was given leave to adjust the plans if he chose to and he did make modifications, including the famous dome rather than a spired steeple. The rebuilding took 35 years, supervised throughout by Wren. He was one of the first people to be buried in the new crypt. Also buried in the crypt are Nelson, Wellington, and other distinguished soldiers, sailors, airmen, musicians, artists and writers.

Information from The London Encyclopaedia, eds. Weinreb and Hibbert (LMA Library Reference 67.2 WEI).


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Dean and Chapter of Saint Paul's Cathedral, London.

Selective extracts from the no longer extant, so called Register of Fulk Basset (Bishop of London, 1241-1259), relating to churches belonging to the Dean and Chapter in the 13th century. Compiled in the 17th century (CLC/313/P/003/MS25788).

Original and copy wills of cathedral officers and benefactors, 13th-17th centuries (CLC/313/P/008/MS25262-70; CLC/313/P/008/MS25271), calendared by Maxwell Lyte (HMC Ninth Report, boxes A66-68).

Inventories of cathedral goods and records:
* 1313, list of books bequeathed to the cathedral by Ralph de Baldock, Dean of St Paul's, 1294-1304, and Bishop of London, 1304-1313 (CLC/313/P/008/MS25271/007). The titles of most of these are listed by AB Emden, Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500, vol.III (1959), pp.2147-8. See also Maxwell Lyte (HMC Ninth Report), box A66, no.17, now CLC/313/P/008/MS25271/017.
* 1315-c 1336, copies of the 1295 inventory of the Cathedral Treasury, with additions to c 1330 (WD3, CLC/313/P/009/MS25503) and c 1336 (WD3A, CLC/313/P/010/MS25503A, a photocopy of Bodleian Library Ms Ashmole 845, ff.172-87).
* 1358, list of books (in an indenture attached to the will of William de Ravenstone, late almoner, CLC/313/P/008/MS25271/046) for the use of the cathedral's Almonry (i.e. Cathedral School). Listed by E Rickert, "Chaucer at School", Modern Philology, vol.29 (1952), pp.257-74. (NB This journal is not held at Guildhall Library).
* 1402-ca. 1413, 1445/6, inventories of plate, vestments, furniture, books etc. (WD8A, CLC/313/P/011/MS25508A). Edited by W Sparrow Simpson, Archaeologia, vol.50 (1887), pp.500-524. See also W Sparrow Simpson, St Paul's Cathedral and Old City Life, pp.35-46.
* 1447, Dean Thomas Lisieux's extensive inventory (with draft version) of the cathedral's title deeds, cartularies and record books (WD11 and WD11A, CLC/313/P/013/MS25511 and CLC/313/P/014/MS25511A). See Davis, Medieval Cartularies, nos.600-1.
* 1451, list of vestments bequeathed to the Dean and Chapter by the late Robert Gilbert, Bishop of London, 1436-48 (CLC/313/P/012/MS25436).
* 1559, list of books and documents "appertaining to the Cathedral Church...., to the Dean...and [to] the Dean and Chapter", which were passed by Henry Cole (Dean 1556-9) to William May (Dean, 1559-60) (CLC/313/P/015/MS25184). Extracts are printed by Dugdale (1818 edn), p.401.
* c 1622, list of manuscripts in the Cathedral Library, compiled by Patrick Young, Royal Librarian and, 1621-1652, Treasurer of St Paul's (currently only partly processed, ref. CF56). For the context, see Young's list for Worcester Cathedral, edited by I Atkins and NR Ker, Catalogus Librorum Manuscriptorum Bibliothecae Wigorniensis, Made in 1622-1643 (1944).

The Manuscripts Section holds a number of 18th and 19th century inventories of cathedral records, some compiled by WH Hale and W Sparrow Simpson. These have been catalogued as CLC/313/P/024/MS25612, CLC/313/P/025/MS25613, CLC/313/P/022/MS25614, CLC/313/P/021/MS25615, CLC/313/P/019/MS25616, CLC/313/P/017/MS25617 and CLC/313/P/018/MS25617A.

Issued for the rebuilding of the cathedral, 1201-1387 (CLC/313/P/031/MS25124/001-076 and extra item). All but the extra unnumbered item are listed by W Sparrow Simpson, Camden Society, new series, vol.26 (1880), pp/175-7. Eight of the items are edited by Sparrow Simpson in the above volume, pp.1-8; three others are edited by HH Milman, Annals (1869), pp.519-21.

Records of episcopal visitations of the cathedral:
Episcopal visitation of the cathedral seems to have gone unchallenged. However in 1289 the cathedral's prebends were declared free of episcopal and archidiaconal jurisdiction: see W Sparrow Simpson, Registrum, p.89.
* Copies of presentments at the episcopal visitation of 1598, by minor canons, virgers etc., making various allegations (CLC/313/P/037/MS25175) [edited by W Sparrow Simpson, Registrum, pp.272-80].
* Transcripts of injunctions issued at episcopal visitations, 1696 and 1724-5 (CLC/313/P/005/MS25663/001-002) [edited by W Sparrow Simpson, Registrum, pp.281-316.]

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:

For further indulgences, see: Guildhall Library CLC/313/L/H/002/MS25122/1140, indulgence granted by the Bishop of London, ca. 1123-7; and copies in the medieval episcopal registers of London Diocese (DL/A/A/004/MS09531). Other indulgences towards the repair of the cathedral exist in the episcopal registers of other dioceses: see David Smith, Guide to Bishops' Registers of England and Wales (1981), which includes details of those registers calendared by the Canterbury and York Society.

Inventories held elsewhere:
* 1245, inventory of plate, reliquaries, ornaments, vestments, books and furniture (CLC/313/B/021/MS25509). Edited by W Sparrow Simpson, Archaeologia, vol.50 (1887), pp.464-500. See also Sparrow Simpson, "The Treasury of the Cathedral Church of St Paul in 1245" in St Paul's Cathedral and Old City Life (1894), pp.3-32.
* 1255, inventory of ornaments, cloths and books (CLC/313/B/001/MS25504). Lists of books only have been edited by NR Ker, "Books at St Paul's Cathedral before 1313", in AEJ Hollaender and W Kellaway eds, Studies in London History (1969), pp.49-60.
* 1295, inventory of plate, vestments and books in the Cathedral Treasury (with additions to 1299), and belonging to the cathedral's chapels and altars (CLC/313/L/F/002/MS25516). Edited in Dugdale (1818 edn), pp.310-35, with corrections by W Sparrow Simpson in Archaeologia, vol.50 (1887), pp.460-63.
* 1458, inventory of the Cathedral Library (British Library, Cotton Charters XIII, no.11) See Dugdale (1818 edn), pp.392-98.
* 1486, inventory of books in the Cathedral Treasury (British Library, Cotton Charters XIII, no.24) See Dugdale (1818 edn), pp.399-401
* 1552, inventory of the cathedral's plate, jewels, vestments etc. (Public Record Office, E117 (King's Remembrancer, Inventories of Church Goods), no.4/71). Edited by JO Payne, St Paul's Cathedral in the Time of Edward VI (1893).
* 1553, short inventory of the cathedral's plate, jewels etc. Edited by Dugdale (1818 edn), p.391. Note: the source of this reference is unclear.
* c 1647, catalogue of manuscripts and printed books transferred from the cathedral to Sion College in the Commonwealth period (Bodleian Ms Rawlinson D.888, ff.2-5). See NR Ker, Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries, vol.1 pp.240 and 263.
* 1650, alphabetized shelf list of the cathedral's library held at Sion College (Sion College Arc.L.24.1/Si 7M, now held at Lambeth Palace Library). Note: this collection of manuscripts and books was almost totally destroyed in the Great Fire (see ca.1666 below).
* 1659, list of writings "belonging to St Paul's church" (British Library, Lansdowne Ms 364).
* c 1666, manuscripts, transferred to Sion College, which survived the Great Fire. These are listed in CLC/313/L/H/001/MS25121/1916. However this list is now missing, and was probably never passed to Guildhall Library. See NR Ker, Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries, vol.1, p.240 for a [full?] transcription. The surviving items returned to the cathedral in 1670.
* 1803, account of the plate belonging to the cathedral, compiled by JP Malcolm. Londinium Redivivum: Or an Antient History and Modern Description of London, III (1807), pp.144-5. Also edited by W Sparrow Simpson in St Paul's Cathedral and Old City Life, pp.52-53.

Note: Matthew Hutton's extracts from the cathedral's records (British Library, Harley Ms 6956, made in the late 17th century) include details of a number of medieval volumes which have not survived. See G Yeo, Record-keeping at St Paul's Cathedral, especially pp.34-36.

For inventories of plate, vestments etc. of the cathedral's chantries, see section CLC/313/O; for inventories of churches in the cathedral's patronage, see section CLC/313/K/B.

Visitation records held elsewhere:
* Episcopal visitation books, 1561, 1574, 1598, 1607, 1696-7 and 1724 (i.e. records of London Diocese) (DL/B/A/002/MS09537/002-003, 009-010, 026 & 030).
* Bishop's register, recording 1696 visitation (i.e. record of London Diocese) (DL/A/A/004/MS09531/016).
* See also an original injunction of 1724, CLC/313/L/H/001/MS25121/3014] and account of episcopal visitation business, 1438 (CLC/313/B/024/MS25520) [edited by W Sparrow Simpson, Registrum, pp.169-71].

Publication note:

Records of metropolitan visitations of the cathedral:
St Paul's claimed exemption from metropolitan visitations, most famously in 1249/50 when Archbishop Boniface was denied access: see Victoria County History (1909), p.420, and Camden Miscellany, vol.9 (1895), pp.v-viii. However after a protracted struggle a papal mandate allowed the principle of metropolitan visitation of the cathedral. A subsequent visitation by Archbishop Winchelsey is recorded in Registrum Roberti Winchelsey Cantuariensis Archiepiscopi A.D. 1294-1313, edited by Rose Graham (Canterbury and York Society, vols.51-52, 1952-6). A "sede vacante" visitation of the cathedral by Archbishop Whitgift is recorded in his archiepiscopal register, held at Lambeth Palace Library ("Whitgift", register 2, ff.246-66). For details of Archbishop Laud's visitation of the cathedral in 1636, extracted from records at the House of Lords Record Office, see HMC Fourth Report part 1 (1874), pp.154-7. See also Laud's archiepiscopal register, held at Lambeth Palace Library. For the petition from the Dean and Chapter to the Crown concerning the visitation, and the reply, see Dugdale (1818 edn), p.415. After the Restoration metropolitan visitations almost entirely ceased.

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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