St Paul's Cathedral: archaeology and history

St Paul's Cathedral: archaeology and history

by John Schofield


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St Paul's Cathedral: archaeology and history by John Schofield

This is the first volume concerned solely with the archaeology of a major late 17th century building in London, and the major changes it has undergone. St Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London was built in 1675–1711 to the designs of Sir Christopher Wren and has been described as an iconic building many times.

In this major new account, John Schofield examines the cathedral from an archaeological perspective, reviewing its history from the early 18th to the early 21st century, as illustrated by recent archaeological recording, documentary research and engineering assessment. A detailed account of the construction of the cathedral is provided based on a comparison of the fabric with voluminous building accounts which have survived and evidence from recent archaeological investigation. The construction of the Wren building and its embellishments are followed by the main works of later surveyors such as Robert Mylne and Francis Penrose.

The 20th century brought further changes and conservation projects, including restoration after the building was hit by two bombs in World War II, and all its windows blown out. The 1990s and first years of the present century have witnessed considerable refurbishment and cleaning involving archaeological and engineering works. Archaeological specialist reports and an engineering review of the stability and character of the building are provided.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781785702754
Publisher: Oxbow Books Limited
Publication date: 11/30/2016
Pages: 209
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

John Schofield is Cathedral Archaeologist for St Paul’s Cathedral. He worked at the Museum of London from 1974 until 2008, and is now a freelance archaeologist and architectural historian. He has written widely on the archaeology and building history of London and European towns, with several well-received books: The building of London from the Conquest to the Great Fire (3rd ed, 1999); Medieval London houses (2nd ed, 2003), [with Alan Vince] Medieval towns (2005), St Paul’s Cathedral before Wren (2011) and London 1100–1600: the archaeology of a capital city (2011). His next book will be on the historic waterfront of the City of London.

Table of Contents




1. Introduction

Purpose and research setting

Histories, documentary evidence and main graphic sources

Archaeological recording of the Wren cathedral and in St Paul’s Churchyard

Conventions of archaeological recording

2. The construction of the Wren cathedral, 1666–1720

Temporary arrangements for worship, demolition of the medieval cathedral and removal of debris, and features of the construction site

Adapting the medieval chapter house, 1667–1714 (Wren’s site office from 1671)

Construction of the cathedral, 1675–1711

The drainage system for the site, 1687–1710

The railings and gates around the cathedral

Buildings around the edge of the Churchyard, and the Deanery

Use of materials: reused stone, new stone, brick, pantiles and timber

3. The cathedral in the 18th and 19th centuries

The interior and general stability concerns, 1711 to 1897

The archaeology of burials, 1680 to 2000

The outside of the building, 1711–1900

St Paul’s Churchyard inside and outside the railings, 1711–1900

Use of stone and other building materials, 1711–1900

4. St Paul’s 1897–2013: protection and conservation

The first decades of the 20th century, the works of 1925–35, and the creation of St Paul’s Heights and St Paul’s Depths

Damage in World War II

Post-War planning and archaeological work to 2014

5. Conclusions: towards an archaeology of Christopher Wren within the history of the cathedral

6. Specialist reports

Pottery and clay tobacco pipes

Non-ceramic artefacts


Detailed notes on the investigation of the nave roof, 2013

Human bone

Coffins and coffin furniture

Lawrence Spencer, Clerk of Works, and his family

7. The engineer’s view of St Paul’s


Description of the structure

Concerns over the stability of the structure

The material in the core of the masonry


8. Gazetteer of sites

Bibliography and abbreviations

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