St Paul's Cathedral: Archaeology and History [Hardback]

John Schofield (Author)

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ISBN: 9781785702754 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2016 | Language: English 209p, H280 x W216 (mm) b/w and colour

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St Paul's Cathedral


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 asssessment. 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.

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

Reviews & Quotes

"… a well-written - and a beautifully illustrated - guide to Wren’s cathedral and its subsequent development."
David Stocker
Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society (09/01/2017)

"Here is the first archaeological perspective of this great building. John Schofield, long-time cathedral archaeologist, offers an engaging fresh perspective because it is not only about walls and drains but also the people who constructed and cared for this great edifice."
Harold Mytum
British Archaeology (04/04/2017)

"This book is an excellent demonstration of the key role archaeological analysis plays in understanding buildings. It is a genuine contribution to the scholarship, containing much that has not been published elsewhere, and undoubtedly enhancing our understanding of one of England’s most important landmarks."
James W P Campbell
The London Journal (05/06/2017)

"…adds immeasurable value to how we perceive and understand this building. Did we need another book on this majestic cathedral? In this case it is a resounding ‘yes’."
Paul Holden
Journal of Architectural History (05/12/2017)

"This is a well-produced book, with many clear illustrations properly captioned and indexed into the text… With the previous volume on the medieval cathedral, it provides a concise, fully referenced account of the archaeological discoveries made in the capital's greatest building and sits comfortabl alongside the many architcetural studies."
Richard Halsey
Archaeological Journal (19/06/2019)

"It is a glossy, beautifully presented, volume but that should not detract from its serious and major contribution to the archaeology both of St Paul's itself and of London."
Cindy Wood
Antiquaries Journal (10/12/2018)

"[The author] is to be hugely congratulated on producing two splendid books covering all the archaeology of the cathedral from AD 604 to the present day. A great achievement."
Tim Tatton-Brown
Current Archaeology (29/11/2016)

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