Old St Paul's Cathedral

Old St Paul's Cathedral

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Old St Paul's Cathedral

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Old St Paul's Cathedral is a name used to refer to the medieval cathedral of the City of London which until 1666 stood on the site of the present St Paul's Cathedral. Built between 1087 and 1314 and dedicated to St Paul, the cathedral was the fourth church on the site at Ludgate Hill. Work began during the reign of William the Conqueror following a devastating fire in 1087 which destroyed much of the city. Work took over 200 years, and construction was delayed by another fire in 1135. The church was consecrated in 1240 and enlarged again in 1256 and the early 14th century. At its completion in the middle of the 14th century, the cathedral was one of the longest churches in the world, had one of the tallest spires and some of the finest stained glass.

The presence of the shrine of St Erkenwald made the cathedral a pilgrimage site during the Medieval period. In addition to serving as the seat of the Diocese of London, the building developed a reputation as a hub of the City of London, with the nave aisle, "Paul's walk", known as a centre for business and the London grapevine. Following the Reformation, the open air pulpit in the churchyard, St Paul's Cross, became the stage for radical evangelical preaching and Protestant bookselling.

Already severely in decline by the 17th century, restoration work by Inigo Jones in the 1620s was halted by the English Civil War. Sir......
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