August 3, 2012 by

Old St. Paul’s Cathedral, London


Categories: Research, Tags: , , , , ,

Okay, this has nothing to do with Wales, but it does feature in my latest book AND is medieval 🙂

St. Paul’s Cathedral was initially built (maybe) in 604 AD, during a time that Christianity was just getting a foothold in Britain. That was the first church.  There were several more between then and 1087, when the Normans began their church.

Old St Paul’s Cathedral was the medieval cathedral of the City of London that, until 1666, stood on the site of the present St Paul’s Cathedral. Built in 1087–1314 and dedicated to Saint Paul, the cathedral was the fourth church on the site at Ludgate Hill.[1] Work began during the reign of William the Conqueror after a fire in 1087 that destroyed much of the city. Work took more than 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 and had one of the tallest spires and some of the finest stained glass.”’s_Cathedral

Fascinatingly, St. Paul’s was used as far more than a church.  It was the site of political intrigue, a market was held in the nave, and was famous for ‘Paul’s Walk’, a meeting point of the rich and famous of London:  “Paul’s walk in Elizabethan and early Stuart London was the middle aisle of Old St. Paul’s Cathedral, where people walked up and down in search of the latest news. At the time, St. Paul’s was the centre of the London grapevine. “News-mongers”, as they were called, gathered there to pass on the latest news and gossip.[1] Those who visited the cathedral to keep up with the news were known as “Paul’s-walkers”.

According to Francis Osborne (1593–1656):

It was the fashion of those times, and did so continue till these . . . for the principal gentry, lords, courtiers, and men of all professions not merely mechanic, to meet in Paul’s Church by eleven and walk in the middle aisle till twelve, and after dinner from three to six, during which times some discoursed on business, others of news. Now in regard of the universal there happened little that did not first or last arrive here…And those news-mongers, as they called them, did not only take the boldness to weigh the public but most intrinsic actions of the state, which some courtier or other did betray to this society. Amongst whom divers being very rich had great sums owing them by such as stood next the throne, who by this means were rendered in a manner their pensioners. So as I have found little reason to question the truth of which I heard then, but much to confirm me in it.[2]

For images and drawings of the old Cathedral:

4 Responses to Old St. Paul’s Cathedral, London

  1. Jill

    Can you imagine the the interesting things that people discussed in Paul’s Walk?
    . How I would have liked to be a fly on that wall.

  2. Venkata P.

    If this is going to be there, are you going to show Weatminister Church as well. I wonder what mischief David, Math,Anna,and Lily will get into in London….[long deep evil laugh].

    By the way, how’s the book coming along?

    Oh,please,plese,please,please… give me a hint, please.

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