old st. paul's 1561 Gothic cathedral City of London Great Fire

- Image ID: B6YHG6
old st. paul's 1561 Gothic cathedral City of London Great Fire Stock Photo
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old st. paul's 1561 Gothic cathedral City of London Great Fire
19th era / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: B6YHG6
Old St. Paul's is a name used to refer to the Gothic cathedral in the City of London built between 1087 and 1314. At its peak, the cathedral was the third longest church in Europe and had one of the tallest spires. The cathedral was destroyed in the Great Fire of London of 1666, and the current domed St. Paul's Cathedral — in an English Baroque style — was subsequently erected on the site by Sir Christopher Wren. The cathedral was the fourth church on the site at Ludgate Hill dedicated to St Paul, and was begun by the Normans following a devastating fire in 1087 (detailed in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle) which destroyed much of the city. Work took over 200 years, and a great deal was lost in another fire in 1136. The roof was once more built of wood, which was ultimately to doom the building. The church was consecrated in 1240, but a change of heart led to the commencement of an enlargement programme in 1256. This 'New Work' was completed in 1314 — the cathedral had been consecrated in 1300. It was the third-longest church in Europe. Excavations in 1878 by Francis Penrose showed it was 586 feet (179 m) long (excluding the porch later added by Inigo Jones) and 100 feet (30 m) wide (290 feet across the transepts and crossing). The cathedral had one of Europe's tallest spires, the height of which is traditionally given as 489 feet (149 m), however, Wren judged that an overestimate and gave 460 feet (140 m). By way of comparison, the current cathedral is 574 feet (175 m) in length including the portico, and 246 feet (75 m) across the transepts.