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St Paul’s Cathedral was the most iconic of London’s medieval buildings to succumb to the Great Fire. Built soon after the Norman Conquest, it had survived fire in the Elizabethan era. Under the Stuarts its stone work had been restored by Inigo Jones, although it suffered from desecration during the Cromwellian period. On the first day of the Great Fire, besieged citizens sought refuge in St Paul’s ecclesiastical sanctuary, but its roof beams soon fell to the encroaching flames.
Before the Great Fire, architect Sir Christopher Wren carried out a survey on the Cathedral, and in 1669 he was appointed Surveyor of the Kings Works and oversaw the rebuilding of 51 churches including St Paul’s. The Act above shows that nearly twenty years after the fire, the rebuilding of St Paul’s was still a work in progress. It was not completed until 1711.
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