Sunrise seen from inside Old St Paul’s must have been astonishing. Before Wren rebuilt it, the cathedral had been amplified at the East end by the so-called New Work, begun in the 1250s. The whole of the eastern wall, 93ft high, was glass: a rose window above, with seven lancet windows filling the wall beneath it.
That was the Lady chapel, and beneath it was St Faith’s chapel, in the crypt, used as a parish church for local people. Booksellers stowed their goods there, confident of its blocked windows, as the Fire of London took hold in 1666, till the lead ran molten from above, and broken timbers smashed through the crypt vaulting, sending charred pages into the air, to be carried, so the schoolboy William Taswell reported, as far as Eton.
Read it all.