Thursday, 22 September 2011
A Professorial Exposition
One of the threads that runs through my year is St Paul's Cathedral, from the Loriners 750th celebration there, the United Guilds Service, the 300 year anniversary of the Cathedral, the Sons of the Clergy service and again last night for a brilliant talk by Professor Peter McCullough a Lay Canon of St Paul's and Fellow and Tutor of Renaissance Literature at Oxford University. He spoke on ''St Paul's, the Corporation, and Liveries in the age of John Donne.''
We sat, theatre style, under the dome and a warm and amusing introduction was given by Graeme Knowles the Dean of St Paul's. He then introduced the speaker which is when it started to go wrong. Peter McCullough had a lapel mike which was linked to the main sound system and the echo this produced made it incredibly difficult for everyone to understand what he was saying. Concentration was all.
He spoke eloquently on the way in which the Cathedral, the Livery and the City Corporation have been entwined for centuries. John Donne, poet, lawyer, Ironmonger Liveryman and priest was the Dean of St Paul's in the time of Elizabeth the First. This was pre-Wren when the old cathedral dominated the London skyline with its spire. In the 100 or so years before the cathedral was destroyed in the Great Fire of London it was considerably decayed and dilapidated. Professor Mc Cullough explained the very close relationship the Livery had with the cathedral in those times. Indeed more than the Guildhall chapel itself, St Paul's was one of the most important stages upon which the Lord Mayor, Aldermen and Liveries showed in a visible and corporate way their support of the crown's established church. This talk was so good that I have put a link in here so that if you have the time you can read it for yourself.