Tales from St. Paul's Cathedral - Mrs. F. Lord

The Plan of St. Paul's

I have now told you, first how old St. Paul's came to be burnt down, and then how the new St. Paul's was built by Sir Christopher Wren; and there is very little more to explain before I begin to tell you the stories of the great men, mostly soldiers and sailors, who are buried here.

In Westminster Abbey you see the tombs and monuments, not only of famous men, but also of many of our kings and queens and little princes and princesses. Here in St. Paul's no kings and queens are buried, but you will see the graves of some of the greatest and bravest men who ever lived; and it is about some of these men that I want to tell you. Many of them, soldiers and sailors, died in battle fighting for their country, and their bodies were brought home and buried with great honour in St. Paul's Cathedral, so that all English men and women and children when they go there may be reminded of them, and that the great deeds which they did for England may never be forgotten. Others who are not buried here are commemorated by monuments; and if you look on the plan or map of the church on the opposite page, you will see the graves or monuments of those men about whom you will find stories, marked by the numbers 1, 2, 3, etc. And in this way you will, I hope, be able to find quite easily the graves or monuments which you most want to see.

1. Crimean Monument.
2. General Gordon.
3. Sir Herbert Stewart.
4. Captain  Tablets.
5. Captain George Westcott.
6. Crimean Monument.
7. Duke of Wellington.
8. Sir Joshua Reynolds.
9. Captain Mosse and Captain Riou.
10. Bishop Heber.
11. Dr. Donne.
12. Dean Milman.
13. John Howard.
14. Admiral Lord Nelson.
15. Lord Collingwood.
16. Sir Ralph Abercromby.
17. Sir John Moore.
18. Joseph Mallord Turner.

We will suppose we have come up the great flight of steps in front of St. Paul's—you can see it in the picture at the beginning of the book—and are now inside. The door by which we came in is called the west door, and is marked on the plan by the letters W D. We are now standing in what is called the nave. As we walk up towards the altar we see that the church is built, as I told you the Abbey and most other churches are, in the shape of a cross laid upon the ground. The nave and choir (which is in front of us, and is where the clergymen and choristers sit) form the stem of the cross; and to our right and to our left are the two arms—the one to our right is called the south transept, and the one to our left the north transept. Between these two arms is an open space, and standing here and looking up, we have the best view of the great dome. All round the dome runs a gallery which is called the Whispering Gallery, and any one who does not mind walking up two hundred and sixty stairs can find out why it is that it is so called. Although it is so large, a whisper can be heard quite plainly from one end to the other. Higher up, again, is another gallery, called the Upper or Golden Gallery, which is outside the church; and from here, there is a wonderful view of London, the River Thames, and in the distance Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. And last of all, by climbing still higher, you come to the ball, which you see on the outside of the cathedral, just beneath the golden cross, and which, though it looks so small, is large enough to hold twelve people.

And now, having explained to you the plan, and having told you how it is possible to go, if you wish, to the very topmost part of the cathedral, you may think that you know all that there is to know about the way in which St. Paul's is built. But there is another and most important part of the Cathedral, and this is the crypt. As we walk about the nave and the transepts, and look up to the great dome above us, it is difficult to believe that under our feet, underneath this stone pavement on which we are standing, there is hidden what is like another church, of exactly the same size—that is to say, as long and as broad as the church we are now standing in. But so it is, and the name "crypt," which comes from a Greek word meaning that which is hidden, is the name by which this part of St. Paul's is known. As we went upstairs to reach the Whispering Gallery, so we go downstairs to reach the crypt. And then we are in what looks like a long, low, dim church.

Here there is service every week-day morning at eight o'clock, and all the great men buried in St. Paul's lie here in the crypt. So when you have walked round the nave and the transepts and looked at their monuments, you must not forget to go down into the crypt and see their tombs.

On the opposite page you will see a plan of the crypt, marked with numbers in just the same way as the plan of the cathedral.

And now I have finished at last all these many explanations. In the next chapter I will begin the stories we have been so long in coming to—the first being about some of the officers and men who were killed in the Crimean War, and whose monument is in the nave, where you see No. 1 on the plan of the cathedral.

1. Sir Christopher Wren.
2. Joseph Mallord Turner.
3. Sir Joshua Reynolds.
4. Sir Edwin Landseer.
5. Dean Milman.
6. Duke of Wellington.
7. Admiral Lord Nelson.
8. Lord Collingwood.
6. Lord Northesk.
10. Earl Nelson, Countess Nelson, and Viscount Trafalgar.