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St. Paul's Cathedral: A Historical Record

The Grounds
The Tower
The Narthex
The Nave
The Chancel and Sanctuary
The Windows
Cathedral Chronology

The Grounds

The land on which the Cathedral stands is vested in the Diocese of Huron.  These grounds served as a graveyard for the village of London and eventually most of the interred and their grave-markers were transferred to Woodland Cemetery owned by the Cathedral but a few tombstones still remain in the church grounds.

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The Tower

The tower bears the date 1845 on a shield high up on the outside.  Its thick walls were designed to support a peal of 6 bells.  The six were replaced by a chime of 10 bells in 1901 and recast into 11 bells in 1935.  The clock, each of its three faces measuring over 5 feet, was installed along with the 1901 chime of bells.  Generations of bell-ringers have left a record of great moments in the Cathedral’s history by their penciled notations on the walls of the loft.  The gargoyles on the pinnacles and doorways are carved from stone quarried at Portland Bill, the same quarry Sir Christopher Wren used to build St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, England.

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The Narthex

The Narthex holds many interesting mementoes; the monument commemorating those men of H.M. 23rd Regiment of Royal  Welsh Fusiliers who fell in the Battle of Alma in the Crimea in 1854; the cross from Canterbury Cathedral and the marble from St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England; the Cronyn tombstone that originally marked the family grave in Woodland Cemetery.

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The Nave

Originally the church extended one window further east than the present nave and its east wall featured a small half-octagonal apse.  There were galleries on each of the other three walls, with the organ and choir occupying the west gallery.  The pulpit (now in Bishop Cronyn Memorial Church) stood front and center.  In 1869, during the tenure of the Very Rev'd Dr. Isaac Hellmuth, the small apse was replaced by a chancel large enough to accommodate the choir and clergy, with an organ chamber on the south and vestries on the north.

In 1892, during the tenure of the Very Rev'd G.M. Innes, the chancel of 1869 was removed, one more window of the nave was taken down and the present wide transepts and spacious chancel were built.  The galleries were removed and the present elaborate system of beams was devised so as to render all the pillars unnecessary. The Carrara marble font in the baptistery at the west doors commemorates the long sojourn of Dean Innes at the Cathedral, 1871 to 1903.

The south transept was equipped as a chapel (now known as the Lady Chapel) during the rectorship of the Very Rev'd I. N. Tucker, rector of the Cathedral 1911-1934 and Dean of Huron 1918-1934.

The bronze lanterns hanging in the nave were given as memorials while the Very Rev'd C.E. Jeakins was rector and Dean of Huron, 1935-1940.

St. David’s Chapel in the north transept dates from the tenure of the Very Rev'd K. B. Keefe, Dean and Rector from 1961-1980.  The altar contains one stone from each deanery in the Diocese of Huron as well as one stone from Canterbury, England, and was formerly in the Synod Office Chapel on Richmond Street.

Military colours of former London regiments are laid up in the transepts.

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The Chancel and Sanctuary

Most of the carving on the chancel furnishings, together with the ornamental screens flanking the chancel, are the work of Bavarian craftsmen from the Globe Furniture Company in Waterloo, Ontario.  On the right as you enter the chancel is the dean’s stall commemorating the Very Rev'd M. Boomer, second Dean of Huron, 1871-1888.  Directly opposite is the chair created for the Rev'd Canon A. G. Dann who served as rector of the Cathedral from 1903-1910.  He was not dean as, for the only time in its history, the title was bestowed on the rector of another church.  The Bishop’s Cathedra (chair) stands to the east of the Cathedral Canons’ stalls on the south side and is a memorial to Bishop Cronyn.

The present symbols on the chancel ceiling date from the days of the Very Rev'd G.N. Luxton, rector and Dean of Huron 1944-1948. During the tenure of the Very Rev'd R. C. Brown rector and Dean of Huron, 1948-1961, the sanctuary was enhanced by the installation of a new altar, reredos and paneling.

The present organ, a memorial to members of the Cathedral who served in two world wars, was built by Cassavant Freres of St. Hyacinth, Quebec, and dedicated in 1953.

The first processional cross dates from the incumbency of the Very Rev'd P. N. Harding, rector and Dean of Huron, 1940-1944, who founded the Altar Servers’ Guild.  The brass alms basin was presented by the family of Marion Grace Barker in thanksgiving for her rescue from the sinking steamer, Victoria, in the Thames River on May 24, 1881.  The candlesticks on the high altar were purchased for the Cathedral by the Rev'd D. D. Jones in 1954 from a shop next to Westminster Abbey.

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The Windows

The window in the tower, “Christ Blessing the City and the World”, was designed by Christopher Wallis in 1992.

In the 1991 window over the great west door in the narthex, Christopher Wallis traces the development of the Cathedral from the naming of London in 1793 to the presentation of the Cathedral’s Coat of Arms in 1989.

The three windows dedicated to St. Paul on the north wall of the nave are also the work of Christopher Wallis and commemorate our 150th Anniversary in 1996.

The two windows on the south wall adjacent to the font have a baptismal theme and are from the Maile Studios of Canterbury, England. They are a memorial to the members of the pioneer Peters’ family.

The nativity window, completed by Christopher Wallis in 1996, covers the entire nativity story in just one window.

The two windows next to the Nativity window and the two opposite are the work of Louis Tiffany in the late nineteenth  and early twentieth centuries.  Two are actually signed by him.  They are in memory of the members of the Meredith family.

The great windows in the transepts are 32 feet high and each contains 600 square feet of glass.  They were placed there during the Cathedral renovation of 1892-1894. 

The window above the south transept door depicts Christ in the Temple.  It was formerly in the sanctuary above the high altar and is a memorial to Dr. W.H. Moorhouse, a founder of the School of Medicine at the University of Western Ontario.

The windows in the sanctuary commemorate some very interesting London citizens who were members of this congregation.  They are from left to right:

“Christ as the High Priest” and “The Good Shepherd”; these two windows, now in a single frame, commemorate two pioneers of London – Lawrence Lawrason Jr., an early police magistrate, and the Rev'd Benjamin Bayly, an early London educator.

“Conversion of St. Paul”;  in memory of Nathaniel and Sarah Reid, early settlers, and made in Innsbruck, Austria.

The “Christus Rex”; commemorates the life of Archdeacon C.W. Foreman who began his ministry as a Cathedral curate in 1916, and, on his retirement in 1969, rejoined the Cathedral staff until his death in 1975.

“The Resurrection”; in memory of E. W. Hyman, one of London’s earliest industrialists, and owner of Hyman Tannery.

“The Sermon on the Mount”; in memory of the Hon. G.J. Goodhue, London’s first general merchant and first millionaire, and his wife, Louisa.

Additional Cathedral windows include: in the Children’s Chapel in the parish hall the memorial window to Col. M. Burwell who surveyed the town site of London in 1835, and to Isaac Brock Burwell.  When the Burwell Memorial Church in Caradoc was demolished in 1939, the window was installed at the Cathedral by the London and Middlesex Historical Society. The Chapel also includes a mural depicting children’s church activities in memory of Dr. Kate Matthews, founder of Matthews Hall, which began in St. Paul’s in 1918.

The contemporary style window in St. Aidan’s Chapel is in memory of deceased members of the Altar Guild and Women’s Association.  It was created by Shirley Stertz in 1967.

The four heraldic and medallion windows in the Dean’s office were installed in 1992.

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Cathedral Chronology

1822 On July 22nd, the Hon. and Rev'd C.J. Stewart, traveling missionary of the Diocese of Quebec, conducted divine service in a barn in London Township.
1828 The Right Rev'd C. J. Stewart returning as Bishop of Quebec held service in the temporary courthouse in London.
1829 On Aug. 23rd, the Rev'd E. J. Boswell, recently licensed missionary for London, began his ministry.
1832 The Rev'd Benjamin Cronyn, recently arrived from Ireland preached in London’s schoolhouse on Nov. 18th. The following day members of the congregation asked him to remain, the Rev'd Mr. Boswell having been transferred to Montreal.
1834 St. Paul’s Church, a frame building that faced south to North Street (Queens Avenue) was opened for divine service on Sept 14th.
1844 On Ash Wednesday, St. Paul’s Church caught fire and burned to the ground.  On June 24th, the cornerstone of the present Cathedral was laid with “full Masonic honours” by Bishop John Strachan of Toronto, assisted by Samuel Peters.  The silver trowel is now encased in the south doorpost of the inside west doors.
1846 On Ash Wednesday, Feb. 25th, the present church was dedicated.
1851 A peal of 6 bells, purchased by public subscription and cast by the Mears Company of England, arrived by ox cart from Port Stanley.
1855 On August 11th, “Emancipation Day”, a service was conducted by the Rev'd Martin Dillon with over 700 former American slaves present.
1857 On July 9th, Bishop John Strachan presided over the first synod of the newly constituted Diocese of Huron.  The Rev'd Benjamin Cronyn was elected the first Bishop.
1866 Bishop Cronyn named as second rector of St. Paul’s the Rev'd Dr. Isaac Hellmuth who was born in Poland of Jewish parents and who embraced Christianity while a student in England.
1869 The Cathedral was enlarged by the addition of a new chancel to house the choir and organ.
1871 Bishop Cronyn died and Bishop Hellmuth (consecrated only months before) became the 2nd Bishop of Huron.
1877 Bishop Hellmuth moved his episcopal chair from St. Paul’s to the newly constructed Chapter House of his proposed Cathedral of the Holy Trinity at Richmond and Piccadilly Streets.
1883 Bishop Hellmuth resigned, and the Very Rev'd M.S. Baldwin, Dean of Montreal, was elected 3rd Bishop of Huron.  He reconstituted St. Paul’s as the Cathedral of the Diocese.
1884 Being at last free of debt, the Cathedral was consecrated by Bishop Baldwin.
1894 The Cathedral was enlarged to its present proportions; with former balconies removed; and Cronyn Hall was built.
1901 The clock and chime of 10 bells, made by Gillett and Johnston of England as a gift from the Meredith family, were placed in the tower.
1905 The Venerable David Williams was elected 4th Bishop of Huron, and in 1926, he was installed as Metropolitan of Ontario.
1917 On Sept. 17th, Dean Tucker, on behalf of the vestry, welcomed the presence of ladies at a St. Paul’s vestry meeting for the first time.
1932 The Rt. Rev'd C.A. Seager, Bishop in the Diocese of Ontario, was elected 5th Bishop of Huron and in 1944, elected and installed as Metropolitan of Ontario.
1935 On Christmas Day, the present chime of 11 bells, recast from the 10 by Gillet and Johnston with funding from the Meridith family, was heard for the first time.
1957 On Pentecost Sunday, the diocesan flag was consecrated and raised in thanksgiving for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the diocese.  The extensive parish hall complex was erected to house St. Aidan’s Chapel, church offices, choir rooms, meeting rooms etc.
1963 The Most Rev'd and Rt. Hon. Arthur Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, preached in the Cathedral on Aug 11th.  The Archbishop was in London in connection with the planning meetings for the World Anglican Congress.
1964 Mrs. John R. Harley, a direct descendant of Bishop Cronyn, was elected as the first woman delegate from the Cathedral to the diocesan synod.
1968 The cross above the Lady Chapel altar was given as a thank-offering by J. B. Cronyn and Dr. G. E. Hall, former churchwardens of the Cathedral.  It is the work of sculptress Rebecca Sisler.
1969 The Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board erected on the Cathedral’s front lawn the metal plaque which summarizes our history.
1970 The plaques on the walls of the Narthex, listing the names of all the churchwardens from our Cathedral’s beginning, were installed. 
On October 2nd, the Rt. Rev'd George N. Luxton died suddenly in his 23rd year as Bishop of Huron.  His Suffragan, the Rt. Rev'd C. J. Queen, was elected to succeed him and was installed as the 7th Bishop of Huron on St. Andrew’s Day.
1974 The Rt. Rev'd C. J. Queen died and his Suffragan, the Rt. Rev'd T.D.B. Ragg, was installed as 8th Bishop of Huron on May 26th.
1984 Coajutor Bishop Derwyn D. Jones was invested as 9th Bishop of Huron on May 13th as Bishop Ragg had retired.
1985 The Rev'd Louise Peters became the first woman priest appointed to the Cathedral staff.
1987 The Very Rev'd P. R. O’Driscoll was elected Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Huron.  The new concrete tile roof  was installed on the Cathedral and Cronyn Hall.
1988 The Very Rev'd B. H.W. Howe became Rector of St. Paul’s and Dean of Huron.
1989 Her Excellency, The Right Honorable Jeanne Sauve, Governor General of Canada, presented to the Cathedral a Grant of Armorial Bearings (Coat of Arms) on May 28th, the first church or religious institution in Canada to be so honoured by the newly created Canadian Heraldic authority.

The Rt. Rev'd P. R. O’Driscoll was elected 10th Bishop of Huron and in 1993 was elected and installed as Metropolitan of Ontario. 
On Aug 15th, 1600 persons inside and outside the Cathedral welcomed the Most Rev'd Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop of Capetown and Metropolitan of South Africa.

1993 Ten canvas embroideries on the life of St. Aidan created by Artist in Residence, Betty McLeod, were dedicated on April 15th.  The first of the icons in The Lady Chapel was brought from Israel by a group of St. Paul’s pilgrims.
1994 The carvings of the 4 Saints, Paul, David, Mary and Mary Magdalene were placed around the pulpit.  They were carved by artist Peter Wilde.
1995 The 150th Anniversary Cross began its 14 month journey to the homes of parishioners of the Cathedral. .During this same period the Cathedral was greatly enhanced by the redecoration of the walls, gilding of the ornaments, and laying of a new tile floor.
1996 The carved wooden Easter Angels were installed above the west doors.  They were also the work of  Peter Wilde.
1997 The Trumpet-en-chamade made by Guildbault-Therien Inc. of Quebec was installed. 
The First St. Francis Day service, which saw live animals, processed into the church was held in the Cathedral on Oct. 5th.
2000 After an extensive financial campaign, the brick of the west tower was replaced and the stonework restored a cost of 1 million dollars.
The Very Rev'd B. H.W. Howe was elected 11th Bishop of Huron on the retirement of Archbishop O’Driscoll.
2001 The Very Rev'd Terrance Dance became Rector of St. Paul’s and Dean of Huron.
The Huron Church House was built on the south lawn of the Cathedral to house the Synod Offices of the Diocese of Huron.
2006 The Cathedral was officially designated as a Heritage Property by the City of London with the plaque unveiling on Easter Sunday April 16.
2010 The Very Rev'd Kevin Dixon became Rector of St. Paul's and Dean of Huron.

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