Founded in 1509 by John Colet, St Paul's was the largest school of its time in England. It was a product of the Renaissance, endowed to train schoolboys in faith and letters, and set up in the City, with a City company as the trustees. Now, five centuries and two relocations later, it is still a thriving institution, and one of Britain's most famous and academically successful public schools. This account tells the story of the school through its many changes and hardships - its "Dark Ages", its destruction in the Great Fire of 1666, its several reincarnations, and its move to the present site on the River Thames at Barnes. Building on previous histories of the school, and using previously unpublished material from the Mercers' Company's archives, Hugh Mead tells a tale which reflects the unique individualism of the school and the people associated with it.