Infomotions, Inc.The Principles of Gothic Ecclesiastical Architecture, Elucidated by Question and Answer, 4th ed. / Bloxam, Matthew Holbeche, 1805-1888

Author: Bloxam, Matthew Holbeche, 1805-1888
Title: The Principles of Gothic Ecclesiastical Architecture, Elucidated by Question and Answer, 4th ed.
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): norman; church; arch; arches; fifteenth century; century; churches; thirteenth century; semicircular arches; communion table; norman style; fourteenth century; twelfth century
Contributor(s): Rees, Byron J. (Byron Johnson), 1877-1920 [Editor]
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Title: The Principles of Gothic Ecclesiastical Architecture, Elucidated by Question and Answer, 4th ed.

Author: Matthew Holbeche Bloxam

Release Date: November 8, 2006 [EBook #19737]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


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Transcriber's Note

A number of typographical errors found in the original text have been
maintained in this version. They are marked in the text with a [TN-#].
A description of each error is found in the complete list at the end of
the text.

The oe ligatures used in the original text have been expanded to "oe"
in this version.

The following codes are used for characters which cannot be represented
in the character set used for this version of the book.

[=mn]  mn with a macron over the two letters
[=om]  om with a macron over the two letters
[=on]  on with a macron over the two letters
[=re]  re with a macron over the two letters

Some footnotes in the original were marked with a dagger. The dagger
is represented by a + in this version of the text.

     "Whereby may be discerned that so fervent was the zeal of those
     elder times to God's service and honour, that they freely endowed
     the church with some part of their possessions; and that in those
     good works even the meaner sort of men, as well as the pious
     founders, were not backwards."

     Dugdale's Antiq. Warwickshire.










           FOURTH EDITION.



In revising this Work for a Fourth Edition several alterations have been
made, especially in the Concluding Chapter; and the whole has been
considerably enlarged.

M. H. B.

April 1841.


  CHAP. I.
  Definition of Gothic Architecture; its Origin, and Division
  of it into Styles                                            17

  Of the different Kinds of Arches                             22

  Of the Anglo-Saxon Style                                     30

  Of the Norman or Anglo-Norman Style                          51

  CHAP. V.
  Of the Semi-Norman Style                                     74

  Of the Early English Style                                   86

  Of the Decorated English Style                              102

  Of the Florid or Perpendicular English Style                120

  Of the Debased English Style                                145

  Of the Internal Arrangement and Decorations of a Church     153


Page 41, line 9, _for_ Cambridge, _read_ Lincoln.

Page 49. In addition to the list of churches containing presumed vestiges
of Anglo-Saxon architecture, Woodstone Church, Huntingdonshire, and
Miserden Church, Gloucestershire, may be enumerated.

Page 71. The double ogee moulding is here inserted by mistake: it is not
Norman, but of the fifteenth century.

Page 137. In some copies the wood-cut in this page has been reversed in
its position.

[Illustration: Two Arches of Roman Masonry, Leicester.]



Amongst the vestiges of antiquity which abound in this country, are the
visible memorials of those nations which have succeeded one another in the
occupancy of this island. To the age of our Celtic ancestors, the earliest
possessors of its soil, is ascribed the erection of those altars and
temples of all but primeval antiquity, the Cromlechs and Stone Circles
which lie scattered over the land; and these are conceived to have been
derived from the Phoenicians, whose merchants first introduced amongst
the aboriginal Britons the arts of incipient civilization. Of these most
ancient relics the prototypes appear, as described in Holy Writ, in the
pillar raised at Bethel by Jacob, in the altars erected by the Patriarchs,
and in the circles of stone set up by Moses at the foot of Mount Sinai,
and by Joshua at Gilgal. Many of these structures, perhaps from their very
rudeness, have survived the vicissitudes of time, whilst there scarce
remains a vestige of the temples erected in this island by the Romans; yet
it is from Roman edifices that we derive, and can trace by a gradual
transition, the progress of that peculiar kind of architecture called
GOTHIC, which presents in its later stages the most striking contrast that
can be imagined to its original precursor.

The Romans having conquered almost the whole of Britain in the first
century, retained possession of the southern parts for nearly four hundred
years; and during their occupancy they not only instructed the natives in
the arts of civilization, but also with their aid, as we learn from
Tacitus, began at an early period to erect temples and public edifices,
though doubtless much inferior to those at Rome, in their municipal towns
and cities. The Christian religion was also early introduced,[3-*] but for
a time its progress was slow; nor was it till the conversion of
Constantine, in the fourth century, that it was openly tolerated by the
state, and churches were publicly constructed for its worshippers; though
even before that event, as we are led to infer from the testimony of
Gildas, the most ancient of our native historians, particular structures
were appropriated for the performance of its divine mysteries: for that
historian alludes to the British Christians as reconstructing the churches
which had, in the Dioclesian persecution, been levelled to the ground. But
in the fifth century Rome, oppressed on every side by enemies, and
distracted with the vastness of her conquests, which she was no longer
able to maintain, recalled her legions from Britain; and the Romanized
Britons being left without protection, and having, during their subjection
to the Romans, lost their ancient valour and love of liberty, in a short
time fell a prey to the Northern Barbarians; in their extremity they
called over the Saxons to assist them, when the latter perceiving their
defenceless condition, turned round upon them, and made an easy conquest
of this country. In the struggle which then took place, the churches were
again destroyed, the priests were slain at the very altars,[4-*] and
though the British Church was never annihilated, Paganism for a while
became triumphant.

Towards the end of the sixth century, when Christianity was again
propagated in this country by Augustine, Mellitus, and other zealous
monks, St. Gregory, the head of the Papal church, and the originator of
this mission, wrote to Mellitus not to suffer the Heathen temples to be
destroyed, but only the idols found within them. These, and such churches
built by the Romans as were then, though in a dilapidated state, existing,
may reasonably be supposed to have been the prototypes of the Christian
churches afterwards erected in this country.

In the early period of the empire the Romans imitated the Grecians in
their buildings of magnitude and beauty, forming, however, a style of
greater richness in detail, though less chaste in effect; and columns of
the different orders, with their entablatures, were used to support and
adorn their public structures: but in the fourth century, when the arts
were declining, the style of architecture became debased, and the
predominant features consisted of massive square piers or columns, without
entablatures, from the imposts of which sprung arches of a semicircular
form; and it was in rude imitation of this latter style that the Saxon
churches were constructed.

The Roman basilicas, or halls of justice, some of which were subsequently
converted into churches, to which also their names were given, furnished
the plan for the internal arrangement of churches of a large size, being
divided in the interior by rows of columns. From this division the nave
and aisles of a church were derived; and in the semicircular recess at the
one end for the tribune, we perceive the origin of the apsis, or
semicircular east end, which one of the Anglo-Saxon, and many of our
ancient Norman churches still present.

But independent of examples afforded by some few ancient Roman churches,
and such of the temples and public buildings of the Romans as were then
remaining in Britain, the Saxon converts were directed and assisted in the
science of architecture by those missionaries from Rome who propagated
Christianity amongst them; and during the Saxon dynasty architects and
workmen were frequently procured from abroad, to plan and raise
ecclesiastical structures. The Anglo-Saxon churches were, however, rudely
built, and, as far as can be ascertained, with some few exceptions, were
of no great dimensions and almost entirely devoid of ornamental mouldings,
though in some instances decorative sculpture and mouldings are to be met
with; but in the repeated incursions of the Danes, in the ninth and tenth
centuries, so general was the destruction of the monasteries and churches,
which, when the country became tranquil, were rebuilt by the Normans, that
we have, in fact, comparatively few churches existing which we may
reasonably presume, or really know, to have been erected in an Anglo-Saxon
age. Many of the earlier writers on this subject have, however, caused
much confusion by applying the term 'SAXON' to all churches and other
edifices contradistinguished from the pointed style by semicircular-headed
doorways, windows, and arches. But the vestiges of Anglo-Saxon
architecture have been as yet so little studied or known, as to render it
difficult to point out, either generally or in detail, in what their
peculiarities consist: the style may, however, be said to have
approximated in appearance much nearer to the Debased Roman style of
masonry than the Norman, and to have been also much ruder: and in the most
ancient churches, as in that at Dover Castle, and that at Bricksworth, we
find arches constructed of flat bricks or tiles, set edgewise, which was
also a Roman fashion. The masonry was chiefly composed of rubble, with
ashlar or squared blocks of stone at the angles, disposed in courses in a
peculiar manner.

[Illustration: Anglo-Saxon Arches, Bricksworth Church, Northamptonshire
(7th. cent.)]

The most common characteristic by which the NORMAN style is distinguished,
is the semicircular or segmental arch, though this is to be met with also
in the rare specimens of Anglo-Saxon masonry; but the Norman arches were
more scientifically constructed: in their early state, indeed, quite
plain, but generally concentric, or one arch receding within another, and
in an advanced stage they were frequently ornamented with zig-zag and
other mouldings. A variety of mouldings were also used in the decoration
of the Norman portals or doorways, which were besides often enriched with
a profusion of sculptured ornament. The Norman churches appear to have
much excelled in size the lowly structures of the Saxons, and the
cathedral and conventual churches were frequently carried to the height of
three tiers or rows of arches, one above another; blank arcades were also
used to ornament the walls.

[Illustration: Norman Arcade, St. Aldgate, Oxford.]

The Norman style, in which an innumerable number of churches and monastic
edifices were originally built or entirely reconstructed, continued
without any striking alteration till about the latter part of the twelfth
century, when a singular change began to take place: this was no other
than the introduction of the pointed arch, the origin of which has never
yet been satisfactorily explained, or the precise period clearly
ascertained in which it first appeared; but as the lightness and
simplicity of design to which the Early Pointed style was found to be
afterwards convertible was in its incipient state unknown, it retained to
the close of the twelfth century the heavy concomitants of the
semicircular arch, with which indeed it was often intermixed: and from
such intermixture it may be designated the SEMI or MIXED NORMAN.

When the original Norman style of building was first broken through, by
the introduction of the pointed arch, which was often formed by the
intersection of semicircular arches, the facing of it, or architrave, was
often ornamented with the zig-zag, billet, and other mouldings, in the
same manner as the Norman semicircular arches: it also rested on round
massive piers, and still retained many other features of Norman
architecture. But from the time of its introduction to the close of the
twelfth century, the pointed arch was gradually struggling with the
semicircular arch for the mastery, and with success; for from the
commencement of the thirteenth century, as nearly as can be ascertained,
the style of building with semicircular arches was, with very few
exceptions, altogether discarded, and superseded by its more elegant

[Illustration: Canterbury Cathedral.]

The mode of building with semicircular arches, massive piers, and thick
walls with broad pilaster buttresses, was now laid aside; and the pointed
arch, supported by more slender piers, with walls strengthened with
graduating buttresses, of less width but of greater projection, were
universally substituted in their stead. The windows, one of the most
apparent marks of distinction, were at first long, narrow, and
lancet-shaped: the heavy Norman ornaments, the zig-zag and other mouldings
peculiar to the Norman and Semi-Norman styles, were now discarded; yet we
often meet with certain decorative ornaments, as the tooth ornament,
which, though sometimes found in late Norman work, is almost peculiar to
the Early Pointed style; also the ball-flower, prevalent both in this and
the style of the succeeding century. Many church towers were also capped
with spires, which now first appear. This style prevailed generally
throughout the thirteenth century, and is usually designated as the EARLY

[Illustration: Horsley Ch., Derbyshire.]

Towards the close of the thirteenth century a perceptible, though gradual,
transition took place to a richer and more ornamental mode of
architecture. This was the style of the fourteenth century, and is known
by the name of the DECORATED ENGLISH; but it chiefly flourished during the
reigns of Edward the Second and Edward the Third, in the latter of which
it attained a degree of perfection unequalled by preceding or subsequent
ages. Some of the most prominent and distinctive marks of this style occur
in the windows, which were greatly enlarged, and divided into many lights
by mullions or tracery-bars running into various ramifications above, and
dividing the heads into numerous compartments, forming either geometrical
or flowing tracery. Triangular or pedimental canopies and pinnacles, more
enriched than before with crockets and finials, yet without redundancy of
ornament, also occur in the churches built during this century.

[Illustration: Worstead Church, Norfolk.]

In the latter part of the fourteenth century another transition, or
gradual change of style, began to be effected, in the discrimination of
which an obvious distinction again occurs in the composition of the
windows, some of which are very large: for the mullion-bars, instead of
branching off in the head, in a number of curved lines, are carried up
vertically, so as to form _perpendicular_ divisions between the
window-sill and the head, and do not present that combination of
geometrical and flowing tracery observable in the style immediately

[Illustration: St. Michael's, Oxford.]

The frequent occurrence of panelled compartments, and the partial change
of form in the arches, especially of doorways and windows, which in the
latter part of the fifteenth century were often obtusely pointed and
mathematically described from four centres, instead of two, as in the more
simple pointed arch, and which from the period when this arch began to be
prevalent was called the TUDOR arch, together with a great profusion of
minute ornament, mostly of a description not before in use, are the chief
characteristics of the style of the fifteenth century, which by some of
the earlier writers was designated as the FLORID; though it has since
received the more general appellation of the PERPENDICULAR.

This style prevailed till the Reformation, at which period no country
could vie with our own in the number of religious edifices, which had been
erected in all the varieties of style that had prevailed for many
preceding ages. Next to the magnificent cathedrals, the venerable
monasteries and collegiate establishments, which had been founded and
sumptuously endowed in every part of the kingdom, might most justly claim
the preeminence; and many of the churches belonging to them were
deservedly held in admiration for their grandeur and architectural
elegance of design.

But the suppression of the monasteries tended in no slight degree to
hasten the decline and fall of our ancient church architecture, to which
other causes, such as the revival of the classic orders in Italy, also
contributed. The churches belonging to the conventual foundations, which
had been built at different periods by the monks or their benefactors, and
the charges of erecting and decorating which from time to time in the most
costly manner, had been defrayed out of the monastic revenues, and from
private donations, being seized by the crown, were reduced to a state of
ruin, and the sites on which they stood granted to dependants of the
court. The former reverential feeling on these matters had greatly
changed; and as the retention of some few of the ministerial habits, the
square cap, the cope, the surplice, and hood, which were deemed expedient
for the decent ministration of public worship, gave great offence to many,
and was one of the most apparent causes which led to that schism amongst
the Reformers, on points of discipline, which afterwards ended in the
subversion, for a time, of the rites and ordinances of the Church of
England, any attempt towards beautifying and adorning (other than with
carved pulpits and communion-tables or altars) the places of divine
worship, which were now stripped of many of their former ornamental
accessories, would have been regarded and inveighed against as a popish
and superstitious innovation; and a charge of this kind was at a later
period preferred against Archbishop Laud. Parochial churches were,
therefore, now repaired when fallen into a state of dilapidation, in a
plain and inelegant mode, in complete variance with the richness and
display observable in the style just preceding this event.

Details, originating from the designs of classic architecture, which had
been partially revived in Italy, began early in the sixteenth century to
make their appearance in this country, though as yet, except on tombs and
in wood-work, we observe few of those peculiar features introduced as
accessories in church architecture.

Hence many of our country churches, which were repaired or partly rebuilt
in the century succeeding the Reformation, exhibit the marks of the style
justly denominated DEBASED, to distinguish it from the former purer
styles. Depressed and nearly flat arched doorways, with shallow mouldings,
square-headed windows with perpendicular mullions and obtuse-pointed or
round-headed lights, without foliations, together with a general
clumsiness of construction, as compared with more ancient edifices, form
the predominating features in ecclesiastical buildings of this kind: and
in the reign of Charles the First an indiscriminate mixture of Debased
Gothic and Roman architecture prevailing, we lose sight of every true
feature of our ancient ecclesiastical styles, which were superseded by
that which sprang more immediately from the Antique, the Roman, or Italian


[3-*] Tempore, ut scimus, summo Tiberii Caesaris, &c.--GILDAS.

[4-*] Ruebant aedificia publica simul et privata, passim Sacerdotes inter
altaria trucibantur.--BEDE, Eccl. Hist. lib. i. c. xv.

[Illustration: Scutcheon from Beauchamp Chapel, Warwick, circa A. D. 1450.]



Q. What is meant by the term "Gothic Architecture"?

A. Without entering into the derivation of the word "Gothic," it may
suffice to state that it is an expression sometimes used to denote in one
general term, and distinguish from the Antique, those peculiar modes or
styles in which most of our ecclesiastical and many of our domestic
edifices of the middle ages have been built. In a more confined sense, it
comprehends those styles only in which the pointed arch predominates, and
it is then often used to distinguish such from the more ancient
Anglo-Saxon and Norman styles.

Q. To what can the origin of this kind of architecture be traced?

A. To the classic orders in that state of degeneracy into which they had
fallen in the age of Constantine, and afterwards; and as the Romans, on
their voluntary abandonment of Britain in the fifth century, left many of
their temples and public edifices remaining, together with some Christian
churches, it was in rude imitation of the Roman structures of the fourth
century that the most ancient of our Anglo-Saxon churches were
constructed. This is apparent from an examination and comparison of such
with the vestiges of Roman buildings we have existing.

Q. Into how many different styles may English ecclesiastical architecture
be divided?

A. No specific regulation has been adopted, with regard to the
denomination or division of the several styles, in which all the writers
on the subject agree: but they may be divided into seven, which, together
with the periods when they flourished, may be generally defined as

The SAXON Or ANGLO-SAXON Style, which prevailed from the mission of
Augustine, at the close of the sixth, to the middle of the eleventh

The NORMAN style, which may be said to have prevailed generally from the
middle of the eleventh to the latter part of the twelfth century.

The SEMI-NORMAN, Or TRANSITION style, which appears to have prevailed
during the latter part of the twelfth century.

The EARLY ENGLISH, or general style of the thirteenth century.

The DECORATED ENGLISH, or general style of the fourteenth century.

The FLORID Or PERPENDICULAR ENGLISH, the style of the fifteenth, and early
part of the sixteenth century.

The DEBASED ENGLISH, or general style of the latter part of the sixteenth
and early part of the seventeenth century, towards the middle of which
Gothic architecture, even in its debased state, became entirely discarded.

Q. What constitutes the difference of these styles?

A. They may be distinguished partly by the form of the arches, which are
triangular-headed, semicircular or segmental, simple pointed, and complex
pointed; though such forms are by no means an invariable criterion of any
particular style; by the size and shape of the windows, and the manner in
which they are subdivided or not by transoms, mullions, and tracery; but
more especially by certain minute details, ornamental accessories and
mouldings, more or less peculiar to particular styles, and which are
seldom to be met with in any other.

Q. Are the majority of our ecclesiastical buildings composed only of one

A. Most of our cathedral and country churches have been built, or had
additions made to them, at different periods, and therefore seldom exhibit
an uniformity of design; and many churches have details about them of
almost every style. There are, however, numerous exceptions, where
churches have been erected in the same style throughout; and this is more
particularly observable in the churches of the fifteenth century.

Q. Were they constructed on any regular plan?

A. The general ground plan of cathedral and conventual churches was after
the form of a cross, and the edifice consisted of a central tower, with
transepts running north and south; westward of the tower was the nave or
main body of the structure, with lateral aisles; and the west front
contained the principal entrance, and was often flanked by towers.
Eastward of the central tower was the choir, where the principal service
was performed, with aisles on each side, and beyond this was the lady
chapel. Sometimes the design also comprehended other chapels. On the north
or south side was the chapter house, in early times quadrangular, but
afterwards octagonal in plan; and on the same side, in most instances,
though not always, were the cloisters, which communicated immediately with
the church, and surrounded a quadrangular court. The chapter house and
cloisters we still find remaining as adjuncts to most cathedral churches,
though the conventual buildings of a domestic nature, with which the
cloisters formerly also communicated, have generally been destroyed. Mere
parochial churches have commonly a tower at the west end, a nave with
lateral aisles, and a chancel. Some churches have transepts; and small
side chapels or additional aisles have been annexed to many, erected at
the costs of individuals, to serve for burial and as chantries. The
smallest class of churches have a nave and chancel only, with a small
bell-turret formed of wooden shingles, or an open arch of stonework,
appearing above the roof at the west end.

[Illustration: SEDILIA,

St. Martin's, Leicester, circa A. D. 1250.]



Q. Do the distinctions of the different styles, as they differ from each
other, depend at all upon the form of the arch?

A. To a certain extent the form of the arch may be considered as a
criterion of style; too much dependence, however, must not be placed on
this rule, inasmuch as there are many exceptions.

Q. How are arches divided generally, as to form?

A. Into the triangular-headed or straight-lined pointed arch, the
round-headed arch, and the curved-pointed arch; and the latter are again

Q. How is the triangular-headed or straight-lined pointed arch formed, and
when did it prevail?

A. It may be described as formed by the two upper sides of a triangle,
more or less obtuse or acute. It is generally considered as one of the
characteristics of the Anglo-Saxon style, where it is often to be met with
of plain and rude construction. But instances of this form of arch, though
they are not frequent, are to be met with in the Norman and subsequent
styles. Arches, however, of this description, of late date, may be
generally known by some moulding or other feature peculiar to the style in
which it is used.


Q. What different kinds of round-headed arches are there?

A. The semicircular arch (fig. 1), the stilted arch (fig. 2), the
segmental arch (fig. 3), and the horse-shoe arch (fig. 4).


Q. How are they formed or described?

A. The semicircular arch is described from a centre in the same line with
its spring; the stilted arch in the same manner, but the sides are carried
downwards in a straight line below the spring of the curve till they rest
upon the imposts; the segmental arch is described from a centre lower than
its spring; and the horse-shoe arch from a centre placed above its spring.

Q. During what period of time do we find these arches generally in use?

A. The semicircular arch, which is the most common, we find to have
prevailed from the time of the Romans to the close of the twelfth
century, when it became generally discarded; and we seldom meet with it
again, in its simple state, till about the middle of the sixteenth
century. It is in some degree considered as a characteristic of the
Anglo-Saxon and Norman styles. The stilted arch is chiefly found in
conjunction with the semicircular arch in the construction of Norman
vaulting over a space in plan that of a parallelogram. The segmental arch
we meet with in almost all the styles, used as an arch of construction,
and for doorway and window arches; whilst the form of the horse-shoe arch
seems, in many instances, to have been occasioned by the settlement and
inclination of the piers from which it springs.

Q. Into how many classes may the pointed arch be divided?

A. Into two, namely, the simple pointed arch described from two centres,
and the complex pointed arch described from four centres.

Q. What are the different kinds of simple pointed arches?

A. The LANCET, or acute-pointed arch; the EQUILATERAL pointed arch; and
the OBTUSE-ANGLED pointed arch.

Q. How is the lancet arch formed and described?

A. It is formed of two segments of a circle, and its centres have a radius
or line longer than the breadth of the arch, and may be described from an
acute-angled triangle. (fig. 5.).[TN-1]

Q. How is the equilateral arch formed and described?

A. From two segments of a circle; the centres of it have a radius or line
equal to the breadth of the arch, and it may be described from an
equilateral triangle. (fig. 6.)


Q. How is the obtuse-angled arch formed and described?

A. Like the foregoing, it is formed from two segments of a circle, and the
centres of it have a radius shorter than the breadth of the arch; it is
described from an obtuse-angled triangle. (fig. 7.)

Q. During what period were these pointed arches in use?

A. They were all gradually introduced in the twelfth century, and
continued during the thirteenth century; after which the lancet arch
appears to have been generally discarded, though the other two prevailed
till a much later period.

Q. What are the different kinds of complex pointed arches?

A. Those commonly called the OGEE, or contrasted arch; and the TUDOR arch.

Q. How is the ogee, or contrasted arch, formed and described?

A. It is formed of four segments of a circle, and is described from four
centres, two placed within the arch on a level with the spring, and two
placed on the exterior of the arch, and level with the apex or point (fig.
8); each side is composed of a double curve, the lowermost convex and the
uppermost concave.


Q. When was the ogee arch introduced, and how long did it prevail?

A. It was introduced early in the fourteenth century, and continued till
the close of the fifteenth century.

Q. How is the Tudor arch described?

A. From four centres; two on a level with the spring, and two at a
distance from it, and below. (fig. 9.)

Q. When was the Tudor arch introduced, and why is it so called?

A. It was introduced about the middle of the fifteenth century, or perhaps
earlier, but became most prevalent during the reigns of Henry the Seventh
and Henry the Eighth, under the Tudor dynasty, from which it derives its


Q. What other kinds of arches are there worthy of notice?

A. Those which are called foiled arches, as the round-headed trefoil (fig.
10), the pointed trefoil (fig. 11), and the square-headed trefoil (fig.
12). The first prevailed in the latter part of the twelfth and early part
of the thirteenth century, chiefly as a heading for niches or blank
arcades; the second, used for the same purpose, we find to have prevailed
in the thirteenth century; and the latter is found in doorways of the
thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries. In all these the
exterior mouldings follow the same curvatures as the inner mouldings, and
are thus distinguishable from arches the heads of which are only foliated

[Illustration: DOORWAY. St. Thomas's, Oxford, circa 1250.]

[Illustration: Anglo-Saxon Doorway, Brixworth Church, Northamptonshire.
(7th cent.)]



Q. During what period of time did this style prevail?

A. From the close of the sixth century, when the conversion of the
Anglo-Saxons commenced, to the middle of the eleventh century.

Q. Whence does this style appear to have derived its origin?

A. From the later Roman edifices; for in the most ancient of the
Anglo-Saxon remains we find an approximation, more or less, to the Roman
mode of building, with arches formed of brickwork.

Q. What is peculiar in the constructive features of Roman masonry?

A. Walls of Roman masonry in this country were chiefly constructed of
stone or flint, according to the part of the country in which the one
material or other prevailed, embedded in mortar, bonded at certain
intervals throughout with regular horizontal courses or layers of large
flat Roman bricks or tiles, which, from the inequality of thickness and
size, do not appear to have been shaped in any regular mould.

[Illustration: Portion of the Fragment of a Roman Building at Leicester.]

Q. What vestiges of Roman masonry are now existing in Britain?

A. A fragment, apparently that of a Roman temple or basilica, near the
church of St. Nicholas at Leicester, which contains horizontal courses of
brick at intervals, and arches constructed of brickwork; the curious
portion of a wall of similar construction, with remains of brick arches on
the one side, which indicate it to have formed part of a building, and not
a mere wall as it now appears, at Wroxeter, Salop; and the polygonal tower
at Dover Castle, which, notwithstanding an exterior casing of flint, and
other alterations effected in the fifteenth century, still retains many
visible features of its original construction of tufa bonded with bricks
at intervals. Roman masonry, of the mixed description of brick and stone,
regularly disposed, is found in walls at York, Lincoln, Silchester, and
elsewhere; and sometimes we meet with bricks or stone arranged
herring-bone fashion, as in the vestiges of a Roman building at Castor,
Northamptonshire, and the walls of a Roman villa discovered at Littleton,

Q. Have we any remains of the ancient British churches erected in this
country in the third, fourth, or fifth centuries?

A. None such have yet been discovered or noticed; for the ruinous
structure at Perranzabuloe in Cornwall, which some assert to have been an
ancient British church, is probably not of earlier date than the twelfth
century; and the church of St. Martin at Canterbury, built in the time of
the Romans, which Augustine found on his arrival still used for the
worship of God, was rebuilt in the thirteenth century, but, to all
appearance, with the same materials of which the original church was

Q. Do any of our churches bear a resemblance to Roman buildings?

A. The church now in ruins within the precincts of the Castle of Dover
presents features of early work approximating Roman, as a portal and
window-arches formed of brickwork, which seem to have been copied from
those in the Roman tower near adjoining; the walls also have much of Roman
brick worked up into them, but have no such regular horizontal layers as
Roman masonry displays. The most ancient portions of this church are
attributed to belong to the middle of the seventh century. The church of
Brixworth, Northamptonshire, is perhaps the most complete specimen we have
existing of an early Anglo-Saxon church: it has had side aisles separated
from the nave by semicircular arches constructed of Roman bricks, with
wide joints; these arches spring from square and plain massive piers.
There is also fair recorded evidence to support the inference that this
church is a structure of the latter part of the seventh century. Roman
bricks are worked up in the walls, in no regular order, however, but
indiscriminately, as in the church at Dover Castle.

[Illustration: Pilaster Rib-work Arch, Brigstock Church.]

Q. What peculiarities are observable in masonry of Anglo-Saxon

A. From existing vestiges of churches of presumed Anglo-Saxon construction
it appears that the walls were chiefly formed of rubble or rag-stone,
covered on the exterior with stucco or plaster, with long and short blocks
of ashlar or hewn stone, disposed at the angles in alternate courses. We
also find, projecting a few inches from the surface of the wall, and
running up vertically, narrow ribs or square-edged strips of stone,
bearing from their position a rude similarity to pilasters; and these
strips are generally composed of long and short pieces of stone placed
alternately. A plain string course of the same description of square-edged
rib or strip-work often runs horizontally along the walls of Anglo-Saxon
remains, and the vertical ribs are sometimes set upon such as a basement,
and sometimes finish under such.

Q. What churches exhibit projecting strips of stonework thus disposed?

A. The towers of the churches of Earls Barton and Barnack,
Northamptonshire, and the tower of one of the churches at
Barton-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire, are covered with these narrow projecting
strips of stonework, in such a manner that the surface of the wall appears
divided into rudely formed panels; the like disposition of rib-work
appears, though not to so great extent, on the face of the upper part of
the tower of Stowe Church, Northamptonshire, of St. Benedict's Church,
Cambridge, on the walls of the church of Worth, in Sussex, on the upper
part of the walls of the chancel of Repton Church, Derbyshire, and on the
walls of the nave and north transept of Stanton Lacey Church, Salop.

[Illustration: Anglo-Saxon Masonry, Long and Short Work.

Burcombe, Wilts. Wittering, Northamptonshire.]

Q. Where do we meet with instances where long and short blocks of ashlar
masonry are disposed in alternate courses at the angles of walls?

A. Such occur at the angles of the chancel of North Burcombe Church,
Wiltshire; at the angles of the nave and chancel of Wittering Church,
Northamptonshire; at the angles of the towers of St. Benedict's Church,
Cambridge, of Sompting Church, Sussex, and of St. Michael's Church,
Oxford, and in other Anglo-Saxon remains. The ashlar masonry forming the
angles is not, however, invariably thus disposed.

Q. How are the doorways of this style distinguished?

A. They are either semicircular, or triangular-arched headed, but the
former are more common. In those, apparently the most ancient, the
voussoirs or arched heads are faced with large flat bricks or tiles,
closely resembling Roman work. Doorways of this description are to be met
with in the old church, Dover Castle; in the church of Brixworth,
Northamptonshire; and on the south side of Brytford Church, Wiltshire. The
doorway, however, we most frequently meet with in Anglo-Saxon remains, is
of simple yet peculiar construction, semicircular-headed, and formed
entirely of stone, without any admixture of brick; the jambs are
square-edged, and are sometimes but not always composed of two long blocks
placed upright, with a short block between them; the arched head of the
doorway is plain, and springs from square projecting impost blocks, the
under edges of which are sometimes bevelled and sometimes left square.
This doorway is contained within a kind of arch of rib-work, projecting
from the face of the wall, with strips of pilaster rib-work continued down
to the ground; sometimes this arch springs from plain block imposts, or
from strips of square-edged rib-work disposed horizontally, and the jambs
are occasionally constructed of long and short work.

[Illustration: Anglo-Saxon Doorway, St. Peter's Church,

Q. Mention the names of churches in which doorways of this description are

A. The south doorways of the towers of the old church at
Barton-upon-Humber and of Barnack Church, the west doorway of the tower of
Earls Barton Church, the north and south doorways of the tower of Wooten
Wawen Church, Warwickshire, the east doorway of the tower of Stowe Church,
Northamptonshire, the north doorway of the nave of Brytford Church,
Wiltshire, and the north doorway of the nave of Stanton Lacey Church,
Salop, though differing in some respects from each other, bear a general
similarity of design, and come under the foregoing description.

[Illustration: Belfry Window, north side of the Tower of Wyckham Church,

Q. How are we able to distinguish the windows of the Anglo-Saxon style?

A. The belfry windows are generally found to consist of two
semicircular-headed lights, divided by a kind of rude balluster shaft of
peculiar character, the entasis of which is sometimes encircled with rude
annulated mouldings; this shaft supports a plain oblong impost or abacus,
which extends through the whole of the thickness of the wall, or nearly
so, and from this one side of the arch of each light springs. Double
windows thus divided appear in the belfry stories of the church towers of
St. Michael, Oxford; St. Benedict, Cambridge; St. Peter,
Barton-upon-Humber; Wyckham, Berks; Sompting, Sussex; and Northleigh,
Oxfordshire. In the belfry of the tower of Earls Barton Church are windows
of five or six lights, the divisions between which are formed by these
curious balluster shafts. The semicircular-headed single-light window of
this style may be distinguished from those of the Norman style by the
double splay of the jambs, the spaces between which spread or increase in
width outwardly as well as inwardly, the narrowest part of the window
being placed on the centre of the thickness of the wall; whereas the jambs
of windows in the Norman style have only a single splay, and the narrowest
part of the window is set even with the external face of the wall, or
nearly so. Single-light windows splayed externally occur in the west
walls of the towers of Wyckham Church, Berks, and of Stowe Church,
Northamptonshire, Caversfield Church, Oxfordshire, and on the north side
of the chancel of Clapham Church, Bedfordshire; but windows without a
splay occur in the tower of Lavendon Church, Buckinghamshire. Small square
or oblong-shaped apertures are sometimes met with, as in the tower of St.
Benedict's Church, Cambridge; and also triangular-headed windows, which,
with doorways of the same form, will be presently noticed.

[Illustration: Anglo-Saxon Single-light Window, Tower of Wyckham Church,

Q. Of what description are the arches which separate the nave from the
chancel and aisles, and sustain the clerestory walls?

[Illustration: Anglo-Saxon Arches, St. Michael's Church, St. Alban's, A. D.

A. They are very plain, and consist of a single sweep or soffit only,
without any sub-arch, as in the Norman style; and they spring from square
piers; with a plain abacus impost on each intervening, which impost has
sometimes the under edge chamfered, and sometimes left quite plain. Arches
of this description occur at Brixworth Church, between the nave and
chancel of Clapham Church, and between the nave and chancel of Wyckham
Church. The arches in St. Michael's Church, St. Alban's, which divide the
nave from the aisles, have their edges slightly chamfered. There are also
arches with single soffits, which have over them a kind of hood, similar
to that over doorways of square-edged rib-work, projecting a few inches
from the face of the wall, carried round the arch, and either dying into
the impost or continued straight down to the ground. The chancel arch of
Worth Church, and arches in the churches of Brigstock and Barnack, and of
St. Benedict, Cambridge, and the chancel arch, Barrow Church, Salop, are
of this description. Some arches have round or semicylindrical mouldings
rudely worked on the face, as in the chancel arch, Wittering Church; or
under or attached to the soffit, as at the churches of Sompting and St.
Botulph, Sussex. Rudely sculptured impost blocks also sometimes occur, as
at Sompting and at St. Botulph; and animals sculptured in low relief
appear at the springing of the hood over the arch in the tower of St.
Benedict's Church, Cambridge.

[Illustration: Tower Arch, Barnack Church, Northamptonshire.]

[Illustration: Chancel Arch, Wittering Church, Northamptonshire.]

Q. How are some of the doorways, windows, arched recesses, and panels of
Anglo-Saxon architecture constructed?

[Illustration: Doorway in the Tower of Brigstock Church.]

A. In a very rude manner, of two or more long blocks of stone, placed
slantingly or inclined one towards the other, thus forming a straight
line, or triangular-headed arch; the lower ends of these sometimes rest on
plain projecting imposts, which surmount other blocks composing the
jambs. We find a doorway of this description on the west side of the tower
of Brigstock Church, forming the entrance into the curious circular-shaped
turret attached and designed for a staircase to the belfry; an arched
recess of this description occurs in the tower of Barnack Church, and a
panel on the exterior of the same tower, and in windows in the tower of
the old church, Barton-upon-Humber, and in the tower of Sompting Church,
and St. Michael's Church, Oxford. The arch thus shaped is not, however,
peculiar to the Anglo-Saxon style, but may occasionally be traced in most
if not all of the subsequent styles, but not of such rude or plain

[Illustration: Recess in the Tower of Barnack Church.]

Q. Were the Anglo-Saxon architects accustomed to construct crypts beneath
their churches?

A. There are some subterranean vaults, not easily accessible, the presumed
remains of Bishop Wilfrid's work, at Ripon and Hexham, of the latter part
of the seventh century; but the crypt beneath the chancel of Repton
Church, Derbyshire, the walls of which are constructed of _hewn_ stone, is
perhaps the most perfect specimen existing of a crypt in the Anglo-Saxon
style, and of a stone vaulted roof sustained by piers, which are of
singular character; the vaulting is without diagonal groins, and bears a
greater similarity to Roman than to Norman vaulting.

[Illustration: Crypt, Repton Church, Derbyshire.]

Q. Are mouldings, or is any kind of sculptured ornament, to be met with in
Anglo-Saxon work?

A. Although the remains of this style are for the most part plain and
devoid of ornamental detail, we occasionally meet with mouldings of a
semicylindrical or roll-like form, on the face or under the soffit of an
arch, and these are sometimes continued down the sides of the jambs or
piers. Foliage, knot-work, and other rudely sculptured detail occur on
the tower of Barnack Church, and some rude sculptures appear in St.
Benedict's Church, Cambridge; and the plain and simple cross of the Greek
form, is represented in relief over a doorway at Stanton Lacey Church, and
over windows in the tower of Earls Barton Church.

Q. What was the general plan of the Anglo-Saxon churches?

A. We have now but few instances in which the complete ground plan of an
Anglo-Saxon church can be traced: that of Worth Church, Sussex, is perhaps
the most perfect, as the original foundation walls do not appear to have
been disturbed, although insertions of windows of later date have been
made in the walls of the superstructure. This church is planned in the
form of a cross, and consists of a nave with transepts, and a chancel,
terminating at the east end with a semicircular apsis--a rare instance in
the Anglo-Saxon style, as in general the east end of the chancel is
rectangular in plan. The towers of Anglo-Saxon churches are generally
placed at the west end, though sometimes, as at Wotten Wawen, they occur
between the chancel and nave. No original staircase has yet been found in
the interior of any. The church at Brixworth, an edifice of the seventh
century, and that of St. Michael, at St. Alban's, of the tenth century,
have aisles. Sometimes the church appears to have consisted of a nave and
chancel only.

Q. Why have we so few ecclesiastical remains of known or presumed
Anglo-Saxon architecture now existing?

A. There are probably many examples of this style preserved in churches
which have hitherto escaped observation[49-*]; still they are,
comparatively speaking, rarely to be met with: and this may be accounted
for by the recorded fact, that in the repeated incursions of the Danes in
this island, during the ninth and tenth centuries, almost all the
Anglo-Saxon monasteries and churches were set on fire and destroyed.

[Illustration: Anglo Saxon Doorway and Window, interior of the tower of
Brigstock Church, north side.]


[49-*] All the Anglo-Saxon remains noticed in this chapter, except those
alluded to as supposed to exist at Ripon and Hexham, together with the
tower of the church of St. Benedict's, Lincoln, have been inspected by the
author; and the illustrations of this chapter are, with three exceptions,
from his sketches made on the spot. Of the remaining three vignettes, two
are from drawings made whilst the author was present, and one only, viz.
that of the crypt beneath the chancel of Repton Church, has been reduced
from a larger engraving. Besides the churches which have been referred to,
several others which have not been visited by the author exhibit vestiges,
more or less, of presumed Anglo-Saxon work. Of such churches the following
is a list, and, with those mentioned in the chapter, constitute all which
have yet come under his notice:

Caversfield, Oxfordshire. Church Stretton, Salop. Trinity Church,
Colchester. Deerhurst, Gloucestershire. Daglinworth, Gloucestershire.
Jarrow, Durham. Laughton-en-le-Morthen, Yorkshire. Kirkdale, Yorkshire.
Monkswearmouth, Durham. Ropsley, Lincolnshire. Stoke D'Abernon, Surrey.
Wittingham, Yorkshire.

Of these, seven are noticed by Mr. Rickman.

[Illustration: Norman Chancel, Darent Church, Kent.]



Q. To what era may we assign the introduction of the Anglo-Norman style?

A. To the reign of Edward the Confessor, since that monarch is recorded by
the historians, Matthew Paris and William of Malmesbury, to have rebuilt
(A. D. 1065) the Abbey Church at Westminster in a new style of
architectural design, which furnished an example afterwards followed by
many in the construction of churches.[52-*]

Q. Is any portion of the structure erected by Edward the Confessor

A. A crypt of early Norman work under the present edifice or buildings
attached to it is supposed to have been part of the church constructed by
that monarch.

Q. During what period of time did this style prevail?

A. From about A. D. 1065 to the close of the twelfth century.

Q. By what means are we to distinguish this style from the styles of a
later period?

A. It is distinguished without difficulty by its semicircular arches, its
massive piers, which are generally square or cylindrical, though sometimes
multangular in form, and from numerous ornamental details and mouldings
peculiar to the style.

Q. What part of the original building has generally been preserved in
those churches that were built by the Normans, when all the rest has been
demolished and rebuilt in a later style of architecture?

[Illustration: Norman Doorway, Wolston Church, Warwickshire.]

A. There appears to have been a prevalent custom, among those architects
who succeeded the Normans, to preserve the doorways of those churches they
rebuilt or altered; for many such doorways still remain in churches, the
other portions of which were built at a much later period. Thus in the
tower of Kenilworth Church, Warwickshire, is a Norman doorway of singular
design, from the square band or ornamental facia which environs it. This
is a relic of a more ancient edifice than the structure in which it now
appears, and which is of the fourteenth century; and the external masonry
of the doorway is not tied into the walls of more recent construction, but
exhibits a break all round. The church of Stoneleigh, in the same county,
contains in the north wall a fine Norman doorway, which has been left
undisturbed, though the wall on each side of Norman construction, has been
altered, not by demolition, but by the insertion, in the fourteenth
century, of decorated windows in lieu of the original small Norman lights.

Q. Were the Norman doorways much ornamented?

A. Many rich doorways were composed of a succession of receding
semicircular arches springing from rectangular-edged jambs, and detached
shafts with capitals in the nooks; which shafts, together with the arches,
were often enriched with the mouldings common to this style. Sometimes the
sweep of mouldings which faced the architrave was continued without
intermission down the jambs or sides of the doorway; and in small country
churches Norman doorways, quite plain in their construction, or with but
few mouldings, are to be met with. There is, perhaps, a greater variety of
design in doorways of this than of any other style; and of the numerous
mouldings with which they in general abound more or less, the chevron, or
zig-zag, appears to have been the most common.

Q. In what other respect were these doors sometimes ornamented?

A. The semicircular-shaped stone, which we often find in the tympanum at
the back of the head of the arch, is generally covered with rude sculpture
in basso relievo, sometimes representing a scriptural subject, as the
temptation of our first parents on the tympanum of a Norman doorway at
Thurley Church, Bedfordshire; sometimes a legend, as a curious and very
early sculpture over the south door of Fordington Church, Dorsetshire,
representing a scene in the story of St. George; and sometimes symbolical,
as the representation of fish, serpents, and chimerae on the north doorway
of Stoneleigh Church, Warwickshire. The figure of our Saviour in a sitting
attitude, holding in his left hand a book, and with his right arm and hand
upheld, in allusion to the saying, _I am the way, and the truth, and the
life_, and circumscribed by that mystical figure the _Vesica piscis_,
appears over Norman doorways at Ely Cathedral; Rochester Cathedral;
Malmesbury Abbey Church; Elstow Church, Bedfordshire; Water Stratford
Church, Buckinghamshire; and Barfreston Church, Kent; and is not

Q. Are there many Norman porches?

A. Norman porches occur at Durham Cathedral; Malmesbury Abbey Church;
Sherbourne Abbey Church; and Witney Church, Oxfordshire; but they are not
very common. The roof of the porch was usually groined with simple cross
springers and moulded ribs; and in some instances a room over has been
added at a later period. Numerous portals of the Norman era appear
constructed within a shallow projecting mass of masonry, similar in
appearance to the broad projecting buttress, and, like that, finished on
the upper edge with a plain slope. This was to give a sufficiency of depth
to the numerous concentric arches successively receding in the thickness
of the wall, which could not otherwise be well attained.

Q. What kind of windows were those belonging to this style?

A. The windows were mostly small and narrow, seldom of more than one
light, except belfry windows, which were usually divided into two
round-headed lights by a shaft, with a capital and abacus. Early in the
style the windows were quite plain; afterwards they were ornamented in a
greater or less degree, sometimes with the chevron or zig-zag, and
sometimes with roll or cylinder mouldings; in many instances, also, shafts
were inserted at the sides, the window jambs were simply splayed in one
direction only, and the space between them increased in width inwardly.

[Illustration: Norman Window, Ryton Church, Warwickshire.]

Q. Do we meet with any circular or wheel-shaped windows of the Norman era?

A. A circular window, with divisions formed by small shafts and
semicircular or trefoiled arches, disposed so as to converge to a common
centre, sometimes occurs in the gable at the east end of a Norman church,
as at Barfreston Church, Kent; and New Shoreham Church, Sussex; and are
not uncommon.

[Illustration: Early Norman Window, Darent Church, Kent, with incipient
zig-zag moulding.]

Q. What kinds of piers were the Norman piers?

A. Early in the style they were (with some exceptions, as in the crypts
beneath the cathedrals of Canterbury and Worcester) very massive, and the
generality plain and cylindrical; though sometimes they were square, which
was indeed the most ancient shape; sometimes they appear with rectangular
nooks or recesses; and, in large churches, Norman piers had frequently one
or more semicylindrical pier-shafts attached, disposed either in nooks or
on the face of the pier. We sometimes meet with octagonal piers, as in the
cathedrals of Oxford and Peterborough, the conventual church at Ely, and
in the ruined church of Buildwas Abbey, Salop; and also, though rarely,
with piers covered with spiral flutings, as one is in Norwich Cathedral;
with the spiral cable moulding, as one is in the crypt of Canterbury
Cathedral; and encircled with a spiral band, as one appears in the ruined
chapel at Orford, in Suffolk; sometimes, also, they appear covered with
ornamental mouldings. Late in the style the piers assume a greater
lightness in appearance, and are sometimes clustered and banded round with
mouldings, and approximate in design those of a subsequent style.

Q. How are the capitals distinguished?

A. The general outline and shape of the Norman capital is that of a square
cubical mass, having the lower part rounded off with a contour resembling
that of an ovolo moulding; the face on each side of the upper part of the
capital is flat, and it is often separated from the lower part by an
escalloped edge; and where such division is formed by more than one
escallop, the lower part is channelled between each, and the spaces below
the escalloped edges are worked or moulded so as to resemble inverted and
truncated semicones.

[Illustration: Norman Capital, Steetley Church, Derbyshire.]

Besides the plain capital thus described, of which instances with the
single escalloped edge occur in the crypts beneath the cathedrals of
Canterbury, Winchester, and Worcester, and with a series of escalloped
edges, or what would be heraldically termed _invected_, in many of the
capitals of the Norman piers in Norwich Cathedral, an extreme variety of
design in ornamental accessories prevail, the general form and outline of
the capital being preserved; and some exhibit imitations of the Ionic
volute and Corinthian acanthus, whilst many are covered with rude
sculpture in relief. They are generally finished with a plain square
abacus moulding, with the under edge simply bevelled or chamfered;
sometimes a slight angular moulding occurs between the upper face and
slope of the abacus, and sometimes the abacus alone intervenes between the
pier and the spring of the arch. There are also many round capitals, as,
for instance, those in the nave of Gloucester Cathedral, but they are
mostly late in the style.

[Illustration: Norman Arcade, St. Augustine's, Canterbury.]

Q. What is observable in the bases of the piers?

A. The common base moulding resembles in form or contour a quirked ovolo
reversed; there are, however, many exceptions.

[Illustration: Norman Base, Romsey Church, Hants.]

Q. How are the arches distinguished?

A. By their semicircular form; they are generally double-faced, or formed
of two concentric divisions, one receding within the other. Early in the
style they are plain and square-edged; late in the style they are often
found enriched with the zig-zag and roll mouldings, or some other
ornament. Sometimes the curvature of the arch does not immediately spring
from the capital or impost, but is raised or stilted.

Q. What parts of Norman churches do we generally find vaulted?

A. In cathedral and large conventual churches built in the Norman style we
find the crypts and aisles vaulted with stone, but not the nave or choir;
and over the vaulting of the aisles was the triforium. In small Norman
churches the chancel is generally the only part vaulted; and between the
vaulting and outer roof is, in some instances, a small loft or chamber.
Sometimes we find the original design for vaulting to have been commenced
and left unfinished.

[Illustration: Norman Arch and Piers, Melbourne Church, Derbyshire.]

Q. Of what description was the Norman vaulting?

A. The bays of vaulting were generally either squares or parallelograms,
though sometimes not rectangular in shape, and each was divided into four
concave vaulting cells by diagonal and intersecting groins, thus forming
what is called a quadripartite vault. Early in the style the diagonal
edges of the groins appear without ribs or mouldings; at an advanced stage
they are supported by square-edged ribs of cut stone; and late in the
style the ribs and groins are faced with roll or cylinder mouldings. They
are also sometimes profusely covered with the zig-zag moulding and other
ornamental details.

Q. What is observable with respect to Norman masonry?

A. In general the walls are faced on each side with a thin shell of ashlar
or cut stone, whilst the intervening space, which is sometimes
considerable, is filled with grouted rubble. Masses of this grout-work
masonry, from which the facing of cut stone has been removed, we often
find amongst ruined edifices of early date.

Q. Were there any buttresses used at this period?

[Illustration: Norman Buttress, Chancel of St. Mary's, Leicester.]

A. Yes; but the walls being enormously thick, and requiring little
additional support, those in use are like pilasters, with a broad face
projecting very little from the building; and they seem to have been
derived from the pilaster strips of stonework in Anglo-Saxon masonry. They
are generally of a single stage only, but sometimes of more, and are not
carried up higher than the cornice, under which they often but not always
finish with a slope. They appear as if intended rather to relieve the
plain external surface of the wall than to strengthen it. Norman portals
not unfrequently occur, formed in the thickness of a broad but shallow
pilaster buttress, as at Iffley Church, Oxfordshire, and at Stoneleigh and
Hampton-in-Arden Churches, Warwickshire, and elsewhere. This kind of
buttress was also used in the next, or Semi-Norman style.

Q. Were there any towers?

A. Yes; they were generally very low and massive; and the exterior,
especially of the upper story, was often decorated with arcades of blank
semicircular and intersecting arches; the parapet consisted of a plain
projecting blocking-course, supported by the corbel table.

Q. Do pinnacles appear to have been known to the Normans?

A. Although some are of opinion that the pinnacle was not introduced till
after the adoption of the pointed style, many Norman buildings have
pinnacles of a conical shape, which are apparently part of the original

Q. What distinction occurs in the construction of the small country
churches of this style, and the larger buildings of conventual foundation?

A. Small Norman churches consisted of a single story only; cathedral and
conventual churches were carried up to a great height, and were frequently
divided into three tiers, the lowest of which consisted of single arches,
separating the nave from the aisles: above each of these arches in the
second tier were two smaller arches constructed beneath a larger;
sometimes the same space was occupied by a single arch; and in this tier
was the triforium or gallery. In the third tier or clerestory were
frequently arcades of three arches connected together, the middle one of
which was higher and broader than the others: and all these three occupied
a space only equal to the span of the lowest arch. Blank arcades were also
much used in the exterior walls, as well as in the interior of rich
Norman buildings; and some of the arches which composed them were often
pierced for windows.

Q. What were the mouldings principally used in the decoration of Norman

A. The chevron, or zig-zag, which is not always single, but often
duplicated, triplicated, or quadrupled.



The reversed zig-zag.


The indented moulding.


The embattled moulding.


The dovetail moulding.


The beak head.


The nebule, chiefly used for the fascia under a parapet.


The billet.


The square billet, or corbel bole, used for supporting a blocking course.


The cable moulding.


The double cone.


The pellet, or stud.


The hatched, or saw tooth.


The nail head.


The lozenge.


The studded trellis.


The diamond fret.


The medallion.


The star.


The scalloped or invected moulding.


A variety of other mouldings and ornamental accessories are also to be met
with, but those above described are the most common.

Q. What kind of string-course do we usually find carried along the walls
of Norman churches, just below the windows?

A. A string-course similar in form to the common Norman abacus, with a
plain face and the under part bevelled, is of most frequent occurrence; a
plain semihexagon string-course is also often to be met with. Sometimes
the string-course is ornamented with the zig-zag moulding.

[Illustration: Norman Mouldings, from Binham Church, Norfolk, and

Q. What difference is there as to their general character and appearance
between the early and late examples of Norman architecture?

A. The details of those buildings early in the style are characterized by
their massiveness, simplicity, and plain appearance; the single or
double-faced semicircular arches, both of doorways and windows, as well as
the arches supporting the clerestory walls, are generally devoid of
ornament, and the edges of the jambs and arches are square. The undercroft
of Canterbury Cathedral, the work of Archbishop Lanfranc, between A. D.
1073 and A. D. 1080; the crypt and transepts of Winchester Cathedral, built
by Bishop Walkelyn between A. D. 1079 and A. D. 1093; the plain Norman work
of the Abbey Church at St. Alban's, built by Abbot Paul, between
1077-1093; and the north and south aisles of the choir of Norwich
Cathedral, the work of Bishop Herbert, between A. D. 1096 and A. D. 1101,
not to multiply examples, may be enumerated as instances of plain and
early Norman work. In buildings late in the style we find a profusion of
ornamental detail of a peculiar character, and numerous semi and
tripartite cylindrical mouldings on the faces and edges of arches and
vaulting-ribs. The transepts of Peterborough Cathedral, built by Abbot
Waterville between A. D. 1155 and A. D. 1175, exhibit vaulting-groins faced
with roll mouldings, and other details of an advanced stage; whilst the
Galilee, Durham Cathedral, built by Bishop Pudsey, A. D. 1180, is
remarkable for the lightness and elongation of the piers, which are formed
of clustered columns; and the semicircular arches which spring from these
are enriched both on the face and soffits with the chevron or zig-zag
moulding. There are many intermediate gradations between the extreme plain
and massive work of early date, and the enrichments, mouldings, and
elongated proportions to be found late in the style; and in detail we may
perceive an almost imperceptible merging into that style which succeeded
the Norman.

[Illustration: Base. Crypt, St. Peter's, Oxford, c. 1100.]


[52-*] Defunctus autem Rex beatissimus in crastino sepultus est Londini,
in Ecclesia, quam ipse novo compositionis genere construxerat, a qua post,
multi Ecclesias construentes, exemplum adepti, opus illud expensis
oemulabantur sumptuosis.--MATT. PARIS.

[Illustration: Vesica Piscis in the tympan of the south doorway, Ely



Q. What is the Semi-Norman style?

A. It is that style of transition which, without superseding the Norman
style, prevailed more or less, in conjunction with it, during the latter
part of the twelfth century, and probably even from an earlier period, and
gradually led to the complete adoption, in the succeeding century, of the
early pointed style in a pure state, and to the general disuse of the
semicircular arch.

Q. By what is this style chiefly denoted?

A. By the intersection of semicircular arches, the frequent intermixture
of the pointed arch in its incipient state with the semicircular arch, and
the pointed arch with its accompaniments of features, mouldings, and
ornamental accessories, exactly similar to those of the Norman style, both
in its earlier and later gradations, and from which it appears to have
differed only in the contour or form of the arch.

[Illustration: Early specimen of intersecting Arches, St. Botolph's
Priory, Colchester. (12th cent.)]

Q. Whence are we to derive the origin of the pointed arch?

A. Many conjectural opinions on this much-contested question have been
entertained, yet it still remains to be satisfactorily elucidated. Some
would derive it from the East and ascribe its introduction to the
Crusaders; some maintain that it was suggested by the intersection of
semicircular arches, which intersection we frequently find in ornamental
arcades; others contend that it originated from the mode of quadripartite
vaulting adopted by the Normans, the segmental groins of which, crossing
diagonally, produce to appearance the pointed arch; whilst some imagine it
may have been derived from that mystical figure of a pointed oval form,
the _Vesica Piscis_[76-*]. But whatever its origin, it appears to have
been imperceptibly brought into partial use towards the middle of the
twelfth century.

[Illustration: Semi-Norman double Piscina, Jesus College Chapel,

Q. What are the characteristics of this style?

A. In large buildings massive cylindrical piers support pointed arches,
above which we often find round-headed clerestory windows, as at Buildwas
Abbey Church, Salop; or semicircular arches forming the triforium, as at
Malmesbury Abbey Church, Wilts. Sometimes we meet with successive tiers
of arcades, in which the pointed arch is surmounted both by intersecting
and semicircular arches, as in a portion of the west front of Croyland
Abbey Church, Lincolnshire, now in ruins. The ornamental details and
mouldings of this style generally partake of late Norman character; and
the zig-zag and semicylindrical mouldings on the faces of arches appear to
predominate, though other Norman mouldings are common; but we also
frequently meet with specimens in the Semi-Norman style in which extreme
plainness prevails, and the character is of that nature as to induce us to
ascribe such buildings to rather an early period. Single and double, and
sometimes even triple-faced arches, with the edges left square,
distinguish plain specimens of this style from the plain-pointed
double-faced arches of the succeeding century, the edges of which are
splayed or chamfered. In late instances of this, as of the cotemporaneous
Norman style, we observe in the details a gradual tendency to merge into
those of the style of the thirteenth century, when the pointed arch had
attained maturity, and the peculiar features and decorative mouldings and
sculptures of Norman character had fallen into isuse.[TN-2]

Q. What specimen of this style is there of apparently early date?

[Illustration: Semi-Norman Arch, Abbey Church, Malmesbury.]

A. The church, now in ruins, of Buildwas Abbey, Salop, founded A. D.
1135[79-*], is an early specimen of the Semi-Norman style, in which, with
the incipient pointed arch, Norman features and details are blended. The
nave is divided from the aisles by plain double-faced pointed arches, with
square edges, and hood mouldings over, which spring from massive
cylindrical piers with square bases and capitals; whilst the clerestory
windows above (for there is no triforium) are semicircular-headed. The
general features of early Norman character, the absence of decorative
mouldings, and the plain appearance this church exhibits throughout, are
such as perhaps to warrant the presumption that this church is the same
structure mentioned in the charter of confirmation granted to this abbey
by Stephen, A. D. 1138-9.

Q. What other noted specimens are there of this style?

[Illustration: Intersecting Window Arches, St. Cross Church, Winchester.]

A. The church of the Hospital of St. Cross, near Winchester, presents an
interesting combination of semicircular, intersecting, and pointed arches,
of cotemporaneous date, enriched with the zig-zag and other Norman
decorative mouldings, and is a structure, in appearance and detail, of
much later date than the church at Buildwas Abbey, though the same early
era has been assigned to each.

St. Joseph's Chapel, Glastonbury, now in ruins, supposed to have been
erected in the reigns of Henry the Second and Richard the First, is
perhaps the richest specimen now remaining of the Semi-Norman or
transition style, and is remarkable for the profusion of sculptured detail
and combination of round and intersecting arches. In the remains of
Malmesbury Abbey Church a Norman triforium with semicircular arches is
supported on pointed arches which are enriched with Norman mouldings, and
spring from massive cylindrical Norman piers. The interior of Rothwell
Church, Northamptonshire, has much of Semi-Norman character: the aisles
are divided from the nave by four lofty, plain, and triple-faced pointed
arches, with square edges, springing from square piers with attached
semicylindrical shafts on each side, and banded round midway between the
bases and capitals; and the latter, which are enriched with sculptured
foliage, are surmounted by square abaci; the west doorway is also of
Semi-Norman character, and pointed, and is set within a projecting mass of
masonry resembling the shallow Norman buttress. The circular part of St.
Sepulchre's Church, Northampton, has early pointed arches, plain in
design, springing from Norman cylindrical piers. In the circular part of
the Temple Church, London, dedicated A. D. 1185, the piers consist of four
clustered columns banded round midway between the bases and capitals, and
approximating the Early English style of the thirteenth century; and these
support pointed arches, over which and continued round the clerestory wall
is an arcade of intersecting semicircular arches, and above these are
round-headed windows.

[Illustration: Semi-Norman Window, Oxford Cathedral.]

Q. What particular specimen of the Semi-Norman style has been noticed by
any cotemporaneous author, and the date of it clearly defined?

A. The eastern part of Canterbury Cathedral, consisting of Trinity Chapel
and the circular adjunct called Becket's Crown. The building of these
commenced the year following the fire which occurred A. D. 1174, and was
carried on without intermission for several successive years. Gervase, a
monk of the cathedral, and an eyewitness of this re-edification, wrote a
long and detailed description of the work in progress, and a comparison
between that and the more ancient structure which was burnt; he does not,
however, notice in any clear and precise terms the general adoption of the
pointed arch and partial disuse of the round arch in the new building,
from which we may perhaps infer they were at that period indifferently
used, or rather that the pointed arch was gradually gaining the

Q. How long does the Semi or Mixed Norman style appear to have prevailed?

[Illustration: Semi-Norman Arch, St. Cross Church, Winchester.]

A. Though we can neither trace satisfactorily the exact period of its
introduction, or even that of its final extinction, (for it appears to
have merged gradually into the pure and unmixed pointed style of the
thirteenth century,) we have perhaps no remains of this kind to which we
can attribute an earlier date than that included between the years 1130
and 1140, unless we except the intersecting arches at St. Botulph's,
Priory Church, Colchester, which may be a few years earlier; and it
appears to have prevailed, in conjunction or intermixed with the Norman
style, from thence to the close of the twelfth century, and probably to a
somewhat later period.

[Illustration: Arcade, Christ Church, Oxford.]


[76-*] The figure of a fish, whence the form _vesica piscis_ originated,
was one of the most ancient of the Christian symbols, emblematically
significant of the word ichthys, which contained the initial letters of
the name and titles of our Saviour. The symbolic representation of a fish
we find sculptured on some of the sarcophagi of the early Christians
discovered in the catacombs at Rome; but the actual figure of a fish
afterwards gave place to an oval-shaped compartment, pointed at both
extremities, bearing the same mystical signification as the fish itself,
and formed by two circles intersecting each other in the centre. This was
the most common symbol used in the middle ages, and thus delineated it
abounds in Anglo-Saxon illuminated manuscripts. Every where we meet with
it during the middle ages, in religious sculptures, in painted glass, on
encaustic tiles, and on seals; and in the latter, that is, in those of
many of the ecclesiastical courts, the form is yet retained. Even with
respect to the origin of the pointed arch, that _vexata quaestio_ of
antiquaries, with what degree of probability may it not be attributed to
this mystical form? It is indeed in this symbolical figure that we see the
outline of the pointed arch plainly developed at least a century and half
before the appearance of it in architectonic form. And in that age full of
mystical significations, the twelfth century, when every part of a church
was symbolized, it appears nothing strange if this typical form should
have had its weight towards originating and determining the adoption of
the pointed arch.--Internal Decorations of English Churches, British
Critic, April, 1839.

[79-*] The date of the _foundation_ of an abbey or church must not,
however, be confounded with that of its actual _erection_, which was often
many years later, and the only certain guide to which is the date of the

[83-*] In the minute and circumstantial account which Gervase gives of the
partial destruction of this cathedral by fire, A. D. 1174, and its after
restoration, he seems to allude, though in obscure language, to the
altered form of the vaulting in the aisles of the choir (_in circuitu
extra chorum_); and his comparison, with reference to this building,
between early and late Norman architecture is altogether so curious and
exact as to deserve being transcribed:--

"Dictum est in superioribus quod post combustionem illam vetera fere omnia
chori diruta sunt, et in quandam augustioris formae transierunt novitatem.
Nunc autem quae sit operis utriusque differentia dicendum est. Pilariorum
igitur tam veterum quam novorum una forma est, una et grossitudo, sed
longitudo dissimilis. Elongati sunt enim pilarii novi longitudine pedum
fere duodecim. In capitellis veteribus opus erat planum, in novis
sculptura subtilis. Ibi in chori ambitu pilarii viginti duo, hic autem
viginti octo. Ibi arcus et caetera omnia plana utpote sculpta secure et non
scisello, his in omnibus fere sculptura idonea. Ibi columpna nulla
marmorea, hic innumerae. Ibi in circuitu extra chorum fornices planae, hic
arcuatae sunt et clavatae. Ibi murus super pilarios directus cruces a choro
sequestrabat, hic vero nullo intersticio cruces a choro divisae in unam
clavem quae in medio fornicis magnae consistit, quae quatuor pilariis
principalibus innititur, convenire videntur. Ibi coelum ligneum egregia
pictura decoratum, hic fornix ex lapide et tofo levi decenter composita
est. Ibi triforium unum, hic duo in choro, et in ala ecclesiae
tercium."--De Combust. et Repar. Cant. Ecclesiae.

[Illustration: Doorway, Paulscray Church, Kent.]



Q. During what era did the Early English style prevail?

A. It may be said to have prevailed generally throughout the thirteenth

Q. How is it distinguished from the Norman and Semi-Norman styles?

A. The semicircular-headed arch, with its peculiar mouldings, was almost
entirely discarded, and superseded by the pointed arch, with plain
chamfered edges or mouldings of a different character. The segmental arch,
nearly flat, was still however used in doorways, and occasionally the
semicircular also, as in the arches of the Retrochoir, Chichester

Q. Of what three kinds were the pointed arches of this era?

A. The lancet, the equilateral, and the obtuse-angled arch.

Q. Which of these arches were most in use?

A. In large buildings the lancet and the equilateral-shaped arch were
prevalent, as appears in Westminster Abbey, where the lancet arch
predominates, and Salisbury Cathedral, where the equilateral arch is
principally used; but in small country churches the obtuse-angled arch is
most frequently found. All these arches are struck from two centres, and
are formed from segments of a circle. In large buildings the architrave
is faced with a succession of roll mouldings and deep hollows, in which
the tooth ornament is sometimes inserted. In small churches the arches,
which are double-faced, have merely plain chamfered edges.

Q. What was the difference of the piers between this and an earlier era?

A. Instead of the massive Norman, the Early English piers were, in large
buildings, composed of an insulated column surrounded by slender detached
shafts, all uniting together under one capital; these shafts were divided
into parts by horizontal bands or fillets; but in small churches a plain
octagonal pier, which can, however, scarcely be distinguished from that of
a later style, predominated.

Q. How are the capitals distinguished?

A. They are simple in comparison with those of a later style, and are
often bell-shaped, with a bead moulding round the neck, and a capping,
with a series of mouldings, above; a very elegant and beautiful capital is
frequently formed of stiffly sculptured foliage. The capital surmounting
the multangular-shaped pier is also multangular in form, but plain, with a
neck, and cap mouldings, and is difficult to be discerned from that of
the succeeding style; the cap mouldings are, however, in general not so
numerous as those of a later period.

[Illustration: Capital, Chapter House, Southwell.]

Q. How are the doorways of this style distinguished?

A. The small doorways have generally a single detached shaft on each side,
with a plain moulded bell-shaped capital, which is sometimes covered with
foliage; and the architrave mouldings consist of a few simple members,
with a hood moulding or label over, terminated by heads. We also find
richer doorways with two or more detached shafts at the sides, and
architrave mouldings composed of numerous members. Large doorways of the
Early English style were sometimes double, being divided into two arched
openings by a shaft, either single or clustered; and above this a
quatrefoil was generally inserted, but sometimes the head was filled with
sculptured detail. Examples of the double doorway occur in the cathedrals
of Ely, Chichester, Wells, Salisbury, Lincoln, and Lichfield; also at
Christchurch and St. Cross, Hants; Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire; and
in other large churches in this style.

[Illustration: Doorway, Baginton Church, Warwickshire. (13th cent.)]

Q. What kind of windows were prevalent?

[Illustration: Window, Beverley Minster. (13th cent.)]

[Illustration: St. Giles's Oxford. Ely cathedral.]

A. In the early stages of this style the lancet arch-headed window, very
long and narrow, was prevalent; frequently two, three, or more of these
were connected together by hood mouldings, the middle window rising higher
than those at the sides; sometimes they were unconnected, and without
hood mouldings. In the east wall of Early English chancels three lancet
windows, thus arranged, are frequently displayed. At a later period a
broader window, divided into two lights by a plain mullion, finished at
the top with a lozenge or circle, was used; and sometimes a window divided
into three lights, the middle one higher than the others, and comprised
under one hood moulding, was in use; windows of four and even five lancet
lights, thus disposed, are to be met with, but are not common; the sides
of the windows were in general simply splayed, without mouldings, and
increased in width inwardly, but slender shafts were sometimes annexed;
and we also find, in the interior of rich buildings of this style,
detached shafts standing out in front of the stonework forming the window
jambs, and supporting the arch of the window. Towards the close of this
style the windows assumed a more ornamental cast, and became much larger,
being frequently divided into two or four principal lights, with one or
three circles in the heads; both the lights and circles are foliated, and
these evince the transition in progress to the next, or Decorated style.
Beneath the windows a string-course is generally carried horizontally
along the wall; and a roll moulding, similar to the upper members of the
string-course of Merton College Chapel, Oxford, is most commonly met with,
as the string-course.

[Illustration: Interior of Window, St. Giles's, Oxford.]

Q. How is the buttress of this age distinguished?

A. In general by its plain triangular or pedimental head, its projecting
more from the building than the Norman buttress, and from its being less
in breadth. It is also sometimes carried up above the parapet wall. The
edges of the buttresses are sometimes chamfered; and plain buttresses in
stages finished with simple slopes are not uncommon. We very rarely find
buttresses of this style disposed at the angles of buildings, though such
disposition was common in the succeeding style; but two buttresses placed
at right angles with each other, and with the face of the wall, generally
occur at the angles of churches in this style. Flying buttresses were
sometimes used to strengthen the clerestory walls of large buildings, and
have a light and elegant effect.

[Illustration: String-Course, Merton College Chapel, Oxford.]

Q. Were the walls differently built?

A. They were not so thick as those of an earlier period, which occasioned
the want of stronger buttresses to support them.

[Illustration: Pottern, Wilts.]

[Illustration: Hartlepool, Durham.]

Q. Were the Early English roofs of a different construction from those of
a later style?

[Illustration: Groining Rib, Salisbury Cathedral.]

A. The Norman and Early English roofs were high and acutely pointed. The
original roofs of most of our old churches, from their exposure to the
weather, have long since fallen to decay, and been replaced by others of a
more obtuse shape; but in general the height and angular form of the
original roof may be ascertained by the weather moulding still remaining
on the side of the tower or steeple. The interior vaulting of stone roofs
was composed of fewer parts and ribs, which were often not more numerous
than those of Norman vaulting, and does not present that complexity of
arrangement which occurs in the vaulting-ribs of subsequent styles. In the
cathedral of Salisbury also in the nave of Wells Cathedral are simple and
good examples of Early English vaulting. A curious groined roof, in which
the ribs are of wood--plain, cut with chamfered edges--and the cells of
the vaulting are covered with boards, is to be met with in the church of
Warmington, Northamptonshire, a very rich, perfect, and interesting
specimen of this style.

Q. Was not the spire introduced at this period?

A. Yes, many spires were then built; among which was that of old St.
Paul's Cathedral, more than five hundred feet high, and which was
destroyed by fire, A. D. 1561. The spire of Oxford Cathedral is also of
this style. Early English spires are generally what are called Broach
spires, and spring at once from the external face of the walls of the
tower, without any intervening parapet.

Q. Whence did the spire take its origin?

A. It appears to have been suggested by the Norman pinnacle, which, at
first a conical capping, afterwards became polygonal, and ribbed at the
angles, thus presenting the prototype of the spire.


Q. What ornament is peculiar, or nearly so, to this style?

A. That called the tooth or dog-tooth ornament, a kind of
pyramidal-shaped flower of four leaves, which is generally inserted in a
hollow moulding, and, when seen in profile, presents a zig-zag or serrated
appearance. The tooth moulding appears to have been introduced towards the
close of the twelfth century; and an early instance where it occurs is on
a late Norman doorway, at Whitwell Church, Rutlandshire: we do not,
however, meet with it in buildings of a later style than that of the
thirteenth century. It is sometimes found used in great profusion in
doorways, windows, and other ornamental details; but many churches of this
style are entirely devoid of this ornament. The ball-flower, though
introduced in the thirteenth century, is not a common ornament until the
fourteenth, to which era it may be said more particularly to belong; we
find it in cornice mouldings, and sometimes on capitals.

Q. What may be observed of the sculptured foliage of this style?

A. As applied to capitals, bases, crockets, and other ornamental detail,
we find the general design and appearance of the sculptured foliage of
this style to be stiff and formal compared with that of the succeeding
style, when the arrangement of the foliage more closely approximated
nature, and a greater freedom both in conception and execution was

[Illustration: Boss of Sculptured Foliage, Warmington Church,

Q. How are the parapets distinguished?

A. They are often plain and embattled; but sometimes a simple horizontal
parapet is used, supported by a corbel table, as in the tower of Haddenham
Church, Buckinghamshire, and on that of Brize Norton Church, Oxfordshire.
At Salisbury Cathedral the parapet is relieved by a series of blank
trefoil headed pannels,[TN-3] sunk in the face.

Q. What may be said in general terms of the style of the thirteenth
century, in comparing it with the styles which immediately preceded and
followed it?

[Illustration: Parapet, Salisbury Cathedral.]

A. In comparison with the Norman style, with its heavy concomitants and
enrichments, the style of the thirteenth century is light and simple, and
the details possess much elegance of contour. These, in small buildings,
are generally plain; but in large buildings they exhibit numerous
mouldings, combined with a certain degree of decorative embellishment.
This style is, however, far from presenting that extreme beauty of outline
and tasteful conception, combined with the pure and chaste ornamental
accessories, which prevail in the designs of the fourteenth century.

Q. What particular structures may be noticed as belonging to this style?

A. Salisbury Cathedral, built by Bishop Poore between A. D. 1220 and 1260,
is perhaps the most perfect specimen, on a large scale, of this style in
its early state, with narrow lancet windows; the nave and transepts of
Westminster Abbey, commenced in 1245, exhibit this style in a more
advanced stage; whilst Lincoln Cathedral is, for the most part, a rich
specimen of this style in its late or transition state. The west front of
Wells Cathedral, erected by the munificence of Bishop Joceline, between
A. D. 1213 and A. D. 1239, is covered with blank arcades and a number of
trefoil-headed niches, surmounted by plain pedimental canopies, which
contain specimens of statuary remarkable for their extreme beauty and
freedom of design.

[Illustration: Corbel, Wells Cathedral.]


[86-*] From the economic principles on which our modern churches are, with
few exceptions, planned, they are mostly designed after and are intended
to resemble in style those of the thirteenth century, in which more
detail can be dispensed with than in any other style. Hence it follows
that the just proportions and adaptation of the different parts and the
minutest details and mouldings in ancient churches of this style required
to be carefully studied, more so perhaps for practical purposes than in
churches of any other style.

[Illustration: Dunchurch Church, Warwickshire.]



Q. When did the Decorated English style commence, and how long did it

A. It may be said to have commenced in the latter part of the thirteenth
century, or reign of Edward the First, and to have prevailed about a
century. The transition from the Early English style to this, and again
from this to the succeeding style, was however so extremely gradual, that
it is difficult to affix any precise date for the termination of one
style, or the introduction of another.

[Illustration: Bracket, York Cathedral.]

Q. Whence does it derive its appellation?

A. From there being a greater redundancy of chaste ornament in this than
in the preceding style; and though it does not exhibit that extreme
multiplicity of decorative detail as the style of the fifteenth century,
the general contours and forms which this style presents, and the
principal lines of composition, which verge pyramidically rather than
vertically or horizontally, are infinitely more pleasing; and it is justly
considered as the most beautiful style of English ecclesiastical

Q. What difference is there between the arches of this style, which
support the clerestory, and those of an earlier period?

A. The lancet arch is seldom seen; the equilateral arch is generally,
though not always, used. Both this and the obtuse-angled arch are, taken
exclusively, difficult to be distinguished from those of an earlier
period. In small buildings the edges of the pier arches are plain and
chamfered. In large churches a series of quarter-round or roll-mouldings,
which have often a square-edged fillet attached, are applied to the
sub-arch, edges, and facing.

[Illustration: Section of Piers rom[TN-4] Grendon Church, Warwickshire,
and Austrey Church, Warwickshire.]

Q. What difference occurs in the piers from which these arches spring?

A. In large buildings piers of this style were composed of a cluster of
slender cylindrical shafts, not standing detached from each other, as in
the Early English style, but closely united. A common pier of this kind is
formed of four shafts thus united, without bands, with a square-edged
fillet running vertically up the face of each shaft. Sometimes a simple
cylindrical pier is found. The octagonal pier, with plain sides, is very
prevalent in small churches, and does not differ materially from the Early
English pier of the same kind. The capitals are either bell-shaped,
clustered, or octagonal, to correspond with the shape of the piers; but
the cap mouldings are more numerous than in the earlier style. Sometimes
the capitals are sculptured. In the churches of Monkskirby, Warwickshire,
and of Cropredy, Oxfordshire, the arches which support the clerestory
spring at once from the piers, without any intervening capitals, a
practice not uncommon in the style of the fifteenth century, but very rare
in this.

Q. How are the vaulted roofs of this style distinguished?

A. Of the large stone vaulted roofs each bay is intersected by
longitudinal, transverse, and diagonal ribs, with shorter ribs springing
from the bearing shafts intervening; thus forming a series of vaulting
cells more numerous than are to be met with in the Early English style,
though not subdivided to the excess observable in the vaulted roofs of the
fifteenth century. Sculptured bosses often occur at the intersections. In
the nave of York Cathedral, finished about A. D. 1330, the groining of the
roof is less complicated than that of the choir of the same cathedral,
constructed between A. D. 1360 and A. D. 1370[106-*]. Small structures are
more simply vaulted. In a chantry chapel adjoining the north side of the
chancel of Willingham Church, Cambridgeshire, is a very acute-pointed
angular-shaped stone roof, the plain surface of the vaulting of which is
supported by two pointed arches springing from corbels projecting from the
walls; and these sustain straight-sided stone vaulting ribs, obliquely
disposed to conform with the angle of the roof, and which act as
principals; and above each arch, and between that and the ridge-line of
the oblique ribs or principals, the space is filled with an open
quatrefoil and other tracery. The north transept of Limington Church,
Somersetshire, has a high pitched stone roof supported by groined ribs.

Q. Are there many wooden roofs of this style remaining?

A. We find comparatively few original wooden roofs in structures of the
fourteenth century, for such have generally been superseded by roofs of a
later date and of a more obtuse form. The high and acute pitch of the
original roof is, however, still generally discernible by the weather
moulding on the east wall of the tower. In the nave of Higham Ferrars
Church, Northamptonshire, is a wooden roof which apparently belongs to
this style: the roof is angular-pointed and open to the ridge-line, the
walls are connected by tie-beams, and under each of these is a wooden arch
formed of two ribs or beams springing from stone corbels.

Q. In what respect do the doors of this style differ?

[Illustration: Window, Dunchurch Church, Warwickshire.]

A. Large doorways of this style have lateral shafts, with capitals, and
between the shafts architrave mouldings intervene, which run without stop
into the base tablet: of such the south doorway of St. Martin's Church,
Leicester, is an instance. Small doorways are generally without shafts,
but have a series of quarter-round, semicylindrical, and tripartite roll
mouldings at the sides, which are continuous with the architrave
mouldings; and these have sometimes a square-edged fillet on the face. The
doorways of this style are frequently enriched with pedimental and
ogee-shaped canopies, ornamented with crockets and finials; of which the
north doorway of Exeter Cathedral and the south doorway of Everdon Church,
Northamptonshire, may be cited as examples. Large doorways have sometimes
a double opening, divided by a clustered shaft, as in the entrance to the
Chapter House, York Cathedral. In some instances the head of the doorway
is foliated, and we observe in detail an approximation to the succeeding
style. The west doorway of Dunchurch Church, Warwickshire, is in this
stage of transition.

Q. How are the windows of this style known?

[Illustration: Square-headed Decorated Window, Ashby Folville,

A. In the later stage of the Early English style the windows became
enlarged, and the heads were filled with foliated circles. To these
succeeded, in the fourteenth century, windows ornamented with geometrical
and flowing tracery, peculiarities which exclusively pertain to this
style, and by which it is most easily known. The windows are of good
proportions, and are divided into two or more principal lights by
mullions, which at the spring of the arch form designs of regular
geometrical construction, or branch out into flowing ramifications
composing flame-like compartments, which are foliated[109-*]. The variety
of tracery in windows of this style is very great, and they frequently
have pedimental and ogee canopies over them, ornamented in the same manner
as those over doors: examples of this kind may be found at York
Cathedral. In the south transept of Chichester, and west front of Exeter
Cathedrals, are two exceeding large and beautiful windows of this style;
the first filled with geometrical, the other with flowing, tracery. In
some windows of this style the mullions simply cross in the head, as in a
later style, but the lights are commonly foliated, and the difference may
in general be discerned by the mouldings: such windows occur in Stoneleigh
Church, Warwickshire. There are also many square-headed windows in this
style, distinguished by the flowing tracery in the heads, and by other
characteristic marks: of such a window in Ashby Folville Church,
Leicestershire, is a rich and good example. Circular windows, filled with
tracery, are not uncommon in large buildings; and we also meet with
triangular spherical-shaped windows, as in the clerestory of Barton
Segrave Church, Northamptonshire[111-*].

[Illustration: Window, Barton Segrave Church.]

Q. Of what description are the mouldings which pertain to this style?

[Illustration: Moulding, Dunchurch Church, Warwickshire.]

[Illustration: Roll Moulding, Chacombe Church, Northamptonshire.]

[Illustration: String-Course, Sedgeberrow Church, Gloucestershire.]

[Illustration: Ball-Flower Ornament, Bloxham Church, Oxfordshire, and York

A. They approximate more nearly, in section and appearance, those of the
thirteenth than those of the fifteenth century, but the members are
generally more numerous than in those of the former style; quarter-round,
half, and tripartite cylinder mouldings, often filleted along the face and
divided by small cavetto mouldings, sometimes deeply cut, are common. The
string-course under the windows frequently consists, as in the preceding
style, of a simple roll moulding, the upper member of which overlaps the
lower. A plain semicylindrical moulding, with a square-edged fillet on the
face, is also common, and occurs at the church of Orton-on-the-Hill,
Leicestershire. The hood moulding over the windows often consists of a
quarter-round or ogee, with a cavetto beneath, and sometimes returns
horizontally along the walls as a string-course; a disposition, however,
more frequently observable in the Early English style than in this: of
such disposition the churches of Harvington, Worcestershire, and of
Sedgeberrow, Gloucestershire, may be cited as affording examples. In
decorative work we often meet with the ball-flower, one of the most
characteristic ornaments of the style, consisting of a ball inclosed
within three or four leaves, and sometimes bearing a resemblance to the
rose-bud, inserted at intervals in a cavetto or hollow moulding, with the
accompaniment, in some instances, of foliage; a four-leaved flower,
inserted in the same manner, is also not uncommon.


[Illustration: Decorated Buttress, St. Mary Magdalen, Oxford.]

Q. How may the buttresses of this style be distinguished?

[Illustration: Flying Buttress, Salisbury Cathedral.]

A. They were worked in stages, and their set-offs have frequently
triangular heads, sometimes plain but often ornamented with crockets and
finials of a more decorative character than those of the Early English
style. Many buttresses have, however, plain slopes as set-offs, and they
are frequently placed diagonally at the corners of buildings, as at
Dunchurch Church, Warwickshire. The flying buttresses at Salisbury
Cathedral, in which the thrust is partly counterpoised by
pyramidal-headed pinnacles decorated with crockets and finials, are of
this age.

Q. What parapet is peculiar to this style?

A. Besides the plain embattled parapet, which is not always easy to be
distinguished from other styles, a horizontal blocking course, pierced
with foliated or wavy, flowing tracery, which has a rich effect, is
common. Of this description specimens occur at St. Mary Magdalen Church,
Oxford, and Brailes Church, Warwickshire.

Q. What is observable in the niches of this style?

A. They are very beautiful, and are generally surmounted by triangular or
ogee-shaped canopies, enriched with crockets and finials, while the
interior of the canopies are groined with numerous small rib mouldings.
The crockets and finials of this style, as decorative embellishments, are
peculiarly graceful, chaste, and pleasing in contour.

Q. Was the transition from this style to the next gradual?

A. Both the transition from the Early English to the Decorated style, and
from the Decorated to the Florid or Perpendicular, was so gradual, that
though many individual details and ornaments were extremely dissimilar,
and peculiar to each particular style, we are only able to judge from
examples when a change was generally established.

Q. From what cotemporary writers of the fourteenth century can we collect
any architectural notices, either general or of detail?

[Illustration: Part of the Altar Screen, Winchester Cathedral.]

A. In Chaucer we find allusions made to _imageries_, _pinnacles_,
_tabernacles_, (canopied niches for statuary,) and _corbelles_. Lydgate,
in _The Siege of Troy_, in his description of the buildings, adverts to
those of his own age, and uses several architectural terms now obsolete or
little understood, and some which are not so, as _gargoiles_. In Pierce
Ploughman's Creed we have a concise but faithful description of a large
monastic edifice of the fourteenth century, comprising the church or
minster, cloister, chapter house, and other offices.

Q. What edifices maybe noticed as constructed in this style?

A. In Exeter Cathedral this style may be said generally to prevail,
although some portions are of earlier and some of later date. Great part
of Lichfield Cathedral was also built during the fourteenth century. The
beautiful cloisters adjoining Norwich Cathedral, commenced A. D. 1297, but
not finished for upwards of a century, although proceeded with by
different prelates from time to time, rank as the most beautiful of the
kind we have remaining. Several country churches are wholly or principally
erected in this style. Broughton Church, Oxfordshire, may be instanced as
an elegant, pleasing, and complete example of plain decorated work.
Trumpington Church, Cambridgeshire, is also deserving of notice; and
Wimington Church, Bedfordshire, built by John Curteys, lord of the manor,
who died A. D. 1391, is a small but late edifice in the Decorated style.
Annexations were also made during this century to numerous churches of
earlier construction, by the erection of additional aisles or chapels as
chantries. In all these structures we find more or less, in general
appearance, form, and detail, of that extreme beauty and elegance of
design which prevailed, as it were, for about a century, and then
imperceptibly glided away.

[Illustration: Parapet, Magdalen Church, Oxford.]


[106-*] The allusion is made to the vaulted roofs of the nave and choir of
this cathedral as they existed previous to the late unfortunate and
destructive fires.

[109-*] The Flamboyant window, common in France, is not often met with in
this country. On the north side of Salford Church, Warwickshire, is,
however, a window of this description, filled with flamboyant tracery.

[111-*] For specimens of Decorated windows with flowing tracery in the
heads, vide cuts, pp. 12 and 13.

[Illustration: South Porch of Newbold-upon-Avon Church, Warwickshire.]



Q. When may this style be said to have commenced, and how long did it

A. We find traces of it in buildings erected at the close of the reign of
Edward the Third (circa A. D. 1375); and it prevailed for about a century
and half, or rather more, till late in the reign of Henry the Eighth
(circa A. D. 1539).

Q. Whence does it derive its appellation?

A. From the multiplicity, profusion, and minuteness of its ornamental
detail, it has by some received the designation of FLORID; by others, from
the mullions of the windows and the divisions of ornamental panel-work
running in straight or perpendicular lines up to the head, which is not
the case in any earlier style, it has been called and is now better known
by the designation of the PERPENDICULAR[121-*].

Q. In what respects did it differ from the style which immediately
preceded it?

A. The beautiful flowing contour of the lines of tracery characteristic of
the Decorated style was superseded by mullions and transoms, and, in
panel-work, lines of division disposed vertically and horizontally; and in
lieu of the quarter-round, semi and tripartite roll and small hollow
mouldings of the fourteenth century, angular-edged mouldings with bold
cavettos became predominant.

Q. Of what kind are the arches of this style?

A. Although, in this style, pointed arches constructed from almost every
radius are to be found, the complex four-centred arch, commonly called
the Tudor arch, was almost peculiar to it; and the cavetto or wide and
rather shallow hollow moulding, a characteristic feature of this style,
often appears in the architrave mouldings of pier arches, doorways, and
windows, and as a cornice moulding under parapets.

[Illustration: Window, St. Mary's Church, Oxford.]

[Illustration: Mullion, Burford Church, Oxfordshire.]

Q. How are the piers of this style, which support the clerestory arches,
distinguished from those of an earlier period?

[Illustration: Capital, Piddleton Church, Dorsetshire.]

A. The section of a pier, which is common in this style, may be described
as formed from a square or parallelogram, with the angles fluted or cut in
a bold hollow, and on the flat face of each side of the pier a
semicylindrical shaft is attached. The flat faces or sides of the pier and
the hollow mouldings at the angles are carried up vertically from the base
moulding to the spring of the arch, and thence, without the interposition
of any capital, in a continuous sweep to the apex of the arch; but the
slender shafts attached to the piers have capitals, the upper members of
which are angular-shaped. The base mouldings are also polygonal. Piers and
arches of this description are numerous, and occur, amongst other
churches, in St. Thomas Church, Salisbury; Cerne Abbas Church, Bradford
Abbas Church, and Piddleton Church, Dorsetshire; Yeovil Church,
Somersetshire; and Burford Church, Oxfordshire. In some churches a very
slender shaft with a capital is attached to each angle of the pier, which
is disposed lozengewise, the main body of the pier presenting continuous
lines of moulding with those of the arch, unbroken by any capital: as in
the piers of Bath Abbey Church, rebuilt early in the sixteenth century. In
small country churches we frequently find the architrave mouldings of the
arch continued down the piers, which are altogether devoid of any
horizontal stop by way of capital. The churches of Brinklow and
Willoughby, in Warwickshire, afford instances of this kind. Piers somewhat
different to those above described are also to be met with, but are not so

Q. What else may be noted respecting some of the piers and arches in this

A. The face of the sub-arch or soffit is sometimes enriched with oblong
panelled compartments, arched-headed and foliated; and these are
continued down the inner sides of the piers. The arches of the tower of
Cerne Abbas Church, Dorsetshire, and some of the arches in Sherborne
Church, in the same county, may be instanced as examples.

[Illustration: Panelled Arch, Sherborne Church, Dorsetshire.]

Q. How may we distinguish the doorways and doors of this style?

A. Many doorways of this style, especially during its early progress, were
surmounted by crocketted ogee-shaped hood mouldings, terminating with
finials. In the most common doorway of this style, however, the depressed
four-centred arch appears within a square head, and in general a
rectangular hood moulding over; and the spandrels or spaces between the
spring and apex of the arch and angles of the square head over it are
filled with quatrefoils, panelling, foliage, small shields, or other
sculptured ornaments. Sometimes the depressed four-centred arch appears
without any hood moulding, and we occasionally meet with a simple pointed
arch described from two centres placed within a rectangular compartment.
Doorways in this style are often profusely ornamented; and it is common to
see doors covered with panel-work boldly recessed, the compartments of
which are sometimes filled in the heads with crocketed ogee arches, which
produce a rich effect.

[Illustration: Doorway, All Souls College, Oxford.]

Q. Are there many fine porches of this style?

A. More than in any other style, and they are often profusely enriched,
the front and sides being covered with panel-work, tracery, and niches for
statuary. The interior of the roof is frequently groined, sometimes with
fan tracery, but generally with simple though numerous ribs; and in many
instances a room is constructed over the groined entrance or lower story
of the porch, but so as to be in keeping with and form part of the general
design. The south porch of Gloucester Cathedral, the south-west porch of
Canterbury Cathedral, the south porch of St. John's Church, Cirencester,
and the south porch of Burford Church, Oxfordshire, may be noticed as
examples of rich porches of this style; many others might also be
enumerated, as they are very numerous and various in detail. Some porches
are comparatively plain, as the south porch of the church of
Newbold-upon-Avon, Warwickshire.

Q. How are the windows distinguished?

[Illustration: Window, New College Chapel, Oxford.]

A. The chief characteristic in the windows of this style, and which
renders them easily distinguished from those of an earlier era, consists
in the vertical bearing of the mullions, which, instead of diverging off
in flowing lines, are carried straight up into the head of the window;
smaller mullions spring from the heads of the principal lights, and thus
the upper portion of the window is filled with panel-like compartments.
The principal as well as the subordinate lights are foliated in the heads;
and in large windows the lights are often divided horizontally by
transoms, which are sometimes embattled. From the continued upright
position of the mullions and tracery-bars is derived the term
PERPENDICULAR, as applied to this style. The forms of the window-arches
vary from the simple pointed to the complex four-centred arch, more or
less depressed. The windows of the clerestory are sometimes arched, but
oftener square-headed; and some large windows of the latter description
nearly cover the sides of the clerestory walls of Chipping Norton Church,

Q. What do we frequently observe in buildings of this style?

A. The interior walls of churches are often completely covered with
panel-work tracery, arched headed and foliated, from the clerestory
windows down to the mouldings of the arches below. The walls of Sherborne
Church, Dorsetshire, present in the interior a surface almost entirely
covered with panel-work. Several large churches in this style have also
long ranges of clerestory windows, set so close to each other that the
whole length of the clerestory wall seems perforated: we may enumerate as
examples the churches of St. Michael, Coventry; Stratford-upon-Avon,
Warwickshire; and Lavenham and Melford, Suffolk. Walls covered on the
exterior with panel-work are also far from uncommon: the Abbots' Tower,
Evesham, the tower of the church of St. Neot's, Huntingdonshire, and of
Wrexham, Denbighshire, and many other rich towers, (especially those of
the churches in Somersetshire, where rich specimens in this style abound,
more so perhaps than in any other county,) are thus decorated. The
exterior of many rich structures in this style are also covered with
panel-work, as the Beauchamp Chapel, Warwick, the west front of Winchester
Cathedral, and Henry the Seventh's Chapel, Westminster Abbey.

[Illustration: Parapet, St. Peter's Church, Oxford.]

Q. How are the vaulted roofs of this style distinguished?

A. They are in detail more complicated than those of earlier styles, and
in plain as distinguished from fan-tracery vaulting the groining ribs are
more numerous. The ribs often diverge at different angles, and form
geometrical-shaped panels or compartments; and the design has, in some
instances, been assimilated to net-work. Plain vaulting of this style
occurs in the nave and choir, Norwich Cathedral; the Lady Chapel and
choir, Gloucester Cathedral; the nave, Winchester Cathedral; the Beauchamp
Chapel, Warwick; and a very late specimen in the choir, Oxford Cathedral.
A very rich and peculiar description of vaulting is one composed of
pendant semicones covered with foliated panel-work, and, from the design
resembling a fan spread open, called _fan-tracery_. Of this description of
vaulting an early instance appears in the cloisters, Gloucester Cathedral.
The roofs of King's College Chapel, Cambridge, and Henry the Seventh's
Chapel, Westminster Abbey, are well-known examples; and portions of
several of our cathedrals and many small chantry and sepulchral chapels
are thus vaulted.

Q. What may be observed of the wooden roofs of this style?

[Illustration: Wooden Roof, south aisle, St. Mary's Church, Leicester.]

A. They are far more numerous than those we meet with in all the previous
styles; and we frequently find churches of early date in which the
original roofs, having perhaps become decayed, have been removed and
replaced by roofs designed in that style prevalent during the fifteenth
century. The slope or pitch of the roof is much lower than before, and the
form altogether more obtuse, and sometimes approaching nearly to flatness.
The exterior is on this account often entirely concealed from view by the
parapet. Many roofs of this style are divided into bays or compartments
by horizontal tie-beams faced with mouldings, and apparently supported by
curved ribs springing from corbels, and forming spandrels filled with open
worked tracery; and the spaces between the tie-beam, the king-post, and
the sloping rafters of the roof, are filled with pierced or open-work
tracery. The sloping bays or compartments of the roof are divided by rib
mouldings into squares or parallelograms of panel-work, which are again
often subdivided into similar-shaped panels by smaller ribs with carved
bosses at the intersections. Some roofs are nearly flat, and simply
panelled. On many roofs traces of painting and gilding may still be
discerned, more especially in that part which was over an altar, and where
the roof often bears indications of having been more ornamented than other
parts. Roofs painted of an azure colour and studded with gilt stars are
not uncommon. Sometimes the roof is coved, and the boards are painted in
imitation of clouds. A great variety of wooden roofs is to be met with in
this style, many of them exceeding rich; whilst the cornice under the roof
is sometimes elaborately carved and enriched. Some roofs are much plainer
in construction than others; and it was, during this era, a part of the
church on the enrichment of which no small expense and attention were

Q. What may be noted respecting the parapets of this era?

[Illustration: Parapet, St. Peter's Church, Dorchester.]

A. Many embattled parapets are covered with sunk or pierced panelling, and
ornamented with quatrefoils or small trefoil-headed arches; and they have
sometimes triangular-shaped heads, as at King's College Chapel, Cambridge,
and at the east end of Peterborough Cathedral. We also find horizontal or
straight-sided parapets, covered with sunk or pierced quatrefoils in
circles. A plain embattled parapet, with the horizontal coping moulding
continued or carried down the sides of the embrasures, and then again
returning horizontally, as at St. Peter's Church, Dorchester, Dorsetshire,
is also common. A bold but shallow cavetto or hollow cornice moulding is
frequently carried along the wall just under the parapet.

Q. Was the panelled or sunk quatrefoil much used in decorative detail?

A. In rich buildings of this style the base, the parapet, and other
intermediate portions were decorated with rows or bands of sunk
quatrefoils, sometimes inclosed in circles, sometimes in squares, and
sometimes in lozenge-shaped compartments.

[Illustration: Rose and Foliage, Henry VII.'s Chapel, Westminster Abbey.]

Q. What other ornamental detail is peculiar to this style?

A. The rose, which, differing only in colour, was the badge both of the
houses of York and Lancaster, and as such is often to be met with. Rows of
a trefoil or lozenge-shaped leaf, somewhat like an oak or strawberry leaf,
with a smaller trefoil more simple in design intervening between two
larger, was frequently used as a finish to the cornice of rich
screen-work, and is known under the designation of _the Tudor Flower_. It
is also common to find the tendrils, leaves, and fruit of the vine carved
or sculptured in great profusion in the hollow of rich cornice mouldings,
especially on screen-work in the interior of a church.

[Illustration: Vine Leaves and Fruit, Whitchurch Church, Somersetshire.]

Q. In what respect do the mouldings of this style differ from those of
earlier styles?

A. In a greater prevalence of angular forms, which may be observed in
noticing the section of a series of mouldings, and in the bases and
capitals of cylindrical shafts. A large and bold but shallow hollow
moulding or cavetto, in which, when forming part of a horizontal fascia or
cornice, flowers, leaves, and other sculptured details are often inserted
at intervals, is a common feature; and such moulding, without any
insertion, is frequent in doorway and window jambs. A kind of double ogee
moulding with little projection, is, in conjunction with other mouldings,
also of common occurrence.

[Illustration: Window, St. Peter's Church, Oxford.]

Q. Of what particular description of work do we find the existing remains
to be almost entirely designed and executed in this style of
ecclesiastical art?

A. Of the numerous specimens of rich wooden screens, composed as to the
lower part of sunk panelling, with open work above, which we often find
separating the chancel from the body of the church, supporting the
rood-loft, and inclosing chantry chapels in side aisles, comparatively few
now remaining are of an earlier date than the fifteenth century[137-*].

Q. What do we find in large buildings erected late in this style?

A. Octagonal turrets, plain or covered with sunk panelling, and surmounted
with ogee-headed cupolas, which are adorned with crockets and finials. In
Henry the Seventh's Chapel, Westminster, they are used as buttresses. We
also find them at King's College Chapel, Cambridge; at St. George's
Chapel, Windsor; and at Winchester Cathedral.

Q. Have we any coeval documents which contain particulars relating to the
erection of churches?

A. The contract entered into A. D. 1412, for the building of Catterick
Church, Yorkshire, and the contract entered into A. D. 1435, for
rebuilding, as it now stands, the collegiate church of Fotheringhay in
Northamptonshire, or copies of such, have been preserved; as have
particulars also from the contracts entered into A. D. 1450, for the
fitting up of the Beauchamp Chapel, St. Mary's Church, Warwick. In the
will of King Henry the Sixth, dated A. D. 1447, we find specific directions
given for the size and arrangement of King's College Chapel, Cambridge;
and no less than five different indentures are preserved, (the earliest
dated A. D. 1513, the latest A. D. 1527,) containing contracts for the
execution of different parts of that celebrated structure. The will of
King Henry the Seventh, dated A. D. 1509, contains several orders and
directions relating to the completion of the splendid chapel adjoining the
abbey church, Westminster.

Q. Mention some of the earliest buildings of this style, the dates of the
erection of which have been clearly ascertained?

A. The tower of St. Michael's Church, Coventry, the building of which
commenced A. D. 1373 and was finished A. D. 1395[140-*], is an early and
fine specimen; the beautiful and lofty spire was, however, an after
addition, like that at Salisbury Cathedral, and was not commenced till
A. D. 1432. Westminster Hall[140-+], the reparation or reconstruction of
the greater part of which by King Richard the Second was commenced A. D.
1397 and finished A. D. 1399, has a fine groined porch, the front of which
exhibits the square head over the arch of entrance; and the spandrels are
filled with quatrefoils, inclosing shields and sunk panel-work. The large
window above the porch, and that at the west end, are divided into
panel-like compartments by vertical mullions, and a transom divides the
principal lights horizontally. The wooden roof is of a more acute pitch
than we usually find in buildings of this style, and is remarkable as a
specimen of constructive art and display. The spaces between the arches
and rafters are filled up to the ridge-piece with open panel-work
ornamentally designed; and this is perhaps the earliest specimen we
possess of the perpendicular wooden roof.

Q. What complete structures are there in this style of a late date, the
periods of the erection of which are ascertained?

A. The design for the rebuilding of the Abbey Church, Bath, was planned
and the reconstruction thereof commenced, by Bishop King, A. D. 1500; and
after his death the works were carried on by Priors Bird and Hollowaye;
but the church was not completed when the surrender of the monastery took
place, A. D. 1539. The foundation of Henry the Seventh's Chapel,
Westminster Abbey, was laid A. D. 1502, but the chapel was not completed
till the reign of Henry the Eighth. It is the richest specimen, on a large
scale, of this style of architecture, and is completely covered, both
internally and externally, with panel-work, niches, statuary, heraldic
devices, cognizances, and other decorative embellishment. The church at
St. Neot's, Huntingdonshire, is a fine large parochial edifice, all built
apparently after one regular design, and consists of a tower covered with
panel-work and ornament, with crocketed pinnacles at the angles and in
front of each side; a nave, north and south aisles and chancel, and two
chantry chapels, forming a continuation eastward of each aisle. It has a
fine wooden roof, the cornice under which is in different parts curiously
carved in relief. This church is said to have been erected A. D. 1507. But
one of the most perfect specimens of a late date, on a smaller scale, is
the church of Whiston, Northamptonshire, built A. D. 1534, by Anthony
Catesby, esquire, lord of the manor, Isabel his wife, and John their son:
it consists of a tower encircled with rows of quatrefoils and other
decorative embellishment, and finished with crocketed pinnacles at the
angles; a nave divided from the north and south aisles by arches within
rectangular compartments, the spandrels of which are filled with sunk
quatrefoils and foliated panels; these arches spring from piers disposed
lozengewise with semicylindrical shafts at the angles; there are no
clerestory windows, and the windows of the aisles and chancel have
obtusely-pointed four-centred arches. The wooden roof is a good example of
the kind.

Q. What district is noted for the number of rich churches in this style?

[Illustration: St. Stephen's Church, Bristol.]

A. Somersetshire contains a number of fine churches, erected apparently
towards the close of the fifteenth or very early in the sixteenth
century; and many of these churches have much of carved woodwork in
screens, rood-lofts, pulpits, and in pewing. The towers are, in
particular, remarkable for their general style of design, and are often
divided into stages by bands of quatrefoils; the sides are more or less
ornamented with projecting canopied niches for statuary, and in many of
these niches the statues have been preserved from the iconoclastic zeal
which has elsewhere prevailed. The belfry windows are partly pierced,
sometimes in quatrefoils, and partly filled with sunk panel-work. The
parapets, whether embattled or straight-sided, are pierced with open work;
and at each angle of the tower, at which buttresses are disposed
rectangular-wise, is finished with a crocketed pinnacle, which is also
often to be met with rising from the middle of the parapet. Towers similar
in general design to those which may be said to prevail in Somersetshire
are not unfrequently met with in other counties, but do not exhibit that
provincialism which is the case in that particular county.

[Illustration: King Henry VII.'s Chapel, Westminster Abbey.]


[121-*] Mr. Rickman, from whom this appellation is derived, has been since
generally followed in his nomenclature.

[137-*] In Compton Church, Surrey, is, or until recently was, the remains
of a wooden screen of late Norman character. Between the chancel and nave
of Stanton Harcourt Church, Oxfordshire, is an early wooden screen in the
style of the thirteenth century: the lower division is of plain
panel-work, whilst the upper division consists of a series of open-pointed
arches, trefoiled in the heads, and supported by slender cylindrical
shafts with moulded bases and capitals, and an annulated moulding
encircles each shaft midway up. In Northfleet Church, Kent, is a wooden
screen which approximates in general design that at Stanton Harcourt, but
is in a more advanced stage of art, being of the Early Decorated style:
the lower portion of this is of plain panelling, while the open work
forming the upper division above consists of a series of pointed arches,
with tracery and foliations in and between the heads, supported by slender
cylindrical shafts banded round midway with moulded bases and capitals,
and these arches support a horizontal cornice. Specimens of decorated
screen-work, some much mutilated, others in a more perfect state, are
existing in the churches of King's Sutton, Northamptonshire; Croperdy,
Oxfordshire; Beaudesert, Warwickshire; and in St. John's Church,
Winchester. A characteristic distinction between screen-work of an earlier
date than the fifteenth century and screen-work of that period will be
found to consist in the slender cylindrical shafts, often annulated,
sometimes not, with moulded bases and capitals which pertain to early work
of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and the mullion-like and
angular-edged bars, often faced with small buttresses, which form the
principal vertical divisions in screen-work of the fifteenth century.

[140-*] This stately monument of private munificence was erected at the
sole charges of two brothers, Adam and William Botnor: it was twenty-one
years in building, and cost each year 100_l._

[140-+] Though not an ecclesiastical structure, it is here noticed as an
example of the style in an early stage.

[Illustration: Window, Duffield Church, Derbyshire.]



Q. When did this style commence, and how long did it prevail or continue?

A. It may be said to have commenced about the year 1540, and to have
continued to about the middle of the seventeenth century; but it is
difficult to assign a precise date either for its introduction or

Q. Why is this style called the DEBASED?

A. From the general inferiority of design compared with the style it
succeeded, from the meagre and clumsy execution of sculptured and other
ornamental work, from the intermixture of detail founded on an entirely
different school of art, and the consequent subversion of the purity of

Q. What may be considered as one great cause of this falling off?

A. The devastation of the monasteries, religious houses, and chantries,
which followed their suppression, discouraged the study of ecclesiastical
architecture, (which had been much followed by the members of the
conventual foundations, who were now dispersed, in their seclusion,) and
gave a fatal blow to that spirit of erecting and enriching churches which
this country had for many ages possessed.

Q. How could this be the cause?

A. The expenses of erecting many of our ecclesiastical structures, or
different portions of them, from time to time, in the most costly and
beautiful manner, according to the style of the age in which such were
built, were defrayed, some out of the immense revenues of the monasteries,
which at their suppression were granted away by the crown, and others by
the private munificence of individuals who frequently built an aisle, with
a chantry chapel at the east end, partly inclosed by screen-work, or
annexed to a church, a transept, or an additional chapel, endowed as a
chantry, in order that remembrance might be specially and continually made
of them in the offices of the church, according to the then prevailing
usage; which chantries having been abolished, one motive for
church-building was gone.

Q. What concurrent causes may also be assigned for this change?

A. The almost imperceptible introduction and advance, about this period,
of a fantastic mode of architectural design and decoration, which is very
apparent in the costly though in many respects inelegant monuments of this
age, and in which details of ancient classic architecture were
incorporated with others of fanciful design peculiar to the latter part of
the sixteenth and early part of the seventeenth centuries.

Q. What are the characteristics of this style?

A. A general heaviness and inelegance of detail, doorways with
pointed-arched heads exceedingly depressed in form, and also plain
round-headed doorways, with key stones after the Roman or Italian
semi-classic style now beginning to prevail; square-headed windows with
plain vertical mullions, and the heads of the lights either round or
obtusely arched, and generally without foliations; pointed windows
clumsily formed, with plain mullion bars simply intersecting each other in
the head, or filled with tracery miserably designed, and an almost total
absence of ornamental mouldings. Indications of this style may be found in
many country churches which have been repaired or partly rebuilt since the
Reformation. In the interior of churches specimens of the wood-work of
this style are very common, and may be perceived by the shallow and flat
carved panelling, with round arches, arabesques, scroll-work, and other
nondescript ornament peculiar to the age, with which the pews,
reading-desks, and pulpits are often adorned. The screens of this period
are constructed in a semi-classic style of design, with features and
details of English growth, and are often surmounted with scroll-work,
shields, and other accessories. Of this description of work the screen in
the south aisle of Yarnton Church, Oxfordshire, constructed A. D. 1611, may
be instanced as a curious specimen.

[Illustration: Arabesque.]

Q. What peculiarity may be noted in the alterations and additions of this

A. A very common practice prevailed, from about the middle of the
sixteenth century, when any alteration or addition was made in or to a
church, of affixing a stone in the masonry, with the date of such in
figures. Thus over the east window of Hillmorton Church, Warwickshire,
(which is a pointed window of four lights, formed by three plain mullions
curving and intersecting each other in the head, which is filled with
nearly lozenge-shaped lights, but all without foliations,) is a stone
bearing the date of 1640. In the south wall of the tower of the same
church (which is low, heavy, and clumsily built, without any pretension to
architectural design) is a stone to denote the period of its erection,
which bears the date of 1655. Pulpits, communion-tables, church chests,
poor-boxes, and pewing of the latter part of the sixteenth and of the
seventeenth century, also very frequently exhibit, in figures carved on
them, the precise periods of their construction.

Q. What specimens are there of this style of late or debased and mixed

A. Annexed to Sunningwell Church, Berkshire, is a singular porch or
building, sexagonal in form, at the angles of which are projecting columns
of the Ionic order supporting an entablature. On each side of this
building, except that by which it communicates with the church, and that
in which the doorway is contained, is a plain window of the Debased Gothic
style, of one light, with a square head and hood moulding over. The
doorway is nondescript, neither Roman or Gothic. This building is supposed
to have been erected by Bishop Jewell. The chapel of St. Peter's College,
Cambridge, finished in 1632, exhibits in the east wall a large pointed
window, clumsily designed, in the Debased style, and divided by mullions
into five principal lights, round-headed, but trefoiled within; three
series of smaller lights, rising one above the other, all of which are
round-headed and trefoiled, fill the head of the window, the composition
of which, though comparatively rude, is illustrative of the taste of the
age. On each side of the window, on the exterior, is a kind of
semi-classic niche. In Stowe Church, Northamptonshire, are a number of
windows inserted at a general reparation of the church in 1639; these are
square-headed, and have a label or hood moulding over, and are mostly
divided into three obtusely pointed-arched lights, without foliations.
Under the windows of the south aisle is a string-course, more of a
semi-classic contour than Gothic. On the south side is a plain
round-headed doorway, inserted at the same period. The tower and south
aisle of Yarnton Church, Oxfordshire, erected by Sir Thomas Spencer, A. D.
1611, have the same kind of square-headed window, with arched lights
without foliations, as those of Stow. Stanton-Harold Church,
Leicestershire, erected A. D. 1653, is perhaps the latest complete specimen
of the Debased Gothic style. Towards the end of this century Gothic
mouldings appear not to have been understood, as in the attempt to
reconstruct portions of churches in that style we find mouldings of
classic art to prevail. Such is the case with respect to the tower of
Eynesbury Church, St. Neot's, Huntingdonshire, rebuilt in a kind of
Debased Gothic and mixed Roman style, in 1687. Other instances of the
kind might also be enumerated. At the commencement of the eighteenth
century the Roman or Italian mode appears to have prevailed generally in
the churches then erected, without any admixture even of the Debased
Gothic style.

[Illustration: Window, Ladbrook Church, Warwickshire.]

[Illustration: Stoup, South Door, Oakham Church, Rutlandshire.]



The churches of this country were anciently so constructed as to display,
in their internal arrangement, certain appendages designed with
architectonic skill, and adapted purposely for the celebration of mass and
other religious offices.

At the Reformation, when the ritual was changed and many of the
formularies of the church of Rome were discarded, some of such appendages
were destroyed; whilst others, though suffered to exist, more or less in a
mutilated condition, were no longer appropriated to the particular uses
for which they had been originally designed.

On entering a church through the porch on the north or south side, or at
the west end, we sometimes perceive on the right hand side of the door, at
a convenient height from the ground, often beneath a niche, and partly
projecting from the wall, a stone basin: this was the _stoup_, or
receptacle for holy water, called also the _aspersorium_, into which each
individual dipped his finger and crossed himself when passing the
threshold of the sacred edifice. The custom of aspersion at the church
door appears to have been derived from an ancient usage of the heathens,
amongst whom, according to Sozomen[154-*], the priest was accustomed to
sprinkle such as entered into a temple with moist branches of olive. The
stoup is sometimes found inside the church, close by the door; but the
stone appendage appears to have been by no means general, and probably in
most cases a movable vessel of metal was provided for the purpose; and in
an inventory of ancient church goods at St. Dunstan's, Canterbury, taken
A. D. 1500, we find mentioned "a stope off lede for the holy wat^r atte the
church dore." We do not often find the stoup of so ancient a date as the
twelfth century; one much mutilated, but apparently of that era, may
however be met with inside the little Norman church of Beaudesert,
Warwickshire, near to the south door.

The porch was often of a considerable size, and had frequently a groined
ceiling, with an apartment above; it was anciently used for a variety of
religious rites, for before the Reformation considerable portions of the
marriage and baptismal services, and also much of that relating to the
churching of women, were here performed, being commenced "ante ostium
ecclesiae," and concluded in the church; and these are set forth in the
rubric of the Manual or service-book, according to the use of Sarum,
containing those and other occasional offices.

Having entered the church, the font is generally discovered towards the
west end of the nave, or north or south aisle, and near the principal
door; such, at least, was in most cases its original and appropriate
position: this was for the convenience of the sacramental rite there
administered; part of the baptismal service (that of making the infant a
catechumen) having been performed in the porch or outside the door[156-*],
he was introduced by the priest into the church, with the invitation,
_Ingredere in templum Dei, ut habeas vitam aeternam et vivas in saecula
saeculorum_; and after certain other rites and prayers the infant was
carried to the font and immersed therein thrice by the priest, in the
names of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity. By an ancient
ecclesiastical constitution a font of stone or other durable material,
with a fitting cover, was required to be placed in every church in which
baptism could be administered[156-+]; and it was, as Lyndwood informs us,
to be capacious enough for total immersion. Some ancient fonts are of
lead, as that in Dorchester Church, Oxfordshire, and that in Childrey
Church, Berkshire; both of these are cylindrical in shape, and of the
Norman era, encircled with figures in relief; those on the font at
Dorchester representing the twelve apostles, whilst those on that of
Childrey are of bishops. Leaden fonts are also to be met with in the
churches of Brookland, Kent; Wareham, Dorsetshire; and Walmsford,
Northamptonshire. Square and cylindrical or truncated cone-like shaped
fonts, of Norman design, supported on a basement by one or more shafts,
and either plain or sculptured, are numerous; we sometimes find on them
figures of the twelve apostles, sculptured in low relief; the baptism of
our Saviour also was no uncommon representation. Fonts subsequent to the
Norman era are not so frequently covered with sculptured figures, though
such sometimes occur; they are sexagonal, septagonal, or octagonal in
shape; and the different styles are easily ascertained by the
architectural decorations, mouldings, tracery, and panel-work, with which
they are more or less covered. On the sides of rich fonts of the fifteenth
century representations of the seven sacraments were not unfrequently
sculptured, as on that in Farningham Church, Kent. The covers to some rich
fonts, especially to some of those of the fifteenth century, were very
splendid, in shape somewhat resembling that of a spire, but the sides
were covered with tabernacle-work, and decorated at the angles with small
buttresses and crockets. Fonts with rich covers of this description are to
be found in the churches of Ewelme, Oxfordshire; of North Walsham and of
Worstead, Norfolk; and of Sudbury and of Ufford, Suffolk.[158-*]

The general situation of the tower or campanile is at the west end of the
nave; it is sometimes, however, found in a different position, as at the
west end of a side aisle, which is the case with respect to the churches
of Monkskirby and Withybrooke, Warwickshire; or on one side of the church,
as at Eynesbury Church, Huntingdonshire, and Alderbury Church, Salop; and
the tower of the latter church is covered with what is called the
saddle-back roof, having two gables--a peculiarity to be found in some few
other churches. In cross churches the tower was generally, though not
always, erected at the intersection of the transept, and between the nave
and chancel. In the towers the church bells were hung, with the exception
of one; without these no church was accounted complete; they were
anciently consecrated with great ceremony, named and inscribed in honour
of some saint, and the sound issuing from them was supposed to be of
efficacy in averting the influence of evil spirits. Bells appear to have
been introduced into this country in the latter part of the seventh
century, but comparatively few bells are now remaining in our churches of
an earlier date than the seventeenth century, since the commencement of
which century most of our present church bells have been cast. Towers were
also occasionally used, up to the fourteenth century, as parochial
fortresses, to which in time of sudden and unforeseen danger the
inhabitants of the parish resorted for awhile. The tower of Rugby Church,
Warwickshire, a very singular structure built in the reign of Henry the
Third, appears to have been erected for this purpose; it is of a square
form, very lofty, and plain in construction, and is without a single
buttress to support it; the lower windows are very narrow, and at a
considerable distance from the ground; some of them are, in fact, mere
loop-holes; the belfry windows are _square-headed_, of two lights, simply
trefoiled in the head, and divided by a plain mullion; the only entrance
was through the church; it has also a fire-place, the funnel for the
conveyance of smoke being carried up through the thickness of the wall to
a perforated battlement, and it altogether seems well calculated to resist
a sudden attack. Other church towers of early date appear to have been
erected for a double purpose: that of a campanile, as well as to afford
temporary security. The towers of Newton Arlosh Church, of the Church of
Burgh on the Sands, and of Great Salkeld Church, Cumberland, appear to
have been constructed with a view to afford protection to the inhabitants
of those villages upon any sudden invasion from the borders of Scotland,
and for that purpose were strongly fortified[160-*]. Some church towers,
especially in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, are round and batter,
or gradually decrease in diameter as they rise upwards; most of these are
of the Norman, though some are in the Early English, style; that at Little
Saxham Church, Suffolk, may be adduced as a specimen. Spires in some
instances appear to have served as landmarks, to guide travellers through
woody districts and over barren downs. The spire of Astley Church,
Warwickshire, now destroyed, was so conspicuous an object at a distance,
that it was denominated the lantern of Arden. The spires of the churches
of Monkskirby and Clifton, in the same county, now also destroyed, were
formerly noticed as eminent landmarks.

[Illustration: Little Saxham Church Tower, Suffolk.]

[Illustration: Open Seat, Culworth Church, Northamptonshire.]

Anciently the body of the church appears to have contained no other fixed
seats for the congregation than a solid mass of masonry raised against the
wall, and forming a long stone bench or seat. A bench of this description
runs along great part of the north, west, and south sides of the Norman
church of Parranforth, Cornwall. In the Norman conventual church of Romsey
plain stone benches of this description occur; they are likewise to be met
with in Salisbury and other cathedrals; also in some of our ancient
parish churches, as in the south aisle of Kidlington Church, Oxfordshire.
Seats for the use of the congregation are noticed in the synod of Exeter,
held A. D. 1287. Open wooden benches or pew-work are rarely, if at all, met
with of an earlier era than the fifteenth century, when the practice of
pewing the body of the church with open wooden seats, if not then
introduced, began to prevail. In 1458 we meet with a testamentary bequest
of money "to make seats called puying," and several of our churches still
retain considerable remains of the ancient open seats of the fifteenth
century. At Finedon, in Northamptonshire, the body of the church and
aisles are almost entirely filled with low open seats, with carved tracery
at the ends, disposed in four distinct rows; so that the whole of the
congregation might sit facing the east. Similar seats occur in Culworth
Church, in the same county, and these are likewise of the fifteenth
century. The pulpit was anciently disposed towards the eastern part of the
body of the church, but not in the centre of the aisle. Pulpits are now
rarely to be found of an earlier date than the fifteenth century, when
they appear to have been introduced into many churches, though not to have
become a general appendage. Ancient pulpits of that era, whether of wood
or stone, are covered with panel-work tracery and mouldings; and some
exhibit signs of having been once elaborately painted and gilt. Mention,
however, is made of pulpits at a much earlier period; for in the year 1187
one was set up in the abbey church, Bury St. Edmund's, from which, we are
told, the abbot was accustomed to preach to the people in the vulgar
tongue and provincial dialect[164-*]. The most ancient pulpit, perhaps,
existing in this country, is that in the refectory of the abbey (now in
ruins) of Beaulieu, Hampshire: it is of stone, and partly projects from
the wall, and is ornamented with mouldings, sculptured foliage, and a
series of blank trefoiled pointed arches, in the style of the thirteenth
century. The church of the Holy Trinity, at Coventry, contains a fine
specimen of a stone pulpit of the fifteenth century. In Rowington Church,
in the county of Warwick, is a stone pulpit of the same age as that at
Coventry, but much plainer in design. At Long Sutton Church,
Somersetshire, is a splendid wooden pulpit of the fifteenth century,
painted and gilt; and the sides are covered with ogee-headed niches, with
angular-shaped buttresses between; but the pulpits of this era may be
distinguished without difficulty by the peculiar architectural designs
they exhibit.

We now approach the division between the nave or body of the church and
the chancel or choir: this was formed by a beautiful and highly decorated
screen, sometimes of stone, but generally of wood, panel and open-work
tracery, painted and gilt: above this was a cross-beam, which formed a
main support to the rood-loft, a gallery in which the crucifix or rood and
the accompanying images of the blessed Virgin and St. John were placed so
as to be seen by the parishioners in the body of the church, and also in
accordance with the traditional belief that the position of our Saviour
whilst suspended on the cross was facing the west. The passage to the
rood-loft was generally up a flight of stone steps in the north or south
wall of the nave; but as the rood-loft frequently extended across the
aisles, we sometimes meet with a small turret annexed to the east end of
one of the aisles for the approach. Though the introduction of the
lattice-work division between the chancel and nave may be traced in the
eastern church to the fourth century, we possess in our own churches few
remains of screen-work of earlier date than the fifteenth century; and it
appears probable that wooden screen-work before that period was not
common, and that in most instances a curtain or veil was used for the
purpose of division. The rood-loft generally projected in front, so as to
form a kind of groined cove, the ribs of which sprang or diverged from the
principal uprights of the screen beneath. In Long Sutton Church,
Somersetshire, is a splendid wooden rood-loft, elaborately carved,
painted, and gilt, which extends across the whole breadth of the church,
and is approached by means of a staircase turret on the south side of the
church. In the churches of Great Handborough, Enstone, Great Rollwright,
and Hook Norton, Oxfordshire, are considerable remains of the ancient
rood-loft, and numerous other instances where it is still retained could
be adduced. Sometimes this gallery was so small as to admit of the rood
and two attendant images only, and had no apparent access to it, as that
in Wormleighton Church, Warwickshire. Hardly a rood-loft is, however,
remaining of earlier date than the fifteenth century; prior to that
period, and in many instances even during it, the crucifix or rood and its
attendant images appear to have been affixed to a transverse beam
extending horizontally across the chancel arch; this was sometimes richly
carved, and a beam of this description still exists in the chancel of
Little Malvern Church, Worcestershire. An earlier date than the eleventh
century can hardly be assigned for the introduction of the rood, with the
figures of St. Mary and St. John, into our churches, though in illuminated
manuscripts somewhat before that period we find such figures pourtrayed
with the crucifix[167-*]. In the abbey church, Bury St. Edmund's, the rood
and the figures of St. Mary and St. John, which were placed over the high
altar, were (as we are informed by Joceline, who wrote his Chronicle in
the twelfth century) the gift of Archbishop Stigand[167-+]. Gervase, in
describing the work of Lanfranc in Canterbury Cathedral, as it appeared
before the fire, A. D. 1174, notices the rood-beam, which sustained a
large crucifix and the images of St. Mary and St. John, as extended across
the church between the nave and central tower[168-*].

[Illustration: Rood, Sherborne Church, Dorsetshire.]

All the carved wooden roods appear to have been destroyed at the
Reformation in compliance with the injunctions issued for that purpose.
We occasionally meet, however, with bas relief sculptures of our Saviour
extended on the cross, with a figure on each side representing the Virgin
and St. John, but in a mutilated condition. On the outside of the west
wall of the south transept of Romsey Church, Hants, and close to the
entrance from the cloisters into the church, is a large stone rood or
crucifix sculptured in relief, with a hand above emerging from a
cloud[169-*]: this is apparently of the twelfth century. Small sculptured
representations of the rood, with the figures of St. Mary and St. John,
still exist on one of the buttresses near the west door of Sherborne
Church, Dorsetshire; over a south doorway of Burford Church, Oxfordshire;
and in the wall of the tower of the church of St. Lawrence, Evesham.

[Illustration: Sanctus Bell, Long Compton Church, Warwickshire.]

Outside the roof of some churches, on the apex of the eastern gable of the
nave, is a small open arch or turret, in which formerly a single bell was
suspended: this was the _sanctus_ or _sacringe_ bell, thus placed that,
being near the altar, it might be the more readily rung, when, in
concluding the ordinary of the mass, the priest pronounced the
_Ter-sanctus_, to draw attention to that more solemn office, the canon of
the mass, which he was now about to commence; it was also rung at a
subsequent part of the service, on the elevation and adoration of the host
and chalice, after consecration[171-*]; but though the arch remains on
the gable of the nave of many churches, the bell thus suspended is
retained in few; amongst which may be mentioned those of Long Compton,
Whichford, and Brailes, in Warwickshire, where this bell is still
preserved hung in an arch at the apex of the nave, with the rope hanging
down between the chancel and nave[171-+]. Mention of this bell is thus
made in the Survey of the Priory of Sandwell, in the county of Stafford,
taken at the time of the Reformation: "Itm the belframe standyng betw: the
chauncell and the church, w^t. a litle _sanct_^m bell in the same."
Generally, however, a small hand-bell was carried and rung at the proper
times in the service, by the acolyte; and in inventories of ancient church
furniture we find it often noticed as "_a sacringe bell_;" but in an
inventory of goods belonging to the chapel of Thorp, Northamptonshire, it
is described as "a litle _sanctus bell_." A small sacringe bell, of
bell-metal, with the exception of the clapper, which was of iron, was in
1819 discovered on the removal of some rubbish from the ruins of St.
Margaret's Priory, Barnstable; and within the last few years a small
sanctus bell was found on the site of a religious house at Warwick[172-*].

[Illustration: Ancient Sanctus Bell, found at Warwick.]

Passing under the rood-loft, we enter the chancel: this was so called from
the screen or lattice-work (cancelli) of stone or wood by which it was
separated from the nave, and which succeeded the curtain or veil which
anciently formed this division of the church[173-*].

[Illustration: Stalls and Desk, St. Margaret's Church, Leicester.]

We often perceive in the choirs of conventual churches, as in our
cathedrals, on either side of the entrance, facing the east, and also on
the north and south sides, a range of wooden stalls divided into single
seats, peculiarly constructed, the _formulae_ or forms of which were
movable, and carved on the _subselliae_ or under-sides with grotesque,
satirical, and often irreverend devices: these were appropriated to the
monks or canons of the monastery or college to which the church was
attached. The form of each stall, when turned up so as to exhibit the
carved work on the under-part, furnished a small kind of seat or ledge,
constructed for the purpose of inclining against rather than sitting on;
and this was called the _misericorde_ or _miserere_. The _formulae_ or
forms when down, and the misericordes when the forms were turned up, were
used as the season required for penitential inclinations[174-*]. In front
of these stalls was a desk, ornamented on the exterior with panelled
tracery; and over the stalls, especially of those of cathedral churches,
canopies of tabernacle work richly carved were sometimes disposed. In
Winchester Cathedral we have perhaps the most early, chaste, and beautiful
example of the canons' stalls, with canopies over, that are to be met
with, although a greater excess of minute carved ornament may be found in
the canopies which overhang the stalls in other cathedrals. In old
conventual churches, now no longer used as such, the stalls have been
often removed from their original position to other parts of the church,
and they appear to have varied in number according to that of the

[Illustration: Misericorde, All Souls' College, Oxford.]

[Illustration: Brass Reading Desk, Merton College Chapel, Oxford.]

In the choirs of cathedral and conventual churches, and in the chancels of
some other churches, a movable desk, at which the epistle and gospel were
read, was placed: this was often called the eagle desk, from its being
frequently sustained on a brazen eagle with expanded wings, elevated on a
stand, emblematic of St. John the evangelist. Eagle desks are generally
found either of the fifteenth or seventeenth century; notices of them
occur, however, much earlier. In the Louterell Psalter, written circa A. D.
1300, an eagle desk supported on a cylindrical shaft, banded midway down
by an annulated moulding in the style of the thirteenth century, is
represented; and in an account of ornaments belonging to Salisbury
Cathedral, A. D. 1214, we find mentioned _Tuellia una ad Lectricum Aquilae_.
Besides the brass eagle desks which still remain in use in several of our
cathedrals, and in the chapels of some of the colleges at Oxford and
Cambridge, fine specimens are preserved in Redcliffe Church, Bristol, of
the date 1638; in Croydon Church, Surrey; and in the church of the Holy
Trinity at Coventry; other instances might also be enumerated. Sometimes
we meet with ancient brass reading-desks which have not the eagle in
front, but both the sides are sloped so as to form a double desk: of
these, examples of the fifteenth century may be found in Yeovil Church,
Somersetshire, and in the chapel of Merton College, Oxford. Ancient wooden
reading-desks, either single or double, are also occasionally found; some
of these are richly carved, others are comparatively plain, but all
partake more or less of the architectonic style of the age in which they
were severally constructed, and from which their probable dates may be
ascertained. In Bury Church, Huntingdonshire, is a wooden desk with a
single slope, and the vertical face presented in front is covered with
arches and other carved ornaments: this perhaps may be referable to the
latter part of the fourteenth century. A rich double desk, of somewhat
later date, with the shaft supported by buttresses of open-work tracery,
is preserved in Ramsey Church, Huntingdonshire. In Aldbury Church,
Hertfordshire, is an ancient double lecturn or reading desk, of wood, of
the fifteenth century, much plainer in design than those at Bury and
Ramsey; the shaft is angular, with small buttresses at the angles, and
with a plain angular-shaped moulded capital and base, which latter is set
on a cross-tree. In Hawstead Church, Suffolk, is a wooden desk with little
ornament, supported on an angular shaft with an embattled capital, and
moulded base with leaves carved in relief: this is apparently of the
latter part of the fourteenth century. The ancient wooden desks found in
some of our churches must not, however, be confounded with a more numerous
class constructed and used subsequent to the Reformation.

Proceeding up the chancel or choir, we ascend by three steps to the
platform, on which the high altar anciently stood: this was so called to
distinguish it from other altars, of which there were often several, in
the same church; high mass was celebrated at it, whereas the other altars
were chiefly used for the performance of low or private masses. The most
ancient altars were of wood, afterwards they were constructed of stone;
those of the primitive British churches are spoken of by St. Chrysostom.
By a decree of the council of Paris, held A. D. 509, no altar was to be
built but of stone. Amongst the excerptions of Ecgbert, archbishop of York
A. D. 750, was one that no altars should be consecrated with chrism but
such as were made of stone; and by the council of Winchester, held under
Lanfranc A. D. 1076, altars were enjoined to be of stone. The customary
form of such was a mass of stone supporting an altar table or slab, and
resembling the tombs of the martyrs, at which the primitive Christians
held their meetings; from which circumstance it became customary to
enclose in every altar relics of some saint, and without such relics an
altar was esteemed incomplete.

[Illustration: Ancient Pix, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.]

Pertaining to the high altar, which was covered with a frontal and cloths,
and anciently enclosed at the sides with curtains suspended on rods of
iron projecting from the wall, was a crucifix, which succeeded to the
simple cross placed on the altars of the Anglo-Saxon churches; a
pair[180-*] of candlesticks, generally with spikes instead of sockets, on
which lights or tapers were fixed; a pix, in which the host was kept
reserved for the sick; a pair of cruets, of metal, in which were contained
the wine and water preparatory to their admixture in the eucharistic cup;
a sacring bell; a pax table, of silver or other metal, for the kiss of
peace, which took place shortly before the host was received in communion;
a stoup or stok, of metal, with a sprinkle for holy water; a censer or
thurible[181-*], and a ship, (a vessel so called,) to hold frankincense; a
chrismatory[181-+], an offering basin, a basin which was used when the
priest washed his hands, and a chalice and paten. Costly specimens of the
ancient pix, containing small patens for the reception of the host, are
preserved amongst the plate belonging to New College and Corpus Christi
College, Oxford. A pix of a much plainer description, but without its
cover, of the metal called latten, was until recently preserved in the
church of Enstone, Oxfordshire: the body of this was of a semi-globular
form, supported on an angular stem, with a knob in the midst, and in
appearance not unlike a chalice. The monstrance, in which the host was
exhibited to the people, and which has been sometimes confounded with the
pix[182-*], does not appear to have been introduced into our churches
before the fifteenth century; on the suppression of the monasteries and
chantries we find it noticed in the inventories then taken of church
furniture, as in that of the Priory of Ely, where it is called "a stonding
monstral for the sacrament;" and in that of St. Augustine's Monastery,
Canterbury, where it is described as "one monstrance, silver gilt, with
four glasses."

[Illustration: Sedilia, Crick Church, Northamptonshire.]

Near the high altar we frequently find, in the south wall of the chancel,
a series of stone seats, sometimes without but generally beneath plain or
enriched arched canopies, often supported by slender piers which serve to
divide the seats. In most instances these seats are three in number, but
they vary from one to five, and are the _sedilia_ or seats formerly
appropriated during high mass to the use of the officiating priest and his
attendant ministers, the deacon and sub-deacon, who retired thither
during the chanting of the _Gloria in excelsis_, and some other parts of
the service[183-*]. The sedilia sometimes preserve the same level, but
generally they graduate or rise one above another, and that nearest the
altar, being the highest, was occupied by the priest; the other two by the
deacon and sub-deacon in succession[183-+]. We do not often meet with
sedilia of so early an era as the twelfth century; there are, however,
instances of such, as in the church of St. Mary, at Leicester, where is a
fine Norman triple sedile, divided into graduating seats by double
cylindrical piers with sculptured capitals, and the recessed arches they
support are enriched on the face with a profusion of the zigzag moulding.
In the south wall of the choir of Broadwater Church, Sussex, is a stone
bench beneath a large semicircular Norman arch, the face of which is
enriched with the chevron or zigzag moulding. In Avington Church,
Berkshire, is a stone beneath a plain segmental arch. Norman sedilia also
occur in the churches of Earls Barton, Northamptonshire, and of
Wellingore, Lincolnshire. From the commencement of the thirteenth century
up to the Reformation sedilia became a common appendage to a church, and
the styles are easily distinguished by their peculiar architectonic
features. Some are without canopies, and are excessively plain. On the
south side of the chancel of Minster Lovel Church, Oxfordshire, is a
stone bench without a canopy or division, and plain stone benches thus
disposed are found in the chancel of Bloxham Church, Oxfordshire, and of
Rowington Church, Warwickshire. In Sedgeberrow Church, Gloucestershire,
are two sedilia without canopies; and in Standlake Church, Oxfordshire,
the sedilia, three in number, are without canopies or ornament. In
Spratten Church, Northamptonshire, is a stone bench for three persons
under a plain recessed pointed arch. In Priors Hardwick Church,
Warwickshire, is a sedile for the priest, and below that one double the
size for the deacon and sub-deacon; both are under recessed arched
canopies. Quadruple sedilia occur in the churches of Turvey and Luton,
Bedfordshire; in the Mayor's Chapel, Bristol; in Gloucester Cathedral; in
the church of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire; and in Rothwell Church,
Northamptonshire: these are beneath canopies, and most of them are highly
enriched. Quintuple sedilia sometimes occur, but are very rare; in the
conventual church of Southwell, Nottinghamshire, are, however, five
sedilia beneath ogee-headed canopies richly ornamented. A single sedile
for one person only is occasionally met with, but not often.

[Illustration: Double Piscina, Salisbury Cathedral.]

Eastward of the sedilia, in the same wall, is a _fenestella_ or niche,
sometimes plain, but often enriched with a crocketed ogee or pedimental
hood moulding in front, over the arch, which is trefoiled or cinquefoiled
in the head. This niche contains a hollow perforated basin or stone drain,
called the _piscina_ or _lavacrum_[186-*], into which it appears that
after the priest had washed his hands, which he was accustomed to do
before the consecration of the elements and again after the communion,
the water was poured, as also that with which the chalice was rinsed. The
usage of washing the hands before the communion is one of very high
antiquity, and is expressly noticed in the Clementine Liturgy, and by St.
Cyril in his mystical Catechesis[187-*]; we do not, however, find the
piscina in our churches of an era earlier than the twelfth century, and
even then it was of uncommon occurrence; but in the thirteenth century the
general introduction is observable. In Romsey Church, Hampshire, is the
shaft and basin (the latter cushion-shaped) of a curious Norman piscina:
this is now lying loose, in a dilapidated state. In the south apsis of the
same church is another Norman piscina, consisting of a quadrangular-shaped
basin projecting from the south wall; and on the south side of the chancel
of Avington Church, Berkshire, is a plain Norman piscina within a simple
semicircular arched recess. The churches of Kilpeck, Herefordshire,
Keelby, Lincolnshire, and Bapchild, Kent, also contain Norman piscinae.
Those of all the various styles of later date are common; they exhibit,
however, an interesting variety in design and ornamental detail. The drain
of the piscina communicated with a perforated stone shaft, commonly
enclosed in the wall, through which the water was lost in the earth; as in
the case of the piscina with its shaft taken out of the south wall of the
chancel of the now destroyed church of Newnham Regis, Warwickshire.
Sometimes a piscina was a subsequent addition to a structure of early
date, as in the old and now demolished church of Stretton-upon-Dunsmore,
Warwickshire, in the south wall of the Norman chancel of which a piscina
of the latter part of the thirteenth century had been inserted.

[Illustration: Piscina, Newnham Regis, Warwickshire.]

The piscina is very common in churches even where the sedilia or stone
seats are wanting, and not only in the chancel, but also in the south
walls at the east end of the north and south aisles, and in mortuary
chapels, as will be presently noticed; it appears, in short, to have been
an indispensable appendage to an altar.

Sometimes the piscina is double, and contains two basins with drains, the
one for receiving the water in which the hands had been washed, the other
for the reception of the water with which the chalice was rinsed after the
communion[189-*]. In Rothwell Church, Northamptonshire, on the south side
of the chancel, are the vestiges of a triple piscina; the fenestella has
been destroyed, but the three basins with their drains remain.

Across the _fenestella_, or niche which contains the piscina, a shelf of
stone or wood may be frequently found: this was the _credence_[190-*], or
table on which the chalice, paten, ampullae, and other things necessary for
the celebration of mass were, before consecration, placed in a state of
readiness on a clean linen cloth; and this originated from the prothesis,
or side table of preparation, used in the early church; a recurrence to
which ancient and primitive custom by some of the divines of the Anglican
church, after the Reformation, occasioned great offence to be taken by the
Puritan seceders. In some instances a side table of stone or wood was used
for this purpose; and a fine credence table of stone, the sides of which
are covered with panelled compartments, is still remaining on the south
side of the choir, St. Cross Church, near Winchester[190-+].

[Illustration: Ambrie or Locker, Chaddesden Church, Derbyshire.]

The credence table, or shelf above the piscina, must not be confounded
with the _ambrie_ or _locker_, a small square and plain recess usually
contained in the east or north wall, near the altar. In this the chalice,
paten, and other articles pertaining to the altar were kept when not in
use. The wooden doors formerly affixed to these ambries have for the most
part either fallen into decay or been removed, but traces of the hinges
may be frequently perceived; and a locker in the north wall of the chancel
of Aston Church, Northamptonshire, still retains the two-leaved wooden
door. Sometimes shelves are set across the lockers. In the east wall of
Earls Barton Church, Northamptonshire, is a large locker divided into two
unequal parts by a stone shelf inserted in it; and in the north aisle of
Salisbury Cathedral are two large triangular-headed lockers or ambries,
each which[TN-5] contains two shelves.

Within the north wall of the chancel, near the altar, a large arch, like
that of a tomb, may often be perceived; within this the _holy sepulchre_,
generally a wooden and movable structure, was set up at Easter, when
certain rites commemorative of the burial and resurrection of our Lord
were anciently performed with great solemnity; for on Good Friday the
crucifix and host were here deposited, and watched the following day and
nights; and early on Easter morning they were removed from thence with
great ceremony, and replaced on the altar by the priest. In the accounts
of churchwardens of the fifteenth and early part of the sixteenth century
we meet with frequent notices of payments made for watching the sepulchre
at Easter[192-*]. Sometimes the sepulchre was altogether of stone, and a
fixture, and enriched with architectural and sculptured detail, as in the
well-known specimen at Heckington, Lincolnshire, and the fine specimen of
tabernacle-work in Stanton Harcourt Church, Oxfordshire.

At the back of the high altar was affixed a reredos, or screen of
tabernacle-work, costly specimens of which contained small images set on
brackets under projecting canopies; an alabaster table or sculptured bas
relief, placed just over the altar, was also common. The high altar
reredos is still remaining, though in a mutilated condition, in the Abbey
Church, St. Alban's; it was erected A. D. 1480, and is perhaps the most
splendid specimen we have; and in Bristol Cathedral a portion of the high
altar reredos is also left. The chantry altar reredos is more frequently
remaining, even where the altar and alabaster table[193-*] above have been
destroyed; rarely, however, in a perfect state. In the seventeenth century
the rich tabernacle-work was sometimes plastered over, probably to
preserve it from iconoclastic violence. In many of our cathedrals, as at
Gloucester, Bristol, Wells, and Worcester, and in some of the chantries
attached to Henry the Seventh's Chapel, Westminster, specimens of the
chantry reredos screen, which appear to have abounded more or less with
sculptured and architectural detail, are to be met with; and remains of
the painting and gilding with which they were anciently covered may in
some instances be traced. In a Survey of the Priory Church, Bridlington,
taken at the suppression, we find noticed, "The Reredose at the highe
alter representyng Criste at the assumpcyon of our Lady and the XII.
appostells, w^t. dyvers other great imagys, beyng of a great heyght, ys
excellently well wrought, and as well gylted." Five small chapels are also
mentioned, "w^t. fyve alters and small tables of alleblaster and imag's."
Sometimes, however, the space behind the altar was occupied by a painted
altar-piece, on wood or panel; a curious but mutilated specimen of which,
of the latter part of the fifteenth century, is still preserved in the
conventual church, Romsey.

Over the high altar was the great east window of the church, glazed with
painted glass; other windows in the church were also thus filled. The
subjects pourtrayed on the glass were sometimes scriptural, sometimes
legendary. Single figures of saints, distinguished by their peculiar
symbols, are common; figures of crowned heads, prelates, and warriors also
frequently occur; and on some windows are depicted the arms and sometimes
even the portraits of different benefactors to the church, with scrolls
bearing inscriptions. We have, perhaps, few remains of ancient stained
glass in our churches of a period antecedent to the thirteenth century: of
this era, probably, are those curious circular designs which fill the
greater portion of the lights at the back of the sedilia in Dorchester
Church, Oxfordshire: one representing St. Augustine and St. Birinus, the
first bishop of that ancient see; another, a priest and deacon, the former
with the host, the latter bearing the ampullae. Of this period also is some
ancient stained glass in Chetwood Church, Bucks, the ground of which is
covered with a kind of mosaic pattern, a usual feature in the more ancient
stained glass, and the borders partake of a tendril foliage; whilst in
pointed oval-shaped compartments, forming the well-known symbol _vesica
piscis_, are single figures of saints and crowned heads, each clad in a
vest and mantle of two different colours. In the fourteenth century single
figures under rich canopies are common, but we begin to lose sight of the
mosaic pattern as a back-ground. The stained glass in the windows of the
choir of Merton College Chapel, Oxford, is either very early in this, or
of a late period in the preceding century, and exhibits single figures
under rich canopies: over the head of one of these, (the kneeling figure
of a monk in his cowl,) is a scroll inscribed "_Magister Henricus de
Mammesfeld me fecit_." In the windows of Tewkesbury Abbey Church are
several single figures of this period, some of knights in armour. In the
chancel of Stanford Church, Northamptonshire, are single figures of the
apostles in painted glass, each appearing within an ogee-headed canopy,
cinquefoiled within the head and crocketed externally, and the sides of
the canopy are flanked by pinnacled buttresses in stages. Specimens of
stained glass of the fifteenth century are numerous in comparison with
those of an earlier period; we find such in the east window of Langport
Church, Somersetshire, where single figures occur of St. Clemens, St.
Catherine, St. Elizabeth, and of many other saints. Some splendid remains
of painted glass of the fifteenth century are likewise preserved in the
windows of the choir of Ludlow Church, Salop, mostly in single figures;
amongst them is the representation of St. George in armour, of the reign
of Henry the Seventh; the figures of the Virgin and infant Christ may also
be noticed. Towards the close of this century kneeling figures, not
merely disposed single, but also in groups, formally arranged, may be
observed. As a composition, wherein a better display of grouping and
aerial perspective is evinced, the splendid window in St. Margaret's
Church, Westminster, of the crucifixion between the two thieves, and
numerous figures in the foreground, not grouped formally but with
artistical feeling, with the figures of St. George and St. Catherine on
each side of the principal design, and the portraits of Henry the Seventh
and his consort Elizabeth in separate compartments beneath, each kneeling
before a faldstool, may be noticed. This window, which in some of the
details exhibits an approach to the renaissance style, was presented to
Henry the Seventh by the magistrates of Dort in Holland, to adorn his
chapel at Westminster. The era of the various specimens of ancient stained
glass we meet with in our churches may generally be ascertained by the
costume and disposition of the figures, the form of the shields, the
mosaic pattern or other back-ground, and architectural designs of the

The pavement beneath the high altar was frequently composed of small
square encaustic bricks or tiles, whereon the arms of founders and
benefactors, interspersed with figures, flowers, and emblematic devices,
were impressed, painted, and glazed; other parts of the church were also
paved with these tiles.

The walls of the church were covered with fresco paintings of the day of
judgment, legendary stories, portraits of saints, and scriptural,
allegorical, and historical subjects, in the conventional styles of the
different ages in which such were executed, the costume and details being
according to the fashion then prevailing. These paintings have in most
churches been obliterated by repeated coats of whitewash, so that few
perfect specimens now remain; traces of such are, however, occasionally
brought to light in the alteration and reparation of our ancient churches.
The subject of the judgment-day was commonly represented on the west wall
of the nave, or over the chancel arch; and in the contract for the
erection of the Lady Chapel, St. Mary's Church, Warwick, A. D. 1454, is a
covenant "to paint fine and curiously, to make on the west wall the dome
of our Lord God Jesus, and all manner of devises and imagery thereto
belonging." The west front of the wall over the chancel arch, Trinity
Chapel, Stratford-upon-Avon, was some years back found to be thus covered;
but this painting, with others in the same chapel, was afterwards again
obliterated[199-*]. A curious fresco painting of the last judgment,
discovered a few years ago on the west face of the wall over the chancel
arch, Trinity Church, Coventry, has, however, been very carefully
preserved, and the coat of whitewash which tended to conceal it probably
ever since the Reformation has been judiciously removed. The legend of St.
Christopher, represented by a colossal figure with a beam-like
walking-staff, carrying the infant Christ on his shoulders through the
water, was generally painted on the north wall of the nave or body of the
church. A fresco painting of this subject, half obliterated, is still
apparent on the north wall of the nave of Burford Church, Oxfordshire; and
other instances might be adduced. The murder of Archbishop Becket was also
a very favourite subject: an early pictorial representation of the
thirteenth century, of this event, is still visible on one of the walls of
Preston Church, Sussex; it formed, likewise, one of the subjects
represented on the walls of Trinity Chapel, Stratford-upon-Avon; and a
painting of the same subject on panel, executed in the middle of the
fifteenth century, was formerly suspended over or near the tomb of Henry
the Fourth in Canterbury Cathedral[200-*]. Several vestiges of ancient
fresco wall-paintings, more or less obliterated, are still preserved in
Winchester Cathedral. The walls of our churches were even in the
Anglo-Saxon era embellished with paintings; and such are described as
decorating the walls of the church of Hexham in the seventh century. By
the synod of Calcuith, held A. D. 816, a representation of the saint to
whom a church was dedicated was required to be painted either on the wall
of the church or on a tablet suspended in the church.

[Illustration: Ancient Stone Reliquary or Shrine, Brixworth Church,

In most of the large conventual churches, and also in some of the smaller
parochial churches, shrines containing relics of the patron or other
saints were exhibited; these were either fixed and immovable, of
tabernacle-work, of stone or wood, or partly of both, or were small
movable feretories, which could be carried on festivals in procession. Of
the fixed shrines, that in Hereford Cathedral of Bishop Cantelupe, of the
date A. D. 1287, is a fine and early specimen, in very fair preservation.
In the north aisle of the abbey church, Shrewsbury, are some remains of a
stone shrine, which from the workmanship may be considered as a production
of the early part of the fifteenth century: this is much mutilated: but
the shrine of St. Frideswide, in Oxford Cathedral, the lower part of which
is composed of a stone tomb, the upper part of rich tabernacle-work of
wood, is still tolerably perfect: this is also of the fifteenth century.
Of the small movable feretories, one apparently of the workmanship of the
twelfth century, seven inches long and six high, formed of wood, enamelled
and gilt, with figures on the sides representing the crucifixion, is still
preserved in Shipley Church, Sussex; and a small stone reliquary or shrine
of the fourteenth century was discovered a few years ago, and is now
preserved in the church of Brixworth, Northamptonshire.

[Illustration: Ancient Organ.]

The organ, as a solemn musical instrument, may claim a very early origin,
and has been in use in our churches from the Anglo-Saxon era. The ancient
organs were small, and all the pipes were exposed. The phrase "_a pair of
organs_," so frequently met with in old inventories and church accounts,
may probably have answered to the great and choir organ of a subsequent
period--one instrument in two divisions. The mechanism of the old organs
was rude and simple, compared with the improvements of modern times, and
the cost was small; they were generally placed in the rood-loft.

The church chest is often an ancient and interesting object: sometimes we
find it rudely formed, or hollowed out of the solid trunk of a tree, with
a plain or barrel-shaped lid of considerable thickness. The churches of
Bradford Abbas, Dorsetshire; Long Sutton, Somersetshire; and Ensham,
Oxfordshire; contain chests thus rudely constructed. Sometimes they are
strongly banded about with iron. The fronts and sides of these chests are
not unfrequently embellished more or less richly with carved tracery,
panel-work, and other detail in the style prevalent at the period of their
construction. In Clemping Church, Sussex, is an early chest of the
thirteenth century, the front of which exhibits a series of plain pointed
arches trefoiled in the head, and other carved work. In Haconby Church,
Lincolnshire, and in Chevington Church, Suffolk, are very rich chests
covered with tracery and detail in the decorated style of the fourteenth
century. In Brailes Church, Warwickshire, is an ancient chest of the
fifteenth century covered with panel-work compartments, with plain pointed
arches foliated in the heads. Panelled chests of this century are
numerous. In Shanklin Church, Isle of Wight, is a chest bearing the date
of 1519, on which no architectural ornament is displayed, but the initials
T. S. (Thomas Selkstead) are fancifully designed, and are separated by the
lock, and a coat of arms beneath.

In the south wall of each aisle, near the east end, and also in other
parts of the church, we frequently find the same kind of fenestella or
niche containing a piscina, and sometimes a credence shelf, as that before
described as being in the chancel: this is a plain indication that an
altar has been erected in this part of the church; and this end of the
aisle was generally separated from the rest of the church by a screen, the
lower part of panel, the upper part of open-work tracery, of stone or
wood, similar to that forming the division between the chancel and nave;
and the space thus enclosed was converted into or became a private chapel
or chantry; for it was anciently the custom, especially during the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, for lords of manors and persons of
wealth and local importance to build or annex small chapels or side
aisles to their parish churches, and these were endowed by license from
the crown with land sufficient for the maintenance, either wholly or in
part, of one or more priests, who were to celebrate private masses daily
or otherwise, as the endowment expressed, at the altar erected therein,
and dedicated to some saint, for the souls of the founder, his ancestors
and posterity, for whose remains these chantry chapels frequently served
as burial-places. At this service, however, no congregation was required
to be present, but merely the priest, and an acolyte to assist him; and it
was in allusion to the low or private masses thus performed, that Bishop
Jewell, whilst condemning the practice as untenable, observes, "And even
suche be their private masses, for the most part sayde in side iles,
alone, without companye of people, onely with one boye to make answer."

The screens by which these chapels were enclosed have in numerous
instances been destroyed; still many have been preserved, and chantry
chapels parted off the church by screen-work of stone may be found in the
churches of Bradford Abbas, Dorsetshire; and Aldbury, Hertfordshire; in
which latter church is a very perfect specimen of a mortuary chapel, with
a monument and recumbent effigies in the midst of it. Chantry chapels
enclosed on two of the sides by wooden screen-work are more common.

Although no ancient high altar of stone is known to exist, some of the
ancient chantry altars have been preserved: these are composed either of a
solid mass of masonry, covered with a thick slab or table of stone, as in
the north aisle of Bengeworth Church, near Evesham, and in the south aisle
of Enstone Church, Oxfordshire; or of a thick stone slab or table, with a
cross at each angle and in the centre, supported merely on brackets or
trusses built into and projecting from the wall, as in a chantry chapel in
Warmington Church, Warwickshire; or partly on brackets and partly
sustained on shafts or slender piers, as in a chantry chapel,
Chipping-Norton Church, Oxfordshire. Sometimes a chamber containing a
fire-place was constructed over a chantry, apparently for the residence,
either occasional or permanent, of a priest: such a chamber occurs over
the chantry chapel containing the altar in Chipping-Norton Church; and
such also, with the exception of the flooring, which has decayed or been
removed, may be seen in the chantry chapel which contains the altar in
Warmington Church. In both of these chambers are windows or apertures in
the walls which divide them from the church, through which the priest was
enabled to observe unseen any thing passing within the church.

[Illustration: Chantry Altar, Warmington Church, Warwickshire]

We often find an opening or aperture obliquely disposed, carried through
the thickness of the wall at the north-east angle of the south, and the
south-east angle of the north aisle: this was the _hagioscope_, through
which at high mass the elevation of the host at the high altar, and other
ceremonies, might be viewed from the chantry chapel situate at the east
end of each aisle. In general, these apertures are mere narrow oblong
slits; sometimes, however, they partake of a more ornamental character, as
in a chantry chapel on the south side of Irthlingborough Church,
Northamptonshire, where the head of an aperture of this kind is arched,
cinquefoiled within, and finished above with an embattled moulding. In the
north and south transepts of Minster Lovel Church, Oxfordshire, are
oblique openings, arched-headed and foliated; and in the north aisle of
Chipping-Norton Church, in the same county, is a singular hagioscope,
obliquely disposed, not unlike a square-headed window of three foliated
arched lights, with a quatrefoil beneath each light.

We sometimes meet with one or more brackets, with plain mouldings or
sculptured, projecting from the east wall of a chancel aisle or chantry
chapel; and on these, lamps or lights were formerly set, and kept
continually burning in honour of the Virgin or of some other saint; and we
also meet with rich projecting canopies or recessed niches, with brackets
beneath, on which images of saints were formerly placed.

The use of the low side window, common in some districts, near the
south-west angle of the chancel, and sometimes, but not so frequently,
near the north-west angle, and occasionally even in the aisle, has not
been correctly ascertained; it has, however, been conjectured to have
served for the purpose of a confessional; and on minute examination
indications of its formerly having had a wooden shutter, which opened on
the inside, are sometimes visible; and on the south side of Kenilworth
Church, Warwickshire, is an iron-barred window of this description, on
which the wooden shutter is still retained.[209-*]

The sedilia or stone seats, so frequently found in the south wall of the
chancel, are occasionally, though not often, to be met with in the south
walls of side aisles or chantry chapels: when this is the case it is
presumed the endowment was for more priests than one.

Such, not to digress into more minute particulars, may suffice to convey
a general idea of the manner in which our churches were internally
decorated, and how they were fitted up, with reference to the ceremonial
rites of the church of Rome, in and before the year 1535. The walls were
covered with fresco paintings, the windows were glazed with stained glass;
the rood-loft and the pulpit, where the latter existed, were richly
carved, painted, and gilt; and the altars were garnished with plate and
sumptuous hangings. Altar-tombs with cumbent effigies were painted so as
to correspond in tone with the colours displayed on the walls; the
pavement of encaustic tiles, of different devices, was interspersed with
sepulchral slabs and inlaid brasses; and screen-work, niches for statuary,
mouldings, and sculpture of different degrees of excellence, abounded.
Suspended from aloft hung the funeral achievement; at a later period, even
more common, the banner, helme, crest, gauntlets, spurs, sword, targe, and
cote armour.[210-*] In addition to these were, in some churches, shrines
and reliquaries, enriched by the lavish donations of devotees, and wooden
images excessively decked out and appareled[211-*]--objects of
superstition, to which pilgrimages and offerings were made. And if in the
review of the conceptions of a prior age, viz. of the fourteenth century,
we find a higher rank of art to be evinced, and the style and combination
of architectural and sculptured detail to be more severe and pure, at no
period were our churches adorned to greater excess than on the eve of that
in which all were about to undergo spoliation, and many of them wanton

For on the suppression of the monasteries and colleges, to the number of
700 and upwards, and of the chantries, in number more than 2300, effected
between the years 1535 and 1540, the abbey churches were not only
despoiled of their costly vestments, altar plate and furniture, and
shrines enriched with silver, gold, and jewels, but many of them were
entirely dismantled, and the sites with the materials granted to
individuals by whom they were soon reduced to a state of ruin. Some were
even, either then or in after-times, converted into dwelling-houses; and
others, or some portion of such, were allowed to be preserved as parochial
churches; but the private chantry altars, though left bare and forsaken,
were not as yet ordered to be destroyed.

By the royal injunctions exhibited A. D. 1538, such feigned images as were
known to be abused of pilgrimages, or offerings of any kind made
thereunto, were, for the avoiding of idolatry, to be forthwith taken down
without delay, and no candles, tapers, or images of wax were from
thenceforth to be set before any image or picture, "but onelie the light
that commonlie goeth about the crosse of the church by the rood-loft, the
light afore the sacrament of the altar, and the light about the
sepulchre;" which, for the adorning of the church and divine service, were
for the present suffered to remain. By the same injunctions a Bible of the
largest volume, in English, was directed to be set up in some convenient
place in every church, that the parishioners might resort to the same and
read it; and a register-book was ordered to be kept, for the recording of
christenings, marriages, and burials.

But beyond the suppression of the monasteries and chantries, an act the
effect of secular rather than religious motives, little alteration was
made during the reign of Henry the Eighth in the ceremonies and services
of the church, although the minds of many were becoming prepared for the
change which afterwards ensued. And in the reign of his successor, Edward
the Sixth, a striking difference was effected in the internal appearance
of our churches; for many appendages were, not all at once, but by
degrees, and under the authority of successive injunctions, discarded.
Thus, by the king's injunctions published in 1547, all images which had
been abused with pilgrimage, or offering of any thing made thereunto,
were, for the avoiding of the detestable offence of idolatry, by
ecclesiastical authority, but not by that of private persons, to be taken
down and destroyed; and no torches or candles, tapers or images of wax,
were to be thenceforth suffered to be set before any image or picture,
"but only two lights upon the high altar before the sacrament, which, for
the signification that Christ is the very true light of the world, they
shall suffer to remain still." And as to such images which had not been
abused, and which as yet were suffered to remain, the parishioners were to
be admonished by the clergy that they served for no other purpose but to
be a remembrance. The Bible in English, and the Paraphrases of Erasmus
upon the Gospels, also in English, were ordered to be provided and set up
in every church for the use of the parishioners. It was also enjoined that
at every high mass the gospel and epistle should be read in English, and
not in Latin, in the pulpit or in some other convenient place, so that the
people might hear the same. Processions about the church and churchyard
were now ordered to be disused, and the priests and clerks were to kneel
in the midst of the church immediately before high mass, and there sing or
read the Litany in English set forth by the authority of King Henry the
Eighth. By the same injunctions all shrines, covering of shrines, all
tables, candlesticks, trindles or rolls of wax, pictures, paintings, and
all other monuments of feigned miracles, pilgrimages, idolatry, and
superstition, were directed to be utterly taken away and destroyed; so
that there should remain no memory of the same in walls, glass windows, or
elsewhere within churches; and in every church "a comely and honest
pulpit" was to be provided at the cost of the parishioners, to be set in a
convenient place for the preaching of God's word; and a strong chest,
having three keys, with a hole in the upper part thereof, was to be set
and fastened near unto the high altar, to the intent the parishioners
should put into it their oblation and alms for their poor

Hence the primary introduction of desks with divinity books, the litany
stool, and the charity box, yet retained in some of our churches. But as
much contention arose respecting the taking down of images, also as to
whether they had been idolatrously abused or not, all images without
exception were shortly afterwards, by royal authority, ordered to be
removed and taken away.

In the ritual the first formal change appears to have been the order of
the communion set forth in 1547 as a temporary measure only, until other
order should be provided for the true and right manner of administering
the sacrament according to the rule of the scriptures of God, and first
usage of the primitive church. In this the term _altar_ is alone made use
of; but in the first Liturgy of King Edward the Sixth, published in 1549,
the altar or table whereupon the Lord's Supper was ministered is
indifferently called _the altar_, _the Lord's table_, _God's board_.
Ridley, bishop of London, by his diocesan injunctions issued in 1550,
after noticing that in divers places some used the Lord's board after the
form of a table, and some as an altar, exhorted the curates,
churchwardens, and questmen to erect and set up the Lord's board after the
form of an honest table, decently covered, in such place of the quire or
chancel as should be thought most meet, so that the ministers with the
communicants might have their place separated from the rest of the people;
and to take down and abolish all other by-altars or tables. Soon after
this, orders of council were sent to the bishops, in which, after noticing
that the altars in most churches of the realm had been taken down, but
that there yet remained altars standing in divers other churches, by
occasion whereof much variance and contention arose, they were commanded,
for the avoiding of all matters of further contention and strife about the
standing or taking away of the said altars[216-*], to give substantial
order that all the altars in every church should be taken down, and
instead of them that a table should be set up in some convenient part of
the chancel, to serve for the ministration of the blessed communion; and
reasons were at the same time published why the Lord's board should rather
be after the form of a table than of an altar, expressing however in what
sense it might be called an altar. In the second Liturgy of King Edward
the Sixth, amongst other important changes both of doctrine and
discipline, the word _altar_, as denoting the communion-table, was
purposely omitted.

The peculiar formation, frequently observable, of the old
communion-tables, seems to have originated from the diversity of opinion
held by many in the Anglican church, as to whether or not there was in the
sacrament of the Lord's Supper a memorative sacrifice; for by those who
held the negative they were so constructed, not merely that they might be
moved from one part of the church to another, but the slab, board, or
table, properly so called, was purposely not fastened or fixed to the
frame-work or stand on which it was supported, but left loose, so as to be
set on or taken off; and in 1555, on the accession of Queen Mary, when the
stone altars were restored and the communion-tables taken down, we find it
recorded of one John Austen, at Adesham Church, Kent, that "he with other
tooke up the table, and laid it on a chest in the chancel, and set the
tressels by it[218-*]."

It appears that texts of scripture were painted on the walls of some
churches in the reign of Edward the Sixth; for Bonner, bishop of London,
by a mandate issued to his diocese in 1554, after noticing that some had
procured certain scriptures wrongly applied to be painted on church walls,
charged that such scriptures should be razed, abolished, and extinguished,
so that in no means they could be either read or heard.

In the articles set forth by Cardinal Pole in 1557, to be inquired of in
his diocese of Canterbury, were the following: "Whether the churches be
sufficiently garnished and adorned with all ornaments and books
necessary; and whether they have a rood in their church of a decent
stature, with Mary and John, and an image of the patron of the same
church?" Also, "Whether the altars of the church be consecrated or no?"

But in 1559, the first year of the reign of Elizabeth, many of the
injunctions set forth in the reign of Edward the Sixth, as to the mode of
saying the Litany without procession, the removal and destruction of
shrines and monuments of superstition, the setting up of a pulpit, and of
the poor-box or chest, which latter was however "to be set and fastened in
a most convenient place," were re-established. By these injunctions it
appears that in many parts of the realm the altars of the churches had
been removed, and tables placed for the administration of the holy
sacrament; that in some other places the altars had not yet been removed:
in the order whereof, as the injunctions express, save for an uniformity,
there seemed to be no matter of great moment, so that the sacrament was
duly and reverently ministered; and it was so ordered that no altar should
be taken down but by oversight of the curate and churchwardens, or one of
them, and that the holy table in every church should be decently made and
set in the place where the altar stood, and there commonly covered, and so
to stand, saving when the communion of the sacrament was to be
distributed; at which time the same was to be so placed within the chancel
in such manner that the minister might be the more conveniently heard of
the communicants in his prayer and ministration.

[Illustration: Ancient Communion Table, Sunningwell Church, Berkshire.]

Many of the old communion-tables set up in the reign of Elizabeth are yet
remaining in our churches, and are sustained by a stand or frame, the
bulging pillar-legs of which are often fantastically carved, with
arabesque scroll-work and other detail according to the taste of the age.
The communion-table in Sunningwell Church, Berkshire, probably set up
during the time Bishop Jewell was pastor of that church, is a rich and
interesting specimen. Communion-tables of the same era, designed in the
same general style, with carved bulging legs, are preserved in the
churches of Lapworth, Rowington, and Knowle, Warwickshire; in St. Thomas's
Church, Oxford; and in many other churches. Sometimes the bulging
pillar-legs are turned plain, and are not covered with carving: such occur
in Broadwas Church, Worcestershire; in the churches of St. Nicholas and
St. Helen, at Abingdon; and in the north aisle of Dorchester Church,
Oxfordshire. The table or slab of the communion-table in Knowle Church is
not fixed or fastened to the frame or stand on which it is placed, but
lies loose; and this is also the case with an old communion-table of the
sixteenth century, now disused, in Northleigh Church, Oxfordshire. In an
inventory of church goods, taken in 1646, occurs the following: "Item, one
_short table and frame_, commonly called the communion-table." On
examining the old communion-tables, the movability of the slab from the
frame-work is of such frequent occurrence as to corroborate the
supposition that some esoteric meaning was attached to its unfixed state,
which meaning has been attempted to be explained.

Under the colour of removing monuments of idolatry and false feigned
images in the churches, much wanton spoliation and needless injury was
effected; and this to such excess that in 1560 a royal proclamation was
issued, commanding all persons to forbear the breaking or defacing of any
monument or tomb, or any image of kings, princes, or nobles, or the
breaking down and defacing of any image in glass windows, in any churches,
without consent of the ordinary. And in the same year, in a letter from
the queen to the commissioners for causes ecclesiastical, occasion is
taken to remark that "in sundry churches and chappells where divine
service, as prayer, preaching, and ministration of the sacraments be used,
there is such negligence and lacke of convenient reverence used towardes
the comelye keeping and order of the said churches, and especially of the
upper parte called the chauncels, that it breedeth no small offence and
slaunder to see and consider on the one part the curiositie and costes
bestowed by all sortes of men upon there private houses, and the other
part, the unclean or negligent order or sparekeeping of the house of
prayer, by permitting open decaies, and ruines of coveringes, walls, and
wyndowes, and by appointing unmeet and unseemly tables, with fowle
clothes, for the communion of the sacraments, and generally leavynge the
place of prayers desolate of all cleanlynes, and of meet ornaments for
such a place, whereby it might be known a place provided for divine
service." And the commissioners were required to consider the same, and in
their discretion to determine upon some good and speedy means of
reformation; and, amongst other things, to order that the tables of the
commandments might be comely set or hung up in the east end of the
chancel, to be not only read for edification, but also to give some comely
ornament and demonstration that the same was a place of religion and

An ancient table, apparently of this period, of the commandments painted
on panel, but in language somewhat abbreviated, is still hung up against
the east wall of the south transept of Ludlow Church, Salop[224-*].

By the articles issued by royal authority in 1564, for administration of
prayer and sacraments, each parish was to provide a decent table, standing
on a frame, for the communion-table; this was to be decently covered with
carpet, silk, or other decent covering, and with a fair linen cloth (at
the time of the ministration); the ten commandments were to be set upon
the east wall, over the table; the font was not to be removed, nor was the
curate to baptize in parish churches in any basins.

In the Visitation Articles of Archbishop Parker, A. D. 1569, we find
inquiries were to be made whether there was in each parish church a
convenient pulpit well placed, a comely and decent table for the holy
communion, covered decently and set in the place prescribed; and whether
the altars had been taken down; also whether images and all other
monuments of idolatry and superstition were destroyed and abolished;
whether the rood-loft was pulled down, according to the order prescribed;
and if the partition between the chancel and church was kept.

The latter inquiry is explanatory of the fact why, when the rood-lofts in
many churches were taken down, the screens beneath them, separating the
chancel from the nave, were left undisturbed.

By the injunctions of Grindal, archbishop of York, A. D. 1571, all altars
were ordered to be pulled down to the ground, and the altar stones to be
defaced and bestowed to some common use.

Pulpits of the reign of Edward the Sixth are rare, nor are those of the
reign of Elizabeth very common. The pulpit in Fordington Church,
Dorsetshire, of the latter period, is of stone, the upper part worked in
plain oblong panels; and a kind of escutcheon within one of these bears
the date 1592; the lower part or basement of this pulpit is circular in

The richly embroidered and costly vestments and antependia or frontals, of
a period antecedent to the Reformation, were in some instances converted
into coverings for the altar or communion table, or into hangings for the
pulpit and reading desk. In Little Dean Church, Gloucestershire, the
covering for the reading desk is formed out of an ancient sacerdotal
vestment, probably a cope, of velvet, embroidered with portraits of
saints. The cushion of the pulpit of East Langdon Church, near Dover, is
made out of either an ancient antependium or vestment; the material
consists of very thick crimson silk, embroidered with sprigs, and in the
centre of the hanging are two figures supposed to represent the salutation
of the Virgin, who is kneeling before a faldstool.

We occasionally, though rarely, meet with ancient charity-boxes of a date
anterior to the Reformation: the churches of Wickmere, Loddon, and
Causton, in Norfolk, still retain such[226-*]. At the Reformation,
however, they were first required to be set up in churches. The ancient
poor-box in Trinity Church, Coventry, is an excellent specimen of the
Elizabethan era, and the shaft which supports it is of stone, covered with
arabesque scroll-work and other detail peculiar to that age; but most of
the old charity-boxes are of the seventeenth century.

[Illustration: Ancient Charity-box, Trinity Church, Coventry.]

Towards the close of the sixteenth century the practice of preaching by an
hour-glass, set in an iron frame affixed to the pulpit or projecting from
the wall near it, began to prevail; and in the succeeding century this
practice became quite common. In the churchwardens' accounts for St.
Mary's Church, Lambeth, occurs the following: "A. 1579, Payde to Yorke for
the frame on which the hower standeth,--..1..4;" and in the churchwardens'
accounts of St. Helen's Church, Abingdon, is an item, "Anno MDXCI. payde
for an houre glass for the pilpit, 4_d._" In the parochial accounts for
St. Mary's, Shrewsbury, A. D. 1597, is a charge "for removing the desk and
other necessaries about the pulpit, and for makeinge a thing for the hower
glasse, 9_d._" In Shawell Church, Isle of Wight, the old iron stand for
the hour-glass still remains affixed to a pier adjoining the pulpit; it is
composed of two flat circular hoops or rings, one at some distance above
the other, annexed or attached and kept in position by four vertical bars
of iron, and the lower ring has cross-bars to sustain the glass. In
Cassington Church, Oxfordshire, projecting from the wall by the side of
the pulpit, is an iron stand for the hour-glass, consisting of two
circular hoops or rings of iron, connected by four wrought iron bars,
worked in the middle; and across the lower ring or hoop is an iron bar or
stay. In High Laver Church, Essex, the iron stand for the glass still
remains, and is in fashion not unlike a cresset, having only one hoop or
ring encircling the top, and supported on four iron bars, which cross in
curves at the bottom. Many other churches might be enumerated in which the
stand for the hour-glass is still preserved; and the hour-glass itself,
together with its frame, is said to be retained in South Burlingham
Church, Norfolk. An hour-glass within a rich and peculiar frame, supported
on a spiral column, and apparently of the latter part of the seventeenth
century, is yet preserved in St. Alban's Church, Wood Street, London.

[Illustration: Hour-glass Frame, Shawell Church, Isle of Wight.]

To the close of the sixteenth century the mode of pewing with open
low-backed seats continued to prevail; the ends of these seats were not
covered with tracery or arched panel-work, but were plain, though they
sometimes terminated with a finial. In the nave of Stanton St. John
Church, Oxfordshire, are some old open pews or seats, apparently of the
reign of Henry the Eighth, the backs of which are divided diamond-wise,
and form a kind of lattice-work, and the ends terminate in grotesque
heads. In Harrington Church, Worcestershire, are some open seats of plain
workmanship, bearing the date of 1582. The church of Sunningwell,
Berkshire, is fitted up with a range of open seats on each side of the
nave, without any ornament, with the exception of a large carved finial at
the end of each seat. In Cowley Church, near Oxford, are open seats of the
date of 1632, which have at the ends finials carved in the shallow angular
designs of that period. All these seats are appropriately placed, or
disposed facing the east, and none are turned with the backs towards the
altar[230-*]. About the commencement of the seventeenth century our
churches began to be disfigured by the introduction of high pews, an
innovation which did not escape censure; for, as Weaver observes, "Many
monuments of the dead in churches in and about this citie of London, as
also in some places in the countrey, are covered with seates or pewes,
made high and easie for the parishioners to sit or sleepe in; a fashion of
no long continuance, and worthy of reformation[231-*]." The high pews set
up in the early part of this century are easily distinguished by the flat
and shallow carved scroll and arabesque work with which the sides and
doors are covered. In the directions given on the primary visitation of
Wren, bishop of Norwich, A. D. 1636, we find an order "that the chancels
and alleys in the church be not encroached upon by building of seats; and
if any be so built, the same to be removed and taken away; and that no
pews be made over high, so that they which be in them cannot be seen how
they behave themselves, or the prospect of the church or chancel be
hindered; and therefore that all pews which within do much exceed a yard
in height be taken down near to that scantling, unless the bishop by his
own inspection, or by the view of some special commissioner, shall
otherwise allow."

From a paper found among secretary Cecil's MSS.[232-*], it appears that in
1564 some ministers performed divine service and prayers in the chancel,
others in the body of the church, and some _in a seat made in the church_;
and in the parochial accounts of St. Mary's Church, Shrewsbury, A. D. 1577,
is an entry "for coloringe the curate's pew and dask;" but no public
notice of the modern reading desk, or, as it was called, the "reading
pew," occurs till 1603, when, in the ecclesiastical canons then framed, it
was enjoined that besides the pulpit a fitting or convenient seat should
be constructed for the minister to read service in; and in allusion to the
reading desk, Bishop Sparrow, in his Rationale of the Book of Common
Prayer, observes, "This was the ancient custom of the church of England,
that the priest who did officiate in all those parts of the service which
were directed to the people turned himself towards them, as in the
absolution; but in those parts of the office which were directed to God
immediately, as prayers, hymns, lauds, confessions of faith or sins, he
turned from the people; and for that purpose, in many parish churches of
late, the reading pew had one desk for the Bible, looking towards the
people to the body of the church, another for the prayer-book, looking
towards the east or upper end of the chancel. And very reasonable was this
usage; for when the people was spoken to it was fit to look towards them,
but when God was spoken to it was fit to turn from the people." And so he
goes on to explain the custom of turning to the east in public prayer.

In Bishop Wren's directions it was enjoined that the minister's reading
desk should not stand with the back towards the chancel, nor too remote
or far from it.

The double reading desk is still occasionally met with, as in East Ilsley
Church, Berkshire, where is a kind of double reading desk so that the
minister can turn himself either towards the west or south. In Priors
Salford Church, Warwickshire, is an old carved reading pew bearing the
date of its construction, 1616; and in St. Peter's Church, Dorchester,
Dorsetshire, and in Sherbourne Church, in the same county, are reading
pews which evidently, from the style and the carved work with which they
are covered, were constructed in the early part of the seventeenth

The enclosing of the communion table in the church of Stow, in the county
of Norfolk, by rails, about the year 1622, is noticed by Weaver, who
states that the vicar and churchwardens pulled down a tomb to make room
for the rail.

In Bishop Wren's diocesan directions it was ordered that the communion
table in every church should always stand close under the east wall of the
chancel, the ends thereof north and south, and that the rail should be
made before it, reaching up from the north wall to the south wall, near
one yard in height, so thick with pillars that dogs might not get in.

But we find the situation of the altar or communion table, and the reason
of its severance by means of rails, more particularly noticed in the
canons entertained by the convocation held in 1640. In these (after an
allusion to the fact that many had been misled against the rites and
ceremonies of the church of England, and had taken offence at the same
upon an unjust supposal that they were introductive unto popish
superstitions, whereas they had been duly and ordinarily practised by the
whole church during a great part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and that
though since that time they had by subtle practices begun to fall into
disuse, and in place thereof other foreign and unfitting usages by little
and little to creep in, yet in the royal chapels and many other churches
most of them had been ever constantly used and observed) it was declared
that the standing of the communion table sideway under the east window of
every chancel was in its own nature indifferent[235-*]; yet as it had
been ordered by the injunctions of Queen Elizabeth that the holy tables
should stand in the places where the altars stood, it was judged fit and
convenient that all churches should conform themselves in this particular
to the example of the cathedral and mother churches; and it was declared
that this situation of the holy table did not imply that it was or ought
to be esteemed a true and proper altar, whereon Christ was again really
sacrificed; but that it was and might be called an altar, in that sense in
which the primitive church called it an altar, and in no other. And
because experience had shewn how irreverent the behaviour of many people
was in many places, (some leaning, others casting their hats, and some
sitting upon, some standing, and others sitting under the communion table,
in time of divine service,) for the avoiding of which and like abuses it
was thought meet and convenient that the communion tables in all churches
should be decently severed with rails, to preserve them from such or worse

Communion rails carved in the nondescript style, almost peculiar to the
reign of Charles the First, are preserved in St. Giles's Church, Oxford;
in the Lady Chapel, Winchester Cathedral; in the Church of St. Cross, near
Winchester; in the choir of Worcester Cathedral; and in Andover Church,
Hants: in which last instance the rails are composed of open semicircular
arches, supported on baluster columns, with pendants similar to hip knobs
hanging from the arches; but specimens of altar rails of a period
antecedent to the Restoration are not often to be met with, the reason for
which will be adduced.

By the canons of 1603 the churchwardens or questmen were to provide in
every church a comely and decent pulpit, to be set in a convenient place
within the same, and there to be seemly kept for the preaching of God's
word. Carved pulpits set up between the years 1603 and 1640 are numerous,
and the sides are more or less embellished with circular-arched panels,
flat and shallow scroll-work, and other decorative detail in fashion at
that period; and not a few bear the precise date of their construction.

In the nave of Bristol Cathedral is a stone pulpit, ascended to by means
of a circular flight of steps; the sides are panelled and ornamented with
escutcheons surrounded by scroll-work, and it bears the date of 1624.

In Ashington Church, Somersetshire, is a pulpit with the date 1627.

In Bradford Abbas Church, Dorsetshire, is a fine carved wooden pulpit and
sounding-board, and on it appears the date 1632.

The date of 1625 appears on a fine carved wooden pulpit, the sides of
which are covered with semicircular-headed panels, in Huish Episcopi
Church, Somersetshire.

In one of the churches at Wells is a fine wooden pulpit, of the date 1636;
at the angles are columns of semi-classic design, fantastically carved;
the panels are curiously ornamented with figures in relief, and it is
supported on a stand composed of a square and four detached columns, above
which are represented a number of birds with large beaks; the
sounding-board over corresponds in design with the pulpit.

A very fine carved wooden pulpit, the sides of which are embellished with
circular-arched panel and scroll-work, with the date 1640, and a
sounding-board over, is contained in Cerne Abbas Church, Dorsetshire.

Many carved pulpits of this era have, however, no assigned date; they are
commonly placed at the north or south-east angle of the nave, but never
in the middle of the aisle, so as to obstruct the view of the communion

The commandments were again, by the canons of 1603, ordered to be set upon
the east end of every church, where the people might best see and read the
same; and other chosen sentences were to be written upon the walls of the
churches in places convenient.

On the south wall of Rowington Church, Warwickshire, are sentences painted
with a border of scroll-work; the like also occur at Astley Church, in the
same county; and on the walls of Bradford Abbas Church, Dorsetshire, are
sentences of scripture painted in black-lettered characters within panels
surrounded by scroll-work.

By the same canons the churchwardens were required to provide, if such had
not been already provided, a strong chest, with a hole in the upper part
thereof, having three keys, of which one was to remain in the custody of
the minister, and the other two in the custody of the churchwardens; which
chest was to be set and fastened in the most convenient place, to the
intent the parishioners might put into it their alms for their poor

In the retro-choir, Sherbourne Church, Dorsetshire, is a poor-box with
three locks; and a carved poor-box, of the early part of the seventeenth
century, is preserved in Harlow Church, Essex. In Elstow Church,
Bedfordshire, are the remains of a poor-box of the same period. In Clapham
Church, in the same county, is an old poor-box, the cover of which is
gone, on which are the initials I. W., and the date 1626: this is fixed on
a plain wooden pillar near the south door; and in the south aisle of
Bletchley Church, Buckinghamshire, is an oak pillar or shaft surmounted by
a poor-box, with an inscription carved on it of "Remember the Pore," and
the date 1637[240-*].

The communion tables of the early part of this century were not so richly
carved as those of the reign of Elizabeth, and in general the pillar-legs
were plain and not so bulging; but the frieze or upper part of the
frame-work, on which the table rested, was often covered with shallow and
flat carved panel and scroll-work, and sometimes with the date of its

In the church of St. Lawrence, at Evesham, the communion table bears the
date of 1610; and round the frieze is carved an inscription, stating by
whom it was given. In Cerne Abbas Church, Dorsetshire, is a carved
communion table, bearing the date of 1638. The communion table in Godshill
Church, Isle of Wight, is supported on four carved bulging pillar-legs;
and round the frieze, below the ledge of the table, is the following

     "Lancelot Coleman & Edward Britwel, Churchwardens, Anno Dom. 1631."

In Whitwell Church, Isle of Wight, the communion table stands on plain
bulging pillar-legs; and on the frieze round the ledge is carved in relief
an arm holding a chalice, with the following inscription:

     "I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the
     Lord. Psa. 116. v. 53. Anno Dom. 1632."

As the rubric of the church enjoined that at the communion the priest
should himself place the elements upon the holy table, the custom of
having a side table, called the credence table, for the elements to be set
on previous to their removal by the priest to the communion table for
consecration, was observed in some churches in the latter part of the
sixteenth and early part of the seventeenth century. Such table appears
to have been introduced in the reign of Elizabeth, by Andrews, bishop of
Norwich, whose model Archbishop Laud is said to have followed[242-*]; and
it originated from the prothesis, or side table of preparation, used in
the early church; it was likewise, as we have seen, used at the
sacramentals of the church of Rome, and on that account was strongly
objected to by the Puritans.

[Illustration: Table, (temp. Charles I.,) Chipping-Warden Church,

In the chancel of Chipping-Warden Church, Northamptonshire, on the north
side of the communion table, is a semicircular oak table, apparently of
the reign of Charles the First, standing on a frame supported by three
plain pillar-legs, like those of the communion tables of the same period,
and enriched with carved arched frieze-work similar to the arched
panel-work on pulpits of the same period.

A plain credence table of black oak, which from the style and make was
evidently set up after the Restoration, still continues to be used as such
in St. Michael's Church, Oxford, being placed on the north side of the
communion table.

The objections of the Puritans against many of the usages of the Anglican
church, and their refusal to conform to such under the pretence of their
being superstitious, had no slight effect in altering the internal
appearance of our churches in the middle of the seventeenth century, and
during the period their party had obtained the ascendancy, and had
succeeded for a while in abolishing in this country episcopal church
government; for among the "innovations in discipline," as they were called
by the Puritan committee of the House of Lords in 1641, we find the
following usages complained of: the turning of the holy table altarwise,
and most commonly calling it an altar; the bowing towards it or towards
the east many times; advancing candlesticks in many churches upon the
altar, so called; the making of canopies over the altar, so called, with
traverses and curtains on each side and before it; the compelling all
communicants to come up to the rails, and there to receive; the advancing
crucifixes and images upon the parafront or altar cloth, so called; the
reading some part of the morning prayer at the holy table, when there was
no communion celebrated; the minister's turning his back to the west, and
his face to the east, when he pronounced the Creed or read prayers; the
reading the Litany in the midst of the body of the church in many of the
parochial churches; the having a _credentia_ or side table, besides the
Lord's table, for divers uses in the Lord's Supper; and the taking down
galleries in churches, or restraining the building of galleries where the
parishes were very populous[244-*].

In August, 1643, an Ordinance of the Lords and Commons was published, for
the taking away and demolishing of all altars and tables of stone, and for
the removal of all communion tables from the east end of every church and
chancel; and it was prescribed that such should be placed in some other
fit and convenient place in the body of the church or in the body of the
chancel; and that all rails whatsoever which had been erected near to,
before, or about any altar or communion table, should be likewise taken
away; and that the chancel-ground which had been raised within twenty
years then last past, for any altar or communion table to stand on, should
be laid down and levelled, as the same had formerly been; and that all
tapers, candlesticks, and basins should be removed and taken away from the
communion table, and not again used about the same; and that all
crucifixes, crosses, and all images and pictures of any one or more
Persons of the Trinity, or of the Virgin Mary, and all other images and
pictures of saints, or superstitious inscriptions belonging to any
churches, should be taken away and defaced before the first day of
November, 1643: but it was provided that such ordinances should not extend
to any image, picture, or coat of arms, in glass, stone, or otherwise, set
up or graven only for a monument of any dead person not reputed for a
saint, but that all such might stand and continue.

By a subsequent ordinance, passed in May, 1644, it was prescribed that no
rood-loft or holy water fonts should be any more used in any church; and
that all organs, and the frames or cases in which they stood, in all
churches, should be taken away and utterly defaced.

Under colour of these ordinances the beauty of the cathedrals and churches
was injured to an extent hardly credible; the monuments of the dead were
defaced, and brasses torn away, in the iconoclastic fury which then raged;
the very tombs were violated; and the havoc made of church ornaments, and
destruction of the fine painted glass with which most church windows then
abounded, may in some degree be estimated from the account given by one
Dowsing, a parliamentary visitor appointed under a warrant from the Earl
of Manchester for demolishing the so called superstitious pictures and
ornaments of churches within the county of Suffolk, who kept a journal,
with the particulars of his transactions, in the years 1643 and 1644:
these were chiefly comprised in the demolition of numerous windows filled
with painted glass, in the breaking down of altar rails and organ cases,
in levelling the steps in the chancels, in removing crucifixes, in taking
down the stone crosses from the exterior of the churches, in defacing
crosses on the fonts, and in the taking up (under the pretence of their
being superstitious) of numerous sepulchral inscriptions in brass. Nor
did the churches in other parts of the country, with some exceptions,
escape from a like fanatical warfare; and, in this, many of our cathedrals
suffered most. But this was not enough: our sacred edifices were profaned
and polluted in the most irreverent and disgraceful manner; and with the
exception of the destruction which took place on the dissolution of the
monastic establishments in the previous century, more devastation was
committed at this time by the party hostile to the Anglican church than
had ever before been effected since the ravages of the ancient Danish

But as to other alterations at this time effected. In January, 1644, an
ordinance of parliament was published for the taking away of the Book of
Common Prayer, which was forbid to be used any longer in any church,
chapel, or place of public worship. In lieu of this the "Directory for the
Publike Worship of God" was established: this contained no stated forms of
prayer, but general instructions only for extemporaneous praying and
preaching, and for the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the
Lord's Supper; the former of which was to be administered in the place of
public worship and in the face of the congregation, but "not," as the
Directory expresses, "in the places where fonts in the time of popery were
unfitly and superstitiously placed." And at the administration of the
Lord's Supper the table was to be so placed that the communicants might
sit orderly about it or at it; but all liturgical form was abolished, and
the prayers even at this sacrament were such as the minister might
spontaneously offer.

At Brill Church, in Buckinghamshire, the communion table, on an elevation
of one step, is inclosed with rails, within an area of eight feet by six
feet and a half, and a bench is fixed to the wall on each side; an
innovation made at this period, in order that the communicants might
receive the sacrament sitting. The communion table in Wooten Wawen Church,
Warwickshire, though perfectly plain in construction, is unusually long
and large, and appears to have been set up by the Puritans at this period,
so that they might sit round or at it.

To the removal of the communion table from the east end of the chancel may
be attributed the usage which, in the middle of the seventeenth century,
began to prevail of constructing close and high seats or pews, without
regard to that uniformity of arrangement which had hitherto been
observed; and many seats were now so constructed that those who occupied
them necessarily turned their backs on the east during the ministration of
prayer and public service. The erection of unseemly galleries, which have
greatly tended to disfigure our churches, was another consequence of the
innovation on the ancient arrangement of pewing.

After the Restoration the communion tables were again restored to their
former position at the east end of the chancel; and in Evelyn's Diary for
1661-2, we find the change of position in his parish church thus noticed:
"6 April. Being of the vestry in the afternoone, we order'd that the
communion table should be set as usual altarwise, with a decent raile in
front, as before the rebellion."

The altar rails were now generally restored, and in most instances we find
those in our churches to be of a period subsequent to the Restoration, as
the details in the workmanship evince. In the church accounts of St.
Mary's, Shrewsbury, for 1662, we find a "memorandum that this year the
rayles about the communion table wer new sett up, and the surplice was
made." In Wormleighton Church, Warwickshire, the altar rails have on them
the date of 1664; and the communion table, which is quite plain, is of
the same character and era.

But a return, after the Restoration, to the former usages of the Anglican
church was not made without great opposition; and accordingly we find
objections stated to the bowing to the altar and to the east, to the
preaching by book, to the railing in of the altar, to the candles,
cushion, and book thereon, to the bowing at the name of Jesus, and to the
organs as "popish-like music, and too much superstition[250-*]."

When the rood was taken down at the Reformation, a custom began to prevail
of fixing up in its stead or place, against the arch leading into the
chancel, the upper part of which was in consequence blocked up by it, and
facing the congregation, so as to be seen by them, the royal arms, with
proper heraldic supporters; but it does not clearly appear that this was
done in consequence of any express law or injunction to that effect,
though it may perhaps have served to denote the king's supremacy. We
seldom, however, find the royal arms of earlier date than the Restoration,
in the twenty years previous to which they appear to have been generally
taken down. In Brixton Church, Isle of Wight, on some plain wooden
panelling between the tower and a gallery at the west end are the remains
of the royal arms, which, from the style in which they have been painted
with the rose and thistle, appear coeval with the reign of James the
First; they are surmounted by a crown, below which is an open six-barred
helme. These arms appear to have been removed from their original position
against the chancel-arch, and are now much mutilated. In the church
accounts, St. Mary's, Shrewsbury, for 1651, is a charge of 1_l._ 8_s._
"for making the states armes." In Anstey Church, Warwickshire, the arms of
the commonwealth, put up during the inter-regnum, were taken down not many
years back. The little church of St. Lawrence, in the Isle of Wight, still
retains the royal arms put up at the Restoration in 1660.

Excepting the rood-loft galleries, we have few galleries in our churches
of a period antecedent to the latter part of the seventeenth century. At
the west end of Worstead Church, Norfolk, over the west door, is a gallery
erected in 1550, at the cost of the candle called the Bachelor's Light. At
the west end of the nave in Leighton Buzzard Church is a gallery erected
in 1634; and at the west end of Piddletown Church, Dorsetshire, is a
gallery with the date of its erection, 1635.

From about the period of the Revolution, in 1688, we may trace the
commencement of a custom, still partially prevailing, of setting up the
pulpit and reading-pew in the middle aisle, in front of the communion
table; so that during the whole of the service the back of the minister
was turned to the east, and the view of the communion table obstructed;
but we have not found any pulpit thus placed of an earlier period.

We still retain, in the Anglican church, the usage of placing two
candlesticks and candles upon the communion table, in compliance with the
injunctions of King Edward the Sixth, together also with an offertory
dish; of reading the lessons from the eagle desk, and of saying the Litany
at the litany-stool. These practices are, however, more particularly
observed in our cathedrals and college chapels than in our parochial
churches, in most of which they have fallen into desuetude.

To conclude, in the language of the synod held in 1640: "Whereas the
church is the house of God, dedicated to his holy worship, and therefore
ought to remind us both of the greatness and goodness of his Divine
Majesty; certain it is that the acknowledgment thereof, not only inwardly
in our hearts, but also outwardly with our bodies, must needs be pious in
itself, profitable unto us, and edifying unto others: we therefore think
it meet and behoveful, and heartily commend it to all good and
well-affected people, members of this church, that they be ready to tender
unto the Lord the said acknowledgment, by doing reverence and obeisance,
both at their coming in and going out of the said churches, chancels, or
chapels, according to the most ancient custom of the primitive church in
the purest times, and of this church also for many years of the reign of
Queen Elizabeth.

"The reviving, therefore, of this ancient and laudable custom we heartily
recommend to the serious consideration of all good people, not with any
intention to exhibit any religious worship to the communion table, the
east, or church, or any thing therein contained, in so doing; or to
perform the said gesture in the celebration of the holy eucharist, upon
any opinion of a corporal presence of the body of Jesus Christ on the holy
table or in the mystical elements, but only for the advancement of God's
majesty, and to give him alone that honour and glory that is due unto
him, and no otherwise; and in the practice or omission of this rite we
desire that the rule of charity prescribed by the apostle may be observed,
which is, that they which use this rite despise not them who use it not,
and that they who use it not condemn not those that use it."


          "... a bloodie crosse he bore,
  The deare remembrance of his dying Lord,
    For whose sweete sake that glorious badge he wore,
  And dead, as living, ever him ador'd:
  Upon his shield the like was also scor'd."


[154-*] Hist. Eccles. lib. vi. c. 6. Durantus, however, assigns a
different origin. "In veteri testamento non nisi lotus templum
ingrediebatur." De Labro, seu Vase Aquae Benedictae, c. 21.

[156-*] "Ad valvas ecclesiae,"--Ordo ad Faciendum Catechumenum, Manuale.

[156-+] Constitutions of Edmund Archbishop of Canterbury, A. D. 1236.
[TN-6]De Baptismo et eius Effectu."

[158-*] It is much to be regretted that of late years many ancient fonts
have been cast out of our churches, and earthenware and pewter basins
substituted in their stead for the administration of the holy sacrament of
baptism: a practice not authorized by the Anglican church, but rather
condemned; for in the canons set forth by authority, A. D. 1571, it is
provided that "Curabunt (OEditui) ut in singulis ecclesiis sit sacer
fons, _non pelvis_, in quo baptismus ministretur, isque ut decenter et
munde conservetur." And in the canons of 1603, after alluding to the
foregoing constitution, and observing that it was too much neglected in
many places, it is appointed "That there shall be a font of stone in every
church and chapel where baptism is to be ministered; the same to be set in
the _ancient usual places_." In the orders and directions given by Bishop
Wren, A. D. 1636, to be observed in his diocese of Norwich, we find it
enjoined, "That the font at baptism be filled with clear water, and no
dishes, pails, or basins be used in it or instead of it."

[160-*] The 28th decree of a foreign council, that of Wirtzburgh, held A.
D. 1278, prohibits the fortifying of churches in order to make use of them
as castles.

[164-*] Anglice sermocinari solebat (Abbas Samson) populo, sed secundum
Linguam Norfolchie ... unde et pulpitum jussit fieri in ecclesia et ad
utilitatem audiencium et ad decorem ecclesie.--Cronica Jocelini de
Brakelonda, sub anno 1187.

[167-*] Cottonian MS. Titus D. xxvii. 10th saec.

[167-+] "Crux que erat super magnum altare, et Mariola, et Johannes, quas
imagines Stigandus archiepiscopus magno pondere auri et argenti ornaverat,
et sancto AEdmundo dederat."--Cronica Jocelini de Brakelonda, p. 4.

[168-*] "Supra pulpitum trabes erat, per tranversum ecclesiae posita, quae
crucem grandem et duo cherubin et imagines Sanctae _Mariae_ et Sancti
_Johannis_ apostoli sustentabat."--Gervasius de Combustione, &c.

[169-*] "Superest exponere, quod manus illa e nubibus erumpens indicet:
Quae procul dubio omnipotentis Dei dexteram designat."--Ciampini Vetera
Monimenta, vol. ii. pp. 22, 81.

[171-*] "In elevatione atque utriusque squilla pulsatur."--Durandi
Rationale, lib. iv.

[171-+] In Yeovil Church Accounts, A. D. 1457, is an item, "_In una cordul
empt p le salsyngbelle ijd_."--Collectanea Topographica, vol. iii. p. 130.

[172-*] It is now in the possession of William Staunton, esq., of
Longbridge House, near Warwick.

[173-*] Durandus, in his description of a church, makes no mention of
screen-work, but observes, "Notandum est quod triplex genus _veli_
suspenditur in ecclesia videlicet quod sacra operit, quod sanctuarium a
clero dividit, _et quod clerum a populo secernit_;" evidently alluding in
the latter to the curtain extended across the chancel arch.

[174-*] "Item tunc stent in sedibus suis versa facie ad altare donec ad
_misericordias_ vel super _formulas_ prout tempus postulat
inclinent."--Monasticon, 1st ed. vol. i. p. 951.

[180-*] The placing of more than two lights on the altar seems never to
have been practised in the churches of this country; at least I have not
met with any ancient illumination in which more than two are represented.

[181-*] The cover of an ancient thurible of latten was lately discovered
in the chest of Ashbury Church, Berkshire: the lower part is of a
semi-globular or domical form, from which issues an embattled turret or
lantern in the form of a pentagon, which is finished by a quadrangular
spire; the sides both of the lantern and spire are partly of open work,
and round the domical part is inscribed _Gloria Tibi Domine_.

[181-+] A small ampulla of brass or latten, supposed to have been an
ancient chrismatory for the consecrated oil used in the sacrament of
extreme unction, has been within the last few years discovered in the
castle ditch, Pulford, Cheshire: this curious little relic is not more
than two inches high; the body is semi-globular, or bulges in front, with
a plain Greek cross engraved on it, and is flattened at the back; and at
the neck are two bowed handles, by chains attached to which it appears to
have hung suspended from the shoulders.

[182-*] Harding, in his controversy with Bishop Jewell, mentions "the
monstrance or pixe" as if one and the same article.--Defence of the
Apology, &c., p. 343.

[183-*] Quo finito sacerdos cum suis ministris in sedibus ad hos paratis
se recipiant et expectent usque ad orationem dicendam vel alio tempore
usque ad _Gloria in excelsis_.--MS. Rituale pen. Auc.

[183-+] This arrangement was different to that directed by the rubrical
orders of the Roman missals, on their revision after the council of Trent,
by which the celebrant was to be seated between the deacon and sub-deacon:
"In missa item solemni celebrans medius inter diaconum et sub-diaconum
sedere potest a cornu epistolae juxta altare cum cantatur _Kyrie eleison,
Gloria in excelsis_, et _Credo_."--Missale Romanum, Antverpiae, MDCXXXI.;
Rubricae Generales, &c. One of the queries published by Le Brun, whilst
composing his liturgical work, was, "Si le pretre s'assied au dessus du
diacre et du soudiacre, ou au milieu d'eux."

[186-*] Prope altare collocatur Piscina seu Lavacrum in quo manus
lavantur.--Durandi Rat. de Ecclesia, &c. In ancient church contracts the
term _Lavatorie_ was sometimes used for the Piscina, as in that for
Catterick Church. In the Roman Missal subsequent to the Tridentine council
the word _Sacrarium_ is used.

[187-*] At Alvechurch, Worcestershire, the custom prevails of the priest
washing his hands in the vestry before the administration of the
sacrament, and napkins are brought to dry his hands.

[189-*] "Il y avoit pour cet effet en chaque piscine, comme en peut voir
encore a une infinite d'autels, deux conduits, ou canaux, pour faire
ecouler l'eau, l'un pour recevoir l'eau qui avoit servi au lavement des
mains, l'autre pour celle qui avoit servi au purification ou perfusion du
chalice."--De Vert, Explication des Ceremonies de l'Eglise, vol. iii. p.

[190-*] In "Le Parfaict Ecclesiastique, par M. Claude de la Croix," (a
curious work published A. D. 1666, and containing full instructions for
the clergy of the Gallican church, and an exposition of the rites and
ceremonies,) amongst appendages to an altar is enumerated "une credance ou
niche dans le mur a poser les burettes et le bassin," p. 536. And in
another place, "au coste de l'Autel il y faut une petite niche a poser les
burettes et le bassin, et y faire un trou en facon de piscine a fin que
l'eau se perde en terre." p. 568.

[190-+] "In cornu Epistolae ... ampullae vitreae vini et aquae cum pelvicula
et manutergio mundo in fenestella seu in parva mensa ad haec
praeparata"--Missale Romanum ex Decreto, &c. 1631.

"Calix vero et alia necessaria praeparentur in credentia cooperta linteo,
antequam sacerdos veniat ad altare."--Ibid.

[192-*] The earliest account of the sepulchre thus set up that I have yet
met with occurs in an inventory of church furniture, A. D. 1214, in which
is mentioned "_velum unum de serico supra sepulchrum_."

[193-*] "Table" was a word used to express any sculptured basso relievo,
more especially that inserted in the wall over an altar.

[199-*] A series of coloured engravings from the paintings on the walls of
this chapel, which were evidently executed at the close of the fifteenth
century, was published in 1807 by the late Mr. Thomas Fisher.

[200-*] By an injunction set forth by royal authority, A. D. 1539, it was
ordered, "That from henceforth the said Thomas Becket shall not be
esteemed, named, reputed, and called a saint, but Bishop Becket; and that
his images and pictures thorow the whole realme shal be pluckt downe and
avoided out of all churches, chapel, and other places."--Fox's

[209-*] The locality, character, and construction of the confessional in
our ancient churches are not yet clearly elucidated. Du Cange described
the confessional, "_confessio_," simply as "cellula in qua presbyteri
fidelium confessiones excipiebant;" whilst according to De la Croix, in
his remarks on those of the Gallican churches in the middle of the
seventeenth century, "Les confessionaux doiuent estre a l'entree des
Eglises, et non pas aupres des Autels, ny dans le Choeur, ny en lieu
cache, et tousieurs vne ouuerture pour ecouter le Penitent, avec vn
treillis de bois ou autre estoffe, et vn volet pour le fermer, quand on
ecoute de l'vn des costez ouuert."

[210-*] The tabard or heraldic coat worn over the body armour, and still
worn by the heralds on state occasions.

[211-*] "Our churches stand full of such great puppets, wondrously decked
and adorned; garlands and coronets be set on their heads, precious pearls
hanging about their necks; their fingers shine with rings set with
precious stones; their dead and stiff bodies are clothed with garments
stiff with gold."--Homily against Peril of Idolatry.

[215-*] In the injunctions given by Bishop Ridley, in the visitation of
his diocese A. D. 1550, occurs the following: "Item that the minister in
the time of the communion, immediately after the offertory, shall monish
the communicants, saying these words, or such like, 'Now is the time, if
it please you, to remember the poor men's chest with your charitable

[216-*] Dr. Cardwell, in his editorial preface to the reprint of the two
Books of Common Prayer set forth in the reign of Edward the Sixth,
observes, "The communion service of the first liturgy contained a prayer
for the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine, and a
following prayer of oblation, which, together with the form of words
addressed to the communicants, were designed to represent a sacrifice, and
appeared to undiscriminating minds to denote the sacrifice of the mass.
Numerous, therefore, and urgent were the objections against this portion
of the service. Combined with a large class of objectors, whose theology
consisted merely in an undefined dread of Romanism, were all those,
however differing among themselves, who believed the holy communion to be
a feast and not a sacrifice, and that larger class of persons who, placing
the solemn duty upon its proper religious basis, were contented to worship
without waiting to refine."

[218-*] Fox's Martyrology.

[223-*] In compliance with the queen's letter, the following directions
were sent by the commissioners to the dean and chapter of Bristol:

"After our hartie comendac[=on]s.--Whereas we are credibly informed that
there are divers tabernacles for Images, as well in the fronture of the
roodeloft of the cath^l church of Bristol, as also in the frontures, back,
and ends of the walles wheare the co[=mn] table standeth, for asmoch as
the same churche shoulde be a light and good example to th' ole citie and
dioc. we have thought good to direct these our l[=re]s unto you, and to
require youe to cause the said tabernacles to be defaced & hewen downe,
and afterwards to be made a playne walle, w^th morter, plast^r, or
otherways, & some scriptures to be written in the places, & namely that
upon the walle on the east end of the quier wheare the co[=mn] table
usually doth stande, the table of the c[=om]and^ts to be painted in large
caracters, with convenient speed, and furniture according to the orders
latly set furthe by vertue of the quenes ma^ts c[=om]ission for causes
ecclesiasticall, at the coste and chardges of the said churche; whereof we
require you not to faile. And so we bed you farewell. From London, the
xxi. of December, 1561."--Britton's Bristol Cath. p. 52.

[224-*] In the chancel of Bengeworth Church, Gloucestershire, is a table
of the commandments, with the letters cut in box-wood. This has the date
of 1591 upon it.

[226-*] These are engraved in vol. xx. of the Archaeologia, and, from the
general style and mouldings, appear to have been constructed in the latter
part of the fifteenth century.

[230-*] The symbolical turning towards the east whilst pronouncing the
Creed is adverted to by St. Cyril. In the Apostolical Constitutions, book
ii. sect. xxviii., the attendants at public worship are enjoined to pray
to God eastward. The custom of turning to the east at prayer is noticed by
many of the early fathers of the church, and among them by St. Basil, who
remarks, "As to the doctrines and preachings which are preserved in the
church, we have some of them from the written doctrine; others we have
received as delivered from the tradition of the apostles in a mystery.
For, to begin with the mention of what is first and most common, who has
taught us by writing that those that hope in the name of our Lord should
be signed with the sign of the cross? what written law has taught us that
we should turn towards the east in our prayers?.... Is not all this
derived from this concealed and mystical tradition?.... We all, indeed,
look towards the east in our prayers."--Basil, Epist. ad Amphiloc. de
Spiritu S. Whiston's translation in Essay on the Apostolical

[231-*] Funeral Monuments, A. D. 1631, p. 701.

[232-*] Printed in Strype's Life of Parker. In the same paper the
communion table is noticed as standing in the body of the church in some
places, in others standing in the chancel; in some places standing
altarwise, distant from the wall a yard, in others in the middle of the
chancel, north and south; in some places _the table was joined, in others
it stood upon tressels_; in some the table had a carpet, in others none.

[235-*] "The position of the table had now become the token of a distinct
and solemn belief as to the nature of the eucharist, and was therefore
treated as a question of conscience and an article of faith."--Cardwell's
Documentary Annals, vol. ii. p. 186, note. The extracts given from the
injunctions have been principally taken from this work.

[240-*] The unostentatious and laudable practice of bestowing alms to the
charity-box has long fallen into disuse in most churches; but within the
last few years charity-boxes have been set up in some of our churches, and
this commendable custom is again gradually reviving.

[242-*] Neal's History of the Puritans, vol. iii. p. 170.

[244-*] Cardwell's Conferences, p. 272.

[250-*] Hickeringill's Ceremony-Monger, (pub. 1689,) p. 63.

OXFORD: Printed by T. Combe, Printer to the University.--May 10, 1841

         _Published by J. H. Parker, Oxford._

                   SECOND EDITION.

    In the Press, with many additional Wood-Cuts,

                      A GLIMPSE
                        AT THE



               2 Vols. 8vo. 1_l._ 4_s._

                 A GLOSSARY OF TERMS
                       USED IN
               GRECIAN, ROMAN, ITALIAN,
                 GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE.

       Exemplified by Seven Hundred Wood-Cuts.

         _Published by J. H. Parker, Oxford._




  Containing Four Hundred additional Examples, with
      descriptive Letter-Press, a Chronological
             Table, and Index of Places.


                      SOME ACCOUNT
                        OF THE


                BY R. C. HUSSEY, Esq.

  Illustrated by numerous Engravings, from original
            drawings, of EXISTING REMAINS.

  3 Vols. 8vo, 2_l._ 18_s._ 3 Vols. 4to, 5_l._ 10_s._

                 MEMORIALS OF OXFORD.

                BY JAMES INGRAM, D.D.
            President of Trinity College.


Transcriber's Note

The following errors and inconsistencies have been maintained.

Misspelled words and typographical errors:
      Page  Error
  TN-1  26  (fig. 5.). has an extra . following the )
  TN-2  79  isuse should read disuse
  TN-3 104  rom should read from
  TN-4 106  pannels should read panels
  TN-5 156, fn +  1236. De Baptismo should have an open quote mark before
  TN-6 192  each which should read each of which. The word "of" did
            not print in the original text, although a space is present
            for it.

The following words had inconsistent hyphenation:

  wood-work / woodwork
  zig-zag / zigzag

The following words had inconsistent spelling:

  Botolph / Botulph
  Higham Ferrars / Higham Ferrers
  Sherbourne / Sherborne
  Wooten Wawen / Wotten Wawen

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Principles of Gothic
Ecclesiastical Architecture, Elucidated by Question and Answer, 4th ed., by Matthew Holbeche Bloxam


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