At the extreme east is the New Building. Its side walls are built in continuation of the walls of the choir aisles, and it has a square end. It is lit by thirteen large windows, all of the same design, of which the five at the east end, and the two most western of the sides, are of four lights each, the remaining four having three lights each. Between each pair of the latter there is no buttress; there are thus in all twelve buttresses, six being at the east end. These are massive, having to support the heavy fan-tracery within. Each buttress has a seated figure at the top, commonly believed to represent an Apostle; but the outlines are much worn, and it is not possible to distinguish them by any symbols they may bear. There is a very handsome open parapet, adorned with ornaments and shields bearing letters or monograms.
The parapet of quatrefoils, which runs round the sides of the transepts and choir, is not continued in the apse; an Early English parapet, with five circular medallions cusped, having been erected previously. The Decorated windows of the apse are particularly fine. The arcade beneath the upper tier, unlike the arcade in similar positions in other parts of the church, is here intersecting.
The three beautiful geometric windows in the east wall of the South Transept, which have three circles in the heads with five cusps, are most likely of exactly the same design as the windows in the demolished Lady Chapel. At the south end of this transept is a Norman door, and outside are the remains of a short covered passage which communicated with the cloisters. These will be described hereafter.
The south side of the nave differs only from the north side in its having two doorways from the cloisters, in the superior elegance of the south-west spire, and in the unfinished state of the south-west tower. The portion of this tower above the roof Mr Paley pronounces, from the details of the windows on the east side, to be of much later date than the other tower; and he adds that it is hard to see how the roof of the transept was terminated before this stage was built to abut it. Both towers are longer from east to west than from north to south.
Of the two doorways from the cloister to the cathedral, that at the east end of the north walk, which is called the Canons' door, is a fine specimen of Norman work. The arch is of four orders supported by nook-shafts with plain cushion-capitals. The innermost order has a very uncommon moulding—large chevrons with a fleur-de-lis in the angles. The outermost order has a double zigzag moulding, and a double-billet hood moulding surrounds the whole arch. The other archway at the west end, called the Bishop's door, is an insertion of the thirteenth century, with bold tooth-ornament on each side.
The plan of the Monastery given on page 58 has been taken from one prepared by the late Precentor Walcott of Chichester, and communicated to "The Building News," in 1878. In this plan the choir is represented as it was arranged in olden times, and not as it appeared after it was shortened by the erection of the organ-screen under the eastern arch of the tower in Dean Monk's time. The position of the ancient buildings is also indicated, though some of them, as the Lady Chapel, Dormitory, Chapter-house and Infirmary Chapel, have long been destroyed. The various portions will be understood by the following references.
(1) New Building. (2) Reredos, or Altar-screen. (3) Screens. Recent discoveries have proved that the choir aisles originally ended, or at least were designed to end, in apses. (4) High Altar. (5) Entry to passage to Lady Chapel; a small chapel to the east. (6) Lady Chapel. (7) Door to it from north transept aisle. (8) Chapel of S. John. (9) Chapel of S. James. (10) Chapel of S. Oswald, the Holy Trinity Chapel above it. (11) Chapel of S. Benedict. (12) Chapel of SS. Kyneburga and Kyneswitha, sisters of Peada and Wulfere, the original founders of the monastery. (13) Choir. (14) Sacristy. (15) Choir-screen. (16) Front of rood-loft. (17) Nave. (18) Gate to grave-yard. (19) Gate to Prior's lodging. (20) Minster close. (21) Gatehouse to Abbot's lodging, with the Knights' chamber above. (22) Chancel of the chapel of S. Thomas of Canterbury. (23) Great gateway of the close. (24, 25) Doorways from the cloisters. (26) Slype. (27) Parlour. (28)Chapter-house. (29) Porch. (30) Dormitory. (31) Cloisters. (32) Lavatory. (33) Refectory. (34) Dark entry. (35) Gong. (36) Kitchen. (37) Abbot's lodging. (38) Prior's lodging. (39) Infirmarer's hall. (40) Chapel to Infirmary, dedicated to S. Laurence. (41) The chancel, and (42) the nave of this chapel. (43) Hall of Infirmary, the inmates occupying the aisles. (44) Door to Infirmary. (45) Precinct wall and stables. The building close to the south side of the Infirmary, not numbered in this plan, is an ancient residence now used as a dwelling for one of the canons in residence. The small building south-west of the front is an old vaulted room, now used as a clerk's office, originally believed to have been the Penitentiary. The old abbey gaol has escaped notice, though it in part remains. Its door is immediately to the right upon entering the close through the great gateway.
The Interior.—With few exceptions, to be noticed in due course, the whole of the interior of the cathedral is in the Norman style, and many judge it to be the most perfect specimen in England. The plan consists of a nave of ten bays, with aisles, and a western transept; transepts of four bays with eastern chapels, the south transept having also a groined chamber to the west, extending for its whole length; a choir of four bays, terminating in an apse, nearly semicircular, with aisles; and beyond the apse a large square-ended addition for more chapels, having a groined stone roof of fan tracery, now known as the New Building. The ritual choir, as distinguished from the architectural choir, extends two bays into the nave. This arrangement is a return to the ancient one used by the Benedictines, the choir in Dean Monk's alterations having been limited to the portion east of the central tower.
As we enter at the west door we see at a glance the entire length, and the whole beauty of the admirable proportion of the several parts. While many may wish that the great arches of the tower which can be seen from the west end had never been altered from the round form of the Norman builders, few will regret that the Decorated arches which took their place were retained when the tower was rebuilt, instead of having new arches in the Norman style substituted. The want of colour which is so marked a defect in many English cathedrals is not so conspicuous here, because of the painted ceiling.
The Norman work being in the main so complete, it will be best to begin the description where the building itself was begun, at the apse. At the west door we stand where the work was finished. We know when the building commenced, in 1117, but we do not know exactly when the whole was finished to the western wall; but, speaking roughly, though not very far from the truth, we may say that the minster took eighty years to complete. This may be slightly more than was actually taken. During that time the work was not continuous: there were some Abbots who appear to have done little or nothing towards extending the works, and sometimes accordingly there was an entire cessation from active operations. Including the west front, we should have to assign nearly 120 years to the completion of the building.
The Choir.—Up to the commencement of the apse the choir is of four bays. The pillars are alternately round and with eight or twelve sides; all have cushioned capitals, indented to agree with the mouldings above; all had a shaft on the inner side rising to the roof, to support the wooden groining, but the lower parts of some of these shafts were cut away to make room for the woodwork of Dean Monk's choir. The ornamentation throughout is plentiful, but we see nothing but the billet, the chevron, and the hatchet moulding, all indicative of early work. The triforium has two recessed arches, beneath the principal arch, divided by a plain shaft. It is specially to be noticed that all the tympana in the triforium range are differently ornamented. In each bay of the clerestory range are three arches, one large and two small ones; the capitals to the shafts have the plain cushion (as in the triforium) and from these shafts a narrower arch connects them with the outer wall. There is a passage here all round the choir. Below the triforium a stringcourse of chevrons runs all along.
Between the choir bays and the apse is solid wall, rather longer than the distance between the central lines of adjoining piers. Here are two massive half-pillars, reaching to the roof, undoubtedly meant to be crowned with a round arch like those to the transepts; and this seems to shew that the intention was to vault the apse with stone. The apse is by far the best large Norman apse remaining in this country. At Norwich, where is the only possible rival, the lower part only is semicircular and original, the whole of the upper part being of Decorated date, and pentagonal. This apse is in five divisions, separated by clustered shafts which rise to the roof. Originally there were three tiers of round-headed Norman windows; the nine windows in the centre were enlarged and filled with very good tracery in the Decorated period, and the lower windows also on the other two sides. When, in the Perpendicular age, the new building was added, the three lowest windows were removed altogether and the wall beneath them, leaving three open arches. The inner wall surface of the five lowest windows has been filled with elegant hanging tracery of fourteenth century date, the designs being all different. In some cases this tracery is placed just below the Norman stringcourse, but in others the stringcourse has been removed to make room for it. There was no necessity to convert the two lowest side windows into arches; and they accordingly remain there to this day; but being no longer exposed to the outer air all the glass is gone, though the notches that held it, and the strong bars that protected it, have been suffered to stay. There was never any ambulatory round the apse outside; we can still see, from the new building, portions of a stringcourse which was external, as well as other evidences that the apse was the end of the church. It is also known that there was a highway at the east end of the church, almost touching it. In the stage corresponding to the triforium are to be seen on the walls the remains of painted coats of arms, the shape of the shield suggesting that they are as early as the thirteenth century; some also have been cut in half by the later Decorated alterations.
The choir roof is vaulted in wood. In the time of Dean Saunders it was repainted with gold and colours. From the character of the bosses, and the capitals where the wood is joined to the tall shafts rising from the pillars in the choir, and from the general ornamentation, it is manifest that this was constructed towards the end of the fifteenth century. It was at one time painted all over yellow and white. The carving of the different bosses is well worth attention. There has not been discovered any mark or initials that might help us to assign a positive date. We can see, among other designs, the cross keys of the patron Saint; the Saviour on the Cross accompanied by S. Mary and S. John (this is in the central line, near the tower); three lilies; three fishes with intersecting tails. The roof over the apse is flat. It has been decorated from a design by Sir G.G. Scott, with an emblematical representation of Christ as a Vine, the Disciples being half-figures in medallions among the foliage. An inscription bearing upon the subject forms the border. The general effect will be like, though not identical with, the original painting in this place. This was one of the decorations of the church that excited the fury of the soldiers and others who dismantled the minster in the civil war in the seventeenth century. "This is the Idol they worship and adore" was the cry of some of the party; upon which muskets were discharged, and the picture wholly defaced. The description of the design is given in these words: "Over this place" (that is, the altar-screen) "in the Roof of the Church, in a large Oval yet to be seen, was the Picture of our Saviour seated on a Throne, one hand erected, and holding a Globe in the other: attended with the four Evangelists and Saints on each side, with Crowns in their hands; intended, I suppose, for a Representation of our Saviour's coming to judgment."
The flat roof of the apse being lower than the roof of the choir, the space between the levels is filled with twelve painted figures.
The whole of the internal fittings of the choir (speaking now of the ritual choir) are new, and are part of the recent restoration. The new woodwork began to be placed in position in 1890. There is indeed a little old work, which was in the old choir before it was altered in the early part of this century. When removed, some of the front desks had been placed in the morning chapel, though much of the projecting tracery work was taken off. It was realised, when the existing stall-work was being designed, that these would be very suitable for use in their old position. Accordingly, all that could be so used have been placed again in the choir, with their traceried panels restored; and the new work is made of the same character. The New Stalls are of the finest oak, with miserere seats; the backs have rich tracery, with raised shields, moulded groined ceilings, and carved bosses at the intersection of the ribs. They are surmounted by octagonal canopies, in three stages, the uppermost containing a niche for a carved figure to each stall, while other figures, of much smaller size, are to be seen below. A few have at the back the armorial bearings of the donor, or some other symbol, such as the masonic emblems in those given by the Freemasons of England. The names of the cathedral officers and others to whom the different stalls are assigned, have been inscribed on the label at the head of each; the donor's name is recorded on the seats.
With the exception of the first figure, the whole of the larger figures at the top of the canopies have some special connection with the monastery or the cathedral. Beginning at the Dean's stall, and proceeding eastwards, the statues on the south side represent the following:—
Two at the summit of the Dean's stall, SS. Paul and Andrew.
1. S. Peter, the Patron Saint. 2. Saxulf (656), the first Abbot. 3. Adulf (971), Abbot, afterwards Archbishop of York. 4. Kenulf (992), Abbot, afterwards Bishop of Winchester. 5. Leofric (1057), Abbot. 6. Turold (1069), Abbot, appointed by William the Conqueror. 7. Ernulf (1107), Abbot, afterwards Bishop of Rochester. 8. Martin de Bee (1133), Abbot when the choir was dedicated. 9. Benedict (1175), Abbot. He built the greater part, if not all, of the nave. 10. Martin of Ramsey (1226), Abbot. 11. John of Calais (1249), Abbot. He built the infirmary, probably the refectory, and part of the cloisters. 12. Richard of London (1274), Abbot. He built the north-western tower. 13. Adam of Boothby (1321), Abbot. 14. William Genge (1396), first mitred Abbot. 15. Richard Ashton (1438), Abbot. He began the new building. 16. Robert Kirton (1496), Abbot. He finished the new building, and built the Deanery gateway. 17. John Towers (1638), Bishop. Previously Dean (1630). 18. Thomas White (1685), Bishop. Nonjuror. 19. William Connor Magee (1868), Bishop, afterwards Archbishop of York. 20. Simon Patrick (1679), Dean, afterwards Bishop of Chichester, and finally of Ely. 21. Augustus Page Saunders (1853), Dean. 22. John James Stewart Perowne (1878), Dean, afterwards Bishop of Worcester.
The upper figures on the north side are these:—
Two at the summit of the Vice-Dean's stall, Kings Wolfere and Ethelred.
1. Peada, King of Mercia, founder of the monastery. 2. Cuthbald (675), second Abbot. 3. Edgar, King of Mercia and Wessex, restorer of the monastery. 4. Ethelfleda, his queen. 5. Brando (1066), Abbot. 6. Hereward, the Saxon patriot (1070), nephew of Abbot Brando, and knighted by him. 7. John deSais (1114), Abbot. He commenced the building of the existing choir. 8. Hedda (died 870), Abbot, murdered by the Danes. 9. Robert of Lindsey (1214), Abbot. He holds a model of the west front, probably built or begun in his time. 10. Godfrey of Crowland (1299), Abbot. He bears a model of the gateway to the palace grounds. 11. William Ramsey (1471), Abbot. He was one of the donors of the brass eagle lectern still in use. 12. William Parys (died 1286), Prior. He built the Lady Chapel. 13. S. Giles, the famous Benedictine Abbot, with his tame hind beside him. 14. Hugo Candidus, the chronicler. 15. Henry of Overton (1361), Abbot. 16. Queen Katherine of Arragon. 17. John Cosin (1640), Dean, afterwards Bishop of Durham. 18. Simon Gunton (1646), Prebendary, the historian of the church. 19. Herbert Marsh (1819), Bishop. 20. George Davys (1839), Bishop. 21. James Henry Monk (1822), Dean, afterwards Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol. 22. Marsham Argles (1891), Dean. Previously Canon (1849).
The dates in the above lists, unless stated otherwise, are the dates of appointment. With the single exception of Henry of Overton, of whom very little indeed is known except that he was abbot for nearly thirty years, the selection that has been made appears to be very good. In some way or other all the persons represented are eminent. The authorities are to be congratulated upon their including in the series several dignitaries of the last century.
The smaller figures on the south side are all characters from the New Testament; those on the north side are taken from the Old Testament. The carving on the sides of the two westernmost stalls is of great interest. The panels on the south represent the miraculous preservation of the arm of S. Oswald. This arm was one of the greatest treasures of the house, and was reputed to be the cause of many cures. The legend is given hereafter in the notice of Abbot Elsinus, the great collector of relics. In the corresponding position on the north side is represented the story of S. Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester. On the back of the stalls in the south aisle are two pieces of tapestry, picturing the release of S. Peter and the healing of the lame man at the Gate Beautiful.
The carving on the Pulpit and Throne will repay careful study. In the niches at the base of the pulpit are four abbots, chiefly connected with the erection of the building. They are John de Sais, who holds a model of the apse, Martin de Bec, William of Waterville, and Walter of S. Edmunds. Round the main body of the pulpit are four saints in niches, SS. Peter, Paul, John and James, each easily identified by what is held in the hand. Between these niches are wide panels carved with subjects associated with preaching. Abbot Saxulf preaching to the Mercians; Christ sending forth the Apostles; S. Peter preaching after the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
The throne is raised on three steps. Above the canopy is a lofty spire. On the sides of the seat are SS. Peter and Paul. On the book board are symbolical representations of the virtues of Temperance, Wisdom, Fortitude, and Justice. In the lower tier on the canopy are six figures: Saxulf, first Abbot; Cuthwin, first Bishop of Leicester; John de Sais; Benedict; S. Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, his hand resting on the head of his tame swan; and John Chambers, last Abbot and first Bishop of Peterborough. In the upper tier are four Bishops: Bishop Dove, the theologian; Bishop Cumberland, the philosopher; Bishop Kennett, the antiquary; and Archbishop Magee, the orator.
One of the statues over the stalls, that representing S. Giles, has also a figure of a hind; in the representation of S. Hugh of Lincoln on the throne we see a swan. The hind was really a type of solitude and purity of life, and as such is found in many ancient carvings and paintings accompanying various Saints. There is also a legend specially connecting this creature with S. Giles. In a retreat in a forest in the diocese of Nismes, the recluse, with one companion, is said to have lived on the fruits of the earth and the milk of a hind. Some dogs that were out hunting pursued this hind, and she took refuge in the dwelling of the Saint. The sportsman, Flavius Wamba, King of the Goths, treated him with every mark of respect, and gave him land wherewith to endow a monastery. Of S. Hugh's swan a long account is given in the "Vita S. Hugonis Lincolniensis" published in the Rolls Series. A swan never before seen at the place flew to the Bishop at his manor at Stowe directly after he had been enthroned at Lincoln. He became passionately attached to the bishop, but exhibited no liking for anyone else, he considered himself bound to protect his master, driving other people away from him, "As I myself," writes Giraldus Cambrensis, "have often with wonder seen," with his wings and beak.
The Organ was rebuilt in 1894 by Hill and Son at a cost, including the case, of L4,400, and at the expense of the late Mr. W.H. Foster of Witley, Surrey, though his name, at his own wish, remained undisclosed during his lifetime. The action is now controlled by electricity.
The Great, Swell, Solo, and Pedal Organ (except the two stops Bourdon and Bass Flute of the last) are placed in four bays of the north triforium of the nave; the choir organ and the two Pedal stops are in the first bay of the north aisle, and the Console in the second bay behind the stalls. There are 68 speaking stops and 4,453 pipes as follows:
Great Organ (Compass CC to C in Alt.) 17 stops 1,342 pipes. Choir " 11 " 671 " Swell " 17 " 1,330 " Solo " 11 " 720 " Pedal " (Compass CCCC to F) 12 " 390 "
The Canopied Reredos or Baldachino was given by the eight surviving children of Dean Saunders as a memorial of their parents. The retable was given by the Old Boys of the King's School. The reredos is a magnificent erection, and renders the east end of this cathedral one of the most dignified in the kingdom. The dais on which it stands is thirteen feet square, and the summit reaches to the height of thirty-five feet. Four large marble columns stand at the corners, from the capitals of which spring cusped arches, the spandrels being enriched with mosaic; while at the angles, above the columns, are figures of the Evangelists in niches. The large central panel in front has the figure of Our Lord; at the back is S. Peter. The material is Derbyshire alabaster; the work was executed by Mr Robert Davison, of London.
The Mosaic Pavement, also the work of Mr Davison, was the gift of the late Dean and Miss Argles. The following description of it is from the pen of Mr Davison.
"Passing into the choir from the west, the pavement between the stalls is of tesselated Roman mosaic, in an effective geometrical pattern of squares, and oblongs of red, green and white marbles. The first bay of the chancel is also in Roman mosaic, but of more elaborate design, the central portion being a framework of interlacing cream bands, forming diamond shaped panels alternating with circles, the centres of these panels being varied reds and greens; the framework surrounds four large panels of Pavonazzo d'Italie, each in six slabs. This is a beautiful marble of feathery purple grey veinings on a creamy white ground. This central part is flanked on each side by a broad band of the same Pavonazzo, which separates it from the large side panels of a bold design of squares of red, green and cream placed diagonally, interlaced by white bands; upon these panels stand the pulpit on the north side, and the bishop's throne on the south. This bay is approached from the choir by the first marble step which is in Frosterley, a marble with beautiful madrepores of light colour on a dark ground. The next bay is of similar design to the first, but is approached by two steps of Levanto marble of reddish brown tint with small veinings of white. The third and fourth bays are in a marble mosaic called Opus Alexandrinum, composed of various rich marbles of brilliant reds, greens, greys, yellows, and creams, divided into the main design by bands of Pavonazzo. The design of the third bay is divided into three equal panels, in the centre of which are four large slabs of Cipolino, a charming marble of a light green tint in broad wavy lines on a lighter ground, which are framed in by a combination of small panels of mosaic of varied rich patterns of triangles and squares, which are again enclosed by a broad border of mosaic of white squares on a ground of light green Vert de Suede. The step up to this bay, and also the step to the next and to the altar pace, all of which stretch the full length of the chancel, as well as the three steps to the altar dais, are in carefully selected Pavonazzo. The design of the fourth bay is a system of interlacing bands, forming alternately large and small octagons, between which are squares and oblongs. The small octagons are rich plaques of marble, while the large ones are divided radially into eight panels. All these parts are filled with mosaic of varying patterns and colours. At each end of this bay is a long panel of overlapping circles, filled in with rich mosaic. The panel on the altar pace and the three panels on the altar dais are in the same mosaic, each of a different design; the long plaques of marble in the upper panel are red and green of rich dark marbles. The two panels at the side of the dais are in opus sectile, a design of hexagons of Pavonazzo, with diamonds of Vert des Alpes between them. The broad band of red, the whole length of the chancel on the outsides of the pavement, is of Levanto marble, forming a finish to the work."
The Screens, enclosing the four eastern bays of the choir, were given as a public memorial to Dean Argles. They are of very admirable wrought-iron. The same may be said of the choir gates. The former are the work of White & Son, of London; the latter of Singer & Son, of Frome. The short pillars that support the choir gates, and the unrelieved backs of the returned stalls, have at present the unsatisfactory appearance of all unfinished work. A drawing of the complete design is exhibited in a frame on an adjacent pillar.
The single ancient object among the fittings in the choir is the brass eagle Lectern. This was given to the monastery by William Ramsey, Abbot, and John Malden, Prior; it is consequently of late fifteenth century date. An inscription recording the names of the donors, in two Latin lines, was engraved round a projection in the middle of the stem. Centuries of hard scouring have obliterated this; but the upper and lower ends of most of the letters can just be traced. An expert can satisfy himself that the inscription as preserved by Gunton is practically correct. It seems to have been this, though it is not possible to vouch for every letter.
Haec tibi lectrina dant Petre metallica bina Iohes Malden prior et Wills de Ramiseya.
Besides the donors already named, the following became contributors for special objects, many of them having in addition given substantial assistance in money to the restoration fund. The choir pulpit, Bishop's throne, and the cost of cleaning the whitewash from the nave were given by Dean Argles. Enlargement of foot-pace, and extension of mosaic pavement, by Mrs Argles. Decoration of ceiling of lantern tower, and new frames for the bells, by Mr H.P. Gates, Chapter Clerk. Litany desk, by Mrs Rigg. Altar ornaments, by Canon Alderson. The 44 stalls were given by Archbishop Magee, Lady Elizabeth Villiers (7), Lady Louisa Wells, Mr H.P. Gates, Friends of Canon Clayton, Family of Canon Pratt, Hon. Canon Willes, Hon. Canon Twells, an ex-chorister of the cathedral, Mr James Bristow, Mr. W.U. Heygate, Mr S.G. Stopford-Sackville, Mrs Yard, Mr J.D. Goodman, Miss Pears, Mrs Perry Herrick, Mrs W.L. Collins and Mrs H.L. Hansel, Mr Albert Pell, Mrs Dawson Rowley, The Mayor and Corporation, Mr F. James, the Freemasons of England (3), Friends of Lady Isham and Miss Perowne (2), Rev. W.R.P. Waudby, Mr G.L. Watson, Major-General Sotheby, Mrs Hunt, Rev. A. Redifer, Mr J.G. Dearden, Mrs Percival, the Misses Broughton, Rev. S.A.T. Yates (in memory of Mr Charles Davys Argles), Rev. W.H. Cooper, Mr T.A. Argles, Mrs Argles.
The choir aisles are vaulted; the section of the vaulting ribs is much heavier than in the aisles of the nave, and shews an earlier date. It has recently been discovered that these aisles, contrary to what was usually believed, were terminated with apses and were not square-ended. In the south aisle is traced on the floor the position of the old semicircular ending. The windows here were altered at the same time as those in the nave aisles: but in the north choir aisle the windows were taken out and arches formed leading to the passage between this aisle and the Lady Chapel, the most western arch being Perpendicular: in the seventeenth century, when the Lady Chapel was pulled down, these arches were again filled up with masonry and windows. The third window in this aisle has escaped alteration in form; but Perpendicular tracery has been inserted.
The eastern ends of both aisles were altered in Early English times. They have now a groined roof of one bay of that period, and very handsome double piscinas. The aumbry on the north side in the south choir aisle has been glazed, and is utilised as a cupboard to hold some curiosities. In the north choir aisle there is an approach to the morning chapel through a screen; but in the south choir aisle the corresponding space is filled by a Norman monumental arch.
The New Building built beyond the apse is a very noble specimen of late Perpendicular work. It was begun by Abbot Richard Ashton (1438-1471), and completed by Abbot Robert Kirton (1496-1528): the works seem to have been suspended between these periods. The roof has the beautiful fan tracery, very similar on a smaller scale to that at King's College Chapel at Cambridge. The building is of the width of the choir and aisles together. It contained three altars at the date of the suppression of monasteries, "upon each altar a Table of the Passion of Christ, Gilt."
The central bay has been recently fitted up for early celebrations of the Holy Communion. The junction of this addition with the original Norman apse is admirable, and should be specially noticed. Parts of the original external stringcourse of the apse can be seen. The ornamentation on the bosses of the roof, and in the cavetto below the windows, and round the great arches from the choir aisles, is very varied. It must be sufficient here to indicate some of the designs. Most need little explanation, but a few are hard to understand. On the roof may be seen the three lions of England, a cross between four martlets, three crowns each pierced by an arrow, and another design. The smaller designs include four-leaved flowers, Tudor roses, fleurs-de-lys, the portcullis, some undescribable creatures, crossed keys, crossed swords, crossed crosiers, crosses, crowns, crowns pierced with arrows, crowned female heads, an eagle, the head of the Baptist in a charger, an angel, mitres, three feathers rising from a crown, S. Andrew's cross, and perhaps others. There are also some rebuses, and some lettering. On the north wall, in six several squares, are the letters of the name Ashton interwoven with scrolls; the letters AR before a church, and a bird on a tun occur more than once. This certainly refers to Abbot Robert Kirton; but what the bird means is not clear. In the moulding over the large arch to the south choir aisle are four sets of letters. They form the last verse of the psalter. The words are contracted: they stand for Omnis spiritus laudet Dominum.
The Transepts, including the arch to the aisles, are of four bays, and, as has before been pointed out, are of precisely the same character as the work in the choir. The central piers here are octagonal. All round the Norman portion of the church, below the windows, is an arcade of round arches with simple round mouldings and plain cushion capitals: in the transepts these have not intersecting heads, as in the choir and nave. The western sides of the transepts have no proper triforium, but a passage runs along in front of the windows in the triforium range. The chapels to the east have Perpendicular screens. In the north transept those three chapels were made into one which was used for early service, and called the morning chapel. We read in the chapter records of a minor canon being appointed to read the prayers at 6 o'clock, and once at least the hour is named as 5 o'clock, in the morning. This chapel was fitted up with some of the desks from the choir; and, judging from a number of names and initials that had been cut upon the desks, it has been conjectured that it was at one time used for the chapel of the King's School. At the north end is a desk for the reader or readers made out of two Early English stalls; there are three double shafts with admirably carved wooden foliage in the capitals. A very fine little Norman door leads to the staircase to the triforium. It should be mentioned that in the triforium is arranged an excellent series of stones, fragments, mouldings, and various ornaments, found in different places during the recent restoration.
The series of basins of Alwalton marble was found, during the recent underpinning of the west front, in use as foundation stones; they appear to be of late Norman date. One window in the north transept aisle and all three in the south have fine geometrical tracery. The three chapels in the south transept were used as vestries until a few years ago, when the space beneath the bell-tower and part of the north aisle of the nave was converted into a large vestry for both clergy and choir. In the chapel here nearest the choir there remains the lower part of the newel staircase which led to an upper chapel. On the west side of the south transept has been erected a building which has in its time served many different purposes. It can hardly be called an aisle, as there is only access to the transept by a single ogee-headed doorway, which is a Decorated insertion. This building is of late, almost transition, Norman date; and is not very many years later than the transept itself. It can be seen from the cloister court that it had originally three gables. The roof is vaulted. In an inventory of goods made in 1539, printed in Gunton, there is one chapel described as the "Ostrie Chapel," which is believed to refer to this building. In a plan drawn in Bishop Kennett's time and dedicated to him, the south part is called "The Hostry Chapel, now the Chapter-House," and the north part is called the "Chapel of St. Sprite or the Holy Ghost." In some plans it is called the vestry. It has also been employed as a muniment room, as a Chapter-house, and (as now) as a practising room for the choir.
Near the south-western pier of the central tower access can be obtained to what remains of the Saxon Church. It was when the foundations of this pier were reached, in 1883, that the first indications of an earlier building were brought to light. First a solid piece of wall was discovered, and soon after a substantial piece of plaster attached to the wall, running north and south, which has since proved to be the eastern wall of the north transept of the Saxon Church. The workmen also came upon a plaster floor, on which were remains of burnt wood, reddened stone, and other evidences of a conflagration. As the work of excavation proceeded at intervals, fresh discoveries were made. The walls of the north transept, choir, and part of the south transept, can be traced. Just outside the eastern wall can be seen portions of two Saxon tombs which were originally in the grave-yard.
The width of both choir and transepts is about 23 feet. The choir was not apsidal. The south wall of the south transept was just beyond the wall of the existing building; the extreme east end was almost exactly underneath the pillars in the present transept; the west wall of the south transept of the Saxon church was under the practising room; the nave extended into the cloister court. Near the south end of the excavations was discovered a portion of a Saxon altar in situ. No remains have been found of the nave (see plan, p. 9).
The roofs of both transepts are flat, and, except where rotten boards have been replaced, original. They are now uncoloured, but formerly were painted in black and white diamond patterns. All the windows at the north and south ends are Norman, with Perpendicular tracery.
The lantern tower has a fine groined roof, carefully restored and well painted. In the centre is a representation of the Saviour; eight coloured shields have the emblems of the Passion; four have the evangelistic symbols.
The Nave, notwithstanding the years it took to build, the change of architecture that was coming into use as it was being finished, and the alteration in plan that was decided upon towards the end, is a very complete and almost uniform structure. There are ten bays, all having round arches; in the triforium each large arch has two smaller ones beneath it; and in each bay of the clerestory is one high arch and two smaller ones. The triforium arches in the two easternmost bays, on both sides, have the hatchet ornamentation in the tympanum; this may either mark the limits of the old Benedictine choir, or may simply suggest earlier work. Almost the only indication of distinct later work, as we proceed towards the west, is in the different forms of the bases of the piers. The arcading of the aisles curiously changes towards the west in both aisles, but not at corresponding points; the change consists in the reversing the interlacing of the arches. The third pillars from the west end on either side are not really, strictly speaking, pillars at all. They were built as supports to two western towers which it was intended certainly to erect at this point, even if they were not at least in part built. There are many other little details in the neighbourhood of these piers, all confirming Mr Paley's discovery with respect to these contemplated towers, one at any rate of which he thinks was actually erected. The pillars are cylindrical with numerous attached shafts. In addition to the changed form of the bases, careful observers can detect proofs of later work in the capitals of the shafts in the triforium. In front of each pier a shaft rises to the roof; and on these the original ceiling rested. On some of the piers in the south aisle, near the west end, may be seen several very curious masons' marks. In the nave is a very massive pulpit given in 1873 by the family of Dr James, for forty years Canon, bearing an inscription to his memory. It is from the design of Mr Edward Barry, and was meant to be in keeping with the Norman architecture of the nave. The central shaft is of Devonshire marble, the main body of the pulpit of red Dumfries stone, and some of the smaller pillars are of green Greek marble. At the angles are four large figures of the Evangelists. There is a wooden eagle lectern, carved by the late Rev. R.S. Baker, behind the choir-stalls on the south side.
The Nave Ceiling is very curious and remarkable. If originally flat, and supported on the tall shafts last mentioned, it would be just above the great arch of the central tower before that was altered from the round form. It is supposed that this was the case; and that when the pointed arch was substituted the central compartment of the ceiling was raised, and the two outer ones made to slope as we see it now. But if the Norman roof was flat, its outer compartments would manifestly not be broad enough to fill the space now occupied by the sloping sides. And yet there is no alteration in the style of ornamentation: nor are the diamonds, which are divided by the line where the slope joins the horizontal portion, unduly elongated, as would seem to be necessary in the part nearest the wall. Some change was clearly made when the Decorated arches were built; for above the Norman cornice on which the roof was originally laid, there is now a length of painted wood containing coats of arms obviously of later date than the ceiling. It is not possible to pronounce with certainty on the question. But considering (1), that the whole ceiling was certainly raised in consequence of the superior height of the tower arch (2), that no difference can be detected between the centre compartments and those at the side in the patterns, and (3), that additional height has been secured by the Decorated boarding above mentioned, the most probable solution seems to be that the whole is the original Norman work, practically unaltered, and that it was never flat, but had always sloping sides as at present. All agree that the style of the painting is perfectly characteristic of the period. The divisions are of the lozenge shape; in each lozenge of the central line is a figure, and in each alternate one of the sides. The middle set has more elongated lozenges than the others. The borders are black and white, with some coloured lines, in odd zigzag patterns. The figures, which are mostly seated, are very quaint and strange. Some are sacred, some grotesque. We can see S. Peter with the keys, kings, queens, and minstrels; we find also a head with two faces, a monkey riding backwards on a goat, a human figure with head and hoofs of an ass, a donkey playing a harp, a winged dragon, a dancing lion, an eagle, and other curious devices.
The Font stands between the first and second piers on the north side of the nave; the basin is of a local marble of thirteenth century date, but the lower part is modern. For many years it was used as a flower pot in one of the prebendal gardens, whence it was rescued by Dean Monk and ultimately restored to its original use in the south end of the western transept. It was placed where it is in 1920. Another font had been erected in 1615, as appears by an entry in the cathedral register of that date, when the son of one of the prebendaries was baptized "in the new font in the bodye of the Cathedral Church here."
The West Transept extends beyond the aisles. The huge pointed arches covered with Norman mouldings are very remarkable. The arcading which goes round the lower part of the aisle walls was continued round the east sides and the ends of this transept, but it has all been hacked away, and the walls now are flat. The position of the arcade is very plainly to be seen. The south end in 1921 was again restored to its former use as a chapel by the Dean of Winchester, Dr. Hutton. The north end of this transept is used as a vestry. It is screened off, with the adjacent bays of the north aisle, by some of the woodwork that has been removed from Dean Monk's choir. From these specimens the general character of the whole can be easily gathered.
The west wall has no trace of Norman work. The arcade by the ground consists of pointed arches, though the great doorway has a round arch; all have Early English mouldings. The great doors themselves are of the same date, as shown by the carved capital at the top. The west window, with its Perpendicular tracery, is set inside an Early English arch, which has two lofty lancets by the side; and in looking at it from the east it can hardly be detected that this arch is not the very framework of the window. The very lofty lancets on the east of the projecting parts of this transept, as well as the decoration of the arches in the triforium above the aisles, should be noticed.
The number of Altars in the church was considerable. They were of course all served by members of the foundation. but they had not separate endowments like chantries in a parish church. Nor does any one appear to have been associated with any company or guild. There were, besides the High Altar and that in the Lady Chapel, three in the new building, one in the little chapel between the choir and Lady Chapel, one in each choir aisle, two (SS. John and James) in the north transept, four (SS. Oswald, Benedict, and Kyneburga, and the Holy Trinity) in the south transept, two (the Ostrie Chapel and that of the Holy Spirit) in the building west of the south transept, one in the rood-loft, most likely four against pillars in the nave (a bracket on a pillar on the north side marks the position of one), and apparently one in the south part of the west transept. If this enumeration is correct there were not less than twenty-two. There seems also to have been an altar in the hearse over Queen Katherine's tomb; and, though no mention of them occurs, we should suppose there must have been one on each side of the entrance beneath the rood-loft.
Two altar-stones only have been found. One is marked on a plan made about 180 years ago as being laid down in the choir a little to the east of where the eagle lectern now stands. It was subsequently taken up, sawn into three pieces, and placed beneath the arch leading from the western transept to the south aisle. Some twenty-five years ago it was again removed from the pavement and is preserved elsewhere. The five crosses are large and deeply cut, and are in the form of cross-crosslets. The other has been taken up from the pavement in the eastern chapel. It is a very curious example, and one that might well escape notice. The stone is of the usual size, and uninscribed. It is much worn by constant treadings, and the five crosses are nearly obliterated, though quite distinctly to be seen. But instead of there being, as usual, one in each corner of the stone, or nearly so, all the five are towards the centre of the stone, within a space of about two square feet. There is also an extra cross on the front edge. This stone is now used for the altar in S. Oswald's Chapel, in the south transept, refitted in 1900.
Of Stained Glass the only ancient examples are some fragments that have been collected from different parts of the church, mostly as it seems from the cloister, and put together in two central windows in the apse. These are well worth observing with care. No scenes of course can be made out, but the faces, when examined closely, are found to be singularly good. Most of the pieces formed portions of a window or series of windows representing incidents in the life of S. Peter. This is apparent from the few words that can still be made out on the labels, which are all fragments of texts referring to that Saint. The large west window is in memory of soldiers of Northamptonshire who fell during the South African War, 1899-1902; the window has five lights in two tiers; in the upper are representations of King Peada, S. Paul, S. Peter, S. Andrew, and Bishop Ethelwold; in the lower, S. George, Joshua, S. Michael, Gideon, and S. Alban. Brass plates below give the roll of honour.
Five windows of the eastern chapel have now been refilled with-stained glass, one facing north to the late Dean Barlow, 1908; another behind the altar was given by Canon Argles (afterwards Dean) in memory of his father-in-law, Bishop Davys. In the south-east corner the east window is to the memory of Dean Butler, 1861, and the south one to Canon Alderson; the churches pictured are S. Mary's, Lutterworth, All Saints', Holdenby, and a view of the south-east of this cathedral. The next window is in memory of Canon Twells, author of several hymns, including "At even ere the sun was set." In S. Oswald's Chapel is a very beautiful window given in 1900. In the north choir aisle is a memorial window to Thomas Mills, Hon. Canon, 1856. In the south transept some in memory of Payne Edwards, LL.B., 1861; Sir Chapman Marshall, Kt., Alderman of London, whose son was Precentor here; and James Cattel, cathedral librarian, 1877. In the north transept are several given by Mr G.W. Johnson, two in memory of his father and mother, one to the Prince Consort, and some unconnected with any names; there are also two in memory of George John Gates, 1860, and John Hewitt Paley "juvenis desideratissimi," 1857.
The architecture of The Parvise, over the western porch, has been already described. It now contains the library, removed to this place from the new building by Dean Tarrant. The collection was begun by Dean Duport, who presented books himself, and obtained more from the Prebendaries and other persons; it was afterwards enriched with the whole of the valuable library of Bishop Kennett, and part of Dean Lockier's, and has since had many considerable additions. The manuscripts are not numerous, the chief being the very important book known as Swapham. The greater part of this has been printed by Sparkes. His publication includes Abbot John's Chronicle, The History of Burgh by Hugo Candidus with its continuation by Swapham, the Chronicle of Walter of Whittlesey, and two other works. There are also kept here some of the fabric rolls of the monastery. Bishop Kennett's library contained a most valuable collection of tracts and pamphlets published in the latter part of the seventeenth century. There are also some books of much earlier date, a few of great rarity. A memorandum written in the Book of Swapham above mentioned tells us that the Precentor, Humphrey Austin, had hidden it in 1642 in anticipation of coming troubles. But Cromwell's soldiers found it, and would probably have destroyed it; the Precentor, however, under pretence of enquiring after an old Latin bible, found out where it was, and redeemed it for the sum of ten shillings.
Monuments and Inscriptions.—We proceed to speak of these, treated as a single subject, instead of describing them at the various parts of the building where they are to be found.
At first sight it is thought that this cathedral is singularly deficient in monuments of interest. To a certain extent this is the case. There are no memorial chantries, such as add to the beauty of many of our noblest churches; no effigies of warriors or statesmen; no series of ancient tablets or inscriptions that illustrate the history of the neighbourhood; not a single brass. With few exceptions all the monuments and inscriptions that remain commemorate abbots or other members of the monastery, or, after the Reformation, bishops, and members of the cathedral foundation and their families. While of famous persons known to have been buried within the walls, such as Katherine of Arragon, Mary Queen of Scots, the Archbishops Elfricus and Kinsius of York, Sir Geoffrey de la Mare, Sir Robert de Thorpe, and others, no memorials worthy of their fame and importance are in existence. The wanton destruction during the civil war in great part explains this; but it is sad to remember that numbers of mediaeval inscriptions in the floor were hidden or destroyed during some well-meaning but ill-judged alterations in the eighteenth century.
First in interest and importance is that known as the Monks' Stone, now preserved in the new building. It is generally thought that this was constructed in commemoration of the massacre of Abbot Hedda and his monks in 870, by the Danes. It was not till nearly a century later that any attempt was made to rebuild the monastery. But Mr Bloxam read a paper at Peterborough in 1861 in which he disputed the authenticity of this monument, which had been previously regarded as one of the most ancient monumental stones extant. He pronounced it to be Norman, and not Saxon work, and some centuries later in date than the massacre of the monks. He considered the figures did not represent the slain monks and their abbot, but Christ and eleven disciples. It has been further conjectured by Bishop Westcott that it may have been part of the shrine erected over the relics of S. Kyneburga, when they were removed from Castor to Peterborough in the former half of the eleventh century. A fragment of sculpture in the same style is built into the west wall of the south transept. Even if the latter years of the ninth century are deemed too early a date for the stone, at any rate the style of the sculpture and ornamentation seems much earlier than anything we can now see in position in the building itself. May it not have been erected when the minster was reconstructed at the end of the tenth century? It was formerly in the churchyard; sometimes testators (like Dr Pocklington) desired in their wills that they might be interred near it. It has been usually stated that the stone was erected by Abbot Godric of Crowland, who died in 941. Unvarying tradition has associated it with the Danish massacre; its dimensions almost exactly agree with the earliest records of the stone said to have been so erected. The cruciform nimbus round the head of one figure leaves no doubt that it was designed for the Saviour; but this had been recognised many years before Mr Bloxam wrote.
In the north transept, below the level of the floor, and protected by wooden doors, are several richly ornamented slabs or coffin lids, of undoubted Saxon date; and they form a series which may be considered one of the very best in England. They are in their original position, the spot on which they lie being outside the Saxon church and they were then in the grave-yard. They were discovered in 1888. The interlacing work, and other carvings, are deeply cut and in excellent preservation.
The six recumbent effigies of abbots are the very best series of Benedictine memorials in the country. Attempts have been made to identify them from the character of the carvings. But as four are certainly of thirteenth century date, and one late in the twelfth century, and as thirteen abbots ruled during that period, it may be pronounced impossible to name each one. One only, manifestly the latest in date, and also in poorest preservation (being carved in clunch), has the mitre; this is now temporarily placed in the New Building; there is little doubt that it represents John Chambers, the last Abbot and first Bishop. All the other five abbots are represented in alb and chasuble, holding a book (signifying, it is said, the statutes of the Benedictine order), in the left hand; while in the right hand is a crosier. In one instance this is not very clear. Four have their feet resting on fanciful creatures, which, in three cases, hold the lower ends of the crosiers in their mouths. Two of these crosiers, at least, are turned outwards: this is contrary to the commonly received opinion that the turning inward symbolised the domestic rule over a monastic house. The head of one abbot rests on a square cushion. Four of these effigies are in the south choir aisle; one of them being beneath the Norman sepulchral arch raised to commemorate three abbots, John de Sais, who died in 1125, Martin of Bee, in 1155, and Andrew, in 1199. It seems unlikely that the one placed beneath the arch should represent one of those three, although usually assigned to the latest, Andrew. The next two in the aisle were found in the ruins of the old chapter-house, and brought into the church. The date of the easternmost is known. It is more richly ornamented than the rest, and the entire coffin is above ground, with handsome quatrefoils and other carving. This commemorates Alexander of Holderness, 1226. It was found under the woodwork of the old choir which was removed in 1830, beneath the second arch, on the north of the choir. The coffin contained the body, in a large coarse garment, with boots on, and a crosier in the left hand. The boots were what are called "rights and lefts," and in fair preservation. The head was gone. A piece of lead was found inscribed "Abbas: Alexandr:" The remains were gathered together and re-interred beneath the present position of the coffin. At the same time in all likelihood the effigy that was already on the spot (one of those that had been found in the ruins of the chapter-house) was removed to one of the chapels in the south transept; from which place it was afterwards moved to the New Building immediately behind the apse, where now is the monument to Bishop Chambers; and now it has been put on a stone plinth on the spot where the coffin of Abbot Alexander was found, under the mistaken impression that it was the figure found there in 1830.
The other prae-Reformation memorials are very few. Two have lately been found concealed by the paving, Abbot Godfrey, 1321, moved from the choir to the north aisle, and sub-prior Fraunceys, at the east end of the south nave aisle. In the morning chapel is an early stone with inscription in capitals, and three stone coffin lids; other fragmentary inscriptions remain in S. Oswald's chapel, in the north choir aisle, and under the bell-tower.
In the floor on the north side of the choir, near the altar rails, is a stone with modern inscription recording the burial places of Elfrieus and Kinsius, both Archbishops of York: the former died in 1051, the latter in 1060. An old guide-book says that "on the north side, in two hollow places of wall, were found two chests about three feet long, in each of which were the bones of a man: and of whom appeared by a plate of lead in each chest, whereon the name of the person was engraved," these names being those given above. The chronicle expressly records of Kinsius, "jacet tumulatus in scrinio juxta magnum altare in parte boreali."
Queen Katherine of Arragon was buried in the north choir aisle, just outside the most eastern arch, in 1535. A hearse was placed near, probably between the two piers. Four years later this is described as "the inclosed place where the Lady Katherine lieth," and there seems to have been a small altar within it. Some banners that adorned it remained in the cathedral till 1586. About the same time some persons were imprisoned for defacing the "monument," and required to "reform the same." The only monument, strictly so called, of which there is any record, was a low table monument, raised on two shallow steps, with simple quatrefoils, carved in squares set diamond-wise. Engravings of this shew it to have been an insignificant and mean erection. A few slabs of it were lately found buried beneath the floor, and they are now placed against the wall of the aisle. One of the prebendaries repaired this monument at his own cost, about 1725, and supplied a tiny brass plate with name and date, part of which remains in the floor. This monument was removed in 1792. A handsome marble stone has quite recently been laid down to the Queen's memory above her grave, with incised inscription and coats of arms.
A tablet has been erected in the south choir aisle to record the fact that Mary Queen of Scots had been buried near the spot. Recent explorations have proved that the exact spot was just within the choir. The funeral took place on the first of August, 1587. Remains of the hearse between the pillars were to be seen so lately as 1800. On Oct. 11, 1612, the body was removed to Westminster Abbey, by order of King James I., the Queen's son. A photograph of the letter ordering the removal, the original of which is still in possession of the Dean and Chapter, is framed and hung on an adjacent pillar.
In the south choir aisle is a fine monument with a life-size effigy of Archbishop Magee in his robes. It is carved in pure white marble. On the side are impaled coats of arms and an inscription. The likeness is excellent.
The other tablets and inscriptions hardly require detailed descriptions. In the New Building is the mutilated monument to Sir Humfrey Orme: no names or dates remain; at the top are the words Sanguis Iesu Christi purgat nos ab omnibus Peccatis nostris. Near this is an elaborate erection to Thomas Deacon, 1721, a great benefactor to the town. On a stone to John Brimble, organist of S. John's College, Cambridge, 1670, we read that he was Musis et musicae devotissimus, ad coelestem evectus Academiam. Among many inscriptions some interesting items will be found. John Benson, 1827, was the "oldest Committee Clerk at the House of Commons." Humfrey Orme, 1670, was A supremo Ang'iae senatu ad superiorem sanctorum conventum evocatus. On the memorial to Bishop Madan, 1813, are the lines:—
In sacred sleep the pious Bishop lies, Say not in death—A good Man never dies.
On the tablet to Bishop Cumberland, 1718, are four Latin lines from Dean Duport's epigram upon the Bishop's confutation of Hobbes. In the south choir aisle, on the tablet to Dean Lockier, 1740, is the only instance of the arms of the Deanery impaling another shield, on a monument. Near this is a wooden tablet executed in good taste, recording the fact that the iron screens are a memorial to Dean Argles, whose munificent gifts to the cathedral are well known. The Norman arch at the west end of this aisle has a modern painted inscription, believed to be an exact copy of the original:—
Hos tres Abbates, Quibus est Prior Abba Johannes Alter Martinus, Andreas Ultimus, unus Hic claudit Tumulus; pro Clausis ergo rogemus.
Near this is a tablet to Roger Pemberton, 1695, with a line from Homer in Greek, "The race of men is as the race of leaves." In the north choir aisle John Workman, Prebendary, 1685, is described as Proto-Canonicus, probably meaning that he held the first stall. The tablet to Frances Cosin (d. 1642), wife of the Dean, afterwards Bishop of Durham, was not erected till after the Bishop's death in 1672. He prescribed in his will the words of the inscription. On the large tablet above the piscina is a punning motto, Temperantia te Temperatrice, the person commemorated being Richard Tryce, 1767.
Two tablets of interest in connexion with the Great War are to be seen in the south aisle of the nave, one in marble to Nurse Cavell, and the other in bronze to the "lonely Anzac," Thomas Hunter, an Australian who died in Peterborough from wounds received in France.
Last of all we must speak of the one memorial which is usually looked at first, the famous picture of Old Scarlett, on the wall of the western transept. He is represented with a spade, pickaxe, keys, and a whip in his leathern girdle; at his feet is a skull. At the top of the picture are the arms of the cathedral. Beneath the portrait are these lines:—
YOV SEE OLD SCARLEITS PICTVRE STAND ON HIE BVT AT YOVR FEETE THERE DOTH HIS BODY LYE HIS GRAVESTONE DOTH HIS AGE AND DEATH TIME SHOW HIS OFFICE BY THEIS TOKENS YOV MAY KNOW SECOND TO NONE FOR STRENGTH AND STVRDYE LIMM A SCARBABE MIGHTY VOICE WITH VISAGE GRIM HEE HAD INTER'D TWO QVEENES WITHIN THIS PLACE AND THIS TOWNES HOVSEHOLDERS IN HIS LIVES SPACE TWICE OVER: BVT AT LENGTH HIS ONE TVRNE CAME WHAT HEE FOR OTHERS DID FOR HIM THE SAME WAS DONE: NO DOVBT HIS SOVL DOTH LIVE FOR AYE IN HEAVEN: THOVGH HERE HIS BODY CLAD IN CLAY.
On the floor is a stone inscribed: "Ivly 2 1594 R S aetatis 98." This painting is not a contemporary portrait, but a copy made in 1747. In 1866 it was sent on loan to the South Kensington Museum.
THE MINSTER PRECINCTS AND CITY.
There are many objects of great interest to be seen in the Minster Yard. This name is not unfrequently given to the whole of the territory belonging to the Dean and Chapter surrounding the church. The correct title is, however, as given above, the Minster Precincts; and it is by this name that the parish is described, for the Abbey Church, like a few others, is a parish church, as well as the Cathedral of the diocese. Although without churchwardens, this parish still appoints its own overseers of the poor. Old residents distinguish the Close from the Precincts, limiting the use of the former expression to the area west of the Cathedral. Contrary to what all would expect, the great gateway to the west is not the boundary of the Precincts, for they extend a little further west, and include one or two houses beyond the gateway.
This ancient entrance to the monastic grounds naturally first arrests the attention. It was built by Abbot Benedict in the last quarter of the twelfth century. Though it has been much altered, a considerable part of the original structure remains. As we see it from the Marketplace we observe a fifteenth century look about it: on closer inspection we see that a late Decorated arch has been built in front of the Norman arch, and that a facing of the same date has been carried above. Here is an arcade, with the alternate panels pierced for windows. On each side of the gateway are also good Norman arcades; the doorway in the arcade to the north opens into a residence, that on the south gives access to the room above. This was originally the Chapel of S. Nicolas. On the eastern side of the room is a three-light window, manifestly a late insertion, and adapted from some other building. It is said to be part of a shrine which formerly was in the Cathedral, a portion of which still remains in the new building. This statement has been repeated over and over again; but it is difficult to see any resemblance between the two.
The chapel over the gateway has been put to various uses since the dissolution of monasteries. In 1617 it was assigned to the porter as part of his residence. At a later period it was let. It has served the purposes of a muniment room, a Masonic lodge room, a tailor's workshop, a practising room for the choristers, a class-room for the Grammar School. In the flourishing days of the Gentlemen's Society, when members met and read papers, and kept up a considerable literary correspondence with learned men in various parts of the kingdom, its meetings were held here; and it is now used as a Record Room for the Diocese of Peterborough.
On the left hand, as we pass through the gate, is all that remains of the Chapel of S. Thomas of Canterbury. It is the chancel of a much larger building. Originally the chapel was begun by Waterville and finished by Benedict: it was therefore of Norman date. The present chancel was built in the latter part of the fourteenth century. While the east window, with its graceful net tracery and very elegant cross above, might suggest an earlier date, yet a glance at the side windows, which are distinctly of transitional character, tells us that 1360 or 1370 may be assigned as the period of erection. About 1404 the abbey gave the materials of the nave of this chapel to the town, to assist in rebuilding the parish church on the present site; but the chancel had been too recently built to be removed. Since the establishment of the Cathedral the chancel seems always to have been used as the Cathedral Grammar School, until the year 1885, when the School was removed to new buildings in the Park Road. It was next used as a museum by the Natural History and Archaeological Society, until their collection outgrew the room and they removed to larger premises in Queen Street (see p. 111). For a time it was a Needlework School of Art, and now it is a Rovers Den in connexion with the Scout movement.
All the other ancient buildings on the west, the Plumber's Office, the Sister House, the Treasurer's Office, have long disappeared. The Minster Almshouses, adjoining the wall of the Deanery garden, are the only buildings on the north side. They have no ancient features.
The door immediately to the right of the great gateway as we enter the close leads to a vaulted chamber which was once the gaol. A few steps bring us to a very magnificent gateway, leading to the Palace grounds, over which is a chamber, called the Knights' Chamber. This is of Early English date, with a fine groined roof. The gates and postern are placed at some distance from the outer archway, adding greatly to the dignity and effect of the whole composition. The delicate arcading of the sides, and the excellent clustered shafts, are good examples of the period: unfortunately the bases of the shafts are now hidden by accumulation of earth. On the north and south faces are long niches with figures: three on the north are said to be King Edward II., and the Abbot and Prior of the period; those on the south are Apostles. The chamber above is used for meetings, etc.
Much of the line of buildings to the east of this gateway is modern, but it harmonizes excellently with the ancient work. Near the Cathedral is some mediaeval work, and the office at the end, on the ground floor, has a good stone groined roof. This is believed to have been the Penitentiary.
The Deanery Gateway, at the north-eastern corner of the close is a fine specimen of architecture. In the spandrels above the great four-centred arch are two coats of arms, one with the keys and crosslets, the other with swords and crosses. These are now the arms of the See and the Cathedral respectively: but it is difficult to say what was their special significance when this gate was erected. Are we to suppose that the Abbot and Prior used different armorial bearings before the Reformation? Above the smaller door is a boldly carved rebus of the Abbot in whose time the gate was erected, a church on a tun, Robert Kirton (Kirkton). His initials in stone are also carved beneath the parapet. Several of the details are well worthy of attention. We find the Tudor rose and portcullis: the arms of S. Edward and of S. Edmund, the Martyr King; an early instance in stone of the Prince of Wales' feathers; and the triangular symbol of the Holy Trinity. The date is about 1520.
Through an open archway to the east we enter the burial ground. Until 1804 this was the only place of burial for the whole city. On the left is the Deanery, but nothing of antiquity is to be seen from the exterior. In the hall are some good fragments of old glass, some of it probably part of the original embellishments of the house, though some may have been brought from the Cathedral, and some is again quite modern. Some panels of early date, brought from another room, have also lately been put up in the hall. The churchyard has been planted with trees and shrubs, and is well kept. It has, however, become much more publicly used than was the case in the last century, owing to a thoroughfare for foot-passengers which has been opened at the north-western end of the close; and the usual results of such publicity have followed in the treading down of the turf and in the damage inflicted on the shrubs. One of the most striking views of the Cathedral is seen from the north-eastern corner of the precincts, near the house known as "The Vineyard." This was the house occupied by the officers who came down to superintend the spoliation of the building in 1643. This view takes in the whole of the great length of the Cathedral, the bell-tower and the north-western spire forming a very effective group.
Passing round the east end and proceeding to the south we come to the ruins of the Infirmary. Here we may see some very excellent Early English work, most elegant and graceful. It was erected about 1260. The plan was similar to a large church with aisles. The nave was used as the hall, the aisles were the quarters of the inmates, and the chancel was the chapel of the institution. Many of the main arches remain, and the details of the ornamentation and mouldings will repay careful study. At the west end is a very perfect piece of arcading. The large arch, seen above a low wall to the east, was the arch leading to the chapel; in exactly the same position as the chancel arch in a church. At each side of this arch is a lancet never pierced. The main arch is now blocked up, forming a wall to one of the prebendal houses. The dining room of this same house was the Infirmarer's house, and has much very interesting Early English work. To the south of the Infirmary is another ancient house, though much modernised.
Before entering the Cloister court we pass through the old slype, once a simple vaulted passage, but now open to the sky. It was the means of communication between the Refectory, which was situated to the west, and the Chapter House, which was on the east side of the Cloister. Quite recently some of the arches on the west side have been opened to view, and interesting tracery brought to light.
The Cloister Court is always called the Laurel Court. The origin of this name is not known. The northern part of the area covers the site of the nave of the Saxon church; but though search was made, during the recent works, for remains of the old foundations, nothing was discovered. On the south and west sides are to be seen remains of the arches and groining, but the appearance of the south wall of the cathedral suggests that there could not have been any covered alley to the north, so completely have all evidences of such an erection been removed. But it is known that there did exist an alley there, when the Cloisters were complete; for Gunton, describing it, says "The Cloyster about four square, in length 168 yards, in breadth 6 yards." The windows, contrary to the usual practice, were all glazed, and they contained a very fine series of painted glass, all destroyed in 1643. Gunton gives the subjects:—"The windows were all compleat and fair, adorned with glass of excellent painting: In the South Cloyster was the History of the Old Testament: In the East Cloyster of the New: In the North Cloyster, the Figures of the successive Kings from King Peada: In the West Cloyster, was the History from the foundation of the Monastery of King Peada, to the restoring of it by King Edgar." Each light had two lines of verse at the foot, explaining the subject matter of the glass above. All the verses in the windows of the west alley are given; and from this we gather that there were nine windows there of four lights each. Although Gunton only gives the verses belonging to the west cloister, yet as he said previously that "every window had at the bottom the explanation of the history thus in verse," it is supposed that similar legends appeared in all the other alleys of the cloister. The verses are very quaint.
The archway at the south-eastern corner is very elegant, the open quatrefoil above the round arch and below the pointed arch being especially good. The south wall indicates that there were two sets of cloisters here, as the remains of early English arcading are to be clearly seen. Towards the west was the lavatory, the remains indicating work of late fourteenth century date. It is on record that Robert of Lindsey (1214-1222) erected a lavatory in the south cloister: this would be contemporary with the Early English work remaining in this wall, and with the archway to the slype; but it must have been removed when the cloisters were enlarged, and another lavatory, of which we see the remains under three arches, built in its stead. The Refectory was immediately to the south of this wall: some beautiful carving is to be seen in the Bishop's garden. The south-western doorway gives access to the Bishop's grounds. The depth of the hollows behind the carved foliage above the door is remarkable.
In the west wall are remains of a Norman cloister; there are three arches and a door. From the architectural character it seems almost certain that these are older than any part of the present Cathedral. William of Waterville (1155-1175) "built the Cloister and covered it with lead." Canon Davys conjectures that this Abbot in reality repaired and made sound the old cloisters that had been built by Ernulf (1107-1115), "whose recent additions to the buildings of the monastery, we learn, alone escaped the fire, which consumed the other parts of the Abbey in the time of John de Sais." One of these arches has the cheese moulding; and on each jamb is a small incised cross, a very few inches long. If these are consecration crosses they are the only ones that have been noticed in any part of the Abbey.
On the wall of the building west of the south transept are some stone brackets. These shew that after the destruction of the ancient cloister a covered way of some kind was erected here. Marks can also be seen, in the masonry, which indicate that the building once had three gables. Two of the Norman buttresses of the south nave aisle have very curious terminations, which might well puzzle any observer. They are fireplaces for the use of plumbers. Passing through the Norman doorway at the north-western corner of the Laurel Court, we come into a narrow passage leading to the Minster Close.
In the Bishop's Palace, besides the remains of the Refectory, which, though so scanty, shew what a beautiful building it once was, there is very little worthy of note. The hall is a vaulted chamber, of no great height, with piers to support the roof; most of it is part of the Abbot's dwelling, and of thirteenth century date. The Heaven's Gate Chamber, previously noticed, built by Abbot Kirton (1496-1528), lies to the south-east of the hall. The chapel was erected by Bishop Magee soon after he came to the diocese.
The City.—The mother church of S. John the Baptist is the only parish church in the city of mediaeval date. Until 1856 it was the only parish church in the place. Originally the church stood east of the Minster. But, following what seems to be almost a universal law, the main population spread westward as the number of inhabitants increased, and the earlier buildings were left to the occupation of the poorer class. An insignificant little house in the old town is traditionally said to have been the Vicar's residence. It has some evidence of antiquity about it. The present church was built early in the fifteenth century. It was opened in 1407 with much solemnity by Abbot Genge. It is a spacious and dignified building, having a nave of seven bays; and there are two bays to the chancel, besides the sanctuary. The west tower is good, but hardly of sufficient dignity for such a church. The interior was reseated, and new roofs were added in 1883; they were designed by the late Mr. Pearson.
In 1891 the south porch was restored in memory of Dr. James, a former vicar. The arches under the tower which had been bricked up for many years were underpinned and repaired; and in 1909 were again opened to the church. By 1919 the fittings were almost complete, several rich stained glass windows and beautiful oak screens had been given as memorials. A carved reredos, oak panelling and seats, and a marble pavement have been fitted in the Sanctuary. The organ was rebuilt and enlarged by Messrs. Harrison of Durham.
Towards the west end of the church in the north aisle is a tablet to William Squire by Flaxman; close by is a large picture of King Charles I and two curious specimens of early embroidery are also to be seen; they were once portions of altar-cloths, or of copes. In each case the work is in the form of a cross, about two feet long. Each has the figure of the Saviour on the Cross; but the details are not identical.
The Guild Hall, in the Market Place, is an effective little building, dated 1671. The lower part is open, and is used for the butter market. While sufficient for the transaction of borough business 100 years ago, it is altogether inadequate now to the requirements of a corporation.
Until a very few years ago there was a mediaeval building at Peterborough of the greatest interest. This was the old Tithe Barn of the Abbey, situated in the Manor of Boroughbury, on the Lincoln Road. It was much the finest in the kingdom. Unhappily the "enterprising builder" has obtained possession of it, and it has been pulled down, the materials, all Barnack stone, having been employed in building houses. It was of good thirteenth century work, and in perfect condition. On the east side were two large porches, by which a waggon fully laden could enter the barn. The roof was supported by very massive timbers rising from the ground, the whole arrangement resembling a wooden church with aisles.
The Museum in Queen Street is noted for its collection of Roman and Saxon antiquities from the city and district; amongst the former are the noted coffin tile stamped LEG IX. HISP.; the vase showing a coursing match with the hare and hounds in relief, coins, pottery, brooches, and other jewellery. The Saxon specimens consist of pottery, jewellery, and weapons chiefly exhumed at Woodston, about one mile south-west of the river bridge.
The interesting collection of bone, wood, horn, and straw marquetry work made at Norman Cross (5 miles) by the French prisoners during the years 1797 to 1814, is unique. MSS. of the Northamptonshire poet, John Clare, are preserved in this institution, together with a large number of other local works.
HISTORY OF THE MONASTERY.
The inhabitants of the Fen country, when first distinguished by a special name, were known as the Gyrvii. Their district included the south part of Lincolnshire, the north part of Northamptonshire, and the greater part of Cambridgeshire. The southern Gyrvii were a province of East Anglia; the Gyrvii of the north appear to have been allied to the East Anglians, and perhaps inclined to become united with them; but they were ultimately absorbed in the great Midland Kingdom of Mercia. Bishop Stubbs, speaking of the early Fasti of Peterborough, says: "Mercia, late in its formation as a kingdom, sprang at once into a great state under Penda; late in its adoption of Christianity, it seems from the period of its conversion to have taken a prominent place at once among the Christian powers. The Chronicle places the conversion in 655, and a very few years saw it the best governed and best organised province of the Church. In less than thirty years it was divided into five dioceses, amongst which the place of the Fen country is more clearly definable. The bishopric of Lindsey occupied the north of Lincolnshire, reaching to the Witham: a line drawn from the south point of Nottinghamshire to the Cam would probably represent the western border of the Gyrvii; the border of Cambridgeshire was the boundary of the dioceses of Elmham and Dunwich. The Fen country thus falls into the eastern portion of the great Lichfield diocese, which for a few years after 680 had its own bishop at Leicester, but was not finally separated from the mother see until 737."
The date given above for the conversion of Mercia, 655, is the date of the laying of the foundation of the monastery of Medeshamstede. Penda had been succeeded on the throne of Mercia by his eldest son, Peada; and he, in conjunction with Oswy, brother of King Oswald, determined to "rear a minster to the glory of Christ and honour of Saint Peter."
Saxulf (656-675), was the first Abbot. In Bede no mention is made of royal patronage, and the whole credit of founding the abbey is given to Saxulf. Another account represents him as having been a thane of great wealth and renown, and that this abbey was dedicated by him "as the first fruits of the Mercian church." He was made Bishop of Lichfield in 675, but continued to take an active part in the affairs of the abbey. He died in 691.
Cuthbald (675), is named in the Chronicle as having been second Abbot. One of this name, possibly the same, was ruling the monastery at Oundle in 709, when S. Wilfrid died there. Nothing further is known of him; and nothing at all of Egbald, who appears in the usual lists as his successor.
The chroniclers give for the fourth Abbot one Pusa. But Bishop Stubbs has proved that Bothwin was Abbot from 758 to 789; and concludes that the introduction of Pusa into the list is a mistake, if not a mere invention.
Abbot Beonna came next, probably in 789 or very soon afterwards. "Possibly this Beonna is the same who was made Bishop of Hereford in 823, and died in 830."
Ceolred succeeded, and in the year 852 signs a grant of land as Abbot. Patrick conjectures that he became a bishop, but does not name his diocese. There is no certainty about the dates at which these early abbots entered upon their office; and possibly some names have been altogether lost. But all accounts agree that the last Abbot of Medeshamstede was Hedda; and that he perished when the monastery was destroyed and its inmates killed by the Danes in 870. A graphic account of the circumstances attending this attack is given by Ingulf; but as authentic historians like Orderic and Malmesbury have no reference whatever to the occurrences described by Ingulf, Bishop Stubbs unwillingly is obliged to consider his version to be a pure romance. But of the fact itself, the utter destruction of the monastery, there is no question; nor of the fact that all the inmates, or nearly all, perished. We read that at Crowland some monks escaped the general slaughter, and met again, after the departure of the Danes, and elected a fresh abbot. They then came to Medeshamstede, and buried the bodies of those that had been murdered, in one vast tomb. It has been commonly supposed that the Monks' Stone, before described, was the stone erected at the time in commemoration of the disaster. The arguments against this supposition have been already given.
The Fen monasteries remained desolate for 100 years. During that period the lands were constantly being seized by different intruders. It was not till the time of Alfred the Great, who came to the throne in 871, that the invasions of the Danes were finally checked, and tranquillity restored to the kingdom. Security being assured, the people began again to improve their public buildings and the religious houses. Crowland was the first in the neighbourhood to be restored. This restoration was effected by Thurketyl. Instigated probably by his example, Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, encouraged and supported by King Edgar, rebuilt the monastery of Medeshamstede after the old model. The rebuilding was completed in 972; and the name of Burgh was given to the place, and the old name went altogether out of use.
The first Abbot, after the re-establishment of the monastery, was Aldulf (971-992), formerly Chancellor to the King. He is said to have accidentally caused the death of his only son, and feeling that he could no longer live happily in the midst of earthly vanities, he endowed this monastery with all his possessions, and was appointed to govern it. Gunton declares that the prosperous and wealthy condition of the abbey under the rule of Aldulf caused its name to be improved into Gildenburgh, the Golden Borough. At this time most of the neighbouring woods were cut down and the land brought into cultivation. Aldulf became Bishop of Worcester after remaining twenty years at Burgh; and in 995 was made Archbishop of York. He died in May 1002, and is buried at Worcester. He held indeed the See of Worcester with that of York till his death.
He was succeeded at Burgh by Kenulf (992-1005). He is described as famous for his wisdom and learning, and as having governed his abbey "most admirably and sweetly." In 1005 he was made Bishop of Winchester, not without suspicion of a corrupt purchase (episcopatum nummis nundinatus fuerat), and died the following year.