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The Ground Plan of the English Parish Church
by A. Hamilton Thompson
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Sec. 40. Thus, if here and there we can detect novelties which make for improvements upon the aisleless plan, the plan itself is subject to no general development upon its own unelastic lines. The real course of development is to be traced in the gradual addition of aisles to the church. Just as the basilica may have come into existence by the addition of aisles to an aisleless building, so the parish church was enlarged by the piercing of its walls for columns and arches, and the incorporation of aisles with the main building. The usefulness of aisles is at once apparent. They afford greater space for the distribution of the congregation. The aisleless church may be inconveniently crowded from wall to wall: on the other hand, where spaces are left between the nave and side walls, the congregation will mass itself in the nave, but the aisles will be left free until the nave is filled, and thus there will be free access through the side doorways for as long a time as possible. Aisles also afford a clear space for processions, and allow them to turn inside the church at a certain point and without difficulty. In addition to this, aisles form a convenient situation for the smaller altars of a church, and, from an early date, were added with this view.

Sec. 41. A parish church usually contained more than one altar, even if served by a single priest. In the small aisleless church of Patricio in Breconshire, in addition to the altar in the chancel, there were two smaller altars, which still remain in place, on either side of the central doorway of the rood screen. Such altars were dedicated in honour of various saints; and mass would be said at them on the festivals of those saints and on other occasions. The various popular devotions which came into being in the middle ages, led to the multiplication of special altars and chapels. In cathedral and abbey churches, where there were many priests, the provision of a number of altars was, from the first, a necessity. To this is due the adoption, from the beginning, of the aisled plan in our larger churches, where it is a direct inheritance from the basilican plan. At Norwich and at Gloucester, for instance, the apse was provided with an encircling aisle, which gave access to small apsidal chapels. The transepts also had eastern chapels ending in apses. At Durham each transept had an eastern aisle, containing a row of such chapels; and the abnormal development of the transepts in thirteenth century churches, as at York, Lincoln, and Salisbury, and the occasional provision of an eastern transept, or of a great transverse eastern arm, like the Nine Altars at Fountains and Durham, was made with a view to the continually growing number of altars and daily masses. In Cistercian abbeys, the churches of which were wholly devoted to the uses of the monastery, the aisles of the nave were divided into chapels by transverse walls. In the secular cathedral of Chichester, where the aisles had to be left free, outer aisles, similarly divided, were made. Great French cathedrals, like Amiens, not only have a complicated series of chapels opening from the aisles of the apse, but have their naves lined with chapels, which were formed by removing the outer walls of the aisles to a level with the outer face of the buttresses. The ordinary parish church had no need of these elaborate arrangements, although in towns and in districts where money was plentiful and its possessors recognised its true source, plans hardly less spacious than those of the cathedral and monastery churches came into being. But it is obvious that, in a church where there were no more than two or three altars, space would be gained by removing them from the body of the church to the end of the aisles. In some twelfth century churches there were probably altars against the wall on either side of the narrow chancel arch; and, in later days, as at Ranworth and Patricio, when the rood screen filled the lower part of a broad arch, altars were placed against the screen. In the first case, the chancel arch might have been widened; in the second case, the sides of the screen would have been freed, by the addition of aisles into which the altars could have been removed.

Sec. 42. The most common plan of the aisled church is formed by an aisled nave with a long aisleless chancel, western tower, and south porch. So common is this that it may be spoken of as the normal plan of the larger English parish church. There must have been, we already have said, a very large number of aisleless churches in England at the time of the Conquest. Where Norman builders reconstructed parish churches, they showed a distinct preference for the aisleless plan. But, in many churches, built about or soon after the beginning of the twelfth century, aisles were planned and executed. The walls of earlier churches were entirely taken down, and new arcades built in their place, not necessarily on the precise line of the old foundations. Aisled twelfth century naves on a magnificent scale may be seen, for example, at Melbourne in Derbyshire, and Sherburn-in-Elmet, between York and Leeds. Both places were important episcopal residences: Melbourne belonged to the bishops of Carlisle; the manor of Sherburn was the head of a barony of the archbishops of York, who, all through the middle ages, did much to promote architecture on their domains. Another twelfth century nave of great magnificence is that of Norham-on-Tweed, which belonged to the cathedral priory of Durham; and, although we must not assume that it was built at the expense of the monastery, it doubtless owes its stately proportions to the influence of the mother house. Less imposing in elevation, but richer in refined detail, are such aisled naves as those of Long Sutton in south Lincolnshire, and Walsoken in west Norfolk, which belong to the later part of the twelfth century. The plans in each case are very regular; and the new arcades were probably built, at any rate in part, on older foundations. These naves reach the extent, unusual in a parish church, of seven bays. The nave of Norham is of five bays. Melbourne has five bays, but the plan of the church was as exceptional at the west as at the east end. Western towers were planned, but not completed, at the end of either aisle: this feature, probably imitated from Southwell minster, was also contemplated at Bakewell in Derbyshire. Between the towers was an extra western bay of the nave, divided into two stories, the lower forming a vaulted return aisle, the upper forming a gallery. There are only four bays at Sherburn, but here the aisles were continued as far as the western face of the tower. The tower is thus engaged within the aisles, and its vaulted ground floor forms, like the western bay at Melbourne, a return to them.

Sec. 43. But, when the question of adding aisles to a church arose, the builders were met by the difficulty that the church was wanted constantly for service. The taking down of the walls and the building of new arcades interfered with this necessary use of the fabric. In our own day a congregation, driven out by builders or restorers, can resort to a school room or mission room. In the middle ages, these alternatives were unknown; and the church was positively indispensable. With this in view, the builders were obliged to add their aisles without touching more of the main fabric than they could help. Usually, then, they took the length of the existing aisleless building for the length of their aisles. They then set out the aisles upon either side of the church, building the outer walls, and dividing them into bays by external buttresses. Then, opposite each buttress, they proceeded to break through the walls of the church. Leaving a piece of the old wall to serve as a footing for each column, they built up the columns in the thickness of the wall, the masonry being gradually removed as each rose in height. The arches were made in the same way, the wall being removed by degrees until the two sides of each arch met at the key-stone. The aisles were then roofed, and, finally, the masses of wall which still remained beneath each arch were broken down, and the nave and aisles thrown into one. The old masonry could be removed through the doorways of the aisles; and sometimes one of the end walls of either aisle was left unbuilt to the last, so that the masons could have free entrance for new, and exit for old, material. The old walls of the nave, above the columns and arches, were left untouched. In this way the upper parts of the walls of several Saxon naves—more, probably, than we have opportunity of discovering—remain to us. The north wall at Geddington in Northamptonshire is the most striking instance. The practice was so common as to be general. In hundreds of country churches the plinths on which the columns of the nave rest are probably pieces of the foundation of the older wall, refaced, or even left in the rough. Instances are nearly as common in which the heads of the new arches have blocked earlier windows; for, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, when glass was rare and expensive, and the openings were usually closed by latticed shutters, the windows were set high in the wall. There is a remarkable example of the retention of old work at Seamer, near Scarborough. To this fine twelfth century aisleless church a north aisle was added in the fifteenth century. The builders, possibly wishing to avoid expense, employed the old method, which in those days of prosperity and general rebuilding had fallen into disuse. In order not to interfere with the older windows, they deliberately made their arches very low: the result is that, from the interior of the aisle, one can see that the old wall was almost entirely kept, the new columns being built up on the line of the flat pilaster buttresses, which were left unaltered above the capitals. Sometimes, the connexion between nave and aisles was made by cutting arches at intervals in the wall, without building columns. The north arcade at Billingham in Durham, and the thirteenth century arcades at Tytherington in Gloucestershire consist of arches with large masses of the earlier wall left between them. Such a method was economical, as much less dressed stone was required; and we find it employed at Copford in Essex, where good building stone was hard to get. Nevertheless, it prevented the free circulation of light from the windows of the aisles, and practically shut off the aisles from the church.



Sec. 44. There is one obvious consequence of the setting out of aisles on either side of an existing building which, although an imperfection in itself, contributes greatly to the variety of the parish church plan. The builders cannot see both their aisles at one and the same time: the older church comes in between. In fact, until the nave and aisles are actually joined, at the close of the work, by the breaking down of the walls beneath the arches, there can be no opportunity of appreciating the full effect of the work. There is a famous instance at Beverley minster of the mistakes to which the presence of the older building may lead. The aisles of the nave were set out in the fourteenth century on either side of an older and shorter nave. The south aisle was set out first, the width of the eastern bay being measured from a new buttress in the angle of nave and transept. On the north side there was a thirteenth century buttress in this position: the builders, in setting out their north aisle, overlooked the fact that this buttress was of less projection than the newly built one on the other side, with the result that their buttress measurements throughout varied on both sides, while the standard of width between the buttresses, which had been employed on the south side, was retained. Consequently, as the columns, in a vaulted church, have to be built in line with the buttresses of the corresponding aisle walls, the columns were not opposite one another, and the discrepancy increased as the church advanced westward. When the builders got clear of the intervening building, in the western bays of the nave, they were able to rectify their mistake slightly; but the effect is unpleasantly noticeable in the obliquity of the transverse arches of the vaulting.

Sec. 45. If errors like this could take place in churches where the width of the bays of the aisles was calculated, they were much more likely to take place where builders worked with less accurate ideas of measurement. In an unvaulted church, where the pressure of the roof is not a serious factor in the construction, the exact correspondence of pier to buttress need not be taken into account; and there are many churches in which the spacing of the aisles is quite independent of that of the arcades. This happens at Melbourne, where the church was not planned for stone vaulting. The builders seem to have thought that they could get in six bays between the transept and the space planned for one of the western towers; but found that, on the measurements they had adopted, there was room only for five. They corrected their miscalculation by broadening the division of the wall between the fourth and fifth bay of the aisles. When they came to build the arcades, they were conscious of their previous error, and planned them in five equal bays irrespective of the plan of the aisles. In churches of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, especially in districts like Norfolk or south Lincolnshire, where much rebuilding was done, the regularity of plan is often remarkable. The nave of the famous church of Heckington, near Sleaford, was planned with an exact correspondence between aisles and arcades: pier is opposite buttress, window opposite window. Islip and Brampton Ash in Northamptonshire show an equal accuracy. But, while such agreement is desirable, it is neither necessary nor general. And, where the arcades are broken through earlier walls, the correspondence is seldom very precise. The central line of the east walls of the aisles, as set out first, will usually correspond to a line drawn across the centre of the chancel arch: similarly, the line of the west walls will be an extension of the west wall of the nave, or of a line drawn across the tower arch. The aisles will be spaced into as many equal, or nearly equal bays, as can be got in between the buttresses at either end. When, however, the building of the arcade is taken in hand, the responds or half-piers at either end will seldom be built directly against the piers of the chancel arch, or against the west wall of the nave; but projecting pieces of the old walls will be left as a backing to them. It follows that, although the arcade may be divided into the same number of bays as the aisles, the standard of spacing will be different, and consequently, unless a very regular system of planning is adopted, the piers will not be exactly opposite the solid portions of the aisle walls, and consequently the centres of the arches will be out of line with the centres of the windows. Again, it may be that, by accident or design, the backing for the responds may project more on one side of the nave than on the other, at either or both ends. The result will be that the piers of one arcade will be out of line with those of the arcade opposite. That discrepancies of this kind were sometimes the result of intention cannot be denied; but there is generally some practical reason to be found for the intention, and the discrepancies themselves were a pis aller which the builders would have avoided, if they could. That deliberate irregularity with which medieval masons are sometimes credited is a fancy, which careful consideration of the circumstances will dispel.

Sec. 46. Hitherto we have spoken of the aisled nave as though both aisles were planned at one and the same time. This, however, was by no means always the case. At Gretton in Northamptonshire, the north aisle was built soon after the beginning of the twelfth century: the south aisle followed twenty or thirty years later. The north arcade at Northallerton is of massive twelfth century work, with rounded arches: the south arcade was added in the thirteenth century, and has slender columns with pointed arches. In such cases, the north aisle may have been built first, to avoid interference with the burial ground south of the church. Very often only one aisle was added. The little church of Whitwell, Rutland, has a south aisle, added in the fourteenth century, with a chapel at its east end. No north aisle was built: but a drain in the north wall of the nave shows that there was a third altar against the north side of the rood screen. Usually, when one aisle was built long after another, the spacing of the new arcade was made to correspond with that of the old. If the old arcade had heavy twelfth century columns, the new one, with its lighter columns, would have broader arches. But it sometimes happens that the old spacing was disregarded, for very good reasons. The north arcade of Middleton Tyas church, in north Yorkshire, consists of six bays: the columns are heavy, the arches low and round headed, and very narrow. The interior of the church must have been very dark; and the builders of the south aisle, in the fourteenth century, aimed at throwing more light upon it. They therefore planned their new arcade, with broad pointed arches springing from octagonal columns, in four instead of six bays, and so, from broad windows in the aisle, introduced the necessary light. Something of the same kind happened at Theddingworth in Leicestershire: the effect is, of course, one-sided, but in both cases the light admitted enhances the merits of the earlier arcade, which, until then, had to be taken on trust.

Sec. 47. But there are further instances—and these, perhaps, are the most instructive—where aisles were not merely built at two different periods, but where the growth of one or both aisles was gradual. As an instance of this, may be cited the beautiful church of Raunds in Northamptonshire. Raunds seems to have been one of those cases in which the Norman chancel and nave were of the same width, and possibly were undivided by any chancel arch. In the thirteenth century the west tower and spire were built, and a broad south aisle was added to the nave. This aisle was of four bays, and the point at which it stopped probably marked the dividing line between the nave and chancel. However, the builders certainly intended to carry on the aisle eastward, as a south chapel to the chancel, which they now rebuilt and lengthened. Early in the fourteenth century, the south aisle was continued eastward, an arcade of five bays being added to the four bays already existing. The new bays were made rather narrower than those in the earlier part of the arcade. A strange feature of the new work was the insertion of a chancel arch, the south pier of which bisects one of the new arches. Thus, while three bays and a half of the new arcade belong to the chancel and quire, a bay and a half belong to the nave. The arch dividing the south aisle from the chancel chapel springs from the pier between the end of the old arcade and the inserted pier of the chancel arch. At the same time, the outer wall of the south aisle seems to have been practically rebuilt, although much of the older work was retained. There may have been a thirteenth century north aisle as well. Whether this was the case or no, a new north aisle and arcade were built during the fourteenth century. The aisle was set out in seven bays, six of which contained broad three-light windows, while a north doorway was made in the third bay from the west end. The east wall was built on foundations in a line with the chancel arch, while the west wall was in a line with the tower arch and west wall of the south aisle. It is obvious, therefore, that the planning of the new aisle was totally different from that of the older aisle and chapel. However, when the builders came to their arcade, instead of building it in seven bays, as the new aisle demanded, they built it in five, setting their new columns in a line with those on the opposite side. But while, on the south side, there was an awkward half-bay between the end of the arcade and the chancel arch, a solid piece of wall was left between the north pier of the chancel arch and the eastern respond of the new arcade. A compromise was thus effected between the aisles, and an appearance of regularity was ensured. Directly, however, one begins to examine the plan of the church, and to trace the transverse lines from window to window, and buttress to buttress, it will be found that only in one place can a line be drawn which will pass straight from the centre of one buttress to that of the buttress opposite, and will pass through the centre of the intervening columns on its way.



Sec. 48. It already has been shown that builders were very unwilling, in making their additions to churches, to destroy old work altogether. At times they displayed an extraordinary conservatism in their re-use of old material in their new work. This was not invariable. In the splendid churches of south Lincolnshire, during the fourteenth century, their aim seems to have been complete rebuilding; and such examples as the magnificent nave at Swaton, near Sleaford, or the neighbouring church of Billingborough, show how old work must have been swept away by the enthusiasm for lofty arcades, elaborately traceried windows, and walls of dressed stone-work. On the other hand, half the charm of the hardly less beautiful churches of Northamptonshire is the result of the clever way in which the masons dove-tailed all the old stone-work which was worth preserving into their new additions. Such churches as Tansor and Oundle are, for that reason, unexcelled in interest, offering, as they do, almost inexhaustible problems as to the development of their plan. In all parts of England we find that builders, whatever else they destroyed, carefully kept, as a general rule, the doorways, and especially the south doorway, of the buildings which they enlarged. This accounts for the large number of handsome Norman doorways which remain in the walls of aisles obviously later than the doorways themselves. At Birkin in Yorkshire, the south aisle was not built till the middle of the fourteenth century, but the doorway was removed to its new position from the wall of the aisleless church. One very exceptional case occurs at Felton in Northumberland. Towards the beginning of the thirteenth century, the west part of the south wall of the church was cut through, a chapel was added, and, east of the chapel, a porch was built. Rather more than fifty or sixty years later, it was determined to add a south aisle the full length of the nave. The width of the aisle was taken from that of the existing chapel and porch. To connect the chapel with the new work, the side walls of the porch were cut through. The outer doorway of the porch became the new south doorway, while the inner doorway was kept unaltered, as an arch in the new arcade.

Sec. 49. Features which have been touched upon in connexion with Raunds bring us to two new features in the plan—the rebuilding of aisles and the lengthening of churches westward. In most parish churches, aisles, when they were added at first, were extremely narrow. The west wall of Hallaton church in Leicestershire, for example, shows that, in the fourteenth century, originally narrow aisles were heightened and widened. The roof lines of the earlier aisles remain; they were clearly under the same roof as the nave of the church, and had very low side walls. This was not always the case. At Raunds the thirteenth century south aisle was always broad and lofty, and must have had its own roof from the first. And, as the principles of Gothic construction became more familiar, and the larger churches began to exercise a more wide-spread influence upon the parish church, aisles began to increase in breadth and elevation. The small and narrow windows of churches of the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries gave way to the broad mullioned and traceried windows of fully developed Gothic work. For these, with their advantage of increased light, more headway was necessary. Aisle walls were consequently heightened or altogether rebuilt. The acutely pointed roof of the nave could no longer be continued downwards to cover these higher aisles. The aisle was consequently covered with a lean-to roof, or with a separate gabled roof of its own. A free increase in width was thus possible. The church of Appleton-le-Street in Yorkshire has a short nave with north and south aisles. The north aisle, added in the early part of the thirteenth century, is narrow, and the roof of the nave was continued over it. The south aisle, which was probably rebuilt a little before 1300, is broader and has a separate lean-to roof. The wide east window of this aisle could not have been introduced, had the south aisle been built to match the scale of the north aisle.



Sec. 50. The introduction of more light, however, was not the only reason for the rebuilding and heightening of aisles. The east end of an aisle, as has been said, provided a convenient place for one of the side altars of the church. This was the case even in the narrow aisles of the twelfth and thirteenth century, many of which, like the north aisle of Great Easton church in Leicestershire, provided with a drain, aumbry, or a corbel for a statue, bear witness to the existence of a contemporary altar. At Harringworth in Northamptonshire there had been an aisleless church, to which a tower had been added at the end of the twelfth, and aisles early in the thirteenth century. On 24 October 1305 Edward I granted letters patent to William la Zouche, by which he had licence to assign a certain amount of land to two chantry chaplains in the chapel of All Saints. This may have been his private chapel, but was possibly in the church. A little earlier than this, to judge by the character of the architecture, a new north aisle had been built, with a new altar at the east end. Very soon after the granting of the licence, it would appear that the whole of the south arcade was taken down, and a new south aisle and arcade built. The work was done in a very conservative spirit, for the old thirteenth century porch and inner doorway were rebuilt on the new site, and an old string-course was re-used internally, beneath the new windows. The piscina and the three sedilia, which belonged to the altar at the end of the aisle, remain in the south wall, and there are corbels for statues on either side of the east window. However, rebuilding did not stop here; for it seems that, during the next few years, the north arcade was entirely rebuilt so as nearly to match that on the south. Thus the work, beginning with the north aisle, and extending over some thirty or forty years, finished on the side on which it began. Numerous examples of a closely parallel kind, fortified by documentary evidence, might be given.



Sec. 51. The rebuilding of the south aisle, about 1313, at Newark, was the prelude to an entire rebuilding of the church, which extended over many years. The builders began by setting out their aisles as usual, and by the middle of the fourteenth century the south aisle was finished, and the lower courses of the north aisle and the new aisled chancel were built. However, in 1349, the Black Death interrupted the work. The north aisle and chancel were not completed, and the new arcades of nave and chancel were not built until the fifteenth century. In this case there were certainly older, and almost certainly narrower aisles. The rebuilding included aisles on a larger scale, and new internal arcades whose spacing corresponded to the spacing of the aisle walls. All systematic rebuilding, in the full development of Gothic art, began with the planning of the aisles. The naves of Cirencester and Northleach churches, rebuilt at the end of the middle ages, are examples of this method. The arcades at Cirencester are known to have been built about 1514-5; but the aisles were obviously completed first, and their remodelling may have been begun in the second quarter of the fifteenth century. At Northleach the nave was finished about 1458; and there seems to have been a break of some years between the building of the aisles and the destruction of the older church which, no doubt, lay within them. But it did not always happen that the full intention of the builders was carried out. One of the most splendid schemes which we possess for the enlargement of a parish church was the great enterprise begun at Grantham soon after the middle of the thirteenth century. An aisleless Norman church had been enlarged at the end of the twelfth century by the addition of aisles to the nave, the connexion being formed by arcades of rounded arches springing from very elegant clustered columns. Above the arcades were low clerestories, lighted by round-headed windows. About 1230, the neighbouring church of Newark was taken in hand by masons, who built a new west tower up to a certain height, and, as an afterthought, planned aisles to engage the tower completely. As we have seen, the building of the aisles at Newark upon their present scale did not begin till much later. The work of rebuilding at Grantham was clearly inspired by that already begun at Newark. A tower was planned on a site much to the west of the nave, and was engaged within very broad aisles. The tower and north aisle were set out first. The north aisle was divided into seven bays, with a large traceried window in each bay, the western bay being much wider between the buttresses than the rest, owing to the greater space taken up by the tower and its piers internally. The remaining six bays were set out with equal widths between the buttresses, the middle bay of the aisle being covered by a porch. The eastern bay overlapped the western part of the aisleless chancel, its western buttress being in a line with the division between chancel and nave. The western bay of the south aisle was set out about the same time, and there was, no doubt, an intention of proceeding with the rest on the same lines as in the north aisle. There can also be little doubt that the builders intended to take down the old arcades, and build new arcades, with spacing corresponding to that of their aisles, and to lengthen the chancel eastwards, while bringing its western portion into the nave. The tower and north aisle were built on the intended scale; and, when the tower had risen to a certain height, the ambition of the builders was fired to add to it an extra stage, hitherto uncontemplated, below the spire with which it was to be crowned. This project of giving their church a tower and stone spire, which remained, for many years, the loftiest in England, evidently curtailed the full accomplishment of their earlier plan. The columns of the old arcades were kept, and the tower was connected by arcades of two bays with the angles of the west wall of the old church; while an arch was pierced through the north wall of the chancel, to give access to the east bay of the new aisle. The new arches were pointed: in order to match them, the older round-headed arches were taken down, and pointed arches built, which cut into and blocked the clerestory windows. This change was made with great economy of material, the springing stones of some of the old arches being kept to afford footing for the new. When the south aisle was seriously begun, about 1300, similar economy was shown. Four bays, in addition to the western bay, were spaced out, without regard to the plan of the north aisle. The fourth bay from the west was covered by a porch, smaller than that on the north side; and the east wall of the aisle was probably built on a line with the division between nave and chancel. Half a century later, the east wall was taken down, and the south aisle was extended to the full length of the chancel; but this later development was not contemplated by the thirteenth century builders. These hesitations and changes, consequent upon the expense entailed by the north aisle and by the alteration in the elevation of the tower and spire, make Grantham second to no English church in interest.

Sec. 52. Grantham also provides us with a lengthened nave. The position of its earlier west wall is clearly shown by the masses of masonry which occur between the eastern bay of the new, and western bay of the old, arcade on either side. The responds on the eastern side of these pieces of wall are twelfth century work: on the west side, they belong to the later part of the thirteenth century. Such lengthening was probably very common in later Gothic times, and we may surmise that it took place in many instances where arcades were entirely rebuilt, and no visible trace of the process was left. However, there are many churches in which one or more extra bays have been added to the nave, and the join of the old and new work is marked as at Grantham. Whaplode church in south Lincolnshire had its early twelfth century nave lengthened by three bays about 1180. At Colsterworth, near Grantham, a western bay was added to the nave about the same time, and an earlier north aisle lengthened. Above the piece of wall which occurs between the older and newer work, the quoins of the aisleless church remain entire. Usually, as at Grantham, the lengthening of the nave was undertaken in connexion with a new western tower, which was built up outside the church, and then connected with it by one or two bays of arcading. Almost contemporary with the tower and spire of Grantham are those of Tilney All Saints, near Lynn. Here a single bay was added west of the late twelfth century nave; and, as no new aisles were contemplated, the old arcades, with their rounded arches, were left intact. Bubwith in Yorkshire, and Caunton in Nottinghamshire, are later examples of churches where the tower was built west of the end of an earlier nave, and a bay was built to connect it with the older work. Sometimes, as at Gretton in Northamptonshire, where the slope of a steep hill forbade extension far to the west, a new tower was built only a few feet beyond the limit of the old nave. In such a case, the side walls of the nave might be carried solid westwards to meet the tower, or, as happened at Gretton, narrow arches might be made between the tower and the west end of the older wall. The beautiful tower and spire at Oundle were built just outside the west wall of the thirteenth century nave; and were doubtless intended to be followed by a complete rebuilding of the arcades—such a rebuilding as took place at Lavenham in Suffolk, towards the end of the fifteenth century. The idea, however, was abandoned, and the space between the arcades and the tower filled in solid with rather rough masonry.



Sec. 53. The position of the western tower in the plan is normally at the west end of the nave, with which it is connected by an arch, low at first, but loftier as time goes on, until, in later Gothic churches, its height frequently is nearly that of the whole nave. The remaining three walls are usually external, and clear of the aisles. But sometimes, owing to a freak of planning, or, more frequently, owing to the conditions of the site, the tower is, as at Bibury, at the west end of one of the aisles. At Gedling in Nottinghamshire the tower and spire are at the end of the north aisle. The tower of St Michael's, Cambridge, is at the west end of the south aisle: probably the western extension of the church was prevented by the neighbourhood of the street, a circumstance which often accounts for the irregularity of plan in some town churches. At St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, built on the edge of the "red cliff" from which it takes its name, the tower and spire are at the end of the north aisle: had they been planned in the usual place, a full bay of the nave would have been sacrificed. The tower at Spalding was planned, in the first instance, to stand against the south wall of the west bay of the south aisle: subsequently a new south aisle was built east of it. One of the most curious instances is that of St Mary's at Leicester, where the tower, subsequently, as at Spalding, heightened by a spire, was planned in the thirteenth century, outside a very narrow south aisle. A tower at the west end of the nave would have encroached upon the inner ward of the adjacent castle. The chancel of St Mary's was used for collegiate services, and parochial accommodation was limited. Towards the end of the thirteenth century, a very wide south aisle, a parish church in itself, was built the full length of the nave, and overlapping the chancel at the east end. The tower was left standing on piers entirely within the west end of the new aisle. It may be added that, where towers occur at the end of aisles, they seldom project beyond the west wall of the nave, but open into the nave by an arch in the north or south wall, as the case may be. Plans with two western towers, as at Melbourne or St Margaret's at Lynn, are of very rare occurrence; and, where they are found, the plan was probably designed on more ambitious lines than those of the ordinary parish church.

Sec. 54. The plan in which the western tower is engaged within the aisles—that is, where the aisles are brought up flush with the west end of the church—is not very common. Still, instances occur in all parts of England. At Grantham, the plan is deliberate. It was imitated, as has been said, from Newark, where the side walls of the tower had been pierced with arches as an after-thought. Newark, in turn, may have taken the design from Tickhill in south Yorkshire; and the design at Tickhill may have been taken from the early and unpretentious example at Sherburn-in-Elmet. Grantham probably suggested other similar designs, such as Ewerby, near Sleaford. Several of our finest late Gothic churches, like St Nicholas at Newcastle, have plans in which the aisles are continued up to the west face of the tower. The method affords full development to the aisles, and, as at Sileby in Leicestershire, has an imposing interior effect. Outside, however, the aisles crowd the base of the tower too much, and the fine effect of a lofty, free standing tower is lost. Sometimes aisles were extended westwards, so as to engage an earlier tower, as at Sleaford, where the low tower and spire are almost overwhelmed by a pair of wide fourteenth century aisles. At Brigstock and Winterton, late Saxon towers have been left without alteration inside aisles which have been brought westward in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The nave of Holy Trinity, Cambridge, was much widened in the fourteenth century, and a small tower and spire of earlier date were brought entirely within the new nave, as happened in the south aisle at St Mary's, Leicester, and were left without sufficient abutment. As a consequence, the arches of the ground story had to be strengthened about a century later with additional masonry. Cases occur, as at Coln Rogers in Gloucestershire, where a tower has been built within the west end of an earlier church. In most of such instances, the churchyard boundary probably allowed of no further building westward. The nearness of the churchyard boundary also seems to have given cause to a peculiarity which may be seen at Wollaton, near Nottingham, Dedham in Essex, and in a few other places, where the west tower is in its usual position, but is pierced from north to south by an archway. It is possible that this gave facility to processions, which could thus pass round the church without leaving consecrated ground. The tower of old All Saints, Cambridge, now destroyed, projected over the public foot-way of the street, which passed through its ground story; while St John's, Bristol, is built on the city wall, and the tower and spire, which it shared with the adjoining church of St Lawrence, are over the south gate of the city.

Sec. 55. Sometimes, as at Oundle, the tower was rebuilt with a view to the reconstruction of the whole church. But, as also at Oundle, the design was often abandoned, or was altered. The magnificent tower of St Michael's, Coventry, was built, between 1373 and 1394, at the west end of an older nave: its spire was not begun till 1430. Whether the rebuilding of the nave was contemplated when the tower was begun, it is impossible to say. A new nave was actually begun in 1432, and finished in 1450. A thoroughfare immediately south of the church prevented extension on that side. The old south porch was retained in place as the principal entrance, so that the line of the wall of the south aisle follows closely that of the original church. The new south arcade was set out, not in a line with the south-east buttress of the tower, but somewhat to the north of it, so that the buttress is external; while, for the width of the nave, a space approximating to twice the internal breadth of the tower was taken. The tower is thus placed almost wholly south of the central axis of the nave produced westward. Here, once more, we may note the influence of site on the plan.

Sec. 56. The people's entrance to the church was ordinarily through a porch, covering the north or south doorway of the nave. The south doorway is usually covered by a porch. Frequently, as at Hallaton in Leicestershire, or Henbury in Gloucestershire, there is a north as well as a south porch. At Warmington, near Oundle, where there is a beautiful doorway in the west tower, the vaulted south porch is the principal entrance; but there is also a somewhat smaller north porch, also vaulted. The chief porch at Grantham is on the north side; but there is also a large porch on the south. At Newark, there is only a south porch, on the side of the church next the market place. The south porch of St Mary Redcliffe, at Bristol, is the ordinary entrance of the church; but the chief entrance of the building, until the fifteenth century, was on the north side, at the head of the abrupt slope towards the city. In the fourteenth century, this entrance was covered by a large and lofty octagonal porch, approached by a flight of steps. There is an octagonal south porch at Chipping Norton, and a hexagonal south porch at Ludlow. The magnificent porches of the fifteenth century, as at Burford in Oxfordshire, Northleach in Gloucestershire, Worstead in Norfolk, Walberswick in Suffolk, St Mary Magdalene's at Taunton, or Yatton in Somerset, are usually on the south side of the church.

Sec. 57. The positions of the porch and doorway in the wall of the aisle vary. At St Nicholas, Newcastle, where the west tower is engaged within the aisles, there is a porch in the western bay of each aisle. Usually, however, the porch will be found in the second bay of one of the aisles, counting from the west end. Sometimes, especially in larger churches, the porch occurs a bay further east. At Warmington and at Grantham, the two porches of either church are nearly opposite each other, and project approximately from the centre of the walls of the aisles. Where the porch has been pushed eastward in this way, the west end of the aisle seems to have been occupied by one or more chapels. There are indications of this at Warmington; while, in the neighbouring church of Tansor, where the porch is in the usual place, but the aisle has been lengthened somewhat to the west, there was certainly an altar west, as well as east, of the porch. There was at least one chantry chapel west of the south porch at Grantham. The south porch at Ludlow covers the wall of the third bay of the aisle from the west: here there were two chapels in the western part of the aisle. There was another chapel at the west end of the north aisle. It can hardly be proved that the position of porches was actually planned with this use of the aisles in view; but there can be no doubt that advantage was frequently taken of the space thus added to the aisle.



CHAPTER V

THE AISLED PARISH CHURCH

II. TRANSEPTS AND CHANCEL

Sec. 58. The aisled nave, with its usual appendages of porch and tower, has now been described at length. Before we proceed to the development of the chancel, the transepts or transeptal chapels of the parish church invite discussion. The distinction between true transepts, in churches with central towers, and the transeptal chapels which are nothing more than northern and southern extensions of the aisles, has been made already; and it has been seen that the cruciform plan with central tower reached a very full state of perfection during the twelfth century. Further dignity was given to some cruciform churches by the addition of aisles to the transepts. St Mary Redcliffe at Bristol, the plan of which is that of a large collegiate or cathedral rather than a parish church, has transepts with eastern and western aisles: there is no central tower, but the transepts form a definite cross-arm to the church, which was designed with regard to the central point formed by the crossing of a longitudinal and a transverse axis. There are few churches in England as beautiful as that of Melton Mowbray, with its aisled transepts and tower above the crossing: had the chancel only been planned on a larger scale and with aisles, the unrivalled beauty and dignity of St Mary Redcliffe might have been approached here. The cruciform plan with central tower is the most noble of all church plans, when carried out by builders with large ideas. Churches like Ludlow, Nantwich, Holy Trinity and St John's at Coventry, St Mary's at Beverley, excite an admiration which is the natural result of the fact that the plan, instead of straggling in the ordinary way from east to west, is brought to a focus beneath the central tower.



Sec. 59. Apart, however, from the tower above the crossing, the transept had a value of its own. It gave additional room for the side altars of the church. The transeptal chapels at Worth allowed of greater width for the chancel arch: the altars, which naturally would have stood against the wall on either side of the chancel arch, could be placed within these excrescences from the north and south walls of the church, and the central space was thus left clear. This method of extension of the church by adding north and south chapels to the nave was pursued throughout the middle ages. The thirteenth century plan of Acton Burnell is virtually identical with the tenth or eleventh century plan of Worth. In aisled churches, such transeptal additions are simply outgrowths of the aisle walls, and were not necessarily planned with any regard to the spacing of the arcades of the nave. They may, of course, be placed symmetrically at the east end of the aisles, the width of each chapel corresponding to the width of the arch of the arcade which is opposite its opening. Thus Exton church in Rutland, rebuilt about the beginning of the thirteenth century, has north and south transeptal chapels whose width is that of the eastern bay of each arcade. A transverse arch was thrown across each aisle at its junction with the adjacent chapel. Here the chapels form quasi-transepts in perfect union with the design of nave and aisles. Symmetrical plans in which it is clear at a glance that the transeptal chapels are developments of the aisles, and have no necessary relation to the nave, are those of Kegworth in Leicestershire, rebuilt in the fourteenth century, and Aylsham, Cawston, and Sall in Norfolk, which belong to the fifteenth century. But even more obvious than these are the plans in which transeptal chapels have been thrown out at different periods, or even at one and the same period, without the least regard to symmetry. A small aisleless nave at Stretton in Rutland received a north aisle about the beginning of the thirteenth century. Soon after, the eastern part of the side walls was taken down, and chapels built out to north and south. The width of the south chapel was determined by that of the old chancel arch, which was rebuilt between the chapel and the nave, there being no aisle on that side. The north chapel, on the other hand, was formed simply by returning the wall of the aisle northward, and throwing a transverse arch across the aisle from the wall above the arcade. Its width corresponds roughly with that of the south chapel, but has no correspondence with that of the adjacent bay of the arcade. Examples of this form of growth of plan, dictated by convenience and the necessity of the moment, are common in every part of England.

Sec. 60. It is quite clear that the transeptal chapel, being nothing more than an excrescence from the wall of a nave or aisle, is a feature which may be treated with some freedom. Its width and length are dependent upon the convenience and will of the builders. The north chapel of the aisleless church of Clapton-in-Gordano, Somerset, is entered by an arch in the east part of the north wall: the chapel itself, however, extends some distance westward, so that its longer axis is parallel to the longer axis of the nave. The south chapel, again, at Lowick in Northamptonshire has its longer axis from east to west, although its roof is at right angles to that of the adjacent aisle. Externally, its transeptal character is apparent; internally, it has the appearance of an additional south aisle. A chantry was founded in this chapel in 1498. Very often, where special chantry chapels were built, they took the position of transeptal chapels. Cases in point are the late Gothic chantry chapels in All Saints and St Lawrence's at Evesham. Such chapels may obviously be lengthened westward, like the chapel at Clapton-in-Gordano, so that they become additional aisles. The Milcombe chapel at Bloxham in Oxfordshire, the Greenway aisle at Tiverton in Devonshire, and the side chapels of the north and south aisles at St Andrew's, Plymouth, and Plympton St Mary are the logical outcome of the habit of adding transeptal chapels to the plan. Two transeptal chapels of the ordinary type are found in other Devonshire churches rebuilt in the fifteenth century, as at East Portlemouth: the Kirkham chapel at Paignton, famous for its carved stone-work, is transeptal. From this it is but a step to the chapels at Plymouth and Plympton, with their longer axes from east to west: while the aisle at Tiverton (1517) develops naturally, in the churches of Cullompton (1526) and Ottery St Mary (before 1530), into a vaulted aisle the full length of the nave. At Bloxham, on the other hand, the Milcombe chapel, which extends from the east wall of the south aisle as far as the porch, was probably grafted upon an earlier and smaller transeptal chapel. A comparison with the neighbouring church of Adderbury shows that the fabric of the transeptal chapels at Adderbury is largely of the twelfth century. The north chapel at Bloxham is, in its present state, much later; but the similarity of plan to that of Adderbury leads to the justifiable conclusion that it was rebuilt on old foundations, and that there was a similar south chapel. About 1290 the aisles at Bloxham were widened, and a beautiful arcade of two bays was built at the east end of the north aisle, between it and the north chapel. Within the next few years, the aisles at Adderbury were also widened, and arcades similar to that at Bloxham, though coarser in detail, were built at the east end of either aisle. The projection of the transeptal chapels from the side walls was now very slight; and, in the fifteenth century, the projection of the south chapel at Bloxham was absorbed by the building of the Milcombe chapel, between which and the south aisle an arcade of two bays was made. There is more intrinsic interest in this gradual development of plan than in the Devonshire plans we have noticed, which are all due to fifteenth century rebuildings; and the mutual influence exercised throughout the middle ages by two neighbouring churches like Bloxham and Adderbury gives us an insight into the progress of local art which the energy of fifteenth century masons in certain districts has somewhat obscured. From the arrangement of the south transept at Adderbury, there appear to have been two altars in each of the chapels.

Sec. 61. Transeptal chapels occasionally appear in unusual positions. For example, at Branscombe in south Devon, there is a tower between nave and chancel. There are, however, no transepts; but transeptal chapels are built out from the walls of the aisleless nave, west of the tower. These chapels appear to be enlargements of earlier transeptal chapels; while the tower seems to have been built over the chancel of the earlier church. Heckington church in south Lincolnshire was rebuilt in the fourteenth century. The nave has aisles with transeptal chapels, very regular and symmetrical in plan, but is continued beyond the opening of the transeptal projections by an aisleless bay, east of which comes the chancel arch. At Bottesford in north Lincolnshire, where much rebuilding was done in the thirteenth century, the transeptal chapels open from the bay east of the chancel arch. In the case of Heckington, the earlier church was probably cruciform: when the rebuilding came to pass, the ground plan of the western portion of the church was kept, while the chancel was built on an extended plan, and the site of the western part of the old chancel thrown into the nave. The case of Bottesford is probably accounted for in the opposite way: the site was not enlarged eastwards, but the chancel was lengthened by the absorption of the eastern part of the old nave.

Sec. 62. There are a number of cases in which transeptal chapels have been kept from an earlier cruciform plan, in which they may have formed true transepts. The fine church of Oundle, whose western tower and spire already have been mentioned as built about 1400, has very fully developed transeptal chapels. The nave and aisles, and the greater part of the chapels, are, in their present state, work of the thirteenth century; but the eastern bay of the present nave was entirely remodelled about 1350, when a clerestory was added. This bay had evidently been designed to carry a central tower: the nave arcades stop west of it, and there is a thick piece of wall between them and the arches opening from it into the chapels. These arches and the chancel arch were entirely reconstructed at the time just mentioned. The western arch, however, was removed, and an original crossing was thus converted into a bay of the nave. Whether there ever was a central tower is, of course, an uncertain point; but the building of a west tower on a new site not many years after this reconstruction is a fact which makes the previous existence of a central tower probable. The removal of a central tower would be due to one of two causes. Either its supports were weak, or it blocked up the space between nave and chancel too much. The central tower of Petersfield in Hampshire was taken down; but its east wall still remains between nave and chancel. However, if there are cases in which a central tower was removed, and a west tower built, there are probably more in which a central tower was planned, and then abandoned. Campsall church, near Doncaster, has unmistakable signs of a projected cruciform plan with a central tower, and has a regular crossing with transepts. But it is probable that the builders changed their minds before the nave was finished; and, although they doubtless left the arches, which were intended to bear their tower, for a later generation to remove and rebuild, they went westward and built a tower at the other end of the nave. This tower was finished towards the end of the third quarter of the twelfth century. The builders of Newark church, who were peculiarly susceptible to after-thoughts, apparently planned a central tower in the later part of the twelfth century. It is difficult to explain otherwise the slender clusters of shafts which project into the nave from the first pier west of the chancel arch on either side. Such piers were hardly capable of bearing the weight of a tower; and so the builders must have thought. Early in the thirteenth century, they began the present west tower, the first stage of a rebuilding which, with long intervals, continued into the sixteenth century. The final step by which the church reached its present plan was the addition of a transeptal chapel to either aisle, opposite the site which, more than three centuries before, had been chosen for the piers of the abandoned central tower.



Sec. 63. Even in strictly cruciform churches, transepts were sometimes treated with a freedom which was more appropriate to the transeptal chapel. It is not unusual to find one transept longer than the other, as at Felmersham in Bedfordshire. Here, however, the transepts are not only of different lengths, but the south transept is loftier, as well as shorter, than the north, which is little more than a chapel-like excrescence from the tower. At Witney in Oxfordshire both transepts are of great projection, but the north transept is slightly longer than that on the south. Both have considerable traces of thirteenth century work; but, in the fourteenth century, the north transept was lengthened by an addition divided into two stories, the upper of which was a chapel, while the lower was probably a vaulted bone-hole. The south transept was also lengthened; and a chapel was built, projecting from its east wall near the south end. Both transepts have western aisles: that of the north transept, which stops short of the two-storied extension, contained an altar near the north end. There are traces of at least three other altars in the transepts, so that there was excellent reason for their somewhat unusual projection. At St Mary's, Beverley, an eastern aisle was added to the south transept in the fifteenth century, to provide more room for altars. The north transept already had a large chapel of two stages upon its eastern side, so that the plan was treated unsymmetrically. The tower of St Mary's at Stafford rests on heavy piers and narrow arches, and is flanked by north and south transepts. However, while the south transept, of good thirteenth century work, is rather small and short, the north transept was rebuilt with great magnificence in the fourteenth century, and its internal effect is that of a large side chapel rather than a transept. Aisled transepts are never common, even in large churches. Instances in which a transeptal chapel is aisled are even less common. The aisled south chapel at Medbourne in Leicestershire has been mentioned in an earlier chapter. Oakham and Langham churches in Rutland have large transeptal chapels with western aisles: the north chapel at Langham was removed in the fifteenth century, when the aisles of the nave were widened.

Sec. 64. Reference has also been made to those plans in which the side walls of a tower between chancel and nave have been pierced with arches, and quasi-transepts have been constructed. This is very noticeable at Almondsbury in Gloucestershire, where the transeptal chapels, turned at a later date into burial-places for two local families, are very large and roomy. The cross-plan of Burford church in Oxfordshire was formed in this way, early in the thirteenth century. Plans like this, in which the chapels grow out of the central space, instead of being planned from the first in relation to it, are imperfectly cruciform; but are highly characteristic of the irregular methods of development pursued by the builders of medieval parish churches.

Sec. 65. Towers above transeptal chapels are not uncommon. The two transeptal towers at Ottery St Mary in Devon were doubtless copied from the arrangement at Exeter cathedral: there was an altar against the east wall of each chapel. The tower at Coln St Aldwyn, Gloucestershire, rises above a south chapel projecting from an aisleless nave. This addition was made in the fifteenth century. At Duddington in Northamptonshire the ground floor of the tower virtually forms, in its present state, an eastward extension of the south aisle parallel to the western part of the chancel: the original plan was probably similar to the present plan of Coln St Aldwyn. The noble church of Whaplode had transeptal chapels projecting from the east end of either aisle: the thirteenth century tower is above the south chapel. At Clymping in Sussex the arrangement is very peculiar. The church, which is almost entirely of the thirteenth century, has north and south transeptal chapels, and only a south aisle to the nave. The tower, which is at the end of the south chapel, is earlier than the rest of the building, but is clearly in its original position.

Sec. 66. The early progress of Gothic art in parish churches was marked by a general lengthening of chancels, analogous to that elongation of the eastern arm which is characteristic of cathedrals and monastic churches. This may be seen very clearly at Iffley, near Oxford, and Avening in Gloucestershire, where vaulted chancels of the twelfth century were lengthened in the thirteenth century by an eastern bay. Sometimes, as at St Mary's, Shrewsbury, where successive generations of builders were very faithful to the remains of earlier work, the old sedilia of a twelfth century chancel have been left in place. But, as a rule, the enlargement of the chancel implied an entire reconstruction, or the entire transformation of old work by the insertion of new windows or buttresses. From the end of the twelfth century onwards, the normal chancel of the parish church has a length which is from a half to two-thirds of the length of the nave, the nave being slightly broader than the chancel. This is the case with most of those Norfolk churches, which may be regarded as the ideal examples of parish church planning. Room was in this way secured both for the altar and the quire stalls, for which the ordinary rectangular chancel offered a very restricted space.

Sec. 67. Sometimes a new chancel encroached upon the nave. This happened at Skipwith in Yorkshire, where the church underwent some alteration about the middle of the fourteenth century. The new chancel was made of the same width as the nave; and apparently the old chancel arch was entirely removed, and its site, with the part of the nave immediately west of it, made into an extra bay of the chancel. No new chancel arch was built. One of the most curious and perplexing instances, in which additional westward room has been given to the chancel, and there is no structural division between chancel and nave, is at Tansor in Northants. The perplexity which arises here is due to the plentiful re-use of old work by the builders, the presence of which in unexpected places makes the history of the building a nearly insoluble puzzle. The church reached its present length about 1140, when probably the Saxon nave was left as the west part of a church, which was now of the same width the whole way through, and had no chancel arch. Some forty years later, narrow aisles of three bays were added to the nave; and, about the same time, a transeptal chapel may have been thrown out from the south wall, immediately east of the south aisle. As the church stands on southward sloping ground, there seems to have been no room for another chapel on the north side. In the thirteenth century, the aisles were lengthened eastwards, to flank the western part of the chancel. The builders moved back the eastern responds of the old arcades to the points from which the lengthened arcades were to start. They set themselves, however, a difficult problem when they reserved a space at the end of the north aisle for a sacristy, and set the respond on the west side of this narrow bay. Their north aisle thus consisted of five bays and a very narrow eastern bay for the sacristy. On the south side no space corresponding to the sacristy was marked out, although the eastern respond was placed in a line with the east side of the opening of the sacristy. The number of bays on the south side had to be five, as there was no room for six. The result is that the pillars of the arcades, with the exception of those of the two bays furthest west, which were left unaltered, are not opposite each other. In the meantime, the old transeptal chapel was left standing between a south aisle and a short south chapel of the chancel. About 1300, the aisle and chapel seem to have been widened to the full length of the transeptal chapel, and thus a broad south aisle was formed. In this plan, the chancel proper projects for some distance east of the aisles; but, for ritual purposes, the eastern part of the nave, corresponding to the eastern bay of the north aisle and the sacristy bay beyond, forms, and has formed since the twelfth century, a western extension of the chancel.

Sec. 68. The addition of aisles to chancels was an even more gradual process than the addition of aisles to naves; and, as a rule, the aisles were at first mere chapels. Chancel aisles or chapels of twelfth century date are not very common in smaller churches. But a plan like that at Melbourne, where the apsidal chapels east of the transepts flank the chancel very closely, leads naturally to the provision of chapels communicating directly with the chancel. The logical consequence of such a plan is seen at Oundle, at the close of the twelfth century, where rectangular chapels were built along the north and south walls of the western part of the chancel. The walls were pierced with broad, low arches, and arches were built between the chapels and the transepts. The chapels, in this instance, are at the back of the quire stalls; and a long projecting piece of aisleless chancel was left beyond them, to which, in the fifteenth century, a large northern vestry was added. This plan, where both chancel chapels were added at much the same time and on the same scale, is symmetrical. But, as a rule, chancel chapels were built just when they were needed. At Arksey, near Doncaster, where, as at St Mary's, Shrewsbury, the walls of late twelfth century transepts have been largely preserved inside the church in spite of many alterations, the chancel is a long aisleless twelfth century building east of a central tower. Towards the end of the thirteenth century, the north chancel wall was pierced, and a narrow chapel built, which was one bay shorter than the chancel itself. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the nave was enlarged, and the south aisle was widened to the full length of the south transept. A south chapel was added to the chancel: its outer wall was continued from the south wall of the transept, and carried eastwards for a little distance beyond the east wall of the chancel. Thus chancel, south chapel, and north chapel, are all of three different lengths and breadths, the south chapel being the longest and widest. When the south chapel was built, a considerable portion of the old chancel wall was left untouched on its north side. It is obvious that the methods of building employed in such additions were those which have been described in connexion with the addition of aisles to a nave. It is no uncommon thing to enter, as at Tamworth, a chancel aisle or chantry chapel, and find substantial remains of the old outer wall of the chancel, which has been pierced with one or more arches of communication.

Sec. 69. As the relative dates and proportions of chancel chapels vary so greatly, it is obvious that in many cases only one will be found. We frequently meet with churches which have only one aisle to the nave; but these are for the most part small buildings, and one aisle usually, in larger buildings, presupposes another, although symmetry of proportion need not be expected. However, many important churches have one chancel chapel, and no more. Raunds in Northamptonshire, and Leverington in Cambridgeshire, have south, but not north, chapels. Stanion in Northamptonshire, and Hullavington in Wiltshire, have north, but not south chapels. In both these last cases, the chapels are simply continuations of the aisles, without a break or intermediate arch; and the chapel at Stanion is neither more nor less than a second chancel. As the dedication of Stanion church is to St Peter and St Paul, it is not unlikely that the prominence given to the north chapel may be due to the provision of altars for both saints. The same consideration may have influenced the building of the church at Wisbech, which is also dedicated to St Peter and St Paul. Here, the twelfth century chancel had a south chapel; but when, at the end of the thirteenth century, the chancel was lengthened, the south chapel was also enlarged into what is practically a second chancel. Not only this, but the south aisle of the church was rebuilt on the scale of a second nave, a second south aisle was built out beyond it, and the whole church, which afterwards was enlarged towards the north and otherwise altered, was more than doubled in size.

Sec. 70. Where chantry chapels are attached to one side or other of a chancel, their variations in size and plan are almost infinite. In the smallest examples, they are mere projections from the wall of the chancel, and little more than tomb recesses, such as the Cresacre chapel at Barnburgh, near Rotherham, or the Booth chapel on the south side of the chancel at Sawley in Derbyshire. The little north chapel of the chancel at Clapton-in-Gordano in Somerset may have served as a vestry. At Brancepeth, near Durham, where there is a long chancel and an aisled nave with transeptal chapels, a south chantry chapel adjoins the east side of the south transeptal chapel, while a north chantry chapel forms an independent excrescence from the north wall, and is shut off from the chancel by a doorway. Brigstock in Northamptonshire has a very large north chancel chapel, which is virtually the eastern portion of a widened aisle: the south chapel, on the other hand, is of much later date, and is so small that there must have been room in it for an altar and little more. These smaller chantry chapels, like the beautiful south chapel at Aldwinkle All Saints, Northants, have often great architectural beauty of their own, and give great variety to the plan of the church. But chancel chapels are often larger and more important, like the fourteenth century south chapel at Leverton, near Boston, which is practically a separate building, separated from the chancel by a wall without an arcade, or like the very spacious north chapel of the priory church at Brecon. The south chapel of the chancel at Berkeley in Gloucestershire, and the Clopton chapel at Long Melford in Suffolk, are shut off from the adjacent parts of the church, and belong to that class of chantry chapel of which our cathedrals furnish many examples. In this case, the chapel is a small separate building, attached to the fabric of the church, but hardly forming an integral part of it.

Sec. 71. One very important consequence of the addition of aisles and chantry chapels to chancels, at any rate on a large scale, is seen where they are applied to plans originally cruciform. We have already seen that at St Mary's, Shrewsbury, and at Arksey, although much of the fabric of the old transepts was left, broad chancel chapels tended to obliterate the cruciform character of the building. The transepts at Spalding almost escape notice, owing to the double aisle on the south side of the nave, the aisle and north chapel on the opposite side, and the large chapel east of the south transept. Moreover, when, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, aisles were rebuilt or widened, there was always, as at Tansor, a tendency to decide the width of the aisle by the length of an existing transept or transeptal chapel, and to build the new outer wall flush with its gable wall. In this case, the aisle would be planned to communicate with the transept, and the west wall of the transept would have to be cut through. Where, as at Arksey, there was a central tower, the old transept was structurally necessary, and only as much of its masonry would be removed as was absolutely necessary. But we have seen that there were cases in which it was thought advisable to take down the central tower altogether, and build a new one at the west end, in which case the transepts were of no structural use; and there were far more cases in which the transeptal excrescences were merely projecting chapels. In these instances, the transept was felt to intervene awkwardly between the aisles of nave and chancel. Accordingly, its side walls and gabled roof were taken down, its end wall was remodelled, and it was placed under one roof with the adjacent aisles, in which it became merged. The cruciform plan was thus lost in certain churches, becoming absorbed in the ordinary elongated plan, with aisles to nave and chancel. Tamworth church in Staffordshire, and Marshfield in Gloucestershire, had twelfth century central towers. These were removed or destroyed, at Tamworth in the fourteenth, at Marshfield in the fifteenth century, and the aisles and chancel chapels were widened to the original length, approximately, of the transepts. The north and south arches of the crossing, however, remain in a blocked condition, and tell the tale of what has happened. Wakefield cathedral is another instance of a large parish church whose aisleless cruciform plan has gradually disappeared within the aisles, until the plan is—or was till the additions of a few years ago—an aisled rectangle, the origin of which is certainly not obvious at first sight. The transformations here described must clearly be understood not to apply to cruciform churches generally, but merely to churches which, with an originally cruciform plan, needed enlargement. Many handsome late Gothic buildings, like the churches of Rotherham and Chesterfield, or St Mary's at Nottingham, are regular cruciform churches with central towers; and sometimes, as at Newark, transeptal chapels were the latest of all additions to a church. But, where the transeptal chapel cramped necessary space, it had to disappear. At St Margaret's, Leicester, the arches into the transeptal chapels remain; but the chapels themselves have entirely disappeared, and the arches merely form part of the arcade between the nave and its broad aisles.

Sec. 72. The aim of restorers and rebuilders from the middle of the fourteenth century onwards was to convert the church into a rectangle with aisles. As we have seen, the chancel was constantly, in late Gothic churches, an aisleless projection from the main fabric; but, where it was aisled, the old haphazard methods were often abandoned, and the aisles were made of approximately equal size. The old distinction between nave and chancel, marked by the chancel arch, and the arches between chapels and aisles, begin to vanish. Where the chancel arch was kept, as at Long Sutton in Lincolnshire, new chancel chapels were prolonged westward on each side of the nave, in place of the old nave aisles. Fairford church in Gloucestershire was rebuilt towards the end of the fifteenth century, to contain the splendid stained glass which had just been acquired for it. A central tower was built on strong piers, as a concession to the old plan; but the aisles of the nave were continued on either side of the tower and along the sides of the chancel till within a bay of the east end. But, in a great many churches, not merely the aisles, but the nave and chancel also became continuous, without a structural division. This feature, common in East Anglia and the south-west of England, was the result of the importance of carved and painted wood-work in late Gothic churches. The rood screen, stretching across nave and aisles, appeared to full advantage, when unbroken by the chancel arch. The splendid timber roofs of nave and aisles gained in effect, if they formed, as at Southwold, or in the churches of Norwich, an unbroken covering to the church from end to end. In Norfolk and Suffolk, where the work of rebuilding began in the fourteenth century, as at Cawston, Worstead, or Tunstead, the chancel arch was often kept. At Worstead and other Norfolk churches the method pursued by the builders was precisely opposite to that which we have seen employed by Gloucestershire masons at Cirencester and other places, and may see in most of the fifteenth century churches of Somerset. The arcades were rebuilt first, and the aisles followed. Many of these churches were doubtless enlarged from much smaller buildings. The south aisle at Ingham was probably the nave of the earlier church, to which the present nave, north aisle, chancel, and west tower, were added. The aisles in most cases continued at a uniform width eastward as chancel chapels. The north aisle at Worstead was continued by a two-storied sacristy to the level of the east wall of the chancel. The south aisle stops at a bay short of the east wall, leaving the end of the chancel projecting as an altar space. Whether the chancel arch was retained or not, the projection of this aisleless eastern bay became a very general feature of the larger churches of East Anglia, and, in churches like Trunch, Southwold, and Clare, its tall side windows flood the space with light The most striking example of this plan is at Long Melford in Suffolk, where there is no chancel arch, and the actual chancel projects beyond the aisles. Here, however, it is flanked on the north by the Clopton chapel, and on the south by the vestry, which forms a covered way to the detached lady chapel further east. The Long Melford plan, with a projecting altar space, and without a chancel arch, is nearly universal in Cornwall, and is common in south Devon, where, as at Totnes, the aisles of the chancel are usually little more than comparatively short chapels, and sometimes, as at West Alvington, near Kingsbridge, extend only a bay beyond the screen. Its great advantages, apart from the display of wood-work which it permits, are the gain of internal space permitted by the reduction of the solid portions of the building to a minimum, the additional light admitted by the same means, and the long uninterrupted clerestory which forms a wall of glass, with thin stone divisions, on each side of the upper part of the church.

Sec. 73. The tendency to give the whole church aisles of equal width throughout, and extending along its whole length, was irresistible, especially in East Anglia. The church of North Walsham, rebuilt towards the end of the fourteenth century, is a great rectangle of three parallel divisions, with axes from east to west, and of nearly equal breadth. The chapel of St Nicholas at Lynn, rebuilt in 1419, is an even more striking example of the same design: in both cases the simple and somewhat monotonous plan is varied by the projection of a handsome south porch. At Lynn, the thirteenth century west tower, with a spire, was kept at the south-west corner of the aisled building. But the aisled rectangular plan, if it attained its highest development in East Anglia, had been reached already in other parts of England by gradual methods. It has sometimes been fathered upon aisled naves of friary churches, which, like the great nave of the Black friars at Norwich, afforded space for large congregations who came to hear sermons. But it is probable that the first churches which followed the course of expansion into the aisled rectangle were directly influenced by the example of the larger churches, like Lincoln, or, at a later date, York, which, in extending their eastern arms, aisled their quires, presbyteries, and eastern chapels, right up to the east wall. Thus the whole quire and chancel of Newark, with aisles extending their whole length, were planned in the early part of the fourteenth century, when the great eastern chapel, the "Angel Quire," of Lincoln, was little more than a generation old; and, although the progress of the work was long delayed, the eventual arrangement, in which the high altar was brought two bays forward from the east wall, and a spacious chapel was left at the back, exactly recalls the arrangements of Lincoln and York. Similarly the quire and chancel of the cruciform church of Holy Trinity at Hull are aisled to their full length: the arrangement, again, is that of a cathedral rather than a parish church. The influence of cathedral plans is clearly visible in St Mary Redcliffe at Bristol, and in the collegiate churches of Ottery St Mary and Crediton: but here the type followed is not that of Lincoln and York, but that more usual in the west and south of England at Hereford, Wells, Salisbury, Exeter, and elsewhere, where the aisles of the chancel are returned at the back of the east wall, and form a vestibule to a projecting aisleless lady chapel. This type of plan occurs outside its regular district at Tickhill, on the borders of Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. But it is naturally exceptional, and would be used only where there was plenty of money and space to spare: it demands for its full effect a considerable elevation, involving a large clerestory, and a church could seldom, if ever, be found whose original plan invited expansion on these lines. On the other hand, the aisling of the chancel throughout was simply the logical development of the ordinary church plan: if the plans of cathedrals may have suggested the later developments at churches like Newark or Hull, the simple aisled rectangle, with its three parallel divisions, and without any clerestory to distinguish the nave from the aisles—a plan remarkably characteristic of Cornwall—came into existence in the ordinary course of things, by an extension of the wings of the building until they flanked the whole of the nave and chancel.

Sec. 74. The work done at Grantham in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries illustrates the purely natural development of the ordinary aisled church into the aisled rectangle. We have seen, in an earlier chapter, that, soon after 1300, the church consisted of an aisleless chancel, which was, however, overlapped at the west end by the north aisle of the nave; a nave, the north and south aisles of which followed different systems of spacing; a western tower and spire, engaged within the aisles; and north and south porches. Several chantries were founded in the church during the fourteenth century. Not long after the Black Death of 1349, the south aisle was extended eastward to the whole length of the chancel. The south wall of the chancel was pierced by an arcade; and the lady chapel thus formed was raised upon a double crypt. It was not until more than a century later that the east wall of the north aisle was taken down, and the "Corpus Christi chancel" built out, continuing the north aisle without a break, and completely flanking the north wall of the chancel, through which an arcade was made. Here the reason of expansion was obviously the growth of chantry chapels; and the expansion follows the simplest course. The last addition to the fabric was the present vestry, in which was a chantry founded by the Hall family. This was built out at right angles to the north aisle, at the point where the old work was met by the later extension. Not until the church had been fully aisled, and afforded no further room for new altars, were chantry chapels usually added in the shape of excrescences from the fabric.

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