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The Ground Plan of the English Parish Church
by A. Hamilton Thompson
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Sec. 75. One interesting feature in the planning of chancels, which has been much discussed, is worth a note. This is the fact that the axis of the chancel is frequently out of line with the axis of the nave, and generally has a slight northward inclination. Sometimes, as at Henbury in Gloucestershire, the inclination is very considerable, so that, from the west end of the church, nearly a quarter of the east wall is out of sight. Usually, the inclination is very slight; and there are many cases in which it is not northward, but southward—Sidbury and Salcombe Regis, near Sidmouth, Eastbourne in Sussex and Aldwinkle St Peter in Northants, are cases in point. The popular explanation is that it symbolises the leaning of our Saviour's head upon the cross. Like most symbolical explanations, this is founded entirely upon fancy: the inclination is by no means confined to churches with cross plans, and, if it were, the theorists who argue from this standpoint confound the symbolism of the cross-plan between the cross itself and the Body which it bore. Others have sought to explain the phenomenon by suggesting that the orientation of the chancel followed the direction in which the sun rose on the morning of the patronal feast. A succession of visits at sunrise to churches on appropriate dates has not hitherto been attempted upon a comprehensive scale: if it were undertaken, it probably would be found that the sun, instead of rising obediently opposite the middle light of every east window, as the theory requires, would have many puzzling exceptions in reserve. The marked divergence of axis at Henbury is explained by the site of the building, which is on a gentle slope, with the axis of the nave distinctly from south-east to north-west. When the chancel was rebuilt in the thirteenth century, the masons kept as high upon the slope as they could, and so twisted the axis of the chancel a little further east. But we must also remember that, when chancels were lengthened and rebuilt, the work was done while the old chancels were still standing. The axis of the old chancel might be out of line with that of the nave. Unless very careful measurements were taken, the new east wall would probably be not quite parallel with the old east wall of the chancel. The side walls would be set out at right angles to the new east wall; and thus, when the new chancel was joined to the church, the divergence of axis would be more palpable than before. Or, for the same reason, a divergence of axis might be created for the first time. This seems to be the common sense explanation of a very common feature. But it must be added that there are instances in which the inclination is so decided that one is tempted to conclude either that the masons had very crooked sight, or that they were playing tricks with their perspective. The feature, where it is at all marked, is something of a deformity. In our own day it has been introduced, apparently by design, into the plan of Truro cathedral. In medieval work, however, it will seldom be found in a chancel where no enlargement upon an early site has taken place; and it seems safe to conclude that, like so much else in medieval building which is irregular, it generally arises from the rebuilding of a fabric upon an encumbered site.



INDEX OF PLACES

Aachen, Rhenish Prussia, palace church, 33, 34

Acaster Malbis, Yorks., 65

Achurch, Northants., 56, 58

Acton Burnell, Salop., 55, 56, 58, 65, 102

Adderbury, Oxon., 106, 107

Adel, Yorks., 49

Africa, basilicas in north, 14

Aldwinkle, Northants., All Saints, 121; St Peter, 131

Almondsbury, Glouces., 54, 113

Alvington, West, Devon, 126

Amiens, France (Somme), cathedral, 68

Appleton-le-Street, Yorks., 84

Arksey, Yorks., 118, 121, 122

Askham Bryan, Yorks., 49

Avening, Glouces., 54, 114

Aylsham, Norfolk, 104

Bakewell, Derby, 70

Bampton-in-the-Bush, Oxon., 59, 60, 61

Barnack, Northants., 30, 32

Barnburgh, Yorks., 120

Barton-on-Humber, Lincs., St

Peter, 30, 32, 33, 34, 40, 41

Berkeley, Glouces., 121

Beverley, Yorks., minster, 74, 75; St Mary, 102, 111, 112

Bewick, Old, Northumb., 50, 52

Bibury, Glouces., 94

Billingborough, Lincs., 82

Billingham, Durham, 73

Birkin, Yorks., 46, 51, 52, 82, 83

Bishopstone, Sussex, 36

Blatherwycke, Northants., 46

Bloxham, Oxon., 105, 106, 107

Bottesford, Lincs., 108

Bracebridge, Lincs., 28

Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts., 16, 29, 36

Bradwell-juxta-Mare, Essex, St Peter's on the Wall, 16

Brampton Ash, Northants., 76

Brancepeth, Durham, 120

Branscombe, Devon, 107

Brayton, Yorks., 46

Breamore, Hants., 38, 40, 54

Brecon, priory church, 121

Brigstock, Northants., 28, 97, 120, 121

Bristol, St John Baptist, 98; St Lawrence, 98; St Mary Redcliffe, 95, 99, 101, 102, 128

Britford, Wilts., 36

Brixworth, Northants., 21, 22, 23, 24, 29, 32, 53

Broughton, Lincs., 32

Bubwith, Yorks., 93

Burford, Oxon., 60, 61, 99, 113

Caistor, Lincs., 45

Cambridge, All Saints, 97, 98; St Benedict, 28; Holy Trinity, 97; St Michael, 94, 95

Campsall, Yorks., 109, 110

Canterbury, Kent, cathedral, 15, 35; St Pancras, 15, 16, 23, 24, 35, 36, 53

Caunton, Notts., 93

Cawston, Norfolk, 104, 125

Chesterfield, Derby, 123

Chichester, Sussex, cathedral, 68

Childs Wickham, Glouces., 56, 58

Chipping Norton, Oxon., 99

Christon, Som., 53

Cirencester, Glouces., 87, 88, 89, 125

Clapton-in-Gordano, Som., 105, 120

Clare, Suffolk, 126

Clymping, Sussex, 114

Coln Rogers, Glouces., 28, 29, 97

Coln St Aldwyn, Glouces., 113, 114

Coln St Denis, Glouces., 53

Cologne, Rhenish Prussia, St Gereon, 34

Colsterworth, Lincs., 47, 92

Constantinople, Sta Sophia, 10, 12, 13

Copford, Essex, 52, 74

Copmanthorpe, Yorks., 49

Corbridge-on-Tyne, Northumb., 19, 20, 56

Corstopitum, see Corbridge-on-Tyne

Coventry, Warwicks., Holy Trinity, 102; St John Baptist, 102; St Michael, 98

Crediton, Devon, 128

Cullompton, Devon, 106

Dedham, Essex, 97

Deerhurst, Glouces., 27, 36, 37

Dover, Kent, St Mary in the Castle, 37, 38, 40, 54

Duddington, Northants., 114

Dunham Magna, Norfolk, 38

Durham, cathedral, 50, 67, 69

Earl's Barton, Northants., 30, 48

Eastbourne, Sussex, 131

Easton, Great, Leices., 86

Ely, Cambs., cathedral, 50

Escomb, Durham, 17, 18, 20, 26, 27, 29

Evesham, Worces., All Saints, 105; St Lawrence, 105

Ewerby, Lincs., 96

Exeter, Devon, cathedral, 113, 128

Exton, Rutland, 103, 104

Fairford, Glouces., 124

Felmersham, Beds., 110

Felton, Northumb., 83

Finchingfield, Essex, 45

Fountains abbey, Yorks., 67

Garton-on-the-Wolds, Yorks., 46

Geddington, Northants., 28, 72

Gedling, Notts., 94

Gloucester, cathedral, 67

Grantham, Lincs., 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 96, 99, 100, 129, 130, 131

Greenstead, Essex, 43

Gretton, Northants., 72, 78, 93, 94

Hallaton, Leices., 83, 99

Harringworth, Northants., 85, 86, 87

Heapham, Lincs., 46

Heckington, Lincs., 76, 107, 108

Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumb., 48

Henbury, Glouces., 99, 131, 132

Hereford, cathedral, 128

Heslerton, West, Yorks., 64

Hexham, Northumb., priory church, 20, 21, 23; St Mary, 33, 34, 41

Heysham, Lancs., 25

Hooton Pagnell, Yorks., 46

Hough-on-the-Hill, Lincs., 32

Hull, Yorks., Holy Trinity, 128, 129

Hullavington, Wilts., 119

Iffley, Oxon., 53, 54, 114

Islip, Northants., 76

Jarrow-on-Tyne, Durham, St Paul, 19

Jerusalem, Holy Sepulchre, 34, 52, 62

Kegworth, Leices., 104

Kirkburn, Yorks., 46

Kirk Hammerton, Yorks., 46

Laceby, Lincs., 45

Langford, Essex, 52

Langham, Rutland, 113

Lavenham, Suffolk, 94

Leckhampton, Glouces., 54

Leicester, St Margaret, 123, 124; St Mary in the Castle, 49, 95, 97

Leverington, Cambs., 119

Leverton, Lincs., 121

Lincoln, cathedral, 67, 127, 128; St Mary-le-Wigford, 28; St Peter-at-Gowts, 28

Lowick, Northants., 105

Ludlow, Salop., 99, 100, 102

Lydd, Kent, 24

Lynn, King's, Norfolk, St Margaret, 96; St Nicholas, 127

Marshfield, Glouces., 123

Medbourne, Leices., 56, 58, 113

Melbourne, Derby, 59, 60, 69, 70, 75, 76, 96, 117

Melford, Long, Suffolk, 121, 126

Melton Mowbray, Leices., 102

Middleton Tyas, Yorks., 78, 79

Minster Lovell, Oxon., 61

Monkwearmouth, Durham, 18, 19, 20, 23, 29

Montacute, Som., 56, 58

Moor Monkton, Yorks., 48

Nantwich, Cheshire, 102

Newark-on-Trent, Notts., 87, 89, 96, 99, 110, 123, 127, 128, 129

Newbald, North, Yorks., 57, 58, 59, 60

Newcastle-on-Tyne, Northumb., St Nicholas, 96, 100

Newhaven, Sussex, 53

Norham-on-Tweed, Northumb., 69, 70

Northallerton, Yorks., 78

Northampton, St Giles, 60, 61; St Peter, 49

Northleach, Glouces., 87, 88, 89, 99

Norton-on-Tees, Durham, 40, 41, 54

Norwich, cathedral, 67; church of Black friars, 127

Nottingham, St Mary, 123

Oakham, Rutland, 113

Othery, Som., 65

Othona, see Bradwell-juxta-Mare

Ottery St Mary, Devon, 106, 113, 128

Oundle, Northants., 82, 94, 98, 108, 109, 117, 118

Paignton, Devon, 106

Patricio, Brecon, 66, 67, 68

Peterborough, Northants., Saxon abbey church, 21, 22

Petersfield, Hants., 109

Plymouth, Devon, St Andrew, 105, 106

Plympton St Mary, Devon, 105, 106

Portlemouth, East, Devon, 106

Potterne, Wilts., 55, 56, 65

Ramsey, Hunts., Saxon abbey church, 39

Ranworth, Norfolk, 64, 68

Raunds, Northants., 79, 80, 81, 83, 84, 119

Ravenna, Italy, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, 10; of Theodoric, 10, 11, 12; Sant' Apollinare in Classe, 8, 9; Sant' Apollinare Nuovo, 8, 9; San Giovanni in Fonte, 10; Sta Maria in Cosmedin, 10; San Vitale, 11, 12, 13, 33

Reculver, Kent, 15, 24

Repton, Derby, 28, 37

Riccall, Yorks., 46

Ripon, Yorks, cathedral, 21, 23

Rochester, Kent, cathedral, 15

Rome, Basilica of Maxentius, 3; Basilica Ulpia, 2; Baths of Caracalla, 9; Castle of Sant' Angelo, 9; San Clemente, 9; Sta Costanza, 9; San Lorenzo fuori le Mura, 8; San Paolo, 8; old St Peter's, 4, 6, 7, 8, 14, 15; scholae, 5

Rotherham, Yorks., 123

St-Georges-de-Boscherville, France (Seine-Inf.), 60

St Peter's on the Wall, see Bradwell-juxta-Mare

Salcombe Regis, Devon, 131

Salisbury, Wilts., cathedral, 67, 128

Sall, Norfolk, 104

Sawley, Derby, 120

Seamer, Yorks., 73

Sherburn-in-Elmet, Yorks., 69, 70, 96

Shrewsbury, Salop., St Mary, 114, 118, 121

Sidbury, Devon, 28, 131

Silchester, Hants., 14, 24, 25

Sileby, Leices., 96

Skipwith, Yorks., 115

Skirlaugh, South, Yorks., 65

Sleaford, Lincs., 82, 97

Southwell, Notts., cathedral, 70

Southwold, Suffolk, 125, 126

Spalding, Lincs., 95, 122

Stafford, St Mary, 112

Stanion, Northants., 119

Stanton Lacy, Salop., 38

Stow, Lincs., 39, 40, 42, 54

Stretton-in-the-Street, Rutland, 104

Studland, Dorset, 53

Sutton, Long, Lincs., 70, 124

Swaton, Lincs., 82

Tamworth, Staffs., 119, 123

Tansor, Northants., 49, 82, 100, 115, 116, 117, 122

Taunton, Som., St Mary Magdalene, 99

Temple Balsall, Warwicks., 65

Theddingworth, Leices., 79

Tickencote, Rutland, 48

Tickhill, Yorks., 96, 128

Tilney All Saints, Norfolk, 92, 93

Tiverton, Devon, 105, 106

Totnes, Devon, 126

Trier, Rhenish Prussia, basilica, 3; Liebfrauenkirche, 34

Trunch, Norfolk, 126

Truro, Cornwall, cathedral, 133

Tunstead, Norfolk, 125

Tytherington, Glouces., 73

Vinovium, see Escomb.

Waith, Lincs., 38, 39

Wakefield, Yorks., cathedral, 123

Walberswick, Suffolk, 99

Walsham, North, Norfolk, 127

Walsoken, Norfolk, 70

Warkworth, Northumb., 48

Warmington, Northants., 99, 100

Wells, Som., cathedral, 128

Whaplode, Lincs., 92, 114

Whitwell, Rutland, 78

Winchester, cathedral, 50

Wing, Bucks., 24, 27

Winterton, Lincs., 28, 97

Wisbech, Cambs., 120

Witham, North, Lincs., 47

Witney, Oxon., 61, 110, 112

Wittering, Northants., 28

Wollaton, Notts., 97

Worstead, Norfolk, 99, 125

Worth, Sussex, 37, 102, 103

Yainville, France (Seine-Inf.), 53

Yatton, Som., 99

York, cathedral, 67, 127, 128

Ythanceaster, see Bradwell-juxta-Mare

* * * * *

CAMBRIDGE: PRINTED BY JOHN CLAY, M.A. AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS

* * * * *

Transcriber's note

Minor punctuation errors have been corrected without notice. An obvious printer error has been corrected, and it is listed below. All other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling has been maintained.

Page 36: "a Saxon ex-example" changed to "a Saxon example".

THE END

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