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both within and without, and entirely free from Gothic orna. ments."*
Mr. Whittington, writing concerning the architecture practised by the Normans ou the continent, observes that the “ Saxon churches of England were inferior in elevation, massiveness, and magnitude, to those of the Normans, and the Norman mode differed considerably from that which was adopted in the neighbourhood of Paris, and further to the south. The Norman churches were in some instances larger, but exhibited a greater rudeness of design and execution. The columns, in particular, were without symmetry, and shewed but little skill in the art of sculpture, while those of the French artists, whose taste had been improved by the remains of Roman architecture, frequently, imitated with success the Corinthian capital, and sometimes the classical proportions. Both styles are wholly deficient in correctness of taste; but the barbarous massiveness of a Normau structure has a more decided air of originality, and its rudeness, when on a large scale, serves greatly to enhance the sublimity of its effect.”+
The above descriptions of churches erected in their own country by the Normans, however deficient in minuteness of detail, will be found useful in a critical examination of Anglo-Norman buildings, and particularly as regards those structures which were raised shortly after the Conquest.
In discussing this subject, I first present the most important remarks of judicious writers illustrative of the general character of Anglo-Norman architecture, and shall afterwards notice their endeavours towards an appropriation of distinct varieties in this mode to respective eras.
In regard to general character, it may be mentioned, as a succinct manual of remembrance, that the style in architecture
• Anglo-Norman Antiquities, p. 62–63. In the same work are given engravings of the west front of the church of St. Stephen, and of the west front and the interior of the church of the Holy Trinity. .
† Historical Survey, &c. p. 55–56.
which is best designated by the term of Anglo-Norman, is marked by the uniform prevalence of the semicircular arch; by massy columns, standing on a strong plinth, or (according to Benthami and Warton,] having " a kind of regular base and capital,” which are usually square, the latter being in many instances left quite plain, but, in others, ornamented with foliage, or various representations of natural subjects; by the massive contours of the mouldings; and by walls of great thickness; without any very prominent buttresses.
It has been already suggested that one distinguishing mark of the Anglo-Norman churches, when compared with those describe as having existed in the island previous to the Conquest, consists in the magnitude and grandeur of their dimensions. Although some of the principal churches raised during the Saxon sway over this country, were far from being of a humble and con. fined character, it is unquestionable that the Norman rebuilders enlarged on the plan of these structures, in attention to that spi. rit which had prevailed so generally on the continent in the 11th century. In numerous cathedrals, which display an evidence of Norman design, we have ocular proofs of the grandeur of their architeclural views. The vestiges of several conventual churches (once secondary in magnificence only to those cathedrals) afford the same conviction, even in their ruins.* 2 B 2
• The augmentation of dimensions ; the form; and the usual procedure in building, the churches of this era, ate thus noticed by Mr. Bentham :-" The works of the Normans were large, sumptaous, and magnificent; of great length and breadth, and carried up to a proportionable height, with two and some. times three ranges of pillars one orer another, of different dimensions, con. nected together by various arches Call of them circular]; forming thereby a lower and upper portico, and over them a gallery ; and on the outside three tiers of windows. In the centre was a lorty strong tower, and sometimes one or two more added at the west end, the front of which generally extended beyond the side aisles of the nave, or body, of the church.
" The observation made on rebuilding St. Paul's, in King William Rufus's time, after the fire of London, in 1086, hy Mauritius, Bishop of that see, viz.
In every proportion of component feature, the style of the Anglo-Normans was consonant to their augmentation of groundplan. Their principal buildings do not present a magnitudinous assemblage of small parts, but a ponderous vast whole, from which all ideas of littleness are excluded in every parlicular.However rude in design or execution may be deemed these ecclesiastical structures, they assuredly possess a sublimity of effect, which is rarely equalled in buildings more skilfully planned, and of a more beautiful character.
This sublimity was heightened, in many churches of the AngloNormaus, by a twilight gloorn, which would appear to have been studiously cultivated. Their windows, few and narrow, were illcalculated to illuminate the edifice sufficiently for the purposes of the officiating priests. It is, therefore, probable that the mys. terious sanctity of ancient cereinonials was rendered additionally impressive, in such churches, by the use of lighted tapers, even in the performance of mid-day service. *
• That the plan was so extensive, and the design so great, that most people who lived at that time censured it as a rash undertaking, and judged that it Rever would be accomplished ;' is in some measure applicable to most of the churches begun by the Normans.--Their plan was, indeed, great and noble, and they laid out their whole design at first; scarcely, we may imagine, with a view of ever living to see it completed in their lifetime : their way, therefore, was usually to begin at the east end, or the choir part; when that was finished, and covered in, the church was often consecrated ; and the remainder carried on as far as they were able, and then left to their successors to be completed.” Bentham's Hist. of Ely cathedral, p. 33–4.
* Mr. Whitaker, in his « Cathedral of Cornwall historically surveyed," observes, that, in most of our oldest churches, the “ officiating divine must generally have gone through the service by that shadowy sort of illumination, which candles awfully diffuse over the evening service of our great churches in winter;" and he supports such an opinion by the following historical colTections.--" This practice began very early in the temples of Christianity; an express mention being made by some canons, (which from their spirit, or from their age, or from boths, were thought worthy to be denominated apos. tolical, and are certainly some of the most ancient among Christians) of the
The arches of an ancient edifice usually form the primary subjects of curious investigation. Those constructed by the AngloNormans, on the interior of a building, are chiefly characterised by plainness and simplicity ; relying for effect, as it would appear, on the comparative magnitude of their proportions. But this is far from being of uniform application Ornament is bestowed on many with a liberal hand; and the arches of entrance to their ecclesiastical buildings were, in the great majority of instances, richly adorned with all the circumstances of embellishment which ingenuity could then devise, or art reduce to practice.*
2 B 3
oil for the lamp,' even in the service of the eucharist. We, accordingly, see Conrad, the prior of Christchurch in Canterbury, as early as 1108.9, giving to the cathedral ' a candlestick of wonderful greatness, composed of brass; having three branches upon one side, with three upon the other, all issuing from their proper stem in the middle; and so being capable of admitting seven wax lights into it.' This had only one range of receptacles for candles' and was not suspended by a chain, but raised upon a pillar, and so had one receptacle in the centre. But others had three ranges, like our present chan. deliers, yet still raised upon a pillar, and still having one receptacle in the centre. Thus, in the chapel at Glastonbury abbey, besides the Easter candle, 1204 Ibs. in weight, besides four other sorts of candles, a quarter of a pound, balf a pound, a whole pound, and three pounds each; there was a candlestick of three ranges, the lowest holding teu candles, but all holding twenty-five, each half a pound in weight; and on certain festivals all the ranges' were lighted, with the middle candle at the top of them.' Cathedral Hist. of Cornwall, Vol. I. p. 176-177; and the authorities there quoted.
• Amongst the most splendid Anglo-Norman arches of entrance, must be noticed that at the west front of Rochester cathedral, constructed, as is believed, after the design of Bishop Gundulph. The numerous mouldings of Ibis fine arch are all “ decorated with sculptures; the principal of them representing twisted branches, and curled leaves, with a variety of small animals, and human heads, in rich open-work.” A more extended description is pre
ented in the Beauties for Kent, p. 659—640. The Nurman doorways at Glastonbury, Malmsbury, and Castle Acre priory, Norfolk, are also distin guished and curious specimens.
Mr. Millers (in his Description of the Cathedral Church of Ely, states it,
The columns in Anglo-Norman buildings are uniformly 50 massive as to appear in themselves a load to the foundation, even while they act as the supports of a superstructure. But, although thus invariably of a ponderous character, they are greatly dissimilar in form. Mr. Millers [enlarging, from various sources, on the remarks of Mr. Bentham) describes them as “ huge massive piers,” consisting, "sometimes, but seldom, of a simple shaft, and that cylindrical, hexagonal, or octagonal; and, in general, spirally Auted, or adorned with lozenges, net-work, &c. in alt, or bass, relief.” The same writer adds, “ that they are most frequently of a compound form; the body of the pier being sometimes of a rectilinear, sometimes of a corvilinear form, and, on two or more sides of it, various portions of columns, or of flat pillars applied to and worked up with it—sometimes four stout round columns joined together, with or without angular parts appearing between each two-or square, with a small round coJumn at each corner--in short, the variety of form very great, and that in the same range-the capitals frequently plain— the most usual ornament is a sort of volute-in some instances flowers, leaves, shells, human heads, or animals - they can scarcely be said to have a regular base, but stand on a strong plinth, accominodlated to the shape of the pier."*
as the result of his observations, that the arches of the Normans were of " for greater amplitude than those of the Saxons with less minute ornament-but frequently bounded by a single moulding-sometimes indeed by more-but often none at all-soffit always plain.”
“In the second tier,” continues the same writer, while treating of Anglo. Norman buildings, " there are sometimes two smaller equal arches under one larger, with a colomn of moderate size (or even comparatively slender) be. tween them.
“ In the third tier, generally three together, the middle one higher and broader than the others, and opened for a window; all the three occupying a space equal to the span of a lower arch.” Description of Ely Cathedral, &c.