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The above comprehensive remarks will be found useful in the instance of local investigation; and some observations respecting the workmanship, and the principle on which columns were constructed by Anglo-Norman architects, will be presented in pages shortly ensuing.
Although many Anglo-Norman churches display, in their more conspicuous divisions, a considerable degree of ornament, the art of sculpture rendered only rude tributes towards their embellishment. No statues adorn the exterior of buildings erected at this era.* These, with canopied niches, and attendant luxuriancies of decoration, were reserved for a more splendid, if not more august, style of architecture. -Pieces of sculpture in relief, are, however, very frequent; and especially over doorways.-It will be recollected that they consist of various subjects ;-a supposed personification of the divinity—a representation of the saviour, the holy virgin, and numerous scriptural figures-allegorical de. vices, allusive to sacred writ-whole figures of men and animals, masques, chimeræ, and many unintelligible creations of fancy. The whole are badly executed; and, in some instances, the coarseness of the age is exhibited, and perpetuated, by a neglect of decency in the representations. Carved faces occur on arches, or as capitals of pilasters.
Mr. Bentham observes that escutcheons of arms, so common in the ecclesiastical buildings of succeeding ages, " are hardly, if ever, seen in these fabrics.”+
The roofs are concisely and well described, as being generally vaulted with stone; the groining strong and plain, without tracery; “ but the groins, sometimes, laced on one, or both, sides, with a moulding.” 2 B4
* The bodies of two pillars, which assist in supporting the arch over the west entrance at Rochester cathedral, are wrought into whole length statues, supposed to be those of Henry the First and his Queen Matilda. But these curious regal supporters can scarcely be said to act as an exception to the fidelity of the above remark.
Hist. of Ely Cathedral, p. 33 Millers, p. 24..
The towers of Anglo-Norman structures are of low, or rather (to use a homely, but expressive, term) of short and thick proportions-square and massive;-and they retain these characteristics even in the noblest instances of cathedral buildings. The introduction of towers among the Anglo-Saxons has been already noticed; and those first erected by the Normans, in England, probably differed in few particulars, except that of auginented magnitude.
Mr. Bentham remarks, that “the towers and turrels of churches built by the Normans, in the first century after their coming, were covered as platforms, with battleinents, or plain parapet walls; some of them, indeed, we now see finished with pinnacles or spires; which were additions since the modern style of pointed arches prevailed; for before we meet with none."*
It has been stated in a previous section that, even in several Anglo-Saxon churches, towers were speedily raised for ornament merely, although, at first, that part of a church was probably intended solely for the reception of bells. A striking increase of ornamental character was imparted, by the Normans, to the towers of many churches. Some information concerning this improvement is satisfactorily conveyed by Mr. Warton :—“The towers in Saxon cathedrals,t were not, always, intended for bells; they were,” often, “calculated to produce the effect of the louvre, or open lantern, in the inside; and, on this account, were origi. nally coutinued open, almost to the covering. It is generally supposed that the tower of Winchester cathedral, which is remarkably thick and short, was left as the foundation for a projected spire; but this idea șiever entered into the plan of the
• Hist of Ely Cathedral, p. 59-40.- Mr. Bentham adds, that one of the earliest spires of which we liave any account " is that of old St. Paul's, finished in the year 1992.” This spire was of timber, covered with lead; “ but, not long after, they began to build them of stone, and to finish all their buttresses in the same manner."
+ By this term Mr. Warton evidently means cathedrals erected by the Nirvans, in what he calls the Saron style.
architect. Nearly the whole inside of this tower was formerly seen from below; and, for that reason, its side arches, or windows, of the first story at least, are artificially wrought and ornamented. With this sole effect in view, the builder saw no necessity to carry it higher. Many other examples might be pointed out. This gave the idea for the beautiful lanterns at Peterborough and Ely.”*
The following observations of writers whose opinions have obtained considerable attention, demand notice in this place, as they afford some particulars, not devoid of interest, concerning the ornaments and construction of Anglo-Norman edifices. It has been already stated, in my remarks on the ecclesiastical
Observations on the Fairy Queen of Spenser, Vol. II. p. 195.-In the Cathedral History of Cornwall, Vol. II. p. 178—9, Mr. Whitaker affords some remarks, in corroboration of the propriety of the above mode of explaining the “source and origin of lanterns in our cathedrals.” The architectural character of that fine' open' and ornamented portion of a church-tower, which has been, for many ages, denominated a lantern, is briefly explained in the Beauties for Cambridgeshire, article Ely Cathedral. It may not be undesirable to observe, in this page, that lanterns of open stone work, erected on lofty church towers, of a more recent date than the Anglo-Norman era, are supposed by some writers, to have been intended to hold lights, in aid of the traveller. In Mr. Britton's Architectural Antiquities (Vol. IV. p. 118– 119) are the following remarks concerning this part of the steeple of Boston church, Lincolnshire. “The lantern, I have no doubt, was intended to be lighted at night, for a sea mark. The church of All Saints, at York, bas a lantern very much resembling this of Boston ; ' and tradition tells os that antiently a large lamp hung in it, which was lighted in the night time, as a mark for travellers to aim at, in their passage, over the immense forest of Galtres, to this city. There is still the hook of the pulley on which the lamp lung in the steeple.' Drake's York, p. 292. And Stow tells us, that the steeple of Bow church, in Cheapside, finished about 1516, had five lan. terns; 'to wit, one at each corner, and one on the top, in the middle upon the arches. It seemeth that the lanthorns on the top of this steeple were meant to have been glazed, and lights in them to have been placed nightly in the winter; whereby travellers to the city might have the better sight. thereof, and not miss their way.” Survey, p. 542.
architecture of the Anglo-Saxons,* that, in their arches and piers, the Normans are believed by Mr. Wilkins to have differed from the Romans still more widely than their Saxon precursors. In the extract there presented, this popular writer in the archæologia conjectures the height of the Saxon column to be from four to six diameters, while that of the Norman, in the instances which he produces, is only two diameters. It is, however, ap- . prehended that such an estimate respecting the height of the columns, or piers, in Anglo-Norman buildings, will not admit of general application.t
Proceeding in an examination of the architectural characteristics of the Anglo-Normans, Mr. Wilkins observes that “the semicircular and intersected arches, the zig-zag ornament, the billet moulding, hatched-work, and various other species of ornament were still continued; and, though architecture cannot be said to bave improved on the Saxon manner, either in lightness or in execution; yet, in magnitude of design, the Normans far exceeded their predecessors. The buttress of this style varies extremely from the Gothic” (or pointed) “which succeeded it; they are broad and flat on the surface, without ornament, unless a torus on the angles, which is sometimes to be met with, may be called such. The buttress, even in large buildings, seldoro projects more than seventeen or eighteen inches.
“ The only mouldings used, both by the Saxon and Norman architects, were the torus, the scotia or reversed torus, the ca. velto or hollow moulding, and a kind of chamfered fascia, which latter was generally used for imposts or abacuses to their capitals. These mouldings were combined, more or less, for the various purposes of forming arches, imposts, cornices, bases, &c. The cima recta, the cima reversa, the ovolo or quarter round, the
• Vide Ante, p. 274. + See some remarks on this subject, with a notice of a deviation from the scale proposed by Mr. Wilkins, in the description, &c. of Ely Cathedral, by George Millers, M. A. p. 27.
planiere, and other regular Grecian mouldings, cornices, friezes, &c. which compose the entablature, are never to be met with in the Saxon or Norman fabrics. Yet their builders were more fond of variety, for it may be frequently observed in a range of columns there are as many different capitals.”*
The few constituent forms of mouldings used by Anglo-Nor. man architects, are scientifically mentioned in the above extract. The varieties of ornamental combination are, however, very great. Distinctive names are applied to many; but others have not received an appellation, either from architectural or antiquarian writers.
We have seen, in a previous section, that Mr. King ventures to make an extensive enumeration of ornamental mouldings, sopposed by himself to be peculiar to such buildings, in the circular, massive, style, as were erected by the Anglo-Saxons. In such a hardihood of designation the author of Munimenta Antiqua stands, I believe, single and unsupported. His precursors and followers in the investigation of pur ancient architecture, appear to admit, that most, if not all, the mouldings observable in those rare and curious remains which many would fain believe to be of Saxon construction (and which, perhaps, are so) may be found in structures of an authentic Norman origin.
The reader has already been presented with a statement of the principal decorated mouldings, which, in the opinion of Mr. Bentham, may be found in remains of Anglo-Saxon architecture.
These, it will be recollected, are described under the names of the chevron-work, or zig-zag; the embattled frette; the triangular frette; and the nail head. The same are well-known to be common in Anglo-Norman buildings; and, in conjunction with those noticed in the following page, comprise the mouldings chiefly prevailing in churches erected under Norman patronage in this country.