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This webpage reproduces a chapter of
The Cathedral Church of Lincoln

by A. F. Kendrick, B.A.

published by G. Bell and Sons, Ltd.

the text and illustrations of which are in the public domain.

This text has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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please let me know!


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 p43  Chapter III


A detailed description of the interior of Lincoln minster may be fittingly preceded by a brief review of its chief features. As regards the Presbytery or Angel Choir, no one, with the exception of a recent American critic, has ventured to lower the just reputation of this lovely work, distinguished for a rare combination of beauty of architecture and sculpture. The next place in point of architectural excellence must be assigned to the Nave, a harmonious and characteristic example of the Early English style. But the unique position the choir of St. Hugh holds in the history of Gothic architecture should not be lost sight of. The principal interior defect, and this rendered all the more conspicuous by the general gracefulness of other parts, is the lowness of the vault. But, after all, there are only four loftier vaults in England, and one of these is only higher by two feet; nevertheless the defect is conspicuous, and is a serious one. Of the windows, the most noticeable are the great east window and the two "eyes," and these are equal to any in their respective styles in the country. The modern coloured glass which fills the former, as well as many lesser windows in the minster, brings out in greater contrast the loveliness of even the wrecks of the early stained glass still remaining in some others.

Considering that Lincoln once possessed the monuments of a queen, of another direct ancestress of our Royal family, and of two bishops whose fame has spread to the farthest limits of Christendom, as well as of others of more local celebrity, it must be confessed that the monuments at present are disappointing. That of Queen Eleanor is represented by a modern reproduction; Catherine Swynford's is mutilated almost beyond recognition; those of St. Hugh and  p83 Grosseteste are gone altogether; and the ancient monuments which are left retain very little of their original splendour.

The Ground Plan illustrates the lengthening process to which the building has been subjected. It is a double cross, with side chapels extended beyond the nave walls at the western end. The lesser transept has four apsidal chapels towards the east, and the great transept has a single eastern aisle divided into six chapels. The symmetry of the presbytery has been disturbed by the addition of projecting chantry-chapels, one on the north side and two on the south. The cloisters are accessible from the eastern transept, and the chapter-house from the cloisters.

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Plan of Lincoln Cathedral

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The westernmost bay of the nave has been formed into a kind of vestibule by means of the archways constructed, during the last century, to strengthen the towers at that end. The vestibule is in three compartments, two of which, under the western towers, are square. The centre one is the most interesting, since it preserves to us a portion of the first bay of Remigius' nave. High up in the side walls is a Norman arch, part of the original clerestory. Below this we can trace the outline of a wider arch (now filled in), which belonged to the triforium. Considerable alterations were made in these walls by Treasurer Welburne in the second half of the fourteenth century, and the arches were filled in during the early part of the eighteenth century, owing to the instability of the towers. The arch dividing the vestibule from the nave was constructed by an architect named John James (apparently not James Gibbs, as some have supposed) about the year 1730, and altered by James Essex thirty or forty years later. In the time of Bishop Grosseteste (1235‑53) the side walls were carried above the Norman clerestory to the height of the present nave, and covered with the characteristic lattice-ornament which we have already seen in the central arch outside. The great west window was also inserted in Grosseteste's time, as well as the cinquefoil window above. The tracery now filling the former is in the Early Perpendicular style, and dates from the end of the fourteenth century. From the broad sill of this window a good view of the interior can be obtained, and a much finer one still from the passage which runs beneath the other window above. From the latter position we have an uninterrupted view of the entire length of the minster, which  p84 looks longer than it really is, from the fact that the vaulting is carried at an almost uniform height throughout.

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In the floor are slabs bearing the names of Chancellor Reynolds (d. 1766) and of Precentor Trimnell (d. 1756), and the "chanter" who was accused of removing the statues over the central doorway outside. On the wall at the north-east corner is a tablet to the memory of the officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates of the 10th or North Lincolnshire regiment of infantry, who died in the campaigns of the Sutlej (1845‑46) and of the Panjab (1848‑49); the tablet was erected by their surviving comrades. The compartments under the western towers were vaulted by Treasurer Welburne (ab. 1350‑80), to whom is also due the tracery which covers the walls. The curious chambers constructed in the thickness of the old Norman west front are accessible from the sills of the western windows, these being joined by narrow passages in the wall. On the north side we are able in the same way to reach a long narrow chamber, which probably served as a treasury, constructed in the north wall of the tower. The chamber was originally lighted by four small round-headed windows. One of them, on the west side, is still open; the two facing northwards, formerly outside windows, are now enclosed by the north-west chapel, and blocked up; the fourth, on the east, is also blocked. A square hole in the floor formed at one time the only means of access to the chamber beneath, which may now be reached by a doorway  p85 from the porch. In the north wall of this lower chamber is a low semi-circular arch, supposed to have been constructed by the Norman builders, in order to avoid some obstacle in the way of the foundations. This arch was filled in with masonry, now pierced by a doorway. The north-west chapel, which is entered by this doorway, encloses the outer wall of St. Mary's tower.

The corresponding chapel on the south side of the minster is sometimes called the "Ringers' Chapel." On its walls is painted a seventeenth century list of the "Names of the Companie of Ringers of our Blessed Virgen Marie of Lincolne." In one place we see "Edward Whipp 1617 at the kings coming to Lincolne." This refers to the visit of King James I in March of that year, when he visited the minster, and touched a number of persons for the evil. His Majesty went also to a cock-fight at an inn near the Stone-bow, and to a horse-race on the Heath. Edward Whipp was evidently one of those who rang the bells in honour of the royal visit. The Ringers' Chapel encloses part of the south wall of St. Hugh's tower, which has a large arched recess and a niche, similar to those in the west front.

The curious "stone beam," about which so much has  p86 been conjectured, and so little is known, is constructed between the walls of the two western towers, just above the stone vault of the nave. It is really an arch of very slight curvature, composed of twenty-three stones of unequal length, but of uniform depth and breadth. Examination has proved that there is nothing but mortar in the joints, and there are no traces of iron having been used in the construction. When jumped upon, the "beam" vibrates appreciably. It has been suggested that it was constructed in order to try whether the towers were capable of supporting the additional weight of upper storeys, but nothing appears to be satisfactorily known as to the purpose it served or the date of its erection.

Photochrom Co. Ltd., Photo.]


The general complaint against the interior — the lowness of the vault — is applicable here. The architects were, undoubtedly, influenced by the vault of St. Hugh's choir, which is 8 feet lower than that of the nave. According to the measurements in Lord Grimthorpe's "Book on Building," the height is 82 feet — 21 feet less than is found at Westminster, 11 feet less than at York, 6 feet less than at Ripon, and 2 feet less than at Salisbury. Lincoln comes fifth of the English cathedrals in interior height, but since this height is maintained almost uniformly  p87 the vault looks lower than it really is. For this reason the defect is not so noticeable in looking westward from beneath the great tower. Another complaint, which appears hardly so justifiable, is the remarkable lightness of the piers, and the great width of the arches. Many, in fact, might be inclined to agree with Mr. F. C. Penrose, who points out that the effect of this lightness is an increase in the dignity and apparent size  p88 of the nave, which would be felt to a much greater extent if the windows had their original stained glass, and thus admitted less light than at present. Mr. Penrose has investigated the matter, and given the result in the Lincoln volume (1848) of the Archaeological Institute. He states that "the ratio of voids to solids appears to be more remarkable than is to be found in any vaulted building in Europe; at least, among the larger structures." The piers, we are told, are quite secure. The greatest care was taken in their foundations, and the footing courses extend so as to reach those of the side walls. The nave is in seven bays, the two westernmost of which are conspicuously narrower than the others. The reduction is a little more than 5 feet, the measurements being 26.6 feet, and 21.3 feet. Another peculiarity, already noticed, is that these two western bays are not quite in a straight line with the others (see p23). The vault drops about 2 feet, and turns slightly northwards. Each pier of the nave is surrounded by eight circular shafts, some more slender than the others; the slender ones are separately banded in the middle. The shafts are principally of Purbeck marble, which is capable of receiving a fine polish. This marble has been used extensively throughout the interior. It has, however, become much decayed, and in many parts has had to be renewed; whilst in some cases it appears to have been replaced by the far more durable Lincoln stone. Many of the Purbeck shafts in the minster are being polished up or restored. The bases of the nave piers are seen to be higher on the north side than on the south. This peculiarity is also found in the western transept, in St. Hugh's choir, and in the Angel Choir beyond. The "dean's eye," too, on the north, is higher than the round window at the southern end of the transept, and on the west front of the minster, the lower rows of arcading on the north side are at a higher level than the corresponding rows on the south. It has been conjectured that this peculiarity was owing to the inequality of the ground. If it had been a mere freak of St. Hugh's architect, it seems hardly probable that the succeeding architects would have imitated it for another century. Turning again to the nave, a difference will be noticed in the foliage of the capitals on the two sides. The arch mouldings, like those of St. Hugh's choir, were considered "beautiful specimens" by Rickman. They are deeply cut, and throw good, bold shadows.  p89 In the triforium, each bay contains two arches, supported by clustered columns with foliaged capitals. The spandrels are decorated with sunk trefoils or quatrefoils. In most cases the arches are each divided into three sub-arches with clustered shafts, the tympanum being pierced with quatrefoils. A difference is noticeable, however, in the easternmost arch, and the two westernmost bays (five arches altogether) on both sides. Here the sub-arches are only two in number. The narrowness  p90 of the two western bays accounts for the variation at that end. The clerestory is the same throughout its length, having three tall narrow windows in each bay, with slender banded shafts. In the nave we have, according to Fergusson, "a type of the first perfected form of English vaulting." He calls it "very simple and beautiful." At the junctions of the ribs are elaborate bosses of foliage. The compartments are covered with plaster, once decorated in colours and gold. In the second bay from the east is the name: W. L. PARIS:— evidently intended as a record of some repairs to the vault. The springers rest on clusters of three long slender vaulting-shafts, rising from foliaged corbels just above the capitals of the nave piers.

In the aisles, each bay has two lancet windows, except the easternmost bay on the south side, which has only one. In the jambs are slender Purbeck shafts, twice banded. Just beneath these windows, an arcade of trefoiled arches runs along the whole length of the nave, being continued on the screen walls to the western chapels. The arches are deep, with bold mouldings, and are supported by clustered columns. There are five arches in each bay, but they are not placed in the same manner on both sides of the nave. On the south, the arches are arranged in groups of five, with blank spaces of wall between, in front of which pass the vaulting-shafts. On the north, the arcade is continuous, and is so arranged that each cluster of shafts supporting the vault passes in front of an arch. The work on the south side is more elaborate; tooth ornament is used, a string-course runs along at the height of the capitals, and foliaged bosses are found in the lower corners of the spandrels. In addition to the clustered vaulting-shafts already mentioned, there is a single vaulting-shaft in the centre of each bay, between the windows, rising from a corbel above the wall-arcade. On the north side these corbels merely have plain mouldings, but on the south side they are foliated. The arrangement of the vaulting-ribs is different in the north and south aisles; and in the latter it will be noticed that some of the bosses have figure-subjects, besides the foliage met with on the north side. The Agnus Dei carved on the boss in the fourth bay from the west should be noticed. To such minor differences, continually found in the corresponding parts of a Gothic edifice, the style undoubtedly owes a peculiar charm. In the case of the nave at Lincoln, they  p91 probably indicate a slight difference in the date of erection, but they certainly point to a far greater scope for individuality being accorded to the masons than was allowed in the rigidly symmetrical styles of the Renaissance. The chapel at the south-west corner of the nave is used as the Consistory Court, and that opposite to it was reappropriated to its ancient use as the Morning-Prayer Chapel by the late Archbishop Benson, when Chancellor of Lincoln. A small brass tablet to his memory has recently been fixed to the wall by the side of the altar. Both chapels are stone-vaulted, but the northern has a feature which is not found in the Consistory Court. This is the slender Purbeck column in the centre, erected to support the vaulting. In this chapel was formerly placed the massive font of black basalt, which was removed in 1874 to its original position in the second bay from the west on the opposite side of the nave. The font is of Norman workman­ship, and apparently dates from the time of Remigius (1067‑92). There is another of a similar character in the cathedral at Winchester. The basin is square, and rests on a massive circular drum in the centre and four small columns at the corners, supported by a square base. Round the sides of the basin, a row of grotesque monsters, some winged, is carved in bas-relief. The font is now raised on steps. It was used by the parishioners of St. Mary Magdalene's, whose church was destroyed to make room for the minster. They were allowed to worship in the nave until the time of Bishop John de Dalderby (1300‑20), when a new church was built for them. The old pavement of the nave was removed towards the end of the last century (about 1782), when many of the grave-slabs it contained were taken away.​1 It was in the nave that the gorgeous processions of olden days were formed, and the original pavement was marked with two rows of circles to indicate the different positions of the clergy. The pavement of the north aisles is considered by some to have been slightly raised; from it the populace might then have watched these processions. Of English cathedrals, Lincoln comes next to Canterbury for the richness of its stained glass, but there is little in the nave which is worthy of notice. Almost all that escaped the stray arrows and bolts from the bows of dwellers round the close appears to have been destroyed during  p92 the disastrous times of the Civil War in the seventeenth century, when the mere beauty of a work of art appears to have often served as a sufficient excuse for its destruction. In windows of the aisles the glass is all coloured, but modern. The lower lights of the great west window are also filled with modern glass, the work of two amateurs, the Revs. Augustus and Frederick Sutton, who produced many others of the coloured glass windows in minster; the upper lights contain fragments of glass of the same date as the tracery (latter part of the fourteenth century). The cinquefoil window above has been filled with modern glass, inserted in 1859 in honour of the founder, Remigius, who is seen in the centre, holding his church in one hand, and his bishop's staff in the other. The windows of the clerestory are plain.

The nave has very few monuments. Of those which remain, the foremost place must certainly be taken by the dark mutilated slab under the easternmost arch on the north side. Remigius, it will be remembered, was originally buried near the altar of the Holy Cross, where his tomb-slab was broken by the beams which fell in flames from the roof of the Norman church. Some years ago, a monumental slab, in two parts, with carved subjects, which might very well date back to the time of Remigius, was brought to light in the cloisters. Canon Massingberd had this removed to the spot where it now lies, not far from the original burial-place of the bishop. The carving consists of various sculptural subjects in low relief; it is now much worn. The surrounding inscription records the foundation of the cathedral by Remigius in the year 1072, and the restitution of the tomb-slab in 1872. On the opposite side, at the end of the aisle wall, is a marble tablet in memory of Michael Honywood (b. 1597: d. 1681), who was made Dean of Lincoln in the year of the Restoration. The present library was erected by him at a cost of £780, and received his collection of books.

Near the western end of the nave are slabs in the floor, marking the burial-places of Bishops Smyth (d. Jan. 1513‑14), Alnwick (d. 1449), and Atwater (d. Feb. 1520‑1). Bishop Smyth was the founder of Brasenose College, Oxford. Bishop Alnwick was buried in the place where he used to stand when processions were formed in the nave. Besides the slabs in the pavement, other monuments of a more conspicuous  p93 character appear to have once adorned the nave. A century ago, beneath the easternmost arch on the south side there stood "a raised Altar Tomb of grey marble, this for Dean Mackworth; it was once very costly adorned with figures of Brass Work, but defaced in the time of Cromwell." No altar-tomb now recalls the memory of the dean who refused to walk in a straight line in processions, and brought armed men into the chapter-house to lend weight to his arguments.

The carved mahogany Pulpit against the second pillar from the east on the north side has been moved to its present position from the choir. It may be hardly necessary to remark that the idea held by some, that this pulpit dates from the time of James I, is quite erroneous; the slightest examination will shew that very little, if any, could be of so early a period. The details of the ornament are of the last century. It is hexagonal, and is supported on open arches of ogee form. A sounding board has recently been suspended above. The brass eagle lectern was given as a memorial of the late Dean Butler (d. 1894), whose recumbent effigy now rests in the angel choir. Before passing under the central tower, an irregularity at the western end should be noticed. The great arch which spans the nave, separating it from the vestibule, is not placed in the centre; it will be seen that there is more wall space on the south side than on the north.

The Central Tower rests on four lofty arches supported by massive piers. These piers were enlarged to carry the additional weight of the upper storeys of the tower, and are surrounded by banded shafts, chiefly of Purbeck marble. The foliage at the crown of each arch should be noticed; the same occurs on the great central arch of the west front. Above the spandrels, which are covered with the trellis-work also seen elsewhere, are two rows of arcading, with slender clustered shafts. There is a passage all round the upper arcade, and the wall behind is pierced with four windows on each side. The vaulting, like that of the western towers, was erected by Treasurer Welburne (d. 1380); it is 125 feet high. The iron rings in the great piers, two or three feet from the ground, were used for fastening the ropes of the Lady Bells, which were hung in the tower above, and were rung before service by the four choristers in black.

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The Western Transept is considered to be the least satisfactory part of the interior of the minster. The lowness of the vault is especially noticeable. In fact, it had to be raised in the last bay to the north, in order to include the whole of the circular window, part of which would otherwise have been cut off. Yet the transept possesses features of considerable interest. It was planned and commenced by St. Hugh and continued by his immediate successors. A low aisle runs along the eastern side, divided into six chapels, which are dedicated respectively (beginning at the north end) to St. Nicholas, St. Denis, St. James (or St. Thomas). St. Edward the Martyr, St. John the Evangelist and St. Giles. To the walls of these chapels we must look in order to trace the limit of St. Hugh's labours. A remarkable feature of the work is the curious double arcading on the walls he built (see p89). It is found in the choir and the eastern transept. Mr. Parker's theory that the front arcade was an afterthought, put up when the original flimsy walls were strengthened to support the vault, has been already given in his own words (p18). To whatever circumstance the feature may be due, its effect is certainly very good. It was will be noticed that the two chapels nearest the choir, and parts of the two chapels next to them, have this double arcading, in which a slight difference has been pointed out. On the north side, the trefoiled arch is against the wall, and the simple arch in front; on the other side the order is reversed. This fact seems rather to strengthen the opinions of those who consider the double arcade to have been designed as such from the beginning. The end of this arcading must be taken to mark the limit of St. Hugh's work. An arcade of single arches is seen in the last chapel on each side, and this simpler design is continued round the other walls of the transept, the arches varying in breadth and resting on clustered shafts. The chapels each occupy one bay of the aisle, and are formed by projecting "perpeyn" walls of stone, originally continued to the piers by wooden screens. The arcading of these walls is deserving of attention. It now remains to notice the screens placed between the piers, to separate the chapels from the transept. The most interesting is that of the chapel nearest the choir on the south side, sometimes called the "Works Chantry." The endowment of this chapel was to provide for prayers on behalf of the benefactors of the church, both living and dead. The screen is of carved  p95 stone; round the arch is the inscription "Oremus pro benefactoribus istius Ecclesie" in Gothic characters. On each side are two small kneeling figures, representing the chaplains who served the chantry. Above is a canopy with a seated figure of a bishop and the Royal Arms of England. The shield of arms is a help in assigning a date to the screen. It contains the fleurs-de‑lys as assumed by Edward III in the year 1338, when he laid claim to the French crown. The screen was probably erected soon after this date. It could not have been much later, since Henry IV, towards the end of his reign, reduced the number of fleurs-de‑lys to three, in imitation of the French king, Charles V. The corresponding chapel on the other side has a feeble imitation of this screen in pine-wood, a work of the end of the last century. The other screens are of oak, carved with Perpendicular tracery, partly in openwork; they apparently date from the latter half of the fifteenth century. The altars are no longer standing, but in the middle chapel to the north the sockets for the pillars which supported the altar-slab  p96 may still be seen. In one of the pavement-slabs in the next chapel to the south, nine holes are pointed out, which served a very different purpose. They are said to have been used for games by some of the officials (choir-boys, one would suppose) connected with the minster.

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The two large round windows in the end walls are the most interesting features of this transept. That on the north, the "Dean's Eye," is of the same date as its surroundings, and may be placed about the year 1220. The tracery of the southern window, the "Bishop's Eye," is much later; it is of the Decorated period, and was probably inserted soon after the middle of the fourteenth century. It has already been remarked that the row of quatrefoils above the window outside, are relics of the earlier tracery. Near this window was John de Dalderby's shrine. Although this bishop's admirers could not bring forward a record of sufficiently numerous miracles to procure his canonisation at the papal court, yet he was revered as a saint by the people, and it has been suggested that the offerings at his shrine may have supplied the means to insert the tracery of this window, as well as the one above, which lights the roof, and can only be seen from the outside. The round window has been sometimes called the "Prentice's Window"; but this name is never heard now, and the two "eyes" of the minster will always retain the name which they have borne for more than six hundred years. The "dean's eye" and the "bishop's eye" are both mentioned in the "Metrical Life of St. Hugh," which, it will be remembered, was written sometimes between the years 1220 and 1235. The simplest explanation of the names seems to be that the one faces the deanery and the other faces the bishop's palace, but a far more poetic interpretation than this has been devised. The north is the region of Lucifer, and in that direction the dean's eye must look to guard against his approach. Meanwhile the bishop's eye is turned towards the sunny south, the region of the Holy Spirit, whose sweet influence alone can overcome the wiles of the wicked one. Both windows are filled with fine early glass. The "dean's eye" presents a most magnificent example of early thirteenth century stained glass, earlier than most of the glass at Canterbury, which is the richest of all our cathedrals in works of this nature. The subject has been described by C. Winston in the Lincoln  p97 volume (1848) of the Archaeological Institute. It represents the Church on Earth and the Church in Heaven. In the centre is our Saviour seated in the midst of the Blessed in Heaven. Around are four large compartments, containing portions of different subjects, which do not appear to have all originally belonged to their present positions. The most interesting is that shewing the translation of the relics of St. Hugh, represented as borne on the shoulders of crowned and mitred personages. Of the sixteen outer circles, the topmost represents our Saviour seated on a rainbow; on either side are angels with the instruments of the Passion; in the next circles St. Peter and other saints are conducting holy persons to heaven; below these is the General Resurrection; the lowest five circles each contain the figure of an archbishop or bishop. The subjects can be best seen from the neighbouring triforium or from the passage which runs just beneath the window; it will be noticed that the glass in some of the compartments is much mutilated, as might naturally be expected, considering its antiquity. From below, the subjects are confused and not easy to distinguish, but the rich and harmonious blending of the colours can be seen to the fullest advantage, and the general effect is much finer. Rickman believes the form of the tracery to be quite unique in England, but states that there is a window exactly similar at Laon. Beneath the window is an arcade of seven lancet arches; the wall behind five of them is pierced with windows, which are filled with old glass, chiefly medallions and fragments. Below are two larger lancet windows, one on each side of the dean's doorway. That to the west represents angels seated amid foliage and playing musical instruments; the three lowest figures are quite distinct, but the two above are confused. These fragments have been removed from some other part of the minster, probably from the west window of the nave; they date from the end of the fourteenth century. The more easterly window is filled with old geometrical patterns and fragments. The doorway leads to the deanery, and has a porch outside. Over the door, inside, is a modern clock, with a carved wood canopy which, according to the tablet below, had been originally placed over an earlier clock in the minster. Thomas of Louth, Treasurer of Lincoln, gave a clock to the church in 1324, considered to be the one formerly at the south end of this same transept. The canopy  p98 was for some years in the church at Messingham, and was removed thence to its present position, on the north side.

The "bishop's eye" on the south side is filled with delicate and beautiful flowing tracery, which has been compared to the fibres of a leaf. Rickman considers it to be the richest remaining example of its period. It is enclosed within a kind of arch formed by two rows of openwork quatrefoils; an open framework of similar nature is often to be seen round circular windows in French cathedrals. The glass consists of fragments from other windows, chiefly of the Early English period. Although the pieces are placed quite at random, forming no subject whatever, yet the effect of the colouring is good, especially when seen from the opposite end of the transept. Of all the modern windows in the minster, with their elaborate subjects, it may safely be said that not one can be compared in effect with this mass of glowing colour. The glass in the four lancet windows below also dates from the Early English period. It chiefly consists of medallions containing various subjects, collected from other windows. The rest of the stained glass in the transept is modern. Towards the north, the ribs and bosses of the vaulting were decorated some years ago with colours and gold, in imitation of the original colouring.

The southern limb of the transept was the site of a shrine which shared with those of the two St. Hugh's the attention of the numerous pilgrims to Lincoln. In the pavement near the western wall towards the Galilee Porch is a slab with the inscription D'Alderby Episc. MCCCXIX. His monument is said to have consisted of an altar-tomb of "rare marble," surmounted by a rich canopy. The shrine, of "massey silver," was enriched with diamonds and rubies, and encompassed with rails of silver-gilt. It went with the other valuables to replenish the coffers of the spendthrift Henry VIII. Leland mentions that Dalderby's "Tumbe was taken away nomine superstitionis." Two stone shafts belonging to the monument, and a fragment of a third, still remain against the wall. It will be remembered that it was through the energy of this bishop that the upper portion of the present central tower was erected. On the west wall, against the Galilee door, is a marble slab with a bust in relief of Dean Samuel Fuller (b. 1635: d. 1700), who received the appointment, according to Kennet, through  p99 the interest of the lay lords, who loved him for his hospitality and his wit. In the southernmost chapel, on the opposite side of the transept, is an altar-tomb against the south wall. Its date is about the end of the fifteenth century, and it is probably the tomb of Sir George Talboys.

A stone screen filling the eastern tower arch separates St. Hugh's choir from the transept. The screen is a magnificent example of Decorated work, dating from about the end of the thirteenth century. It originally carried the crucifix or rood, which from the other end of the nave must have stood out clearly against the soft glowing colours of the great east window. On either side of the central doorway are four deep arches supported by detached pillars, decorated with grotesque heads and small figures of bishops. The wall behind is richly carved with diaper designs, shewing much freedom and variety. This screen was once decorated with colours and gilding, traces of which are still visible. It appears to have suffered a good deal at the hands of iconoclasts; many statues have doubtless been removed, and one must be very cautious with regard to the decoration which remains, as it was considerably restored by a mason named James Pink during the second half of last century. The screen now carries the organ erected in 1826, "when also the church underwent a thorough cleaning." The organ has since been enlarged. The richly-carved case was designed in the Gothic style by the architect E. J. Willson of Lincoln. In olden days the organ filled the easternmost arch on the north side of St. Hugh's choir. Hollar's view of the year 1672, in Dugdale's "Monasticon Anglicanum," shews it in this place. In its present position it serves to break the long vista, which otherwise might be somewhat monotonous, from the extreme west end of the nave. A new organ is in course of erection at a cost of £4000; yet it seems hardly likely that instrumental music will become a prominent feature in the minster services, so long as the singing retains that high pitch of excellence which it acquired under the late Mr. Young, and maintains under his successor, Dr. Bennett. The two side doorways leading into the north and south aisles of the choir are somewhat earlier than the screen between them. They are beautiful examples of carving, dating from the end of the Early English period. The exquisite openwork foliage which runs round the arch  p100 is executed with the utmost skill and care, and is without the laboured effect of so much of our later stone-work. The injured parts were carefully restored about 1770 by James Pink, who was also employed by Essex on the canopy of the reredos. The doorways have modern iron gates: it is probable that the "brass gates" carried away by the Parliamentarian soldiers used to be here. It is well worth while to notice the gorgeous effect of the early glass in the end windows of the aisles, as seen through these doorways. The soft harmony of their lovely transparent mosaic contrasts greatly with the washed-out appearance of the glass in the large window between them.

S. B. Bolas & Co., Photo.]


The ritual choir occupies the four bays built by St. Hugh,  p103 crosses the eastern transept, and includes two bays of the Presbytery, or Angel Choir beyond. Passing through the central doorway of the rood-screen, the choir before us is historically of the highest interest, both on account of its architecture and of its builder.

H. C. Oakden, Photo.]


One gazes with a feeling of peculiar veneration on the walls which we know St. Hugh to have planned and reared. It is easy to imagine with what just pride and satisfaction the great bishop must have regarded these very walls, the earliest example of the pure Gothic style in this country or in any other (see p14). Although worthy of the closest examination, it can hardly be said that, taken as a whole, the work is beautiful; its importance is much greater from an archaeological than from an artistic point of view. Certain details are of the highest excellence; but the vault is too irregular to be pleasing, and the span of the main arches, as in the Angel Choir also, is too wide for perfect beauty.2

St. Hugh's choir is in four bays, the westernmost of which is somewhat narrower than the others. In the original piers, the central column was diamond-shaped, surrounded by eight circular shafts, which were detached, a mark of their early period. "The foliage of the capitals is exquisitely beautiful, and though distinguished technically by the name of stiff-leaf foliage, because there are stiff stalks to the leaves rising from the ring of the capital, the leaves themselves curl over in the most graceful manner, with a freedom and elegance not exceeded at any subsequent period. The mouldings are also as bold and deep as possible, and there is scarcely a vestige of Norman character remaining in any part of the work" (Rickman).

In each bay of the triforium there are two arches, both divided into two sub-arches, with a solid tympanum pierced with a trefoil or quatrefoil. The eastern bay of the triforium on each side is of simpler design than the rest. In the clerestory, there are three windows to three bays, and two to the fourth, on each side. The fall of the central tower in 1237‑9 worked great havoc in this part of the building. The roof was destroyed and the western bays were much weakened and damaged. The original slender shafts round the two westernmost piers on each side were converted into clumsy columns without capitals; this no  p104 doubt added considerable strength, but rendered them far from beautiful. The arches, too, had to be partly reconstructed. In the first arch on the south side, the rings of stone across the mouldings mark the point where the later work joined the earlier, but did not quite fit. A similar example of faulty jointing will be seen on the corresponding arch on the north side towards the aisle. Turning to the triforium, we see that in the western bays clumsy eight-lobed pillars have taken the place of the original clustered shafts. These have been compared by Precentor Venables to "pounds of candles." They are certainly very ugly, and were probably intended only as a temporary makeshift. The crooked state of some of the trefoils and quatrefoils of the tympana is probably due to the same cause. The vault is most remarkable, and is fortunately unique. "The architect has made each cell strike obliquely to points dividing the central ridge of the bay into three equal parts, so that neither the cells nor the diagonal ribs from either side ever meet one another, but each cell is met by an intermediate or an oblique transverse rib from the opposite side" (Scott, "Lectures on Mediaeval Architecture"). The object seems to have been to give greater strength by diminishing the surfaces between the ribs: but the expedient was found unnecessary, as is shown by the ordinary sexpartite vaulting of the transept which followed. The shafts supporting the vault are alternately hexagonal and circular. They were originally carried down to the springing of the great arches, and thence continued in front of the piers to the ground. When the choir-stalls were added, these shafts were cut away to make room for them, and finished off with panelled corbels.

This part of the building, which had received such a severe shaking by the fall of the tower, was further strengthened by the erection of the arcaded screens between the piers. They fill all four arches on both sides, dividing the choir from the aisles to the north and south. The next bay eastward, which crosses the lesser transept, is filled on both sides by screens of wrought ironwork, having that scrolled pattern so often found in early examples. They are illustrated in the South Kensington Museum Handbook on Ironwork, by Mr. Starkie Gardner, who calls them the best preserved specimens of their style now existing in England. The screens are apparently thirteenth-century work, and they might be as early as the time of St. Hugh. The awkward row of gas-jets along the top is in strange  p105 contrast to these fine screens. Above the latter, on each side, two constructive beams of oak stretch across the arch. One is at the height of the pier capitals, and the other on a level with the base of the triforium arcade. An attempt was made in the last century to mask their ugliness by encasing them in Gothic work of carved wood.

The magnificent series of oak Choir-stalls, with their forest of pinnacles rising to the height of the pier-capitals, forms one of the chief glories of the minster. They were considered by Pugin to be the finest examples in the kingdom. Their erection, in the third quarter of the fourteenth century, is due to the munificence of the treasurer, John de Welburne, a great benefactor of the minster. A full list of the carvings was given by the late Canon Wickenden in the thirty-eighth volume of the Archaeological Journal. The stalls are in two rows, the upper of 62 seats, and the lower of 46; the former number has now been increased by six, and the latter by two. The upper stalls have elaborate trefoiled canopies, surmounted by an intricate maze of buttresses and pinnacles, rising to a height of 24 ft. 6 in. above the choir floor. The niches above the canopies have recently been filled with statues of saints in the Anglican Calendar. The stalls in both rows are provided with hinged seats or misereres, intended to serve as supports in the long services during which the occupants of the stalls were required to stand. These seats, as well as the elbow-rests and finials, are richly carved with those grotesque subjects in which the mediaeval artist so greatly delighted. The carver has given full scope to a most fertile imagination. Scriptural subjects do certainly occur on some of the misereres in the upper row, but others are of a playful character. The fox is seen preaching to birds and beasts, and then running riot among them; monkeys are at play, or occupied in the more serious business of hanging one of their number and burying him afterwards; we also find men fighting with wild animals; the labours of husbandry; kings, knights, ladies, dragons, griffins, lions, hogs, and wyverns. Whether there is a hidden meaning in any of these quaint subjects, it is perhaps difficult now to say, but the preaching fox is certainly suggestive.

To raise each miserere in order to examine the subject underneath would not only prove to be a somewhat tedious and dusty task, but in some cases would lead to disappointment, when nothing but a plain block is seen where the carved subject ought to be. A few of the original misereres in the lower row are missing, and have been replaced in this way. Those who have not the time or the inclination to examine all the subjects, may take the following as representative examples of the whole series. They are all in the upper row; the lower misereres are, as a whole, inferior, and are restored to a much greater extent. Commencing with the precentor's stall on the north side of the door in the rood-screen, the poppy-head in front is carved with the monkey episode referred to above. The numbers in the following limestone are counted from the precentor's stall; the names are those inscribed on the tablets hung up at the back of the stalls. The subjects are in each case those carved underneath the misereres:—

(2) Archdeacon of Lincoln — a fine head and two roses.

(4) Archdeacon of Bedford — foliage.

(5) Archdeacon of Huntingdon — a man beating down acorns, and pigs feeding.

(8) Milton Manor — the gateway of a castle, and the heads of two warriors in armour.

(10) Bedford Manor — grotesque winged monsters.

(12) Welton Beck — a boy riding on the back of a bird.

(18) Welton Rivall — a mermaid with comb and mirror.

(22) Biggleswade — two men with a plough, drawn by two bullocks and two horses; to the left, a man with a harrow; to the right, sacks of corn.º

(31) Carlton cum Dalby — an Ascension, with two angels swinging censers.

This is the last stall on the north side before the new ones, which were erected to cover a residence pew, in the year 1778, at the same time as the bishop's throne opposite.

Turning to the south side, and numbering from the dean's stall to the west, the following are worthy of notice: —

(1) Dean — the Resurrection of Christ.

(2) Sub-dean — a knight on horseback.

(4) Norton Epi. — the Coronation of the Virgin, and angels with musical instruments.

(9) Leicester St. Margaret's — the Adoration of the Magi.

(16) Ketton — two monkeys, one riding on a lion, and the other riding on a unicorn.

(26) Asgarby — a king enthroned under a canopy.

 p107  (28) Corringham — a lion fighting with a winged monster.

The front panels of the vicars' stalls and the choristers' desks in the lower range are carved with Gothic tracery, in the panels of which are angels with musical instruments, saints and kings.

An engraving in Wild's "Lincoln Cathedral" gives a good idea of the appearance of the choir when the old box pews were still existing. They were extremely ugly, and not only did they hide much of the fine carved work of the stalls, but their erection led in some cases to parts of the older work being cut away. Between forty and fifty years ago, when the organ was enlarged, the stalls underwent some slight repairs, and were oiled. In 1867‑8 they were again strengthened and restored. the wooden tablets hung at the backs of the stalls are inscribed with the Latin titles of certain psalms. It is recorded in the "Black Book" or "Consuetudinary" of the cathedral that "It is an ancient usage of the church of Lincoln to say one mass and the whole psalter daily, on behalf of the living and deceased benefactors of the church." To ensure the complete performance of this duty, the bishop, and each member of the chapter, was made responsible for repetition of one particular portion of the psalms. The tablets record the psalms which the occupants of the several stalls are bound to recite. At the installation of each prebendary, the dean or his representative still calls the attention of the newly-installed to the titles of the psalms hanging over his head, and reminds him of obligation to repeat them "daily if nothing hinders." The custom is exceedingly old. A MS. in the chapter library, considered to be not later than the end of the twelfth century, gives a list of persons, with the special psalms which each should repeat. Further information on this point will be found in Canon Wickenden's article referred to above (p105). The usage was adopted by the late Archbishop Benson at Truro.

The Bishop's Throne and the Pulpit are modern. The former is at the east end of the stalls on the south side. It was carved in wood by Lumby, in 1778, from a design by James Essex. It has a tall Gothic canopy, with a figure of Christ holding a lamb in His arms; and is further ornamented with small carved figures of saints and angels; the panelled front is new.  p108 The earlier throne, which the present one replaced, was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. The pulpit opposite is still later in date. It was erected in recognition of the services of Prebendary Trollope (afterwards Bishop of Nottingham) to the cause of architecture in the diocese of Lincoln. It was designed by the late Sir G. Gilbert Scott, and executed in 1863‑4 by Messrs. Ruddle of Peterborough. The pulpit is of oak, with scriptural subjects in relief and statuettes. It has an elaborate Gothic canopy of wood, and a marble base. On the whole, it can hardly be said to be worthy of imitation. The subjects are carved with little regard to durability; some of the most delicate parts project so considerably that small portions have already been knocked off. The canopy, too, awkwardly fixed to the pillar behind, looks like a huge extinguisher, threatening to descend on the head of the preacher. In the midst of the choir is the litany desk, with the old stone beneath, inscribed with the words Cantate hic. The foundations of the eastern limb of Remigius' church lie beneath the floor; the semi-circular apse stretched a few feet beyond the spot where the litany desk now stands. A little way to the east is a fine brass chandelier, suspended from the vault by means of an iron rod, partly gilt. It has scrolling branches, supporting sixteen lights, and bears the date 1698. The brass lectern is of the eagle form, and was made in London, as an inscription records, in the year 1667. The following are the inscriptions it bears:— ECCLES CATHED B MARIÆ LINCOLN — DD. IOHANNES GOCHE ARMIGER AN. DOM. 1667; and above — GVLIELMVS BORROVGHES LONDINI ME FECIT 1667. The dates of these two fine specimens of brasswork suggest that they may have taken the place of earlier pieces removed by the soldiers of Parliament.

The stone Reredos is enriched with Gothic arcading in the Decorated style. Parts of it belong to the latter half of the thirteenth century, but it dates principally from the time of James Essex. The original reredos was double, with a space in the middle used as a sacristy. Essex's screen was preceded by one of classical style, erected soon after the middle of the seventeenth century. It is shewn in Hollar's plate of the year 1672 in Dugdale's "Monasticon Anglicanum." This screen was removed to Sleaford Church, and  p109 was used in the chancel there until about fifty years ago. The tall central canopy of the present screen was designed by James Essex in the style of the monument of Bishop William of Louth (De Luda, 1290‑98) in the choir of Ely Cathedral; it was carved by James Pink, in the year 1769. An altar-piece in oils formerly occupied the middle arch at the back of the canopy. It was painted and given by the Rev. William Peters, LL.B., and bears his signature, with the date 1800. The subject is the Annunciation. It is called "a beautiful picture" in a guide-book of the year 1810, but modern critics might form a somewhat different opinion; those who wish to judge for themselves may find the picture in a dusty corner of the triforium, where it is now very appropriately stowed away. The late J. C. Buckler removed the solid wall at the back of the canopy, and inserted the mullions and tracery. The first arch to the east of the lesser transept on the north side is occupied by the Easter Sepulchre, probably erected by someone who intended the western portion for his own tomb. It is a fine piece of stone-carving in the Decorated style, and dates from about the end of the thirteenth century. It is in the form of six slender canopies, with trefoiled arches. The three sleeping soldiers in the right-hand lower panels should be noticed. A Latin inscription was placed by Bishop Fuller on the middle one of the three left-hand panels, stating that this was the burial-place of Remigius. Of course, it is quite impossible that the bishop should have been originally buried at this spot, and it is improbable that the body was ever removed here. In Sanderson's survey is the following record:— "In the choir, on the north side, two tombs, not known. But it is famed that one of them is Remigius, whose bare sheet of lead is now (1658) to be seen. No inscription, coat, or other mention of anyone." There is some well-carved foliage on the side panels beneath the canopies.

Two mutilated tombs are now squeezed together under the corresponding arch on the south side of the choir, beneath a flat-arched canopy, dating from the second half of the seventeenth century. These tombs have been robbed of their brasses. The first is that of Catherine Swynford, daughter of Sir Payne Roet, and widow of Sir Hugh de  p110 Swynford of Kettlethorpe. She afterwards became the third wife of John of Gaunt, who was made Earl of Lincoln in 1362, and was for a long time resident in the city. Henry Beaufort, son of John of Gaunt and Catherine, was bishop of Lincoln at the time of his mother's death, which occurred in 1403. The other tomb under the same canopy is that of Henry's sister, Joan Beaufort, who became the wife of Sir Robert Ferrers, and afterwards of Sir Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmorland. Before being placed as they are at present, the tombs stood side by side in this same bay. Leland, the historian of the time of Henry VIII, gives the following account of them, which shews that they cannot now be far from their original position:— "In the Southe Parte of the Presbytery lyithe in two severalle high marble Tumbes in a Chapell Catarine Swineforde the 3. Wife to John of Gaunt Duke of Lanceaster, and Jane her Daughter Countes of Westmerlande." After having been robbed of all that was considered valuable by the soldiers of the Parliament, the tombs were left in a neglected condition, until at the Restoration they were placed under this arch, and the canopy was erected over them. The brasses, of which the matrices are still seen, no doubt formed part of the "bargeload" which was floated down the Witham to the sea.

The brass gas-standards behind the altar-rails were designed by J. L. Pearson, R.A.

The South Aisle is separated from the choir by the stone screens already mentioned. The opposite wall has a double arcade, such as we have seen in some of the chapels of the western transept. The arcading of the two westernmost screens dates from the time of Bishop Grosseteste (1235‑53). That of the fourth screen is slightly later in date. The third screen is in the Decorated style, and formed a back to the famous Shrine of the Little St. Hugh, a boy who was said to have been crucified by the Jews in the year 1255.

It is difficult now to say whether there is any truth at all in such legends, which, it need hardly be remarked, are not confined to Lincoln, nor even to England. The story of St. William of Norwich is a similar one, and there were strong communities of Jews in both cities. As the thrifty habits of these people, often untrammelled by conscientious or humane  p111 motives, caused them to grow rapidly wealthy, the hatred with which they were commonly regarded increased in corresponding measure. The Jews were not likely to get a fair hearing anywhere, and any accusations against them were readily accepted and eagerly spread. There is evidence in the poems of Chaucer that the popular prejudice was deeply rooted —

"O yonge Hugh of Lincoln, sleyn also
With cursed Iewes, as it is notable,
For it nis but a lytel whyle ago."

("Prioress' Tale.")

There are several versions of the legend, one of which begins thus —

"The bonnie boys o' merrie Lincoln

Were playing at the ba',
And wi' them stude the swete Sir Hugh

The flower among them a'."

It goes on to relate how the ball strayed into which the little Hugh was wiled, and "sticked like a swine."

Hugh is said to have been about eight years old at the time of his death. Matthew Paris mentions the legend, and says that many Jews came together to Lincoln on the occasion. They appointed a Jew as judge, to represent Pilate, and by this man's sentence the boy was afflicted with various torments before being put to death. The boy being missed, inquiries were made by his mother, and the body was at last found at the bottom of a well belonging to a Jew's house. It was given to the Canons of Lincoln, who honourably buried it as that of a martyr, in their Cathedral. According to Matthew Paris, the name of the Jew who took a leading part in the affair was Copin. He was tied to a horse's tail, dragged to Canwick Hill, and there hanged. Many other Jews were executed as accomplices, and a large number imprisoned. Traditions say that Copin lived in one of the still remaining "Jews' houses" in the Steep. The terrible massacre of the Jews in Lincoln, Norwich, York, and other towns in the time of Richard I, was probably instigated by such tales as this.

The shrine, which remained perfect until the Civil war of the seventeenth century, was in the Decorated style. The base still remains, and on it has been placed a fragment of the original canopy. The arcade behind, of five arches, is carved with the  p112 ball-flower, a distinctive mark of the period; traces of colouring and gilding still remain. The stone coffin below was opened in the year 1791, when it was found to contain the skeleton of a child, 3 ft. 3 in. long, encased in lead.

An inscription in the pavement of the aisle marks the burial place of Henry of Huntingdon (b. between 1080 and 1085: d. about 1155). This famous chronicler, what has recorded many interesting facts concerning the history of Lincoln, was probably brought up in the household of Bishop Bloet. In 1109 or the following year he was made Archdeacon of Huntingdon (then in the diocese of Lincoln). It was at the request of Bishop Alexander the Magnificent that he undertook the "Historia Anglorum," which he carried down to the year 1154.

The North Aisle has a double wall-arcade (see page 89) on the one side, and the arcaded screens on the other. Three of the screens are of Grosseteste's time (1235‑53); that in the easternmost bay is a slightly later work.

At the western end, an oak screen, carved with Gothic tracery and the linen pattern, separates the aisle from the chapel of St. James. The two westernmost piers on the south side shew the clumsy way in which they were restored after the fall of the central tower. On the side of the third pier is a carved head supporting a bracket in Purbeck marble.

The Eastern Transept is also the work of St. Hugh. There have been alterations made at a later period; these will be pointed out. The four semi-circular chapels on the east side were considered by Professor Willis to have been finished after the death of St. Hugh, though no doubt forming part of the original design. There hardly appears to be any necessity to assign them to a later date than the rest of the transept. The northern arm is in two bays, with the two semi-circular chapels on its eastern side, and a chamber, misnamed the "Dean's Chapel," to the west.

S. B. Bolas & Co., Photo.]


The end bay of the transept is cut off by an arch, carrying a wall above which reaches to the vault. The wall is pierced by openings similar to those of the triforium and clerestory, but they are unglazed, and through them we can see the windows of the outer wall. The compartment which this end bay thus forms has a stone vault at the height of the lower arch, leaving the part above open to the roof. Thus it happens that, looking  p115 from below through the upper openings, we are able to see right through to the massive wooden beams which support the outer roof. This is the only part of the interior from which the roof can be seen. It is interesting to notice the rows of windows in the north wall, culminating in the narrow lancets which fill the gable. The triforium is very similar to that of the choir. Each bay contains two arches, themselves divided into two sub-arches. The tympana are pierced, as before, with trefoils and quatrefoils, except in the case of the first bay on the eastern side, where they are plain. This is an interesting point, and is considered to mark the earliest existing part of St. Hugh's work.

H. C. Oakden, Photo.]


The clerestory is formed of narrow single lancets. The double arcading is again to be seen to the left of the doorway, in the north wall, which leads to the cloisters. Two columns of extraordinary design occur in this transept. One is at the south-east corner of the "Dean's Chapel," and the other is in a corresponding position on the other side of the church. Each consists of an octagonal pier in the centre, with crockets running up four of its sides; these are protected by four circular shafts of Purbeck marble, which stand before them and alternate with hexagonal fluted shafts. The crockets form "a remarkable and uncommon feature, which seems to have been in use for a very few years; it occurs also in the west front of Wells Cathedral, the work of Bishop Joceline, a few years after this at Lincoln" (Rickman). The original purpose of the square chapel, constructed not long after the transept was built, is not known. Its name, the Dean's Chapel, appears to be given without reason. The oak door by which we enter from the transept has some fine hinges and bands of wrought ironwork, dating from the thirteenth century. The chamber was originally in two compartments, one above the other. The upper one was reached by a newel staircase to the north; this is now blocked up. The dividing floor has been removed, but the line may be traced on the walls, and the curious triangular-headed recesses above look like the cupboards of a dispensary. It has been suggested that the upper chamber served this purpose. There appears to be nothing which would give a clue as to the use to which the lower chamber was put. It is lit by two rough square-headed windows, cut in the double arcade of the western wall. The south window has still the original oak shutters,  p116 with wrought-iron hinges and bands. The tie-beams of the east and south arches of the compartment still remain, and are now built up in the walls. The more northern of the semi-circular chapels is the one that was lengthened in the early part of the thirteenth century; the present eastern wall is entirely the work of James Essex, who, it will be remembered, reconstructed the chapel in 1772. It would be difficult to trace the history of this chapel. Whether it was dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and was consequently the original burial-place of St. Hugh, or whether it was (as Dugdale called it) the chapel of the Virgin Mary, is a question still undecided.​3 Like its neighbour, it is divided off from the transept by an oak screen carved with Gothic tracery (partly in openwork), and the linen pattern, constructed probably about the end of the fifteenth century. In the north wall there was originally a doorway, now walled up, leading into the Common Room. Fragments of the monument of Bishop Grosseteste, which stood in the south arm of the transept, are now stored away in this chapel. Each chapel has arcading round its walls, and is lit by two windows. On the wall which separates the "Dean's Chapel" from the transept are painted full-length figures of Robert Bloet and the three bishops who came after him — Alexander the Magnificent, Robert de Chesney, and Walter de Coutances. They are said to have been buried near here; if so, their tombs must have been removed from some other spot, as the transept was not built until a later period. They are marked in the plan of the year 1672 in Dugdale's "Monasticon Anglicanum." The bishops are represented beneath Gothic arches, and have their names inscribed above them. They were painted in the year 1728, by a Venetian artist named Vincenzo Damini, aided by his pupil, Giles Hussey (b. 1710: d. 1788). Two years later Hussey accompanied his master to Italy; Damini decamped at Bologna with all Hussey's property, and the latter was obliged to obtain relief from Signor Ghislonzoni, a former Venetian ambassador in London. "Time," eighty years after, was "fast destroying the tints," and another eighty years has continued the work of destruction. From what still remains, it seems that it will be no great loss when the pictures are entirely effaced.

 p117  The southern arm of the transept has been considerably altered since it was first built. It is in two bays, with two apsidal chapels to the east, and the choristers' vestry and an ante-vestry to the west. At the south-west corner, the large square canons' vestry has been built out at a later period. There are indications which shew that the end bay was cut off by an arch, in the same way as the northern bay of the transept. These are noticeable in the column between the two apsidal chapels, and the lines of the original low vaulting of this end bay may still be traced on the south and west walls. When the arch and vault were removed, it would appear that the upper part of this end of the transept was rebuilt. The last bay of the triforium on the west has four narrow arches of equal height, whereas the adjoining bay does not differ from that in the northern arm. In the south wall there are two rows of three windows instead of two rows of two. The chief indications of a later date are, however, in the smaller details. Tooth ornament is used to a greater extent than in the  p118 rest of the transept, and the wall spaces between the clerestory windows and the vault are covered with diaper work. This profusion of ornament would not be consistent with the time of St. Hugh. The alteration appears to have been made about the middle of the thirteenth century. Precentor Venables considered that its object was to throw a brighter light upon St. Peter's altar, which stood in the southern apsidal chapel, and was, next to the high altar, the chief altar in the church. The companion chapel has an oak screen with Gothic tracery, and a similar screen opposite divides the choristers' vestry from the transept. They both appear to date from about the end of the fifteenth century. The southern chapel has a low iron screen of modern workman­ship. This chapel was the scene of the murder of Subdean William Bramfield or Bramford, by one of the vicars of the church, in 1205; the murderer was tied to the tail of a horse, dragged to Canwick Hill and there hanged. The recumbent effigy in marble of John Kaye, bishop of the diocese from 1827 to 1853, by Westmacott, is now placed in the chapel; it formerly stood in the transept, and was removed here for protection. At Cambridge, Kaye was Senior Wrangler, Senior Chancellor's Medallist, and Junior Smith's Prizeman. In 1814 he was appointed master of Christ's College; six years left he became Bishop of Bristol, whence he was transferred to Lincoln in 1827. The walls of both chapels are lined with arcading. The southern, unlike the other apsidal chapels, has three windows. The south wall of the transept has the double arcading, with figures of angels projecting from the small compartments formed by the intersecting arches.

The Choristers' Vestry occupies the corner nearest the south aisle of St. Hugh's choir, from which it is separated by a stone screen of the Decorated period, excellently carved on both sides with diaper designs. The screen reaches to the crocketed column before referred to. The long stone lavatory within the vestry appears to be of the same date as this screen, against which it is placed. Below the trough is a row of Gothic arcading. In the corner is an old fireplace, the stone flue of which can be seen outside. The double arcading along the west wall is less injured than elsewhere; the sculptured angels which fill the spaces formed by the intersecting arches are in fair preservation. Between this vestry  p121 and the canons' vestry are two narrow chambers, one of which is used as an ante-vestry. In the year 1805, between the 10th and the 15th January, the communion plate belonging to the cathedral was stolen out of one of the vestries. It consisted of one large dish, three plates, two large flagons, and two cups with covers, all of silver gilt. A reward was offered for their recovery, but without success.

A stone in the pavement in front of the chapel containing the effigy of Bishop Kaye, marks the position of the tomb of Grosseteste. Leland, in the time of Henry VIII, mentions that "Robert Grosted lyethe in the hygheste South Isle with a goodly Tumbe of Marble and an Image of Brasse over it." The monument was wrecked in the wars of the following century. Fragments of the stone canopy are still preserved; they are now deposited in the northernmost semi-circular chapel of this transept.

The general effect of the interior of the minster would undoubtedly have been better, had the original apse of St. Hugh still remained; the monotony of the continuous line of vaulting, carried to such a great length at an almost uniform height, would then have been avoided. But, taken by itself, there is no structure of modest dimensions in the whole range of Gothic architecture which is more beautiful in its details or more majestic in its effect than Lincoln's Angel Choir. Architecture and sculpture of the highest excellence are here united in a single work. Sir G. G. Scott in his Lectures on Mediaeval Architecture, speaks of the angel choir in the following words:— "It is the most splendid work of that period which we possess, and, did it not lack internal height, I do not think it could be exceeded in beauty by any existing church." The period during which it was in great part erected (1256‑1280) was favourable to such an undertaking. The primitive simplicity of the Early English Gothic was giving way to the more elaborate forms of the Decorated period. During this time, when tracery had not yet reached the flowing lines of the later phases of Decorated work, Gothic architecture, and in fact Gothic art generally, was at its best in our land. The angel choir was called by Fergusson "the most beautiful presbytery in England." It is in five bays, carried eastward at a uniform height and breadth with the choir of St. Hugh. Lincoln stone is used throughout,  p122 relieved with shafts and capitals of Purbeck marble. The spandrels of the great arches, which are plain in other parts of the building, are here decorated with sunk geometrical forms. Each bay of the triforium is divided, as elsewhere, into two arches, both of which enclose two sub-arches; but the details are richer than in the earlier parts of the minster. The clerestory has one window of four lights in each bay, with an eight-foil and two trefoils in the head. The compartments of the vault were originally coated with plaster, which has been scraped away so as to shew the stone surface underneath. It is a question whether it does not now look better than with the old plaster, and the gaudy colouring which once, most probably, decorated it. The springers of the vaulting are supported by slender shafts, which rest on elaborately foliaged corbels in the spandrels of the great arches. The beautiful foliaged bosses along the ridge rib are best seen from the triforium or the clerestory.

S. B. Bolas & Co., Photo.]


The great east window is considered to be the finest example of its style in the kingdom. It is of eight lights, "formed by doubling the four-light," and has a great circle in the head, filled with a six-foil surrounded by half-a‑dozen quatrefoils. "Bar-tracery being fully developed," we read in a note to Rickman's "Gothic Architecture," "the general appearance of the window is rather Decorated than Early English, but the mouldings still belong to the earlier style." "This window . . . together with the whole of that part of the choir is singularly and beautifully accommodated to the style of the rest of the building."

The aisle windows are each of three lights, with three circles in the head, two filled with cinquefoils and one with a quatrefoil. The two east windows of the aisles are similar to the others. The wall below the windows is decorated all round with arcading of a richer design than that in the nave. Two trefoiled arches are included in a larger arch, with a quatrefoil within a circle filling the head. The spandrels have sunk trefoils. The bosses of the stone vaults to the aisles are carved with sacred subjects, foliage, and grotesque figures.

S. B. Bolas & Co., Photo.]


S. B. Bolas & Co., Photo.]


The sculptured angels, from which this part of the minster derives its name, fill the spandrels of the triforium, occupying  p125 a length of 118 feet on each side. It has been suggested that the idea may have been taken from the angels in St. Hugh's double wall-arcading, remains of which are still seen in different parts. The whole series has been fully illustrated, and exhaustively described and interpreted by Professor C. R. Cockerell, in the Lincoln volume (1848) of the Archaeological Institute. Two hands of different merit are recognised by him in the work; he considers Nos. 4 to 18 (counting round from the west-east corner) to be amongst the best. The others are of inferior execution, though often of excellent design. They were carved before being placed in their present positions, as is evident from No. 11, the joints of which are not perfectly adjusted, and they are of the same stone as was employed in the architecture of the cathedral. Could it have been Richard of Stow or Gainsborough, the cementarius, who was employed to execute these sculptures?


The Lincoln Imp.
Drawn by H. P. Clifford.

A description of Lincoln minster would not be complete without a reference to a small sculptured figure of vastly different character to the choir of angels — that delightfully grotesque little specimen of ugliness, known as the Lincoln Imp. He is to be seen on a spandrel on the north side, squatting under the corbel above the easternmost pier. The broad grin, the two short horns behind the ears, the hairy  p126 body, and the cloven hoofs all combine to form a characteristic record of the exuberant fancy of our mediaeval artists. The incised lines in the pavement of the south aisle, just where it joins the eastern transept, mark the position of the foundations of St. Hugh's apse. The first window in this aisle, just over Bishop Longland's chantry, is inscribed with the names and dates of the Chancellors of Lincoln. The series commences at the end of the eleventh century, and the last name recorded is "Edw. White Benson, S.T.P. 1872."

The east windows of the northern and south aisles are filled with beautiful stained glass of the Early English period. The subjects are arranged within medallions, and, though somewhat difficult to decipher, appear to represent scenes in the lives of two saints whose story has many points of resemblance — St. Thomas of Canterbury and St. Hugh of Lincoln. The glass is said to have been moved about the end of the last century from the windows of the nave aisles. The date of the medallions may be placed towards the middle of the thirteenth century, about the time of the erection of the nave, and, of course, earlier than the windows which they now occupy. The grisaille into which they are now reglazed, is considered by Westlake to be the earliest in England.

The great east window is filled with modern glass. It is believed to have originally contained the arms of many of the English nobility. In the year 1762 it was reglazed by Peckitt of York; the design of that time seems to have been chiefly, if not entirely, of geometrical forms. Portions of Peckitt's glass now occupy a place in the north wall of the eastern transept. The arrangement of the subjects in the present window is due to the late Dean Ward. The compartments contain subjects illustrating the life of Christ, and various scenes from the Old Testament history. The window was executed by Ward and Hughes about the middle of the present century.

The three chantries in the Perpendicular style which have been added to the angel choir were constructed at different periods by bishops of the diocese. The earliest of these, the Fleming Chantry, is on the north side. Richard Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College, Oxford, was appointed Bishop of Lincoln in the year 1419, and occupied the see for twelve years. In earlier years he was known as a zealous supporter  p128 of many of the doctrines of Wyclif, but was afterwards called upon, as Bishop of Lincoln, to give effect to the council of Constance by exhuming the bones of the reformer from the churchyard at Lutterworth, burning them and casting them into the River Swift; "as the Swift bare them into the Severn, and the Severn into the narrow seas, and they again into the ocean, thus the ashes of Wycliffe is an emblem of his doctrine, which is now dispersed over all the world" (Fuller). The front of the chapel facing the choir is formed by a broad flat arch enclosing the founder's tomb, with a narrow entrance at the side. The door is of carved oak, with an ancient iron handle. On the tomb is the effigy of the bishop, restored not long since to this its original place. It presents a recumbent figure holding in the left hand a pastoral staff; the mitre is held by two angels, and at the bishop's feet is a dragon. Underneath is a horrible emaciated figure intended to represent the body of the bishop after death. Such figures are not uncommon; perhaps the best known example is in the choir of Canterbury Cathedral — the figure of Archbishop Chichele. Some authorities have considered that the figure at Lincoln does not represent Bishop Fleming, but that it formed part of an earlier monument. The chapel has been restored in memory of the late Sir Charles H. J. Anderson, Bart. (d. 1891), a native of Lincolnshire, and the author of an entertaining pocket guide to the county. The roof is of oak, carved with vine and oak foliage.

The Russell chantry, occupying a corresponding position on the opposite side of the choir, was built by Bishop John Russell, who held the see from 1480 to 1494. He is called by Sir Thomas More "a wise manne and a good . . . and one of the best-learned men, undoubtedly, that England had in hys time." He was Chancellor of England under Richard III, and also held the post of Chancellor of Oxford University for some years. He died at Nettleham in 1494. The chantry is similar in style to Bishop Fleming's; its roof is of oak. The incised brass of the tomb has gone the way of all the minster brasses. Bishop Longland's chantry is on the other side of the south door. The general design is an imitation of Bishop Russell's chantry, but the details are much more elaborate. Over the flat archway facing the choir is the punning inscription, "Longa Terra Mensura Eius Dominus Dedit," borrowed  p129 from the Vulgate version of the book of Job (ch. xi, ver.9). Round the inside walls of the chapel is an unfinished row of stone niches, with elaborately carved canopies; there is a panelled oak ceiling. This chapel was not erected until some time after the others; John Longland was Bishop of Lincoln from 1521 to 1547. He held, like Russell, the post of chancellor of the University of Oxford, but does not seem to have been very popular there, since on one occasion he was pelted with stones. When Henry VIII visited Lincoln in 1541, he was received at the western end of the minster by this bishop, and stayed as his guest in the palace. Longland died in 1547, at Woburn, leaving instructions that his bowels were to be buried there; his heart at Lincoln; and his body in the chapel of Eton College. The building of the chapel at Lincoln seems to have been commenced soon after the bishop's accession to the see. Leland says "Byshope Russell, and Longland, now Byshop, Tumbes be in to Chapells cast out of the uppar Parte of the Southe Wall of the Churche." The chapel underwent a restoration in 1859.

The two chief monuments in the angel choir were the shrine of St. Hugh and the monument of Queen Eleanor. The former, of silver gilt, fell a victim to the royal greed of Henry VIII; the latter, of more humble material, survived those perilous times, only to be destroyed by the rude soldiery of the Civil Wars in the seventeenth century. A description of the monument has, fortunately, been left to us by Bishop Sanderson, and the gilt brass effigy of the Queen in Westminster Abbey was the work of the same artist as that at Lincoln, and most probably a duplicate of it. Eleanor was the daughter of Ferdinand III of Castile, and in 1254 was married to Henry III's eldest son, afterwards king as Edward I. Her attachment to her husband led her to accompany him on his adventurous expedition to the Holly Land with Louis IX (St. Louis) of France in 1270. The king and queen seem to have travelled much together. They were both present at Lincoln at the translation of St. Hugh's relics in 1280, and ten years later, were again travelling northward, when Eleanor fell ill of a slow fever, and had to be lodged at Hardeby (Harby), just within the borders of Nottinghamshire. Lincoln was five miles off, and medicines were procured in the city from Henry de Montepessulano, to whom the sum of 13s. 4d. was paid.  p130 Those remedies, however, proved of no effect, and on the 28th November 1290 the queen died, in the presence of her husband. Her body was embalmed and carried to Lincoln, where the viscera were buried in the minster, and a noble monument was raised. On the 4th December, the funeral procession left Lincoln, and journeyed to London. The heart, at the queen's own desire, was deposited in the church of the Friars Predicants in London, and the body was buried in Westminster Abbey on the 17th December, the Bishop of Lincoln officiating. There the monument was raised which still exists. The famous crosses, twelve in number, were erected at the different places on the route where the body rested for a night, doubtless in imitation of those in memory of the king's old crusader friend. St. Louis had died at Tunis, and the body was taken back to Paris, whence it was borne on the shoulders of men to the venerable resting-place of the French kings at St. Denis. Crosses were erected where the bearers rested in the journey from Paris to St. Denis.

The first of the Eleanor crosses was at Lincoln, and there are records of payments to the "cementarius" Richard de Stow for the work. The last was at Charing. With reference to the monument in Lincoln minster, we learn from Bishop Sanderson's description that it was an altar monument of marble, "whereon was a Queen's effigies in gilded brass," and had the following inscription in "Saxon" characters:— Hic sunt Sepulta viscera Alienoræ quondam Reginæ Angliæ uxoris Regis Edwardi filii Regis Henrici, cujus animæ propicietur Deus. — Amen. The marble tomb was executed by Dymenge de Legeri and Alexander de Abyngton, who received £25 for the work; Roger de Crundale had £1, 16s. 8d. for marble; William de Suffolk was paid 8 marks for three little images of the queen, cast in metal, to be placed near the tomb. William de Suffolk also produced some small images for the church of the Friars Predicants in London. The effigies of the queen both at Westminster and Lincoln, were cast by Master William Torel, goldsmith and citizen of London. For the gilding, Flemish coin were procured from the merchants of Lucca.

A modern stone monument, with a bronze effigy of Queen Eleanor on the top, has recently (in 1891) been placed under the great east window, near the Cantelupe monument. It is  p131 due to the munificence of Mr. Joseph Ruston, and is a copy, as near as one can now tell, of the original monument. In the north-east corner of the choir is a group of monuments to a family which derived its name from Burghersh or Burwash in Sussex. Here was the chantry of St. Catherine, founded by Bartholomew, or Burghersh, for the soul of his brother Henry and their father, Robert Burghersh. The chaplains lived in the Burghersh chantry house in James Street. Leland, in referring to the "Burwasche" family, says that "they foundyd 5. Prists, and 5. pore Scollars at Gramar Schole in Lyncolne." Henry Burghersh was Bishop of Lincoln from 1320 to 1340. He was the third or fourth son of Sir Robert Burghersh, Lord Burghersh. Like many of our mediaeval bishops, he appears to have been much more of a statesman than an ecclesiastic. For some time he was Chancellor of England under Edward III, whose son, the Black Prince, he baptised. He was a principal adviser of the king in foreign affairs, and died at Ghent in the year 1340, while there engaged in business of State. The monument is of stone, with a fine recumbent effigy of the bishop on the top, now much defaced. His mitre is supported by two angels. Along the north side of the monument runs an arcade of five arches, within each of which are two seated figures, whose armorial shields appear in the spandrels above. First (at the head) is Edward III; then follow his four sons: Edward, the Black Prince, Lionel, Duke of Clarence, John of Gaunt, and Edmund, Duke of York; next is Henry, Duke of Lancaster, whose daughter, Blanche, married John of Gaunt. The other effigies are those of persons allied with the Burghersh family. On the other side of the monument are four panels of Gothic tracery with shields of arms. The legend runs that at Tinghurst, in Buckinghamshire, Bishop Henry Burghersh, "by mere might against all right and reason," enclosed the land of many poor people, without recompense, in order to complete his park. The ghost of the bishop could not rest after his death, but appeared to the canons of Lincoln in hunting dress, telling them he was appointed keeper of the park, and beseeching them to throw it open. The canons, thus warned, restored the land to its rightful possessors.

H. C. Oakden, Photo.]


Next to this is another Burghersh monument, which authorities do not seem to be quite agreed about. Leland, after speaking  p132 of the bishop's tomb, says: "there is also buried at his Fete, Robart, his Brothar, a Knighte of great Fame in the Warrs." But the general opinion seems to be that Robert was not the brother, but the father, of Henry and Bartholomew. This tomb is of similar style to the former, having figures beneath arches on one side, and shields of arms on the other. The effigy is gone from the top. The elaborate Gothic canopies which originally surmounted both tombs were much injured by boys clambering upon them, and, becoming unsafe at last, were removed in the early part of the present century. Against the opposite wall, within a recessed arch under the easternmost window, is the monument of Henry's elder brother, Bartholomew, Lord Burghersh (d. 1355) — a soldier of much renown, who had a share in the victory of Crecy.º He held the important office of constable of Dover Castle and warden of the Cinque Ports. In the year 1329, he was sent on a mission to the Pope to plead for pecuniary aid from the revenues of the English church; a tenth of them was granted to the king for four years. The base of the monument has an arcade of six arches, each having two small pedestals, for figures which are now gone. The armorial shields of the persons originally represented beneath the arches still remain in the spandrels. The effigy shows him clad in plate armour, and reclining on his helmet; two angels at the head uphold the shield of his family, and two others at the foot bear away in a cloth the deceased warrior's soul. The canopy over the tomb bears the arms of Edward III and his four sons (the same as on the tomb of his brother the bishop), together with the shield of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster and Lincoln. A detailed account of the shields of arms on the Burghersh tombs may be found in the Lincoln volume (1848) of the Archaeological Institute.

Joined on to the end of Bishop Burghersh's tomb is the lofty base of a portable shrine. It has three niches, two on the north side and one in the front, for worshippers to kneel in. Over the arches are shields bearing the Instruments of the Passion. It is apparently of the same date as the bishop's monument. The old pavement slab, worn away by the feet of those who visited the shrine, has been left in front. Opposite to the Burghersh monuments, just to the south of the great east window, is the monument of Nicholas de Cantelupe, third Baron Cantelupe, who died in 1355. This warrior was much  p134 occupied in the wars of Edward II and his successor, Edward III. He founded Cantelupe College, a college of priests to celebrate at the altar of St. Nicholas,​4 which stood near the tomb, at the eastern end of the south aisle. Baron Cantelupe's widow, Joan, enlarged the foundation, and probably built the Cantelupe chantry house in the minster yard. The effigy, in armour, is now headless and legless. Round the base, on the south and west sides, are shields of arms in panels, which shew traces of colouring. The monument has a lofty Gothic canopy. Just westward is buried Prior Wimbische (or Wymbysh, d. 1478) "in a fayre Highe Tombe." This monument, like the adjoining one, has shields of arms on the base, and a rich canopy above; the effigy is headless.

Near these tombs, at the south-east corner of the choir, is the monument to William Hilton, R.A. (b. 1786: d. 1839), and his brother-in‑law, the famous water-colour painter, Peter De Wint (b. 1784: d. 1849). Hilton lived in a house, still standing, not far from the minster. His friend De Wint greatly loved the level plains of Lincolnshire and the surrounding country, and no artist was better able to depicts its peculiar charms. The minster was one of his favourite subjects, and he painted it from several different points. The principal of these is a large water-colour in the South Kensington Museum, taken from near the castle gateway (see illustration, p33). The ancient houses seen near the Exchequer Gate are an interesting record of old Lincoln. The marble relief on the west side of the monument is copied from this picture. On the front are three marble reliefs from pictures by Hilton — the Woman with the alabaster box of ointment, the Crucifixion and the Raising of Lazarus. They are signed "I. Forsyth sculp." The monument is of stone, with Gothic tracery, and has four kneeling angels at the corners. It was erected in the year 1864 by the bereaved sister and widow, Harriet De Wint.

Across the middle of the choir, just behind the reredos, is a row of four table-tombs. The first of these, to the north, was erected by Bishop Fuller soon after the Restoration, to mark the supposed burial-place of Bishop St. Hugh. The  p135 saint's shrine was in the centre of the choir, but it is supposed that when the shrine was melted down the body was removed and placed somewhere else, perhaps in this spot marked by Bishop Fuller. The tomb was opened in the year 1886, when the stone coffin was found to contain nothing but decaying vestments. In Leland's time, St. Hugh lay "in the Body of the Est Parte of the Chirche above the Highe Altare." The next monument is that of Bishop Fuller himself, who was summoned ex ultimâ Hiberniâ as the epitaph records, to preside over the See of Lincoln. William Fuller was a chaplain of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, but, as a steady Royalist, lost his post during the war. At the Restoration he was rewarded with the deanery of St. Patrick's, Dublin, and became soon after Bishop of Limerick. In the year 1667 the bishopric of Lincoln was vacant. There were two candidates for the appointment, Dr. Glenham, Dean of Bristol, and Dr. Rainbow, Bishop of Carlisle. Fuller, hearing of this, suggested that the difficulty should be solved by his own transference from Limerick to Lincoln, and his suggestion was carried out. Pepys, a friend of Fuller's, mentions the fact with delight. The now bishop did his utmost to repair the injuries perpetrated during the Civil War. He restored many monuments, and was meditating other works in the same direction, when he died at Kensington, 23rd April, 1675. The third monument is that of Bishop Gardiner, who presided over the see for ten years, dying in March 1704‑5. This bishop, in a visitation of the diocese, found a bad state of affairs in several churches where the chancels were disused and left "in a more nasty condition than the meanest cottage," while the holy table was brought down into the mid-aisle. The Latin inscriptions on the monuments of Bishops Fuller and Gardiner are somewhat quaint. The last of the four monuments is that of Subdean Gardiner (d. 1731‑2), and his only daughter Susanna, who died a year later. Near the monument of Bishop Gardiner is a slab in the pavement, marking the tomb of "Michael Honywood, D.D., who was grandchild and one of the 367 persons that Mary, the wife of Robert Honywood Esq., did see before she dyed lawfully descended from her." The elaborate stone monument in the third bay on the north side is in memory of Bishop Wordsworth (b. 1807: d. 1885), a nephew of the poet. The base is decorated with Gothic  p136 arcading, and has figures of the twelve apostles. On it rests the recumbent effigy of the bishop, clad in a cope and mitre. At his head are two angels, and a dragon lies beneath his feet. Above is a lofty and intricate Gothic canopy, with a figure of Christ in the centre.

H. C. Oakden, Photo.]


A monument to Dean Butler (d. 1894) has recently been placed near the tomb of Subdean Gardiner. It is of alabaster and red marble, with a recumbent effigy of the dean, who is buried in the cloister garth.

In the next bay eastward is a slab which marks the burial-place of Oliver Sutton (bishop of the diocese from 1280 to 1299), by whom the cloisters were built. The slab, of Purbeck marble, was raised in the year 1889 by workmen engaged in repairing the pavement. Beneath was an oblong stone chest, lined with sheets of lead, enclosing the skeleton of the bishop, which lay in a mass of decaying vestments. On the right side of the skeleton a silver-gilt chalice was found, with a paten laid upon it, covered with a piece of fine linen. The chalice stands 4½ in. high, with a broad shallow bowl, 4 in. in diameter. The foot is circular, of the same diameter as the bowl, and the knop projects ½ in. from the stem. It is entirely destitute of ornament. The paten is 4¾ in. in diameter, with the Manus Dei in the act of benediction, issuing from the conventional clouds. The large finger-ring of the bishop was also discovered. It is of pure gold, with a massive hoop; a large piece of rock-crystal is set in the oval bezel. These extremely interesting relics are preserved in the Cathedral Library, where are also the rings of Bishops Gravesend and Grosseteste. On the left side of the skeleton lay the mouldering remains of a wooden crozier, carved with leaf ornament. In the north aisle is buried Robert Dymoke (d. 1735), a member of the ancient family who held for nearly five centuries the office of King's Champion. It was the champion's duty to ride on his horse into Westminster Hall at the coronation banquet, and three times to challenge to combat any person who disputed the sovereign's title. A member of this family, Henry Dymoke, acted as champion at the coronation of George IV (19th July 1821), the last occasion on which this custom was observed.

The Cloisters are reached by a doorway in the north  p137 wall of the eastern transept. The door is of oak, with some ancient wrought ironwork scrolls on the outer side. A narrow barred window of violent door lights a small room anciently used as a watching-chamber. A long, narrow vestibule leads to the cloisters; it has a stone vault, rendered conspicuous by modern colouring; the bosses are carved with foliage and figures. The windows are filled with tracery similar to that in the cloisters, but they are glazed, as the cloister windows probably were originally.

The cloisters are in an unusual position; they were generally built on the south side of the church, against the wall of the nave, where they would be protected from the cold north and east winds. At Lincoln they are on the north side, opposite the choir, and stand away from  p139 the walls of the church. Lincoln had no need of cloisters, any more than York or Lichfield, all three being secular churches. There seems to have been no idea of their erection before the end of the thirteenth century. The colonnade which has taken the place of the north walk, together with the Library above it, was erected from the designs of Sir Christopher Wren in 1674. The cost was paid by Dean Honywood, who also gave to the chapter his collection of books.

S. B. Bolas & Co., Photo.]


An account of the contents of the Library is given by Beriah Botfield in his "Notes on the Cathedral Libraries of England" (1849). The MS. library includes several Latin Bibles and Psalters, as well as a most valuable MS. of Old English Romances, c. 1430‑40, collected by Robert de Thornton, who was Archdeacon of Bedford in 1450, and lies buried in Lincoln Cathedral. Some time between the years 1816 and 1828, all the Caxtons and many early volumes were sold, the proceeds being devoted to the purchase of more modern works of which the Library stood in need. A number of useful books were thus added to the collection, but only by the sacrifice of works which it would be quite impossible to replace. At the time of Botfield's visit, the library contained 4451 volumes, relating to theological, classical and historical subjects. Among the English versions of the Bible were found Tyndale's, Coverdale's, Cranmer's, Matthew's, the Bishops' Bible and the Genevan Bible. The library contains a portrait, said to be by Cornelis Janssens, of its great benefactor. The author­ship of this painting is very doubtful, since Janssens left England in 1648, and Honywood was dean from 1660 to 1681.

 p140  The inside measurement of the cloisters is 120 feet from east to west, and 90 feet from north to south. In the middle of the west walk there is a doorway in the wall. A good view of the north side of St. Hugh's choir, the side walls of the transepts, and the central tower, can be had from the doorway. An old cast lead cistern in the corner is worth noticing. It is cylindrical, with bands of vine-stems in relief. In the wall to the left of the door are the fragments of the monumental slab of Richard of Gainsborough (d. 1300). He is probably the same man as Richard of Stow (a village not far from Gainsborough), who was engaged on the carved work of the angel choir, and was also employed on the crosses in memory of Queen Eleanor. On the other side of the door is a restoration of the slab in plaster, and another restoration is in the pavement. The mason, with a carpenter's square by his side, is represented beneath a Gothic canopy; around is the inscription "Hic jacet Ricardus de Gaynisburgh olym cementarius istius ecclesie qui obiit duodecim kalendarum junii Anno domini MCCC."

In the north walk beneath the library is the original Swineherd of Stow, which for many centuries crowned the northern turret of the west front. A modern copy has now taken its place. At the east end of the walk, near the library staircase, are several fragments of ancient carving, chiefly of the Norman period. A stone coffin, carved with interlacing circles, probably goes back to Saxon times. From this point may be had the best view of the north end of the great transept, with its fine round window. Some interesting relics of Roman Lincoln are placed on the floor at the foot of the library staircase; they have been described by Precentor Venables.

Along the east walk of the cloisters is a row of wall-arcading, with Purbeck shafts and tooth ornament.

 p141  The vault of the three ancient walks is of oak, with stone springers. There is a fine series of oak bosses, carved with figures, grotesque heads, animals and foliage. An interesting set of photographs was taken from these bosses when the cloister was in process of reconstruction a few years ago; they are reproduced in the Builder of July 19th, 1890. In the cloister garth are the tombs of Dean Butler (to whose memory a monument has recently been placed in the angel  p142 choir) and his wife, and Precentor Venables (d. 1895) and his daughter. The late precentor will be long remembered by those who are interested in the history of the minster; the results of his patient investigations, published chiefly in the Archaeological Journal, cannot fail to be of great service to any who are desirous of information with respect to the architecture of the minster, or the antiquities of the city. The cloisters still bear marks of the rough usage they received in the last century, when they served the purpose of sheds for scaffolding and building materials. The doorway opening into the vestibule of the chapter-house is in the east walk. The oak door is a gift of the present bishop (Dr. King). Over the door inside is an arcade of slender arches with a large round window above, which would look better filled with coloured glass.

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Photochrom Co. Ltd., Photo.]
The Chapter-house is one of the earliest of the series of polygonal chapter-houses in England, dating from the early part of the thirteenth century. It is a decagon with two windows in each bay; nearly all of these have now been filled with stained glass, in memory of different dignitaries connected with the minster. The glass is by Clayton and Bell, and deals with history of the minster from its foundation. Below the windows an arcade runs right round the walls, with Purbeck shafts, foliaged capitals (see page 140),º and a profusion of tooth ornament. Below the arcading is a projecting stone seat. The stone vault is a little later than the rest of the chapter-house. It is supported by a cluster of shafts, against the wall, in each angle, resting on corbels carved with foliage. Besides these, there is a massive central column, surrounded by ten hexagonally-fluted Purbeck shafts, banded in the middle. Greater experience was necessary before the Gothic architects were able, as at York, to dispense with this central pillar, and to produce a perfect Gothic dome of such large dimensions. A corbel, carved with oak foliage, formerly supporting a figure of the Virgin Mary, is attached to the eastern side of this central column. In front of this is a socket in the pavement for holding a processional cross. The dean's chair, at one time in the library, is a fine piece of early fourteenth-century carved woodwork.​b On the arms are crouching lions; the front panel below the seat is carved with rows of quatrefoils. The canopy over the chair is modern. The chapter-house was restored under the directions of the late consulting architect to the chapter, J. L. Pearson, R.A.


Arcade in the Chapter-House.


Capital in the Chapter-House.

The Author's Notes:

1 In Gough's edition [1806] of Camden's "Britannia," is a plan giving the positions of the grave-slabs in the old pavement.

2 As to how far the present choir represents St. Hugh's work, see page 18.— [Ed.]

3 The matter is referred to on p20.

4 What has become of the "merveylous fair and large Psaltar, full in the Margin of goodly Armes of many Noble Men," mentioned by Leland as being "in S. Nicholas Chapell"?

Thayer's Notes:

a Reader Juanita Knapp, pointing out that the effigy in late 15c armor could not be that of Burghersh who died in the 14c, has kindly provided further information for those inclined to follow up the identification:

The Tomb Attributed to Bartholomew Lord Burghersh in Lincoln Cathedral, by L. A. S. Butler, The Archaeological Journal, Vol. 159 (2002), pp109‑141.

b From Lincolnshire Notes and Queries, Vol. II, Part 5:

Ancient Chair in Lincoln Cathedral.— We offer our subscribers this month, a reproduction of a drawing taken by the late Mr. Ross of an ancient massive oaken chair, belonging to the Minster. For very many years this interesting chair was stowed away in the vestibule of the library, together with other Archaeological curiosities. Since the restoration of that building it has found a more appropriate place in the Chapter House, and was occupied by the Bishop at the Diocesan Conference last October. Its original place and purpose cannot now be accurately determined. It has been traditionally called "the Bishop's Chair," and it is probable that this designation may be correct. But if so, whether its original position was in the Choir of the Cathedral, or where it now stands, in the Chapter House, must be doubtful. The character of the work and its ornamentation point to the end of the 13th century, or the early part of the 14th, between 1280 and 1320 as the period of its construction. It is therefore much earlier than the stalls of the choir, which were erected by Treasurer Welbourne, 1350‑1380, and it may have been removed to make way for a more gorgeous episcopal throne, forming part of Welbourne's design. But as we have no knowledge of the character of the throne that preceded the classical composition, ascribed to Wren, put up after the Restoration, this point cannot be settled. The suggestion has been made, and it certainly deserves consideration whether it may not have been constructed as a regal chair, to be occupied by the sovereign at one of the Parliaments which we know were held in Lincoln at this period, some of them certainly in the Chapter House. The lions on the arms, as the royal beast of England, may be thought to support this idea, which, if true, would confer additional historic interest on this ancient relic of the past.

[image ALT: Two careful drawings of a wooden armchair, seen from the front and from (the chair's) right side. The chair is described in the accompanying text.]

Ancient Chair in Lincoln Cathedral.

The chair is simply framed of massive oak. It has four plain uprights, with a cross rail at top behind, and others at the level of the seat which is placed upon them. There are two arms curving from the back downwards, supporting a lion couchant in front, much mutilated. The outer sides of the arms are ornamented with an eight-leaved open square flower, with a four-leaved central cup. The front below the seat bears two rows of quatrefoils, six in each row. The sides below the arms are filled in with plain boarding, some of which is certainly modern. The dimensions of the chair are, height 3ft. 11in. back; 3ft. 3½in. front; up to the seat, 2ft. 5in.; from the top of the seat to the cross piece, 1ft. 6½ in.; breadth of seat, 3ft. 2in.; depth from front to back, 1ft. 11in. The chair has received very rough usage, the heads of lions and one of the uprights having been rudely hacked away.

Edmund Venables.

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Page updated: 27 Oct 17