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This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Handbook to the Cathedrals of England

by Richard John King

published by John Murray, Albemarle Street,
Oxford, 1862

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

This text has not yet been proofread.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Lincoln Cathedral


 p265  Part I. History and Details.

I. The see of Dorchester (see Pt. II) was removed to Lincoln by Remigius of Fecamp, the first bishop after the Conquest, about the year 1073. Remigius at once commenced the erection of a cathedral, which was sufficiently far advanced in 1092 to admit of its consecration. Four days before that chosen for the purpose, however, Bishop Remigius died, and the church was consecrated during the episcopate of his successor, Robert Bloet (1094‑1123). In the year 1124 a great fire occurred, after which Bishop Alexander (1123‑1148) replaced the wooden roof of the nave with a vault of stone. In 1185 this Norman cathedral, according to Benedict of Peterborough, was "cleft from top to bottom by an earthquake." Its rebuilding was commenced by Bishop Hugh of Grenoble (1186‑1200), better known as "St. Hugh of Lincoln." The existing choir, the eastern transept, the east side of the great transept, and the west side as high as the second tier of windows, are attributed to St. Hugh, as is the chapter-house, but this building is certainly of a later date. The completion of the great transept, and the Galilee porch, were perhaps  p266 the work of his successor, William of Blois (1203‑1209). The nave, and the upper portion of the west front, are given to Bishop Hugh of Wells (1209‑1235); the west transept, and one story of the great tower above the roof, to Bishop Robert Grostete (1235‑1253). It should be remarked, however, that the distribution of these several portions is somewhat arbitrary. All that is certainly known is that the cathedral was not finished by St. Hugh; since in 1205 a royal letter was issued, appealing to the faithful throughout the diocese for funds towards the completion of so noble a work ("tam nobile opus." In the same letter it is called "egregia structura."​1) The character of the work itself, however, proves that it must have been continued with but little interruption. The plans of the architect employed by St. Hugh, named Geoffry de Noiers,​2 were probably carried out during the episcopate of Hugh of Wells.3

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 p267  The presbytery, or 'Angel choir,' was completed before the year 1282, when the shrine of St. Hugh was removed into it. The cloisters and the upper part of the central tower were the work of Bishop Sutton (1280‑1300). The south end of the great transept, with its circular window, dates from the episcopate of Thomas Bek (1342‑1347); and the upper part of the western towers is Perpendicular work of about 1450.

[image ALT: The architectural plan of a large medieval church, with a 14‑bay three-aisled nave, a 3‑bay transept, and a 5‑bay choir, with lateral chapels and a large apsidal chapel in the axis; also, a large square cloister attached. It is a plan of the cathedral of Lincoln (Lincolnshire, England).]
A A A Norman Recesses and Doorways in West Front.
B Western Porch.
    (Over it is the Stone Beam, crossing from C to D.)
C North Tower, formerly Great Tom's.
D South Tower (St. Hugh's).
E E Chapels in the Wings of the West Front.
F Nave.
G Morning Chapel. H St. Hugh's Chapel.
K Central Tower.
L North Transept. M South Transept.
N Galilee Porch.
O Choir.
P North Choir-aisle. Q South Choir-aisle.
R North-eastern Transept. S South-eastern Transept.
T Retro-choir (Angel Choir).
U Bp. Fleming's Chantry. V Bp. Russell's Chantry.
W South-eastern Porch.
X Bp. Longland's Chantry.
Y Cloister. Z Chapter-house.
1 Chapel of St. Thomas.
2 Chapel of St. Andrew.
3 St. Anne's Chapel, re-dedicated to St. Edward.
4 Chapel of St. James.
5 Chapel of St. Denis.
6 Chapel of St. Nicholas.
7 Chapel of St. Hugh. 8 Lady-chapel.
9 Ancient Vestry.
10 North-east Entrance.
11 Bishop Fleming's Monument.
12 Monum. of Lord Burghersh.
13 Monument of Rob. de Burghersh.
14 Monument of Bp. Burghersh.
15 Monument of Sir Nicholas de Cantilupe.
16 Monument of Canon Wimbishe.
17 Cantilupe Chantry.
18 Memorial of St. Hugh.
19 Tomb of Bp. Fuller.
20 Gardiner Monuments.
21 Easter Sepulchre.
22 Monument of the Duchess of Lancaster.
23 Monument of the Countess of Westmoreland.
24 Chapel of St. Paul. 25 Chapel of St. Peter.
26, 27 Ancient Choristers' Vestry.
28 Principal Vestry.
29 Shrine of Little St. Hugh.
30, 31, 32 Anciently one room, the "Camera Communis."
33 Vestibule to Chapter-house. 34 Staircase to Library.
35 Roman Pavement.
36 Well.

As printed: "Scale, 100 ft. to 1 in." — In this Web edition: zzz pixels = 100 feet; as in the scale bar above.

There is a second plan of the church in A. F. Kendrick's Cathedral Church of Lincoln, and not only does it show (and link to) different monuments, the plan itself is slightly different: the world is never quite as simple as we might like.

II. By far the greater part of Lincoln Cathedral is accordingly of Early English date: and although Salisbury (begun 1220, completed 1258) and Westminster (begun 1245, completed 1269) are in some respects grander and more complete examples, Lincoln has an especial interest from the fact of its having been commenced so long before either. Although it has been frequently asserted that the architecture of this cathedral displays French influence, M. Viollet-le‑Duc, whose authority on this point scarcely admits of dispute, has declared that, after the most careful examination, he could not find "in any part of the cathedral of Lincoln, neither in the general design, nor in any part of the system of architecture adopted, nor in any details of ornament, any trace of the French school of the twelfth century (the lay school from 1170 to 1220) so plainly characteristic of the cathedrals of Paris, Noyon, Senlis, Chartres, Sens, and even Rouen."​4 This fact,  p268 which greatly increases the probability that the architect Geoffry de Noiers was an Englishman, gives us good reason to claim for St. Hugh the distinction of having been "the first effectual promoter, if not the actual inventor, of our national and most excellent Early English style of architecture;"​5 and in point of interest, renders it difficult for any other church to exceed Lincoln Cathedral. In size and importance it may be regarded as the third great church of the Early English period in England, the whole of the interior, except the presbytery, being of this age; "and this part follows so immediately after the rest as not to produce any want of harmony, but merely a degree of enrichment suitable to the increased sanctity of the altar, and the localities surrounding it."6

In grandeur of situation, Lincoln has no rival among English cathedrals. It rises on its "sovereign hill," a conspicuous landmark from every part of the surrounding country [see Frontispiece]; and its towers are full in view as the traveller ascends the steep High-street, and winds upward toward the Close. As he passes beyond the gateway, the east end of the building, and the chapter-house with its flying buttresses, first appear. The road then proceeds close under the south side of the cathedral, the lines of which are varied by projecting chapels and porches to  p269 an unusual extent. An entire new church seems to open after passing the Galilee porch, and finally the west front appears, with the towers rising behind it. No other cathedral is richer or more varied in its outlines, although Lincoln may perhaps be exceeded in the interest of its details. This unrivalled effect results entirely from the grandeur of the building itself, and from that of its situation. The eastern end rises above a small plot of greensward, but the grey stone of the battle is contrasted by no trees or gardens, and the houses which line the Close are scarcely picturesque.

The cathedral is built throughout of stone from the oolite beds, in the immediate neighbourhood, which, although it blackens on exposure to the air, is almost indestructible, and completely retains the sharpness of its sculpture. The marks of a toothed chisel, with which it was worked, are visible on many parts of the interior. The Purbeck marble, used for shafts and capitals, is by no means so durable, and much of it has completely decayed.

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III. The west front [Plate I], notwithstanding its mixture of styles (a result, in all probability, of a want of funds, which prevented the removal of the Norman front), is grand and impressive, and deservedly ranks high among the façades of English cathedrals. Its effect is no doubt greatly increased by the western towers, which rise immediately behind it; but it well deserves examination for its own sake, and for the interest of its details. The distinction between the Norman and Early English  p270 work is at once evident. The central portion, containing the five archways, belonged to the Norman cathedral of Remigius, of which building it is the only trace remaining. This Norman portion extends to the top of the intersecting arcade above the two principal circular arches. The rest of the front itself is entirely Early English, and was probably the work of Bishop Hugh of Wells (1209‑1235). The windows above the three principal doorways are Perpendicular, and were inserted about 1380.

The Norman portion of the front consists of three lofty recesses, of which that in the centre is the highest and widest. At the foot of each of these recesses is a round-headed doorway, and beyond the side recesses are two lower arches, which never contained doorways. The masonry and capitals of these recesses deserve especial notice. The capitals are thoroughly characteristic of early Norman work; and the masonry is one of the best examples of "wide-jointed." The three principal recesses were originally  p271 terminated by gables; so that the whole arrangement resembled, on a smaller scale and in a different style, that of the west front of Peterborough. On the incorporation of this Norman front with the Early English work of Bishop Hugh, the gables were removed, and the circular arch of the central recess was changed to pointed. The spring of the Norman arch is evident, immediately below the "trellis" work, which lines the wall. Its original height was 75 ft. The present Early English arch rises to more than 80 ft.

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Arched Recess.

The three doorways, within the recesses, were probably inserted by Bishop Alexander (1123‑1148). They are late Norman in character, and a careful examination of the masonry will show that walls in which they are set are of earlier date. The central doorway [Plate II] is by far the richest, and all its ornaments and mouldings deserve notice. On the shafts are armed figures entangled in rings of leafage, between which are birds and grotesque animals placed back to back. On the shafts of the north doorway are some singular figures arranged in pairs; one of which is attacked by serpents; another figure bites his thumb. The three entrances may be compared with the very curious Norman doorways at Kilpeck Church, Herefordshire, of which coloured casts may be seen at Sydenham. These are much ruder, and probably earlier than the Lincoln doorways, but the general character of ornament is the same.


Above the two exterior recesses, and stretching at intervals across the Norman portion of the front, is  p272 a band of remarkable sculpture, which, in the opinion of Gough the antiquary, was removed from some earlier building, and applied to the decoration of his new front by Remigius. There is no reason, however, judging from the character of the sculptures, for believing them to be of earlier date than the Norman cathedral itself. Their subjects are from the Old and New Testaments, but many of them are too far decayed to be readily interpreted. Beginning at the north end, those which may still be deciphered are, — The Doom, with figures hurried by demons to the mouth of hell; the Last Supper; the Expulsion from Eden; Adam and Eve at labour; Demons seizing a crowned figure; and a Ship (the Ark?).

The three large windows in the recesses are Perpendicular insertions. The side windows were perhaps the work of Treasurer Welborne, circa 1370. The great west window is attributed, by Leland, to Bishop Alnwick (1436‑1450), who commenced the rebuilding of the west front of Norwich, during his episcopate there; and who left directions at his death for the construction of the great west window of that cathedral. (See Norwich.) The foiled opening at the head of the central recess is Early English, like the arch in which it is set. Over the central doorway are the figures of eleven kings, under enriched canopies, "reasonably considered to have been placed there under the active but tasteless superintendence of the Treasurer Welbourne, about 1370. The costume and details may possibly contain some archaeological interest, but so wretched are  p273 the design and workman­ship of these carvings, that they furnish matter of painful edification in tracing the rapid decline which may be effected upon the sensitive existence of fine art during one century only." — C. R. Cockerell. These indifferent sculptures are to be compared with the admirable figures of the Angel choir (§ XIV), which are just one century earlier. In niches, on either side of the central recess, are figures of bishops, wearing enormous mitres. They are of the same date as the statues of the kings.

IV. Beyond and above the Norman work the whole of the front is Early English, and was probably completed by Bishop Hugh of Wells (1209‑1235). The breadth of the Norman portion (100 ft.) is that of the nave. The Early English wings have at their angles octagonal turrets, capped with spires, and a gable, much enriched, rises in the centre of the front, immediately above the principal recess. The flanking turrets project unusually, and cast deep shadows. The front is covered with a series of arcades and ornaments, and was once crowded with figures, brackets for supporting which still remain. The bosses, sculptured with human heads, in the upper stringcourses, and at the intersection of the arcades, are admirable, and deserve careful notice. The central gable, however, and the upper part of the arch beneath, are the best and richest portions of the front. The arrangements and minute details of the gable, with the small statues which remain in its niches, are excellent examples of the purest Early English. The raised "trellis-work" of the masonry, which occurs  p274 also in the interior of the tower, should be noticed; and the cinquefoiled window in the head of the arch was regarded by Rickman as "nearly unique, from the exquisite workman­ship of its mouldings, which consist of openwork bands of flowers." The foliage in the cusps is especially admirable. On the central boss of the vaulting in the recess is carved the Expulsion from Paradise.

The parapet, which extends on either side between the gable and the turrets, is an addition of the fourteenth century. The spires which cap the turrets are crowned by statues; of which that south represents St. Hugh, that north is known as the "Swineherd of Stow," a porcarius who, according to the local legend, gave a peck of silver pennies toward the building of the cathedral. The swineherd is in the act of blowing a horn, and the figure has been sometimes regarded as the rebus of Bishop Bloet (Blow it), — a pun which, although perfectly in accordance with the taste of the fifteenth century, hardly agrees with that of the thirteenth. The existing figure dates only from 1850; but is a fac-simile of the original "Swineherd," preserved in the cloisters (see § XXV, and Title-page).7

The entire breadth of the west front is 173 ft.; its height (below the gable) 83 ft.

V. The western porch, which we now enter, and the porches on either side, beneath the towers, were much  p275 altered by Bishop Alnwick (1436‑1450), and their groined vaulting is of his time, as is the arcade which lines the walls. The modern arches, which encumber and destroy the effect of these porches, were added about 1727, in order to provide additional support for the west towers, which are still in an unsatisfactory condition. On each side of the central porch is a tablet for the officers and men of the 10th (or North Lincolnshire) Regiment who fell in the campaign of 1845‑6 on the Sutlej, and in that of 1848‑9 in the Punjab. There is also a tablet for Bishop William Smith (1496‑1514), the founder of Brasenose College, Oxford, who was buried at the entrance of the nave, and whose brass, as the present inscription records, was destroyed by the "Cromwellii flagitiosus grex."

On either side of the north and south porches are chapels, forming the wings of Bishop Hugh's work, and projecting beyond the nave. That north is approached through a dark narrow passage, above which is a chamber inaccessible except by a ladder, which has been regarded, but with little probability, as a prison. In the north-west angle of the chapel beyond it (lighted by a circular window seen in the west front, and by a second window north) is a recess, resembling one of those in the Norman front, of which this wall formed the north return. The chapel beyond the south porch is known as St. Hugh's, and had an entrance on the west side, which has not long been closed. The walls (which retain some original thirteenth-century border-painting)  p276 are inscribed with the "names of the Company of Ringers of our blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln": the earliest dating from 1614. Both chapels have wall-arcades, and both have Early English groined vaults.

VI. Leaving, for the present, the ascent of the western towers, which is made from these chapels (see § XXIX), we enter the nave. [Plate III.] The first impression here, on a visitor fresh from Ely or Peterborough, is perhaps slightly disappointing. Lincoln wants the colossal proportions of those great naves; and the wide spacing of the piers, with their apparent want of solidity, renders the nave of this cathedral "almost a failure," in the joint of Mr. Fergusson. These original defects are not lessened by the abominable coating of yellow wash with which the whole of the walls and piers, including the Purbeck shafts, is covered. The coldness of the vaulted roof, which is white, without colour or gilding on the bosses, and the position of the organ, which intercepts the view westward, otherwise a very fine one, also assist in lessening the general effect.

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A remarkable irregularity of plan is seen at the west end of the nave, and should here be noticed. "The axis of the choir is continued in a straight line nearly to the end of the nave, and then breaks off suddenly to the north, and falls into the axis of the Norman west front." Mr. Penrose, who has pointed out this peculiarity, suggests as an explanation, that the architect who built the choir intended to have given the axis of the  p277 nave an obliquity with respect to that of the choir, such as is found in many English and foreign cathedrals (Peterborough and Norwich for example), "otherwise there was no occasion for him to have built that part of the church out of parallel with the axis of the Norman work." The builders of the nave, however, no doubt intending to clear away all the Norman work, and to build an entirely new west front, carried out the axis of the new work in a continuous straight line. "Reckoning from the central tower, five of the seven architectural bays of the nave are about 26 by 6 ft. in extent from east to west; the sixth and seventh are 21 by 3 ft. We may suppose that at the time the building arrived at the sixth arch, economical reasons suggested the incorporation of the Norman work in the clumsy way in which we see it; and the contraction of the span of the last two arches, and a sudden lowering of the vault by about 2 ft. (which takes place over the sixth arch), are the signs of the sacrifice of architectural propriety at which this saving was effected. Had seven bays been carried out, of the same breadth as the first five, and with a deep porch, perhaps similar to that of Peterborough externally, the whole of the consecrated area [that of the Norman church] might have been covered by a uniform structure of simple proportions. We, indeed, may be thankful for the archaeological interest which this circumstance has preserved to us in the remains of Bishop Remigius's west front, and admire in the exterior the skill and beauty with which the Early English front is composed around the Norman  p278 nucleus; it nevertheless cannot be denied that interior suffers greatly from this irregularity, which, it may be safely affirmed, formed no part of the original intention of the architect."8

The details of the nave and its aisles, however, are of the utmost beauty, as would be at once evident if the wash were removed with which they are at present covered. The entire nave, like the west front, is generally assigned to Bishop Hugh of Wells (1209‑1235), and is throughout, of course, Early English. It consists of seven bays, from the west towers to the transepts; the slender piers are set at unusual distances, and give an impression of greater space than that which is afforded by the actual width of the nave (42 feet), which, however, exceeds that of the naves of Ely (30 feet) or Peterborough (35 feet). The details of the piers vary. The first three (counting from the east) correspond north and south, and the capitals of this group are richer than those westward of them. Below there is more variation, although some of the piers still correspond. The capitals on the south side, however, differ from those north, and are perhaps somewhat earlier. The leafage of all deserves careful examination. Over all the arches are hood-mouldings, springing from small heads.

The triforium is arranged in groups of three arches, circumscribed by a larger one (two groups in each  p279 bay), with foiled openings in the tympana, and a trefoil in the spandril between the two circumscribing arches. The clerestory — in the upper mouldings of which the dog-tooth ornament appears — is in groups of three arches. The capitals of triforium and clerestory are the same on both sides of the nave. Slender triple vaulting-shafts rise from corbels at the spring of the lower arches; and the vault itself spreads in groups of seven ribs, with bosses of foliage at the intersections. The names of different persons who were concerned in the building or decoration of this part of the church were formerly to be seen, painted on the vaulting. These have all been concealed by the whitewash, with the exception of the name of "Wilhelmus Paris," which is still visible in the centre of the nave, not far from the great tower.9

VII. The aisles of the nave vary in detail, although there is probably little difference in their dates. The vaulting of both springs from the nave piers, and from clustered Purbeck shafts, in groups of five, set against the opposite wall. The wall of the north aisle is lined by a continuous arcade of trefoiled arches, set on shafts, detached from the wall, in groups of three. There are four arches in each bay; and against every fifth arch are set the vaulting-shafts, detached, and raised on a base projecting beyond the bench of the arcade. In each bay are two lancet-lights, and a detached vaulting-shaft between them reaches to the stringcourse above  p280 the arcade. If the whole of these shafts were properly cleaned, the effect would be exquisitely light and graceful. There are probably few more interesting examples of an Early English wall-arcade.

In the south aisle the arcade is not continuous. There are five arches in each bay; and the vaulting-shafts, none of which are detached, are set against the wall between them. The dog-tooth occurs in the mouldings (which is not the case in the north aisle); there are bosses of foliage at the spring of the arches; and the crockets at the bases of the shafts between the windows differ from those opposite. The capitals of the shafts are all sculptured. Many of those opposite are quite plain, as are the window-corbels. It is scarcely possible to say which aisle is the earlier, although the north partakes more of the character of St. Hugh's work in the choir aisles.

The four easternmost windows in the north aisle, and one in the south, are filled with memorial stained glass. The high tombs and brasses in this part of the church were destroyed by the "Cromwellii flagitiosus grex" during the Civil War. Close within the great western door were those of Bishop Gynwell (died 1363), Bishop Atwater (died 1521), Bishop Alnwick (died 1450), and Bishop Smith (died 1514). The society of Brasenose College have placed a tablet to the memory of their founder (Bishop Smith) on the wall of the west porch.

VIII. Opening from the aisles of the nave, at its western extremity, and in a line with the wings of the  p281 west front, are two Early English chapels, of somewhat later character than the nave itself. That south (called St. Hugh's chapel) is said to have been dedicated to the Holy Trinity, and now serves as the consistory court. Its walls are lined with an arcade of pointed arches. The north, or morning chapel (formerly used for Morning Prayer), is divided into two bays by a central group of Purbeck shafts, bound with pointed fillets, and deserving special attention for their grace and beauty. In this chapel is placed a large square font, of the late Norman to Libbie Griffin's photo tour It is of Purbeck, and the bowl is raised on a central pillar, with four shafts at the angles. Winged lions and monsters are sculptured on the sides, and a broad leaf-ornament in the four upper corners.

IX. The central, or rood-tower, — now, from a corruption of the latter word, known as the Broad tower, — is partly open, as a lantern, and is supported by four enormously massive piers, composed of twenty-four alternate shafts of Lincoln and Purbeck stone, with rich capitals of Early English leafage. Four lofty arches, with the dog-tooth ornament in their mouldings, rise above these piers; their spandrils are hatched with trellis-work. Above is an arcade of six arches on either side, arranged in groups of three; vaulting-shafts, springing from enriched corbels, divide each group. A second arcade, of eight arches on either side, arranged in groups of four, and having two arches on either side, pierced for windows, rises above. The vaulting of the roof is apparently of later date than the rest  p282 of the work, — the first story of which (above the roof) is attributed to Bishop Grostête (1235‑1253). The piers may perhaps belong to the work either of St. Hugh or of Bishop Hugh of Wells, although they must have been greatly strengthened and enlarged by Grostête; and the upper part of the tower was added by Bishop D'Alderby (1330‑1320), who, about the year 1306, issued an indulgence of forty days to all who assisted in its completion. The first Early English tower fell about the year 1240 — "propter artificii insolentiam;"​10 after which the rebuilding was commenced by Bishop Grostête. According to Matthew Paris, the fall occurred during a sermon preached by one of the canons in denunciation of this famous bishop, who was at variance with his Chapter. "If we should hold our peace," exclaimed the canon, "the very stones would cry out" — "etsi nos taceamus, lapides reclamabunt;" at which words the stonework of the tower fell.

The view westward from beneath the central tower is a very striking one, owing to the depth of the western porch, in which the great window is set. The arch on either side, as well as the splays of the window itself, are covered with trellised ornament. Above is the rose window, with a small arcade at its sides. The very graceful form of this opening — cinquefoiled, with small trefoiled lights in the angles — is well seen from this point; and its effect is much aided by  p283 the stained glass — a figure of Bishop Remigius — placed in it by Mr. Tennyson D'Eyncourt.

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Corbel, North Transept.

X. The great transept, opening north and south from the central tower, is attributed to St. Hugh. The eastern sides, and the western as high as the second tier of windows, are probably of this date (1186‑1200). The details of these portions resemble those of the choir; and a comparison with the nave will at once shew the difference. Both transepts have eastern aisles; and the arrangement of the piers, triforium, and clerestory is precisely that of the choir. The corbels (one from the north transept is here given) should be especially noticed. The west side of both transepts has an arcade like that of the south nave aisles below, with five lancet lights above, and single lancets in the clerestory. The arcade at the base is pierced for windows at intervals.

The eastern portion of the aisle in both transepts is raised on two steps, and divided into three bays or chapels by projecting stone screens of the same date as the aisle itself. The sides of the screens are ornamented  p284 with a trefoiled arcade on detached shafts; and in front of each is a single pointed arch. The screens rise as high as the top of the east wall arcade, and project to the top of the highest step. In the north transept they retain their original conical capping, with a finial at the end, and leafage in the front gables.

In the south transept the most southerly of these chapels was dedicated to St. Thomas, and has a large Early English bracket against the south wall. The Perpendicular tomb below is that of Sir George Taylboys. The central chapel was St. Andrew's, and shews against its east wall an arcade of pointed arches, with the dog-tooth ornament. In the third chapel, originally dedicated to St. Anne, a chantry of four chaplains was founded by Henry Duke of Lancaster, who caused the chapel to be re-dedicated in honour of St. Edward the Martyr. At the back is a double wall-arcade, resembling those in the choir-aisles; and on the screen in front is a shield bearing the arms of England and France quarterly. Under the arch of the screen is the inscription, "Oremus pro benefactoribus istius Ecclesiae."

In the south-west angle of this transept are the doors of the galilee porch (see § XXX). Against the west wall of the transept are the basement and supports of the silver shrine of St. John D'Alderby, Bishop of Lincoln (1300‑1320: see Part II). It was no doubt with the object of doing especial honour to this shrine that the south end of this transept was altered, and  p285 the beautiful rose window inserted; (see post). "At the very same time," observes Mr. Poole, "the authorities of Chichester were paying the like homage to the memory of St. Richard, their local saint."11

The doorway [Plate IV] opening from this transept into the south choir-aisle should be especially noticed. It belongs to the last period of Early English, ranging between that style in its purity and the first Decorated, or "Geometrical." The doorway recedes in four orders, with shafts of Purbeck at the angles. The spaces between the shafts are filled with the dog-tooth and rose ornaments; the capitals are enriched with leafage, among which are sculptured dragons, owls (two on the north side are especially quaint), and small human figures: above is very rich frieze of leafage. The spandrils of the arch are filled with blank trefoils.

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In the north transept the southernmost chapel was dedicated to St. James the Apostle, the next to St. Denis, and the third to St. Nicholas. The double wall-arcade in the first chapel extends partly into the central one, and is there exchanged for a single arcade of trefoiled arches. The doorway into the north cloister-aisle is of the same date and character as that in the opposite transept, but differs in details.

The most remarkable portions of both transepts, however, are the windows in their south and north terminations. The end of the north transept has, below, two lancets on either side of a door opening to the deanery; an arcade of pointed arches covers the wall above; and  p286 above, again, is a large "rose" or "wheel" window [Plate V], retaining its original stained glass, — "One of the most splendid, and in its present state one of the most perfect works of the thirteenth century." — C. Winston. The window itself, which is probably part of St. Hugh's work, and may date about 1200, is filled with plate tracery, and on the exterior is delicately ornamented. The lightness and grace of the small open flowers and grotesque heads between and at the sides of the different circles, are admirable. The stone work on the interior is "in a condition of great rudeness, owing to the repairs which have been made from time to time" for the preservation of the glazing. The subject of the glass is, "The Church on earth and the Church in heaven." "The central part of the window" (the central quatrefoil, and the four large spaces round it) "is occupied with a representation of the blessed in heaven, with Christ sitting in the midst." Each of the four trefoils in the angles between the large spaces contains the figure of an angel, tossing a thurible. The eight small circles at their sides contain four-leaved ornaments. "The sixteen circles which form the outer part of the window set forth the mysterious scheme of man's redemption, and the efficacy of holy Church. In the topmost circle is represented our Saviour seated on a rainbow, and displaying the Five Wounds. The two next circles on each side the window contain angels supporting the cross, and other instruments of the Passion. In the next circle on each side are holy persons in the act of being conducted to heaven by  p287 St. Peter and other saints. The two next circles on each side are, or have been, occupied with a representation of the general resurrection; and each of the lowest five circles is filled either with the figure of an archbishop, or of a bishop in Mass vestments."​12 The lead-work of this window is said to be "in a most perilous state of decay;" and it is much to be desired that immediate steps should be taken for the preservation of the most important example of Early English stained glass in England.

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"The extraordinary intensity and vividness of the colours, the strength and boldness of the outline, the tallness of the figures, their vigorous and spirited attitudes, and classical air of their heads, — also the conventional character of the foliaged ornaments, as displayed in the borders and white patterns, and which resemble the ornaments of the contemporary sculpture," — are all characteristics of the Early English style of glass painting, and are all traceable in this window: which "also exhibits the general principles of composition common to any Early English window that contains a number of pictures. Each picture, the design of which is always very simple, is placed in a panel having a stiff-coloured ground, and well-defined border. The panels are also embedded in a stiff-coloured ground. Very little white glass is used, so that the window consists of a mass of rich and variegated colouring, of which the predominant tints are those of the grounds.  p288 The design, owing to the smallness of its parts, is confused when seen from the floor of the transept." — C. Winston. The best position for examining it is from the gallery of the triforium or clerestory.

The end of the south transept has three wide Early English arches below; above which are four lancet windows; and at the top a rose-window of extreme richness [Plate VI], the date of which is about 1350, and which is quite as remarkable as an example of the pure Decorated period as the window in the opposite transept is of the Early English. Pugin has compared the tracery to the fibres of a leaf. The window is set back within a foiled arch, the splays of which are filled with a hollow ornament of very unusual character, and of somewhat doubtful effect. The stained glass in the window consists of fragments collected from different parts of the cathedral, and for the most part Early English. The richness of the colouring is quite as noticeable here as in the window opposite.

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According to the symbolism of the different parts of the church, in the "Metrical Life of St. Hugh" (written between the years 1220‑1235), these windows typified the Bishop and the Dean, — "Ecclesiae sunt duo oculi": the Bishop looked toward the south, the quarter of the Holy Spirit, as though inviting His influence; the Dean toward the north, the region of the devil, in order to watch his advances.13

XI. The organ-screen, through which we enter the choir, is a very beautiful work of the early Decorated  p289 period, and deserves careful attention. It comprises four divisions, separated by detached shafts. Each division is subdivided by a bracket, enriched with leafage. The tabernacle-work in the upper part, the grotesques at the angles of the arches and on the brackets on either side of the door, and the frieze of leafage over all, are alike exquisite in design execution, belonging to the very best period of Gothic art. The open diaper on the lower part of the screen is modern, and has replaced some ancient sculpture which had perished.

The organ, which is unfortunately placed, since it intercepts the view in both directions, is by Allen.

XII. The choir, from the organ-screen to the altar, now consists of seven bays. Of these, the first five are St. Hugh's work (1186‑1200), and were probably the earliest part of his cathedral. It is here that we may conceive him labouring with his own hands, according to the description in the "Metrical Life": —

"Non solum concedit opes, operamque suorum,

Sed proprii sudoris opem; lapidesque frequenter

Excisos fert in calatho, calcemque tenacem."​14

The eastern transept (also St. Hugh's work) opens on either side of the fifth bay. The two easternmost bays of the choir belong to the later work (1270‑1282); and, together with the three bays at the back of the altar-screen, form the presbytery, generally known as the "Angel-choir," from the sculptures in the spandrils of the arches. This enlargement of the church was  p290 rendered necessary by the thronging of pilgrims to the shrine of St. Hugh, who had been canonized in 1220, and whose remains were solemnly translated into the new building, Oct. 6, 1280, at the cost of Bishop Thomas Bek, who was consecrated to the see of St. David's on the same day (see Part IIBishop Sutton).

The piers of the first four bays of the choir (as far as the opening of the transept) are octangular masses of Lincoln stone, with circular shafts of Purbeck at the alternate sides. The classical character of the capitals — shewing Corinthian forms with Early English foliage [Plate IX] — should be especially noticed, as one of the indications of a style earlier than that of the nave. The triforium is in groups of two arches, circumscribed by a larger one. The tympana of the outer arches are pierced with foiled ornaments of various forms, and the capitals of the shafts greatly resemble those of the piers below. The clerestory is disposed in triplets, with small pointed openings, carried on shafts, in the thickness of the wall-passage between the groining of the roof. The windows which run up between the groining ribs are enclosed within mouldings, slightly trefoiled; and are divided by groups of banded shafts, which assist in forming the passage. Vaulting-shafts spring from corbels between the piers. The vault itself has groups of four ribs, passing to a central rib, with bosses of foliage.

The first bay within the choir has some peculiarities which deserve notice. Between the shafts of the triforium  p291 is a four-leaved ornament, so raised and exaggerated as to suggest the Norman zigzag. The clerestory has only two windows, and the vaulting-rib is carried between them. The main arches are ornamented with the dog-tooth; and the hood-moulding of that south dies off on the eastern side of the arch in a kind of rope, twisted into a knot, then carried into mouldings which re-appear below, and again twisted round to the back of the arch.

The contrast afforded by this portion of the choir between the later Early English work of the nave and the early Decorated of the Angel-choir, is very interesting and instructive. The leafage especially is much more antique in its forms and arrangements than that which appears in the nave.

The stalls are arranged between the organ-screen and the opening of the eastern transept. They are of the late Decorated period; and are "executed in the most perfect manner, not only as regards variety and beauty of ornamental design, but in accuracy of workman­ship, which is frequently deficient in ancient examples of woodwork." — A. W. Pugin. The light and graceful canopies are carried quite round the choir. The carving of the misereres, which display the usual foliage, animals, and figures, is especially admirable. The bishop's throne is modern. The pulpit dates from the reign of James I and is moveable. In the centre of the choir is a brass eagle, with the date 1667.

XIII. The piers of the arches opening to the eastern transept belong to St. Hugh's work. They were  p292 strengthened and banded, however, when the Decorated work was added eastward, and the capitals of the shafts were at the same time entirely altered on the north side of the choir; on the south side only the lower capitals were altered, and not those of the vaulting-shafts. The difference between St. Hugh's work and the Decorated, and the manner in which the two are here made to combine, are worthy of careful attention.

Two oaken beams pass across each transept opening, at the spring of the lower arches and at the level of the triforium. The piers had given way to a considerable extent before they were thus strengthened, owing, it has been suggested, to insecurity in the foundations: since the fosse of the Roman city crossed the cathedral at this place, and its continuations north and south are still visible. The beams are now concealed by a wretched ornamentation of pasteboard Gothic, constructed early in the present century. The iron fencing and gates which separate the choir from the transept are ancient, and very good, with the exception of their cresting, which is not old, and is by no means an improvement.

XIV. The arrangement of the Decorated work or Angel-choir [Plate VII] closely resembles that of St. Hugh's work, but differs, of course, in details and enrichment. The Angel-choir, which must have been completed in the year 1282, and was probably commenced about 1270, consists altogether of five bays, two of which extend westward of the altar-screen. The piers have banded shafts, with rich capitals. A line of the dog-tooth ornament surrounds the arches. In the spandrils  p293 are blank trefoils. The triforium has two arches in each bay, each arch subdivided into two, with quatrefoils in the tympana. Clusters of shafts with very rich capitals, and leafed ornaments between the shafts, divide and support the arches, the mouldings above which are much enriched. In the spandrils are the figures of angels, which give the choir its popular name. The large clerestory windows above are of four lights, with quatrefoils in the headings. The vaulting-shafts spring from corbels between the arches, enriched with foliage and small flowers. Below the corbels, and at the termination of the hood-mouldings of the lower arches, are small heads of kings, ladies, monks, and peasants, which deserve notice. The grotesque below the second corbel on the north side (counting from the east — it is in the retrochoir) represents an elf with large ears, and may perhaps be regarded as illustrating the mediaeval folk-lore. The groining of the roof, which springs in groups of five ribs, has bosses of excellent foliage. Throughout this work, however, the foliage is still somewhat conventional, and wants much of the naturalism of that decorating the Easter sepulchre (§ XV), with which it should be compared: it is in fact intermediate between that and the Early English foliage of St. Hugh's work and of the nave. A comparison of the four periods will shew the gradual but steady progress of Gothic art. The Early English portion of the choir of Ely (see that Cathedral), dating between 1229 and 1254, and the superb Decorated portion of the same choir, commenced in 1338, may also be advantageously compared with the choir of Lincoln.

 p294  The sculptured figures of angels which fill the spandrils of the triforium arches, rank among the very best examples of Early English art, and will reward a very careful study. With few exceptions, the style of design and execution might be applied to works of the present day; "and ample compensation for all defects will be found in the vigour, freshness, and originality of idea which abound in them. They betray no trace whatever of the stiff Byzantine style so frequent in the English sculpture of the preceding century, and which was still adhered to in the works of the contemporary Italians — Cimabue, Gaddi, Duccio, and others; no formal constraint or superstitious enthusiasm, nor any undue employment of allegory (with which they are reproached) offend us in the sculptures of Lincoln; all the freedom and naturalness attributed subsequently to Giotto, who was but an infant when these works were executed, are here anticipated, and strike us in every instance. Complete emancipation from any known proto­type or prevailing manner is apparent; the artist dealt with his subject and material with all the originality and freedom of a master."​15 All are carved in the same stone (the Lincoln oolite) employed in the architecture of the cathedral. They were wrought in the sculptor's workshop, and subsequently placed in their positions — a fact which is plainly shewn in the wings of the angel with a hawk on his wrist, on the south side of the choir; across  p295 these wings the joints of the stone were not adjusted in the building exactly as they had been wrought in the workshop.

In Mr. Cockerell's estimate of the value and great beauty of these sculptures all will agree; but there seems by no means sufficient ground for the elaborate explanation which he has given of the series. The arrangement of the triforium admits of three spaces between the arches, — a smaller one at either end, and a third, of double size, in the centre. The five bays of the choir thus contain fifteen spaces on either side; the sculptures in which are thus explained by Mr. Cockerell: —

First bay on the south side, beginning at the south-east angle.


Angel of the Day-spring.


Angel of the Patriarch David.


Angel with scroll, alluding to the prophecies in the Psalms.

Second bay.


Angel with trumpet, sounding the fame of David.


Angel of Solomon.


Angel with scroll: "possibly alluding to the prophecy of Abijah."

Third bay.


Angel with double trumpet: (the prophecy verified, and the kingdom divided).


Angel with pipe and tabret: representing the fallen state of Israel. "The pipe and tabret are in their feasts."


Angel of Daniel, with sealed book.


Fourth bay.


Angel of Isaiah. An abortion under his feet. "The children are come to the birth."


Angel of Ezekiel, with hawk.


Angel of Jeremiah.

Fifth bay.


Angel of the twelve minor prophets.


Angel holding a small figure (the human soul) towards


The Virgin, who supports the Holy Child. An angel is censing them.

North side of choir, beginning at the north-west angle.

First bay.


Angel holding the crown of thorns.


Angel of Expulsion: he holds the sword with his right hand, and drives forth Adam and Eve with the other.


Angel holding the spear, and the sponge on a reed.

Second bay.


The Saviour, crowned with thorns, displays the wound in His side, and holds His hand (one finger of which is open) toward Adam and eve, in the first bay. On the other side an angel holds toward Him a soul, with hands raised in prayer.


Angel of the Judgment, with balance.


Angel swinging a thurible.

Third bay.


Angel with palm-branch; the reward of the righteous.


Angel holding crowns: "the crown of glory which fadeth not away."


Angel of the Revelation, searching a scroll (the book of life).


Fourth bay.


Angel with stringed instrument, and


Angel with violin, represent "the joys of Heaven, the reign of peace."


Angel with palm and scroll: "the everlasting Gospel."

Fifth bay.


Angel with harp.


Angel with the sun and moon. (The Church appears in the moon in the form of a female head, and thence a scroll depending, and containing the doctrines of which she is the sacred depository.)


Angel with scroll. (Angel of the last chapter of the Revelation: "I am Alpha and Omega.")

It is due to Mr. Cockerell, who has most carefully examined these sculptures, and who has published engravings from the whole series, that his explanations should here be given. They are drawn out and illustrated at considerable length in his paper on the subject: but the indications afforded by the figures themselves are, in fact, by far too slight to admit of more than a very general interpretation. It is not impossible that the angels in each bay refer to one of the orders of the celestial hierarchy, but even this is questionable. The small figures of angels in the south-east transept (see § XXIII), which, although of earlier date, have a certain resemblance to these, deserve especial notice and comparison. The scrolls carried by the greater number of the choir angels contained inscriptions, explaining the design of the entire work: all are now blank.

Mr. Cockerell has pointed out that "two hands, of  p298 very different merit, are plainly exhibited in these works. Of these the best are (the numbers are identical with those used in the description given above) those which range between 4 and 18, including those two numbers. "The remainder, though often of excellent design, are of inferior execution." The purity and dignity of the heads are throughout admirable, and many of the sculptures are of signal merit as compositions. Such is No. 15, in which the figures of the Virgin and Infant Saviour are not unworthy of Giotto. No. 17 is grand in action and expression; No. 23 is especially graceful. "The grand symmetry of the attitude, so entirely relieved from all dryness by variety in the lines of the drapery, and the quiet indications of expression, all display the great master." — C. R. Cockerell. Finally, No. 29 is dignified and impressive.

XV. On the north side of the choir, and in the first bay beyond the eastern transept, is a very elaborate tomb, divided into two portions; the eastern part having evidently served as the Easter sepulchre. [Plate VIII.] The whole erection is of the very best Decorated period; and the western portion was probably the tomb of the founder, whose name, however, has not been recorded. The whole consists of six bays, divided by a wall in the middle. Canopies rise in front from small buttress-shafts, crowned with pinnacles. Each bay is vaulted, and the wall ends (in the centre, and at the sides) are covered with foliage of oak, vine, and fig, admirably rendered, and examples of the very best naturalism. Remark also the manner in which the  p299 leaf sprays are laid on the capitals of the shafts, and into the mouldings of the blank arcades at the sides. From the ridge-roof at the back of the canopies, itself crested by a line of leafage, rise large finials of leaves, sharply cut. In front of the panels of the eastern portion are three soldiers, armed, and sleeping (the Roman guards of the sepulchre. They are found also on the Easter sepulchres at Heckington and at Pattrington-on‑Humber, both in Lincolnshire). "They are admirably composed and executed; the heads, however, have been sadly defaced. They will repay the artist in their sentiment and expression, in their well-contrived groupings, and in the artistic arrangement of their accessories." — C. W. Cantrell. The leafage at the angles is especially good; and, owing to the hardness of the stone, the carving of the entire monument is for the most part as fresh as when first executed.

The western part of this tomb is known as that of Bishop Remigius, but it was only so appropriated after the Restoration, by Bishop Fuller, who placed an inscription in memory of Remigius within it.

In the opposite bay, on the south side of the choir, are the tombs of Catherine Swynford (Duchess of Lancaster), last wife of John of Gaunt; and of her daughter, Joan Countess of Westmoreland. These tombs were originally side by side, but on the repairing of the church by Bishop Fuller were placed as at present, to the great damage of the Duchess's tomb, which had a fine canopy, now replaced by a very ugly one of debased character. At the east end of this tomb  p300 is a beautiful diapered pattern of open flowers; but brasses and coats of arms have entirely disappeared.

The altar-screen dates from the early part of the present century, and is indifferent. Its canopy, which is a later addition, intercepts the view of the east window. The brass altar-rail deserves notice, and the pavement of the eastern bay is richly inlaid with marbles and encaustic tiles.

XVI. The north choir-aisle, which we enter from the great transept, is part of St. Hugh's work. At the back of the stalls runs an arcade on triple shafts, having the dog-tooth ornament, and bosses resembling twisted rope (as in the choir) at the springs of the arches. The leafage in the last bay eastward belongs to a later period, and was perhaps the work of the constructors of the Angel-choir.

The windows in this aisle are double lancets, with shafts at the angles, and a group of three in the centre, between each lancet. This group springs from a richly carved bracket, which curiously overhangs the arcade below. The arcade itself is of double intersecting arches, the inner arches pointed, the outer trefoiled. The dog's-tooth occurs in the inner mouldings. In both arcades the capitals of the shafts are richly foliaged; and in the spandrils are small projecting figures of angels and saints, well worth notice for their excellence of character and expression.

The vaulting is quadripartite, with pointed arches, and is carried from the piers of the choir, and from clustered shafts between the windows.

 p301  XVII. The north-east transept, opening from the choir-aisle, is, like that, part of St. Hugh's work. It terminates, eastward, in two apsidal chapels. (The eastern termination of St. Hugh's cathedral was apsidal, and extended nearly as far as the present altar, where its foundations have been traced. The central apse was removed when the Decorated presbytery was commenced.) The transept consists of two bays, the first of which is open to the top of the clerestory. The northern bay is vaulted immediately above the first story, and the triforium and clerestory open into the space over this vaulting. The triforium throughout is the same as in the choir. The clerestory is in single lancets, each set in a bay of the vaulting. On the north side there are four of these lancets, the two exterior being greatly narrowed. The space at the back of the clerestory, above the vaulting, is lighted by exterior windows, filled with modern stained glass.

The first apsidal chapel was dedicated to St. Hugh, and has a pointed arcade below its two windows. The north apse, dedicated to the Virgin, had been enlarged to a long parallelogram (the form of the Lady-chapels at Ely and Peterborough), but was "restored" to its original shape at the end of the last century, and has consequently lost its architectural value. An enriched doorway, now blocked, opened from this chapel, north, into the "camera communis," or common-room of the canons. Both apses, which are enclosed by wooden screens of Perpendicular date, are desecrated and filled with rubbish.

At the north-west angle of the transept is a very  p302 remarkable pier, with detached shafts, the fellow of which occupies a corresponding position in the opposite transept, where it stands quite free, and is consequently better seen than this in the north-east transept, which, probably, for the sake of strength, has been partly built into the choir wall. The pier itself is of Lincoln stone, and octagonal. From four of its sides spring leaves, resembling notches from a stick. Detached shafts of Purbeck, four circular, and four (placed slightly within the others) hexagons, with hollow sides, surround the pier, which is banded half-way up, and terminates in capitals of rich leafage. The effect is very striking and peculiar. A similar arrangement occurs on the west front of Wells, a few years later than Lincoln. It seems confined to England. According to M. Viollet-le‑Duc, the crockets between the shafts, and the shafts with hexagonal concave sections, are nowhere found in France.​16 It is to these shafts that the description in the "Metrical Life of St. Hugh" applies; the Purbeck marble of which they are composed is there said to have been softened with vinegar before it was worked: —

". . . nulloque domari

Dignatur ferro, nisi quando domatur ab arte;

Quando superficies nimiis laxatur arenae

Pulsibus, et solidum forti penetratur aceto.

Inspectus lapis iste potest suspendere mentes,

Ambiguas utrum jaspis marmorve sit; at si

Jaspes, hebes jaspis; si marmor, nobile marmor.

Inde columnellae, quae sic cinxere columnas,

Ut videantur ibi quamdam celebrare choream."

 p303  According to the symbolism, the Purbeck marble figures the spouse: —

"simplex, morosa, laborans.

Recte nimirum designat simplicitatem

Planities, splendor mores, nigredo laborem."

(See the whole passage in Part III.) The banding and ornaments on the second pier (supporting the vaulting) of the transept should also be noticed.


 p304  In the west wall a door opens to an ancient vestry, now used as a lumber-room. On the same part of the transept wall are paintings of four bishops, — Bloet, Alexander, Chesney, and De Blois, — interred in this part of the church. The paintings, which are so much decayed as to be scarcely decipherable, were the work of a Venetian, named Damini, in 1728.​17 In the north wall a door opens to the cloisters (§ XXV).

XVIII. The choir-aisle, east of the transept, is Decorated (1270‑1282), like this portion of the choir itself, and the great difference between it and St. Hugh's work is at once apparent. The windows are filled with pure geometrical tracery, of open design. The wall between each window is ornamented by two blank arches, the spandrils of which are filled with rich tracery, having enwreathed leafage, with lizards, at the angles. A leaf-ornament fills the hollow between the window-shafts; and the hood-mouldings of the windows terminate in small heads. Vaulting-shafts, with enriched capitals [Plate IX], rise between the windows; and beneath runs a blind arcade, the ornaments in the quatrefoils of which, and the small heads at the angles  p305 of the trefoils in the tympana, should be noticed. The whole effect of this part of the church is very rich, but unusually, the ornament is the same throughout. The bosses of the roof, carved in leafage, with birds and grotesques, are admirable, and deserve all possible attention. A doorway in the central bay of the aisle forms the north-west entrance to the cathedral.

Opening from the next bay is the chantry of Bishop Fleming, founder of Lincoln College, Oxford, — see Pt. II, — (1420‑1431), desolate and ruined. Within the chantry is the Bishop's effigy. Beneath an altar-tomb on the south side, and seen from the aisle, is a "cadaver" wrapt in a shroud — a figure of frequent occurrence in monuments of this period.

In the last bay of the aisle is the monument of Bartholomew, Lord Burghersh (died 43 Edward III),​b elder brother of Bishop Henry de Burghersh, whose tomb is opposite. Lord Burghersh served in the wars of Edward III in France and Scotland, was afterwards present at Cressy, and has obtained the distinction of an honourable notice from the pen of Froissart. He rests on his helmet, from which projects his crest. At the head is the armorial bearing of Burghersh, — a lion rampant, double queued, supported by two angels. Above is a rich canopy. The shields of arms on the side are those of families with whom Lord Burghersh was immediately allied or connected.

In the east window of the aisle, above this tomb, are some medallions of Early English glass, which possibly represent incidents in the life of St. Hugh. Medallions  p306 from the same series (which seems to have belonged originally to St. Hugh's Chapel in the nave) exist in the east window of the south aisle.

XIX. The fine east window of the choir is of the same date as those of the aisles, which it resembles in its mouldings. The same arcade runs below it. It is filled with modern stained glass by Messrs. Ward and Hughes, the leading subject being the Atonement, "which is illustrated by a selection of subjects from the Old and New Testament, and by allusion to the writings of prophets and evangelists." "The groups are well designed, and executed on the principle of bas-relief; the figures being cut out and insulated by the ground of the panel, and rendered rotund and distinct by powerful shadows. . . . In imparting a blue tone to the window, the artists have been influenced by a desire to assist the long-drawn perspective of the choir, and to apparently throw back the east wall, instead of bringing it forward by an opposite treatment."​18 Compared with the ancient examples on either side of it, this glass is thin and poor; but it is far superior to any other modern glass in the cathedral.

XX. Projecting from the east wall of the cathedral, between the north aisle and the choir, are the tombs of Robert de Burghersh (a younger brother of the Bishop), and of Bishop Henry de Burghersh (1320‑1342). The first is plain; on the second is the Bishop's effigy. The tombs are placed in a line, with short  p307 buttresses between them. On the north side is a series of very rich canopied niches, in each of which (on the Bishop's tomb) are two (now headless) figures of ecclesiastics, with a desk between them; and (on the Knight's) two figures of children. All are much shattered. In spandrils between the canopies are various armorial bearings connected with the house of Burghersh. At the west end of the tombs is a kind of square buttress, having on the north side two very rich canopied recesses, with emblems of the Passion in the spandrils. In the west front is a single recess, which probably contained a figure of St. Catherine, to whom an altar was dedicated, at the end of the north choir-aisle, by the Bishop and his two brothers: six chaplains were connected with this altar, at which masses were continually said for the repose of the founders. A stone in the pavement immediately in front of the niche is much indented, — it is said by the knees of worshippers before the figure of St. Catherine.

At the back of the altar-screen are the tombs of — Bishop Gardiner (1695‑1705), with a long string of commendatory verses: —

"Vera si cordi est pietas, fidesque
Si pudor priscus, placidusque mentis
Candor; antiquos imitare mores

Gardinerumque;" —

of some members of his family; of Bishop Fuller (1667‑1675); and a memorial placed here by Bishop Fuller for St. Hugh, whose golden shrine (see Pt. II) was removed into this part of the cathedral in 1282.

 p308  XXI. On the south side of the altar, opposite the Burghersh tombs, are two monuments beneath lofty arches, with Decorated canopies. The eastern tomb, which supports the effigy of a knight, much shattered, is that of Sir Nicholas de Cantilupe (died 1355); on the western is the effigy of a canon, duly vested, representing a member of the family of Wimbishe, of Norton, whose arms appear on the sides of the tomb.

At the east end of the south choir-aisle was a chantry founded by Sir Nicholas de Cantilupe. The bowels of Queen Eleanor, wife of Edward I, who died at Harby, between Lincoln and Newark, were interred on the south side of the Burghersh tombs, beneath a monument on which was her effigy in brass, resembling that in Westminster Abbey. The first of the series of Queen Eleanor's crosses was erected at Lincoln.

XXII. Opening from the second bay of the north choir-aisle is the chantry of Bishop Russell (1480‑1496), the altar in which was dedicated to St. Blaize. The frieze and ornaments deserve notice. In the chapel is preserved an ancient chair, with lions at the arms.

In the next bay is the entrance to the cathedral from the west-east porch (see § XXXI). Stained glass has been introduced in the headings of the doors with good effect. The window below contains the names of the chancellors of the diocese of Lincoln, beginning with Hugh (1092), and ending with George Thomas Pretyman (1814). Under this window is the entrance to Bishop Longland's chantry (1521‑1547), whose name is referred to in the inscription on the screen  p309 facing the aisle, — "Longa terra mensuram ejus Dominus dedit." Between the words 'ejus' and 'Dominus' are the arms of Henry VIII. The windows and roof of this small but very rich chantry have been carefully restored. At the west end are a series of niches, which were apparently never finished. Their bases were filled with minute sculpture, now destroyed.

The arcade [Plate X] and enrichments of this aisle, as far as the opening of the eastern transept, are the same as those of the aisle opposite.

XXIII. The south-east transept differs in its detail from the north-east. Like that, it was originally part of St. Hugh's work; but some portion of it was rebuilt, apparently about the middle of the thirteenth century. The transept is of two bays, terminating eastward in apsidal chapels. On the west side a small vestry opens, corresponding to that — now closed — in the north-east transept.

The first or northern bay of the transept, and the lower story of the second, belong to the original building of St. Hugh. The upper stories of the latter are still Early English, but the later and far more enriched character of the work is at once evident. The south end of the transept (which is open throughout, and not vaulted above the pier-arches, as in the north-east) has three tiers of windows, below which the wall is covered with St. Hugh's double arcade [Plate XI], with its plain and trefoiled arches (see § XVI). Here the outer arcade has small figures of winged angels projecting from its spandrils; similar figures, holding scrolls, open  p310 volumes, and musical instruments, occur in the same positions in the arcade which runs round the west chapel of the transept. All are terribly shattered; but they have an especial interest, since they are evidently the proto­types of the grand angelic figures, already described, in the spandrils of the choir.

The south windows of the transept are filled with modern stained glass: the upper tier containing figures from the Old Testament; the middle tier, subjects from the Gospels; and the lowest, from the Acts of the Apostles. The effect of these windows, seen across the church, is unusually good.

The north apse, dedicated to St. Paul, is St. Hugh's work. The leaf ornament in the filleting of the Purbeck shafts should be noticed. The south apse, dedicated to St. Peter, has been restored as a memorial of Bishop Kaye (died 1853). In the centre is a marble effigy of the bishop, fully vested, holding the Bible and crozier, and lying as if asleep. The light falls on the figure from three windows, filled with simply diapered glass. The effigy is striking, but the upraised hands of the older figures are far more impressive.

On the floor of the transept are stones marked with the names of — Bishop GROSTÊTE (died 1254); Bishop Richard of Gravesend (died 1280); Bishop Ripingdon (died 1420); and Bishop Lexington (died 1258); all of whom were buried in this part of the church. Their monuments were destroyed during the Civil War. In the choir-aisle, under the tomb of the Duchess of Lancaster, is a stone bearing the name of the chronicler,  p311 Henry of Huntingdon (died 1149) — Archdeacon of Lincoln.

The ancient choristers' vestry opens on the west side of the transept. The double arcade round the walls, and the angels in the spandrils, have already been noticed. In the west wall is a stone chimney, with a hood; and the vestry is separated from the choir-aisle by a stone screen (of Decorated character) covered on both sides with a rich diaper of large open lilies. Before the screen is a plain stone lavatory. [Plate XII.]

The vaulting of the transept, with its bosses, is of the same date as the south bay (circa 1250). The pier at the north-west angle resembles that in the north-east transept (§ XVII), but is better seen.

A door in the south-west angle leads through a passage (originally part of the choristers' vestry) to the principal vestry, a late Early English building of two stories, the upper of which is used for the preservation of the archives of the cathedral.

XXIV. The aisle west of the transept is St. Hugh's work, like that opposite. The last (or eastern) bay, however, as is evident from the foliage of the bosses, is, like the corresponding bay in the north aisle, of later date, and was probably altered during the building of the presbytery. St. Hugh's double arcade, with figures of angels and saints projecting from the spandrils, lines the south wall. The choir-wall has an arcade of plain arches. Against this wall, in the second bay westward from the transept, are traces of the shrine of Little St. Hugh — the Christian boy said to have been crucified  p312 by the Jews in the year 1255. (For the story, which is told at great length by Matthew Paris, and which is the subject of the well-known ballad of "St. Hugh of Lincoln," see Part II — Bishop Lexington.) After his body had been miraculously discovered, it was interred in the cathedral, and a rich shrine was erected over it. The base of this shrine remains; and the back of the choir-wall has an arcade with geometrical tracery and canopied headings, enriched with the ball-flower, and with large-leaved finials.​19 The base of the shrine (which is in fact the covering of the tomb) was removed during the repaving of the cathedral in 1790, when a stone coffin was found close below it, lying level with the pavement. The coffin contained the complete skeleton of a boy, 3 feet 3 inches long. "St. Hugh of Lincoln, Martyr," still keeps his place in the Roman Calendar.​c

XXV. Returning into the north-east transept, we enter the cloister through a doorway in the north wall. The cloister (which, it may be remarked, is unusually placed, extending from the eastern transept to about half-way down the northern front of the great transept) was the work of Bishop Oliver Sutton (1280‑1300); and its early Decorated windows deserve attention, as do the carved bosses of its oaken roof, which are full of beauty and variety. Three sides of Bishop Sutton's cloister remain, but the fourth, or northern walk, was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren, together with the  p313 library, which ranges above it. In this part of the cloister are preserved some fragments of Roman altars and sepulchral inscriptions; and the lid of a stone coffin, which has been called that of Remigius, the founder of the Norman cathedral. For this appropriation, however, there is no authority, although the coffin-lid is beyond all doubt of very early character, and deserves attention. It is ornamented by three ovals, formed by interlacing lines. In the uppermost is a figure of the Saviour; in that at the foot a bishop (?). At the sides are figures of angels.

Under the staircase of the library, at the north-east angle of the cloister, is a fragment of early Norman sculpture disinterred from the Cathedral Close, which is of still higher interest. It represents an apostle, perhaps St. John, holding a book, and crowned with a circular disc, or aureole. At the side is a remarkable ornament, which seems to have formed part of an oval figure (a rainbow, or vesica piscis?) in which was probably the Saviour. Part of the robe is visible, together with the emblems of St. Mark and St. John — the lion and eagle. Here are also the original "Swineherd of Stow," removed from the southern turret of the west front in 1850; and a good figure of a bishop (?); [see Title-page.]

In the open square of the cloister is a shed covering a Roman tessellated pavement, discovered some years since. The wall of the Roman city stretched across the site of the cathedral nearly in a line with the eastern wall of the cloister.

 p314  XXVI. The view of the central tower from the north-east angle of the cloisters is fine, in spite of an indifferent foreground. To the top of the first story above the roof the tower is Early English, and the work most probably of Bishop Grostête (see § IX). The shafts in this story are notched, somewhat in the manner of the remarkable piers at the angles of the transept (§§ XVII, XXIII). The upper or Decorated portion of the tower is very fine and massive, and seems to have been completed during the episcopate of St. John D'Alderby, about the year 1306.

In this tower is hung the famous bell known as "Great Tom of Lincoln," first cast in 1610 at a temporary foundry set up in the Minster-yard, but broken up in consequence of a fissure in 1834, and sent to London to be recast. In April, 1835, the new bell was hung in the great tower. Its weight is 5 tons 8 cwt., — exactly a ton heavier than its predecessor; and it is 7 inches more in diameter at the mouth, measuring 6 ft. 10½ inches, instead of 6 ft. 3½. Round the crown of the bell is the following inscription, repeated from the old bell:— "Spiritus Sanctus a Patre e Filio procedens, suaviter sonans ad salutem." Round the lip are the names of the Chapter at the time of the recasting. Great Tom of Lincoln​20 ranks third in size  p315 among English bells. It is exceeded by Great Tom of Oxford and by Great Peter of Exeter.

The buttresses of the great transept run to the top of the clerestory, and terminate in lofty pinnacles higher than the roof. Each pinnacle contains a niche for a statue. There are pinnacles at the angles of the north front; and a group of five lancets, lighting the roof, are here seen above the rose-window. The exterior of this window, already mentioned (§ X), may be examined from this point.

XXVII. The chapter-house [Plate XIII], which is of much earlier date than the cloisters, opens from the eastern walk. Its west front is best seen from the north walk, and shews a circular window-opening, without tracery, above which are three small gables. A pointed arcade runs along the base of all three, below three lancet-lights in the central gable, and a single lancet in each of the others.

It has been usual to attribute the chapter-house to St. Hugh, on the strength of a passage in Giraldus Cambrensis' "Lives of the Bishops of Lincoln;" but a careful examination will shew that it is considerably later, and that it cannot date much before the middle of the thirteenth century.​21 The doorway in the cloister, much enriched, is formed by two  p316 pointed arches, circumscribed with a larger one, with a pierced quatrefoil in the tympanum; on either side is a blank arch. Beyond the doorway is a vestibule, lighted by four windows, below which runs a blank arcade. The circular window at the west end, with the shafts at its sides, should here be noticed from within. The chapter-house itself is a decagon. In each bay are two pointed windows, between which rise clustered vaulting-shafts of Purbeck. These shafts spring from corbels, which resemble those in the Decorated work of the choir, and cannot be very much earlier. An arcade lines the walls below the windows. The central pillar is surrounded by ten Purbeck shafts, hexagons, and hollowed at the sides. Fronting the east, above the filleting, is a bracket sculptured with oak-leaves and acorns, upon which once probably stood a figure of the Virgin. A hole in the floor beneath is said to have used for supporting the silver processional cross. The bosses of the groined roof should be noticed. Properly restored, — with stained glass in the windows and encaustic tiles on the floor, and thoroughly cleansed from the wash with which  p317 shafts and carvings are covered, — this chapter-house would be fine and impressive. It is earlier than the chapter-house of Salisbury (circa 1280), or than that of Wells (circa 1300); and consequently forms an interesting example in the series.

XXVIII. The north walk of the cloister, above which was the ancient library, was nearly destroyed by fire, together with the greater part of the volumes it contained, about the middle of the seventeenth century. It was then rebuilt as we see it at present, chiefly at the cost of Dr. Michael Honeywood, the then dean, who refurnished the library, and placed in it a most valuable collection of MSS. and early printed books. The manuscripts are arranged in the first room at the head of the stairs, and consist for the most part of Latin Bibles, Psalters, Glosses, and Postillae, on vellum and paper. The most important MS. here, however, is a volume of old English romances, dating about 1430‑40, and collected by Robert de Thornton, Archdeacon of Bedford in 1450, who was buried in Lincoln Cathedral. The printed books, about 4,500 volumes, are placed in the principal library, extending over the whole length of the north walk. The collection is still valuable, but the most remarkable volumes, including seven specimens of Caxton, were all sold after the visit of Dr. Dibdin to the library, who became himself the purchaser of "certaine bokes," the glories of which he duly set before the world in a tract entitled "The Lincolne Nosegay." Some Roman urns, and other antiquities, are preserved  p318 in the library, together with a curious leaden plate, bearing an inscription to the memory of William D'Eyncourt, a relative of Bishop Remigius. On the wall hangs a fine portrait of Dean Honeywood, by Cornelius Jansen.​d

XXIX. Returning into the cathedral, the architectural student may ascend the west front, and inspect the remarkable "stone beam" which crosses the space between the western towers. The ascent is made from the north-west buttress-turret of the west front; from which galleries, lighted by loopholes, extend along the front at different levels. In these galleries the junction of the Norman wall with the Early English may be readily traced; and the difference between the dressings of the stone-work should be observed: the lines of the Norman chisel run diagonally across the stone, while the other shews the peculiar mark of what is called the "tooth-chisel." In the chambers in the upper part of the screen the gables formerly surmounting the Norman front may be traced. The view over the Wolds from the roof of the front is striking. From the roof a door opens into the north-west tower; and thence, through the belfry chamber, upon the vaulting of the nave — just above which is the so‑called "stone beam." This is an arch, composed of twenty-three stones of unequal lengths, but uniformly 11 inches in depth and 1 ft. 9¾ in. in breadth. For what purpose, or at what exact period it was constructed, cannot readily be determined; but it seems most probable that the arch was erected before the upper portions of the  p319 towers were built, in order to ascertain whether the great additional weight could be safely borne. "The arch is constructed of stone from the Lincoln quarries. . . . The exposed surfaces are wrought with the toothed chisel in a careless and imperfect manner, and the joints, contrary to what might have been expected, are decidedly ill-formed, and have beds of mortar full half an inch in thickness within them. There is no trace of iron being used in the construction of the arch, either in dowels or other form . . . The arch vibrates perceptibly when jumped upon; and I am of opinion that the constant practice of visitors thus to prove its elastic properties has a tendency to impair its stability."22

 p320  The western towers, close under which the visitor finds himself when on the west front, are Norman to the top of the arcades, and from that point rich late Decorated. The graceful windows in the four sides of the towers, and the parapets above, deserve notice. Each tower was formerly surmounted by a spire of timber and lead. These were removed in 1818 — no doubt to the injury of the general outline. The north tower is known as "Great Tom's," since the famous bell hung in it before it was recast. The south tower is St. Hugh's.

The descent from the west front may be made by a staircase leading in order to south-west wing. In descending, one of the series of ancient sculptures already described (§ III), on the south side of the Norman front, and consequently sheltered by the extended Early English wing, may be closely inspected. Its subject is the Deluge. It should be observed also, that the large recesses which form so marked a feature in the Norman portion of the west front are continued on the south side, though now concealed by the Early English wing. Some of the capitals, of the time of Bishop Alexander, must have been covered almost as soon as they were erected; they are as fresh as if newly executed; whereas the corresponding capitals in the west front are much weather-worn.

XXX. Passing out of the cathedral, we proceed to an examination of its exterior, beginning on the south side. Beyond the south-west chapels the line of the nave is well seen, each bay marked by its flying buttress.  p321 An arcade of pointed arches is carried quite along the clerestory wall; and from the parapet above (which is an addition of the Decorated period) project six remarkable canopied niches, with brackets; an unusual degree of richness and variety is thus gained for the roof-line.

The massive buttresses rising to the top of the transept should here be noticed, as well as the Norman gable and arcading at the side of the west-west tower. Observe, also, three grotesque figures in the blank arches of the gable which forms the eastern end of St. Hugh's chapel (in a line with the south-west wing of the west front).23

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The Galilee porch [Plate XV] forms an approach to the cathedral at the south-west corner of the great transept. It is throughout Early English, but is no doubt later than St. Hugh's, or the first Early English portion of the cathedral. It is cruciform in plan. The eastern limb is lined by an arcade of five arches, with capitals of leafage. The ribs of the groined roof are covered with  p322 dog-tooth moulding. The doorway into the church is divided by a central shaft, and has a diamond-shaped opening in the tympanum. The arches are encrusted with leafage. At the base of the central shaft are three lizard-like monsters with human heads, distinguished by long hair and tufted beards: all three look upwards, in the act of climbing the shaft. The transept opens south and north, with three pointed arches, all highly enriched with the dog-tooth. The wonderful freshness of the stone, as sharp as if sculptured but yesterday, should be especially noticed. The "Curia vocata le Galilee" is frequently referred to in the archives of the cathedral, the Chapter of which possessed the right of holding a court, no doubt in this porch.

XXXI. The Decorated rose-window in the south wall of the great transept should be remarked (§ X); and, beyond the transept, the Early English buttresses of the choir (St. Hugh's work), with their ornaments of shafts and enriched capitals. Their heavy triangular headings, which rise above the parapet, constitute the first approach to true pinnacles in Early English work.

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Passing the eastern transept, the outline of which, with its apsidal chapels, deserves notice for the grace of its composition, we reach the south-east entrance, or porch of the presbytery. [Plate XVI.] A porch in this position is frequent in French cathedrals, but no other example occurs in England. It is formed by a deeply-recessed arch, lined with canopied niches. The doorway is divided by a central shaft, and in the tympanum is  p323 a figure of the Saviour in an elongated quatrefoil, with kneeling angels on either side. On one side the good are breaking from their tombs, and are carried upward by angels; on the other, goat-like demons are dragging the wicked downward to the mouth of hell, which is seen below the principal figure. The inner and outer door-mouldings have been filled with small figures of saints, many of which remain. They are set in a hollow fretwork of leafage, very gracefully arranged, which may be compared with that surrounding the rose-window of the south transept, within the cathedral. The central shaft has a bracket and a canopy for a figure. Within the arch, and under canopies, are the remains of four figures, which are too completely shattered to be identified. The two outer are barefooted, and probably represented women: the two inner have their feet covered by long robes. Of these statues, and of the composition representing the Last Judgment, Flaxman thought very highly, and has referred to them in one of his lectures. Mr. Cockerell, on the other hand, thinks that, "though of the prosperous period of art, the merit of the 'Judgment' as compared with the angels of the choir, may well be questioned: at all events, it is clearly (as are the four statues in the porch) by another hand."24

On either side of this porch are the rich monumental chapels of Bishop Russell (§ XXII) and Bishop Longland (§ XXII). The buttresses and upper windows of  p324 the presbytery should here be remarked, and compared with those of the earlier choir and nave. "Against the south-east buttress is a group of the King and Queen, Edward I and Eleanor, of consummate grandeur and interest. The King bears his shield, and tramples on the enemy; the beloved wife of his youth follows him closely. There is a freedom and energy of style in these figures which are rarely seen in any period. Both have unhappily lost their heads, and that within these few years. In the next pier is the statue of a queen, who may possibly be designed for Edward's second spouse, the French princess Margaret." — C. R. Cockerell.


The fine composition of the eastern end of the cathedral [Plate XVII] — with its deep buttresses, its arcades, the noble east window, and the enriched gable above it — is well seen from the lawn above which it rises. Near the north-east buttress is a small building which covers an ancient well; and beyond, again, the eight flying buttresses of the chapter-house at once attract attention. [Plate XIV.] The effect of this building, surmounted by its "high and bold roof," was pronounced "truly grand" by Pugin. The buttresses, it has been suggested, may have been rendered necessary "by some giving way" of the original groining.

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On the north side of the cathedral the principal points to be noticed are the Early English rose-window of the transept (§ X) and the Norman gable against the north face of the western tower. The buttresses here resemble those on the south side. [Plate XVIII.]


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XXXII. The episcopal palace, originally founded, it seems probable, by Bishop Bloet, and added to by many of his successors, stood on the south side any other the cathedral, on the edge of the hill, over­looking a wide extent of country. The principal remains are those of the great hall, begun by St. Hugh and completed by Bishop Hugh of Wells; and of some portions added by Bishop Alnwick. The palace, which was very stately and extensive, was much neglected after the Reformation, and was stripped of its lead and fell into a ruined state during the Civil War. A most careful and excellent account of it, by Mr. E. J. Willson, will be found in the Lincoln volume of the Archaeological Institute. The view of the cathedral from the palace is one of the best to be obtained. That from the river below is unusually picturesque [Frontispiece] and shews the great length of the building to advantage. A very striking view of the central tower [Plate XIX] occurs below the Vicar's Close.

The deanery, on the north side of the cathedral, was founded during the episcopate of St. Hugh, and, like the palace, suffered much during the Civil War. The present deanery is, however, modern; and the only remains of the old buildings still in their original situation are the walls towards Eastgate. An ancient chimney and some fragments of sculpture are preserved on the garden-side of this wall.

The Author's Notes:

1 The letter will be found at length in the Rev. J. Hunter's volume of Chapter-house documents — (Rotuli selecti ex Capit Domo, &c.).

2 Of what country Geoffry de Noiers was a native remains uncertain. A long discussion on the subject will be found in the "Gentleman's Magazine," from Feb. to June, 1861. No less than thirteen places called Noiers have been pointed out in different parts of France. Mr. Dimock, however, (Gent. Mag., June, 1861), proves that "de Noiers" was an hereditary English name (with a Northamptonshire family) in St. Hugh's time. Hence the architect of Lincoln may have been a born and thoroughbred Englishman.

3 The Metrical Life of St. Hugh, written during the lifetime of his successor, Bishop Hugh of Wells, (and admirably edited (p267)by the Rev. J. F. Dimock, Lincoln, 1860), contains a very curious and interesting description of St. Hugh's cathedral. It will be found printed at length in Part III.

4 M. Viollet-le‑Duc's letter appeared in the "Gentleman's (p268)Magazine" for May, 1861. It is, however, so interesting and important that it will be found nearly at length in the Appendix, Part III.

5 J. F. Dimock.

6 Fergusson.

7 Much of the west front is at present (1862) undergoing a scraping proceed which threatens serious injury to the sculpture and finer details.

8 F. C. Penrose, An Inquiry into the System of Proportions which prevail in the Nave of Lincoln Cathedral. (Lincoln Vol. of the Architectural Institute).

9 The other names were Helias Pictor, Walterus Brand, Wilhelmus Baldwin, Ricardus de Ponte, and Robertus Saris.

10 Bened. Abbas, who says the tower fell in 1237. 1240 is the date given by Matthew Paris.

11 Transactions of Lincoln Diocesan Architectural Society.

12 C. Winston, Painted Glass in Lincoln Cathedral. (Lincoln Vol. of the Archaeol. Institute).

13 See the entire passage in Part III.

14 Life, p32. (See Part III).

15 C. R. Cockerell, Ancient Sculpture in Lincoln Cathedral. (Lincoln Vol. of the Archaeol. Institute).

16 See Viollet-le‑Duc's letter in Part III.

17 In this transept formerly stood what a survey of 1641 calls the "watching-chamber," — "a chamber of timber where the searchers of the church used to lie; under which, every night, they had an allowance of bread and beer. At the shutting of the church doors the custom was to toll the greatest of Our Lady's bells forty tolls, and after to go to that place and eat and drink, and then to walk round and search the church." Is it possible that this "chamber of timber" can have been originally the watching-chamber attached to St. Hugh's shrine?

18 Report of Lincoln Diocesan Archit. Soc.

19 A drawing of this shrine, before its destruction, will be found in Stukeley's Itinerarium Curiosum.

20 This is the only bell in England which is occasionally swung. The hours are struck on it by a hammer. "We ascended one of the other towers to see Great Tom," writes Southey, (Espriella's Letters). "At first it disappointed me, but the disappointment wore off, and we became satisfied that it was as (p315)great a thing as it was said to be. A tall man might stand in it upright; the mouth measures one-and‑twenty English feet in circumference; and it would be a large tree of which the girth equalled the size of the middle."

21 St. Hugh is expressly said by Giraldus to have built the chapter-house (capitulum) anew from the foundation. The (p316)author of the "Metrical Life" implies the same, but also asserts that it remained unfinished at St. Hugh's death: —

"Si quorum vero perfectio restat, Hugonis

Perficietur opus primi sub Hugone secundo."

The Rev. G. A. Poole (in a paper printed in the Transactions of the Lincoln Diocesan Architectural Society) suggests that the lower part of the existing chapter-house is St. Hugh's work; but admits that one-half of the interior shafts — the vaulting with its central support, and the external abutments — are of later date.

22 W. A. Nicholson, Transactions of Institute of British Architects. Mr. Nicholson has given an elevation, plan, and section of the arch, in illustration of his paper.

23 One of these is popularly said to represent the "Devil looking over Lincoln." "The devil," says Fuller, (Worthies, Lincolnshire), "is the map of malice, and his envy (as God's mercy) is over all his works. It grieves him whatever is given to God, crying out with that flesh-devil, 'Ut quid haec perditio?' 'What needs this waste?' On which account he is supposed to have over­looked this church, when first finished, with a torve and tetrick countenance, as maligning men's costly devotion, and that they should be so expensive in God's service. But it is suspicious, that some who account themselves saints, behold such fabrics with little better looks."

24 C. R. Cockerell, Ancient Sculpture in Lincoln Cathedral. (Lincoln Vol. of the Archaeol. Institute).

Thayer's Notes:

a Unfortunately, Plate II was missing — very likely stolen — from the exemplar of the 1862 edition preserved at the University of Chicago, from which I prepared this Web edition. The deficiency was made good by reader Lorena Loo who retrieved it for us from a copy at the University of Toronto: thank you Lorena!

b 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.

c This is no longer true. I've been unable so far to find out whether Hugh of Lincoln made it into the Roman Calendar, but if he did, at some point between the writing of our book and now, his cult has been suppressed. "Little Saint Hugh", though the object of a cult in England with a feast-day on July 27, was, like most medieval saints, never canonized; see the Catholic Encyclopedia.

d 19c opinions disagreed; Kendrick (see this passage of Lincoln: The Cathedral and See) felt it could not be by that painter. I do not know what the current consensus might be, if any.

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