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C. F. CLAY, Manager 


ffiUtnburgi): loo PRINCES STREET 


JSombag, ffialcutta anti ilKatiraB: MACMILLAN AND CO., Ltd 

SToronto : J. M. DENT AND SONS, Ltd. 


AU lights reserved 





Hon. D.C.L. Oxford, Hon. LL.D. Cambridge 

Hon. Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford 

Associ^ de 1' Academic Royale 

de Belgique 

Nec minimum meruere decus vestigia Graeca 
Ausi deserere et celebrare domestica facta. 

HoR. Ars Poettca. 

Cambridge : 

at the University Press 






.-^ALTHOUGH this book, which treats of a definite 
Ix. period of Post- Roman architecture, may be read 
independently, it is in fact a continuation of the history 
I pubHshed in 1913 of the Byzantine and Romanesque 
styles.' I venture to hope that by the two books, taken 
in connexion with one another, the student may be 
helped to a consistent idea of mediaeval architecture, 
from its origin in the decay of Roman Art to its final 
stages in the i6th century. I have therefore not hesitated 
to refer -frequently from this book to its predecessor. 
It is only by regarding the Art as a whole, tracing its 
career, following its steady and unbroken growth, and 
showing how it changed as the times changed, and kept 
pace with the progress of society that it can really be 

Gothic architecture attained its perfect development 
in France and England. The styles of the two countries, 
like yet unlike, overlapped and influenced one another, 
though they diverged ever more and more widely as 
time went on. 

In Italy, though it was the cradle of Romanesque 
architecture from which Gothic sprang, Classic tradition 
was never lost, and Italian Gothic is Gothic with a 
difference. It has a charm of its own, depending perhaps 



rather less on architectural form than on lovely material, 
supreme technique of execution, refinement and delicacy 
of ornament, and above all on splendour of colour. 

I had intended an account of the Gothic art of the 
Low Countries and of Germany, but the present unhappy 
war has prevented a visit to those parts to revise my 
notes taken many years ago. 

German Gothic however is of minor importance in 
the history of the Art. It was an imported and not an 
indigenous style, and therefore has less to teach us. 
In my first chapter I have said that Gothic is mainly a 
Teutonic art, because it arose and flourished in Northern 
and Eastern France, in England, and in certain parts of 
Italy, where the older population had the largest infusion of 
Teutonic blood — Goth, Frank, Burgundian and Norman 
in France, Saxon, Dane and Norman in England, Goth 
and Lombard in Italy, Norman in Sicily and Apulia. 
Not that the mere Teuton was the author of the new 
style, but it seems to be the fruit of grafting a Teutonic 
element on an older stock \ Except in music the 
Germans, who claim to be unmixed Teutons, have not 
excelled in the Arts, nor indeed in the Sciences, as 
a creative race. Their part has been not to originate, 
but by patient research, like the Saracens of Southern 
Italy and Spain, to pursue and enrich the discoveries 
of others. They have produced but two painters of 
the first rank, no great sculptor, for the admirable 
metal work of Peter Vischer is on a small scale, their 
Romanesque architecture was imported from Lombardy, 

1 If we are to believe Professor Sayce the Teutonic element in England 
has been over-estimated, and has long ago been absorbed ; and we have 
now reverted to the Neolithic type. His theory however is not universally 


and their Gothic borrowed rather late from France. 
Cologne Cathedral is based on Amiens, of which it exag- 
gerates the weak points. The style suffers from megalo- 
mania, the sure sign of a weak artistic sensibility. 
Cologne Cathedral is an example of this, especially since 
its completion by the monstrous twin steeples at the 
West end. 

At the same time German Gothic — especially that of 
South Germany — has its place in the history of the Art, 
and I regret its omission here. 

The Arts found a happier soil in which to flourish 
in Belgium and Holland, the land of the Van Eycks, 
Memling, Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Rubens. The 
necessary omission of some account of the fine churches, 
splendid town-halls, and rich domestic work in Belgium 
is the more unfortunate, because many of the buildings 
have already been destroyed, and many more will in all 
likelihood suffer by the systematic brutality of German 
warfare. The Cloth- Hall at Ypres, perhaps the finest 
municipal building in Europe, and the Cathedral have 
been demolished for no conceivable military purpose, 
Louvain has been deliberately destroyed out of revenge. 
Arras and Aerschot are in ruins. Antwerp and Brussels 
will be in peril when they come within the range of 
battle, and the same danger will overtake Ghent and 
Bruges in the like event. 

Similar disasters menace, and indeed have partly be- 
fallen the splendid architecture of North-Eastern France, 
the very flower of the style, which may already have 
become a thing of the past before these pages reach 
publication. Since the following chapters were written 
the Germans have battered the Cathedral of Reims, 
destroying much if not all of its inimitable sculpture : 

J. G. A. b 


Soissons is now undergoing the same treatment ; Senlis 
has been damaged ; Noyon, Laon, S. Quentin, and 
Tournay, which are still in possession of the enemy, will 
be exposed to the artillery of both friend and foe, and 
the Germans have promised that if they are turned out 
of Alsace and Lorraine they will not leave a building 
behind them. 

Italy has now joined in the war, and the priceless 
treasures of her art are in danger. Bombs have already 
fallen near the Ducal Palace at Venice, and we may 
hear any day of their falling on S. Mark's. With the 
destruction of that Church, and that of S. Sophia which 
during the Balkan war the Turks threatened to blow up 
if they were driven from Constantinople, one splendid 
chapter of European architecture would be deleted. 

Although it is only Germans who destroy works of 
art out of pure malevolence and spite it is difficult to see 
how any architecture is to survive modern methods of 
war. Buildings that have for hundreds of years looked 
down on changes of masters, and have survived battles 
and sieges during the Middle Ages and the Napoleonic 
campaigns, crumble into dust at the awful touch of 
modern engines of destruction. Unless wars should 
cease in all the world we may be the last who will see 
the wonders of ancient architecture. 

Some reviews of my former two volumes complained 
that the accounts of the buildings referred to were 
not complete : others pointed out that something might 
have been said about certain buildings which were not 
mentioned at all. But it was not my purpose to write 
a guide-book on one hand, nor on the other to give an 
exhaustive catalogue of examples. My object then, and 


now, has not been to describe a number of architectural 
works, but to give a rational view of the style as a whole. 
To supply the reader in fact with a skeleton scheme 
which if he properly understood it, might be filled up 
from his own observation. For that purpose I have 
chosen for description such buildings or parts of buildings 
as are typical of the history and development of the art, 
and have described them only so far as was needed to 
illustrate the subject matter. More than that would not 
only encumber the book, but also distract the attention of 
the reader from its object. As a further limitation I have 
confined the examples almost entirely to buildings that 
I have myself studied, and among them, where the 
opportunity offered, those with which I have happened 
to be professionally connected. To write about architec- 
ture at second-hand from the accounts of others is, I am 
convinced, of very little value. For this reason I say 
nothing of the highly interesting Gothic of Spain, for 
I have never been in that country, and can add nothing 
of my own to what Street and others have told us. 

My drawings and notes have been made at various 
times during the last half century, but I have purposely 
revisited many of the buildings referred to, and have for 
the first time seen Sicily. So far as I could I have 
used original sketches for illustration rather than photo- 
graphs, which besides making a dull book often convey 
a false idea of the subject. Several of the drawings 
in Sicily are by my son Basil ; those by others are duly 

My thanks are due to several friends who have 
kindly helped me : to Mr Gerald Horsley for the use of 
his fine drawing of the interior of Milan Cathedral ; to 
Mr W. S. Weatherley for leave to reproduce his beautiful 


drawings of the statuary at Westminster, and that of the 
Chapter house ; to Mr Waller, the architect in charge 
of Gloucester Cathedral, for much information and for 
drawings of the construction of the choir ; to Mr Francis 
Bond for the loan of his plate of the interior of King's 
College Chapel ; to Professor Salinas of Palermo, deceased 
I am sorry to say since my visit, for much assistance 
there, and for the gift of some of his publications ; also 
to Professor Orsi of Syracuse ; to Professor Prior for 
Plate XCI of two statues at Wells ; to the Science and 
Art department at South Kensington for the photographs 
from which Plate CLXVIII is taken; to the Editors of 
the Builder and the Btiilding Neivs for leave to reproduce 
several illustrations from those papers ; and to my friend 
the Rev. George Horner for kindly reading the proofs. 

Lastly I have to thank the Cambridge University 
Press for the extreme care that has been taken in the 
printing, illustration, and comely production of the book. 

As in the former work I have appended at the end 
of the second volume a comparative table of dates of the 
principal buildings referred to in the text, with the addition 
of a few more. This I hope will be found instructive 
and useful to the student. 

T. a J. 

Eagle House, 

Sept. 3, 191 5. 



Preface v 

List of illustrations in vols. i. and II. .... xii 

I Definition of Gothic architecture I 

II The Gothic vault i6 

III The Gothic vault, continued ...... 31 

IV Early French Gothic. The transitional period. S. Denis : 

Senlis : Sens : Noyon, etc 53 

V Early French Gothic, cotitinued. Notre Dame at Paris : 

Laon : S. Remy at Reims : Soissons : Bourges : 

Chartres, etc 78 

VI Early French Gothic, continued. Reims .... 106 

VII French Gothic. Amiens and Beauvais : S. Denis, nave : 

S*^ Chapelle at Paris 116 

VIII French provincial styles. Normandy 136 

IX French provincial styles, coniiftued. Burgundy : Toulouse : 

Anjou, etc. French towers and spires . . . 156 

X Later French Geometrical Gothic 171 

XI English Gothic. The transitional period. Worcester : 

S. David's : Wells : Canterbury, etc 180 

XII The Early English style. Lincoln, etc., divergence of 

English and French Gothic 199 

XIII The Early English style, contitiued. Peterborough: Cis- 

tercian architecture : Rievaulx : Southwark : Worcester 

choir: Salisbury: Wells: Ely: Durham : Beverley, etc. 221 

XIV Early pointed architecture of France and England compared 247 
XV Westminster Abbey and the mediaeval architects . . 262 

XVI Westminster Abbey, continued 270 

Appendix. On widening refinements .... 289 


Vol. & page 




West front ... 

.. IL 138 


Base of columns 

.. n. 145 


Foliage carving 

.. II. 150 



Interior of choir 

... II. 148 


Do. Choir aisle 

.. n. 149 


Crocket of ]uh6 

... II. 150 


Amiens Cathedral Plan 

.. L 118 



.. L 116 


Triforium terrace 

I. 120 


Capital in nave 

.. L 119 


Base. Section of 

.. I. 63 


Bay of nave (G. G. Scott, Jn.) 

I. 121 


West front ... 

.. I. 123 


West portal 

.. L 124 


S. Germain Flamboyant traceries 

.. ir. 141 


Angers Cathedral Plan 

.. I. 161 


Hotel Dieu Plan 

.. L 162 


Do. Interior 

.. L 161 


Do. Granary 

I. 164 


S. Serge 


I. 164 


Groining rib 

.. L 163 



Tower and spire 

.. n. 89 




.. H. 188 


Portal of lower Church 

.. II. 192 


Doorway of Convent 

{A nderson) 

.. n. 181 



Gabled tower 

.. L 150 




I. 120 


Avignon, S. Pierre 

: Pulpit 

... II. 142 


Do. Details 

.. II. 142 



East end 

.. n. 31 



French. Early 

.. I. 63 


Do. Do. 

.. L 144 


Do. Flamboyant 

.. n. 145 


Do. Do. 

.. II. 146 


English. Early 

I. 216 


Of pulpit at Pisa 

.. II. 2X2 





; Plate 


Baveux Cathedral Choir 

I. 138 



I. 142 



I. 144 



L 145 



I. 144 


Beauvais Cathedral Interior ... 

I. 128 


Plan of choir 

I. 129 


Cross rib 

I. 130 


Base. Section of 

I. 63 


Apse. Exterior 

I. 131 


Interior of aisle 

I. 129 


S. Transept 

II. 156 


S. Etienne Windows 

n. 141 


Bergamo Porch 

n. 187 


Beverley Bay of choir {Archcsological Institute^ 


I. 245 


The Percy tomb 

II. 78 


BiTTON Aisle windows 

II. 30 


Blois The tower stair 

II. 158 


Bottesford Interior 

n. 4 


BouRGES Cathedral Plan 

L 95 


North Porch 

I. 94 


Maison de Cujas 

II- 153 


Maison de Charles VII. 

n. 154 


Brioude Vault 

I. 44 


Bristol Cathedral View in aisle 

II- 75 


Buildwas Abbey Plan 

I. 224 


Burleigh House Tower 

II- 137 


Byland Abbey Plan ..." 

I. 224 


Caen, Abbaye aux Hommes Plan of vault 

L 41 


Bay of do. ... 

I. 42 


Do. do. ... 

I. 192 



I. 149 



I- 149 



L 148 


S. Sauveur Steeple 

I. 169 


S. Pierre East end and pinnacles 

II- 159 


Cambridge King's College Chapel. Interior ... 

II. no 


S. John's College Gateway 

II- 134 


Canterbury Cathedral Plan... 

L 189 


Bay of choir and section 

I. 192 


Choir, interior 

I. 190 


Capital ... ... • ... 

I. 196 

79 A 

Trinity Chapel. Interior 

I- 194 


Bell- Harry tower 

II. 130 


Capitals Moulded 

I. 216 




Caudebec Steeple 

Cefalu Exterior {Basil H. Jackson) 


Do. Capital in 

Do. Do. ... 

Do. Do. ... 
Chalons-sur-Marne S. Alpin ... 
Chamfer cusping 
Chartham Window tracery 

Chartres Cathedral Royal portals 


Bay. Elevation and section 

Capital in nave 

Do. in ambulatory 

North Porch. Interior 

Do. do. Exterior {M. Adams 
in Building A-ews) 

Do. Statues in North Porch 

The old steeple 

The N. W. steeple 
S. Pierre Interior 
Chiaravalle Section 

Chichester S. transept window 

Window in Lady Chapel 
Chinon Flamboyant crocket 

Christchurch Priory Reredos 
Cistercian Abbeys Plans of 
Citta della Pieve Wmdov^ {Anderson) 
Clapham Tower window 

Cluny, Hotel de (Paris) Flamboyant crocket 
COMO Broletto 

Coutances Cathedral Exterior 

Plan of piers 

Choir aisle. Interior ... 

Plan of apse 

West tower 

Window in Duomo 


Do. Chamfer 

Timber spire 


(From Spring-Gardens sketch book) 
Durham Cathedral Nave vaulting 

Chapel of Nine Altars ... 
Earl Soham Nave roof ... 

Eltham Palace Roof of Hall 


Dereham, East 
DuNMOw, Little 

Vol. & page 



II. 151 


II. 260 


II 261 


II. 264 


II. 264 


II. 264 


I. 72 


II. 27 


II. 26 


I. 98 


I. 97 


I. 100 


I. lOI 


I. lOI 


I. 99 


I. 103 


I. 104 


I. 105 



L 174 


II. 186 


II. 59 


II. 32 


II. 150 

183 B 

II. 80 


I. 224 


II. 180 


IL 6 


II. 150 

183 B 

II. 175 


I. 152 


I- 153 


I. 152 


1. 154 


L 154 


II. 185 


II. 18 


n. 27 


II. 84 


n. 9 


n. 83 


I. 184 


I. 242 


II. 124 


n. 126 




Ely Cathedral 

Ray of the presbytery ... 

Plan of the octagon 

Bay of choir (from Fergusson) 

Plan of choir vault 

Transept roof truss 

East window 


Exeter Cathedral Window tracery 


Diagram of vault 
Fan vaulting, v. Vault 



French bases 

Window in Palazzo del Comune 
Plan of Duomo 
Giotto's tower (in colour) 

Jamb of portal in Duomo 
Do. panel in do. 
Gloucester Cathedral Exterior view 

Plan of triforium pier ... 
Do. of clerestory pier ... 
Section of choir 
Interior of choir 
Diagram of choir vault 

S. Transept window 
Carved spandril 
Leonard's Tower ... 

Tower and spire 
Entrance and Hall 
Cartoon gallery 
Plan of vault 

Interior {/. O. Scott in Spring- 
Garde fis sketch book) 
Choir and North transept. Exterior 
West front ... 

Base. Section of 
Interior of nave 

Spring chapel. Parapet and inlay 








Ipswich, S 





Laon Cathedral 



Vol. & page 



I. 240 


, II. 65 


II. 67 


, II. 80 


. II. 124 


• n. 13 


, n. 55 


II. 44 


, II. 46 


II. 206 


II. 221 


II. 224 


I. 63 


. II. 194 


II. 195 


, II. 94 


. II. 102 


II. 104 


II. 103 


II. lOI 


n. 106 


II. 109 


, 11. 113 


II. 10 


• n. 135 


II. 12 


II. 49 


II. 21 


n. 5 




II. 121 


. 11. 85 


II. 136 


n. 135 


I. 47 


I. 86 


I. 87 


I. 88 


I. 89 


I. 89 


I. 63 


, II. 118 


II. 120 


n. 33 





Limoges S. Michel aux Lions. Tower and 

Lincoln Cathedral Plan of Eastern part 

Plan of choir pier 

Double wall arcade 

Exterior view 

Choir. Interior 

Capital in Dean's Chapel 

Do. do. do. 

Do. do. do. 

Do. in presbytery 

Plan of choir vault 

Do. of nave vault 

Do. do. do. 

Nave. Interior 

N.Transeptwindow (the Dean's Eye) I 

Do. do. do. (the Bishop's Eye) I 

Presbytery or angel choir 

Two angels in do. 

South door of presbytery 

Statues of the Church and the 
LisiEUX, S. Pierre Bay of nave (from Building News) 

Plan of column 
S. Jacques Interior 

Plan of column and base 
Little Dunmow, v. Dunmow 
Long Melford, v. Melford 
Lucca Interior of Duomo 

Triforium in do. 

Window (from Anderson) 

Casa Guinigi 
Luffenham, North Tower and spire 
Mantes Cathedral Interior of apse 
Melford, Long Aisle with flint inlay 
Merstham Timber spire 

Milan, Duomo Plan 


Interior (by Gerald Horsley) 
S. GoTTARDO Campanile ... 
S. Ambrogio Plan of bay 

View of bay 

Elevation of bay 

Monreale, Duomo Plan 
— Interior 

Vol. & page 



L 1 68 


I. 20I 


I. 202 


I. 204 


L 199 


I. 202 


I. 207 


I. 207 


I. 208 


I. 208 


I. 210 


I. 211 


II. 45 


I. 210 




II. 41 


II. 42 


IL 52 


n- 53 


I. 140 


I. 141 


II. 143 


II. 146 


II. 225 


II. 205 


II. 180 


II. 232 


II. 86 


I- 157 


II. 119 


II. 84 


II. 226 


II. 179 


II. 229 


n. 179 


I. 22 


I. 23 


I. 26 


I. 28 


II. 283 


II. 282 





New Romney, v 



NoYON Cathedral 

Oakham Castle 


Orvieto, Duomo 

MONREALE, DuoMO Mosaic at West end ... 

The apse. Exterior 

Cloister and fountain ... 

Do. arcade (by Basil H. Jackson) 

Do. capital (by Basil H. Jackson) 

S. Maria della Strada ... 

Tower and spire 


Capital and arcade 



East end. Exterior 

Capital of wall arcade 

Nave. Interior 

West front ... 

Capital in narthex 



East window 



Aisle window 
Oxford, S. Michael's Tower window 
Divinity School Interior 
S. Mary's Tower and spire 

Do. details 

Cathedral Spire 
Palermo, Capella Palatina Interior 

Mosaic frieze 
La Martorana Plan 


Mosaic of King Roger... 

Campanile ... 


Exterior (by Basil H. Jackson) . 

The cloister (in colour) 








Arcivescovado Doorway 

Gli Eremiti 

S. Cataldo 

La Ziza 




II. 286 


IL 287 


n. 288 


IL 289 


II. 290 


, II. 186 


I. 170 


L 151 


I. 152 


II. 62 


L 72 


I- 11 


I. 74 


, L 75 


I. 76 


L 177 


L 198 


L 196 

79 B 

. II. 8 


, II. 202 


. II. 203 


. II. 204 


. II. 6 


. II. 108 


. II. 90 


. II. 91 


. II. 87 


• II- 257 


. II. 258 


. IL 266 


. II. 266 


, II. 267 


. IL 268 


. 11. 269 


. II. 271 


. II. 272 


. II. 273 


. IL 274 


. II. 273 


. IL 275 


. II. 276 


. IL 277 


. II. 279 


. II. 280 


. IL 295 




Vol. & page Plate 


Palermo, L'Annunziata Doorway 

II. 295 




II. 292 



Chiaramonte Window 

II. 296 


Paris, Notre Dame Plan 

I. 79 


Base. Section of 

I. 63 



Bay of nave {V.-le-Duc) 

I. 81 


Flying buttresses etc. Western towers 

L 78 


Capital in nave 

I. 83 


West front ... 

I. 79 


Interior of choir aisle ... 

I. 84 


Ste Chapelle 


1- 135 



I- 134 


S. Germain des Pr6s Bay of choir ... 

I. 76 


S. Martin des 

Champs Refectory window 

II. 19 


Cluny, Hotel 

DE Crocket ... 

II. 150 

183 A 



n. 27 



The church of the Carmine (from 

Grimer) ... 

iL 183 




IL 6 


West front ... 

I. 221 


\ Pisa 

Pulpit in Baptistery 

II. 209 


Do. do. details 

II. 212 


Capella della Spina 

II. 214 


Poitiers Cathedral Interior of nave 

I. 165 



I. 166 




II. 58 


Reims Cathedral 


I. no 



I. 106 



I. no 



I. no 


Apse chapel {V.-le-Duc) 

I. 112 


West front ... 

I. Ill 


Annunciation and Salutation 

I. 114 


Heads of Mary and Elizabeth in do. 

L 115 


S. Rem I 

Nave columns 

I. 92 


Coupled columns 

T- 93 


Capital in choir 

I. 94 


Apse. Exterior 

I. 92 


Rievaulx Abbey 

The choir ... 

L 223 


RiPON Cathedral 

East window 

II. 24 


Romney, New 


II. 56 



Diagram of various forms of con- 

struction ... 

IL 124 


Rouen Cathedral 


1. 146 



Portail des Libraires ... 

L 178 


Entrance screen to do. 

L 179 




Vol. & page 



Rouen Cathedral 

West front ... 

... II. 



S. Maclou 

Bay of nave 

... II. 



West front ... 

... II. 








Central tower 

... II. 



Palais de 


... II. 



S. David's Cathedral Bay of nave 




Plan of pier and arch 




Bishop Gower's screen 

and tomb (in 


... 11. 





... II. 



Chimney (in colour) 

... II. 



S. Denis 

Ambulatory vault 




East end 




Capital in crypt 




Do. in window jam 

b ... I. 



Do. in choir aisle 








S. Germer 


... II. 



S. Leonard 

Tower and spire 




S. Leu d'Esserent 





S. Lo 


... II. 



S. Malo 


... II. 



S. Pere sous Vezelay Tower and spire 




S. Pietro in Agro 


... II. 



Side view 

... II. 



East end (by Basil H. 

Jackson) ... II. 



S. Quentin 

Interior of nave 




Hotel de Ville 

... II. 



Window in do. 

... II. 




Statue of S. Christophe 

r ... II. 



Salisbury Cathedral Plan ... 












Vault of Chapter house 

... II. 







Plan of pier 





... II. 



Seez Cathedral 

Bay of nave 




Selby Abbey 

East end 

... II. 



Nave aisle window 

... n. 



Choir clerestory do. 

... II. 



Capital in choir 

... II. 




West front ... 





Apsidal chapels 




Choir. Interior 






Vol. & page 



Senlis Steeple 

I, 68 


Sens Cathedral Bay of nave 

I. 38 


Stair to treasury 

I. 69 


Podium of portal 

I. 70 


Scroll on jamb of do. ... 

I. 70 


Siena. The Duomo Plan 

II. 197 


Interior of choir 

II. 198 


Do. of dome 

n. 199 


West front ... 

II. 200 


Sculptured column in do. 

II. 201 


Two window traceries ... 

II. 207 


Palazzo Comunale The cortile (in colour) 

II. 234 


Palazzo Saraceni Window 

11. 205 


Slapton Window 

II. 58 



IL 58 


Soffit cusping 

II. 18 


SoissoNS Cathedral S. Transept 

I- 93 


SouTHWARK Cathedral Interior of choir... 

I. 226 


Southwell Cathedral Capital in Chapter house ... 

II. 49 


Choir screen 

II. 64 


Stamford, All Saints Capitals 

II. 48 


S. Mary's Tower and spire 

II. 85 


Taormina La Vecchia Badia (by Basil H. 

Jackson) ... 

II. 293 



II. 296 


Palazzo Corvaja, cortile 

II. 297 


Do. do. window 

II. 296 


Thornton Abbey Blank window in Chapter house ... 

n. 43 


TiNTERN Abbey Plan 

I. 224 


Toulouse Tower of the Jacobins... 

I. 166 


Tracery Diagram showing construction of... 

II. 14 


Diagram of geometrical and flowing 

n. 55 


Flamboyant ... 

II. 140 


Valence Window 

II. 28 


Vaulting Cross vault and square plan 

I. 20 


Do. do. with ordinates 

I. 24 


Cross vault, oblong plan with round 


I. 31 


Do. do. with pointed do. 

I- 35 


The Welsh groin 

I. 32 


Sketch of rib and panel vault 

I. 36 


Rib with and without web 

I- 37 


Rib at Angers 

I. 163 


Plan of conoid at springing 

I- 39 


Sexpartite vault 

L 41 


Vault at Brioude 

I. 44 




Vaulting {cont.) Vault at S. Denis 

Do. do. Langres 

Diagram of thrusts 

Choir vault, Lincoln 

Nave do. do. 

Do. do. do. 

French way of filling in 

English do. do. 

Chapter House vault ... 

Vault with intermediate ribs 

Do. do. at Exeter 

Ely, stellar vault 

Gloucester, diagram of choir vault 

Do. Cloister fan vault ... 

Winchester nave vault ... 

Westminster fan vault ... 
Venice Fondaco dei Turchi 

Byzantine Palace 

Do. do. panel ... 

Venetian dentil 

Ducal Palace, Piazzetta Front 

Do. do. Capitals 

Do. do. Judgement of Solomon 

Venetian crocket 

Palazzo Sagredo 

Palazzo Cicogna 

Palazzo Cavalli 

Palazzo Ca' d' oio (drawing by F. T. 
Baggallay in the Builder) 

Do. do. battlements 

Palazzo Contarini Fasan 

SS. Giovanni e Paolo. Interior ... 
Vercelli, S. Andrea Plan 



Cloister in ... 
Nave. Interior 

Nave. Plan of pier 

Nave. Capital 

North porch 

Do. carved spandril 

West front ... 

Towers from cloister 
Sculpture Figures on West front (from Prior 
and Gardner) 

The Resurrection 


Wells Cathedral 

Vol. & page Plate 


I. 45 


I. 47 


I. 50 


I. 210 


I. 211 


II. 45 


I. 212 


I- 213 


II. 40 


n. 45 


II. 46 


II. 80 


II. 106 


II. 109 


II. 107 


II. Ill 


IL 236 


n. 237 


n. 237 


II. 237 


II. 238 


n. 241 


II. 240 


II. 243 


II. 244 


n. 245 


II. 246 


II. 247 


II. 247 


II. 250 


II. 217 


n. 176 


II. 176 


II. 177 


II. 208 


I. 185 


L 186 


L 186 


I. 187 


I. 188 




I. 239 


II. 50 


n. 51 




Wells Cathedral The choir. Interior ... 

S. Cuthbert'S The Tower 
Westminster Abbey Plan 

Interior, looking East ... 

Triforium gallery 

Do. elevation 

Do. capital and base 

Do. do. do. 

Tomb of Henry III 

Coronation chair 

Do. gesso decoration (in colour)... 

Chapter house. Interior ( IV. S. 

Diagram of vault 

Tomb of Aymer de Valence 

Henry VII's chapel, vaulted roof... 

Do. do. plan of pier ... 

Do. do. Three statues 

{W. S. Weaiherley) ... 
Westminster Hall The roof etc. 
West Walton Window 

Westwell Interior 

Winchester Cathedral Nave. Elevation and section 

North transept 

Back of feretory 

Nave vault ... 
Window Norman single light 

Diagram of inner arch, v. Tracery 
Wingham Window 

Witney Tower and spire 

Worcester Cathedral Western bays of nave {H. 
Brakspear in the Builder) 

Choir. Elevations and section 

Nave roof ... 


Clerestory of Presbytery 
Mary's Abbey Nave aisle 


York Cathedral 

& page Plate 
72 CII 





. 216 
.^i^ LXXIX 







II. 36 


II. 40 


IL ^1 


II. Ill 


II. Ill 


II. 116 


II. 122 




n. 6 


II. 114 


n. 3 

104 ^ 

II. 71 



II. 107 


II. 2 


II. 28 


II. 31 


II. 87 


I. 182 


I. 229 


II. 128 


II. 63 


II. 48 




Vol. I. p. 96, line 8. For "where" read "when." 

p. 179, line 6. For Portrail read Portail. 

p. 189, note. For 1093 read 1096. 

p. 238, line 28. For freize read frieze. 

Vol. II. p. 334, line 7. For ll. 304 read I. vi ; 11. 304. 

line 29. For I. 2, 15 read I. vi, 2, 15. 



The arts of Western Europe during the Middle Ages, 
that is to say, speaking roughly, from the 12th to the 
1 6th century are generally known as Gothic; a title of 
rather vague and loose application. 

It was invented at the revival of learning as a term 
of reproach. In literature compositions were called 
Gothic which were not Classic : that is to say such as 
did not follow the style of Greek and Latin authors. 
The term expressed the contempt of the enlightened Gothic 
men of the Renaissance for the works of their mediaeval a"ynonym 
predecessors ; for their jingling rhymes, their unclassical b°araus" 
Latinity, and their barbarous attempts in the vernacular 
tongue. In the Arts the disciples of Vitruvius and 
worshippers of the five orders branded as Gothic all the 
works of the preceding centuries during which the rules 
of Classic proportion and detail had been forgotten or 
ignored. The Goths who had overthrown the Western 
Empire, and founded kingdoms in Italy, Spain, and 
Gaul, were taken to typify all the Germanic tribes whose 
invasions and settlements had changed the face of Europe, 
and wiped out the civilization of the ancient world. The 
secondary meaning of the word '' Gothic " in the New 
English Dictionary is " Teutonic or Germanic," and to 

J. G. A. I 


[CH. I 


mous with 

idea of 

Gothic a 

the Italian the Gothic style was always the German 
style, lo stile Tedesco. Raffaelle writes to Pope Leo X 
that after the fall of Rome "the Germans {i Tedeschi) 
began to revive Art a little, but in their ornaments they 
were clumsy and very far from the fine manner of the 
Romans." Vasari and Palladio join in pouring contempt 
on those who admired the German style, the only excuse 
for which according to Raffaelle was that it originated 
in imitation of growing trees, whose interlacing boughs 
formed pointed arches, and that it was so far conformable 
to nature, and therefore not entirely despicable \ 

The Italians were of course mistaken in supposing 
that the architecture we know as Gothic originated in 
Germany, but if we take Gothic in its wider sense as 
Teutonic it is a very good name for the style. For it 
was an art essentially of Northern origin, and grew up 
among those peoples who had the strongest strain of 
German blood. In France its cradle was in the North; 
in the old Royal Domain, where Goths and Franks had 
established their rule, and mingled their blood with that 
of the old Gallic inhabitants. "The North of France," 
says M. Guizot, " was essentially Germanic, the South 
essentially Roman." The Burgundians and Normans 
were Teutonic peoples ; and in England, where the style 
had an equal development with that in France, the old 
Celtic race was almost lost among Saxon, Danish, and 
Norman conquerors who were all of Teutonic origin. 
In Germany itself the new art lingered longer in the 
Romanesque stage, which was itself a transition from 
Roman to Gothic architecture ; but there too, in the end, 

^ He continues, — E bench^ questa origine non sia in tutto da sprezzare 
pure e debole, perch^ molto piu reggerebbero le capanne fatte di travi 
incatenate, e poste ad uso di colonne, con li culmini e coprimenti come 
descrive Vitruvio, etc., etc. 


Gothic attained a splendid development. These were 
the countries where Gothic architecture achieved its Gothic less 
greatest triumphs, while in Southern France it made its in Latin 
way with difficulty, and was never fully accepted ; and in '^ '^ "^ 
Italy it assumed a special form which never quite broke 
with the traditional art of earlier ages. 

We may therefore say that Gothic is mainly a Teutonic The 
art, but it is difficult to define it more exactly. Who can period in- 
say precisely when it began and when it ended ? Its 
roots may be detected in buildings of the Romanesque 
period, and at the other end of its existence it melts 
imperceptibly into Neo-Classic. Is the Castle Hall at 
Oakham with its round arches and its pointed windows 
to be classed with Romanesque or with Gothic ; and can 
the Elizabethan and Jacobean buildings at Oxford and 
Cambridge, at Longleat, Bramshill, Burleigh, and Kirby 
be reckoned as anything but Gothic, in spite of their 
Corinthian and Ionic shafts and capitals, or the five 
orders of Bodley's tower in the old schools at Oxford ? 

To define it as Pointed Architecture would exclude Gothic 

not riGCcs- 

such buildings as the Cathedrals at Lucca and Orvieto sariiya 
and many other churches in Italy which are nothing if not J'^yi"'^ 
Gothic in spite of their round arches, as well as the Flam- 
boyant buildings in France which abound in flattish 
elliptical heads to doors and windows, not to say a great 
deal of late Perpendicular and Tudor work in England. 

An American author, Mr Moore\ who has written on Attempt 
the subject with useful particularity, would confine the name to 
name to what he calls " organic " constructions, where buUdings 
buildings are articulated into self-contained bays, each 
complete in itself and vaulted, and where every member 
of the vault is logically represented by its own individual 

' Development and character 0/ Gothic Architecture., C. H. Moore. 


support. From these premises he concludes that the 
only real and true Gothic is that of the churches in the 
He de France, of which the perfect example is Amiens 
Cathedral. But this is after all only a matter of words 
and names, and comes simply to this, that Gothic 
architecture gave more logical expression in some places 
than in others to those principles of construction which 
it obeys everywhere. To exclude from the style all 
English work except so much of Canterbury Cathedral 
as was built by a Frenchman, and perhaps the nave of 
Lincoln, is to mistake the part for the whole, the letter 
for the spirit, and to confine the conception of a great 
wave of artistic emotion to one only of its outward 
manifestations \ 
Vaulting Vaulting played a great part, — perhaps the greatest, 

tiai to though certainly not the only part in developing Gothic 
architecture ; but it will not do to define it as simply 
the expression of scientific vaulting. The Romans were 
masters of the art of vaulting long before ; they used, — 
probably invented, — the cross-vault, and understood the 
concentration of thrusts on isolated points. It was from 
them, and from the Eastern Rome as well, that the 
Romanesque builders learned how to make their stone 
roofs, and they in their turn passed the art on to their 
Gothic successors, who improved and developed it in 
their own way, making in the end almost a new art of it. 
But it must be remembered that most of the problems of 
scientific vaulting had presented themselves before their 

^ Mr Moore writes that "wherever a framework maintained on the 
principle of thrust and counterthrust is wanting there we have not Gothic " 
{pp. cit. p. 8). This would exclude the Ste Chapelle at Paris, and many 
more vaulted buildings where the thrust is taken directly by buttresses. 
Mr Porter does not accept Mr Moore's limitation of the term. Medieval 
Architecture. New York, 1909. 



time, and had been partially at all events solved by their 
predecessors, though not so completely. 

Nor is it correct to regfard vaulting- as an essential Vaulting 

. . not 

feature of the style, however great its influence may have essential 
been on the structure of great churches. In England 
except on a grand scale it is exceptional ; and yet if 
Westminster Hall with its stupendous timber covering, 
and the Fen churches with their glorious wooden roofs, 
and the splendid ceiling of the nave at St David's are 
not Gothic what are they ? And what else can we call 
the countless village churches, gems of modest art, that 
stud our country far and wide, and constitute one of its 
greatest charms, though it is only here and there that 
they aspire to the dignity of a vaulted ceiling ? 

Again if the test of Gothic is to be the logical ex- Domestic 
pression of a vaulted construction what becomes of domestic 
architecture both here and abroad, in which vaulting 
certainly does not play an important part ? Are the town- 
halls of Brussels, Ypres, and Louvain not Gothic, nor the 
Broletto of Como, the pontifical palace at Viterbo, or that 
of the popes at Avignon, or the ducal palace at Venice ? 

Still less is Gothic architecture, as it has appeared to Gothic not 

. ,. . i~ r*i ir*i a matter of 

the ordinary layman, a matter ot quatreioils and tretoils, form but 
of cusps and traceries, of crockets and finials, pinnacles ° ^^'"* 
and flying buttresses. These are but the accidents of 
the style, though no doubt they resulted naturally from 
the application of certain principles behind them. But 
they might all fly away and yet leave a Gothic building 
behind them. Many an old tithe barn of rough timber 
framework is as truly a piece of Gothic architecture as 
York Minster or Salisbury Cathedral. 

If then none of these attempted definitions are really 
coextensive with the Gothic style of architecture, for a 


building may be Gothic and yet have none of these 
characteristics, how are we to define it ? 
Gothic not The true way of looking at Gothic art is to regard 
formbut° it not as a definite style bound by certain formulas — for 
of spirit j^ jg infinitely various, — but rather as the expression of a 
certain temper, sentiment, and spirit which inspired the 
whole method of doing things during the Middle Ages 
in sculpture and painting as well as in architecture. It 
cannot be defined by any of its outward features, for 
they are variable, differing at different times and in 
different places. They are the outward expression of 
certain cardinal principles behind them, and though 
these principles are common to all good styles, — Gothic 
among them, — the result of applying them to the buildings 
of each age, country, and people will vary as the circum- 
stances of that country, that age, and that people vary. 
Gothic To arrive at anything like an exact definition of 

princi^pie ^ Gothic architecture, therefore, we must look deeper than 
notbyform ^^iq mere outward phenomena by which we are accustomed 
to recognize it. To judge from them alone, no words 
could be framed to describe in common terms buildings 
so diverse as King's College Chapel and Salisbury 
Cathedral. Yet different as they are from one another 
they both result regularly and naturally from the applica- 
tion of the same principles under somewhat different 
circumstances. These principles were already at work 
in the Romanesque buildings of the preceding centuries, 
and it is to their consistent application that the develop- 
Con- ment of the new style is due. The same principles 

Rom7n° which brought Romanesque architecture to birth out of 
Gothlc^"^ the style of ancient Rome, when carried further and 
pushed to their logical consequences, produced the arts 
of the Middle Ages which we call Gothic. There was 


no interruption, no break of continuity in development : 
the earlier style melted gradually, almost imperceptibly 
into the other ; and afterwards one phase of Gothic 
passed gradually and naturally into the next. There is 
no break in the sequence from the latest Roman work at 
Spalato to the basilicas of Rome and Ravenna ; from 
them to the nave of S. Ambrogio ; to the great churches 
on the Rhine and the Conqueror's churches at Caen ; 
to Vezelay, S. Albans, Winchester, and Durham ; and 
onwards to Conrad's glorious choir, S, Denis, Sens, the 
work of the two Williams at Canterbury, the choir of 
Lincoln, Salisbury, Westminster, Paris, and Amiens. 

Three grand principles have governed the develop- Three 
ment of Gothic architecture, as indeed they have that of principles 
every good style that the world has ever seen. tecture 

The first is that the construction must be sound and i. SoUdity 
good. Good building is the foundation of good archi- 
tecture : no amount of design can make up for defect in 
this respect. This however does not take one beyond 
mere utility, and engineering, and does not touch the 
bounds of Art. 

The second great principle is that of Economy : by 2- Eco- 
which I mean not merely thrift, though that comes in 
too, and the Gothic builders might have said with 

f>L\oKakovfxev /xer evrekeias, 

but economy in the original sense of the word, that is to 
say a nice regard for arrangement and proportion, the 
due observance of circumstance of time and place, of the 
means available, of the materials at your disposal, and of 
the mode of using them to the best advantage. This 
takes us a step farther. The suitable treatment of 
material so as to make the best of its natural qualities 


without waste or misapplication carries us a long way 
towards our third great principle. 
3. Aes- This third principle is that the design should be the 

expression aesthetic expression of the construction. For architecture 
differs from mere building simply in this, that it is the 
art of building expressively and therefore beautifully. 
The two first principles are within the compass of every- 
one, but the third can only be applied in an artistic age 
and by an artistic people. It is with nations as with 
individuals. Just as two men may do the same thing, 
but one will do it gracefully and the other awkwardly, so 
the buildings of one age and one people will be beautiful, 
while those of another, though possibly no less com- 
modious, will be vulgar and distasteful. In either case 
the artistic faculty is a gift of nature which may be 
cultivated but cannot be implanted when it is absent. 
Rules of It is by conforming to these three rules of solidity, 

app^u^^ economy, and aesthetic expression that all good styles, 
— Romanesque and Gothic among them, — are justified. 
In plain language they must be strong, they must be 
sensible, and their work must show that they are so. 
But though these principles are of universal application 
they lead to different results in different countries and 
ages. This is inevitable if they are to be true to them- 
selves, for they demand the expression of the special 
Variety conditions in each case. The difference between one 
true and living style and another does not arise from any 
difference in principle, but from difference of circumstance 
to which those principles are applied. It will be our 
task to trace their influence on the development of 
Gothic architecture through the circumstances amid which 
the style arose. 


in result 



The Byzantine and Romanesque styles are the phases Gothic the 
into which architecture passed in Eastern and Western mTnt o? 
Europe, respectively, from the decay of the older style of esque^"' 
the Roman world. And Gothic is the phase, or rather 
the succession of phases into which the art passed out of 
Romanesque during the Middle Ages. For late Gothic 
differs from the early styles as much as they do from 
their parent Romanesque. Henry VH's chapel at 
Westminster and Henry Hi's choir are both Gothic, 
but they differ from one another almost as much as 
Henry Hi's work does from the nave of Durham. 

Romanesque art out of which Gothic was developed Roman- 
spread in various forms through all Western Europe ; umversai 
from Italy where it began, to our own country. But Gothic 
Gothic which was essentially of Northern origin, and a 
Teutonic art, though it had force enough to push its 
way into the heart of the Latin population of Southern 
Europe, where classic tradition never wholly expired, 
was unable to find there its full and free development. 

There was in fact a flux and reflux of the two styles, fiux and 
Classic and Gothic, from South to North, from North to Roman 
South, and back again. Just as the influence of Roman ^" °^ ^^ 
art spread beyond the Alps, inspired the rude beginnings 
of the native styles of France, Germany, and England, 
and formed the basis of Romanesque architecture there 
no less than in Italy, so when northern Romanesque 
passed into Gothic the new style overflowed into those 
countries where Classic architecture had its origin, and 
affected their art till the wave spent its force and ebbed 
back again Northwards. 

The sentiment of Gothic architecture is in fact alien Gothic 
to the clear positive temperament of the Latin races, southern 
It reflects in its gloom and mystery the romantic temper ^^'"p^^' 


No of the North. In the Byzantine and Italo-Byzantine 

Byzantine basiHca, and even in S. Sophia itself and the domed 
fectu're churches of the East there is no mystery. All is open 
and visible. There are no cavernous portals like those 
of Chartres and Amiens, no dimly seen perspectives like 
those of Canterbury or Westminster, no surprises like 
those of the eastern parts of Wells, Winchester or 
Salisbury. Even the crypts of Italian churches are light 
and cheerful, unlike the ghostly dimly-lit vaults, and the 
dark mysterious recesses of our northern undercrofts. 
Italy is no place for mysteries of Udolpho, sliding 
panels, hidden chambers, and secret passages ; the scene 
of Horace Walpole's " Gothic Romance " had been laid 
more appropriately among the robber castles on the 
Rhine, or in the wilds of the Black Forest, than at 
Gothic a One more characteristic. Gothic is the style of freedom 

individual- from convention, and of individuality. Romanesque had 
only half achieved liberty ; it was still held back by 
Roman tradition, though it no longer obeyed strict 
Vitruvian rules. It was left for its Gothic successor to 
complete the escape, and to travel on its way in entire 
freedom from Classic tradition, and without any fresh 
impediments to take its place. The adoption of the 
pointed arch was no doubt the principal instrument of its 
liberation, as will presently be explained ; but the change 
was not limited to construction only, it ran through all 
parts of the design in the direction of greater naturalism. 
In its ornament the forms of animal and vegetable life 
were treated with constantly improving art and constantly 
greater truthfulness ; and in construction the natural laws 
of statics and equilibrium were studied rather than 
traditional formulas, and the very forces which endanger 



the stability of a building were enlisted in its service and 
made to contribute to its security. 

The relation of construction to nature is of course Construc- 
not concerned with direct imitation of natural form, but on natural 
with observance of natural law. Gothic architecture is oTnaturai 
not as Raffaelle thought imitated from the intersecting ^°™ 
branches of an avenue of trees ; a notion as idle as that 
of Vitruvius, who derives the proportion of the orders 
from a human figure, and sees in the Ionic column the 
stature of a maiden, in the volutes of the capital her 
ringlets, and in the fluting of the shafts the folds of 
her dress. This to be sure is sad nonsense, though it 
was long taken for gospel truth. Construction is natural 
when it takes the directest way to its end, by availing 
itself of the natural laws of force and weight, and the 
natural qualities of material, instead of observing con- 
ventional rules that make no allowance for circumstance. 
Thus regarded, Gothic is the most natural style in the 
world, because it is the most free from convention. 

From this freedom results its exuberant variety, variety 
Gothic is the style of individualism. Though obeying 
in a general way the school or manner of the day no two 
Gothic buildings are ever really alike. The distinction 
of cathedrals and larger buildings is unmistakeable : 
each can generally be recognised at a glance from sketch 
or photograph. But this variety is not less remarkable 
on a smaller scale. One rarely enters an old village 
church without finding something new, something original, 
something that gives the building an individual character 
though conformable in the main to the style of its period, 
— Romanesque, Decorated, or Perpendicular. Contrast Monotony 
this with the immobility of architecture in Egypt, where lanarchi- 
century after century, millennium after millennium passed 


unnoticed, and the same style continued under the 
Ptolemies and Caesars, with but slight modification from 
what it had been under the Pharaohs thousands of years 
immo- before. Contrast it also with the uniformity of Roman 
Roman architecture, where certain patterns of temple, theatre, or 
lecture baslHca were stereotyped, and carried with the spread of 
empire from Rome to Syria, Africa, Gaul, and Britain. 
Roman architecture reflects the centralization of the 
empire in Rome, and the immobility of imperial institu- 
tions and of the society that lived under them. Gothic 
Restless- architecture expresses the restless temper of the modern 

ness of II- • r • • -1 

Gothic world, Its passion tor progress, its grasping at new ideas 

and novel methods. It never stood still. As fast as one 

problem of construction was solved, something beyond 

it invited a fresh departure. No sooner was one style 

perfected than the builders tired of it and moved on to 

something else. For barely three and a half centuries 

Gothic architecture ran its impetuous course and then 

sank exhausted before the returning tide of Classic at 

Long the Renaissance. It had taken nearly eight centuries 

of Roman- to dcvclop Romanesque slowly and tentatively from its 

esque Roman origin down to the beginnings of Gothic ; — from 

Ravenna to Chartres, Canterbury, and the choir of 

Short Lincoln. But in less than half that time Gothic archi- 

of Gothic tecture ran through all its successive phases, from the 

chaste severity of Sens and Paris to the wild luxuriance 

of the Flamboyant work at Abbeville and S. Riquier, 

and from the last efforts of Norman in the west front of 

Ely and the Galilee at Durham to the fairy vaults of 

Windsor, King's College, and Henry VII's chapel at 

Westminster. The Norman nave at Peterborough was 

tranTiUon hardly finished before the Early English west front was 

begun. Those who helped to raise it might in their old 


age have seen the last examples of Geometrical Decorated 
work, and their grandchildren might conceivably have 
worked in the earliest perpendicular style, on Abbot 
Stanton's relining of the choir at Gloucester, or on Bishop 
Edyngton's west front at Winchester. 

The rapid development of the sister art of painting Compari- 
in Italy during the 13th and two following centuries is MstoTyof 
marvellous enough, though there was an interval of over P^^"^^"g 
240 years between the birth of Cimabue and that of 
Raffaelle. But in the history of Gothic architecture 
150 years sufficed to carry it into no less than four 
distinct phases in England, and three in France, 
where there is nothing corresponding to our Flowing 
Decorated of the 14th century. From De Lucy's Early Early 
English lancets at Winchester in 1202 it is but 40 or 45 f^S^^^ 
years to Henry Ill's choir at Westminster where bar 
tracery appears. Another half century brings us to the Decorated 
Chapter House at Wells, where geometrical forms begin '■^°° 
to melt into ogee curves. Twenty years later, in 132 1, 
the Lady Chapel of Ely was begun in fully developed 
curvilinear Gothic, the very flower of the art in England ; 
and another quarter of a century closes the Decorated 
period and ushers in the Perpendicular style at Gloucester Perpendi- 
in 1350, and Winchester a few years later, which had a '^"^^ ^^^° 
longer life than its predecessors and lasted till the advent 
of the Renaissance in the i6th century. 

Surely there has never been another such astounding 
instance of artistic growth in the world's history. 

The spirit of Gothic art pervaded all that was done Universal 
during the period of its existence. To confine the name tSn of 
to one of its manifestations, that of vaulting, is to take ^°^^'^ 
the letter for the spirit, and to mistake the whole nature 
of the movement. It is the art of liberty as opposed to 


Gothic artificial formula, of reason as opposed to convention. 
vaulting Applied to stone roofing it has given us the Gothic 
vault with its attenuation of support, and equilibrium 
^^ attained by counter-thrust ; applied to woodwork it re- 

woodwork suited in the magnificent roofs of Westminster Hall, 
Eltham Palace and Hampton Court and the stalls of 
Winchester, Lincoln, and Gloucester with their delicate 
traceries and canopies. But it was the same spirit that 
inspired them all, — the spirit of reason and direct adoption 
of the simplest means to the end, regardless of convention 
to con- and tradition. To reduce thrust the pointed arch super- 

structive ^ '■ 

problems scded the Roman and Romanesque round arch in spite 
of inherited love for the older form. For greater con- 
venience of plan, and greater economy of material, voids 
were enlarged at the expense of solids ; the massive 
piers of Roman and Romanesque builders became mere 
slender clustered columns ; the support of solid walls 
was replaced by that of buttresses turned at right angles 
to them on the transverse line of the piers ; and the 
high vaults were strutted by flying arches bridging the 
aisles. This surely was the most unconventional feature 
ever introduced into building : a purely mechanical con- 
trivance which an artist might well have despaired of 
making comely. For greater light the intervening 
curtain walls between buttress and buttress, having no 
longer anything to do but to carry themselves, were 
converted into windows, groups of detached lights at 
first, till tracery came in to hold the glazing with the 
least amount of solid support. 
Gothic the Through all these developments we see the working 
Reason as ^^ rational motives free from restraint of conventional 
convention ^^^^ ^"^ precedent. There was a reason for them all. 
The Gothic artist followed unhesitatingly the lead of 


every novel requirement, waiting for no authority but that 
of common sense and economy, and gladly welcoming 
every fresh constructional problem in turn, as affording 
the most fertile suggestion for artistic expression. 

The same spirit may be traced in all he did ; in 
humble village church as in mighty minster, in lonely 
manor house as in lordly palace, in timber construction 
no less than in masonry. Gothic art is the flower of the 
freedom-loving Teutonic intelligence, the outcome of 
natural unaffected application of means to an end ; and 
the shape it took was the natural, perhaps the inevitable 
result of the conditions of time, place, and people amid 
which it arose. 



of archi- 

of archi- 


Three cardinal principles, as we have said, govern all 
great and living styles of architecture. Firstly Solidity, 
which gives us sound construction. Secondly Economy, 
which prescribes proper use of material, and. adaptation 
of design to particular needs by due observance of local 
circumstance. And lastly Aesthetic expression of the 
two preceding conditions of sound building on one hand, 
and appropriate design on the other. 

These three general principles apply to all styles : 
and the difference between style and style arises from 
the particular economical circumstances of each country, 
each age, and each people. It was pointed out in the 
last chapter how the unchanging character of Egyptian 
civilization was reflected in the immobility of Egyptian 
architecture ; and how the universal spread of Roman 
architecture throughout the Empire expressed the cen- 
tralization of Roman institutions in the imperial city. 
It remains to trace the economical conditions of modern, 
or post- Roman Europe which gave direction to the art of 
the Middle Ages, made it what it was, and found aesthetic 
expression in the style which we know as Gothic. 

All styles of architecture are based on what has gone 
before ; and when his turn came the only models for the 
Romanesque architect were Roman buildings. But the 


expensive character of Roman work, constructed with huge 
stones, colossal walls, and vaults of scientific construction, 
the work of wealthy princes with an unlimited command 
of labour and materials, and possessed of all the known 
science of their time, made it hopelessly beyond his 
power of imitation. The Romanesque style in its infancy its diffi- 
was the child of poverty and incompetence. The architect 
had to produce with small stones and rude appliances the 
best version he could of the work of the Masters of the 
World. He pilfered columns and capitals from deserted Use of 
temples and palaces and set them up in rows in his at second 
churches, propping the short ones on blocks of stone to 
make them range with the long ones, putting capitals on 
shafts that they did not fit, and forming architraves and 
cornices of fragments of classic entablatures that had 
nothing to do with one another, as we see them in the 
Matroneum of S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura at Rome. Vaults 
were beyond his humble skill, and his roofs were of wood 
over both nave and aisles. For his arches the great 
stones of the Roman were out of the question : he could 
neither quarry nor work them, and probably he had no 
tackle to lift them. Hence came the system of sub- -Subord- 

. , ination of 

ordination of orders in the arch, which was to play so orders 
leading a part in all subsequent architecture. Instead of 
the large voussoirs of the Roman which reached from 
side to side of the arch through the thickness of the wall, 
he learned to build the arch with little stones, in two or 
three successive rings, and still further to economize by 
recessing each ring within that outside it. This intro- 
duced at once an aesthetic motive. Pleased with the 
concentric shadows cast by his receding rings or orders 
he set to work to decorate them by moulding the square 
edges of the stones, and thus led the way to the richly 

J. G. A. 2 

i8 THE GOTHIC VAULT [ch. ii 

decorated arcades, and the sculptured portals of the 
Middle Ages. For the gorgeous doorways of Paris, 
Bourges, Amiens, and Lincoln with their wealth of 
imagery, have the ornament disposed on concentric rings 
or orders retired regularly within one another^ And 
thus a device originating in poverty and economy of 
material resulted in one of the main artistic motives 
of Gothic architecture. 

Ambition The Romanesque architect did not rest here. The 

Romans had covered their buildings with vaults of stone 
or concrete, and his own wooden roofs did not content 
him : he felt he must do as the Romans did and protect 
his churches with a more monumental and less perishable 

Danger of covering. The wooden roof was a constant source of 

roofs ^" danger. The Romanesque churches were always getting 
burned down. At Tours the abbey of S. Martin and 
twenty-two churches were burned in 997. Chartres 
Cathedral was burned in 1020, Vezelay in 11 20, when 
eleven hundred and twenty seven souls perished. 
S. Front at Perigueux was consumed in the same year. 
Nearly all the Carolingian cathedrals were burned, — 
many of them five or six times, — during a period of 200 
years. S. Martial at Limoges, we are told, was burned 
in 954, 955, 1053, 1060, 1 140 and 1167-. On every 
ground both of security and dignity the Romanesque 
architect felt that he must have a stone vault. 

Aisles first His first achievement was that of vaulting the aisles, 
and it was long before he had skill and courage enough 
to vault the nave. Many Romanesque churches never 
did receive a vault over their naves. At Ely the nave 

* The development of the Gothic orders is fully explained and illustrated 
in my Reason in Architecture. 

^ Lasteyrie, Architecture Religiense en France a PEpoque Roniane, p. 226. 


ch. ii] the GOTHIC VAULT 19 

and transepts, and at Winchester the transepts still bear 
their wooden roofs. At Peterborough, though the Norman 
aisles are vaulted, the high roofs and ceilings are of 
wood ; but in this case stone vaulting was contemplated 
and preparation made for it, though when time came for 
constructing it the courage of the builders failed them. 

It was not only risk of vaulting so wide a span that Persever- 
deterred the Romanesque architects from the attempt, barrel 
Other difficulties of a geometrical kind presented them- ^^"^'^'"s 
selves in the way of cross-vaulting so large a space. 
Consequently in many parts of France, especially in the 
Auvergne and Aquitaine, barrel vaults continued to be 
turned over the nave down to the latter half of the 
1 2th century, and may still be seen at Aries, Clermont- 
Ferrand, S. Junien, S. Nectaire, Autun, and in many 
other places. But the inconvenience of this form of itsincon- 
vault which prevented an adequate clerestory, and the 
difficulty of supporting the continuous thrust of such 
vaults along the side wall, made it imperative to revert to 
the cross-vault of the Romans, which allowed large and The cross- 
high clerestory windows, and concentrated the thrust on 
isolated points that could be fortified by buttresses. 

This introduced a new element into the plan of the Articuia- 
church. It was now articulated, or divided into bays, at churches 
the points where the thrusts were concentrated and the 
buttressing applied. Each bay was a complete unit in 
itself, — an epitome of the whole fabric, — and the building 
consisted of a group of these independent bays associated 
in a common system. This articulation is an important 
element in Gothic architecture which must not be lost 
sight of. At the same time it is not a novel feature, for 
the Romans had invented it and used it already. 

A familiar instance of this is the Basilica of Maxentius 

2 — 2 



[CH. II 

Basilica of in the Roman Forum, of which illustrations are to be 
found in most books on architecture'. It consists of a 
vast nave of three square bays with a span of about 
80 ft. which are cross-vaulted. On each side are three 
chambers 56 ft. deep, forming something like aisles, and 
divided from one another by massive walls, pierced by 
an arch, which buttress the central vault at the points 
where the thrusts are concentrated. Barrel vaults are 
turned over these side chambers from wall to wall, their 
axis being at right angles to that of the main hall, and 
these vaults are kept low enough to leave the lunettes of 
the nave vaults open as a clerestory. In this building 
the system of concentration of thrusts and supports, and 
articulation of the structure is already 
perfectly developed, and carried out 
on a gigantic scale. 

The simplest form of a cross, or 
quadripartite, vault is that generated C\ 
by the intersection at right angles of 1-^ 
two semi-cylindrical vaults, which ^'^- 
cut one another on two diagonal 
planes. These planes are repre- 
sented on plan by the two diagonal 
lines AD and BC (Fig. i) drawn 
across the bay, compartment, or 
articulation of the structure. These 
diagonal lines are the groins, which 
form a projecting edge or arris, from 

which the two cylindrical surfaces recede on each hand. 
These groins, obviously, can only lie straight over the true 

1 e.g. Fergusson, Nis^. of Architecture, vol. I. p. 330 ; Simpson, Hist. oj\ 
Architectural Development., vol. I. p. 130; Viollet-le-Duc, Lect. iv ; Hist. of\ 
English Church Architecture, Plate v, G. G, Scott, Junr. 

The quad- 

Fig. I. 


diagonal lines when the two semi-cylindrical vaults are of 
equal span. Were they unequal the line of intersection 
would not be straight, but wavy, and not only unsightly, but 
difficult to construct and unsubstantial when constructed. 
The usual plan therefore was to make each bay of the Square 
aisle square, or so nearly square that the intersecting ^^^ 
lines or groins should be regular, A strong rib was 
generally thrown across the aisle from pier to pier, 
AB and CD (Fig. i) which defined the articulation and 
so gave expression to the constructive idea, though not 
really necessary, for the constructive method so long as 
the nave was not vaulted ; and between these ribs there 
was no difficulty in forming a square groined vault. 

But the nave is generally about twice as wide as the Difficulty 
aisle, and therefore if its bay were of the same length anohlons^ 
as that of the aisle the compartment of the nave vault ^'^^ 
would be not square but oblong, and one of the inter- 
secting half-cylinders of a cross-vault would be twice as 
wide as the other, and also a good deal higher, so that 
no true diagonal groin would result. 

This difficulty retarded the science of vaulting for 
a long while. In some places, as for instance in the 
cathedral of Valence in Burgundy the architect contented vaience 
himself with cross-vaulting the aisles, and barrel-vaulting '^^^ ^''''^' 
the nave. The nave vault is strengthened by transverse 
arches, and the aisle vaults are kept high enough to 
afford abutment'. This allowed of no clerestory windows, 
and indeed did not challenge the difficulty at all. 

A solution in one way was found for perhaps the first s. Ambm- 

*• ^ . gio, Milan 

time at S. Ambrogio in Muan. The nave there bemg 

1 V. illustration in my Byzantine and Romanesque Architecture^ vol. ii. 
p. 115. The construction at S. Savin is the same except that there are no 
transverse ribs, v. lUust. do. p. 52. 



[CH. II 

tion of 


twice as wide as the aisle is divided into square bays, 
A, B, C, D (Fig. 2), each of them as long as two bays of 
the aisle which are also square. Consequently the cross- 
vaults are regular, and the groins lie in true diagonal 
planes in the nave as well as in the aisles. 

From the plan (Fig. 2) it will be seen that the result 
of this arrangement is that 
the piers A, B, C, D have 
double work to do ; for they re- 
ceive the concentrated charge 
of the great vaults of the nave 
as well as those of the lesser 
vaults and arches of the aisle 
and triforium above it ; while 
the intermediate piers E and 
F receive that of the lesser 
vaults and arches alone. This 
inequality of stress is well 
provided for and expressed 
by the greater substance given 
to the main piers A, B, C, D 
which are clustered, and have 
not only the members that 
carry the lower arches but 
additional members that run up to carry the arches 
of the nave vault. The intermediate piers E and F, 
on the other hand, which alternate with the great piers, 
are smaller, and have only the members needed by the 
nave arcades and the aisle vaults (Fig. 3). 

The construction of a cross-vault on a square plan 
and on a small scale is easy, but on the scale of the nave 
of S. Ambrogio it is not such a simple matter. The 
difficulty, as always, is with the groins. 

CII. ii] 





[CH. II 

The groin- 
ing line 

Let US take first an example of a cross-vault over 
a square bay of moderate size, say that of the crypt at 
Winchester which is about I4'xi4'. The four equal 
bounding arches are represented by A, B, C, D in Fig. 4, 
of which one A, E, B is set up in elevation over its base. 
The two half-cylinders of the vault being equal in span 

Fig. 4. 

the groins will lie true in a straight line between AC 
and DB. On the base AC we set up the elevation 
of the diagonal groin, of which the crown M' will of 
course be level with E. The curve of the groin is found 
by what are called ordinates. The direct arch A, E, B, 
which is the true section of the half-cylinder, is divided 
on the base line AB into equal parts at F, G, H, I, and 
the diagonal likewise at J, K, L, M. Then if J — J' is 


made equal in height to F — F', K — K' to G — G', L — L' 
to H — H', and M — M' to I — E, a line drawn through their 
tops will give the true curve of the groin, which will be 
an ellipse. This is the usual vault of Norman crypts, and Ellipse of 
Norman aisles and all Romanesque vaults of small dimen- 
sions ; and the crown of the arches being all on the 
same level its convenience is obvious, for in one case 
it carries the floor of the church, and in the other that of 
the triforium. 

A glance, however, tells us that the ellipse of the Weakness 
diagonal is not so strong a form as the semicircle of the cargroin 
direct arches. On a small scale it will do well enough, 
but on the scale of the nave at S. Ambrogio it would be 
dangerous. It is true that there were cross-vaults with 
a level crown, and consequently with elliptical groins, on 
a much vaster scale over the Basilica of Maxentius at 
Rome with its 80 foot span : but they were moulded in 
concrete, and compacted into shells of enormous strength, 
and the Lombard architect had no such resources at his 
disposal. His solution of the problem was a bold one. 
He gave up the elementary idea of a cross-vault being 
the intersection of two equal half-cylinders, and drew his 
diagonal groin semicircular instead of elliptical. This Semi- 
made an end of the level crown, for the wide semicircle groin^*^ 
of the diagonal rose much higher than that of the 
narrower direct arches, and the four cells or panels of 
the vault, which represented the elementary quarter- 
cylinders, had to rise from the side to the centre. The 
vault therefore became in a manner domical, though of 
course without any real domical construction (Fig. 5). 

This was a daring innovation : a new departure in 
groining ; and it was accompanied by an innovation 
perhaps still more novel. Romanesque vaulting had 



[CH. II 

The dia- 
gonal rih 

long been divided into bays by strong transverse ribs 
{v. Fig. I su/>.) even in the case of barrel vaults, and 
wall-ribs had been constructed in the side walls to 
generate the cross half-cylinders. But in addition to 
these the high vaults at S. Ambrogio have diagonal ribs 
or arches of brick laid under the groins. Whether they 

Fig. 5. 

were suggested by a wish to fortify the groins, or 
whether they were a device to ensure a true curve on 
the diagonal line which would have been uncertain if the 
four ramping panels or cells of the vaulting surface had 
been simply brought together, I am not sure. Probably 


both motives had a share in the Invention which is a 
very important one, for it anticipates the whole system 
of the rib and panel vaulting of the Middle Ages. We 
shall return to this presently. 

Let us now look at the plan and construction of the I'lanof 

the piers 

piers on which the arches of walls and vaults rest. It 
has already been pointed out that they are of two kinds, 
main piers and intermediates alternately, the latter 
carrying the lower arches and vaults only, the former 
carrying these and the high vaults as well. If they are Corre- 
examined it will be found that the members of the of^pie?"*^^ 
clustered pier bear a distinct relation to the members ^" "'^ 
of the arches that fall upon them (z>. Fig. 3). The main 
piers AB have a wide flat pilaster in front which carries 
the flat tranverse arch of the nave vault. Right and left 
of this is an attached shaft from which the diagonal arch 
of the groin springs, and the capital of this shaft is set 
obliquely in the direction of the groin. A small square 
member next to this shaft carries the wall-rib. Within 
the wall-rib are the two arches of the triforium, each of 
which consists of two rings or orders, the subordinate 
one being retired within the outer. Each of these orders 
has its own support, a square member carrying the outer, 
and an attached shaft the inner. A similar arrangement 
appears in the lower storey, except that the outer order 
is not separately provided for in the jamb, and this is a 
flaw in the strict logic of the design. 

In the intermediate piers EE the three outer members 
of the main pier are omitted, for they are not wanted, 
and only those remain which serve the lower arches. 

At the back of each pier similar provision is made 
for the vaults of triforium and aisle.- 

Finally comes the question how the thrusts of the 



[CH. II 

System of high vaults of the nave, which are concentrated on the 
thrusts main piers, are met and resisted. At S. Ambrogio there 
is no difficulty, for there is no clerestory, and the vaults 
of the triforium are high enough to support that of the 
nave. A strong transverse arch of the triforium vault, 
on which a heavy buttress wall is raised, meets and 
counterthrusts the nave vault at the main piers on which 

Fig-. 6. 

the thrust is concentrated, and is itself supported by the 
outer wall, which is strongly buttressed, and forms the 
ultimate point cCappui, so that the whole structure is in 
equilibrium (Fig. 6). 
Difficulty It is when the nave is raised hig^h above the aisles 

created '>>' • i i 

clerestory With a clerestory that further modes of support have to 
be devised, and other countervailing thrusts have to be 
called in to neutralize the disruptive force of the high 


vault of the nave. With this problem we shall deal 

The construction of this Romanesque church of General 
S. Ambrogio at Milan, of which the foregoing is a brief tionofs. 
anatomical account, furnishes an early and simple example "^ '^"^'^ 
of nearly all the elementary principles of Gothic archi- 
tecture. We find there in the first place that concentration Concen- 

^1 . , , . . . ^ . trationand 

ot thrusts on isolated points and concentration 01 resistance articu- 
at those points to meet them, of which the consequence ''^^'°" 
is the articulation of the building into distinct self-con- 
tained bays ; and though this was not exactly a new 
discovery, for there is something like it in Roman 
buildings, it was carried much farther in Romanesque 
and the following styles. We find there, secondly, that Sub- 

, ,. . r 1 I'll 1 • ordination 

subordination 01 orders which plays almost as important of orders 
a part in mediaeval architecture as the vault itself, and 
is an even more distinctive characteristic : for the vault 
is not a Gothic invention, whereas nothing like sub- 
ordination of orders is found in classic architecture. We 
have thirdly, at S. Ambrogio the free use of arches of Free 
different span and rise in the construction of the vault, "^^ '"^ 
instead of the regular cross-vault of the Roman with 
level crown. We have also the whole system of vaulting 
ribs, transverse, diagonal, and wall-rib, which is foreign 
to Roman use. And finally we have the piers broken Corre- 
up into members that correspond logically to the members of pier^"^ 
of the arch or vault they carry. ^°^^ 

To these elementary principles, — ist, concentration of particular 
thrusts and supports and consequent articulation of the ofGoThS 
building ; 2nd, subordination of orders ; 3rd, freedom 
of vaulting arches and use of vaulting ribs, and 4th 
correspondence between members of arch and load, 
most if not all the subsequent developments of Gothic 

30 THE GOTHIC VAULT [ch. ii 

architecture may be more or less directly referred. The 
construction of this single Romanesque church has been 
explained at some length, because if the reader has once 
mastered it he will have a key to the full understanding 
of the later and more intricate problems of Gothic 


THE GOTHIC VAULT {continued) 

The scheme of S. Ambrogio is logical and complete Limita- 
80 far as it goes : but it requires that all the bays shall square 
be square, and it was not always convenient or even J^y""^ 
possible to make square bays in the nave, occupying 
two of those in the aisle. The difficulty of cross-vaulting 

Fig. 7. 

an oblong bay had still to be encountered, and also that 
of raising the nave vaults high enough for a clerestory. 

An oblonpf bay is shown in Fig. 7. The lines AB Difficulty 

o J o ' .... of vaulting 

and DC represent the transverse arches dividing the anobiong 
bays: AD is the wall-arch: and AC and BD are the ^^ 



[CH. Ill 



diagonal groins. On each base line is set up its arch, 
which in early work would of course be semicircular. 
It will be seen at once that it is no easy matter to form 
a cross-vault with three arches so different in height. 
Between the transverse and diagonal arches the difference 
is not too great to be got over by making the vault 
domical : but the cross-vault generated by the wall-arch 
is more difficult to deal with. We might of course carry 
this half-cylinder horizontally to intersect the main vault, 
making what is called a Welsh or coal-scuttle vault 

The groin 
at Vezelay 

(Fig. 8). That however can hardly be called a cross- 
vault at all, but is only a barrel vault with side pockets. 
Moreover it gives very little height for a clerestory 
window. Another plan was adopted at Vezelay, and 
at S. Jean in Autun, where the cross half-cylinder is 
sloped up towards the crown of the main vault, but that 
gives a very irregular line of intersection and leaves only 
the same room as the other plan for the clerestory 
window. The next device was to stilt the semicircular 
wall-arch in order to raise it nearer the level of the 


others : but that made the smaller half-cylinder encroach 
on the surface of the larger, behind the true groining -^^ 
line, and caused an awkwardly winding surface like the 
blade of a plough-share or screw-propeller, which it was 
hard to construct solidly even when the groin was 
strengthened with a diagonal rib. 

The whole difficulty, as will have been patent from Difficulty 
what has been said, arises from the use of the semi- arch*"" 
circular arch, which is inelastic, its height being half of 
its span, and its form therefore incapable of variation. 
The solution was found in the adoption of the pointed 
arch, which could be raised to any required height and 
made of any required curve. 

It is not worth while to go at any length into the The 
question of the origin of the pointed arch, which has a°ch^ 
been much discussed. Long before it came into use for 
construction its form must have been familiar, for we 
find it in Greek tombs, though without the structure of 
an arch. It was used in their buildings by the Arabs 
long before its adoption in the West : and was employed 
by them, or by those who worked for them, probably its early 
Byzantines, in the Dome of the Rock and the Mosque East" 
El Aksa at Jerusalem in the 7th century. It occurs in 
the arcades of the Coptic churches of Dair Anba Bishoi, 
and Dair-es-Suriani in Egypt, which are attributed to 
the 6th century^; and the arches of the mosque of Ibn 
Touloun at Cairo, which was built in 878, are pointed. 
Nor need we stay to enquire whether its introduction into 
the West was due to returning Crusaders who had seen it 
in the East, or whether its employment was suggested by 
reasons of construction, which is the more likely explana- 
tion. From whatever source it came we find it was in use 

^ A. J. Butler, Coptt'c Churches^ vol. I. ch. vil. 
J. G. A. 3 

34 THE GOTHIC VAULT [ch. iii 

by the Romanesque builders early in the 1 2th century both 
for arches and vaults. They found it convenient to give 
a pointed section to their barrel vaults, which were con- 
structed in one with the outside gabled roof, because in 
that way they diminished the mass of masonry which 
loaded the crown ; and they further observed that its 
thrust being directed more downwards the pointed arch 
was easier of abutment than the round arch which 
Preference cxerted a more powerful lateral pressure. At first it 
arch""" seems to have been adopted somewhat grudgingly, as a 
useful but unwelcome expedient. The round arch which 
they had inherited from the Romans still had a firm 
hold on the affection of the builders, and long after 
the advantages of the pointed arch had brought it into 
general use in constructive features the round arch was 
employed for windows and doors, and such features as 
wall-arcading which were purely decorative. 
Intro- At first the pointed form was used timidly, and not 

pointed" raised much above the semicircle. For the diagonal groin 
was generally made semicircular and the transverse arch 
did not need to be raised much to reach the same level. 
Over a square bay this caused no irregularity : the vault 
was as simple as the Roman cross-vault. But over an 
oblong bay the narrow side arches had to be more 
acutely pointed, and this caused difficulty. Fig. 9 shows 
an oblong bay of the same proportions as that in Fig. 7, 
but with a vault of pointed arches instead of round ones. 
The diagonal arch, raised on the base BD is semicircular, 
and the transverse on the base AB and the wall-arch on 
AD are pointed and raised to the same height as the 
diagonal, so that the crowns of the cells or panels are 

A little consideration of such a vault as this will 


CH. Ill] 



convince us that the freedom of the arch, begun at idea of 
S. Ambrogio and completed by the adoption of the seating 
pointed form, entirely upset the primitive idea of the abandoned 
cross-vault being generated by the intersection of two 
half-cylinders or half-barrels either round or pointed. 
The surfaces of the vaults, instead of being simply 
cylindrical, were now too irregular to meet symmetrically 
on regular lines, for the panels required to be twisted 
and tilted in order to come together at all. It was as 

Fig. 9. 

much for this reason as for that of strengthening the 
lines of intersection that ribbed vaulting was invented. Riband 
It was impossible to make an even junction by simply JauUing 
bringing the curved surfaces together without so much 
winding and twisting as to be dangerous: but it was 
easy enough to build ribs with a regular curve which 
would be both sightly and strong, and the panels or 
vaulting surfaces could be fitted between them and rest 
on them securely in spite of their winding surfaces. 



[CH. Ill 

Rib and 



Henceforth vaulting was not as heretofore a system 
of intersecting surfaces, but a system of ribs and panels ; 
of arches and filling-in ; the ribs forming a framework or 
skeleton, and the panel being a covering or ceiling fitted 


^ 12. /«C 

?, )Ji 

D ^wltuolnaL 

Fig. lo. 

in between them, possessing, however, owing to its 
arched form an independent strength of its own. 

The system of constructing vaults on the new system 
is explained by Fig. lo where one bay is shown with the 
skeleton of ribs only and others with the panel filled in. 

CH. Ill] 



One advantage of the new construction was that it Economy 

dispensed with a great part of the centering required for ing 
the Roman vault. To construct a vault without ribs it 
is necessary to form centering under the whole surface : 
framed centres must be put in the line of the groins and 
the transverse arches, with others between, on which 
"lagging" of planking or slats is laid to receive the 
vault of stone, brick, or concrete. But in ribbed vaulting 
centering is only necessary under the ribs, and the 
ashlaring of the panel can be filled in, course by course, 
on a moveable piece of wood resting on the centering of 
the ribs and shifted as soon as each course is finished. 

of center- 

Fig. II. 

It is of course obvious that the ribs may be made to Double 
contribute largely to the strength of the vault, especially of ribs 
when laid under the diagonal groin, and above all when 
there is much winding in the panel. The transverse 
ribs might often be safely omitted, and in fact are so in 
each alternate articulation at Durham. But in many 
cases the purpose fulfilled by the rib is really more that 
of acting as a centre, by giving a true arched line, than 
that of support. Often the rib was not bonded to the The 
filling in, as it should be, by a web on the back (Fig. 1 1 k) ^b 
but simply laid under the ashlaring as in Fig. 1 1 b. It 
is so in De Lucy's retro-choir at Winchester where the ribs 
add but little to the strength of the vault. It is so also 


38 THE GOTHIC VAULT [ch. iii 

The in the vault at Lincoln where in one case the rib has 

weblied ^ , . . , . 

rib sunk away leaving the ashlar vault standing without it. 

In one of the great cross-vaults under the ruins of the 

Bishop's Palace at the same place the ribs have perished 

from decay, but the ashlar groining shows no sign of 

weakness in consequence. The web I believe did not 

make its appearance before the end of the 1 3th century : 

till then the rib was simply laid under the vault as in 

Fig. 1 1 B. The web seems to occur generally in Decorated 

work, and I think always in Perpendicular vaults, as for 

instance in the choir aisles and Wykeham's building at 

Winchester and in the vault of the Lady chapel at Christ 

Church Priory, which I had occasion to repair and partly 

reconstruct. I am told the same distinction of web or 

no web occurs at Chester, S. Patrick's, Dublin, Hereford, 

Ripon, and Hexham\ The early 14th century vault over 

the two western bays of the nave at Worcester has ribs 

without the web, the ribs of the rest of the nave vault, 

dating from 1377, have it. 

Winding This systcm allows of many liberties being taken 

of surfaces y^[i\i the form of the vaulting surfaces. They could now 

be made to wind without danger so as to give more 

room for a clerestory. The wall-arch in Fig. 9 is very 

narrow and would cramp the clerestory window. The 

remedy was to stilt it, as in the nave of Sens Cathedral 

(Plate I) where the wall-rib springs from the capital of a 

small shaft that rises from the cornice at the springing 

of the main vault. The pocket of the vault being taken 

up straight with this shaft as high as the springing of 

the wall-rib is therefore left behind the main vault, which 

^ For information as to these latter instances I am indebted to 
Mr Thompson of Peterborough who has had to do with them all. He says 
that in the Maiden's Aisle at Chester either the rib or the vault had slipped 
for want of the web. 


CH. Ill] 



advances in front of it with the sweep of the diagonal 
rib. Consequently the group of ribs shown at their 
springing at A (Fig. 12) after rising a short way comes 
in front of the jamb C as shown at B, and in an elevation 
drawing would hide it. As it is seen from the church 
rtoor of course it does not have that effect, for you look 
up behind it. 

Mr Moore seems to think that this stilting of the Object of 
wall-rib, so that the panel of ashlaring next the wall rises waii-rib 
vertically for some height instead of spreading laterally 
along the wall, and thereby reduces the width of the 
conoid of vaulting where it reaches the wall, is a mode 

of confining the thrust of the vault against the side wall 
to the area of support given by the buttress outside. In 
this he is mistaken. The two panels next the wall 
exercise no thrust upon it whatever, and would stand 
without it. At Winchester the outer wall had settled 
and parted from the vault, so that there was a longitudinal 
crack through which you could look down into the church 
for the whole length of the aisle between the wall and 
the vault, which showed no tendency to follow the wall 
in its movement. At Worcester, where the vaulting is 
somewhat irregular, the ashlaring seems never to have 
been made up to the wall, but leaves an interval on the 
top of the wall-rib. The stilting of the panels has no 



[CH. Ill 






tion of 

Other object but that of giving more room for the 
clerestory windows. 

Owing to this stilting the panel BC (Fig. 12) has a 
strongly winding soffit in order to recover its proper 
position at the crown. In a quadripartite vault, such as 
we have hitherto been dealing with, this position would 
be at right angles to the side wall and the axis of the 
building ; but at Sens we have not a quadripartite but a 
different kind of vault, which requires explanation. 

It will be remembered that at S. Ambrogio the nave 
was divided into square bays twice as wide as those of 
the aisle, so that one bay of the nave occupied the length 
of two in the aisle. The square bays of the nave were 
covered with a simple quadripartite vault, and the piers 
were alternately larger and smaller according to their 
load. Something like this was attempted at S. Etienne, 
or the Abbaye aux Hommes in Caen, which was built 
by William the Conqueror in 1066. Originally only the 
aisles were vaulted, and the nave and triforium had 
wooden roofs. For some reason not very clear, the 
piers were alternated as at S. Ambrogio, larger and 
smaller, the larger having a pilaster and shaft on the 
front to the nave, the lesser only the shaft. In both 
cases the shafts ran to the top of the wall to receive 
the tie-beams of the wooden roof. The reason for this 
alternation at S. Ambrogio has been explained: but it 
has no meaning in an unvaulted church, and one wonders 
whether Lanfranc of Pavia, the first abbot, was influenced 
simply by recollection of a familiar Milanese building\ 
In the 1 2th century the wooden roofs at S. Etienne were 
superseded by vaults; the wall shafts were cut down and 

^ M. de Lasteyiie, however, maintains that the church at Caen is the earlier 
of the two. Archit. Relig. en France a VEpoqiie Romatie., p. 260. 

CH. Ill] 



the capitals refixed at a lower level to receive the Thesex- 
springing of the nave vaults, and quadrant barrel vaults vault 
were turned over the triforium, as in the churches of 
Auvergne, to give abutment. The nave had a quadri- 
partite vault over the square double bay, like that at 
S. Ambrogio, with regular diagonal ribs, but apparently 
the architect did not trust it, and from the intermediate The inter- 
shaft he threw a transverse rib meeting at the crown the transve'rse 
intersection of the two diagonals. On the back of this "^'^ 

Fig. 13- 

he raised a thin wall for some height and then spread it 
out with vaulting surfaces right and left to meet those of 
the main vaults. The two pockets or cells thus formed 
described an ellipse on the main walls, and their crown 
naturally ran obliquely towards the centre of the main 
vault where the various ribs met. In Fig. 13 AD and 
BC are the transverse arches dividing the bays, and 
AC and BD are the diagonals : EF is the intruded 
transverse arch, G the common point of intersection, and 



[CH. Ill 

Abbaye the dottcd Hncs show the direction of the crowns of the 

iionimes, Several cells or pockets. The effect of this construction 

is shown in Fig. 14. The diagonals cut very much in 

front of the clerestory, all the more because they are 

Fig. 14. 

segmental, struck from a point below the springing, a 
device no doubt to avoid a domical crown; and the 
surfaces of the panels are very winding. 

In the vault of the Abbaye aux Dames at Caen 


this is avoided by not turning any vault from the Abbaye 
intermediate transverse EF, but simply building a Dames, 
thin wall on the back of the rib up to the soffit of 
a regular quadripartite vault. This however is more 
like shoring than vaulting. 

These are perhaps the first examples of the sexpartite Sens 
vault, which occurs frequently in early Gothic churches, 
as for instance at Sens (v. sup. p. 38, Plate I) where the 
alternation of the piers according to their office is very re- 
markable. The main piers are clustered, and are massive, 
having besides the members that carry the nave arcade 
and the aisle vaults a group of shafts in front which rises 
to receive the transverse and diagonal ribs of the high 
vault. The intermediate piers on the contrary consist of 
a pair of columns placed one behind the other like those 
in S. Costanza at Rome\ which may possibly have given 
the suggestion for them. These receive the nave arches 
and the aisle vaults, and from their capital rises a slender 
shaft which runs up to take the intermediate rib, which 
converts the quadripartite vault into a sexpartite. 

In the composition of the great piers the relation of Relation 
the support to the load is logically expressed : each rib \n^d^^ 
of the vault has its own shaft to carry it, and each of the 
two orders of the nave arcade has its own proper shaft 

In no part of the vaulting of a church was the new vaulting 
system of construction with rib and panel found more pian"^'^"^'^ 
convenient than in the circular ambulatory that sur- 
rounded the apse and in the apsidal chapels opening 
from it. On this irregular plan, where no two arches in 
the circular walls of the bay were equal, and no two sets 
of vaulting surfaces were alike, the intersecting lines of 

* Illustrated in va.^ By z.attd Ro7natiesque Architecture, vol. i. plate X LI V. 



[CH. Ill 

unequal cylindrical and sometimes conoid surfaces were 
distorted and twisted so much as to be not only unsightly 
but insecure. Fig. 15 shows the effect of these inter- 
Brionde penetrations in the vaulting of the ambulatory at Brioude 
in Auvergne, which could only be made safe by very 
careful masonry at the groining lines involving difficult 
geometrical problems, for every stone had to be accurately 
shaped to a different winding plane. This difficulty 
disappeared when ribs of a true arch form were turned 

vaults at 
S. Denis 

Fig. 15 from V.-le-Duc. 

from point to point, and the irregular winding of the 
panels between them was not only disguised by the 
regular curve of the ribs, but became of little consequence ; 
for the panels being relieved of any structviral duty, had 
only to carry themselves, and could repose securely on 
the skeleton of the ribs. 

In Fig. 16 is shown the plan of one bay of the 
ambulatory with its apsidal chapel at S. Denis, where 

CH. Ill] 




Fig. 1 6 adapted from V.-le-Duc 

46 THE GOTHIC VAULT [ch. hi 

Aisle there are two aisles round the great apse of the choir, 
s. Denis the outer one being in fact absorbed into the chapel. 
I take the description of these vaults from Viollet-le-Duc, 
who restored the church in i859\ "The circumference 
of the interior circle which defines the chapel meets the 
abacus of the cylindrical column at A so that the diagonal 
arches AC, DC, EC are equal. Having drawn the 
transverse arch F and the archivolt G " (which carries 
the main apse of the choir), "the architect takes the 
middle of the axis GF at I and draws the two diaofonals 
BIK, HIM and the transverse arches HB, BL. It is 
clear that all these arches are independent, and the 
architect may please himself in fixing their springing. 
But, — and here the necessary consequences of the new 
system show themselves, — had he made these arches 
semicircular their springing would have had to be at 
various heights if they were to come to a level at their 
crown, since they are of various spans, and there would 
have arisen the old trouble in filling in the triangular 
vaulting spaces. Or again had the arches all been made 
to spring at one level they would not have been level at 
the crown. The architect therefore employed the pointed 
arch which gives him full liberty to bring the crowns to 
the convenient level. So the elevation shows the trans- 
verse LB at L'B' and BH at B'H'; at C'E' one diagonal 
rib of the chapel, at OB' the transverse arch BFM, and at 
B"V the rib BI. The result is that the crowns CFI are 
level; and the crowns of the transverse arches BH, BL 
are also level with one another, though lower than CFI. 
It remains to fill in the triangular vaults which repose on 
these pointed arches. The lines of the crowns of these 
fillings-in necessarily abut on the point of each of these 

1 V.-le-Duc, Diet. Rat's, ix. 505. 

CH. Ill] 



arches as the dotted Hnes show, and they meet on the 
axial line CG." 

The perfection of this system of vaulting at S. Denis Persistence 
was only reached after many tentative experiments. It tradition of 
was some time before the builders, with the tradition of ^^"^^^"S 
Roman cross-vaulting still strong within them, grasped 
the idea of the full liberty at their disposal, and dismissed 
from their minds the theory that a vault necessarily 
results from the intersection of simple curved surfaces. 
At first, as at Morienval, the diagonal ribs were not Morienvai 

Fig. 17. 

drawn straight but on a curved line, such as would have 
resulted from the intersection of two barrel vaults on a 
circular plan. At Langres, being used to diagonal inter- Langres 
sections in one plane, they drew the diagonal ribs in a ^' ^ '^^ 
straight line (Fig. 17) from A to D, and C to B with the 
result that the point of intersection was not over the 
middle of the aisle but near one side of it with a very 
awkward effect. There is another instance of this in the 
South Choir aisle of S. Pierre at Chartres. This was 
remedied when the discovery was made that the two 



[CH. Ill 

vault per- 
fected at 
S. Denis 


ing at S. 


At Vezelay 

halves of the diagonal need not lie in one plane but 
might meet at an angle as BI — IK in Fig. i6. It is 
unnecessary to go into these experiments in detail for 
our present purposed Whatever approach may have 
been made towards a more scientific system of vaulting 
before, it is at S, Denis, and in 1140, that we find 
it perfected, and the theory of Gothic vaulted construc- 
tion fully developed probably for the first time, unless 
as some suppose the work at Sens, which is similar, is 
slightly earlier. 

To the invention of ribbed vaulting, which allowed 
the wall-arch to be raised to the level of the rest, — though 
in fact it was often kept slightly lower, causing the 
transverse section of the vault to be arched from side to 
side, — is due the possibility of large clerestory windows, 
and this involved further provision being made for exterior 

In Romanesque buildings either there was no clerestory 
or it was of insignificant dimensions. At S. Ambrogio 
in Milan, nave and aisle are under one unbroken slope of 
roof, and a clerestory is impossible (Fig. 6, v. sup. p. 28). It 
was the same in the churches of Auvergne and Toulouse, 
where the barrel vaults of the nave are abutted by 
quadrant vaults in the aisle, both being under one roof 
as at S. Ambrogio. At Vezelay, where perhaps the nave 
was cross-vaulted for the first time, a clerestory window 
is accomplished but it is kept low, the wall-arch being 
not so high as the rest. But now there was nothing to 
prevent the clerestory being of the full width of the wall- 
arch of the vault, and as high as the space between the 

1 V. Viollet-le-Duc, Diet. Rats. vol. iv. "Construction," vol. ix. "Voute." 
The history of the development of vaulting in France is carefully traced by 
Mr Moore, in his Development and character of Gothic Architecture. 


roof over the triforium and the crown of the vault, 
provided only proper support could be given to the 
upper storey. 

When there was no aisle it was easy enough to apply Buttress- 
an exterior buttress against each point where the thrust ITo^aTsieT 
was concentrated, as was done at King's College Chapel, 
Cambridge, the Sainte Chapelle in Paris, the western 
side of the great transept at Salisbury, the eastern bays 
at Southwell and Rochester and the eastern transept at 
Durham. The difficulty arose when there was an aisle, 
which removed the buttress pier from the main wall to 
the outside wall of the aisle. This difficulty was met by 
the invention of the flying buttress to bridge across the 
aisle and reach the main wall of the clerestory stage at 
the proper spot to receive and resist the thrust of the 
high vaults. 

A diagram will explain the nature of this structure The flying 
(Fig. 18). The dotted line AB shows the direction of 
the thrust of the high vault outwards, and CD that 
of the aisle vault inwards. If not resisted their effect 
would be to force the upper part of the wall out, and 
the lower part inwards\ A thrust may be defeated in 
two ways : you may either annihilate it or divert it. The 
lower thrust CD is annihilated by the enormous load of Thrust 
the superstructure which overpowers it by direct vertical lated 
pressure: the upper is partly diverted by means of the Thrust 
flying buttress to the great buttress pier E, and partly 
converted into a downward direction by the thrust of 
the flying buttress at F. Everything depends on the 
immobility of this great pier E, which is the ultimate immo- 
point d'appici in which all the conflicting forces find rest. buuTess 

' This actually happened at S. Thomas's Church, Portsmouth, which it 
fell to my lot to repair. 

J. G. A. 4 



[CH. Ill 

thrust of 

From this pier the nave vault might be stayed by a 
single prop of timber without any flying buttress, and in 
fact when we are called upon to rebuild a flying buttress 
what we do is to supply its place temporarily with just 
such a prop. But the stone arch EF is something more 
than a prop : for were the nave wall away it is obvious 

Fig. 1 8. 

the arch would fall inwards towards the nave by its own 
weight. This weight therefore constitutes a thrust against 
the nave wall, — for thrust after all is only a matter of 
weight, — and this helps to divert the thrust AB into a 
more vertical direction which is* of course more easily 
resisted. It is curious that this inward thrust of the 


flying buttress, which surely is of value, does not seem 
to have been appreciated by the French architects, v^^ho 
often put a small shaft close against the nave wall to 
support the head of the flying arch at F, thereby pre- 
venting it from exercising any pressure on the wall, and 
treating it merely as a prop to convey the thrust upon 
the great buttress pier E\ 

Arrived at this point Gothic architecture may be End of 
considered to have shaken off the last traces of Roman tradition 
tradition. It was bound by no formula of module and 
minute, by no stereotyped plan for house or temple, by 
no conventional rules of construction, plan, or design. 
Its only laws were those of nature, — of statics and 
geometry, of convenience and economy. It gave free individu- 
scope to the individuality of the artist as well as to the artist 
manner of the school in which he was trained. He was 
as free as air to indulge his own imagination, to devise 
ever fresh methods of construction, and ever fresh modes 
of expression. The result was a style which is ever 
surprising us with designs that are never stale but always 
fresh and new, and that constantly astonish us with their 
infinite variety. The artist was bound only by obedience 
to the three great canons which all good styles must The 
obey: his construction must be sound, his work be fanonsof 
economically contrived, and his design must reflect and 


* A curious instance of the inward thrust of a flying buttress is afforded by 
what happened at Bath Abbey. The nave, though designed for vauhing, was 
left in the 17th century with a wooden ceiling, but in 1833 flying buttresses 
imitating those of the choirwere placed on both sides of the nave, which it is said 
began to push the wall in. The nave had its present fan vault constructed by 
Sir Gilbert Scott about the middle of the 19th century to resist this inward 
thrust, but the vault began to overpower the buttresses, which buckled and 
threatened disaster. On examination I found they were hollow, and had to 
take them out and reconstruct them. But though too infirm for their work 
their unresisted thrust had been too much for the walls. 







canons of 

of con- 

express aesthetically the conditions under which he 
worked. From these general principles, applied to the 
circumstances of the Middle Ages, were evolved the 
particular principles which have been explained in the 
preceding chapters, and which differentiate the new style 
from all that had gone before it; (i) concentration of 
thrusts and supports and articulation of the structure 
more fully developed than in Roman work; (2) subordina- 
tion of orders, which was an entirely novel feature; 
(3) freedom of arched construction by the introduction of 
the pointed arch and the system of rib and panel vaulting ; 
and (4) correspondence between the load and its supports 
logically expressed. This seems to me to be as near a 
definition of Gothic architecture as the subject admits. 

Hitherto we have dealt almost entirely with con- 
struction, because without understanding that the style 
cannot be understood at all. In no other style has the 
constructive problem played so large a part. It was 
necessary to explain it in some detail before coming to 
the more aesthetic part of the subject, because that 
depends largely on the former and without some clear 
knowledge of it would be unintelligible. 



The 13th centurv, in which Gothic architecture was Character 

r 11 1 1 1 ' 1 1 • • • 1 of 'he 13th 

fully developed and reached its prime, has been described century 
by one philosopher, — I think it is Leibnitz, — as the 
stupid century. With Innocent III at the beginning, 
and Boniface VIII at the close of the period, it was the 
time when ecclesiastical pretensions reached their zenith, 
and when the Church claimed supremacy in every sphere 
of public politics as well as of private life ; when thrones 
and dominions were held to be at its disposal, and when 
the clergy were placed above the reach of the common 
law. It was the age of what Gibbon calls " the most 
signal triumph over sense and humanity, the establish- 
ment of transubstantiation and the origin of the Inquisi- 
tion." It was the age of Christian persecution of Christian, 
of the inhuman crusade against the Albigenses, which 
deluged the most flourishing and civilized part of France 
with blood, and reduced it to a desert. 

But it was also the age of the growth of more liberal The 
opinions, and of civil liberty. In our own country, if it nSy ° 
was disgraced by the surrender of John to the Pope, 
it was also the age of Stephen Langton and the Great 
Charter; of Grostete; of the younger Simon de Montfort 
and the development of better justice and more regular 


Parliamentary institutions ; of the growth of Oxford ; of 

Roger Bacon, and the beginning of secular learning. In 

The Italian Italy, which then led the world in art and letters, it was 

mu^es the age of Frederick II, stupor mundi, perhaps the most 

interesting figure in the middle ages, to which indeed 

he hardly seems to belong. The free communes in the 

plain of the Po, rejoicing in their liberties won at 

Legnano, were raising their town halls and cathedrals 

as monuments of civic greatness, rivalling and fighting 

one another till fear of Frederick drew them together 

into the second league of Lombardy. Venice, Genoa, 

and Pisa controlled the commerce of the world. Florence 

had raised those second walls to enclose a larger cityj 

which Dante bewails as the beginning of her moral 

decline ; and the simplicity of Bellincion Berti with his 

belt of leather and buttons of bone, and his wife who 

could leave her mirror with face unpainted, had begun 

to yield to the growth of wealth and luxury \ It was the 

age of the birth of Italian poetry. Dante traces the 

origin of the true I talian language to the court of Frederick, 

whose chancellor, Peter De Vinea, is said to have been 

the father of the Italian sonnet ; and the end of the 

century produced the history of Villani and the Vita 

Nuova, to be followed by the Divina Commedia itself. 

Communal As in Lombardy, so in France, England, Germany 

fheTest'of and Flanders the communes had already in great measure 

"'^°^^ achieved municipal liberty during the 12th century, 

everywhere encouraged more or less directly by the 

crown to balance the power of the feudal nobles. In 

The France Beauvais acquired communal rights in 1099, to 

Com- which the bishop took the oath. At Noyon the bishop 

granted a charter, which he asked the king to confirm. 

^ Paradise, XV. 112. 



Mantes demanded one of the king, who was its feudal The 
lord. Laon in iiii, excited by the example of Noyon com- 
and S. Quentin, revolted against its bishop. It had """""^^ 
always been a turbulent city, where " brigandage was 
endemic." Nobles oppressed the burghers, the burghers 
trampled on the commons, and the bishop tyrannized 
over all. The bishop was bribed to consent to a charter, 
and when Louis Le Gros visited the town he was 
offered 400 livres to confirm it. The bishop however 
outbid the townsmen with 700. Louis retired in time to 
avoid the outbreak, but the townsmen stormed the palace 
and murdered the bishop, whom they found hidden in a 
tub ; clerks and nobles had to escape by flight, women 
of the town despoiled the ladies, and the cathedral was 
burned. The king returned and sacked the town, but 
the commune was re-established in 1128. Amiens after 
a four years' war gained her liberty in 1 1 1 7 ; S. Riquier 
in 1126; Soissons between 11 16 and 11 26; Abbeville 
in 1 1 30; Reims in 1139. In 1146 Sens was granted a 
charter by Louis VII which was revoked three years 
later : upon which the citizens rose and murdered the 
abbot of S. Vif and his nephew. At Vezelay the towns- 
men in alliance with the Count of Nevers triumphed over 
the abbey in 11 36, but the alliance prevented their 
achieving complete liberty. 

That the movement should be hated by the clergy, 
especially the regulars, was natural. " Commune," cried 
the Abbot Guibert of Nogent, in holy horror, "name 
novel, name detestable."' It was in the towns that the 
new lay spirit of liberty flourished, " Everywhere they 
revolted against bishop, abbot and chapter. They braved 
the curses of popes ; they could only grow at the expense 

^ Lavisse, Histoire de France^ vol. ll. p. 349. 



France the 
cradle of 




of powers local and general, and of the Church. It is by 
the emancipated bourgeoisie that the laic spirit arrived 
at modifying from top to bottom the character not only 
of public powers and social relations, but also of the 
literature and intellectual life of the country \" 

It was the beginning of the reign of freedom in 
thought as well as in politics. The ground thus gained 
was never lost, and in this period were sown the seeds of 
the great revolutions of the i6th century. For though 
the pretensions of the Church never rose higher than in 
the 13th century, they contained already the seeds of 

It was in France, and in the royal domain of the 
He de France chiefly, that the transition from Romanesque 
to Gothic began, and it is with that school that we had 
best begin the account of the new style. 

The importance of the crown had grown steadily in the 
1 2th century under Louis le Gros, and Louis le Jeune, 
and in the 13th century the new royalty was consolidated 
by Philip Augustus, who added to the old territory of the 
He de France the provinces forfeited by John of England. 
Then took place that astonishing burst of cathedral 
building which has no parallel except the great building 
period in England that followed the Norman Conquest, 
or the development of railways in our own day. During 
the reign of Philip, from 1 180 to 1223, were founded the 
cathedrals of Paris, Chartres, Bourges, Laon, Soissons, 
Meaux, Noyon, Amiens, Rouen, Cambrai, Arras, Tours, 
Seez, Coutances, and Bayeux, and before the end of the 
century they were nearly all finished. 

What was the meaning of this extraordinary move- 
ment .-^ It had, probably, two causes: the decline of 

^ Lavisse, Hisioire de France^ vol. n. p. 356. 


monastic influence, and the rise of the communes. For Decline of 
long there had been antagonism between the regular 1^^"^'*''^ 
and secular clergy. Till the end of the 12th century the 
monks stood first in popular esteem. The life of the 
cloister was thought the higher life ; the monks had 
charge of education, and were the repositories of learning, 
and from their ranks men like Suger were chosen to fill 
great offices of state. Pontifical bulls favoured them at 
the expense of the bishops, from whose jurisdiction they 
had obtained exemption. This had always been a sore Antagon- 
grievance and led to constant quarrels. The Bishop of Tegukr 
Orleans in 987 tried to gather the vintage from land sectiar 
claimed by the Abbot of S. Benoit, and when prevented '^'^'sy 
his men waylaid the abbot and abused him, killing some 
of his men. Pulques, Bishop of Orleans in 1008, tried to 
enter the monastery of Fleuri : the monks resisted, and 
beat some of his men to death. An episcopal council at 
S. Denis in 995 was routed by the vassals of the abbey, 
and the archbishop was wounded and barely escaped 
with life. In 1069 Hugh, Bishop of Langres, burned the 
abbey of Pothieres, to which he had been refused ad- 
mission\ The men of Vezelay with the countenance of 
the Count of Nevers sacked the monastery, and the 
Pope wrote to charge the Bishop of Autun with having 
instigated the outrage". The abbeys had become great Early 
feudalists with enormous revenues. Their churches far JJcathe-^ 
outshone the cathedrals, which till the end of the fbbeVs" 
1 2th century were of modest dimensions like those of 
Avignon, Aries, Autun, and other places where the old 
cathedrals have survived. At P^rigueux the cathedral 
of S. Etienne was a very humble affair compared with 

^ Lavisse, Histoire de France^ vol. ll. p. 339, etc. 

2 D'Achery, Spicilegium Hist. Vizeliacensis, Lib. I. Epist. XVII. 


the great abbey of S. Front. No church this side the 
Alps could compare with the vast abbey of Cluny. 
Popularity The bishops were ready to take advantage of the 
cLh^eXair decline of monastic influence, and the rise of the com- 
munes gave them their opportunity. Not that we are to 
credit them with any democratic sympathies. As great 
feudal lords the bishops were no less antagonistic to the 
commune than the nobles and the abbeys. But the 
achievement of civil liberty inspired in the citizens 
the passion to adorn their city with buildings that should 
surpass those of their neighbours. So it was, we know, 
in Italy and so it would seem to have been in France. 
The old cathedrals were condemned and thrown down, 
and on their ruins men set to work to build something 
far finer. With this object in view bishop and commune 
Coopera- could cooperate, however much they differed otherwise. 
bishop Policy caused bishops, like those of Beauvais and Noyon, 
and laity ^^ grant charters and swear to the commune, however 
much they may have disliked it. The bishop no doubt 
was the main mover in the pious work, and probably the 
largest contributor to the expense : Maurice de Sully is 
said by a contemporary to have built the cathedral of 
Paris much more at his own cost than by gifts from 
outside. But in most cases the bulk of the money must 
have come from the people, as it had done previously 
in the rebuilding of the Abbeys. The contemporary 
account of Ordericus Vitalis^ implies the cooperation of 
the monks and " the faithful " in the time of King 
Henry I, and there would seem to have been the same 
between bishop and people in the case of the secular 

^ Omnis enim ordo Religiosorum, pace fruens et prosperitate, in omnibus 
quae ad cultum Deitatis pertinent omnipotentissimae intus et exterius suam 
diligentiam satagit exhibere. Unde templa domosque fervens fidelium devotio 
praesumit prosternere, eademque melioranda renovando iterare. //t'st. lib. x. 


rebuilding. Rebellious and turbulent Laon began the 
new cathedral within 45 years from the confirmation of 
her liberties\ Within a century after their achievement 
of freedom all the great cities in the royal domain had 
rebuilt or were rebuilding their cathedrals, and this must 
be something more than a coincidence. It is remark- 
able, and significant of the cooperation of bishop and 
commune in the pious work, that some of the grandest 
among the new cathedrals are in towns like Laon where 
the bishops had formerly been most fiercely opposed^ 

The architects were now laymen; in the early The lay 
Romanesque period they had been monks, though not 
necessarily, nor perhaps usually, in holy orders. In those 
troublous times it was only in the shelter of the cloister 
that the arts could survive, and the monks had to be 
their own builders. But this had long ceased to be the 
rule. It is true that only a few names of architects 
during the nth and 12th centuries have been preserved, 
but those whose names have survived seem to have been 
laymen. In the 13th century it is still rarer to find a 
name, for the monks were the only historians, and took 
no interest in secular buildings or builders. But in Italy, 
where the artist's name more generally survives, they 
are all laymen, and so are those whose names have been 
preserved in France during this period'. 

^ Luchaire says it was begun about 1170, others put it 20 years later. 

2 It is curious that M. Luchaire should draw an opposite conclusion 
from this fact. 

^ M. de Lasteyrie mentions Isembardus at Bernay, Rencon at Tournus, 
Umbertus at S. Benoit sur Loire, in the nth century, and in the 12th, 
Renoldus at S. Savin, Brunus at S. Gilles, Gofredus at Chauvigny, Gilebertus 
and Gelduinus at S. Sernin Toulouse, Willelmus Martini at S. Andre le bas 
Vienne, Constantin de Jarnac at S. Etienne Pdrigueux, Giraud Audebert at 
S. Hilaire de Foussay, Rogerus at Chartres Cathedral. Monkish artists, he 
says, are always styled Prater^ etc. Archit. Relig. en France d V^poque 
Romane, p. 237. 



S.Denis In the abbey church of S. Denis (Fig. 19), we first 

find something like a fully developed Gothic construction. 

Fig. 19. 

This is so well understood, and the work is so intelligently 
planned on the new system, that it is obviously the out- 
come of continued experiment, and the climax of a series 


of less perfect predecessors ; but the general opinion s. Denis 
cannot be far wrong that here for the first time, at all 
events on a grand scale, we find the development of 
Gothic architecture. 

The old church of Dagobert, founded in 625, had 
been reconstructed by Pepin-le-Bref, and apparently 
again rebuilt in the nth century. It was however still 
small and inconvenient. Suger says, we would fain hope 
with picturesque exaggeration, that " the women with 
much pain, clamour, and tumult ran to the altar over the 
men's heads as it were on a pavement^" The new 
church was built with extraordinary and, as it has turned 
out, injudicious speed. Viollet-le-Duc suggests that Suger, 
conscious of the decline of monasticism, was in a hurry 
to show to the world an abbey in the van of progress, 
instead of decrying the splendours of art with the austere 
Cistercians. His rebuilding began at the west end which The west 
was consecrated with much ceremony in 1140, as he 
recorded by what he calls an " Epitaph," concluding with 
the lines : 

Annus millenus et centenus quadragenus 
Annus erat Verbi, quando sacrata fuit. 

In the same year he began rebuilding at the east The east 
end, which from crypt to topmost vault he finished in 
three years and three months, as he recorded by a re- 
petition of his Epitaph, substituting the word quartus 
for annus in the second line. 

The body of the church was next attacked, in order The nave 
that it might be conformable and worthy of the two new 
ends. But here I gather he did not entirely pull down 

1 Gesta Sugerii Abbalis, cap. XX v. 



[CH. IV 

of Sugar's 

the old fabric\ This part of his work, however, has not 
come down to us : the bulk of the church was rebuilt 
from the designs of Pierre de Montereau between 1231 
and 1 281, and of Suger's building we have only the 
eastern ambulatory aisle with the chapels, the crypt, 
and the west front with the two bays next to it. The 
whole church has been so much pulled about by suc- 
cessive restorations, and undoing of restorations, and 
restoring afresh, that it is very difficult to make sure 

Fig, 20. Fig. 21. 

of any detail or to found any argument upon it. In the 
part which can be referred with any certainty to Suger 
round and pointed arches both appear, and though the 
pointed arch rules the construction of the upper part, 
The crypt that of the crypt is more primitive. The bays in the 
crypt are divided by plain transverse ribs which are 
round-arched, and there are no diagonals, the arris of the 
groin being slightly pinched up : but the longitudinal 
arches from pier to pier are pointed. The central part 
under the choir is surrounded by a solid wall in which is 

* Reservata tamen quantacumque portione de parietibus antiquis, quibus 
summus Pontifex Jesus Christus testimonio antiquorum scriptorum manum 
apposuerat. Gesta Sugerii, cap. xxix. 


some Romanesque arcading, remains of a church older 
than Suger's time, perhaps dating from the rebuilding in 
the iith century. The inner columns of his ambulatory 
stand away from this wall, and are joined to it by narrow 
pointed arches. The apsidal chapels have shafts in the 

A. S.DENIS. ^nfiO. 
BZLAOT^ . .llSc. 
C PARIS ^U6}. 
K. 31 A.VVA\S.,12^J. 

Fig. 22. 

angles, united by round arches, and the groins radiate 
to the centre of the vault without any ribs at all. The 
capitals of the main columns seem all to have been 
renewed or at all events scraped, and it is difficult to feel 
sure of the genuineness of any one (Fig. 20). The little 



S. Denis. 
The choir 

capitals of the jamb shafts of the windows, however, are 
untouched here as in the chapels above (Fig. 21). 

Suger's choir ends in an apse (Fig. 19), raised over 
the crypt and reached on each side by a flight of several 
steps. The French type of chevet with an ambulatory 

Fig. 23. 

and radiating chapels is completely developed, and the 
vaulting is planned and constructed with perfect know- 
ledge and skill {v. sup. Fig. 16, p. 45). The double 
aisle is divided by monocylindrical columns \^^' in 
diameter with tall wide-spreading bases (Fig. 22 a), on a 


plinth which is square with the corners cut off. The s. Denis 
torus of the base has very primitive toes at the angles. 
The capitals (Fig. 23) are very Byzantine in character, 
with the leaves sharply raffled, and laid within one 
another. The main columns of the apse, on the other 
hand, have capitals a crochet and bases moulded like those 
at Amiens and Beauvais (Fig. 22 d and e), and have 
attached shafts, — triple in the straight bay and single in 
those round the curve. They run up to the later work 
above and are in the solid of the column, from which I sup- 
pose that Pierre de Montereau inserted new apse columns 
in the place of Suger's, when rebuilding the upper part. 

The chapels (Figs. 16 and 21) have two plain wide The 
pointed windows each, with jamb shafts which have 
preserved their original capitals of a Byzantine type 
(Fig. 21). The shafts are detached and tied in with 
bronze rings. In the early narthex between the towers 
of the west front, which is also Suger's work, all the 
capitals have Byzantine foliage. The diagonal ribs are 
semi-circular and heavily moulded with rolls, and the 
Byzantine capitals are set obliquely to receive them, but 
all the other arches are pointed. 

The west portals were richly carved with Romanesque West 
scrolls, diapers, and figures, but though here and there 
an old fragment may be recognized the greater part is 
modern imitation, and therefore of little historical value. 
The middle and right hand portals were hung by Suger 
with new doors of bronze, modelled with scriptural subjects. 
In the left hand portal Suger re-hung the old doors, 
underneath a mosaic picture, which, he says, "though 
contrary to the new fashion I caused to be made here, 
and fixed in the arch of the doorway." This mosaic 
lasted till the i8th century when it was displaced for 

J. G. A. 5 



[CH. IV 

S. Denis 



a modern sculpture by Brun\ Suger's aim, as he 
elsewhere tells us, was to rival the splendour of the 
Eastern basilicas^ with their wealth of gold, mosaic, and 
precious stones. In the Musee de Cluny are some 
mosaics from S. Denis, labelled ''art Italien stcr dessin 
Frangais. XII siec/e." There are griffins and monsters 
within interlacing borders, but the interlacing patterns 
are not like any in Byzantine or Italo-Byzantine art, and 
this justifies the description on the label. They are all 
of Qrlass, from which, and also from the fact that the 
beasts are all one way up, I conclude they were 
muraP, and some of them may possibly have been in the 
tympanum of the doorway mentioned above. Among 
them, within a circle, is a kneeling figure of a monk in 
colour on a gold ground, with an abbreviated inscription 
which I read thus : hoc pater albricvs nobile fecit 
opvs. On a border round the circle is another inscription 
in two elegiac lines : 

+ Qvi te devotvs org cvi servio totvs 


About I200 the north-west tower, which had till then 
a spire of wood, received one of stone. It is to be seen 
in old prints, and is illustrated by Viollet-le-Duc*, who 
tells us that it was his sad lot to have to take it down to 
prevent its falling. It was never rebuilt, and the only 
tower at present is the sister one at the south-west angle 

^ MM. Vitry and Briere, UEglise Abbatiale de S. Denis, p. 53. 

^ Conferre consuevi cum Hierosolymitanis, et gradissime addiscere quibus 
Constantinopolitanae patuerunt gazae et Sanctae Sophiae ornamenta, utrum 
ad comparationes illorum hacc aliquid valere deberent. Gesta Sugerii 
Abbaiis, cap. xxxn. 

^ MM. Vitry and Briere {op. cit. p. 67) suppose them to have been in 
the pavement, for which they are quite unfit. 

* Diet. Rats. vol. v. pp. 435 — 438. 

Plate II 

SENLIS— The Choir 



of the fa9ade. The vanished spire had triangular taber- s. Denis 
nacles at the corners of the tower, and gabled spire-lights 
between. The spirelets of these eight structures had the 
front face upright and the back sloped. This device 
occurs also in the spire at Senlis, which I imagine must 

have been by the same architect, with the very unhappy 
effect of making these pinnacles seem to bulge outwards. 

The church, once a cathedral, of Notre Dame at Seniis 
Senlis cannot differ much in date from that of S. Denis\ 
and indeed some of its details seem more primitive. 
The choir has- an early apse with ambulatory, from 

1 Viollet-le-Duc dates the choir between 11 50 and 1165. He remarks 
that the sculpture of the capitals is a little backward in development. Diet. 
Rats. vol. VIII. p. 222. 



Seniis which shallow chapels project (Fig. 24). The triforium 
is vaulted, and has windows above the chapels. The 
apse is polygonal, but the outer wall of the ambulatory is 
round. The clerestory is flamboyant, but the capitals 
of the early vault remain at a lower level. The nave 
and choir were once continuous, but are now interrupted 
by a transept with a magnificent flamboyant end to the 
south. The vaults are sexpartite, the principal piers 
being clustered and very long in plan, alternating with 
intermediate piers, which are cylindrical. All the arches 
are pointed. The triforium has generally an open un- 
divided arch, but in one bay at the spring of the apse it 
is divided into two lights (Plate H). The apse rests on 
six cylindrical columns, the vaulting shafts rising from 
their capitals, as they do in the intermediate columns 
elsewhere : in the main clustered piers they run down to 
the floor. In the aisles the regularity of the rib and panel 
cross-vault is somewhat disturbed by the elongated plan of 
the main piers, which causes a winding surface between 
the diagonal and longitudinal arches (v. Plate II). The 
west front has two towers, and a central portal with good 
statuary, and the side portals are simple and interesting. 
The two towers are alike up to the belfry stage, where 
the northern one stops and is finished with a pyramidal 

The ^ slated roof. The other was carried up in the 1 3th century, 
with a magnificent octagon lantern crowned with a spire, 
and with shafted tabernacles to fill out the angles of the 
square. This splendid steeple has been much praised, 
and has many beautiful parts, but it is not happily 
composed. The best aspect is that on the diagonal, as 
I have drawn it (Plate III). Seen in direct elevation it 
is painfully lean, and at a distance looks like a huge 
pinnacle, or a lighthouse, on a square base. The angle 




Plate III 

j i \^;i/>r^--:(iiij 

T. G. J. 


T. G. J. 



tabernacles are so slight and open and detached that Seniis 
they do not give the solid outline the eye desiderates ; and 
the eight curious gabled spire-lights with their sloping 
backs and upright fronts, like those that have disappeared 
from S. Denis, seem to bulge outwards by a well-known 
optical illusion and have a bad effect. The detail of this 
part is lovely, but it does not condone these defects of 
outline : for in a steeple outline is everything. 

The cathedral of Sens has been already referred to Sens 
in a preceding chapter. It was begun in 1143 and 
finished in 1 168, with the exception of the west end which 
dates from the middle of the next century. The arches 
are pointed, the sexpartite vaulting regulates the alternate 
arrangements of clustered piers, and cylindrical columns, — 
doubled in this case, — and the vaulting shafts of the main 
transverse and diagonal groups of ribs are carried down 
to the ground. The whole logic of Gothic construction 
is accurately expressed. The traceried windows in the 
clerestory are not original but date from the later part- of 
the 13th century after a fire, when the vaults also had to 
be reconstructed^ (v. sup. Plate I, p. 38). 

The carving is abstract and in the great piers simple; 
but in the wall arcading are capitals with foliage of a 
Byzantine character, mixed in some cases with animals ^ 
The pretty staircase to the treasury (Plate IV), is rather 
more advanced, but the difference in date, if any, cannot 
be very great. The west portals are rich with imagery, The 
and afford a good example of the lofty enriched basement ^"'^'^ ^ 
on which the columns of the jambs rest in many French 
churches (Plate V). In this case there are three tiers 
of panels above the plinth. The upper row contains 

^ V.-le-Duc, Diet. Rats. vol. n. p. 349. 

* Illustrated in my Reason in Architecture, Plate II. 



Plate V 



■^j. \ 

' 4— I 


/ 1 

'!'-)■? L 


';.'.^^ ., 

^' > ..'^- 

'fp'^li (M: 



>y..,.M U P'i:^t^ 

T. c; J. 




figures of the liberal arts and sciences, and the lower Sens 
has a skiapod'^, and other natural and fabulous creatures 
from the bestiaries. The ornament on one of the 
jambs, shows the conventional scroll-work of the pre- 
ceding period in an advanced stage, with an early 
foreshadowing of the natural foliage that was soon to be 
achieved (Fig. 25). The treatment of the other side of 
the same pier is still more naturalesque. The windows 
at Sens abound in some of the most magnificent grisaille 
glass, with coloured borders, to be found in France , and 
the cathedral at Auxerre has more of the same kind. 

It is remarkable that the large vaulted triforium of The 
Senlis, Noyon, and still later churches, has been abandoned 
at Sens in favour of one that anticipates those of Reims 
and Chartres. The architecture at Sens is rather in 
advance of its date. 

The church of S. Alpin, at Chalons-sur-Marne s. Aipin. 
shows on a smaller scale a logical Gothic construction, sur^Marne 
except that as the vault is quadripartite and not sexpartite 
there is no reason for the alternate variation of the piers 
(Plate VI). The main arches are pointed, but the 
round arch lingers in the windows of aisles and clerestory. 
The vault has no wall-rib, but that as I have explained 
elsewhere is not a necessary feature of rib and panel 

The fine church of Notre Dame in the same town Notre 
has Romanesque towers with rather ugly leaded spires at chaions- 


* We learn from Ctesi'as that these one-legged umbrella-footed people 
lived in India. " Hominum genus, qui Monosceli vocarentur singulis 
cruribus, mirae pemicitatis ad saltum : eosdemque Sciapodas vocari, quod 
in majori aestu humi jacentes resupini, umbra se pedum protegant." Plin. 
Nat. Hist. Lib. vn. Cap. ll. Their nearest neighbours were the Troglodytes, 
but the people who had no necks, and wore their eyes between their 
shoulders were not far away. 



the west end, and others at the transept which date 
apparently from 1145 when there seems to have been a 
rebuilding. The rest is later in the century. All the 
arches are pointed ; and there is a vaulted triforium gallery, 
with a second triforium above united to the clerestory 
lights. The sweep of the apse starts from the towers at 
the transept. Although the vault is quadripartite there 
is a slight alternation of the piers. Many of the capitals 
are quite Byzantine in the character of their foliage, 

Fig. 26. 


though it is fair to say they seem to have been well 
scraped even if they have not been renewed. Other 
capitals are Romanesque with wildly knotted foliage and 
scroll-work. The apse resembles that of S. Remi at 
Reims, with triple clerestory lights, and chapels opening 
to an ambulatory with triple arches. 

The cathedral of Noyon (Fig. 26) was begun in 
1 1 50 after a disastrous fire which burned the older 
church and the town in 1 1 30. The new cathedral, which 

Plate VI 





T. n. J. 


Plate VI T 


\ ' 



,'" ' ■ 




T. G. J. 




was finished with the exception of the west end about Noyon 
1 1 90 or 1200 is one of the finest in France, and 
illustrates perhaps better than any other the transition 
from Romanesque to Gothic. Bishop Baudoin who re- 
built it was a friend of S. Bernard, and of Abb^ Suger, 
who had just finished his church at S. Denis in the 
new style; and Noyon has many points of resemblance Resem- 
to S. Denis, and possibly, as Viollet-le-Duc suggests, s.^DenL*' 
was built by workmen released from the other building. 
It is on a grand scale, and has a vaulted triforium. 
When this occurs the triforium gallery no longer cor- 
responds to the space between the back of the aisle 
vaulting and the lean-to roof above it, for the roof has to The 
be raised a storey higher ; consequently in many such triforium 
cases, as here at Noyon, we find a second triforium 
above the other, represented by a sunk arcade, which 
however is not always pierced with a passage. 

The choir and transept are Bishop Baudoin's work ; 
not only there, however, but in the nave as well which 
was later, though finished before the end of the century, 
round and pointed arches are used indiscriminately. The The 
transepts have rounded apsidal ends like those at Tournay, ^""^"^^p' 
which had been united with Noyon in one see till II35^ 
M. Vitet suggests that the canons of Noyon adopted 
this plan as a reminiscence of the sister church they had 
lost, and a protest against the recent separation. 

The choir, which is the oldest part of the church, has The choir 
three straight bays, and an apse of five bays, semi- 
circular, and surrounded by a semi-circular ambulatory 
from which radiate five semi-circular chapels between the 
great buttresses (Plate VII). In the columnar buttresses 
between the windows we see a survival of Romanesque 

^ V. Gallia Christiana, Eccl. Noviomensis. 


[CH. IV 


Noyon tradition. Viollet-le-Duc observes that these chapels 
anticipate what was the ultimate plan of a cathedral 
chevet, for at Paris, Bourges, Laon, and Chartres, there 
were originally very few chapels or none at all, though 
these churches are later than that at Noyon ; and he 
suggests that their presence here is due to the example 
of S. Denis \ 

Fig. 27. 

The first bay of the choir is prepared with massive 
piers to receive a tower on each side, which was never 
built. In this bay both the arcade and the triforium 
have plain round arches, the latter undivided. Theyi 
have two orders. The capitals of the further straight! 
bays are very primitive and carry round arches. The] 
apse columns are monocylindric and carry arches that] 

^ Diet. Rats, vol. II. p. 303. Originally the cathedrals had either no 
chapels or very few, while the abbeys had many. They were added afterwards 
in great numbers by different families for their own use and credit. 

Plate VIII 

•' r 








T. G.J. 



are pointed and stilted. A blank arcade represents the Noyon 
upper triforium, but the arches here are trifoliated, while 
those in the nave are plain and round. The apsidal 
chapels have regular rib and panel vaults well devised 
and constructed : the diagonal ribs cross one another in 
one plane, and seem struck from an equal radius. All 
the windows in this eastern end are pointed (Plate VII), 
with good mouldings and jamb shafts. The fine sweep 
of this end is very striking, and the renaissance buttresses 
of the upper part do not hurt the design. Romanesque 
taste lingers in some of the capitals of the arches into 
the chapels, and of the wall arcading (Fig. 27). 

The nave (Plate VIII) is rather more advanced than The nave 
the choir. The arcade is pointed, as well as the triforium, 
which is divided into two lights, with piercings in the 
shield above ; but the upper triforium arcade, and all the 
windows are still round arched. The piers are alternately 
clustered and cylindrical, as if prepared for sexpartite 
vaulting, though the vaults are actually quadripartite. 
There was, however, a fire in 1293, and the vaults may 
have had to be reconstructed then, and the plan changed. 
That the sexpartite form was originally intended is proved 
by the greater substance given to the transverse arches 
resting on the larger piers. 

The apsidal transepts have no aisles round them, 
thus escaping the heaviness of those at S. Maria in 
Capitolio at Cologne. 

The west front (Plate IX) is of a later date, but The west 
with its great towers and projecting porch is quite among 
the finest in France, nor need we regret the steeples 
which would have taken the place of the picturesque 
roofs which now crown the towers. The 14th century 
portals have been ruthlessly defaced and stripped of 



Noyon theiV Statuary but retain some exquisitely carved natural 

Fig. 28. 

On the north side of the nave was a small cloister, 
said to have been built in 1270, of which only the west 

Plate IX 


T. G. J. 

NOYON— West front 


walk remains, and that is much broken. The carving is Noyon 



naturalesque here and in the fine chapter house opening ^^^ 

out of it. The foliage round the inside of the entrance ^"^ 

. . . chapter 

archway is extraordinarily natural, and reminds one of house 
that at Southwell. 

In the choir of the church of S. Germain des Pres at s. Ger- 
Paris, which was consecrated in 1163, there is the same pres, Paris 
mixture of round and pointed arches as at Noyon, The 
arcade is round-arched but the high vaults are pointed. 
The aisles have round transverse arches, with very domical 
vaults. In the nave the piers are elongated, like fragments 
of a wall, and have attached half columns for the arches 
and one in front running up to the high vault There is 
no triforium in the nave, but in the choir there is one 
with square headed lights which are united by shafts to 
the clerestory so as to form one composition with it 
(Fig. 28), Several of the capitals are quite classical, 
with the acanthus leaves, volutes, and hollow abacus of 
the Corinthian type. 

With these examples we may conclude the transitional End of the 
period of French Gothic, during which the art was 
gradually advancing step by step, from the early and 
tentative work at S. Denis to the bolder and more 
assured construction of the 13th century. 



The cradle The gTcat French churches hitherto described show 
Gothic in its infancy. It is true the system of what 
we understand by Gothic construction was thoroughly 
developed in the art of Suger and Baudoin. The vaults 
were turned with rib and panel, the thrusts brought to ^ 
isolated points and scientifically supported by counter * 
thrusts and flying buttresses, and the use of the pointed 
arch was fully appreciated. But Romanesque traditions 
were not yet entirely forgotten. We still find round 
arches mixed with pointed, and primitive sculpture by 
the side of carving more directly based on nature. 
Nevertheless the movement from the old to the new 
style was unmistakeably there, and Viollet-le-Duc is 
tempted to ask whether in the church of S. Denis, and 
the cathedrals of Noyon and Senlis, we may not see the 
cradle of pointed architecture. 
Paris. In the cathedral of Notre Dame at Paris (Fig. 29), 

Dame which was begun by Bishop Maurice de Sully in 1163, 

and partly completed during his lifetime, we find the - 
transition complete, and Romanesque tradition finally % 
put aside. He demolished the old church of S. Etienne 
to make way for the eastern part of his new building, 
leaving the modest cathedral of Notre Dame for the 
present standing. The new choir rose rapidly. In 1177 
a traveller, Robert du Mont, records that he saw it 

Plate X 


CH. V] 



finished, all but the great roof, and in 1182 the high Paris, 
altar was consecrated by the papal legate. At the death Dame 
of Maurice de Sully in 1 196, the choir and transepts were 
finished ; and the nave, excepting the towers and three 
western bays, had begun to rise from the ground, which 
had been cleared by pulling down the older cathedraP. 
Before the death of Philip Augustus in 1223, the nave 
was completed and the west front raised to the base 
of the topmost gallery, and the gallery and the upper 




part of the towers were finished and the whole church 
completed between 1235 and 1 240. There were therefore 
three stages in the construction ; first the choir and 
transepts, 1163-1182, then the nave up to the last three 
bays, 1 182- 1 196, and lastly the three western bays and 
the towers, 1218-1223. 

The original plan (Fig. 29) was that of a simple 
basilica with a shallow transept and a double aisle on 
each side carried round the east end. There were no 

1 M. Marcel Aubert believes the nave was finished, all but the roof, 
thus far by 1 196. La Cathidrale Notre Dame de Paris, p. ro. 


Paris^ chapels between the buttresses, but only the principal 
Dame altar in the choir apse, with the bishop's throne behind 
it. There was, as now, a vaulted triforium gallery, but it 
had large windows behind, for which the pocket of the 
vault was tilted up, and this only left room above its roof 
for a small clerestory. The roof space over the triforium 
gallery was lighted from the nave by rose-shaped lights, 
taking the place of the second triforium at Noyon, 
Soissons, and elsewhere. The flying buttresses were in 
two flights resting halfway on a middle pier. 
Early Scarcely had the canons finished their building" before 

alteration v i i • /x-^ 

they began to alter it (Fig. 30). The interior would have 
been imperfectly lighted by the clerestory windows which 
were very small, and by those of the triforium A and 
of the aisles, which were remote. A fire gave the 
opportunity for alteration, and for following the example of 
other churches that had risen since Notre Dame was 
designed, with larger windows and ampler space for 
painted glass. The roses of the upper triforium J were 
abolished and the clerestory windows P lengthened down- 
wards, widened, and filled with simple tracery: the 
windows at the back of the triforium were shortened, and 
the roof lowered. The double flight of the buttresses 
was altered into a single flight as we now see them, the 
middle pier being removed (Plate X). In 1258 a further 
alteration took place ; the transepts were lengthened 
one bay by the architect Jean de Chelles. Lastly, in 
1296, Bishop de Bucy filled in the spaces between the 
buttresses of the apse with chapels opening by triple 
arches to the outer ambulatory aisle ; and this brought 
the plan to what we now see. Of these chapels the 
architect was Pierre de Chelles, presumably a son of 
Jean. They do not seem to have been finished till 13 15. 

Plate XT 





Second form x . Original form - . 

Fig. 30. (V.-le-Duc.) 
J. G. A. 


Paris. The choir, which is the oldest part, is five bays lon[- • 

Dame ^^ which the first four are in pairs with sexpartite vaultin 
and the fifth is slightly bowed outward, forming part v)*^ 
the apse which is a horseshoe in plan. Five narrowr- 
bays form the semi-circular apse, which has ribs radiating 
to the centre of the chord, where they are met by the 
ribs of the fifth bay, which works in admirably with tb 
sexpartite vault next to it. The rib of the fifth ba 
being longer than the other four is made slightl) 

The vaulting of the double aisle round the apse is 
very ingenious. The arches between the aisles ar 
doubled in number, and at the openings to Pierre d 
Chelles' chapels trebled ; so that in the chapel bay ther 
are three arches, and in the central aisle arcade two, t 
one in the main arcade of the choir. This makes th 
vaulting irregular, but the difficulty is well got ove 
(Fig. 29). 

All the columns are cylindrical and carry pointer 
arches with square soffit and a single roll on the edg( 
] The choir triforium has two-light openings divided by 
column, under a pointed arch with a shallow order con 
sisting of a roll moulding (Plate XI). It is now lit b 
traceried windows in the back wall, which of cours 
is not the original plan. In the transept the shieL' 
above the two lights is pierced with a circle. In th 
capitals we lose the Romanesque element : some of then 
approach the type ^ crochet, though there are non( 
actually of that kind except near the west end, which i 
later. Fig. 31 shows one of the more elaborate kind 
others are simpler. In those carrying the main arcad( 
the abacus is square ; in those of the arcade dividing th< 
aisles the corners are chamfered off as they are a 

CH. V] 


Canterbury. All the foliage seems based on water plants, Paris, 
such as cress, and hits a happy mean between convention Dame 
and nature. The bases are of the Attic type as modified 
by the mediaeval men, and have a singularly delicate 
and refined section, reminding one of Greek profiles 
(Fig. 2 2 c, p. 63). Over the crossing is a quadripartite 
vault very highly domed. The nave would originally The nave 
have had above the triforium gallery a second triforium 

Fig. 31- 

of the rose lights with their singular tracery, which must 
have had a very remarkable and unusual effect. These 
were all removed, and the clerestory lengthened and 
made into two lights with a mullion carrying a plain 
circle, as was done in the choir. In the bays of nave 
and transept next the crossing, Viollet-le-Duc has restored 
this original arrangement of the rose triforium and the 
small clerestory from traces and fragments which he 




Paris. found of the original design (Fig. 30) : till then all the 

Dame bays Were alike \ 

The nave -j^j^g trifoHum of the nave has three lights divided by 

tnfonum " ^ •' 

columns under a pointed including arch, and the main 
arcade has two orders with roll mouldings instead of 
one as in the choir. The gallery is lighted by arched 
triangular windows, something like those at Westminster, 
containing a sexfoiled circle^ The nave vaulting is sex- 
partite in five double bays, but no difference is made in 
the vaulting shafts, nor in the great cylindrical columns 
of the arcade, which are all alike, though in the range 
dividing the two aisles cylindrical columns alternate with 
clustered piers. 
The west The front (Plate XI) is perhaps on the whole the 

most satisfactory of all the great French facades. It is 
simpler than those of Reims and Amiens, more compact 
than that of Bourges, and its three great stages divided by 
two rich bands of arcading have a magnificent breadth 
of effect. The towers, no doubt, were to have had lofty 
spires of stone, but I think they are just as well without 
them. Their present square tops suit the general hori- 
zontality of the design, which is strongly emphasized, 
and in which we may trace the last expression of 
Romanesque tradition. There is also no doubt a 
Romanesque feeling in the great colonnades of the nave 
and aisles within the church, in the low proportion of 
the arcade, and the greater importance given to the 
triforium gallery, but this disproportion would have been 

1 These rose openings were found by him during the restoration, and 
between the publication of the first and second volumes of his Dictionnaire 
Raisonn/. Compare the elevations in vol. i. p. 192, with those in vol. n. 
pp. 290, 291. 

2 These lights seem to be designed by MM. Lassus and Viollet-le-Duc, 
without any guidance from what they found, v. Marcel Aubert, La Cathddrale 
Noire Davie de Paris, p. 52. 

Plate XII 

T.G.J. NOTRE DAME— PARIS— .South Aisle of Choir 


less marked when the range of rose openings ran along paris. 
between the gallery and the clerestory. Their removal Dame 
has altered the whole scheme of proportion between the 
storeys. Be this as it may there is no nobler interior in 
France than that of Notre Dame, and the views in the 
aisles when the defective proportion is not seen, are as 
fine as we could wish (Plate XH)'. 

If we look round France and compare the work at iiede 
Paris with what was being done in the provinces while romp"ed 
Notre Dame was rising, we shall be struck with the '""rovinces 
great advance made in the architecture of the Royal 
domain. At Autun and V^zelay we still find Romanesque 
construction, and semi-classical details. In Auvergne 
the local round arched and barrel-vaulted style was in 
full swing. At Perigueux the domes of S. Front were 
only just finished ; and the Romanesque fronts of Aries 
and S. Gilles were in process of building. Much remained 
to be done to perfect the Gothic idea, but the conception 
was firmly grasped by the architect of Notre Dame, and 
it only remained for his successors to develop it further. 

The cathedral of Laon (Fig. 32), which in many Laon 
respects resembles that of Paris, dates from the last '^^'^'^^'^'■^' 
quarter of the 12th century. The older cathedral was 
burned by the citizens in 1 1 1 2, as has been related in 
a former chapter, when their promised charter was refused 
and they rose and slew the bishop^ It seems to have 
been repaired in 1 1 14 when the miraculous ox helped to 

' In the purlieus of Notre Dame may still be found relics of the canonical 
buildings. There is a I2th century vaulted chaped dedicated to S. Aignan 
now a squalid stable, which may be found with a little trouble. In this ^ 

chapel disguised priests ministered during the Terror of the Revolution. 
There is also a fine staircase of heavy woodwork of Renaissance date in the 
Rue Massillon, which probably belonged to a canonical house. 

'^ V. sup. p. 55. 







draw the materials, but about 1160 an entirely new 
building was begun by Bishop Gautier de Mortagne\ 
Starting as was the general plan at the east end, the 
east side of the transept and the first three bays of the 
choir were first built, finishing eastward with a semi- 
circular apse and ambulatory. Next followed the nave, 
the west front with the two towers, and the lower part, 
as high as the roof, of the other five towers originally 
projected. All this seems to have been finished by 1205. 


Fig. 32. 

The upper stages of the Tour de S. Paul at the west 
side of the north transept were added before the year 
1225, and those of the corresponding Tour de I'Horloge 
at the south transept rather later. The other two towers 
flanking the transepts on their eastern side never rose 
any higher. At the same time that the nave was built 
Thesquare the choir was altered to its present form. The apse was 

ended ^ . 

choir destroyed, and the eastern arm of the building was 
prolonged till it was almost equal to the nave, and 
finished with a square east end, contrary to usual French 

^ Laon et ses Environs^ Lucien Broche. 




Fig. 33. (Drawing by J. O. Scott.) 


Laon custom \ Lateral chapels were added in the 14th century 

cathedral -r* • i a • 11 1 

as at raris and Amiens, and the south transept was 
The remodelled in the same century. During the last century 

restoration , , 1 • 1 • • 1 1 

the towers threatened rum, and extensive repairs had 
to be undertaken, involving much reconstruction and 
underpinning, and the antiquity of the building has in 
consequence suffered considerably. The statuary of the 
portals is modern. 

The vaults The arches are pointed everywhere, and rest on 
mono-cylindric columns as at Paris. The vaults are 
sexpartite ; the vaulting shafts rise from the nave capitals, 
in groups of five shafts and three alternately, corresponding 
to the alternation of the vaulting ribs. There is a vaulted 
triforium gallery, and above it the second triforium of 
Noyon and originally of Paris, with a passage in the 
' wall (Fig. 3s). 

When rebuilding the choir on a straight line the 
columns of the apse were used again, and they bear 
traces of having been made to suit a circular plan. The 

The capitals are very simple ; those carrying the five vaulting 

capi a s shafts of the main cluster of ribs are polygonal to fit their 
load, those carrying the three shafts of the intermediate 
are square. The foliage is very severe ; that shown in 
Fig. 34 has an abstract form of leaf common in Rutland 
and Northamptonshire. The bases are of the quasi- 
Attic type (Fig. 22 b, p. 63), but without the delicacy of 

Severity those at Paris (Fig. 22 c). Indeed throughout the building 
there is a kind of roughness, virile but a little clumsy 
and heavy-handed, which has something in common with 
Norman work. The central lantern is unusual in the 

Northern He de France, but common in Normandy, and general in 


^ M. Leftvre-Pontalis cites a number of square ended choirs in the Ilede 
France, Broche, op. cit. p. 21. 

Plate XIII 

T. G. J. LAON— Choir and North Transept 

Plate XIV 

LAU-N— West front 

CH. V] 



Anglo-Norman cathedrals. At the ends of the transepts Laon 
is the cross gallery at triforium level, formed by returning 
the arcade, which occurs at Caen, Cerisy-la-Foret, and 
Winchester ; and on the eastern side of the transepts are 
apsidal chapels in two storeys like those at Christchurch 
Priory (Plate XHI). All these are Norman features, and 
the sexpartite vault itself seems to have originated in 
Normandy, though it spread beyond its limits. Viollet- 

Fig. 34- 

le-Duc traces in the architecture something of the rude 
and masterful character of this turbulent city. It is not 
known who was the architect ; one may imagine him a 
northerner, of a different school from those who designed 
the cathedrals of Soissons and Reims. 

The towers at Laon are highly original. Wilars de Thetowers 
Honecort sketched them, and writes against his sketch front 
that in all his travels he has never seen a tower to equal 


Laon them\ Those of the west front (Plate XIV), are extra- 
ordinarily massive, with deep projecting buttresses up 
to the roof level. Their projection is disguised by the 
pedimented gables over the portals which are brought 
forward to the face of the buttresses ^ The next stage 
has in the centre a rose window under a round arch 
between two pointed single lights, all similarly recessed 
between the buttresses. Then comes the usual arcaded 
gallery with which the nave gable is hidden as at Paris, 
Chartres and Reims. Above this the towers break into 

The oxen octagons, with projections at the angles carrying open 
tabernacles on colonnettes, square in plan in the first 
stage, octagonal in the second. In one of these a spiral 
stair on colonnettes is managed, and from between the 
colonnettes of them all peep out the oxen which com- 

The spires mcmorate the legend. A crocketted spire between four 
spirelets surmounted each of the four towers, and Wilars s 
sketch shows the lower part of those on the western 
tower. They have now all disappeared, but that on 
the Tour de I'Horloge lasted till the Revolution, when 
it had to be removed, being dangerously out of the 

The construction of these openwork stages is obviously 
unsuitable for carrying weight. In the later, but some- 

s. Pere what similar tower at S. Pere sous Vezelay in Burgundy 

Wzeiay (Plate XV), there is only a wooden spire. This charming 
steeple, which dates from about 1240, is attached to a 
humble church, and the great gable with its niches and 
statuary has nothing behind it. The porch or narthex, 

* J'ai este en mult de tieres si com vos porez trover en cest livre. En 
aucun liu onques tel tor ne vi com est cele de Loon. Ed. Willis, p. 57, 

2 These porches, however, were entirely reconstructed by the architect 
of the restoration, M. Bceswillwald. Broche, op. cit. p. 24. 

Plate XV 

T. G. J. 

s. ri-:KE— suL's x'lzllav 


on which the picturesque effect of the composition depends s. Pere 
SO much, IS a later addition. Great lightness is given to Vczeky 
the angles of the tower by the detached shafts, and the 
whole effect is airy and delightful. The union of the 
octagon with the square is artistically contrived by running 
the angle shafts of the octagon down into the square. 
But the tower abounds in awkwardness of detail, which 
however does not mar the effect seriously. 

To return to Laon. We must not overlook the ancient Laon. 
Evech^ with its great hall overlooking the ramparts and 6veche 
the wide plain below, and its two-storeyed chapel in the 
earliest pointed style, built by Bishop Gautier, the 
founder of the present cathedral ; nor the early church 
of S. Martin with its square east end like the cathedral, s. Martin 
There are few towns in France more full of interest than 
Laon, and the picture of the ancient city crowning a 
mighty hill with the many-towered mass of its cathedral 
is not easily forgotten. 

The fine church of S. Remy at Reims shows the s. Remy 

. . f. 1 • 1 1 • • ^t Reims 

transition irom round to pointed architecture m a very 
interesting way ; for in the nave we see Gothic con- 
struction visibly engrafted upon a Romanesque stock. It 
was at first a rather rude round-arched building of the 
nth century, with a triforium gallery, but no second 
triforium above. The piers were plain round clusters of 
shafts carrying a square unbroken abacus. To these 
were applied in the late 12th or early 13th century 
stoutish vaulting shafts to carry Gothic vaults in place 
of the original wooden roof (Fig. 35). The two western 
bays were rebuilt with pointed arches and a sexpartite 
vault, the intermediate pier consisting of two columns, 
one behind the other. In their capitals the Corinthian 
hollow abacus survives (Fig. 36). 



[CH. V 

S. Remy 
at Reims 

The choir was entirely rebuilt at the same time with 
pointed arches, a triforium divided by slender colonnettes, 
and a second triforium above. All the columns are 
mono-cylindrical, and have well-carved capitals (Fig. 37). 

Fig. 35- 

The clerestory has triple lights, the middle one higher 
than the others, and this is repeated in the triforium, 
where the lights are wider, and the middle one breaks 
up through the cornice on the outside (Plate XVI). The 
head of the flying buttresses is propped with a colonnette, 
behind which is a passage on the top of the triforium 
wall, the clerestory being set back to the inside. 

The apsidal chapels open to the ambulatory with a 
triple arch. 

Plate XVI 


^^ '*? f/ 



^ -:^^J0 


T. G. J. 



Plate XV 11 

T. G. J. 



In the south transept of Soissons, which dates from Soissons 

Fig. 36. 

1175, we find the pointed style completely developed. 
Like those at Noyon, it is apsidal, but it is much more 



[CH. V 



advanced in design. Strong clustered piers divide the 
bays, with vaulting shafts that rise to take the vaulting 
ribs, and each bay contains narrow arches on slender 
columns opening to the aisle and the triforium gallery 
(Plate XVH). Above is a second triforium with an open 
arcade, and a clerestory with triple lights of which the 
middle one is higher than the others, like those at 
S. Remy. 

Fig. 37- 

The present cathedral of Bourges was begun at the 
opening of the 13th century. The> ground plan (Fig. 38), 
but for the absence of a transept, was like that of Notre 
Dame, before they were both altered by the addition of 
chapels. Both had a nave with sexpartite vaults and 
a double aisle carried round the apse. But the section 
at Bourges is quite different. Like S. Demetrius at 
Salonica, both aisles have a triforium open to the central 
nave ; and not only that, but the inner aisle has also 
a clerestory of its own above its triforium, in order to 
contrive which the outer aisle is kept very low, and the 

Plate XVIIl 

v.-, ^■ 



T. G. J. 



CH. v1 



inner one very high. The inner aisle therefore has the Bourges 

/- 1 •/- • 11 11 cathedral 

triple stage of arcade, triforium, and clerestory equally 

Fig. 38. (V.-le-Duc.) 

with the nave. The effect of this surprising interior at 
first sight is extremely fine, but after a closer examination 


Bourges the iinpression makes itself felt that too much has been 
cathedral g^(,j.j|^(>g(j j-q j-j^jg single effect, and that the proportions of 
the nave have suffered by the importance given to the 
aisle. The nave columns look unduly pulled out, and 
the triforium and clerestory seem crushed up against the 
vault. There is also a poverty in the details, resulting 
probably from insufficiency of means, which ran short 
where the vault of the aisle was reached. The execution 
of the work in the crypt on the contrary, which was 
built while funds were plentiful, is excellent, and this part 
of the building is of remarkable beauty. The absence of 
a transept gives a certain classical dignity to the interior 
of this cathedral, with its long unbroken vaulted ceiling 
from end to end. 
The side There are two side portals where the transept would 

porta s have been had there been one. The doorways are 
relics of the older cathedral, refixed in the new building, 
and are fine examples of Romanesque. There are few 
more beautiful scrolls than that over the north doorway, 
and few more beautiful porches than those built in the 
13th century over the entrances on each side. That on 
the north is shown by Plate XVHI. Round one of the 
two arches is a series of little owls, and round the other 
one of little monkeys. 
Le Mans The Splendid choir of Le Mans, which was built at 

the end of the Romanesque nave about 1220, is like that 
at Bourges, with a double aisle round the apse, of which 
the inner one has its own triforium and clerestory. 
Chartres The Original cathedral church of Chartres (Fig. 39), 

was burnt in the nth century and rebuilt by Bishop 
Fulbert in 1028, who at the same time remodelled the 
ancient crypt of the 9th century. Between 1134 and 
1 145 the north tower was built, detached and in advance 





Fig- 39- (V.-le-Duc. 

J. G. A. 



[CH. V 


The royal 

of the west front. The south tower followed between 
1 145 and 1 1 70, and the space between the towers and 
the church was at the same time covered by a narthex, of 
which the present royal portals formed the facade. This 
was placed at the back of the towers, which stood 
detached on three sides\ Before long however these 
doors were removed to their present place, flush with the 
front of the towers, and to this probably they owe their 
escape from the fire in 1194 which destroyed Fulbert's 
church with the exception of the crypt. The towers 
also were uninjured. The south tower always had its 
present magnificent spire, but the northern one had only 
a spire of wood, which after being twice burned down, 
was replaced between 1507 and 15 13 by the beautiful 
stone steeple of Jehan le Texier, of Beauce. 

The royal portals of Chartres (Plate XIX) form an 
important link in the series of French decorative sculpture. 
The three arches are pointed, and filled with carving. 
The jambs are flanked by solemn mystic figures, atten- 
uated to the proportions of columns, and drilled into 
ranks of sacred imagery. The tympanum of the left 
doorway has the Ascension, that of the right the life of 
the Virgin Mary, and that of the centre a figure of Christ • 
within an aureole, surrounded by the four apocalyptic 
beasts. Elsewhere in the arches are the signs of the 
zodiac, and the liberal arts and sciences ; and the capitals 
are filled with scenes from the life of our Lord. The 
statues in the jambs have not the semi-classic grace of 
those in Provence : they are strictly subdued to their 
architectural function which is further expressed by the 

* A plan of this original arrangement is given by M. Merlet, Monographie 
de la CatMdrale de Chartres. The credit of the discovery is due to 
M. Lef^vre-Pontalis. 

Plate XX 

T. G. J. 



long and straight Byzantine folds of the drapery ; but Chartres 
the heads are full of character and individuality, and that 
of Christ is superb, and may rank with his portraiture at 
Reims and Amiens. 

The rebuilding after the fire of 1194 was carried The 
through with amazing energy, and was practically com- m94-i2?2 
pleted by 12 12. Who the architect was is unknown, for 
though there was a labyrinth in the nave floor as at 
Reims and Amiens, the central figures which would have , 

revealed his identity are missing. Bound by the towers 
on the west, and by Fulbert's crypt on the east, the 
sanctity of which forbad any interference, the architect had 
to be satisfied with a short nave, and his east end had to 
stand on Fulbert's walls, and this in many ways affected 
his plan. The whole conception was magnificent: besides The nine 

1 111 towers 

the two western towers there were to be two at each 
transept, two more again at the chord of the apse, and 
a central tower over the crossing. The central tower, 
however, was never built, and the other six only reached 
the eaves of the church, so that of the nine that were 
intended only the two original western steeples exist. 

The architecture of Chartres is a step in advance of Advance 

T-. • 1 -r^ -T^i 1 , . , in style at 

that at Pans and Bourges. 1 he vaults are quadripartite chartres 
throughout : the vaulted triforium gallery has disappeared, 
and is replaced by a simple arcade on colonnettes, with 
four arches in the nave, five in choir and transepts, 
and two in the apse. The triforium has a passage, and 
a back wall : in France it is rare to find it in the English 
fashion open to the roof space behind. The pointed arch 
has finally triumphed and the round, arch disappeared. 
The windows of the aisles, and of the apse clerestory, are 
plain wide single-lights, but the other clerestories have 
two-light windows with a circle of plate tracery in the 




INfe'lDE"- Ol/T^IDE'. 


Fig. 40. 

CH. v] 



head (Fig. 40). Every window is filled with painted ^JJeSi 
dass of the richest and deepest hues of ruby, emerald The 

1111 J 1 painted 

and sapphire, and this makes the church very dark. gUss 
The glass in the western triplet is of the 12th century 
and was moved with the old fagade ; the rest dates from 
the rebuilding in the 13th. 

The columns are alternately octagonal with four Th^^^^ 
round colonnettes attached, and round with four octagonal 
colonnettes. The colonnette facing the nave has no 
capital, but the abacus of the rest of the group runs 

Fig. 41. 

Fig. 42. 

round it, and from that rises a group of vaulting shafts 
that run up to take the ribs. 

The capitals are very simple (Fig. 41), and do not 
show much artistic skill, but they introduce us to the 
cap-a-crochet, a type which runs through all succeeding The <■«/- 

1 . "T^ -n • 1 1 • d,-crochei 

styles m France till it becomes somewhat wearisome. 
The columns dividing the choir aisles are cylindrical and 
have caps of the same kind (Fig. 42). 

The proportions of the interior have always struck' Proportion 
me as singularly happy. It has neither the depression church 
of Paris and Rouen, nor the extravagant altitude in 
relation to its span of Amiens. In the bay we find a 


Chartres new scale of relation between the three storeys. The 

cathedral , ,,... 

suppression of the vaulted triforium gallery and the 
consequent reduction of height in that storey allowed 
the enlargement of the other two. The clerestory is 
unusually lofty, and has a fine effect in the apse, and the 
arcade is much higher than that at Paris, which is too 
low, and much lower than that in the nave at Bourges 
which is too high. If we divide the height from floor to 
apex of vault into 32 parts, we get the following com- 
parative table, which shows roughly the gradual increase 
in importance of the lower storey during this period. 

Paris. Chartres. Reims. Amiens. Bourges nave. 
























It would perhaps have been an improvement at 
Chartres to have made the arcade a trifle higher and the 
clerestory a little shorter. 

TheN.and gut the great glory here is the triple porch at 
the end of each transept, which, especially that on the 
north (Plate XX), may claim to be the finest works of 
13th century Gothic in France, both in general design 
and in wealth of sculpture. The south porch is said to 
have been begun in 1224, and the north in 1250. Classic 
tradition probably dictated the horizontal lintels from 
which the barrel vaults of the triple arches are turned, 
and which unhappily have broken under their load, and 
after being in vain strapped up with iron are now being 

The restored (Fig. 43). Statues flank the doorways, circle 

round the arches, and are moulded into the piers ; and 
their supports are enriched with grotesques, miniature 




Fig. 43. (Drawing by M. Adams.) 



[CH. V 


The choir 

The old 

figures, flutings, diapers, and delicate natural foliage in a 
masterly way. It is said that there are over 700 figures 
in the north porch and portals alone. The statues attached 
to the columns preserve something of the rigidity of 
those in the royal portals, as befits their function, but 
they are modelled with niuch greater freedom and variety, 
the heads are full of character, and some of the figures 
reach a high classical standard' (Plate XXI). It is 
interesting to compare the group of the Salutation of 
Mary and Elizabeth in the left-hand door of the north 
porch with the similar subject at Reims. 

The interior of the choir has been brutally disfigur,ed 
with Rococo work, but fortunately the fine i6th century 
sculptures on the ambulatory side of the screen wall have 
been spared. 

The old tower at the south-west corner (Plate XXII) 
dates as we have seen from 1145, and was designed to 
stand clear of the church, which not only was set back, 
but probably was much lower than the present building. 
Consequently it is smothered by the present front, and 
does not do itself justice when seen from the west, and 
it suffers especially from the heavy arcaded gallery that 
joins the towers across the gable. It is a magnificently 
sturdy piece of work, quite the finest 12th century steeple 
in France, if not anywhere. It rises through three 
heavily buttressed stages, each shorter than that below, 
and then breaks into an octagon with four gabled 
structures placed diagonally to fill out the angles on the 
oblique faces. On the four direct faces are large windows 
under a steeply gabled pediment, of a type with which 
we are familiar in the south of France, at Le Puy, 

1 The sculpture at Chartres is fully illustrated by Mr and Mrs Marriage 
in their book bearing that title. 

Plate XXI 

T. G. J. 



Brantome and elsewhere, and also at Vendome in the Chartres 


north. The apex of this pediment cuts through the - 
cornice which finishes the octagon, from which rises 
the spire proper, decorated with angle and intermediate 
rolls, and covered with scaling. The whole design is 
majestic in the extreme, but it is a little indeterminate as 
to the division between tower and spire. In our English 
spires there is never this doubt, but here one may almost 
as well mark the division at the top of the octagon, 
where the true pyramid begins, as at the bottom of it 
where it breaks from the square without any very particular 
feature to express the transition. This uncertainty is 
characteristic of many other French steeples. But what- 
ever we may think about this, the old steeple of Chartres 
is perfectly successful in its outline, whether seen directly 
or obliquely ; and is a magnificent object from every 
point of view far or near. 

We reserve the other steeple for a later chapter. 

Chartres cathedral, which, says Viollet-le-Duc, is the piaceof 
most solidly constructed of all the cathedrals in France, £ory^of" 
stands midway between the earlier churches such as ^^'^^^' 

■' lecture 

Senlis, Noyon, and Notre Dame at Paris, with their 
vaulted triforium and low nave arcade, and the later 
buildings where the French type attained full perfection. 
It has some awkwardness in the choir vaulting, and in 
the pillars of the ambulatory which are spaced unequally, 
and fail in geometrical regularity\ showing that the 
builders were still in a tentative stage, though they had 
made a great advance beyond anything that had been 
done before. 

1 This is perhaps partly due to the necessity of building on Fulbert's 


Reims The Cathedral of Reims carries the art another step 

cathedral . , i • i i i • i i i 

in advance, and may indeed be considered to have 
brought the model of a French cathedral to perfection. 
The earliest cathedral was rebuilt by Archbishop Ebbon 
in 820, to whom the Emperor Louis le Debonnaire lent 
one of his serfs, skilled in architecture, named Rumaud. 
It was finished by Hincmar, after 841, and improved by 
Adalberon in 976, who is said to have filled the windows 
with painted glass ^; and it underwent many other changes 
before it was burned down in 12 10. On the first anni- 
versary of this catastrophe the foundation stone of the 
present building was laid by Archbishop Aubri de 
Humbert, and for the next twenty years the work was 
pushed on with vigour. Large sums were raised by 
peripatetic quests of the clergy, by Papal indulgences, 
and by the formation of Confraternities pledged to annual 
contributions, and in 1241 the chapter was enabled to 
take possession of the new choir. In 1251 not only were 
funds exhausted but the building was heavily in debt ; 
fresh appeals restored the finances, but the church was 
not finished till the end of the 14th century, nor the 
upper part of the towers till 1427. 

^ ...diversas continentibus historias. La Cathedrale de Rei/ns^'D&maAsor).. 

Plate XXIII 



It has generally been said that Robert de Coucy was Reims 
the original architect. He is so styled by Viollet-le-Duc. The 
But it has been pointed out by later writers that the 
epitaph of Robert de Coucy on his monument in the 
cloister of the abbey of S. Denis at Reims, which existed 
in the i8th century, describing him as Maistre de 
Nostre Dame et de Saint Nicaise, gave the date of his 
death in 131 1, a century too late. Fortunately par- The 
ticulars have been preserved of the labyrinth in the floor 
of the cathedral, which was destroyed by the canons in 
1778 because children amused themselves by running 
round the maze. At its corners were four compartments 
containing figures of four Maitres de rceuvre, each holding 
the square or compass of his profession : Bernard de 
Soissons, master for 25 years, '■' qui fit cinq voutes et 
ouvra a r O'' \ Gaucher de Reims, master for 5 years, 
''qui ouvra aux voussures et portaux'' \ Jean d'Orbais, 
''qui encojnmenfa la coiffe de l Eglise'" \ and Jean le 
Loup, " qui fut maitre de l' J^glise seize ans et encommenga 
lesportaux^r As Robert de Coucy's name did not appear, 
the pavement would necessarily be older than his con- 
nexion with the building, and was probably coeval with 
the similar labyrinth at Amiens which is dated in 1288. 
If by the coiffe we should understand the ckevet, where 
we know the church began, the credit of the general 
design is due to Jean of Orbais, a town in Champagne Jean 
with a fine abbey church rather older than the cathedral, architect 
M. Demaison suggests that Jean le Loup succeeded him 
and made the transept portals, and was himself succeeded 
by Gaucher, who was followed by Bernard de Soissons 
who made the western bays of the nave, and the great 

1 La Cathidrale de Reims, L. Demaison ; see also notes by Professor 
Willis in his edition of the Sketch Book of Wilars de Honecori, p. 208. 



[CH. VI 


in con- 

O or rose window of the facade. He is mentioned in a 
deed of 1287 as Matstres Bernars de Nostre Damme^. 
Robert de Coucy's share in the work included probably 
the completion of the west front, and other architects 
are mentioned after him down to the middle of the 
15th century. 

The design therefore of this splendid church, the 
masterpiece of French Gothic, should be credited to 
Jean d'Orbais, whose general scheme must have been 
followed by his successors with only such slight modifica- 
tions as their age suggested. 

There is a difference of opinion about the date of the 
upper part of the choir. Viollet-le-Duc observes that 
the lower part of the walls of the choir and of half the 
nave is of unusually massive construction up to the level 
of the aisle vaults, and that above that level the con- 
struction suddenly becomes much slighter. At this point 
he believes that funds ran short, and that work was 
suspended from 1230 to 1240 and then begun again; 
but that the choir was not finished till nearly a hundred 
years later, during which period succeeding builders 
followed loyally the design of the original architect ^ 
Against this view is urged the improbability of the 
Chapter waiting a century for their choir, the record in 
the chronicle of S. Nicaise that the canons occupied the 

1 M. Demaison calculates the careers of these architects thus: Jean 
d'Orbais 1211-1231, Jean le Loup 1231-1247, Gaucher de Reims 1247-1255, 
and Bernard de Soissons 125 5-1 290. But, as he says, this depends on the 
date of the labyrinth being correctly placed about 1290. It allows also an 
interval of three years between Jean le Loup and Gaucher. The inscription 
giving the number of years occupied by Jean d'Orbais was unfortunately 
illegible when the copy of the labyrinth was made. 

^ C'est ce qui donne a cet edifice un caractere d'unite si remarquable, 
quoiqu'il ait fallu un siecle pour conduire le travail jusqu'aux voutes hautes. 
Diet. Rais. vol. ll. p. 321. 


choir in 1241, and the portrait in the glass of the choir Reims 
clerestory of Archbishop Henri de Braine who died in 

In the sketch-book of Wilars de Honecort are five wiiarsde 
sheets of drawings of Reims cathedral. That showing drawings 
an inside and outside elevation of a bay, apparently of 
the choir, represents it as still incomplete : the vault 
and the flying buttress are absent, and there is only the 
base of the pier from which the flyer would spring. But 
unhappily we do not know the date of Wilars' visit, 
which is variously placed in 1235, 1244, and 1250. The 
sketches differ so widely from the actual building that 
M. Lassus imagines them to be copies from working 
drawings made by Wilars during the suspension of the 
work after 1231. Professor Willis, with more probability, 
thinks allowance must be made for the sketchy draughts- 
manship of the time, and points out many inaccuracies 
in Wilars' drawings of the chapels and other parts which 
we know were certainly finished at his visit, and before 
his eyes\ Everything seems to show there was a change 
of architect about 1231, when we may suppose Jean Change of 
d'Orbais died ; after which the work was carried on by 
his successor, apparently Jean le Loup, till in 1241 the 
choir was roofed in though perhaps not yet vaulted, 
and was available for service. The completion of the 
vaults and of the nave, except the four last bays, 
proceeded as funds came in, and these four bays with 
most of the west front were finished towards the end of 
the 13th century. 

The ground plan is simple (Fig. 44). In the nave The plan 
the double aisle of vQhartr^" and Paris is abandoned, and 
as there are no chapels between the buttresses the flank 

> Willis, op. cit. p. 220, etc. 


Reims ' 

Fig. 44. (V.-le-Duc.) 

Plate XXIV 


fi - 

■. is , *, 



Plate XXV 

M> A 

*^^*' H^4M/lh 





of the church has a magnificent effect with its row of Reims 

, -11 I'll 1 cathedral 

massive buttress-piers below, and enriched stages above. 
A stern simpHcity reigns in the interior, which is very 
noble and impressive, especially in the apse with its 
cylindrical columns, and well-spaced arches( Plate X X H I ). 
The columns elsewhere are cylindrical with four attached 
colonnettes. The capitals are in two courses, marked in The 
the colonnettes alone by a necking in the middle. The '^^^^ ^ 
foliage is more advanced toward naturalism than that at 
Chartres or Paris, but in the choir it still retains some- 
thing of the stiffness, and artless arrangement of the 
earlier type ( Plate X X I V a). Ad vancing westward, how- 
ever, we find gradually increasing natural treatment in the 
nave (Plate XXIV b), the foliage being sometimes mixed 
with figures, as in the famous vintage capital. The last 
three capitals westward, belonging to the latest stage of 
the building operations, have foliage of 14th century 
character, crowded, confused, and inexpressive. The The bases 
difference is shown in their bases as well as in the 
capitals, for the quasi-Attic base of the other columns, 
like that at Paris (Fig. 22 c), with well-modelled toes at 
the angles, is exchanged for a simpler section without 
the scotia or hollow moulding. 

The vaulting throughout is quadripartite, the trans- The vaults 
verse rib being accentuated, and the arrangement of the 
construction is masterly, without the tentative efforts of 
previous examples. The ritual choir is projected into 
the first three bays of the choir westward of the transept, 
a local peculiarity which occurs also at S. Remy. Here 
it was probably occasioned by the great space needed at 
royal coronations, for it was at Reims that French kings 
were crowned. 

In the chapels of the choir chevet Jean d'Orbais has 



Fig. 45. (V.-le-Duc.) 


surpassed himself. They are incomparably the most Reims 
beautiful of their kind, and it would seem they made 
a great impression at the time they were built. Wilars 
de Honecort sketched them in his queer way both inside 
and out, and writes in the margin " This is how those at 
Cambrai must be if they are made right^" (Fig. 45). 
The development of the chevet with its radiating chapels, ; 
from the unpretending projections of Senlis (Fig. 24, 
p. 6']), through the better defined plans at S. Denis, 
Noyon, and Chartres, was now perfected, and later 
examples are only variations on what we find at Reims. 
In their plan these chapels show a change of purpose, for 
they begin with a circular base, which at the window cill 
is converted into a polygon, so as to provide a flat plane 
for the two-light traceried window between the buttresses, 
and escape the distortion which we see in the earlier 
examples, where windows are opened in a curved surface. 

In these chapels, which must have been built up to The 
the cornice before 1230, are perhaps the earliest examples J^lcery 
of bar tracery. The windows are of two lights, uncusped, 
and carrying a circle with sexfoil cusping. All the windows 
throughout the church are of the same kind, varying only 
in the width of the lights, which are compressed in the 
apse so that the circle is of the full width of the two 
lights, and the arch very highly stilted. But the subject 
of the development of tracery must be reserved for a 
future chapter. 

Except the upper part of the towers and of the part The west 
between them, which is later, the west front (Plate XXV), 
was finished at the end of the 13th or the beginning of 

' " Dautretel maniere doivent estre celes de Canbrai son lor fait droit." 
Willis, op. cit. Plates LIX and LX. pp. 217 etc. Wilars is believed to have 
been architect of the now vanished cathedral at Cambrai. 

J. G. A. 8 



Sdrai. ^^^ ^4th century. The towers were intended to carry 
Thetoweis spires of stone on their central octagon between four 
spirelets on the angle tabernacles, and the base of these 
spires is actually started. But, as at Laon, this open 
structure, consisting largely of slender detached columns, 
seems quite unsuited to carry such a load. The front 
has the usual three great portals, but their tympana are 
not sculptured, and are filled with glazed tracery. Above 
is the great O, the rose window of Bernard de Soissons, 
in which geometrical bar tracery is perfectly developed. 
The The jambs and arches of the portals are filled with very 

remarkable figure sculptures. They are not all of one 
date, and those of the same date are not all by the same 
hand. The figures of the right jamb of the right-hand 
door are archaic, and are identical with some in the 
middle door of the north transept at Chartres, which are 
dated between 1220 and 1225. It may be debated which 
set is the original, and which the copy, and the explanation 
offered for them here is that they were carved in advance, 
and laid by till they were wanted. Another idea is that 
the west front was first built farther back where the 
break above noticed occurs, and that these figures were 
removed thence when the church was lengthened by 
royal command to its present extent \ They are in 
marked contrast to the figures in the opposite jamb 
which are very fine, and inferior only to those in the 
middle portal. These are beyond all praise, and the 
finest mediaeval figures I have ever seen. The sculpture 
of the Middle Ages culminates in the four figures of the 
Annunciation, and the Salutation (Plate XXVI). In the 
former the Virgin has an air of delightful simplicity, and 

* M. Demaison thinks this an impossibility, but it was done as we know 
with the west front at Chartres {v. sup. p. 98). 


the angel smiles, — the angels at Reims have an irresistible Reims 
smile that makes you smile too ; — but the other group of 
the Salutation of Mary and Elizabeth is indeed by a 
master hand and is worthy to rank with the masterpieces 
of antiquity. The draperies are magnificently composed, 
and the heads, which are obviously taken from life, are 
beautiful and expressive in the highest degree (Plate 
XX VH). There are other figures in the series scarcely 
less excellent. What they want in technical perfection is 
compensated by a character and a spirituality of expression 
unknown to Greek sculpture. In a side doorway of 
the north transept on the trumeau is a statue of Christ 
of unusual beauty and dignity. 

It would take too long to multiply examples of early chaions- 
Gothic buildings in other parts of France. At ChAlons- Mame. 
sur-Marne in Champagne the church of Notre Dame ^°^g 
has pointed arches, a vaulted triforium gallery, with a 
second triforium above which is combined with the 
clerestory windows, and an apse with chapels resembling 
that at S. Remy. In Burgundy the fine choir of the 
abbey of Vezelay was built between 1198 and 1206, Vezeiay 
for which the convent ran into debt, and deposed its 
extravagant abbot \ The apse is supported on monolithic 
columns, there are many traces of classic detail, and 
round arches are used side by side with pointed ones. 
The church of S. Pierre at Lisieux is a fine example of Lisieux. 
early pointed work in the north. But it was in the 
He de France that the style first reached that full develop- 
ment which is described in the following chapter. 

1 Illustrated by ViolIet-le-Duc. Diet. Rais. vol. I. p. 231-232, and in my 
Reason in Architecture., Plate XIII. 



cathedral ^^^ Cathedral at Amiens is regarded by most writers 

as the perfect flower of French Gothic. It is on an 
enormous scale, and lavishly decorated, and both inside 
and out it is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable 
buildings in Europe. It was begun at the west end, 
instead of as was usual at the east, the object probably 
being to save the ancient church of S. Firmin till a 
sufficient part of the new cathedral was built, before 
pulling it down to make way for the new choir. The 
first stone was laid by Bishop Evrard de Fouilly in 
1 2 20, and the nave seems to have been occupied in 1236 
in the time of his successor, Geoffroy d'Eu. This in- 
cluded the nave to the top of the vaults, and the west 
front with the statuary of the great portals and the rose 
window above them. The choir followed, and the radiating 
chapels of the apse were finished in 1247. Funds then 
ran short, work was suspended till 1258, and the choir 
was not finished till 1269, a date which appears in the 
glass of the apse clerestory. The side chapels of the 
nave were added rather late in the 14th century, and in 
1366 the completion of the west front from the gallery 
above the rose was undertaken ; but the north tower was 
not finished till the 15th century. 





A labyrinth, or "house of Daedalus^" in the floor, Amiens 
which was destroyed in the last century, and is now xhe^ '^ 
replaced by a copy, had an inscription in brass round the ^'"''^'t^'^^^ 
centre, giving the date 1220 when the church was begun, 
and the names of Bishop Evrard, King Louis, and the 
three architects employed on the work, the last of whom 
says he placed this inscription here in 1288. 

Chil qui maistre yert de I'ceuvre 
Maistre Robert estoit nommes 
Et de Luzarches surnommes 
Maistre Thomas fu apres luy 
De Cormont et apres 
Ses filz maistre Regnault qui mettre 
Fist a chest point chy ceste lettre 
Que rincarnacion valoit 
XI IP ans XII en faloit. 

In the centre were figures of the bishop and the three 
masters of the work, inlaid in white marble ^ 

There is nothing to tell us what part each of the 
three took in the design, unless an inscription over 
the south transept door, of which the date 1220, a mention 
of the first stone, and the name Robert could alone be 

^ A labyrinth engraved on a pier of the portico of the Duomo of Lucca 
has an inscription beginning thus : 


The use of labyrinths in church floors has not been explained. Viollet- 
le-Duc, Diet. Rais. vol. vi, suggests a masonic symbolism : and as they 
seem connected with the names and figures of architects that may be so. 
He says they do not occur before architecture passed into lay hands. They 
were sometimes called "the road to Jerusalem," and the devout traced the 
route on their knees, but only a few labyrinths were large enough for that. 

* This central piece, much mutilated is said to be now in the museum 
at Amiens. La Cathedrale d^ Amiens^ G. Durand. The author points out 
that Master Regnault de Cormont has made a slip in his chronology, for 
Louis VIII did not succeed till 1222. The inscription makes him king 
in 1220. 




Fig. 46. (V.-le-Duc.) 



read, may be taken to show that Robert de Luzarches Amiens 
carried the work thus far. 

Before the addition of the nave chapels the plan The plan 
(Fig. 46) was very like that at Reims. There was a 
nave with a single aisle on each side, a transept with 
aisles and a choir of four bays with double aisles ending 


Fig. 47- 

in an apse and ambulatory aisle from which apsidal 
chapels radiated. As at Reims these chapels open 
directly into the ambulatory and fill the space from 
buttress to buttress, leaving no room for windows into 
the aisle as at Chartres and Bourges. At Chartres and 
Paris the chapels project beyond the second ambulatory 
aisle, at Reims and Amiens they occupy the place of it. 

The columns are cylindrical with four attached colon- The 
nettes, of which the one that runs up to take the nave 



Amiens vault has Only the abacus moulding round it (Fig. 47). 
The capitals are rather more advanced than those at 
Chartres, but are still simple. Those of the colonnettes 
are shorter than that of the main column, unlike those at 


Fig. 48. 

Reims (Plate XXIV, p. 108), and this feature became 
the common arrangement in later French Geometrical 
Gothic. Fig. 48 shows a capital of this kind in a later 
stage of development at Auxerre. The bases (Fig. 22 d, 
p. 63) are well profiled, and good examples of the 

n -■4- - - i I , - I > t 4 "' I H III II1 I I1I II .1- I ii nMi < ^m- i 


Plate XXX 





Drawing by G. G. Scott, junior 


mediaeval version of the Attic base. The vault is Amiens 
quadripartite and the wall ribs are much stilted to give 
ample room for the large clerestory windows of. four 
lights in the nave, and six in the transepts and choir * 
(Plate XXVIII). 

The triforium in the nave has three lights with slender The 
shafts carrying a great trefoil of plate tracery with foliated ^" """"^ 
tips to the cusps, and below it runs a string course of 
beautifully carved foliage (Plate XXX). The triforium 
has a back wall in which is a relieving arch, and above it 
is a terrace outside the clerestory windows, which are set 
to the inside of the wall. On this terrace stand columns 
carrying the head of the flying buttresses, leaving room 
to pass behind them (Plate XXIX). The nave The 

, . . , • r • 1 n buttresses 

buttresses are massive with two tiers 01 simple flyers, 
and the flank of this part would have been as fine as that 
of Reims but for the chapels added in the 14th century 
which spoil it. 

There are two triforium openings of three lights each 
in the bay, and here, as at S. Germain des Pres, where 
it was done perhaps for the first time\ the triforium and 
clerestory are connected by running the shafts of the 
upper storey down into the lower (Plate XXX). As 
the style progressed these two storeys were more and 
more closely associated, till in some of the later churches 
both in England and France they are practically united 
into one composition. 

The choir, which is later than the nave, seems to The choir 
be by a diff"erent and inferior hand. Perhaps Robert de 
Luzarches was dead and Thomas de Cormont had taken 
his place. There is an attempt at greater splendour ; 
the clerestory is increased, the triforium which has 

* V. sup. p. 76 and Fig. 28. 


Amiens double tracery, the outer face being glazed, is filled with 

cathedral . , , , , 

geometrical tracery and surmounted by an unmeanmg 
crocketted gable on the inside, and the two flyers of the 
buttresses outside are united by tracery-work which gives 
them a very heavy and ungraceful air. The spacing of 
the apse bays is not so successful as at Reims, or even 
at Chartres. The columns are too near together and 
the arches are pinched up, too narrow and too highly 
stilted, and this in a church of such enormously high 
The proportions has a very unsatisfactory effect. The chapels 

ciapeb ^^ ^j^^ 2Lpse. are very lofty, and in themselves beautiful, 
especially within ; but outside they dwarf the central 
apse of the choir, which is still further smothered by the 
double traceried flying buttresses, and can hardly be 
Difficulty Adequate spacing of the apse columns was the most 

theapse"^ troublesome problem that the French architect of the 
13th century had to solve, in spite of the fact that he 
could make them slighter than the other columns, as 
they only received one vaulting rib instead of three. 
As each bay of the apse radiated from the centre through 
the aisle to the chapel beyond, if the apse columns were 
too far apart the width of the bay at the outer cir- 
cumference became too great for vaulting. On the other 
hand if the convenience of vaulting the aisle alone were 
studied the apse columns would be drawn too near 
together. At Paris the architect succeeded in making 
the bays of the apse about as wide as those of the 
straight part, by the ingenious method, explained above, 
of multiplying the columns in the aisled Where, as at 
Bourges and V^zelay, there are only five apsidal chapels 
the trouble was less, and more liberal space could be 

^ V. sup. p. 79 (Fig. 29), & p. 82. 

Plate XXXI 



allowed : but at Amiens there are seven, and the result Amiens 
is that the apse arches are cramped and the columns 
crowded too closely together. 

The west front (Plate XXXI), which is the work of West front 
Robert de Luzarches,is a magnificent composition, perhaps 
rather overdone with ornament, but still a masterpiece. 
Compared with Reims I think on the whole Amiens has Thefa9ade 
the finer fa9ade. The towers here are more solid : at with^Rdms 
Reims the stage above the portals is pierced, and you 
look through and see the flying buttresses of the nave 
beyond, and this gives an air of weakness : at Amiens 
the openings do not begin till above the roof level. The 
pediments also over the portals are better managed here, 
for the clustering tabernacle-work on the middle gable at 
Reims is unhappy. In both fronts the pediments conceal 
more or less the lower part of the tower buttresses, and 
this according to M. Coifs ^ puts them both out of the 
pale of Gothic architecture, but this is less the case at 
Amiens than at Reims. In splendour of sculpture there 
is not much to choose between them, but if Amiens can 
show sculptured tympana where Reims has only windows, 
there is nothing at Amiens to equal the groups of the 
Annunciation and Salutation at the other church (Plate 
XXVI, p. 114). 

The figures here are by different hands, and of The 
various degrees of merit. The statuary on the whole ^^" ^ ^^'^ 
fared pretty well at the revolution, owing to the pride 
the people of Amiens took in their cathedral, and their 
efforts to save it from mutilation. Many heads and 
hands, however, were knocked off and have been re- 

1 Un pareil r^sultat d^montre k la derni^re Evidence que les architectes 
de cette cathddrale n'ont jamais connu le style gothique proprement dit. 
L'/cole Gothiqiie Allemande, p. 92, J. F. Coifs (Bruxelles, 1892). He calls it 
sculptor's work, not architect's. 








Its logical 

placed, but not much restoration was needed in the great 
portals. That of the south transept, la Porte de la 
Vierge dorde, has on the tr7imeatt- or central pier the 
figure, charming in its natural expression, of the Virgin 
smiling at the Child on her arm, while three little angels 
flutter round her head. But the statues in the jambs are 
poor works ; the faces are clownish, and the whole very 
second-rate. Possibly they have been a good deal mended. 
The sculpture in the arch and tympanum is superior. 

Far finer is the work in the great west portals 
(Plate XXXI I), with the famous figure of Christ, — le beau 
Dieu d' Amiens, — on the central pier. In its sublime 
abstraction it has, as M. Durand says, the " impassive 
majesty of the Egyptian statues, or the Greek primitives, 
and that apparent rudeness which at first sight is dis- 
concerting\" The fine early Christ of the royal portal 
at Chartres is sterner, and more powerful, and that on 
the north transept at Reims more human and sympathetic ; 
the three together combine to make a wonderful present- 
ment of our divine Lord and Saviour. 

In comparing these great Gothic churches together it 
would, as M. Durand very wisely says, "be childish to 
enquire which to place first. Still," he continues, "what 
nobody will deny to the cathedral of Amiens, is that 
it is the monument in which Gothic art has displayed the 
plenitude of its system and its resources, where it has 
most closely approached its ideal, where decisive solutions 
have been found, and where in a word we have the 
type of Gothic construction^" 

All this is quite true. We have here in perfection 
all the system of thrust and counterthrust, necessary to 
satisfy Mr Moore. The points of support are isolated, 

1 op. cit, p. 51. 

Plate XXXII 



and the walls between them are reduced to mere curtains Amiens 
to enclose the building, made mostly of glass. Each 
vaulting rib descends separately on its capital clear of 
the rest, and has its own separate shaft to carry it. The 
whole construction is visibly expressed by the architectural 
form. Every problem involved in building a great Gothic 
church is solved, and there seems nothing further to be 
done in the way of improvement. 

It is perhaps this very perfection that to some extent its 
robs it of its interest. You miss that restless energy, that effJct^ '*^ 
forward push, that yearning and striving for something 
better, which characterises all the work of the Romanesque 
period, and all the earlier Gothic work we have till now 
been engaged in describing. For their youthful vigour 
is substituted a classical repose which is alien to the 
northern temper. Revisiting the idols of our youth after 
a long interval, one looks at them with a fresh eye, and 
I must confess that when I saw Amiens again the other 
day I failed to rise to the level of its ardent admirers. 
Its splendid scale, its vast height and spaciousness im- 
presses you with a feeling of satisfaction and successful 
achievement, and yet somehow it left me cold. The 
facade with its glorious sculpture indeed leaves little to 
be desired, but the interior seems too fine-spun, — too 
much drawn-out, — too lofty for its width. The proportion 
of the arcade to the superstructure strikes me as disagree- 
ably high, though the same proportion at Westminster 
on a scale one-third smaller is agreeable. The triforium 
in the nave, with its shallow including arch and its plate, 
tracery, is very poor and shadowless, and has a thin 
papery look, while that in the choir I think ill-designed 
and almost ugly. I have already mentioned the crowding 
together of the apse columns and the consequent pinched 





The Basse 




Failures of 

look of those bays and this is the more observable on 
account of the immense spread of the clerestory windows 
in the nave and the straight bays of the choir, which 
almost provoke a feeling of insecurity. 

In all these particulars the interior of Amiens must 
yield to that of Reims, where the construction is scarcely 
less scientific, but is not pushed to the verge of peril, 
and the whole design is virile and reassuring. 

From Amiens it is natural to go to Beauvais, to see 
the great church which was designed not merely to rival 
but to eclipse its neighbour. 

Bishops existed at Beauvais in the 9th century, and 
one of them was killed by the Normans in 851. The 
nave of an early cathedral known as the Basse CEuvre 
still remains, though it has been restored to death, and 
only a few patches of the original facing remain. It 
has been variously dated in the 6th, 7th, and 9th century, 
but it is now supposed to be the church of which the 
foundation was laid by Bishop Herve in 990. It was 
injured by fire in 1180 and 1225, and in 1227 Bishop 
Milon de Nanteuil resolved to build a new cathedral. 
The present choir was begun in 1247. 

By this time the nave of Amiens was finished and 
the choir well advanced, and its magnificence provoked 
the men of Beauvais to do something still finer. From 
first to last they suffered from megalomania which re- 
peatedly brought them into trouble. The vault of Amiens 
was 141 ft. high; theirs should be 13 ft. higher. The 
construction at Reims was light and daring, theirs should 
be still lighter and more audacious. But no sooner had 
their ambitious dimensions been reached than the vaults 
fell in for want of proper abutment. In 1272 they were 
rebuilt only to fall again in 1284, and then the builders 


were forced to introduce three additional columns on Beauvais 
each side, to support the middle of the arch and halve 
its span. These repairs occupied forty years, and it was 
not till 1 500 that the great transepts were begun, when 
the art had passed into the flamboyant stage. A new 
nave was to follow and one bay was actually begun, but 
then another fit of megalomania attacked the builders. 
This time it was not Amiens but S. Peter's at Rome that The tower 
inspired them to emulation, and they built a gigantic 
spire over the crossing, near 500 ft. high, with an 
aperture in the vault to let you look up to the top from 
the floor. This steeple, which, to judge from the views 
of it that have been preserved, must have been very 
ugly, stood for little more than 20 years, and then the 
piers gave way. It fell in 1573, bringing down with it Fail of the 
a considerable part of the transept and choir. 

Beauvais therefore is but a fragment — a colossal 
fragment, of a too ambitious design. From its history you 
might expect to find it a mere pretentious tour de force ; 
but it is not so. The outside naturally is an amorphous 
mass, all head and arms and no body, though the early 
part, when seen without the rest, has a charm of its own. 
But the interior of the choir is strangely beautiful 
( Plate XXXIII). I know hardly any interior which dwells 
in the memory so vividly, and this is the more curious 
because accident has almost as much to do with it as 
design. The great height of the vault, which is extra- Height of 
ordinary, does not so much matter. It is only little 
minds that take magnitude for greatness, and a design 
must not be valued by feet and inches. Many a building 
of only moderate dimensions is able to impress you with 
a sense of sublimity. As Burke finely says "designs 
that are vast only by their dimensions, are always the 




ity to 
Amiens in 


sign of a common and low imagination. No work of 
art can be great, but as it deceives ; to be otherwise 
is the prerogative of nature only," For me, Beauvais 
is many degrees more beautiful than Amiens ; for where 
Amiens is coldly correct Beauvais is lovely \ The 
double windows in the clerestory, resulting from the sex- 
partite vault here, while that at Amiens is quadripartite, 
are far more beautiful than the great single windows at 
the other church ; and the straight bays, narrowed by 
the intruded columns, carry on the scale of those round 
the apse, and avoid the original abrupt passage from 
narrow arches to wide. All this of course results not 
from the original design but from the alterations made 
after the fall of the vaults in 1 284, when the straight 
bays were halved by the intruded columns. Before then 
they were 28 ft. wide, centre to centre, the vault was 
quadripartite, and the clerestory window would have 
sprawled as widely as those at Amiens. For the narrow 
bays in the clerestory are inconsistent with the original 
wide arch, of which the outline may still be traced in the 
wall : the middle vaulting shaft, descending to the intruded 
column, cuts it in two (Plate XXXIV). Never was an 
accident more fortunate, for it is the narrowness of the 
bays, and the new proportion given to the triforium and 
clerestory that makes this interior unlike any other, and 

1 I cannot help quoting a letter I had in 1896 from one with whose 
judgment I have always been glad to find myself in accord, my late friend, 
Richard Norman Shaw. " I am so pleased to hear that you like Beauvais 
so much, as I like it myself....! have not seen it for fifteen or sixteen years, 
but I know the outside fetched me immensely. And why it is so fine, and 
why Cologne (that I was looking at the other day) is so hideous, is not 
easy to say, except that it looks all right at Beauvais and all wrong at 
Cologne. Street would never listen to Beauvais, — said it was not to be 
compared to Amiens, — and shut me up sharp. I shall go again and see it 
perhaps this year; I have been wanting to go for ever so long." 




Plate XXXIV 

T. G. J. 




gfives it its peculiar beauty. The same reason explains Beauvais 


the sexpartite vault, because the choir being over 50 feet 
wide from centre to centre of the columns and the length 
of the bay being now reduced to 14, a quadripartite vault 
over such a long and narrow bay was hardly conceivable. 



Fig. 49, 

Fig. 49 is a plan of the choir, in which the original Plan of 
and intruded piers are distinguished, as well as those 
which were rebuilt after the fall of the tower in the 
1 6th century. Only one of the original four piers at the 
crossing remains, that at the south-east corner ; the rest 

J. G. A. 9 




were rebuilt in the flamboyant style as well as the first 
intruded pier on the north side. The area of the original 
pier is barely 64 square feet, and the load on it at a 
rough calculation, in which I am probably below the 
mark, is not less than 12 tons per square foot. To have 
added that vast tower to this was little short of madness^ 

The aisle 

Fig. 50. 

The use made of the intruded piers in the aisles is 
curious. The original quadripartite vault of the wide 
bay is retained, though in the choir it is turned into sex- 
partite, but at the intruded pier a skeleton rib (Fig. 50) 
is thrown across the aisle to support the crown of the 

1 According to modern rules the load that can safely be placed on 
ordinary stone, per square foot, varies from 5 to 8 or 9 tons and on Portland 
stone 14 tons. But I have no doubt this is constantly exceeded in great 
mediaeval churches. 




Fig. SI. 





The apse 

S. Denis. 
The choir 
and nave 


vault, with a square top and pierced spandrils. This is 
omitted in the two bays next the crossing which are 
rather narrower than the others, and in another bay only 
half of it exists, the outer half being omitted. Where 
this rib is complete it naturally cuts in half the outer 
clerestory window of the aisle above the chapels. Room 
is made for this aisle clerestory by keeping the chapels 
low. This is a great gain outside, for they do not dwarf 
the central apse like those at Amiens. 

The apse though polygonal within is round outside, 
but the bays being narrow the distortion of the window 
arches is not obtrusive. The flying buttresses are much 
less crowded than at Amiens and much simpler, and the 
exterior of this part is extremely successful (Fig. 51). 
There are no flying buttresses to the intruded piers, for 
which indeed there is no room, but only a flat shallow 
buttress between the two windows in each bay. 

In 1 23 1 the monks of S. Denis set about re- 
building the body of their church, retaining of Suger's 
work only the west front with the narthex, and the 
lower part of the east end, with the crypt below it, 
which has already been described. It was less than a 
century since the completion of Suger's structure ; but 
whether the new project was due to the failure of his too 
hasty building, or to the desire of Louis IX, at whose 
instance the work was undertaken, to provide a more 
splendid shrine for the royal burials, we are not told. 
The architect was Pierre de Montereau, who is described 
in a deed of 1 247, relating to the purchase of stone from 
near Charenton, as Cementarius de Sancto Dionysio, and 
to whom also are attributed, though without absolute 
proof, the Ste Chapelle of the Royal Palace, that of 
S. Germain en Laye, and the refectory of S. Martin des 

cii. vii] S. DENIS 133 

Champs at Paris. Pierre's new choir, nave and transepts s. Denis, 
are in the fully developed Gothic style. The arcades building 
are lofty, the piers slender and composed of groups of 
shafts, the vaulting shafts rising from floor to springing. 
The clerestory is spread as widely from pier to pier as 
that at Amiens, and the clerestory and triforium are com- 
bined by running the mullions of the windows down to 
those of the triforium. The idea of the glazed triforium The glazed 

. . , , . triforium 

m tact amounts to a contmuation ot the clerestory wmdow 
into the storey below it on the outside as well as on the 
inside ; on the inside the tracery of the triforium had 
already at Amiens been united with the window above. 
The device had its inconveniences, for the aisle could no its jncon- 


longer have a pent roof against the main wall as hereto- 
fore, but had to be covered either by a flat or by a span- 
roof, which made it difficult to get the water away from 
the interior gutter. But it gives an extraordinary effect Lightness 
of lightness to the construction, and of this the transept strSon 
end at S. Denis is an extreme example, the whole being 
occupied by an enormous rose window, resting on a 
delicate arcade ranging with that of the triforium, and 
pierced with a continuous range of windows. It is 
impossible to conceive a more airy construction than this 
gossamer web of masonry. 

This glazing of the triforium, of which S. Denis Recovery 
perhaps set the example, was a recovery of the lights that triforium 
had illuminated the great vaulted triforium galleries of ^'" "^^^ 
Paris, Noyon and Laon. When these galleries were 
given up for a mere passage in the wall as at Reims and 
Chartres these windows disappeared with them, for the 
pent roof of the triforium covered the outside of the 
triforium storey. They now reappeared, but instead of 
being over the outer wall of the aisle they were brought 

134 S. DENIS [CH. VII 

s. Denis forward to the main wall of nave or choir. This was 
another logical deduction from the principles of Gothic 
vaulting, according to which the wall between the skeleton 
of piers is only a curtain, which may be pierced and 
reduced to the margin of mere stability. 

The apse, of which the plan of course is Suger's, is 
very effective both inside and out, and the flying but- 
tresses are extremely well designed (Fig. 19, p. 60 sup^. 
The apsidal chapels were covered by Debret in the 19th 
century with flat slabs of stone : originally they no doubt 
had high-pitched timber roofs. The whole effect of the 
interior, which has a great deal of painted glass is fine, 
but it is verging towards the attenuation of the 14th 
century. Pierre de Montereau did not live to finish 
his work. He died in 1267, and the building seems to 
have been finished in 1281, according to his design. 
Paris. Pierre de Montereau is generally supposed to have 

chapeUe^^ been the architect of the S'^ Chapelle at Paris, which 
was built by Louis IX between 1245 and 1248, to 
receive the inestimable relic of the Crown of Thorns. 
The king had bought this at an enormous price from 
Constantinople, and the rival crown, which the monks of 
S. Denis pretended to show, was entirely thrown into 
the shade by this new acquisition. The Sainte Chapelle 
(Plate XXXV) was the private chapel of the Royal Palace 
which is now incorporated in the modern Palais de Justice. 
It has an upper and lower storey : the lower one, depressed 
and vaulted with an interior row of columns, served the 
royal retainers, the upper contained the sacred relics, 
and was used by the Court. A winding stair in a turret 
at the corners connects the two together. 

The upper chapel which measures 1 15 ft. x 36 ft. and 
66 ft. in height, is very simple in plan, consisting of four 

Plate XXXV 


CH. VIl] 



straight bays with large four-Hght windows, and seven pam. 
narrow bays with two Hghts forming the apse (Fig. 52). chaSi?^ 
There being no aisles, the vaults, which are quadripartite, 
are sustained directly by buttresses. These buttresses 
are in fact walls set at right angles to the interior, and 
there are no others from the window cills upwards : the 
whole structure is a lantern of glass, divided by very 
slender spars or piers of masonry. 

In the windows we find the system of Gothic tracery 
perfectly developed without any of the tentative attempts 
that we see at Reims. But the subject of window 

Fig. 52. (V.-Ie-Duc.) 

tracery will be more fully dealt with in a special chapter 

At the west end is an outside porch, and in the 
gable a large rose window which was inserted at a 
later date in place of the original design of Pierre de 

The whole chapel has been a good deal restored, but 
it retains most of its fine original glass, among other 
modern work ; for the old glass was partly dispersed, 
and two of the lights may be seen in our museum at 
South Kensington. The walls have been painted in 
modern times with mock-mediaeval patterns and with 
an unhappy result. 




We have now traced the history of Gothic architecture 

in France to its full development in the Royal Domain, 

of which the typical instances are Amiens and Beauvais. 

But the art followed a rather different course in the 

provinces, and though the influence of the central school 

affected all the local styles more or less, many of them 

never fully yielded to it. 

Resem- Normandy is so near our shores, and was long so 

aJchitec^-^ closely attached to the English crown, that it is not 

!,"'^^'" , surprising: that of all the Gothic schools in France the 

JN ormandy I^ o 

and Norman school should be most like that of E norland. 

England , .... ,., 

In many ways it was formed amid circumstances like our 
own. Neither in England nor in the north of France 
were there any remains of Roman architecture com- 
parable to those of Provence and Burgundy ; and of all 
Slight in- Romanesque schools, the Norman on both sides of the 
Classic Channel is least affected by classic example. For want 
of good models, such as those that inspired the sculptors 
Rudeness of AHes and S. Gilles, Norman carving was rude and 
Norman barbarous during the nth and earlier part of the 
scupure ^ ^^^ centuHes ; ornament was generally confined to 

CH. viii] NORMANDY 137 

abstract and conventional forms, zigzags, billets, and 
nail-heads, which simple at first became, as the style 
progressed, elaborated with a great deal of art. Figure 
sculpture during this period was rarely attempted, and 
on those rare occasions unfortunate. The carver's greatest 
successes were in grotesques, in which our rough northern 
humour took a special delight. It was not till quite 
late in the 12th century that Norman sculpture either 
in England or in Normandy approached that of con- 
temporary schools in merit. 

I have elsewhere^ described the connexion between Connexion 
Norman architecture and that of Lombardy, on which in Nomandy 
the I ith century it was largely based, through William of Lombardy 
Volpiano, Lanfranc of Pavia, and other ecclesiastics from 
North Italy whom the Norman dukes invited to their 
province. The influence of the church of S. Ambrogio, 
and possibly other Lombard buildings still older, of which 
S. Ambrogio itself was the outcome, may be traced at 
Jumieges and other great Norman buildings of the 
nth century. During this period Normandy seems to 
have progressed rapidly and to have outstripped the Early ad- 
other schools of France. The duchy was settled, firmly architec- 
governed and prosperous under its masterful dukes, while jJommndy 
the royal domain of the He de France was comparatively 
weak and disorganized, with the result that architecture 
there was backward. Things were reversed in the 
following century. Normandy was drained of men and its decline 
means by the conquest of England, to which country the 
court was transferred, and it was afflicted by the struggles 
between the Conqueror's sons for the possession of the 
Duchy. On the other hand the consolidation of the royal 
power in France under Louis VI, Louis VII, and Philip 

1 Byzantine and Romanesque Architecture, vol. ii. chap. xxiv. 













Auoustus was reHected bv the astonisliino- outburst of 
architectural art in the royal domain which we have 
already reviewed. It is said that during the 12th century 
Bayeux Cathedral was the only great building erected in 

With the French conquest at the opening of the 
13th century art revived in Normandy, and came naturally 
under the inHuence of the French school. The great 
churches of that period at Caen, Rouen, Seez, Coutances 
and others are mainly in the new Gothic style, though 
the Normans seem always to have worked with a special 
manner of their own. IMouldings were elaborated more 
than was usual in central France, where in the 13th century 
they seldom advanced beyond a simple roll on the angle, 
and the greater development of mouldings is an English 
characteristic. The projecting label or hood-mould which 
is usual over the interior arches in EnoHsh Gothic is not 
uncommon in Normandy, but so far as I know it does 
not occur elsewhere in F" ranee. At Rouen, Seez, Bayeux, 
Coutances, Dol, and Le Mans we find piers and columns 
with a round abacus instead of the square or polygonal 
form usual in French Gothic, and this too is an English 
feature. I n many of the fa9ades, as for instance at Lisieux, 
Seez and Coutances the rose window so typical of French 
desien is wantino;" : in the front of the cathedral of Rouen 
it is comparatively insignificant, and there is none in the 
flamboyant facade of S. Maclou. Normandy also seems 
to have been the cradle of sexpartite vaulting, the origin 
of which we have seen at the Abbaye aux Hommes at 
Caen, whence it spread far and wide into the He de France, 
to Paris and Sens. Among minor Norman peculiarities 
may be mentioned the balustrades to the triforium gallery, 
of which there are instances in the Abbaye aux Hommes, 

Plate XXXVI 

T. G. J. 


CH. viii] NORMANDY 139 

S. Pierre at Caen, and in the cathedral of Seez. The 
corbel tables in which Norman buildings abound both in 
Normandy and England are no doubt inherited from inter- 
Lombardy. A reading with interlacing arches was a arca"cfes 
favourite ornament peculiar to the Normans, who carried 
it with them as far as Sicily, where we find it at Palermo, 
Cefalu, and Monreale, and in Italy at Amalfi and in the 
Gulf of Salerno, which was affected by Sicilian influence. 
In Normandy there is an early example of it at the 
church of Gravillea few miles from Havre, and in England 
it abounds at Canterbury, at Castle Acre and Castle 
Rising in Norfolk, at S. Cross in Hampshire, at 
Malmesbury and in Christchurch Priory. There are 
faint survivals of it in the porch at Wells and in the apse 
at Norrey. 

Another special feature in Normandy is the central Cenuai 
tower, which in England is a regular constituent part of 
our great churches, but is very unusual in other parts 
of France. It occurs at Caen in both the great abbeys, 
at Rouen in the cathedral, S. Ouen and S. Maclou, at 
Bayeux, Lisieux, Coutances, Norrey, Bretteville, and 
numerous other churches both great and small, and is 
generally open from below as a lantern with a fine effect. 

But with these peculiarities the Gothic of Normandy Lisieux 
did in the main follow the style of France. The fine 
cathedral of S. Pierre at Lisieux, which was begun after 
the fire of 1136 by Bishop Arnoult (1143 — 118 r) and 
finished by his successor before 12 18, is designed quite 
in the French manner, and the interior is very like that 
of Notre Dame at Paris (Fig. 53). It is transeptal, and 
has a nave of eight bays with pointed arches carried on 
stout monocylindric columns. The capitals are tall, with 
simple foliage a crochet, except some at the west end 




Fig- 53- 
From the '■'Building News' 

CH. viii] NORMANDY 141 

which are more richly desig-ned\ The four straight bays Lisieux 


of the choir are similar. The triforium has two lights 
under an including arch : the shield is blank except in 
the two eastern bays of the choir where it is pierced with 
a trefoil. The chevet consists of seven narrow bays ; 
the first two straight, the rest in a semicircle. The work 
in this part seems later and I should imagine is part of 
the restoration by Bishop Pont-de-l'Arche after the fire 
of 1226, who added the side chapels of the ambulatory. 
The arches are richly moulded, whereas in the choir and 
nave they have only a roll on the angle of the order, and 
the detail of the triforium with its slender colonnettes, 
and the quatrefoil piercings in the shield 
is much more delicate and advanced than 
that of the rest of the building. The apse 
columns are doubled with small shafts set 
between them on each side (Fig. 54), and 
the radiating ribs are continued in a 
curious way beyond the central boss up 
to the first transverse arch. ^^' '^^' 

In the earlier nave and choir there are triple vaulting 
shafts with bases resting on the main capitals, as at 
Notre Dame in Paris. All the vaulting is quadripartite, 
and all the arches are pointed, and the vault a good deal 
domed up. The central tower is open as a lantern. 

The interior of this church is as fine as anything 
in French Gothic. The only point about it which is 
especially Norman is that the gables of the front and the 
two transepts have mullioned windows instead of a rose. 

The cathedral of Bayeux is an architectural puzzle. Bayeux 
Ordericus Vitalis" says Odo the Conqueror's half-brother, 

' Illustrated by Viollet-le-Uuc, Diet. Rais. vol. vill. p. 229. 
- Ord.'Vit. Lib. viii. 





CH. viii] NORMANDY 143 

the fighting bishop of Bayeux, began a church here in Bayeux 
ig86, which he finished splendidly. This church was 
burned in 1106 by King Henry who afterwards rebuilt 
it. Another fire preceded by an earthquake occasioned 
a fresh rebuilding in 1159', but the consecration seems 
not to have taken place till 1231. About the choir there The choir 
is not much difificulty. It reminds one somewhat of 
Bishop Northwold's presbytery at Ely, which was built 
between 1235 and 1251. It has plate tracery, sunk and 
carved paterae, rich undercut mouldings with pointed 
rolls, and a label on the inside over the triforium 
(Plate XXXVI). The abaci are square or octagonal, 
the vaulting shafts run up from the floor, and the clerestory 
has a passage in the wall, an inner arch, and a pair of 
lancets in the outer wall. All the vaults are quadripartite, 
and that over the crossing under the central tower has 
ridge ribs, English fashion. 

The difificulty lies in the nave (Fig. 55). Here we The nave 
have a late Romanesque round-arched arcade, with square 
orders, the inner with a roll moulding, the outer decorated 
with Norman ornaments, frets, zigzags, and birds' heads. 
They rest on huge clustered piers, with diaper work in 
the spandrils of interlacing scrolls and basket plaits, in 
the style of the 12th century. The capitals, however, 
are all in a much later style (Fig. 56), and cannot be 
earlier than beginning of the 13th century, when the 
upper part of the wall, containing a combined triforium 
and clerestory, was placed on the Romanesque arcade. 
The consecration of 1231 probably followed the com- 
pletion of this work and that of the choir. 

1 Du Moulin, Hist. Gen. de Nortnandie, ed. 1681. Cited by Porter, 
vol. I. p. 288. Philippus Cathedralem suam incendio concrematam restaurasse 
legitur... ad annum 1159. Gallia Christiana. 






As it is impossible that the carving of the capitals 
can be of the same date as the arches they carry, I can 
only suppose one of two things : either that they were 
left in block when the arcade was built in 1159, and not 




Fig. 56. 

no scale. 

Fig. 57. 

carved till the 13th century, or that the arcades were 
rebuilt in the 13th century, using again the masonry of 
the early arches and spandrils. As bearing on the latter 
theory, I observed that while the piers have a very early 
base (Fig. 57 a) the clustered responds opposite them in 
the aisle wall have good Gothic bases (Fig. 57 b) with 
angle toes. 

At Bayeux and the neighbourhood alone in France, 
so far as my observation goes, do we find that typical 
early English leaf which played so great a part in the 
foliaged capitals of our native Gothic during the 13th 
century, from York and Lincoln in the north to 
Winchester and Chichester in the south, and from West- 
minster in the east to S. Davids in the west. In both 
the examples here given (Figs. 56 and 58) it appears, 
and in one (Fig. 58) the whole capital is composed of it. 

There is no distinct triforium in the nave, but there 





is a passage in the wall below the tall clerestory windows Bayeux 
which have inner tracery, in the English manner. In *^^ 

Fig. 58. 

one bay a shallow gallery is bracketed out for a platform 
on which the organ would have been placed (Fig. 55). 

All vaults throughout the church are quadripartite. 
The ornamentation is conventional, and sculpture inside 
the church is confined to heads on brackets under the 
gallery, the capitals, and a few rude panels with figures 
in the spandrils of the arcade. The west portals, which 
are later, have sculptured tympana, and the usual figures 
in tabernacles in the orders of the arch. The west front 
and transept have traceried windows but no rose. 

Of the 1 2th century cathedral at Rouen nothing re- 
mains but the Tour S. Romain and the two side portals 
of the west front, dedicated to S. Jean and S. Etienne. 
The main part of the building is subsequent to a destruc- 
tive fire in 1 200, and the nave was probably finished 
before 1 240. The two side portals, that of La Calende 
at the south transept, and that of Les Libraires on the 
north, were finished at the end of the 13th century, about 

J. G. A. 10 






The nave 

The false 

The real 

The choir 

1280; the Lady chapel was built in the 14th century, the 
foundations being laid in 1302, the Tour du Beurre in 
1487, and the gorgeous west front between 1509 and 


The nave (Plate XX XVI I) has eleven bays of pointed 
arches resting on clustered piers very deeply moulded. 
Above is a second arcade, also on clustered jambs, g. false 
triforium open to the aisle, like those at Lucca, Genoa,, 
and Rochester, A way along the top of the arcade wall 
where the triforium floor should have been is carried 
very queerly round the pier on the side towards the aisle 
by a sort of balcony, supported on colonnettes which rest 
on a wide capital, from which the vault of the aisle would 
have sprung had the triforium been a real gallery. It 
would seem that the architect's original design was to 
make the usual gallery, such, as those at Paris, Noyon, 
and Senlis, and that he prepared his arcades in two 
storeys accordingly, but that when the time came for 
turning a vault over the first storey of the aisle he 
changed his plan for the present one, and devised these 
balconies^ to avoid losing the passage along the wall. 

There is a real triforium above with a passage through 
the piers, under a segmental arch from pier to pier, with 
a balustrade of little arches on colonnettes. Above is a 
clerestory of four lights with late geometrical tracery. 
In the four eastern bays the triforium is enclosed by a 
screen of 14th-century open work, mullions of which run 
up into those of the clerestory. This construction allows 
of very lofty and fine windows in the side aisle, occupying 
the height of two storeys in the nave. 

The choir is simpler and more in the regular French 
style. It has five straight bays with lofty monocylindric 

1 Illustrated by Viollet-le-Duc, Diet. Rats. vol. vi. p. i8. 



Plate XX XVI 11 

i?«;H4s»;as.»i; ps 



CH. viii] NORMANDY 147 

columns bearing' capitals a crochet and a round abacus. Rouen 


The triforium consists of six pointed arches on colon- 
nettes, and the clerestory has late geometrical tracery of 
very slight masonry. The aisles and chapels have plain 
lancet lights, and so, no doubt, had the clerestory origin- 
ally. There are only three apsidal chapels ; the Lady 
chapel in the middle, dating from 1302, is prolonged, 
the other two are original, and leave room for a pair of 
wide lancets in the ambulatory wall between them and 
the Lady chapel. 

All vaults are quadripartite and domed, and the trans- 
verse is slightly pointed. The central tower is open as 
a lantern for two storeys in height. 

In adopting the less massive and more scientific con- seez 
struction of French Gothic, the Normans sometimes 
pushed the light construction to excess, as in the cathedral 
of Seez, which when I saw it in 1864 was in a very 
dangerous state. The nave was begun about the middle 
of the 13th century and finished before 1292^; the choir 
was rebuilt after a fire in 1260 on the insufficient founda- 
tion of the older building, and therefore constructed with 
extreme and perilous lightness^ The nave has a mag- 
nificent west portal, sadly mutilated, however, in which 
still hang the original doors of the 13th century, covered 
with arcading in woodwork. The columns of the nave 
arcade are very lofty, mono- cylindrical with one vaulting 
shaft attached in front, and with the round abacus already 
alluded to : and the base also is round. The triforium 
is of a very peculiar design, with its triple arcades of 

1 Bishop John of Bernieres who died in 1292 was described in his epitaph 
as "aedificator ecclesiae Sagiensis." Dumaine, cited by Porter n. 324. 

2 VioUet-le-Duc, Diet. Rais. vol. H. p. 358. He remarks on the dangerous 
state of this church, which was then under repair. 








The choir 

two lights each (Plate XXXVIII), the middle one the 
narrowest, the others divided unequally by the colonnette, 
so that the outer light is narrower than the inner ; and 
as the point of the including arch is brought over the 
centre of the colonnette, it is awry. The lancet lights of 
the aisle also have their points outside the central line in 
the same way. The clerestory has two enormously wide 
lights, and instead of advancing the glass and tracery 
to the inner wall-face as at Amiens and elsewhere in 
the He de France, it is set in the Norman way on the 
outside wall-face. Consequently we have the clerestory 
passage in the wall thickness, and the second tracery on 
the inside of the wall, which were inherited from the 
Romanesque style, and which are almost universal in the 
great Gothic churches of England. 

The choir is more thoroughly French in style, with 
a glazed triforium and gablets inside over the main 
arcade \ something like those over the choir triforium 
at Amiens. 

There is another church at Seez with a simple and 
pretty English-looking tower and spire. 

The choir of the Abbaye aux Hommes at Caen, which 
was rebuilt in the 13th century, has a vaulted triforium 
gallery something like that in the nave of Noyon, but 
with more elaborate mouldings, a clerestory of two lancets 
with a wall-passage and triple-arched inner tracery in the 
English fashion, and a round abacus to the vaulting 
shaft. There is a label moulding also over the arches, 
which is usual in English interiors but does not occur in 
the stricter French Gothic churches of the He de France. 
The carving is stiffer than the contemporary work in 
France. Fig. 59 shows the ornamented string-course 

^ Illustrated by ViolIet-le-Duc, Diet. Rats. vol. ix. p. 296. 

Plate XXXIX 

L.. ri,/.tJt-f:.7) /•.-.-___ _.. . ^ _ 

T. (,. J. A1;1;A\ i: ALX HOMMES—CAEN — Sacristy 

CH. VIIl] 



below the clerestory, and Fig. 60 some of the capitals. A Caen. ^ 
side chapel with a 1 3th-century apse above a Romanesque aux 

^ Hommes 

Fig. 59- 

Fig. 60. 

basement has some interesting details, unlike the work of 
the He de France (Plate XXXIX). 

I50 NORMANDY [ch. viii 

Norman The neighbourhood of Caen abounds in charming 

chur?hes. village churchcs. The tower and spire of Ifs are mag- 
^ ^ nificent ; the lower stages are Romanesque, surmounted 

by a fine belfry stage of early pointed work that might 
almost be in England, but the spire, with its angle 
pinnacles and shafted lights, is distinctly French. 
Saddle- Many of the towers have a saddle-back roof: at 

towers S. Andre de Fontenay and at Herouville it is of wood 
with stone gables ; at Louvigny it is of stone. At 
AuTHiE is a very pretty one in the centre of the church, 
between nave and chancel (Plate XL), which are in an 
earlier style. In England there is a saddle-back tower at 
Tinwell in Rutland, and another at Maidford in North- 
amptonshire, but the form is rare with us\ Pyramidal 
stone spires also occur. Those at S. Michel de Vaucelles^ 
and S. Contest are Romanesque, but there is a charming 
13th-century tower with a short square spire at S. Gilles 
in Caen ; and there is another, more lofty and with 
shafted spire lights, at La Basse Allemagne. Other 
saddle-back towers occur in the department of Calvados 
at Formigny, Ryes, and Crepon. 
Norrey NoRREY, between Bayeux and Caen, has a splendid 

fragment of a church which would be more at home in 
a town than in a remote village of two hundred souls. 
The nave is low and aisleless, with transitional windows. 
This is succeeded by a fine central tower of the 13th 
century with transepts and a short and high choir, which 
has the triple elevation of arcade, triforium, and cleres- 
tory, like a small cathedral. There is a chevet of five 

^ Mr Bond illustrates others at Ickford in Oxfordshire, Wadenhoe in 
Northamptonshire and Brentingby in Lincolnshire. English Church Archi- 
tecture, vol. II. 

2 Illust. in my Byzantine and Romanesque Architecture, vol. ll. Plate 

Plate XL 

C -T'Zn. 

^Qalhk '<S^~- 




'1 Z^^-^^/./^v//^. 

T. G. J. 


CH. VIIl] 



bays with pointed arches on coupled columns with side Norrey 
shafts like Fig. 54, except that here all four are detached. 
The capitals are mostly a crochet. Attached to the 
ambulatory are two apsidal chapels, each surmounted by 
a tall semi-octagonal spire with a strange and rather 
grotesque effect. There is a rich late geometrical porch 
at the north transept, sadly dilapidated, and a four-light 
geometrical window in the south transept. 

All the mouldings are deeply undercut, like 13th 
century English work, but not so well profiled. There 
is a good deal of carving running round the ambulatory 

wall below the windows ; it is in high relief, and undercut, 
and is rather heavy, and has the look of being stuck on 
(Fig. 61). The foliage is half-way between the older con- 
ventions and the natural work of the 14th century. One 
part of this band of ornament is occupied by a series re- 
presenting the Massacre of the Innocents, which belonged 
to the older church of which the nave is a survival. 

In the wall arcading of the ambulatory it is interesting inter- 
to find the interlacing mouldings which play so large a mouldings 
part at Wells (Fig. 62 and Plate LXI infra). 

The abaci of the apse columns are round, and so are 
those of the spire lights. 





The nave 

The choir 


The magnificent cathedral of Coutances (Plate XLI) 
shows most of the peculiarities 
of Norman Gothic. Nothing 
remains to be seen of the older 
church, built between 1030 and 
1083, though the core of the 
four huge piers of the central 
tower and that of many of the 
walls is probably of that con- 
struction, encased in later work. 
The whole church is now in the 
pointed style of the 13th century, 
except the long Lady chapel and 
the side chapels of the nave, 
which are additions of the 14th. 

The nave, which dates from 
1208, has clustered piers with 
square abaci, deeply moulded 
arches and triple vaulting shafts rising from the floor. 
The triforium, which is now blocked, has shallow mould- 
ings, a rather coarse parapet of large quatrefoils, and a 
circle in the shield of the head sunk with geometrical 
patterns. The clerestory consists of a plain single light 
with a wide soffit and jamb on the inside, cut square 
through the wall, allowing a wall-passage in front of the 
window. The nave has a single aisle on each side, with 
later chapels beyond between the buttresses, and the 
party walls which form the buttresses are pierced with 
traceried openings. 

The eastern part of the church dates from between 
1238 and 1248. The choir has three straight bays with 
clustered piers, and a clerestory with double tracery like 
that of the nave at Bayeux (Fig. 55 sup.). The apse of 

Fig. 62. 








CH. viri] 



seven cants rests on coupled shafts standing^ farther apart Coutances 


than those at Sens, in order to carry a very thick wall. 
This is prepared for in the clustered pier also, which is 
arranged in two groups corresponding to the two columns 
(Fig. 63). A double aisle with radiating chapels sur- The choir 
rounds the choir and chevet, divided by an arcade on 
cylindrical columns with a round abacus. The inner of 
the two aisles has the triple arrangement of arcade, 
triforium represented by a blank arcade, and clerestory, 
and this causes the main arcade to be very lofty. The 
effect of this is not good in the choir, the arcade being 

Fig. 63. 

very high, and the pairs of detached columns unduly 
pulled out. The choir has no triforium, but a balustraded 
passage below and in front of the clerestory windows. 
On the whole the interior of Coutances is disappointing, 
the best part being the inner aisle of the choir with its 
cylindrical columns (Plate XLII). 

In this part of the church all the abaci are round, 
while in the nave they are square. The vaults are 
quadripartite with a longitudinal ridge rib. There is 
no ridge rib in the nave. All the mouldings in arches 
and piers are very deeply cut. 




east end 

The outside of the chevet is very pleasing, and the 
buttresses, which, as at Notre Dame at Paris, go in one 
flight over both aisles, are effective. There is a curious 
device in roofing the radiating chapels. In the French 
chevet the chapels had each its own roof, polygonal as 
at Amiens, or round as at Noyon, according as the 
chapel was round or polygonal. These often rose up 
into pyramidal roofs {ij. p. 73 sup., Plate VII). But the 
Norman plan at Coutances, the Abbaye aux Hommes 
at Caen, S. L6, and Bayeux was to bring the eaves to a 
straight line, or a curved line if the apse were semicircular, 

The three 

Fig. 64. 

from buttress to buttress, as shown in Fig. 64, by turning 
an arch from a — b and from c — d, with a small vault 
behind it covering the triangular recess. This enabled 
the aisle to be covered by a simple lean-to roof. 

The glory of Coutances, however, is its three great 
towers, two at the west end with spires, and one over 
the crossing which sadly wants a spire too. The two 
western towers have each a square base, changing to an 
octagon above the nave roof, and with a stair-turret 
standing clear at the outside front angle of the main 
tower and only joining it angle to angle (Plate XLIII). 
This smaller tower also changes from square to octagon 

Plate XLIII 






^ Y. ^>^i6 iHH ^'f 'i*l>H r^^/?." 

T. G. J. 


CH. viii] NORMANDY 155 

and finishes with a spire. The triangles left on the Coutances 

. cathedral 

square by the departure of the octagon are filled, both in 
the main tower and in the stair-turret, by enormously 
long hollow tabernacles pierced and shafted and crowned 
by spirelets. The whole effect is very rich, but rather 
confused, especially when seen on the diagonal, when the 
outline is awkward and the effect is not successful. 

A beautiful gallery of tracery, dating from 1371 to 
1386, joins the two towers, masking the gable of the 
nave roof. 

The central tower is open to the crossing as a lantern, The 
the octagon being formed by corbelling out, and not by 
squinches. This seems the usual Norman method. It 
is open for two stages ; the lower has a passage behind 
a screen of columns and arches, the upper a balustraded 
gallery in front of the windows, — two large lancets in 
each bay, — and above is a vault of sixteen converging 
ribs. The interior effect of this is admirable. 

Both nave and transepts have mullioned windows in 
their fagades, — Norman fashion, — instead of the French 



Burgundy, Toulouse, Anjou 

Tournus Here and there in different parts of France eccen- 

tricities occur in the construction of the vaults which are 
always interesting. Perhaps the most curious is that at 
Tournus in Burgundy, where the difficulty of combining 
a large clerestory window with a barrel vault is met by 
placing a barrel vault transversely over each bay at right 
angles to the axis of the church, springing it from arches 
thrown across the church from side to side. The long 
section of the vault therefore looks like the elevation of 
a bridge with several arches. The result is not beautiful, 
and the plan does not seem to have been followed 
elsewhere on a large scale. 

Mantes At the Cathedral of Mantes however, — Mantes la 

jolie, — a somewhat similar method is adopted with better 
result on a small scale in vaulting the triforium. This 
belongs to the class of large triforium galleries like those 
at Noyon, Senlis, Laon, and Paris. It is vaulted with a 
series of barrel vaults placed like those at Tournus at 
right angles to the axis, and springing from lintels across 
the gallery supported by a row of colonnettes (Fig. 65). 
As the gallery rounds the apse these cross vaults radiate 


CH. IX] 



Fig. 65. 



[CH. IX 


The Bur- 




S. Urbain 
at Troyes 

conically from the narrow span of the choir bay to the 
greater span on the aisle wall ; this gives room for a 
huge round window in each bay, and these form a very 
unusual, and rather surprising feature in the exterior 
view. The church seems to date from the end of the 
1 2 th century, and the west front has some admirable 
carving with a strong reminiscence of classic work\ All 
the arches are pointed, the vaulting is sexpartite, and 
the piers are alternated with columns. The facade with 
its twin towers is a fine composition. 

The western narthex which was a feature in the 
Romanesque churches of Burgundy, as for instance at 
Vezelay, Autun, and Pontigny, occurs also in the Gothic 
churches of that province. One has been shown already 
at S. Pere sous Vezelay (Plate XV p. 91 sup.) which is 
now imperfect, if indeed it was ever completed. There is 
another (Fig. 66) in the fine church of Semur-en-Auxois, 
one of the most picturesque and romantic towns in that 
part of France. 

The splendid stone found in Champagne provoked 
the architects of that province to daring feats of masonry 
which would otherwise have been impossible. The 
church of S. Urbain at Troyes which was bes:un in 
1262 and finished about 1276, and looks later than it is, 
consists of the choir and transepts of what was to have 
been a larger building, of which the nave is unfinished. 
It affords an extreme instance of the hazardous lengths 
to which Gothic construction can be pushed. The whole 
church is a mere lantern of gorgeous stained glass framed 
in slender spars of stone. The mullions are slight like 
bars of iron, the piers are mere shafts, and as the floor of 
the triforium is only twelve or fourteen feet from the 

* Illustrated in my Byz. and Rom. Architecture, vol. II. p. 264. 

CH. IX] 



■li ^\.^^-^r 


Fig. 66. 

i6o FRANCE [ch. ix 

s. Urbain ground the whole apse, which has no aisle or chapels, 
royes g^^j^^ ^^ |^^ ^^ glass. Clcrestory and triforium are 
practically one window with two planes of tracery and 
a passage between them, the outer tracery being glazed 
in the triforium and the inner in the clerestory. Never 
was anything more scientifically designed : nothing in 
the construction is superfluous, and indeed but for the 
splendid quality of the stone, of which full advantage has 
been taken, the building could not have lasted in its 
present state of perfection. The traceries are cut in single 
slabs of stone slid into chases between the buttresses, and 
the two planes are bonded together by gutter courses 
of the same material. In point of lightness and hardi- 
hood this church outdoes the most extravagant work of 
the Flamboyant or Perpendicular period. The traceries 
are all of severe and vigorous geometrical forms and 
I do not remember an ogee curve. The mouldings are 
delicate and pure in detail, though somewhat slender 
and wiry as the proportions of the mullions and tracery 
bar require, but still sufficient and effective, and the 
design has escaped that monotony and tameness which 
characterizes so much of the 14th century work in 

The glass Nearly all the windows are filled with painted glass 

of the date of the church, and on a consistent scheme, 
forming an harmonious system of decoration. A band 
of figure work bounded by straight lines forms a zone 
of splendid colour round the building on a ground of 
rich grisaille which sparkles like a tissue of silver. 

Gothic in In the south and west of France Gothic architecture 

Franc^J" ultimately made its way, but it never quite effaced the 

1 The church is fully described and illustrated by Viollet-le-Duc in his 
article on Construction. Diet. Rais. vol. I v. 




CH. IX] 



traditional Romanesque of those parts, which yielded 
slowly and reluctantly to the new-comer. The Gothic 
cathedrals of Clermont and Limoges seem out of place, 
and have an air of intrusion among the far more interesting 
buildings of the Romanesque period of which that part 
of France is full. In Poitou and Anjou pointed archi- ThePian- 
tecture took a peculiar form very unlike that of the royal style 
domain, and retained many features of the preceding 
Romanesque style. The cathedral at Angers, though Angers 

C3.tll 60.1*3.1 

it has regular rib and panel vaulting is not very far 


■ I 

Fig. 67. De Verneilh. 

removed from the construction of the domed churches at 
Angouleme and Fontevrault. Its continuous nave and 
choir, without aisles or chapels (Fig. 67), covered by 
vast quadripartite vaults which rise enormously, dome- 
fashion, in each bay, is obviously inspired by the 
neighbouring churches,, which have real cupolas on 

This Angevin, or Plantagenet style, as De Verneilh Angers. 
calls it, pervades the district, and Angers has many Dieu 

J. G. A. 

1 1 



[CH. IX 






Fig. 68. 



examples of it. The ancient Hotel Dieu, founded in Angers. 
1 153 by our King Henry II, is a magnificent structure Dieu 
consisting of a vast three aisled hall measuring about 
200 X 75 feet, at the end of which is a beautiful chapel, 
with a Romanesque cloister, and a splendid granary in 
two storeys, not the least interesting member of the 
group (Fig. 68). 

The great hall (Plate XLIV), where the patients were The 
lodged, was occupied according to its original purpose till '^^^^^ 
a modern hospital was built some 50 or 60 years ago. 
It is divided by two rows of slender pillars with simple 
capitals, carrying vaults of pointed arches, highly domical, 
with ribs consisting of only a small roll like those at the 
cathedral. Half columns form the wall-responds, and at 
the springing, 18' 5" above the floor, a simple string 
runs round the room, above which in each bay is a round- 
arched single-light window. 

The chapel adjoining at one end is a little later — 
Viollet-le-Duc dates it about 11 80. It is a square 
building, divided by a central column into four square 
bays with a shallow apse in one of them, the eastern 
bays being again subdivided with an extra column. 
The columns, capitals, and responds are like those in 
the hall, but are surmounted by a plain block from 
which springs the groining, much domed up and with 
the same simple roll for a rib as those in the great hall. 
These ribs are very slight, and owing to the very great 
doming of the vaults are not really neces- 
sary to the construction. In fact they 
are not really developed at all as inde- 
pendent ribs, but are embedded in the 
vault, merely marking the lines of the 
groin by a roll moulding (Fig. 69). '^' ^' 



[CH. IX 





The windows are round-headed, between round-headed 
blank panels, forming a triplet in each bay, reminding 
one slightly of the fenestration of the Temple church 
in London. 

The granary or storehouse (Fig. 70) is in two storeys. 
The lower is a vaulted crypt hewn partly out of the rock ; 

S. Serge 

Fig. 70. 

the upper is magnificent with two rows of columns 
dividing it into three aisles, and roofs of open timber 
framed with curved rafters. One of the arcades has 
coupled columns bearing a common impost through the 
thickness of the wall. 

In the same Plantagenet style is the fine abbey church 

Plate XL V 

T. G. J. 




Plan XLVI 


T. G. J. 



of S. Serge (Plate XLV), perhaps the most beautiful Angers, 
example of it. The choir has three aisles of equal height ' "^^ 
and nearly equal width, four bays long : the middle 
aisle is projected one bay beyond, and ends square. The 
columns are slender like those in the Hotel Dieu, and 
have octagonal capitals. The vaults are domed up and 
have the usual roll by way of rib, though here again it is 
not really a rib at all but a moulding worked on the arris 
of the stones that form the edge of the groin. Here, and 
also at the chapel of the Hotel Dieu, the roll occurs also 
along the ridge, like the ridge ribs common in England, 
but in the end bays, which are subdivided into lesser 
vaults, the doming of the vault makes this ridge rib mount 
like an ordinary groining rib. 

It is to be observed that though all the vaulting 
arches are pointed, the windows here, like those at the 
Hospital, are round-arched with a simple splay round 

The cathedral at Poitiers (Fig. 71), which was Poitiers 
founded about 11 60 and is contemporary with that of 
Angers, is another building in the Plantagenet style 
(Plate XLVI). Like S. Serge it has three aisles of 
equal width, and nearly equal height, the middle one 
being a little higher than the two others, piers slender 
and lofty, domed-up vaults with a slight roll for a rib, 
and ridge rolls like the other examples that have been 
described. The east end is square and the church is 
wider at the west end than at the east. The west end 
with its two towers is later and not so interesting. 

Round the walls runs a lofty arcade with round arches 
on slender shafts carrying a gallery or passage which 
passes in front of the windows, and through the piers 
that divide the bays. The cathedral at Angers has a 

i66 FRANCE [ch. ix 

Poitiers Similar arcade with a gallery, but the arches are pointed. 
This is a purely Romanesque feature and may be seen 
in the domed churches of Solignac and Cahors. The 
construction of these aisleless churches, — for Poitiers 

Fig. 71. VioUet-le-Duc. 

is really a church not of nave and aisles, but of three 
naves, — depends a great deal on these interior buttresses, 
and though at Angers there are considerable buttresses 
outside, Cahors and Fontevrault have only shallow outside 

Plate XL VII 



T. G. J. 


Plate XL VIII 

' I" 




T. G. J. 



projections and deep piers inside between which the Poitiers 
lower part of the wall is brought out and carries the 
gallery that I have described. 

The great hall of the old palace of the Counts of Poitiers. 
Poitou, now the Palais de Justice, at Poitiers has justice ^ 
arcading round the upper part of the walls like that at 
the cathedral, in which the windows are pierced. 

The Angevin style of Gothic peculiar to the domains of The pian- 
the Plantagenet kings of England, has a strong individual styie"*^ 
character, and very little relation to the Gothic work 
which we have been describing in the central and eastern 
parts of the country, where the royal power was supreme. 
It is a style of great beauty and well deserves study. It 
has an extraordinary delicacy and refinement considering 
its early date, and looks much later than it really is. 

In the neighbourhood of Toulouse little or no stone 
is to be found, and during the middle ages brick was the 
usual building material. It was used with nice discern- 
ment of its properties as distinct from those of masonry. 
The tower of the Jacobin convent at Toulouse dating Toulouse. 
from the end of the 13th century (Plate XLVII) is a towV" 
typical example. The architect has avoided the trouble 
of getting moulded bricks as much as possible, and has 
economised stone to the utmost. The only masonry 
consists in the capitals and string-courses. The shafts at 
the corners of the octagon and elsewhere are of shaped 
bricks, but for the window heads ordinary plain bricks 
are ingeniously made to serve by means of straight-sided 
arches instead of curved. The effect is excellent and 
gives the tower a character of its own. The stages 
diminish as they rise, the outline leaves nothing to be 
desired, and the design is altogether delightful. There 
does not seem ever to have been a spire on this tower, 


1 68 FRANCE [ch. ix 

Toulouse but Viollet-le-Duc says there are others of the same sort 
which have short spires of brick. We shall come to 
brick spires later in Italy. There is another tower in 
Toulouse at the Augustine convent, now the museum, 
very like that of the Jacobins, but it is imperfect and the 
lower stage differs. 

In the district of the Limousin are some fine towers 
with a peculiar arrangement of octagonal stages super- 
imposed on a square substructure. An early example is 

Tower of afforded by the imposing steeple of S. Leonard, between 
Limoges and Clermont. The two lower storeys are 
square, with two arches in the side, and the lower stage, 
which is open and serves as a porch, has a central 
column from which vaults spring to the outer walls 
(Plate XLVIII). The third and fourth stages are also 
square, and are a good deal set back from the face of 
those below. The fourth storey has on each face a 
window with a steep gable over it like those in the 
steeples of Chartres, Vendome, and some early towers in 
Aquitaine, at Brantome and elsewhere. The upper part 
is octagonal in two receding stages, but the peculiarity is 
that the octagon is not set with sides parallel to the 
square below but obliquely, so that an angle comes in 
the middle of each face of the square, and at each 
corner of it. The general outline is not very satis- 
factory, nor are the stages very well proportioned to 
one another. 

There are three steeples in Limoges with the octagon 
set obliquely in the same way, obviously a local fashion. 

Liuioges. They have however the addition of an octagonal or 
round pier over each angle of the square. Two of them, 
that of S. Michel aux Lions (Plate XLIX) and that of 
S. Pierre have spires : that of the cathedral, built from 

S. Michel 

Plate XLIX 

% ^ %i. 



/Ci T\-\ 


$ J-^-* ^^ 



T. G. J. 



Plate L 





/■/■ 'j>'.,- i 


T. G.J. 



the ground inside an older square structure, either never 
received its spire, or has lost it. 

It was in England and in Normandy that the Gothic The 
spire attained the greatest excellence. In France the sphe 
solid sturdy spires of the transitional period are very 
satisfactory, but those of the 13th century, as for instance 
that above described at Senlis {v. sup. p. 68, Plate III), 
though admirable in detail leave a good deal to be desired 
in outline. The Normans had a surer eye for mass and The 
profile and their spires of the late 13th and 14th centuries sp°rT'^" 
are admirable. Two beautiful 13th century spires sur- 
mount the Conqueror's towers at S. Etienne, Caen, with 
admirably grouped pinnacles and spire lights \ In this 
case the towers are of an earlier date than the spires, but 
in the steeple of S. Pierre in the same city we have a Caen. 

. . S. Pierie 

complete design from the ground upwards. It was built 
in 1308, and is perhaps the finest example of a type 
which runs through that part of Normandy. S. Sauveur Caen, 
at Caen has a tower and spire very like that of S. Pierre, veur 
but not so lofty (Plate L). The tower of S. Jean, was 
to have been like it, but the foundations having given 
way, the tower settled some feet out of the upright, and 
the spire was not attempted. The towers of Audrieu, 
Norrey, Ifs, and Bernieres, are all, so far as they were 
completed, of the same type. In all of them there is The 
a very lofty belfry stage with a pair of two-light windows be°fry 
on each face between a pair of narrow blank arches. 
An enriched cornice defines the division between tower 
and spire, which is often indefinite in the earlier examples. 
The spire is octagonal with a lofty spire-light on each The spire 
direct face, and a pinnacle, square or octagonal, hollow pinnacles 

' Illustrated in my Byzantitie and Roinanesque Architecture (Plate 

\jo FRANCE [cH. IX 

and shafted, on the angles of the square, sometimes 

standing on a broach, sometimes without. The three at 

Caen have a parapet with small outer pinnacles, and 

Spire at they are perhaps a little later than the others. That at 


NoRREY (Plate LI) is imperfect but room seems to have 
been left there for a similar parapet. The upper part of 
the spire was destroyed by lightning and is completed in 
wood and slated. The neighbouring church of Bretteville 
rOrgueilleuse has a fine modern belfry and spire of the 
same type on a Norman base. I do not know whether 
there were any traces of an old one of the kind which 
gave the design for it. In the steeple at Norrey all the 
capitals have a round abacus. 
The spires Further west in Normandy at Coutances and S. Lo 

of western ^• rr i i • i i 

Noraiandy we get a ditierent type : the octagon begms lower down 
below the belfry stage, and the angles are filled with 
enormously long hollow and shafted pinnacles or taber- 
nacles, each of which has its spirelet [v. sup. Plate XLIII). 
Both types have their different methods, but to an 
English eye, perhaps prejudiced, that of the Caen district, 
more like our own, seems to make the better composition 
and to give the finer outline. 

Plate LI 




T. G. J. 




At Beauvais the reduction of solid support is pushed 
to an extreme. The choir is a mere lantern of glass set 
in a frame of stone. The triforium is pierced with glazed 
windows in the back wall and is in fact a continuation of 
the clerestory, and the vaulting shafts that run from floor 
to roof unite all three storeys into a single composition. 
The transparency of the whole is completed by the large 
windows of the aisle clerestory and those in the chapels 
which are seen through the main arches. 

With Beauvais the history of the development of Gothic 
Gothic architecture in France is complete. We have ment com- 
traced its progress from a simple and tentative beginning ^ ^"^^ 
at S. Denis and Senlis to Noyon and Sens, where 
Romanesque tradition was almost lost, and to Paris and 
Chartres where it is quite neglected. At Reims the 
whole system of Gothic construction is understood, and 
carried out in its entirety, but without weakness. At 
Amiens the whole theory of construction was displayed, 
and pursued to its logical results with full assurance and 
not a little temerity. At Beauvais it was pushed further 
still; and if Amiens reached the margin of safety, Beauvais 
rashly overstepped it. The system could be carried no 

172 FRANCE [cH. X 

further, and French Gothic In the 14th century, unless 
where affected by provincial differences, followed the 
lead of the 13th without its life and progress, declining 
in originality, and growing more and more attenuated 
and feeble, till the Flamboyant style appeared to give it 
fresh life and interest. 

A very few examples of later French Geometrical 
Gothic must suffice. 
s. Quentin The vast church of S. QuENTiN, on the way from 
Paris to Brussels, with a vault 127 feet high, dates from 
the later half of the 13th century and is supposed, I do 
not know on what authority, to have been designed by 
Wilars de Honecort. It has two transepts, the only 
remaining instance of which I am aware in France, 
though there had been two at Cluny. The nave which 
is a good deal later, though still in the geometrical style ^ 
(Plate LI I), is very striking, with a fine clerestory to 
which the triforium is united, as had now become the 
fashion, and a great effect of height is given by the 
vaulting shafts which rise from the floor. The capitals 
are poor, with detached sprigs of foliage planted round 
the bell. There is a single aisle to the nave, but the 
choir, which is dated in 1257, has two aisles divided by 
cylindrical columns with better foliage. The triforium of 
this part consists of four pointed arches on colonnettes 
as at Reims and Chartres. The eastern transept is at 
the end of the choir, and the apse starts directly from 
it. The chevet has chapels ranging with the outer aisle 
and opening by triple arches to the ambulatory. 

There is no tower, though preparation was made for 
a pair at the west end, which has now a poor Renaissance 

1 Mr Porter {pp. cit. II. 329) gives the date of the building of the nave 
from 1400 to 1470, but the design cannot be so late. 

Plate LII 

T. G. J. 



front. The church has a good deal of fine painted glass 
in various parts. 

The magnificent church of S. Pierre at Chartres chanres. 

.... S. Pierre 

has a continuous nave and choir with side aisles, but no 
transept. It is of various dates. The lower part of the 
eastern half is of early Romanesque work with massive 
piers and cushion capitals, and the aisle has plain cross 
groining without diagonal ribs, but the arches are pointed. 
This construction goes round the apse, and as the con- 
structors had not yet learned that the diagonal groins on 
a curved plan need not lie in one plane, they got into 
difficulties, and the intersection is not in the middle of 
the aisle, but falls towards the inside crown \ The apse 
columns, originally mono-cylindric, have later vaulting 
shafts added to them, and all the superstructure is of 
later date. 

Next in order would seem to come the six western 
bays of the church, between which and the eastern part 
is a distinct break (Fig. 72). Here are pointed arches 
on clustered columns with vaulting shafts that rise from 
the capitals like those in the cathedral, and a triforium 
of four trifoliated arches on colonnettes. The clerestory 
has two enormously wide lights and a small circle in the 

The eastern part which looks like 14th century work' 
has five straight bays before the apse, a triforium with 
double tracery pierced through the back wall and glazed, 
and a fine clerestory above. All the vaults are quadri- 
partite, and that of the eastern part is raised above the 

The beautiful glass with which the whole clerestory 

^ As to this problem see above, p. 47. 
2 It is said to have been finished in 1310. 



[CH, X 

Fig. 72. 


is filled has few rivals. In the western part the windows chartres. 
are glazed alternately with figure subjects, and with a 
mixture of figure and grisaille, two figures being placed 
in pale as an upright band of colour between spaces 
of grisaille. In the four-light windows of the eastern 
part the lights are alternately storied and in grisaille, 
which with an even number of lights has an odd effect. 

The late 13th century cathedral of Chalons-sur- chaions- 
Marne has some remains of the older Romanesque cathecfraT 
church, and a magnificent interior ; and the flank, having 
no chapels, has something of the grandeur of that at 
Reims. The apse has only three bays, so that the 
arches are much more open than usual, and the effect is 
good. The nave has cylindrical columns with octagonal 
capitals, but the foliage is poor. The triforium is glazed 
and united to the clerestory, which has four-light windows 
with a cusped circle in the head and two smaller circles 
with quatrefoils in the sub-order. The whole system of 
Gothic construction is logically carried out, and the 
interior of this church is very pleasing. 

It would be easy to multiply examples, did space 
permit, or if further illustration were necessary. The 
tendency was constantly to diminish the solids on the 
floor and increase the voids, and to return to simplicity 
of plan, of which the church of S. Ouen at Rouen is a Rouen. 
typical example (Plate LI II). The present building was 
begun in 1318 on the site of a Romanesque predecessor, 
of which a small fragment remains on the north side. It 
is on a magnificent scale, and shows in perfection the 
final type of a great French church. It has a nave with 
side aisles and no lateral chapels, and this has a good 
effect. The transepts are short and only outrun the 
aisle by one bay, and this also is good ; and the apse 

176 FRANCE [ch. x 

Rouen. with I'ts aoibulatory and chapels is planned with only 
three cants, which gives a very agreeable proportion. 
The whole plan, in short, is simple and excellent. The 
detail, on the contrary, is disappointing. The eastern 
part only is of the 14th century \ and in the latest French 
geometrical style: the nave was added in the 15th century, 
and the west front is modern. There is a central tower, 
which, however, is not open as a lantern. 

The whole construction is extremely slender. The 
choir has a clerestory of six-light windows combined with 
a square triforium bay, which has double tracery glazed 
on the outside. The vaulting shafts rise from the floor. 
The main arcade is starved and thin, and the shafts are 
meagre with poor little capitals. The aisle windows are 
enormous, and the supports generally are reduced to a 
minimum. All the vaults are quadripartite. 

West of the transept all the windows are flamboyant, 
the nave dating from the 15th and i6th centuries, with 
reedy and thin mouldings, and the arcades have capitals 
only to the central shaft of the group, the other members 
being continuous with the mouldings of the arch. 

The general effect of the interior from the west end, 
owing to the simplicity of the plan and the excellence of 
the proportion, is fine ; and as the arches are thin and 
the vaulting shafts a good deal projected, the effect of 
the nave is columnar, the arches being hardly seen. But 
beyond the general effect there is nothing to interest 
one, the details being poor and monotonous. 

In sculpture during this period the tendency was 

' The epitaph of the abbot who built it runs as follows : he died in 1339 : 
Hie jacet frater Johannes Marcdargent alias Roussel quondam abbas istius 
monasterii qui incepit istam ecclesiam aedificare de novo, at fecit chorum et 
capellas et pilaria turris et magnam partem crucis monasterii antedicti. 
Dom. Pommeraye, cited Porter, ll. 317. 

Plate LIII 


Plate LIV 


y^'^.^mt '^ ^^ '^ 

T. G. J. 



towards greater naturalism. Some of the capitals, break- 14th 
ing away from the convention of the cap-a-crochet, which sculpture 
continued almost to the last, are of remarkable beauty. '" France 
Mention has already been made of the natural foliage in 
the chapter house of Noyon\ There are capitals in the 
western porch of the same cathedral, most of them sadly 
mutilated, as fine as anything ever done in that way. 
The rendering of the wild geranium {G. pratense) in that 
shown by Plate LIV can hardly be surpassed. 

In figure sculpture there was the same tendency 
towards naturalism ; and as this prevailed more and 
more the statues became less sympathetic with the archi- 
tecture, and declined into portraiture. The magnificent 
figures at Reims seem to stand at the turning-point 
between two extremes ; on one hand the stiff conven- 
tions of the Royal Portals at Chartres, where the figures 
are drilled into columnar forms, and are eminently archi- 
tectural, and on the other hand the later statues, which 
are merely lodged in their niches as decorative features, 
and have no special relation to the architecture they 
decorate. But sculpture plays a far less important part 
during this period than in that preceding it. 

The 14th century was not a happy time for France. The 14th 
Harassed by English invasions during the Hundred l^n France 
Years' War, ravaged by the Black Death in 1340 and 
afterwards, which is said to have swept off half the 
population, the French had other things to think of than 
the fine arts. Comparatively few great buildings were 
erected during that period, and the art showed little of 
the spirit that had produced the masterpieces of the 
preceding age. During the 14th century, says Viollet- Character 
le-Duc, " the architecture of religious buildings became French 

^ V. Slip. pp. 76, TJ. cal Gothic 

J. G. A. 12 



[CH. X 

nearly uniform over all the territory subject to the royal 
power ; the plans may, so to speak, be classified accord- 
ing to the dimension of the edifice, and they follow 
without notable differences the arrangement and mode 
of construction adopted at the end of the 13th century^" 
I confess I find the later French Geometrical Gothic 
monotonous, and the great churches built during that 
Bordeaux pcHod Very much alike. Bordeaux has a fine Gothic 
Narbonne Cathedral with good sculpture, and at Narbonne is another 
dating from 1272 which Viollet-le-Duc praises for its 
admirable construction. It is on a grand scale, 131 feet 
high, simple in design, with no carving, and glazed 
mostly with grisaille. But he says the aspect is bare 
and cold, the work " plutot d'un savant que d'artiste "I 
This indeed is the character of the 14th-century Gothic 
generally in France, as it is well described by the same 
writer. He says "at the end of the 13th century we 
no longer find the individual stamp which marks each 
Monotony building at the beginning of it. The general arrange- 
ment, the construction, and the ornament take already a 
monotonous aspect, which favours mediocrity at the cost 
of genius. Science carries the day over art, and absorbs 
it. Solids are reduced to the least possible, windows 
enlarged to the greatest extent, spires rise on supports 
that seem incapable of carrying them, mouldings are 
divided into an infinity of members, and piers are com- 
posed of bundles of colonnettes as numerous as the arch 
mouldings they support. Sculpture loses its importance, 
starved by the geometrical combinations of the architec- 
ture. In spite of the excessive skill and logic which 
presides over the architecture, it leaves you cold in 
presence of its efforts, in which one finds more calculation 

1 Diet. Rats. vol. I. p. 239. 2 /^/^_ yoj ^^ p 278. 

of 14th 
Gothic in 

Plate L V 

ROUEN CATHEDRAL— Purtail cles Libraires 

Plate LVI 

ROUEN CATHEDRAL— North Entrance Screen 


than inspiration."^ It was not till Gothic woke to fresh 
life in the Flamboyant style that it achieved any further 
signal artistic triumphs in France. 

One of the most successful works of the later French Rouen. 
Geometrical style is the north transept of the cathedral at Libraire/^ 
Rouen, with the Portrail des Libraires, which is dated 
about 1280, and of which Jean Davi is said to have been 
the architect (Plate LV). If this is compared with the 
earlier fa9ades it will be seen how attenuated all the 
details had become at the end of the 13th century, how 
thin and wiry the mouldings, and how shallow the 
recessing of the planes. 

A long narrow court leads up to this portal, entered its 
from the street at the other end through a magnificent 
double gateway or screen, erected in 1484, where we find 
fully developed the next and final stage of French Gothic Fiam- 
(Plate LVI). But to the Flamboyant style we shall return ootWc 
in a later chapter. 

^ Diet. Rats. vol. i. p. 154. 







of North- 

duction of 


The native architecture of Saxon England, which 
was highly interesting, and had a distinctive character of 
its own, was practically wiped out by the foreign style 
imported from Normandy. Many of its buildings were 
large and important, and even won the admiration of 
the conquering Norman : and for a short period in 
Northumbria the school produced sculpture of remarkable 
excellence, scarcely equalled by any contemporary work 
in Southern Europe. The Saxon style bore stronger 
traces of Roman influence than the Norman which super- 
seded it, and which of all the Romanesque styles is least 
affected by Roman tradition. The first introduction of 
the foreign style into England by Edward the Confessor, 
— a style, as William of Malmesbury says, never before 
seen there, — was followed after the Conquest by such a 
burst of pulling down and reconstruction as was only 
equalled by the great period of cathedral building in 
France during the reign of Philip Augustus ; and no 
great structure of Saxon times has survived it. 

In a former volume^ I have traced the progress of 
English Romanesque from the Conquest to 1 170 or 1 180; 

* Byzantine and Romanesque Architecture, vol. n. 

Plate LVII 



T. G. J. 



from the rude and semi-barbarous, though impressive 
simplicity of Winchester and S. Alban's, to the more 
refined Norman of Ernulf and Conrad at Canterbury, 
the naves of Peterborough and Ely, and the delicate 
arcades of the Galilee at Durham. In all these the round 
arch still held its own, and if the aisles were vaulted the 
nave was still ceiled with wood. In France meanwhile Beginning 
pointed architecture had appeared at S. Denis which was arcM-"^ " 
begun in 1140, at Sens which was begun in 1143 and pj^ance"^ 
finished in 1168, at Noyon and Paris which were begun 
in 1 1 50 and 1163. The pointed arch had already made 
its appearance in England as early as the middle of the 
1 2th century. The nave arcades of Fountains Abbey, Fountains 
built between 1140 and 1150 are pointed, though sur- f^^^I^^.Q 
mounted by a round arched clerestory. The transitional 
nave of Worcester Cathedral, of which only the two Worcester 
western bays remain, displayed a mixture of pointed "^7175 
arches and round (Fig. 73). The great arcades, dating 
from about 1175, have pointed arches on well-developed 
clustered piers; the clerestory triplet has two pointed 
arches flanking a round arch opposite the single round 
arched window ; and the triforium has round-arched 
openings surmounted by a pointed arch. The Roman- 
esque square abacus survives, and the arches of triforium 
and clerestory are decorated with the Norman zigzag and 
other primitive ornaments. The high vaults of these 
two bays of the nave are later, dating probably from 
early in the 14th century, but the clustered wall shaft 
of Norman work in front of the pier implies that a 
vault over the nave had been intended from the first. 
These bays at Worcester form a very important link in 
the early development of English Gothic independently 
of any French influence. 



[CH. XI 

Fig. 7Z. 
From " The Builder' 

CH. Xl] 



The nave of S. David's cathedral, buih by Bishop 
Peter de Leia between 1176 and 1198, is mainly 
Romanesque, though of a very late type, with round- 
arched arcade and clerestory, plentifully adorned with a 
great variety of Norman zigzags ; but it has a triforium 
of pointed arches (Plate LVII). Its transitional character 
is marked by the detail of the arch-mouldings which are 
almost Early English in detail (Fig. 74), by the quasi- 
Attic base, by the concave profile of the fluted cushion 
capitals, and by the primitive foliage of some of them. 
From the wall-shafts of the upper storey it would seem 


i ir -feet 

S. David's 



Fig. 74- 

that de Leia's architect contemplated a sexpartite vault 
over the nave. 

The obvious intention both at Worcester and S. David's Ambition 
to vault the naves in the last quarter of the 12th century, naves 
though in one case this was not done till later, and in the 
other not at all, shows that this final achievement of 
mediaeval architecture had already taken possession of the 
mind of the builders. It is even maintained that it had 
been actually realized half a century earlier at Durham 
(Plate LVII I), where it is argued by some writers that 
the present ribbed nave vaults date from 1133'. The 

1 Mr Bilson in Journal R. Inst. Brit. Architects, 3rd series, vol. vi. 
p. 295, etc. ; Canon Green well, Durham Cathedral., p. 36. 

i84 ENGLAND [ch. xi 

Durham chroniclc of the abbey states that at the death of Bishop 

nave vaults 

Flambard in 1128 the nave was built usque iestudinetn, 
and that in the interval before the election of the next 
bishop in 1133 the monks finished the church. But as 
Mr Bond' and M. de Lasteyrie point out, testudo does 
not necessarily mean a stone vault. It might mean a 
wooden roof, and in fact the existence of wall-shafts 
in the south transept running up to the top of the wall 
implies that such a covering was originally intended 
there. There are other signs that the nave vault was an 
afterthought and not intended originally. The transverse 
arches are pointed, and in order not to rise above the 
height given by the Norman clerestory they are de- 
pressed and segmental, which seems to show the work 
was not prepared for vaulting and the builders were in 
a difficulty. The diagonal ribs do not spring from the 
main group of capitals but from corbels inserted in the 
wall beside them, which they would hardly do had they 
been intended at first. Moreover as Flambard only built 
up to the testudo, if the testudo be the present vault he 
would not have built the clerestory, for the vault springs 
below it. But the clerestory is evidently coeval with 
the part below. 

My own impression is that at the death of Flambard 
in 1 128 the walls including the clerestory were ready for 
a wooden roof or testudo, and that in the interval between 
1 1 28 and 1 133 the monks put on this wooden roof; that 
about the middle of the 1 2th century the stone vault was 
constructed, the capitals of the vaulting shafts being 
refixed lower down to receive the ribs as we know was 
done at S. Etienne, Caen, and corbels being inserted to 
take the diagonal ribs, for which there was no provision 

^ V. Mr Bond xn Journal of R.I. B. A. above cited. 

Plate L VIII 


Plate LIX 

T. G. J. 



in the group of shafts intended originally for the timber Durham 

n cathedral 


But whatever be the date of the existing vaults of 
the nave and transepts it would seem that the choir had 
a stone vault of some kind even earlier in date which 
had become ruinous in 1235, and was then replaced 
by another. The chronicle speaks of it as an ancient 
structure erected over the shrine of S. Cuthbert by the 
piety of former generationsl 

The nave of Wells cathedral (Plate LIX) is now Weiis 
attributed to Bishop Reginald de Bohun (1174 — 1191) nave 
who consecrated the late Romanesque Lady Chapel of 
Glastonbury in 1186, though Mr Freeman and older 
writers give the credit of it to Bishop Jocelin ( 1 206 — 1 242) 
the builder of the very different west frontl But though 
the whole nave is in the same early style, the three, 
perhaps four, western bays appear to be by a different 
and later hand than the rest, and these may be the 
work of Jocelin, who speaks not only of building but 
of enlarging the church, for it is hard to see where 

^ M. de Lasteyrie seems to be of the same opinion : " meme en conc^dant 
k M. Bilson que ses ogives sont parmi les plus anciennes d'Angleterre, elles 
sent tout au plus contemporaines de celles de Saint Denys." M. de Lasteyrie 
thinks on the strength of a springer which does not seem {o belong to the 
actual vault that the original idea was to throw an arched wall across the 
nave at each of the larger clustered piers that alternate with the cylindrical 
columns. A rc/iz/ec/ure Religieuse en France a VEpoque Roinmie^ pp. 497, 503. 
This was the plan at S. Miniato, Florence, and the Norman church of Cerisy 
la Foret. It would explain the alternation of the great and lesser columns. 

2 "ubi supra sacrum illius sepulchrum devotio veterum lapideas erexit 
testudines, quae jam nunc plenae fissuris et ruinis dissolutionem sui indicant 
imminere." Indulgence of Bp. Northwold of Ely a.d. 1235. 

^ Cathedral Church of Wells, E. A. Freeman ; Canon Church says there 
is no direct record of Reginald's work on the cathedral, but several documents 
allude to building going on during his time. A deed apparently of 1194 
contains a gift " ad constructionem novi operis, &c." Early History of the 
Church of Wells, p. 82. 



[CH. XI 


else his enlargement could have been\ The difference 
between them and the west front, supposing both to be 
Jocelin's work, may be explained by supposing him to 
have finished the last three bays of Reginald's nave in 
the local style early in his long episcopate, probably 
about 1219, after settling the dispute with Glastonbury ; 
and to have built the front towards the end of his life in 
the new manner of Salisbury and Lincoln. 

3catc oj'^e^t. 

Fig. 75- 

The nave Here we have extraordinarily massive piers (Fig. 75) 

of clustered shafts carrying pointed arches richly moulded 
in several orders, surmounted by a triforium of pointed 
openings resembling that at S. David's, which is con- 
temporary and may perhaps be the work of Somerset 
masons. The size of these piers at Wells may be appre- 
ciated by comparing them with those of Salisbury, which 

' Ecclesiam Sancti Andreae Wellensis, quae periculum ruinae patiebatur 
prae sua vetustate,...aedificare coepimus et ampliare. Deed of 1242, cited 
by Canon Church. Early History of the Church of Wells, p. 151. 

Plate LX 


i 1^' 





T. C. J. 

WELLS CATHEDRAL— Capital in Nave 

Plate LXr 

T. G. J. 



is a much larger church. In Fig. 75 they are both drawn weiis 
to the same scale. There are no wall shafts to divide '^^^^^^''^' 
the building into bays, but the triforium forms a con- 
tinuous arcade from end to end of the nave, giving that 
part of the church the effect of a basilica. The vault has 
pointed ribs both transverse and diagonal, and springs 
from short colonnettes carried on corbels in the spandril 
of the triforium. It has no flying buttresses above the 
aisle roof, but rests on a thick clerestory wall, strengthened 
by shallow buttresses outside. These are carried by 
flying arches across the triforium below the roof, too low 
to be of any use in receiving the thrust of the vault. 
Both here and at S. David's the triforium arches have 
no jamb shafts, but the arch moulding is continued down 
the sides. 

The nave capitals are remarkable, and have nothing The nave 
quite like them elsewhere. They have the square abacus "^'^'^ ^ 
which savours of the vanishing Romanesque style, and in 
their foliage consequently the tradition of the Corinthian 
volute makes itself felt. But they have a wonderful 
freedom of design that puts them in a category by them- 
selves, and they must be the work of an independent 
genius (Plate LX). 

The north porch (Plate LXI), which even Mr Freeman The north 
admits may be older than Jocelin, is especially beautiful, — ^°^^ 
a true gem of early Gothic art. Nothing can be more 
delightful than the wall arcades, simple below with 
exquisitely wrought foliage in the spandrils (Fig. 76), 
and rich above with coupled and clustered colonnettes 
and vigorously sculptured capitals. Intersecting mould- 
ings, such as these in the porch, are a feature of the 
work at Wells. They occur again in Bishop Jocelin's 
western towers, and the same idea of lines crossing and 


[CH. XI 




intersecting one another gives the motive of most of the 

The nave and north porch at Wells are the first 
really Gothic buildings of importance in England, and 
they show remarkable originality, differing not more from 
what preceded than from what followed under French 
influence at Canterbury and from the early English of 
Lincoln and Salisbury. 

From these instances it is plain that at the end of 
the 1 2th century architecture, here as well as in France, 
was passing out of the transitional stage. The pointed 
arch had come into vogue, and though here and there 
Norman Romanesque still held the field, especially in 
monastic buildings, yet even there it had begun to give 
way to a lighter kind of design. In the Galilee at 
Durham in 1175 we still find round arches with zigzags, 
but they were carried originally on pairs of marble 

^ For similar intersections at Norrey in Normandy v. sup. Fig. 62, p. 152, 

CH. Xl] 



columns so slender that they had to be strengthened 
afterwards \ The monks at Peterborough still clung with Peter- 
monastic fervour to the round arch and to Romanesque nave*^^ 
bulk and proportion in their nave and transepts, which 
were not finished till 1193 ; but the round Church of the 
Temple, consecrated in 1185, has pointed arches on The 
clustered shafts of marble, though the triforium above Jh^dl^ 
has an arcade of interlacing round arches. Above all, 
the architects had seriously undertaken to vault their 


A-'.« . . , . . - ,■ ^^T#^ • 




_j 4- 


5o l°° 

200 300 

Fig. 77. 

naves and not only their aisles ; and this influenced their 
construction radically in the future. 

The artists of the day were consequently in a receptive 
spirit, ready for any movement in a new direction, and 
open to any fresh suggestion. 

In 1 1 74, for the second time, a foreign influence 
crossed the channel into England, and established itself 
at Canterbury (Fig. yy). 

In September 11 74, four years after the murder of Canter- 
Becket, the glorious choir of priors Ernulf and Conrad, c^th^edrai 
which had stood only forty-four years since its dedication", 

* V. my B_ys. anc/ Romanesque Archit. vol. II. Plate CXLVIII. 
2 It was begun in 1093. 



[CH. XI 


of Sens 



caught fire and was reduced to ruin. The monk Gervase 
who saw the conflagration and has left an account of it 
and of the rebuilding, tells us how the people were 
astonished that the Almighty should have allowed such 
things, and how they tore their hair, and beat the walls 
with their heads and hands, blaspheming the Lord and 
His saints, the patrons of the church, for not better 
protecting h\ Only Lanfranc's nave, with parts of the 
exterior walls of Conrad's building as we now see them, 
and his crypt survived. 

From among a number of architects, both French 
and English, the monks entrusted the work of rebuilding 
to one William of Sens, the place of Becket's exile, 
where the new cathedral had been completed only six 
years before the fire at Canterbury. When he had con- 
ducted the work for four years William the Frenchman 
fell from the scaffolding and was so much hurt that 
though he was able for some time to direct the building 
operations from his bed, he went home to France in 1 1 79. 
His successor was William an Englishman, "small in 
body," as Gervase says, "but in workmanship of many 
kinds acute and honest." By this time the new choir 
had been built, and vaulted as far as the east side of the 
eastern transept ; and the next four bays, as far as the 
narrowing of the structure, caused by the retention of 
the Norman chapels of S. Andrew and S. Anselm, had 
been erected up to the springing of the groining (Plan 
Fig. yy). It was a vast improvement even upon Conrad's 
"glorious choir." Gervase points out the difference. 
"The pillars of the old and new work are alike in 

^ Dean Stanley says "how far more like the description of a Neapolitan 
mob in disappointment at the slow liquefaction of the blood of S. Januarius 
than of the citizens of a quiet Cathedral town in the County of Kent." 
Memorials of Canterbury. 

Plate LXII 



form and thickness but different in length, for the new Novel 
pillars were almost twelve feet longer." Exquisitely the new 
sculptured capitals replaced the old plain ones, and '^ "'^'^^ 
whereas the old arches and other features of the masonry 
were plain, and wrought with an axe, the new work was 
well chiselled and appropriately carved. The new choir 
had innumerable marble columns but the old had none, 
the plain groining of the aisles in the ambulatory was 
replaced by fine ribbed and keyed vaults; and a beautiful 
vault of stone and light tufa took the place of the wooden 
ceiling of the choir\ 

This raising of the nave arcade by some twelve feet Height- 
involved an entirely new proportion of the three storeys, portion'^of 
The lower one was heightened at the expense of the ^^^^'^^ 
upper. In the old choir of Ernulf and Conrad, and the 
still older choir of Lanfranc, the three storeys had been 
proportioned in the Norman fashion, with a triforium 
almost as high as the arcade below it. We see this 
proportion in the Norman transepts of Winchester, and 
in the naves of Norwich, Ely, and Peterborough. At 
the contemporary cathedral of Tournay in Belgium the 
triforium seems the larger of the two. At S. Etienne, 
the Abbaye aux Hommes at Caen, where Lanfranc was 
the first abbot, which seems to have been the model 
for his cathedral at Canterbury, if the whole height is 
divided into 32 parts, 13 go to the arcade, 10 to the 
triforium, and 9 to the clerestory. Whereas in William 
the Frenchman's choir at Canterbury, similarly divided, 
the arcade takes 18 parts, the triforium 5, and the 
clerestory 9. A glance at the two elevations will show 
the enormous improvement effected by the new proportion 
(Fig. 78). 

* Gervase, cited in Willis's Canterbury, p. 59. 



[CH. XI 



In the new work round and pointed arches are used Canter- 
together, but the latter predominate. Pointed arches cathedral. 
were not new in England as we have seen already. But arches and 
Canterbury may stand in England, as S. Denis in France, l°^f^^ 
for the first great building where the pointed arch together 
is frankly adopted as the ruling feature in construc- 

Conrad's aisle windows were lengthened upwards, 
but not carried to the full height of the new aisle, leaving 
room above them for a second row of windows, with The new 
trefoil heads, and a passage along them in the thickness 
of the wall. These upper lights contain some of the 
most splendid examples of the painted glass for which 
Canterbury is famous. 

The high vaulting is sexpartite, with pointed trans- The vault 
verse arches, much stilted, springing from marble shafts 
that rise from the capitals of the great columns in the 
arcade ; these shafts are clustered for the main transverse 
and diagonal group of ribs, single for the intermediate 
rib. At the crossing of the transept, and at the point 
where the plan bends inwards, the pier is surrounded by 
marble shafts, which are continued down to the ground. 
The vaults are level at the crown. 

If the view of this choir (Plate LXII) be compared Com- 
with the nave at Sens (Plate I, p. 38 sj^p.), William's native S sens 
place, many points of resemblance will appear, and also 
many points of difference. The proportion at Sens of 
the lower storey to the upper part, if I may trust the 
accuracy of my sketch, for I did not measure it, is almost 
identical, Jf , with that at Canterbury ; the triforium, 
though simpler, is very like the English one. The 
vaulting at both places is sexpartite ; the intermediate 
rib springs in the same way from a colonnette that stands 

J. G. A. 13 



[CH. XI 


with Sens 




abacus in 

on the capital of the great column \ But at Sens the 
piers are alternately larger and smaller, expressing their 
different function as supporting the main ribs and the 
intermediate respectively. At Canterbury, except at the 
points above mentioned, they are all simple columns 
mono-cylindric or polygonal, and the difference between 
the main and intermediate ribs is expressed only by the 
alternation of clustered and single marble colonnettes 
that stand on the capitals of the great columns. 

The most striking instance of resemblance however 
is in the coupled columns which at Sens alternate with 
the great piers, and at Canterbury carry the structure of 
Trinity Chapel and the great apse (Plate LXIII). Curi- 
ously enough these are not the work of French William, 
who had gone home before they were built, but of English 
William who succeeded him. William of Sens had indeed 
used coupled columns in one place under an intermediate 
rib, just where the bend in the structure begins, but he 
had combined with them a pair of marble shafts which 
alters their character, English William's coupled shafts 
are much more like those at Sens than those of his 
predecessor, but instead of alternating them with larger 
piers as at Sens to express their different load, he has 
used them indifferently throughout. The idea of the 
coupled columns was no doubt given him by French 
William, but he used it in his own way, and probably not 
as his predecessor would have done. In the eastern part 
of the crypt, which is also the work of English William, 
the columns are round, and have the round abacus with 
a simple flat member below, undercut at bottom and with 
a necking, though in the upper church his shafts all have 
the square abacus. 

^ The clerestory windows at Sens are not part of the original design. 




The mouldings of both the Williams are enriched Canter- 
with Norman billets and zigzags, and also with the Early cathedral. 
English dog-tooth. The zigzags are of the later refined mouldings 
form, undercut and sunk. But besides these details the 
sections of the arches and vaulting ribs are much more 
elaborate than those at Sens, which consist only of square 
orders with a roll on each angle [v. Plate I). In this 
may be detected English taste, for throughout the whole 
Gothic period much more use was made of mouldings 
here than in France. One feature common to the two 
churches is the moulded band which ties the detached The bands 
colonnettes to the wall. At Sens this occurs in the shaft 
that carries the intermediate rib ; at Canterbury it ties 
in the marble colonnettes. These colonnettes are used 
much more profusely here than at Sens, and they are all 
of Purbeck or Bethersden marble which gives a different English 
character to the design from anything in France, and is marble 
in fact an English characteristic of great importance. 
Its use at Canterbury was not invented by William of 
Sens, for it was already employed elsewhere in England, 
as far north as the Galilee at Durham, and other of 
Bishop Pudsey's buildings. William no doubt got the 
suggestion in England and welcomed it with true artistic 
instinct as a novel idea, for there was nothing like it in 
his own country. Marble was used thenceforth in all 
our important buildings for the colonnettes ; Salisbury 
and the Early English part of Rochester are full of 
them ; and at Westminster, Exeter, Ely, Lincoln, and 
the Temple not only slender detached shafts but main 
columns too are made of solid marble. Often, however, 
marble colonnettes in long lengths were set round columns 
of free-stone in low courses, and in that case they must 
have been inserted after the inner column had got its 




[CH. XI 

Canter- settlement, or the rigid marble would have been crushed 
cathedral and Split, being incapable of sinking with the ashlar 



Fig. 79. 

courses. Instances of such an accident have come under 
my own observation. This form of polychrome masonry 
is distinctly English and has no counterpart in France, 

CH. Xl] 



where when coloured masonry was introduced, as for 
instance in Auvergne, the treatment is quite different. 

But however strongly English taste shows itself in 
the details the general effect of the interior of Canterbury 
choir with its apsidal end is quite French, and belongs 
to a type of early Gothic church with which we are 
familiar on the other side of the Channel. 

In nothing is its French parentage shown more 
strongly than in the sculptured capitals. The foliage of 


effect is 




Fig. 80. 

the coupled columns put up by English William (Fig. 79) 
might have been carved by the same craftsman who cut 
that at S. Leu d'Esserent (Fig. 80), which is almost 
exactly coeval with it. These capitals must be the 
work of French carvers whom William of Sens brought 
over and left behind him. But it is curious that they 
have no resemblance to the capitals at Sens, where those 
of the great columns are very abstract and severe, and 
those of the wall-arcades have foliage of a quasi- Byzantine 

198 ENGLAND [ch. xi 

Canter- type mixed in many cases with birds\ In the angular 

cathedral knots of foHagc that support the corners of the square 

Survival of abacus at Canterbury (Fig. 79) and in the distinct expres- 

typ""* '^" sion of the bell we see the survival of classic tradition, and 

of the Corinthian capital, though the hollow Corinthian 

abacus, that so long survived as a mere unmeaning 

ornament below the real abacus {v. Fig. 23, p. 64 su/>.), 

is lost both here and at S. Leu. The same motive runs 

through all the capitals of the choir, resulting in the 

smaller capitals in something like the French cap-a- 


The This type of capital did not long survive in England, 

roundf for the round abacus which soon made its appearance 

a acus required a very different treatment of the foliage : but we 

find something like it at Wells where the square abacus 

Oakham is retained, and in the Castle Hall at Oakham (Fig. 79), 

a building which is exactly coeval with English William's 

work at Canterbury, and may perhaps have had the use 

of some of his workmen (Plate LXIV). It is one of the 

most interesting domestic buildings in England, and one 

of the best examples of the transition from Romanesque 

to Gothic. It consists of a nave with an aisle on both 

sides divided by an arcade of four round arches of a 

single order, carried by three pillars and a respond 

bracket at each end. On the abacus there is room on 

the side next the nave for a little seated figure holding a 

musical instrument. The aisle windows are of two lights 

with pointed arches outside, united on the inside under a 

single round arch ornamented with the dog-tooth, and 

the same ornament is used in the windows and the 


* There is an illustration of one of these in my Reason in Architecture, 
Plate II. 



The influence of Canterbury on English architecture 
was very considerable, but its ultimate effect was not so 
much to set a French fashion in architecture as to 
provoke the native style to break out on original lines, 
which from the first began to take an independent and 
national direction. 

From Stow in Lincolnshire the Saxon bishopric had Lincoln 
been moved at the Danish invasion to the security of 
Dorchester in Oxfordshire ; whence after the Norman 
conquest Remigius of Fecamp, whom the Conqueror 
made bishop, transferred the see to the old Roman town 
of Lindum\ Here, about 1075, ^^^ begun the first 
cathedral of Lincoln (Plate LXV), a cruciform building 
ending in an apse, of which only the west end, with 
its deeply sunk portals and curious semi-circular niches 
covered by semi-domes, still remains imbedded in the 
later frontispiece. Richly decorated Romanesque door- 
ways were inserted in the older arches by Bishop Alex- 
ander about 1 141, who also is said to have vaulted the 

1 "This Remigius was a man, though of so high and noble a mind, yet 
so unreasonable low of stature, as hardly he might attaine unto the pitch 
and reputation of a dwarfe : So, as it seemed nature had framed him in that 
sort ; to shew how possible it was that an excellent minde might dwell in a 
deformed and miserable body." Godwin, Catalogue of the Bishops of 
England, etc. 





S. Hugh's 

nave in stone after a fire had destroyed the original 
wooden rooP. In 1186 when Hugh a Burgundian from 
Avalon near Grenoble became bishop he found the 
church half ruined by an earthquake, and in 1192 he 
began the new choir which marks an era in the history 
of English architecture. 

Though S. Hugh of Avalon did not live to complete 
his scheme, the plan of the present choir and transepts is 
his. Like Canterbury his church had two transepts, one 
at the central crossing and the great tower, and another 
at the east end of his choir, beyond which he built an 
apse with an ambulatory, and radiating chapels, in the 
manner of a French chevet, though with certain differences, 
of which the foundations have been traced below the 
floor, the apse itself having been destroyed in 1255^ 
(Fig. 81). The architect's name is for a wonder pre- 
served ; he was Geoffrey de Noiers, who appears to 
have been an Englishman, though perhaps of French 
or Norman extraction. 

West of the work of Bishop Hugh of Avalon remained 
the central tower of the Norman church, and the nave of 
Fall of the Remigius with the stone vault of Bishop Alexander. In 
tower 1237 or 1239 the old tower fell, crushing in its fall, it is 
said, the vault of Bishop Hugh's choir, and injuring some 
of his piers. And this introduces the controversy that 
has raged over the date and original construction of this 
part of the building. It has been maintained by Mr Bond 


^ Consecratus est Cantuariae vicesimo secundo Julii 1123. Anno deinde 
sequente ecclesia ejus Cathedralis, nuper constructa et vix dum absoluta, 
fortuito incendio conflagravit. Quam refecit ille, et contra similes casus 
munivit, laqueari addito fornicato. 

^ The plan is given differently by different writers. I take that by 
Mr Watkins, published in the Journal of the Royal Institute of British 
Architects^ vol. xvill. 3rd series, p. 35. 

CH. XIl] 




■ I \ [ 





[CH. XII 1 

as to the 

Theory of 



Mr Bond 
and Mr 


S. Hugh's 
for vaults 

and Mr Watkins^ that Hugh of Avalon's choir was not 
intended to be vaulted, but was to have a wooden roof ; 
and that not only is the present vault with its flying 
buttresses later than his time, a point on which all 
authorities seem agreed, but that his triforium and 
clerestory were quite different from what we now see. 
Their argument rests on the existence of a row of small 
triangular arched openings in the back wall of the 
clerestory passage, which now look into the triforium 
chamber. These it is pretended are the surviving heads 
of a row of tall lancet openings which once pierced the 
back wall of a triforium, with a similar row of more 
decorated lancets in front, leaving a space or passage 
between the two rows. Mr Watkin's conjectural restora- 
tion of this design, not only substitutes a row of lancets 
of uniform height for the present clerestory, but on the 
strength of a sunk panel now existing in the back wall of 
the clerestory actually pierces the wall over the piers, 
which on all accounts ought to be solid, with a wide lancet 
light in both storeys between a 
pair of wall shafts that run up to 
the roof This design will hardly 
pass muster with an architect on 
the score either of stability or 
architectural propriety^ 

There can be little doubt but 
that when Bishop Hugh laid the 
foundation of his choir he in- 
tended to vault it and its aisles 
also. What other meaning can 

^ Journal of the R.I.B.A. above cited. 

2 The meaning of these curious openings is no doubt obscure ; they may 
have been intended for relieving arches, but if so they are quite superfluous, 
and even mischievous. 

? ^ U f 

Fig. 82. 

Plate LXVI 

1 I '? ^-^^^t^ 

T. G. J. 




we attach to the plan of his piers (Fig. 82) with the four Lincoln 
channellings made to receive four marble colonnettes, of ^ 
which the back one took the aisle vault, and the two side 
ones the arcade, while the front one, of which the lower 
part was cut away for the stalls about 1370, but of which 
the base remains, could have had no other purpose than 
that of sustaining the high vault of the choir. 

The aisle walls of S. Hup^h's work have a curious Thedoubie 

" _ _ ^ wall arcade 

double arcade. The inner arcading consists of pointed 
arches well moulded, and carried on detached shafts ; the 
outer of not very graceful trefoiled arches, also carried on 
detached shafts with a label moulding and carved figures 
in the spandril (Fig. 83). 

A great point is made of this wall arcade by those 
who hold that S. Hugh did not intend to vault his aisles. 
They contend that the front arcade was put on when, by 
a change of purpose, vaulting was proposed, in order to 
strengthen the wall for the additional weight. The back 
arcading which is in the solid of the wall they consider 
the original structure ; and the front arcading which is 
not concentric with the back, but alternates with it, so 
that the front shafts stand opposite the middle of the 
back arches, they consider to be an addition, as it is not 
bonded to the back, but worked independently of it and 
simply stands against it. On the other hand there is the 
fact that the wall above containing the windows is solid 
over both thicknesses of arcading, so that there can be no 
appreciable difference of date between them. Moreover 
the additional strength given by a thin arcading resting 
on 6" marble colonnettes is too trifling to be of any 
account, and lastly as to the absence of bond I fail to see 
how the work could have been constructed differently, 
for there is no opportunity of bonding the two arcades 





Fig. 83. 


together till the wall above is reached, where, in fact, the Lincoln 
bonding does begin. I believe the double arcade to be 
the original design \ though a very curious one ; but it 
is not unique, for the triforium at Beverley is like it, 
and there is the same alternation of colonnettes in the 
Galilee at Ely^ 

The importance of the controversy consists in the import- 
question of date ; whether vaults were intended and date ° 
prepared for or not at the rebuilding of the choir in 1 192. 
It is very unlikely that they were not, for the nave had 
already been vaulted after the fire of 11 44; the nave 
vaults at Durham, if not so old as some think, are at 
least as old as the middle of the century; the choir of 
Canterbury had been vaulted before 1 179 ; and the retro- 
choir at Winchester was vaulted in fully developed Early 
English work about 1202 or 1204. Vaulting had by this 
time taken its place in English architecture as the natural 
ceiling for great churches, as it had already done in France. 

Lincoln choir is often said to have been inspired by Lincoln 
Canterbury. The two churches have in common the Canterbury 
double transept, and Lincoln originally had also its apse, '^^^p-^'^^^ 
But though it is easy to understand that the novelty on 
English soil of the great work in Kent would excite a 
spirit of emulation and apply a stimulus to invention 
throughout the land, and that Lincoln would be influenced 
by it, still the work of S. Hugh differs so widely from Difference 
Canterbury in almost every detail that they can hardly u^llin 
be said to be much alike. The view of Lincoln t^^bm^"' 
(Plate LXVI) is taken from a similar point of view to 

* I observe that Sir G. G. Scott, Mr Pearson, and Mr Bilson are of the 
same opinion. 

2 The whole controversy can be read in the Journal of the R.I.B.A. 
above referred to. Mr Bond's conjectures are interesting and ingenious but 
they are, I think, conclusively disposed of by Mr Bilson and others. 

2o6 EARLY ENGLISH [ch. xii 

Lincoln that of Canterbury (Plate LXII) for purpose of com- 
parison. The bays at Canterbury are narrow, about 
14ft. from centre to centre of the columns; those of 
Lincoln are about 22 ft.^ The great arcade at Canter- 
bury is more than half the total height of the bay ; that 
at Lincoln much less than half. If the total height is 
divided as before into 32 parts the two choirs compare 
thus : 

Lincoln. Canterbury. 
Arcade 15 18 

Triforium 6\ 5 

Clerestory io| 9 

32 32 

In width the bay at Lincoln is 9^ parts of the height, 
and Canterbury 6J. The columns at Canterbury are 
simple cylinders or polygons, those at Lincoln are 
clustered with detached shafts. The simple triforium of 
William of Sens is replaced at Lincoln by a richly shafted 
arcade with piercings of plate tracery in the tympanum. 
The wide single clerestory window of Canterbury is 
represented at Lincoln by a triple group of lights, with 
an interior arcade carried on marble shafts, which seems 
to be a refined version of the Norman clerestory at 
Winchester, Durham, Norwich, or Peterborough, where 
a wide and high central light opposite the window is set 
between two smaller and lower openings. The feature 
which the two choirs have most distinctly in common is 
the group of marble colonnettes in two tiers at the angle 
of the lesser transept, which is shown in both Plates LXII 
and LXVI, but it is difficult to see how otherwise it could 
have been done, and the difference in their capitals and 
their foliage interferes with the resemblance. For at 

* I take these dimensions from the published plans. 

CH. XIl] 



Lincoln the abacus is round instead of being square as Lincoln 
at Canterbury, and this change carries with it an entirely ^^^^^^ 
fresh motive in the sculptured 

With the square abacus away goes all tradition of the The 
classic Corinthian capital, and with the round one comes round 
in the typical English foliage which constitutes quite a 

Fig. 84- 

Fig. 85. 

fresh departure in sculptured decoration. Figs. 84, 85, 86 
show three capitals from S. Hugh's work at Lincoln, 
which are quite free from any trace of Romanesque 
influence, and are designed on quite original lines, unlike 
any French sculpture. Except at Bayeux, where English Early 
influence might be expected ^ I know no example of foi^e 
this kind of foliage across the channel. It is difficult to 

1 There is a much stronger resemblance between Lincoln and HohTood 
than between it and Canterbur>-. Holyrood is illustrated in Spring Gardens 
Sketch Book, vol. I. 

2 V. sup. p. 144. 







say on what natural leaf it is based : clover, or scurvy 
grass, or columbine, may have given the suggestion, but 
it is severely abstracted and conventional, and imitates 
none of them exactly. With this leaf the carver played 
for some seventy or eighty years, producing capitals of 
infinite variety and consummate grace, expressing with 
truth by their springing upright lines below the curling 
knots of foliage the function of the capital as a member 


Fig. 86. 


of support. Fig. 87 shows a later and more fully developed 
example from the presbytery at Lincoln. This model 
spread throughout the length and breadth of the land ; 
it is to be found from Lincoln to S. David's, from Salis- 
bury, Winchester and Chichester to Westminster ; to 
Ely, where perhaps the strong springing line is rather 


over-weighted by the pendant knots, and on to York. 
It held its own throughout the Early Gothic period till 
superseded by more natural foliage at the end of the 
13th century, and it stands to Early English work in the 
same relation that the acanthus leaf does to Roman. 

If the plan of S. Hugh's vanished apse at Lincoln has The Lin- 
been correctly recovered from the foundations {v. Fig. 81 ^^^^^^^ 
sup.) it bore very little resemblance to that of French 
William at Canterbury. It had two straight raking sides 
of two bays each, leading to a square bay closing the 
east end ; so forming a sort of irregular and elongated 
half-hexagon, a plan unlike any example known to me in 
France or England, where apses are set out on circular 
or regular polygonal lines bay by bay. 

It is true there are two raking bays at Canterbury Compared 
short of the apse, and it has been suggested that they Jeibury^" 
were copied by De Noiers at Lincoln. But those at 
Canterbury are not part of the apse, but a good way 
from it, and they are caused by the desire to preserve 
the two Norman chapels of Conrad's choir. No such 
reason existed at Lincoln, and to have copied it without 
a reason would have been a piece of frivolous pedantry 
of which we may be sure De Noiers would not have 
been guilty. 

It is doubtful how far S. Hugh's work was advanced The vaults 
at his death in 1200. In the opinion of Sir G. G. Scott 
and Mr Pearson the sexpartite vaults of the east transept 
are his, but the choir vault with its flying buttresses, and 
the lower arch across the triforium chamber date from 
the middle of the 13th century. They were probably 
constructed after the fall of the central tower in 1237 or 
1239, and finished before 1255. The transept vault is Eccentric 
regular and so is that of the choir bay next the tower, 

J. G. A. 14 






but the rest is very eccentric (Fig. 88). The plan is 
really quadripartite, but instead of the diagonals meeting 
in the middle of the crown they are drawn to separate 
points A and B, two superfluous ribs AC and BD are drawn 
from those points to the springing, and as the diagonals 
do not meet it is necessary to insert a ridge rib to 
receive them. The result is a lozenge-shaped panel laid 
obliquely across the bay from corner to corner, C to D, 
with a somewhat perplexing and disturbing effect to 
the eye. 

Fig. 88. 

No such whimsy diverted the architect of the nave at 
Lincoln (Plate LXVI I) who worked with a surer hand and 
with a magnificent result. It seems to have been begun by 
Bishop Hugh of Wells 1209 — 1235 and finished in the 
time of the great Bishop Grostete who died in 1253. 
The lightness of the structure is remarkable, and according 
to Mr Penrose the proportion of void to solid in the 
plan is greater than in any large vaulted building in 
Europe. The piers are clustered, surrounded by marble 
colonnettes, the central column being in most cases of 
marble as well. The bays are very wide, scaling on the 
published plans about 27 feet from centre to centre of 
the columns, which as the nave is 40 feet wide gives 

CH. XIl] 


21 I 

an air of great spaciousness to this part of the building. Lincoln 
The vaults are quadripartite, and have ridge ribs and xhenav^e 
extra intermediate ribs (Fig. 89) which from this time ''^"^^ 
play an important part in English vaulting, and lead up, 
as will be explained hereafter, to a new principle of 
vault-construction peculiar to this country. 

The outside elevation of this nave is perhaps the finest 
example of vigorous and severe Early English work. 

Fig. 89. 

Rather before the nave of Lincoln Bishop de Lucy win- 

had built a large triple aisled retro-choir three bays long, 
eastwards of the choir at Winchester. It is so much 
lower than the choir as to give room for a great east 
window above it in the choir gable, and the middle aisle 
of the three is not much higher than the other two. 
The ceiling is of rib and panel vaulting completely 
developed, and developed in a manner different from 
that of the French. 

In French vaulting the ashlar-beds of the panel are 


De Lucy's 














laid in courses parallel to the ridge-lines ; that is to say, 
in the longitudinal vault they are parallel to the axis of 
the church, and perpendicular to the transverse arch, and 
in the cross vault they are parallel to the transverse 
section and perpendicular to the axis of the church and 
to the wall-rib. They thus meet at a right angle against 

Fig. 90. 

the diagonal rib (Fig. 90). In English vaulting, on the 
contrary, the beds of the ashlaring in the panels are laid 
square with a line more or less nearly bisecting the 
panel, and they therefore meet at an obtuse angle against 
the diagonal rib (Fig. 91). In setting out a French 
vault the transverse or the wall-rib would be divided 
into so many equal parts to mark the width of the ashlar 

CH. XIl] 



courses, and the diagonal would be divided into the same Difference 

number of parts, but these would each be longer than French" 

those on the direct arches, because the diagonal line is eI^hsk 

longer. If these divisions are projected (Fig. 90) from ^^"^'^ 
the elevation on to the transverse and diagonal lines in 
plan, lines drawn to join the points so marked will give 

Fig. 91. 

the beds of the ashlaring of the panel, which will of 
course be parallel to the ridge lines, because the divisions 
of the two arches are equal in number though not in 
length. On the other hand, in setting out an English 
vault the divisions on the diagfonal are made of the The 
same length as those on the direct arches, and therefore vadt^* 
there will be more divisions marked on the diagonal rib 

214 EARLY ENGLISH [ch. xii 

Difference than on the Others because it is longer. Consequently 

rSr if the divisions are projected (Fig. 91) and the points 

Elfgiish joined in the same way as before, it will be found that 

vaults i]^Q beds of the ashlaring lie obliquely and not parallel 

to the ridges, because the divisions are equal in length 

but not in number. In the French vault the direct ribs 

and the diagonal all receive the same number of courses ; 

in English vaulting the diagonal receives more courses 

than the others. Consequently at the crown of the vault 

the French ashlar courses meet naturally on the same 

straight line, but the English meet obliquely on a serrated 

The ridge line. The awkwardness of this junction suggested the 

ridge-rib which is one of the features that distinguish 

English from French vaulting. In De Lucy's work at 

Winchester there is no salient ridge-rib but there is a 

straight course in the ashlar, down the middle of which 

runs the line of the apex of the vault. This course may 

itself be serrated to fit the abutting ashlar stones. 

One result of the English system is that the panels 
are commonly curved in one direction only, that following 
the ribs, and cannot very well be arched laterally from 
rib to rib, as is common in French work. 
Construe- The English system seems to distribute the weight 

contraS ^^^^ Uniformly on the skeleton of ribs, for the French 
plan throws most of the weight on the diagonal. In 
theory the transverse rib might be removed from a 
French vault with impunity, and we should then have 
a continuous barrel vault into which the cross vaults 
would cut on a mitre-line, fortified by the diagonal rib ; 
whereas in an English vault the transverse arch is as 
much required as the diagonals 

' For simplicity of explanation the vaults in Figs. 90 and 91 are shown 
over a square bay, and so they avoid the complications arising from stilted 



In De Lucy's building at Winchester the windows in De Lucy's 
each bay are a pair of lancets between, — on the outside, win- 
— two blank lancet panels, all with detached shafts in the 
jambs. The vaults are simple quadripartite, with moulded 
diagonal transverse and wall-ribs. The piers of the great 
arches are clustered with marble shafts, and half-clusters 
of marble shafts form the wall-responds. Their capitals 
are carved with the Early English leaf in Purbeck marble 
but the capitals of the window shafts are moulded, and 
this introduces us to another novelty which is dis- 
tinctively English. 

Moulded capitals are of course familiar to us in Doric, The 
both Greek and Roman, but the Gothic form is something capital 
quite new. Sir G. G. Scott suggested that it took its 
origin in the hardness of Purbeck marble, which did 
not lend itself easily to sculpture, though as a matter 
of fact capitals carved in Purbeck abound at Lincoln, 
Westminster, Winchester, and many other places. To 
mould the capital is really to treat it as the base was 
treated : and indeed the overhanging and undercut bell 
bears some resemblance to an Attic base inverted and 
elongated. The round English capital lent itself readily 
to moulding, which in many cases might even be turned 
in a lathe. The moulded capitals of the 13th and 14th 
centuries are very beautiful, and the refinement of their 
profile is comparable to Greek work. Fig. 92 shows The base 
two varieties from the triforium at Westminster Abbey. 
The bases are often versions of the Attic, but flattened 
so that the scotia becomes a sunk channel more suited 

arches, and winding panel-surfaces over an oblong area. But though these 
disturb the regularity of the system, the principles of the two kinds of 
vaulting and their difference remain the same, and gradually lead them 
farther and farther apart. 




End of the 

to interior work, where it has an admirable effect, than 
to exterior where it holds water detrimentally. 

Before the end of the 1 2th century architecture both 
in France and England had emerged from that transi- 
tional phase which we call Romanesque, and taken on 
itself fresh forms, which, after a period of fusion, became 
at the end of the period crystallized into the new style 

of national 

Fig. 92. 

which we call Gothic. But in each country the new 
style had already taken a distinct national form and the two 
diverged constantly farther from one another. The great 
work at Canterbury brought into England for the second 
time a foreign influence, which had its effect on the art 
of the country : but it was not strong enough to bend 
the native school to the foreign type. Its effect was to 


provoke to emulation rather than to imitation, and what 
the English architects borrowed from the French was 
soon assimilated and changed into an English form. 
Lincoln, where the influence of Canterbury is generally 
said to be most strongly marked, is singularly unlike the 
great church in Kent, as I have already pointed out, 
both in proportion and detail. Canterbury may have 
supplied the incentive to cover the central area with rib 
and panel vaulting, though it is said the nave had previously 
been vaulted by Bishop Alexander ; but, except in the 
eastern transept which has a regular sexpartite vault, the 
other vaults took a line of their own, an eccentric one in 
the choir, and in the nave a new system of multiplying the 
ribs which never obtained in France, and was the beginning 
of a different and purely English kind of vaulting. 

Viollet-le-Duc, who visited Lincoln in i860 or 1861, vioUet-ie- 
said : "I expected from what I had heard in England to Lincoln 
find at Lincoln the French style of architecture... but 
after the most careful examination I could not find in 
any part of the Cathedral, neither in the general design, 
nor in any part of the system of architecture adopted, 
nor in the details of ornament, any trace of the French 
school of the twelfth century (the lay school from 1 1 70 
to 1220) so plainly characteristic of the cathedrals of 
Paris, Noyon, Senlis, Chartres, Sens, and even Rouen. 
The part of the Cathedral of Lincoln in which the 
influence of the French School has been supposed to be 
found has no resemblance to this. I speak of the choir." 
He goes on to say the vault construction is unlike the 
French, and the slender arch-moulding deeply undercut, 
the round abacus, the tooth-ornament, are quite unlike 
anything at Paris, Sens, or S. Denis. He concludes 
" the construction is English, the profiles of the mouldings 

2i8 EARLY ENGLISH [ch. xii 

are English, the ornaments are EngHsh, the execution 

of the work belongs to the English school of workmen 

of the beginning of the thirteenth century^" 

Geoffrey The architect, Geoffrey de Noiers, was claimed by 

architect the Count de Montalembert as a Burgundian, of Noyers, 

Noiers or Noers in the Department of Yonne. Mr Dimock 

says there is another Noiers in Normandy, but claims 

Geoffrey as an Englishman. He mentions a Gilbert de 

Noiers at Boarhunt in Hants in 1216, and a Robert 

de Noiers, and his brother Almeric in Northants in 

1 1 99 — 1200, sons of a Ralph de Noiers, together with 

others of the same name who seem to have belonged to 

Norton in Northamptonshire^ Many families of Norman 

descent, that settled in England after the Conquest, kept 

their French names, and our architect probably belonged to 

one of them. Had he come directly from France his work 

would no doubt have been more distinctly French. 

Causes of The early divergence of the two styles, French and 

of French English, iUustrates on one hand the force of local sentiment 

E^ngiish by which the conquered population influenced their con- 

^^^^^^ querors and in the end assimilated them ; and on the 

other the strength of native craftsmanship, which though 

affected by the foreign fashions imposed upon it, gradually 

diverted them into a fresh channel, and developed a 

national and independent style. 

Two cur- Twice during the nth and 12th centuries a distinct 

foreigS importation of foreign architecture was brought into 

England. At the Conquest Norman architecture almost 

* Viollet-le-Duc. Letter to the Gentlemaiis Magazine, 1861, Part I, 
p. 551, dated Paris, Ap. 15, 1861. 

2 See correspondence in the Gentleman^ s Magazine for 1861, Part I, 
pp. 180-674. Thierry mentions a WiUiam de Noyers, one of three Norman 
knights who oppressed the citizens of Norwich after the Conquest. Hist, of 
Norman Conquest, Book v. 



wiped out the older Saxon art, and yet began at once to 
be affected by it. We see this in the balustered windows 
of Oxford and S. Alban's ; in the square east ends of Affected 
S. David's, Oxford, Romsey and S. Cross, and in the vast art 
mono-cylindric pillars of Durham, Waltham, Gloucester, 
Hereford, Malvern, and Malmesbury. Again in 11 74 a 
fresh wave of foreign influence, — French this time and 
not Norman, — made its way to Canterbury, where we 
have the double columns of Sens, the apse of Paris or 
Soissons, and the sculpture of S. Leu d'Esserent, But 
in spite of the undoubted effect of Canterbury in stimu- 
lating native English art, except at Westminster which 
was designed on a French model, no more French 
apses were built in England, for the eastern chapels of 
Tewkesbury and Pershore have very little resemblance 
to the chevet of Reims or Amiens. 

It was natural that this should be so. At first, at all Foreign 

1 • 1 1 1 • direction 

events, the master-workmen — that is the real architects — 
would have been Normans or Frenchmen, and the 
direction of the work would of course be given by the 
great prelates, bishops and abbots, who were almost all 
of the conquering race. But the bulk of the workmen Native 
must have been English. It is absurd to imagine that 
the Normans imported from across the Channel all the 
masons, carpenters, plumbers, and other artificers who 
carried out the vast building operations which covered 
the land with new churches, castles, and palaces within 
the short space of a hundred years. They would have 
found no lack of artificers here : the native English were 
no mean craftsmen. Their great Minsters at Hexham 
and Ripon are praised by Norman chroniclers as wonders 
of architecture, that at Winchester is celebrated in an 
elegiac poem of 330 lines by the Monk Wolstan ; their 

220 EARLY ENGLISH [ch. xii 

masonry was as good as that of the Normans, often 
much better, and we know that they surpassed their 
conquerors in some of the decorative arts. Consequently 
the Norman style in English hands soon began to 
change its character. This will be better understood 
Influence wheu we remember how much larger a part in building 
craftsman was left to the individual workman in the Middle Ages, 
when there were no working drawings, when there was 
no professional architect sitting in his office a hundred 
miles away, directing the work by plan and letter, and 
when the master-mason — the real architect — made the 
design following the instructions of the bishop, lord, or 
abbot, by whom he was employed, but following them 
in his own manner, setting the building out on the 
ground, and directing the construction on the spot, but 
leaving the details in a great measure to be filled in by 
the artizans in each craft under his general direction. 

Thus the Norman style in English hands soon began 
to take a distinctly national form, just as the Normans 
themselves gradually were assimilated by the native race, 
and from being naturalized Frenchmen became naturalized 



At the end of the 12th century the style which we 
know as Early English was fully developed, and the 
round arch of the Roman and Romanesque periods had 
finally succumbed after a long struggle to the pointed 
arch of Gothic architecture. Only some seven years Peter- 
after the completion of the nave of Peterborough in the fronTfio 
Norman style the famous west front was begun in which '° "'^ 
there are but faint traces of Romanesque. It forms a 
magnificent portico, which like that of a Greek temple is 
of the full height of the building, in front of a western 
transept of the same height. Over this transept were 
to have been two towers, of which only one was finished, 
and the portico itself ends on each wing in a smaller 
tower crowned with a spire (Plate LXVIII). 

The three arches are surmounted by three gables : The three 
the middle one is the nave roof prolonged, the other two ^^'^^ 
run back to the towers behind them on the western 
transept, which has roofs gabled to north and south 
abutting on the return faces of the same towers. 

This fa9ade has been accused of unreality. We are Accused of 
told by one writer that " the design is entirely unrelated iiSgfcai 
to the building which it encloses ; that the arches are 
equal in height, though the nave and aisles behind them 





tion un- 

Trace of 

are of course unequal ; that the gables have not the 
slightest relation to the roof contours, and that the com- 
position is as unhappy in architectural effect as illogical 
in its adjustment to the building\" 

This criticism, so far as relates to the construction, 
seems to me singularly ill-founded. The front certainly 
does not correspond to the aisles — how could it ? — 
because they do not reach it, but are intercepted by the 
western transept which is of the full height of the 
building. The three gables are obviously the natural 
way of roofing the three bays of the Portico ; I fail to 
see how it could have been done otherwise. It is, of 
course, a matter of taste whether the whole design is 
unhappy or not. To most people the audacity of the 
conception, and its splendid breadth of light and shade, 
together with the richness of the many-shafted piers and 
the traceries and niches of the upper part will seem to 
place the front of Peterborough high among the triumphs 
of Gothic architecture where it would stand in no need 
of apology. 

Ruskin somewhere says this facade would have been 
almost unrivalled had not the middle arch been narrower 
than the others. This criticism leaves out all considera- 
tion of the two flanking towers, and regards only the 
three bays between them, ^ut I like to regard the 
composition as one not of three but of five parts, of 
which the three alternate bays are nearly equal, and are 
divided by two that are wider, and this, I think, is how 
the architect meant it to be considered. So regarded 
the difference in width seems reasonable enough. 

In the rose or wheel windows of the gables, which 
remind one of Patrixbourne, the detached paterae of the 

' Development and Character of Gothic Architecture^ C. H. Moore, p. 231. 

Plate LXIX 


T. G. J. 


CH. xiii] EARLY ENGLISH 223 

spandrils, and the billets that run up the pediments, we Peter- 
may recognize a lingeringtrace of transitional Romanesque, crth'elfrai 
and the same may be said of the two pinnacles that divide 
the gables, and of the rounded pilasters that form the 
angles of the flanking turrets ; but in the shafted jambs 
and deeply undercut mouldings of the arch we see the 
new style fairly launched into independence. 

Besides the native preference for a square east end The 
in this country which was a matter of tradition from squire east 
Saxon architecture, and from Celtic buildings earlier still, ^^^ 
another influence helped to implant it as a national 
characteristic. The Cistercian rule spread widely in Cistercian 
England during the 12th century; and following the for square 
example of the parent church at Citeaux, which had a 
square east end\ all the great Cistercian abbeys of 
England end eastwards in the same way. Kirkstall, 
Furness, Valle-Crucis, and Buildwas (Fig. 93), which 
have best preserved their original plans, have short 
aisleless presbyteries ending square without any eastern 
aisle or ambulatory. Abbey Dore and Byland (Fig. 93) 
have square east ends, and Byland has an eastern aisle 
also square. Dore has the same with the addition of 
chapels ; but originally it ended probably like Buildwas. 
Netley, Rievaulx, and Tintern (Fig. 93), which are later 
in date, have presbyteries with two aisles all run out to 
the same length, ending square and without eastern aisle 
or chapels. Fountains ends square with an eastern 
transept, like that at Durham, though it is not part of 
the original plan. The same severe squareness of outline Square 

. 1*11 transeptal 

appears m the Cistercian transepts, which nave square chapeis 
chapels on their eastern side instead of the apsidal 

1 V.-le-Duc, D/cf. Rats. vol. i. pp. 270-2. Cluny and Clairvaux were 








CH. xiii] EARLY ENGLISH 225 

chapels of Lincoln and Christchurch\ A Galilee or Cistercian 
western porch, — a sort of narthex, — was a Cistercian 
feature, of which there are traces at Byland, Fountains, 
and Rievaulx, There is one still remaining at the 
Cistercian church of Pontigny in Burgundy. 

The strict Cistercian rule forbad all ornamental details Ornament 
but such as were of the most abstract form. There was 
to be no carving except under the most rigid restrictions. 
In the earlier examples, such as Buildwas and Furness, 
the capitals were of the fluted cushion type ; and when, 
as at Abbey Dore and Valle-Crucis, anything further 
was allowed the foliage was of the severest and most 
conventional kind. The English moulded capital lent The 
itself well to Cistercian requirements, and in the later capital 
churches, — Netley, Rievaulx, and Tintern, — the capitals 
are all of that sort. 

But though, like the Mussulman, the Cistercian was Cistercian 
deprived of the resources of sculpture, and confined to ence^of 
purely architectural form, his artistic gifts found ample °'"^™^'^'^ 
room for their display within those limits. Like the 
Arab he learned to trust for effect to dignity of scale, 
nicety of proportion, and beauty of line ; and he elaborated 
his building with delicate mouldings, enriched them with 
graceful shafts, capitals of refined profile, arcadings, and 
in the later examples traceries of wondrous beauty. The Rievaulx 
choir of Rievaulx (Plate LXIX), begun soon after 1203, ^ ^^ 
shows what may be done with pure architectural form, 
without the help of sculptured ornament. The result is 
no doubt marked by a certain dry severity : it breathes 
an air of harshness and coldness very different from the 
genial Romanesque, or the more indulgent Gothic of 

^ Wilars de Honecort has a sketch plan which he tells us is for a 
Cistercian church. It has a square end. Plate XXVII. Ed. WilHs. 

J. G. A. 15 

226 EARLY ENGLISH [ch. xiii 

Beauty of Wells and Peterborough. But Cistercian architecture 
sites^*^"^" has a charm of its own, enhanced by the lovely sites 
in which it is generally found. The Cistercian houses 
were to be placed in valleys, far from the madding 
crowd and the haunts of men, in locis a conversatione 
hominmn semotis. They are to be looked for in bosky 
dells, or wide-watered valleys, lying embosomed in 
ancient woods, beside crystal streams, where they now 
Ornament make the most romantic ruins in our land. Above all 
tecture they teach the invaluable lesson, so much needed at 
the present day, that architecture does not consist in 
applying ornament to building, but in building beauti- 
fully, which may be done without any applied ornament 
s. Saviour's Nearly contemporary with the choir of Rievaulx, but 
Southwar'k rather less advanced in style is the choir of S. Saviour's 
cathedral, Southwark, which was built after a fire in 1 2 13 
(Plate LXX). The construction is extremely massive. 
The piers, alternately circular and polygonal, have clustered 
shafts attached to all four sides, those carrying the arcade 
corbelled off just below the capital, the others rising to 
carry the vaults of nave and aisle respectively. The 
articulation of the bays is well defined by these vaulting 
shafts. The triforium, of four equal arches to a bay, has 
a solid wall at back instead of being open as usual in 
England, and there is no passage in the thickness of the 
wall from bay to bay. The clerestory, like that in 
Lincoln choir, is a refined version of the Norman triple- 
arched clerestories, but it has only one lancet light 
instead of the three at Lincoln. All the capitals are 
moulded. The wall-rib of the vault is much stilted and 
the panel winds a great deal in order to give room for 
the arcade of the clerestory. The vaulting is quadri- 

Plate LXX 

T. G. J. 


CH. xiii] EARLY ENGLISH 227 

partite, and sustained by flying buttresses over the aisle Southwark 
roofs with massive piers. 

Beyond the east wall of the choir, which is faced with 
a reredos of many storied niches like those at Winchester, 
Christchurch, and S. Alban's, is a retro-choir three bays 
long and four bays wide, one bay on each side corre- 
sponding to the aisle, and two to the choir. Four 
chapels originally occupied the east end. All four aisles 
are of one height and have quadripartite vaults, with 
ribs of the same section throughout, and as the ashlars 
are laid English fashion the conoids seem more than 
half-way towards the fan vaults of Gloucester\ This 
retro-choir is charming, but it is now made detestably 
dark by modern glass. 

Contemporary with S. Saviour's is the eastern part of Southwell 
Southwell Cathedral which was begun by Archbishop 
Walter de Grey in 1215. The architect here had a 
lighter hand, and though the capitals of the main arcade 
are moulded, we have carved consoles and carved capitals 
for the vaulting shafts. The church being low did not 
admit of division into three storeys ; on the inside there 
are but two, triforium and clerestory being both contained 
within a pair of lofty lancet arches. The choir at 
Pershore has a similar composition but with a triple 
arch. All the capitals at Southwell are round, and the 
arches have deeply undercut mouldings. The exterior 
has something of the acute severity of the choir at 
Lincoln. The vault is quadripartite with a ridge rib, 
but the eastern bay both in choir and aisles is quinque- 

1 These vaults as well as those of the choir were, I believe, reset by 
Mr Gwilt about 1825. But it may be assumed that they have accurately 
followed the old plan. I remember my master, Sir Gilbert Scott, saying 
that Mr Gwilt took the greatest pains to keep the original design. 



228 EARLY ENGLISH [ch. xiii 

Southwell partite, having a central groin springing from the middle 

cathedral • r ^ r r 1 1 

pier 01 the eastern group oi tour lancets, to meet the 
ridge rib. Quinquepartite vaults occur also in the 
choir aisles at Lincoln, and in the beautiful sacristy of 
Chichester cathedral. In earlier work we have the same 
feature at the east end of the Church of the Hospital of 
S. Cross in Hampshire. 
Worcester In I20I Bishop Wulfstan, who had been dead a 

hundred and six years, suddenly began to work miracles 
and attract pilgrims to his cathedral at Worcester, and 
he was promptly canonized. Many wonders are recorded 
in 1220 and 1221 and the monks with equal promptitude 
set to work to pull down the whole eastern limb of 
Wulfstan's church in order to build it larger, keeping 
only the beautiful crypt which still remains. The new 
work was begun in 1224^ All arches are pointed and 
well moulded : the original windows were simple lancets, 
those in the clerestory in groups of three lights of which 
the middle one is the highest (Fig. 94). The triforium 
has two arches in each bay, each subdivided by a colon- 
nette into two lights, and instead of being open backwards 
to the roof space as is usual in England it has a solid 
back to a passage in the thickness of the wall, decorated 
with arcading and with a small doorway to the roof 
space over the aisle. At Southwark also, as I have 
said, the triforium is closed by a back wall, but there is 
no passage in the wall. At Worcester the clerestory 
also has a passage in the wall which has a total thickness 
of 5 feet. The vault is quadripartite with transverse 
diagonal and wall ribs, and a longitudinal ridge rib with 
bosses but no ridge rib to the cross-vaults. The latter 
rise considerably from the wall to the centre, the wall-rib 

* Prof. Willis, Archaeological Journal, vol. XX. 

CH. XIIl] 









Worcester being" lowcr than the transverse. There were originally 

cathedral . o / 

no flying buttresses, but only the shallow flat buttress 
shown on Fig. 94, though there is a sign of something 
of the kind having been contemplated under the aisle 
roof. There are now two massive buttresses, put up in 
1712, to arrest a serious bulging of the clerestory wall. 

Salisbury cathedral, setting aside the upper part of 
the tower and the spire, is one of the very few mediaeval 
buildings which were built at one time, with one consistent 
design, and therefore show but one style throughout. It 
marks the final development of Early English architecture 
as yet untouched by the traceried window, which soon 
after appeared and revolutionized the art. 

The see was first founded by Osmund on a lofty hill 
a few miles away at Sarum, with an establishment of a 
Dean and thirty-two Canons : and his cathedral was 
consecrated in 1092 in the presence of Bishop Walkelyn 
whose new cathedral at Winchester was consecrated in 
the following year, and Bishop John de Villula who was 
just beginning a vast cathedral at Bath. 

But Sarum was a royal fortress ; the soldiers and 
clergy did not agree, and the Canons had to put up with 
insult and annoyance. On returning from a procession 
outside the walls they found themselves locked out. 
A bull of Pope Honorius recites their grievances : they 
had to buy water at the price of ale, to ask leave of the 
Castellan to reach their church, to hire houses of the 
townsmen having none of their own, and the laity were 
excluded from the place on the plea that the fortress 
would be endangered if they were admitted. Peter de 
Blois describes the site as barren, dry and solitary, 
exposed to the rage of winds ; and the church as a 
captive, like the ark of God shut up in the profane house 

CH. xiii] EARLY ENGLISH 231 

of Baal. " Let us in God's name," he continues, " descend Salisbury 
into the level. There are rich champain fields and fertile 
vallies, abounding in the fruits of the earth, and profusely 
watered with the living stream." 

Accordingly, in the time of Richard I, Bishop Herbert 
Poore fixed on a site in a pleasant valley called Merryfield^ 
and in 1220 his brother and successor Richard laid the The new 
first stone of the present cathedral of Salisbury. The 
superintendence of the work was entrusted to Elias de 
Derham, into whose charge the bishop placed the funds 
for "in him he reposed the greatest confidence": and 
Leland has preserved the name of Robert, the mason 
who was employed for 20 years, and who would be the 
real architect ^ 

The plan is symmetrical and regular (Fig. 95), for Thesym- 
the architect was not controlled like French William at pian 
Canterbury by consideration for older buildings to which 
his work was to be joined. He had a clear site, and 
perfect freedom of design, and he has therefore been 
able to show us in perfection what in his time was the 
mediaeval conception of a cathedral. On the other hand 
there is none of that variety which invests many of 
our great churches with a charm of their own. Their 
picturesqueness is accidental, not designed, for no one 
can design an accident. When the Romans laid out a 
new town, or Edward I built a Bastide, of course all the 
streets were straight, uniform in width, and at right angles : 
the crooked and irregular streets of London, Canterbury, 

1 In quodam fundo, ubi nunc fundata est, ex antique nomine Miryfelde. 
Leland's /////. The seat of Nicolas Wadham at Ilton, founder of the college 
that bears his name, was called Merifield. The word is said to mean "the 
boundary field of the manor." Batten's Sou//i Somerset, "Mere" or 
" Mear " is a boundary, or landmark — New Eng. Diet. 

2 Cited Dodsworth's Salisbury Cathedral. 










CH. xiii] EARLY ENGLISH 233 

or Norwich result from accident or individual fancy. Salisbury 
And so the architect of Salisbury cathedral having a ^^ 
clear field before him has given us a regular and 
symmetrical plan, there being nothing to make it other- 

As at Wells and Winchester the high roofs end with 
the choir proper, beyond which at a lower level chapels The 
extend eastward ; and there are the two transepts which tmns"ept 
form a characteristic feature of great English churches. 
In France they occurred at the abbey of Cluny, and 
they remain at the church of S. Quentin\ The second 
transept at Canterbury existed in the choir of Conrad 
before the time of French William. Besides Salisbury 
and Canterbury the second transept is to be found at 
Hereford, Lincoln, Rochester, Beverley, Worcester, and 
in a modified form at York, Southwell, and Wells. Ely 
and Peterborough have a second transept at the west 
end, and Durham and Fountains at the east. The far 
greater proportional length of our English churches, 
compared with those abroad, invited this second inter- 
ruption of what would otherwise have been a monotonous 
mass. Moreover in those churches which were divided 
between clergy and laity the second transept converted 
the eastern part into a complete transeptal church, 
independent of the rest. 

The proportions of the three storeys at Salisbury are 
nearer those of Lincoln than those of Canterbury, with 
which indeed Salisbury has nothing to do. Dividing the 
elevation as before into 32 parts, the arcade has about i6|, 

^ Professor Willis {Archaeolog. Journal, vol. xx. p. 84) mentions another 
instance : " on the Continent the only known examples of this feature are 
S. Benoit sur Loire {c. 1080) and Cluny {c. 1089), the former of which was 
doubtless the prototype of the English examples." Neither he nor Viollet- 
le-Duc mention S. Quentin. 

234 EARLY ENGLISH [ch. xiii 

Salisbury the triforium 6, and the clerestory about g^. The interior 
(Plate LXXI) is lit by immense single lights, less acutely 
pointed than the lancets of the north, varying from 
4 or 5 ft. to 6 ft. in width. No church is more generously 
lighted, but the glare was tempered by admirable grisaille 
glass of which notable examples remain. Built on a vast 
scale and with excellent stone, and carefully finished 
within and without, Salisbury shows the high-water mark 
of the fully developed Early English style. There is 
indeed in the body of the church but little sculptured 
ornament, and the effect is produced by delicate mouldings 
in arch and capital, but otherwise all the resources of 
architecture were exhausted upon it, and there was 
nothing left for after ages to do but the mighty central 
tower and spire, for which the substructure was never 
intended, and which has sorely tried the fabric. Purbeck 
marble is lavishly employed, almost too lavishly, — its use 
almost amounts to an abuse. The dark marble shafts of 
the triforium do not show well against the dark back- 
ground, and in the Lady Chapel the rigidity of the 
material is exhibited almost painfully in the extreme 
attenuation of the columns that carry the vaults. 
The Lady The chapel is four bays in length, and is divided into 

^ ^^^^ a nave with narrow aisles. The two easternmost pair 
of columns are of Purbeck marble about 1 1 inches in 
diameter. The westernmost pair consist each of five 
detached Purbeck shafts only 5J inches in diameter, 
standing on a common base, rising to a great height 
and jointed halfway up, where they are united by a 
bronze socketted band. Their stability rests on the 
accuracy of their setting, for the least movement out 
of the upright, by bringing the load on one edge of the 
shaft, would mean ruin. They stand, however, perfectly. 

Plale LXXII 


CH. xiii] EARLY ENGLISH 235 

Master Robert was enamoured of detached shafts. Salisbury 
In the transept the columns are of stone, and consist 1^/ 

i^ ' Columns 

of four substantial shafts g-rouped closely toP"ether but in transept 

, 1 ^"^ nave 

not touching. In the nave the columns are of stone 
with detached shafts of Purbeck on four sides (Fig. 75, 
p. 186 su/>.). The effect of these is very satisfactory. 

The vaulting throughout is quadripartite, the ribs 
springing from short clustered shafts bracketted out from 
the spandril of the triforium. Concealed below the aisle 
roof is a regular series of flying buttresses abutting too low 
to be of much use. The architect relied on his sub- 
stantial clerestory wall, which is nearly 6 feet thick like 
those in the earlier buildings. A few flying buttresses 
were added later, especially near the tower ; but with that 
exception there are none apparent above the aisle roofs, 
the clerestory bays being divided by shallow external 
buttresses not more pronounced than in Norman work, 
or in the nave of Wells which is similarly constructed. 

The weakest part of the interior is the triforium 
which instead of having two distinct window openings 
as at Lincoln has a single opening of four lights 
grouped in pairs under sub-arches and enclosed by 
an upper arch as wide as the bay. The height being 
not enough for a full arch, all these arches are depressed 
into segmental curves with a distressing effect, the 
ugliness of which is not compensated by the splendour 
of moulding and marble shafts with which they are 
adorned. The shields over the heads of the lights in 
this triforium are pierced with a simple kind of plate 
tracery, foretelling what was to come. 

The north porch is a magnificent piece of work. It The porch 
is very lofty, and the sides are beautifully arcaded and 
lined with shafts carrying plate tracery (Fig. 96). 




effect of 

The front 




There is about Salisbury a monotony, and a rather 
cast iron severity at first repellent, but it grows on the 
imagination the better it is known. The composition 
of the exterior, with its broken outline and varied eleva- 
tion, leading up to the glorious central steeple is perhaps 
without a rival : there is certainly no cathedral abroad 
that makes so complete and perfect a picture, finished 
so fully in every detail, so well massed and composed 
(Plate LXXII). 

The west front, which is rather later than the nave, is 
the least satisfactory part of the exterior. The criticism 
aimed at the front of Peterborough applies with more 
truth here, for there is no western transept to account 
for the lofty flat fagade between two flanking towers. 
Irrespective of that, the high-shouldered effect of the 
screen-wall is disagreeable and the ornament is too 
evenly spread over the whole surface. 

Far more satisfactory is the front of Wells (Plate 
LXXII I), which is very like it in detail, but much better 
in general design. Built by Bishop Jocelin, perhaps 
included in the consecration of 1239, at all events 
probably finished before his death in 1242, it is in a 
style entirely different from the nave. " The west 
front," says Freeman, "is built in that form of Early 
Gothic which is common in other parts of England, the 
style of Ely, Lincoln, and Salisbury. The rest of the 
early work is built in a style which in England is 
almost peculiar to Somersetshire, South Wales, and the 
neighbouring counties, and which is much more like 
French work\" There is evidence that the western 
bays of the nave were also built by Jocelin ; but as they, 

1 T/ie Cathedral Church of Wells, E. A. Freeman. But the only thing 
about it that seems to me like French work is the square abacus. 




Fig. 96. 

238 EARLY ENGLISH [ch. xiii 

Wells though differing in some respects from the parts eastward, 
cathedral ^^^ j^^ ^^^ same manner, the difference between his work 
there and in the west front can only be accounted for 
by his having brought in workmen from SaHsbury, then 
being built by Bishop Poore, or from the same source 
whence his friend got them, instead of continuing the 
local masons whom he had employed in the early part 
of his episcopate^ 

The facade is expanded laterally by the towers which 
stand out beyond the aisles, and thus give a fine breadth 
of front to what is really one of our smaller cathedrals. 
The Deep buttresses project from the towers both in front 

'^ and at their sides, which are filled with niches, tier above 
tier, for a population of more than 300 figures. Many 
of these have disappeared but enough remain to make 
this the finest collection of figure sculpture in the kingdom 
(Plate LXXIV). 
Horizontal In the general design the horizontal line is strongly 
phabized accentuatcd, and this is one characteristic of the earlier 
styles of English Gothic and to some extent those of 
France as contrasted with the German school. It is 
so at York, and Salisbury, notably at Winchester and 
S. Alban's, and indeed in most of our great churches. 
Here at Wells, in the upper part of the towers which 
date from the end of the 14th and the 15th centuries, the 
vertical line is more strongly expressed ; but below, in 
Jocelin's work the band of little niches with figures of 
the last judgement forms a level freize from side to 
side, and in the middle there is not even a gable, but a 

1 The work at Lincoln may also have influenced that in the front of 
Wells, for Hugh of Wells, bishop of Lincoln 1209 — 1234, was Jocelin's 

Plate LXXIV 

f^r I 



T. G. J. 

WELLS CATHEDRAL— View from Cloister 

CH. xiii] EARLY ENGLISH 239 

composition of niches in several storeys finishing square wdis 


at top. 

Both at Wells and Salisbury the doors form a very The 
insignificant feature in the design of the fa9ade. During porfaT 
the Gothic period a great west portal never formed part 
of the architect's scheme in England as it did in France, 
where the utmost resources of the art were lavished upon 
it. In the earlier churches of the Norman style more 
was made of it than afterwards : in Remigius's cathedral 
at Lincoln, and in many smaller churches such as Castle 
Rising and Iffley, the west doors were treated with 
dignity : but the main entrance was usually by a side The 
door with a porch, and the west door was seldom used\ sidf door 
Even in the Norman time it was so: most of the fine ^"'^ po^'^^ 
Norman doors of our village churches are at the side 
and in many cases there is no door at all at the west 
end. Durham had originally fine western doorways, but 
they were masked as early as the 12th century by the 
Galilee, At Wells, Salisbury, Christchurch, Worcester, 
Gloucester, and Canterbury the side door is the principal 
entrance, and is preceded by a beautiful porch which is 
one of the most important features of the exterior. The 
most splendid Norman porch and doorway in the kingdom 
are at Malmesbury, and they are on the south side of 
the church. Westminster alone has a great portal in 
the French fashion, but it is at the transept and not at 
the west end, and the most beautiful entrances at Lincoln 
are by the Galilee attached to the south transept and by 

1 Our English climate had no doubt a good deal to do with it. There is 
truth in Lord Grimthorpe's humorous if ungrammatical remark, "although a 
west tower door is very common, and looks well outside, there is no denying 
that it is practically almost a nuisance, and is generally disused, from 
allowing the wind to blow straight into the church, and therefore it is no 
use to build them so." (A book on building, p. 255. Weale's Series.) 




side doors 




S. Alban's 

Ely pres- 



Ely pres- 

the magnificent south door of the presbytery. Peter- 
borough alone by its splendid portico emphasizes the 
western approach in a worthy manner. 

The same preference for a side entrance, and the 
same or even greater neglect of the west approach is 
characteristic of German churches even in the Roman- 
esque time. 

Ely has a fine west entrance, though still on a 
moderate scale, erected by Bishop Eustace between 
1 197 and 1220 together with a western porch or Galilee 
in front of it of remarkable beauty. The side walls are 
arcaded in two storeys of which the lower is recessed 
with two planes of arches joined by a narrow vault. 
S. Alban's has a beautiful western porch very like this at 
Ely and of the same date. 

In S. Etheldreda, or Audrey, Ely had a popular saint, 
whose shrine was much frequented by pilgrims, for 
whose accommodation more space was wanted, and in 
the 13th century a great eastward extension was made, 
as was done also for a similar reason at Canterbury, 
Worcester, Winchester, and Durham. The Norman 
choir at Ely seems to have finished eastward with a 
simple semi-circular apse, having no circumambient ambu- 
latory like that built by Abbot Simeon's brother at 
Winchester\ This Norman east end was pulled down 
by Bishop Northwold, and between 1235 and 1251 the 
present presbytery was built which is perhaps the most 
splendid example of pure Early English work in the 
kingdom. Unlike Winchester and Salisbury, where the 
eastern parts are at a lower level, the roof is carried 

^ Curiously enough the foundations, which have been explored, seem to 
show that at some time after the semi-circle had been built the east end was 
altered to a square. 

Plate. LXXV 

II (J 


T. G. J. 

ELY CATHEDRAL— The Presbytery 

CH. xiiij EARLY ENGLISH 241 

of its full height to the extreme east end, where it Ely 

r • 1 • -I T • • r 1 1 cathedral. 

nnishes with a magnincent composition ot three huge The 
single lights below, surmounted by five lights above, ^^^^ ^ ^^^ 
rising to the centre, and three lights higher still to 
illumine the roof space, set between two blank arches. 
The flanking buttresses have niches as at Wells but 
have lost their figures. 

It would be difificult to overpraise the interior of this 
lovely presbytery. It is much more satisfactory than 
that of Salisbury. Here sculpture comes to the aid of 
architecture, and though a generous use is made of 
Purbeck marble it is employed with much greater 
judgement (Plate LXXV). The main columns are 
cylinders of this material surrounded by four larger 
and four smaller colonnettes of the same, attached to the 
main shaft by moulded bands. The capitals are well 
carved with Early English foliage, the arches are richly 
moulded in several orders of which the outer is enriched 
with dog-teeth. The triforium has two trefoiled lights 
under an including arch with rosettes and plate tracery 
in the shield, the jambs being deeply splayed and set 
thick with Purbeck shafts, between which vigorous 
crockets of Early English foliage sprout forward. The 
clerestory has three lancet lights with a passage in the 
wall, and an inner arcade of three arches on Purbeck 
shafts, the middle one the highest, the others cusped in 
the outer sweep of their arch. The vault is of the 
English type now fully developed, with level crown, 
ridge ribs, and intermediates. It springs from wall 
shafts of Purbeck, rising from beautifully carved consoles 
of the same marble in the spandrils of the main arcade. 
The ashlar of the vaulting panels is laid English fashion, 
and there are regular flying buttresses exposed outside. 

J. G. A. 16 





Chapel of 
nine altars 


The cult of S. Cuthbert at Durham demanded a 
similar eastward extension to contain the shrine of the 
saint and accommodate the crowd of pilgrims. The nature 
of the site forbad any long addition eastwards, and the 
new building took the form of an eastern transept, the 
chapel of nine altars, like that completed just before at 
Fountains Abbey. The east wall is sustained by four 
enormous buttresses with two smaller between each pair, 
on which the vaulting ribs converge. Two tiers of 
windows fill the intervals, each with a passage in the 
wall, an air of tremendous strength being given by 
their plain square cut jambs, and the severity of the 
great lancet lights. A rich wall-arcade runs round below 
the window cills, against which on the east wall stood 
the nine altars (Plate LXXVI). 

The work was begun in 1243, five years after the 
death of Bishop Richard Poore, the builder of Salisbury 
cathedral, who had been translated to Durham in 1229, 
and though not started in his lifetime the project was no 
doubt due to him. As it was not finished till 1280 this 
chapel of the nine altars is the last, as it is also in its 
way the grandest example on a large scale of the Early 
English style, which before its completion had already 
begun to pass into geometrical Gothic. The new 
addition involved the removal of S. Carilef's apse, and 
the reconstruction of the choir vault which is described 
in Prior Melsanby's appeal as ruinous and dangerous\ 
A piece of good fortune has preserved the architect's 
name : a conveyance of a piece of land in the Bailey is 
witnessed by '' M agister Ricardus de Farinham, tunc 
architector novae fabricae Dzmelm,'' and a stone on a 
buttress at the east end is inscribed with the name of 

1 V. sup. p. 185, note. 

Plate LXXVI 

T. G. J. 

DURHAM— The Eabteru Transept 

CH. xiii] EARLY ENGLISH 243 

a mason, Posuit hanc petram Thomas Moises. Nicolas Durham 
de Farnham was bishop of Durham from 1241 to 1249, 
and the architect, as Canon Greenwell suggests, may 
have been his brother\ The great round window filling 
the middle bay in the upper part is the work of Wyatt : 
Canon Greenwell says it replaced in 1795 not the original 
window but one put there in the 15th century. At the 
north end is a fine geometrical traceried window ap- 
parently an early alteration from the lancet window 
design of the original architect. But we must leave 
tracery to be dealt with in another chapter. 

The vaulting is peculiar. It springs from clustered 
shafts, some of which are of marble, and the ribs impinge 
on circular eyes or rings which are beautifully carved. 
The general construction is a kind of quadripartite, but 
an eccentric rib cuts irregularly across the two side bays 
very awkwardly. 

In this splendid chapel, as also in Lincoln, Ripon, PecuU- 
Hexham, and the Yorkshire abbeys, and farther still at Northern 
Glasgow and Elgin one finds a different feeling from the 
contemporary early English of the South. There is a 
sharpness here and a vigour in the acute lancet heads, 
the narrower lights, the more trenchant mouldings, and 
the bolder forms which contrasts with the more elegant 
grace of Ely and the fronts of Peterborough and Wells. 
Even Salisbury, in spite of its avoidance of sculptured 
ornament and a certain hardness in its sharp undercut 
details, breathes a gentler air in her wider lights and her 
less sharply pointed lancets. 

At York cathedral the Early English style is confined York 
to the transept, north and south, which was built in the transepts 
time of Archbishop Walter Grey (12 15 — 1255) who lies 

1 W. Greenwell, Durham Cathedral^ p. 58, 5th ed. 

16 — 2 













buried in the eastern aisle of the south transept in the 
chapel of S. Michael. His tomb may challenge com- 
parison with those of Bishop Bridport at Salisbury and 
Aymer de Valence at Westminster, as one of the most 
beautiful monuments in Gothic architecture. 

The south transept was finished in 1241; the north 
transept was built and in 1247 finished by John le 
Romain, canon and treasurer from 1250 to 1260, a 
Roman whose son afterwards succeeded to the arch- 
bishopric. The well-known group of the " five-sisters " 
needs no description. In spite of many beauties, how- 
ever, the proportions of the three storeys in these 
transepts is not agreeable. Dividing the elevation into 
32 parts as in former cases they are apportioned as 
follows : — 

Arcade, roughly 

i6| parts 

Triforium, „ 

9h » 

Clerestory, ,, 

A " 


The triforium is too large and reduces the clerestory 
to insignificance. The design very closely resembles 
that of the triforium at Rievaulx (Plate LXIX, p. 223 
sup.) which indeed may have been taken for a model,, 
for it has one bay next the crossing in which a semi- 
circular arch encloses the pair of two-light openings as 
at York. The transepts at York have wooden roofs 
of a waggon form, ornamented with ribs, and with side 
pockets over the windows. The effect of these is good 
and preferable to the wooden imitation of stone rib-and- 
panel vaulting in the nave and choir. For except in the 
aisles there is no stone vaulting at York, 

The eastern part of the great collegiate church in 
the pleasant town of Beverley, incorrectly like the 



Fig- 97- (From Archaeol. Inst. Proceedings. 1846.) 

246 EARLY ENGLISH [ch. xiii 

Beverley Cathedral of York called a minster, is of early English 


date. This part includes the choir, the two transepts 
Its great and One bay of the nave. The plan is on the scale of 


a cathedral ; the great transept has aisles on both sides, 
the eastern transept one on its eastern side, and prepara- 
tion was made by four mighty piers for a central tower 
that was never achieved. The windows are all single- 
light lancets, and the foliage of the capitals is of a simple 
early type like that in S. Hugh's work at Lincoln. The 
three storeys are well proportioned, with a lofty arcade 
and a fine clerestory (Fig. 97). There is no open 
The triforium, but blank arcading of four trifoliated arches 

on Purbeck marble colonnettes, behind which and touch- 
ing it is a second arcade on colonnettes that stand in the 
middle of the front arches, the two arcades alternating 
like the wall arcading in S. Hugh's work at Lincoln 
(Fig. 83, p. 204, sup.). The back wall is very thin, and 
behind it a deep semi-circular arch is turned from pier 
to pier. For these arches in the second and third bay 
westward, and therefore beyond the Early English part, 
some Norman stones with zigzags on them are used, 
relics employed at second-hand as I conceive of the old 
Norman nave arcade\ This double arcading instead 
of a real triforium evidently caught the local fancy, for 
it was carefully imitated and continued in the 14th 
century nave westwards, though with stone colonnettes 
instead of marble. 

1 It has been supposed at Beverley that these are really Norman arches 
in position ; but they are far too high up for that, and they occur in the 
14th century nave and spring from masonry of that date. 



The account of the Early Gothic schools of France 
and England has now been brought up to the time 
when both in construction and design they had been 
developed on original lines, free from trace of Romanesque Diver- 
influence. It will have become evident that by the middle French 
of the 13th century they had so far diverged as to fall English 
into distinct national styles, with many points of difference ^°^^^'^ 
between them, and as time went on this difference was 
accentuated. While in the 14th century English Gothic 
melted into the graceful curvilinear Decorated style of 
the Lady Chapel at Ely, Selby, and the choir screen at English 
Southwell, the French persisted in geometrical forms 
which in the later examples became attenuated and wire- 
drawn, triumphs less of art than of engineering in stone, 
as for instance in S. Urbain at Troyes. Before this phase 
ended English architecture had again passed into a new 
phase and stiffened into the Perpendicular of the eastern English 

r ^~>^ . 1 . .t, perpen- 

part of Gloucester m 1337 — 1377; and it was not till dicuiar 
the 15th century that France broke out into that wild 
luxuriant Flamboyant style which has given us S. Maclou French 
at Rouen, the north-west steeple at Chartres, and the boyant 
gorgeous church of Brou-en-Bresse which may be con- 



Gothic in 





The ideal 
of Gothic 

realized in 

trasted with the contemporary Perpendicular — once more 
become luxuriant, — of Henry VI I's chapel at Westminster. 

Both countries had mastered the science of constructing 
vaults over wide spans, with ribs and panels, instead of 
the plain cross-groining of the crypts at Winchester and 
Canterbury, or the barrel vaults of Aries and Autun. In 
both the system of resistance to the thrust of vaulting 
was understood and successfully applied, but at first the 
French pushed it to its extreme logical consequences 
more thoroughly than was done on this side of the 

The constructional theory of a Gothic church, in per- 
fection, is this. Support should be given at those points 
in the articulation of a buildino^ on which the thrusts are 
concentrated by large buttresses at right angles to the 
wall, either directly applied to it as in the Ste Chapelle and 
King's College Chapel at Cambridge, or when removed 
out beyond an aisle bridging across it by a flying arch. 
These buttress piers may be regarded as sections of the 
side wall, wheeled round at right angles to the axis of 
the building. The space vacated by them is filled by 
curtain walls, which receive no thrust, have only them- 
selves to carry, and may therefore consist mainly of 
windows. At Amiens and Beauvais we see this theory 
of construction thoroughly worked out. The lower 
windows of the aisles are enormously wide and reach 
from pier to pier : the piers that divide them are very 
little wider than the outside buttress : the triforium con- 
sists of two thin walls with a passage between them, the 
inner wall, being pierced with traceried openings : and 
the whole width of the space above which closes the side 
vault is occupied by an immense window whose outer 
arch forms the wall-rib of the vault. The piers between 


these clerestory windows are only wide enough to receive 
the flying buttresses which sustain the nave vaults, and 
descend on the massive pier beyond the aisle. At 
Beauvais and in the nave of S. Denis the structure is 
still further lightened by piercing the back wall of the The 
triforium with windows looking over the aisle roofs, which friforium 
are kept down on purpose. Both at Amiens and Beauvais 
the clerestory and triforium are combined, and at the 
latter especially the triforium becomes part of the fene- 
stration. By way of still further lightening the construction 
the clerestory passage which is a constant feature in 
Romanesque churches is abandoned. That in the tri- 
forium remains, but the outer wall goes no higher ; the 
passage is roofed with an exterior terrace, and the inner 
wall alone is carried up for the clerestory window. 

Thus every atom of material is economized, and the its 
building consists of a series of parallel buttress-piers at economy 
right angles to the wall and the axis of the church, ° ^"pp°^ ^ 
between which is a curtain, — a tapisserie, — chiefly of 
glass, to exclude weather, which in theory might be taken 
away without disturbing the structure. In practice of 
course the piers are steadied by the great arcades and 
the arches of triforium and clerestory. The buttress- 
piers receive through the medium of the flying buttresses 
the thrust of the high vaults, and the building stands by 
equilibrium of contending forces. 

These great piers and flying arches are frankly 
acknowledged, regarded as features in the architecture, 
and often treated ornamentally ; and the whole system 
is expressed visibly and intelligibly, thus satisfying our 
third general canon of architectural orthodoxy. 

In England, though we see that this system was well English 
understood, and was more or less completely employed no°t ideal 


English at Lincoln, Norwich, Bath, Malmesbury, not to say at 
avoidi Canterbury and Westminster where French influence 
exueme comes in, and at many other places, yet it was at first 
seldom pushed in the same way to its full logical extreme. 
It is perhaps our way not to do this in anything. We 
are a people given to compromise ; to think that some- 
times the half is better than the whole. We have a 
natural suspicion of theory, and put a higher value on 
practice. It is this temper that has saved us from 
French revolutions : our political reforms have been 
worked out gradually and tentatively, not through blatant 
political clubs, nor by following doctrinaire teaching, or 
gospels according to Jean Jacques. We do not there- 
fore find in the earlier Gothic of England that trium- 
phant display of constructive science which we see at 
Amiens. For one thing our churches, though covering 
as much, or perhaps more ground, are never so high as 
those French churches where this construction is most 
thoroughly developed, and there was not the same 
English need of economy. But independently of these motives 
aversion the EugHsh, like the Italians, seem to have had an 
flying aversion from the flying buttress, and to have sup- 
uttress pressed it as much as they could. The Italians, rather 
than support a vault or an arch by a buttress, preferred 
to confine the thrust by an iron tie at or near the 
springing ; and the English when they did use the flying 
buttress tried when possible to hide it under the aisle 
roofs. This in many cases made it useless, for the head 
of the buttress was too low to receive the thrust of the 
vault ; the proper place for abutment being about one 
third up the curve of the arch. In many cases they are 
not wanted at all ; as for instance where the vaults took 
the place of an old Norman ceiling of wood, and where the 


Norman walls were retained though re-cased or otherwise 
Gothicized. In the nave at Winchester this is so, the walls win- 
in the clerestory being 7 ft. 6 in. thick, or including the nave vault 
flat Norman buttress outside 9 feet (Fig. 169, Chap, xxi 
/«/".). On this William of Wykeham's vault might have 
been trusted to rest securely. His architect, William 
Wynford, however, did construct flying buttresses across 
the aisle, which are curiously combined in one with the 
transverse arch of the aisle vault, and are hidden under 
the roof. They are quite useless, abutting far too low, 
and in fact they take no thrust from the nave vault, for 
the aisle wall on which they bear has settled outwards, 
drawing them with it, and leaving the nave walls upright. 
In consequence the flying buttresses had sunk, their 
joints had opened, and they were doing harm rather 
than good\ 

At Gloucester in the same way the thick Norman Gloucester 
wall remains in the nave, to which a Gothic vault 
was affixed in the 13th century, and here there are 
occasional flying buttresses hidden under the roof, three 
on one side and two on the other, placed apparently 
where signs of movement had appeared. At Worcester Worcester 
it is the same. The choir vault has no flying buttresses 
except two massive constructions of masonry built in 
1 71 2 when movement of the choir walls had given alarm. 
At Tewkesbury there are none at all, and it may be in Tewkes- 
order to escape the need of any that the springing of '^'"^^^" 
the vault is kept so low in the wall as to cramp the 
upper storeys. 

Our national square east end also gave no opportunity 
for flying buttresses like the French ckevet, round which 

' In the recent repairs I have raised and wedged them up ; but they are 
of httle use. The outer wall has been securely buttressed. 


they cluster thickly on radiating lines as at Beauvais and 
Cologne, and form one main feature of the design. 
s. Paul's Lastly, at S. Paul's, Sir Christopher's flying buttresses 

bunSsses a'*e carefully hidden behind the great masking wall of 
the aisle, a deception for which it is difficult to find an 
Norman In considering the system of vaulting and its supports 

sliffident at Winchester, Gloucester, and Tewkesbury it should be 
abutment remembered that in each of them the vault was applied 
to a Norman wall of great thickness, carried up without 
diminution to the top, with passages in the thickness of 
the wall both in the triforium, and except at Winchester 
where the design has interfered with it, in the clerestory 
also. It is the same in the other great Norman churches, 
Chichester, Durham, Ely, Peterborough, and S. David's, 
in none of which originally vaulting over the nave was 
seriously attempted. Those of them to which a nave 
vault was added in a later style really hardly needed 
buttresses at all, and some have done entirely without 
Thick But even in those English churches of the 12th and 

waib" 13th centuries which were built with a view to being 
England '" vaulted we find the clerestory passage of the Norman 
style still retained, giving a thick clerestory wall like 
that of the older buildings. This is the case at Canterbury 
though built by a Frenchman in 1 1 74, and in the choir of 
S. Hugh at Lincoln, in the early pointed work at South- 
wark and Wells, at Beverley, Salisbury and Rochester, 
and even in buildings of fully developed decorated work 
at Carlisle and the angel choir at Lincoln. In the Pres- 
bytery at York, built between 1361 and 1373, though the 
window of the clerestory is set in the inside of the wall, 
the architect would not forego his thick wall and has 


recovered it in a curious way by an exterior arcade York 
(Fig. 98), thus making a clerestory passage outside 
instead of in. 

Fig. 98. 

In early work, with which alone we have hitherto Waii 
been concerned, the clerestory consists either of single reSedir 
lights as at Canterbury, or double lights as at Southwell, ^"festory 
or triple as at Lincoln, grouped in the bay but not 


space in 


tion not 
to logical 


of Gothic 

conjoined into a single window. With separate lights 
such as these of course a good deal of solid wall neces- 
sarily remained in the clerestory. It remained also when 
windows of decorated tracery appeared there. It was not 
till later that the clerestory passage disappeared, and that 
the windows expanded to the width of the bay as in the 
French perfected system, and as at the choir of Norwich, 
the transept of Chester, at Exeter, Bath, King's College 
Chapel at Cambridge, and the contemporary chapels at 
Westminster and Windsor, forming the upper storey into 
a lantern of glass, glazed between slender piers carrying 
vaults supported by buttressing on the outside. 

It is plain therefore that in Early English work, 
down to the latter part of the 13th century the science 
of constructing vaulted buildings was not pushed to the 
same logical result as in the contemporary buildings 
of France. The art of opposing thrust to thrust was 
understood, as we see by the work in the nave and by 
the vault and flying buttresses which were added to 
S. Hugh's choir at Lincoln between 1239 and 1255 ; but 
it was applied imperfectly. The English architects did 
not choose to take full advantage of it by reducing the 
thickness of the clerestory and curtain walls between one 
buttress pier and another ; they still liked to see sub- 
stantial walls, and perhaps valued the convenience of a 
clerestory passage in case of repairs. 

For this reluctance of the English school to pursue 
their system of construction to the same logical result as 
that achieved at Amiens Mr Moore says it is not Gothic 
at all. Real Gothic according to him is only found in 
aisled and vaulted churches, where equilibrium is attained 
by counter-thrust, and by counter-thrust alone. There 
must be a chevet with radiating chapels. The vaults 


must rest on transverse, diagonal, and wall -ribs, but must Mr 
on no account be incorporated with them. The ribs of definUion 
the high vaults must spring from shafts rising from the °^^"^^'^ 
floor and grouped with the piers of the arcade, together 
with other shafts carrying the main arches and the aisle 
vaults. There must be an outside buttress in the triforium 
rising into the clerestory and exposed, against which the 
flying buttress abuts. " Walls proper are almost entirely 
omitted. Those that are retained are the low enclosing 
walls of the ground story, and the spandrils of the various 
arcades. The spaces between the piers are entirely open, 
like the intercolumniations of a colonnade. They are 
formed into vast windows divided by mullions and tracery 
which support the iron bars to which the glazing is 
attached \" 

This is an admirable description of a 1 3th century its in- 
French cathedral, such as Amiens, and apparently little ^ ^^"^'^^ 
else, for even Reims does not seem quite to satisfy the 
writer. But to say this and nothing else is Gothic is not 
only inconvenient, for there is no other word to describe 
the style generally, but also quite misleading because 
it limits the style to only one of its manifestations. 
Amiens may show the most perfect development of 
Gothic principles as applied to vaulted construction. But 
it only illustrates one chapter of the art, that of vaulting, 
and vaulting however important does not cover the whole 
ground. Gothic art is something far wider. 

Exception might even be taken to some of Mr Moore's Excep- 
conditions, on the ground that an architectural feature is hiTcon- 
only justified by a structural meaning. For instance the ^'''°"^ 
wall-rib does not really belong to the vault at all, but to 
the wall into which it is bonded. It is rather ornamental 

* C, H. Moore, Gothic architecture^ p. 20. 


of the 
of the 

Gothic the 
style of 

than necessary. It is often omitted, and the side panel 
rests on a chase or set-off in the wall just as welP. 
Again there is no structural reason for carrying the 
shafts that support the ribs of the high vaults down to 
the ground ; for as Viollet-le-Duc points out, the thrust 
and weight fall mostly on the back of the pier towards 
the aisle, and the front may be retired without danger. 
This justifies the common English habit of corbelling out 
the vaulting shafts from the spandrils of the great arcade, 
as in the choir of Ely, the nave and presbytery at Lincoln, 
and the nave and choir at Exeter, or even from the 
triforium spandrils as at Wells. Again, if a chevet is 
essential what becomes of Laon and other square-ended 
French churches like S. Serge at Angers } 

This attempt to limit the term " Gothic " is not as 
might be supposed a mere matter of words. It touches 
the whole conception of Gothic art by attempting to 
confine it to one of its phenomena. What other word is 
there to cover the whole of mediaeval art through the 
whole period and in all its branches, which all reflect 
equally the mediaeval mind, whether the medium be 
wood or stone, glass or iron, painting or sculpture, prose 
or poetry. In all we see the same restless energy, the 
same striving for more perfect modes of expression, the 
same discontent with what had been done and the same 
rush ever onward to something new. It was the time of 
the youth, almost of the childhood, of Europe. If it was 
the age of faith it was also the age of credulity and 
superstition. Like children the men of that time were 
always asking "why," and not satisfied with an answer 
that was not positive and authoritative. The world of 
unseen powers was ever near them, — good and evil, 

1 V. Plate VI, p. 72, sup. 


saints and devils, especially the devils. It was a time of 
ever widening intelligence ; of the beginnings of science, 
even if it were confused with witchcraft : of the stirrings 
of philosophy, the cult of Aristotle, the disputes of the 
School-men and the battle, of which the far-off echoes 
reach us, between Nominalists and Realists. We can 
read all this in the art. Gothic in all its various branches Gothic 
is the true expression of the mediaeval mind. In the ofA?^'^^ 
great prelates we see the religious fervour which inspired mfnd^^"^^ 
them to undertake these vast constructions to the honour 
of God and the glory of their peculiar saint, not less than 
the desire to eclipse the splendour of the nearest minster. 
In the people who supplied the means, and poured their 
riches into the coffers of the church we see the blind 
devotion which hoped with the stones of these holy 
buildings to pave a way to heaven. In the architects 
we see the passion for new experiments and daring feats 
of construction never before attempted which drove them 
from style to style, abandoned as soon as mastered. 
The art never stood still in painting and sculpture any its restless 
more than in architecture. From the heavy mosaic glass ^'^^^^^^ 
which sheds a dim mystery on the aisles of Canterbury, 
Chartres, and Bourges, betraying, as Mr Winston ob- 
serves, the origin of the art in sunny lands, the design 
soon passed to the grisaille of Salisbury and Angers, and 
the seven sisters at York ; to the lighter treatment of 
Wells and Merton Chapel at Oxford ; and on to the 
brilliant glass of the east windows of York and Gloucester. 
The progress of sculpture was not less rapid from the stiff 
conventional figures of Aries, S. Gilles, and V^zelay, to 
the classic grace of Chartres, Paris, and Reims, and the 
fine statuary of Wells and Westminster. To understand 
the meaning of Gothic art it is necessary to regard it as 

J. G. A. 17 



Gothic the a wholc, Hot piecemeal, as in fact the language by which 
of the the mind of the Middle Ages found outward and visible 

Middle . . _ , , . 

Ages expression m every rield oi art. 

As for the artists and their craftsmen it has been the 
fashion to imagine them working with a piety and 
devotional fervour now unknown. But I fancy they 
were very like the workmen and artists of the present 
day, allowing for difference of education and knowledge. 
Art and religion I fear do not always go hand in hand, 
and if Fra Angelico rose from his knees to paint his 
pictures, Perugino whose work breathes the tenderest 
religious feeling was, according to Vasari, little better 
than an infidel. The art-workers of the Middle Ages 
shared of course the religious beliefs as well as the 
superstitions of the day. In the Romanesque period we 
read of diabolic interruptions of the holy. work, and of 
miraculous assistance by saints and angels, but these are 
confined to that period, when the cloister was the crafts- 
man's school and monkish hands and brains were employed 
on the building. When the art passed into the hands 
of laymen we hear no more of these supernatural inter- 
ventions, and the chronicles are silent about the triumphs 
of the Gothic school, which no longer had the same 
interest for a monkish historian. The sculptors of the 
later schools amused themselves with ridicule of the holy 
fathers of rival orders, and the Benedictines of Norwich, 
like the rest, made no objection to caricatures of monks 
and friars in the misereres of their stalls. 

Nor, I regret to say, was the work always as well 
done in the Middle Ages as it should have been. There 
was bad building and scamping then as now. Not to 
go beyond my own experience, I have constantly been 
surprised by the carelessness of the old builders about 



their foundations. At Winchester they are laid on a 
peat bog and stand in water. Fortunately the walls are 
unusually well built for that time, or the settlements, 
dreadful as they were, would have been worse, and the 
cathedral would long ago have been in ruin. At Christ- 
church priory the south side of the nave has had to be 
underpinned. At S. Cross the foundations are on soft 
wet ground, and serious settlements have taken place. 
At Ashbourne the subsoil is as bad as at Winchester, 
and the foundations are only of rough stone loosely piled 
together without any mortar. At Bishop's Waltham the 
footings are laid on the top of the ground which is of 
clay. The mortar is often mere rubbish. The lovely 
Early English tower of S. Mary's at Stamford, to which 
Sir Walter Scott used to take off his hat when posting 
through the town northwards, is put together with nothing 
but dirt scraped off the road containing very little lime, 
if any. It is the same at the pretty little 13th century 
tower and spire of Duddington a few miles away, and 
is probably no better in most of the fine churches of 
Northamptonshire. At Chichester, before the spire fell, 
the mortar of the interior of the piers ran out like water 
when a stone was withdrawn, and I am told it was just 
the same at Peterborough. For all these sins of our 
mediaeval masters we are now paying the penalty. It 
seems to have been much the same in France, for 
Viollet-le-Duc remarks that the execution of Gothic 
work, with a few exceptions, is far inferior to that of 
the Romanesque builders, who showed much greater 
care and deliberation than their successors in preparing 
for their masonry and in carrying it out. 

But though the men of the Middle Ages had their 
defects and their shortcomings like ourselves, they had 






what we have In a great measure lost, a lively and free 
artistic temperament, which made it natural and easy 
for them to do things beautifully, because they did them 
unconsciously. For they had the inestimable advantage 
of having no choice ; they knew no other style but their 
own ; and had no more idea of any other way of expressing 
themselves in stone or wood, glass or metal, than they 
had in words. Whereas we, with our knowledge of all 
the schools and all the ages, are hampered by it : we 
cannot forget it if we would, we ought not to try to do 
so if we could, for it is the condition of our day, and 
therefore should enter into the conception of our art if 
it is to represent us. But this does not mean imitation. 
So long as our work is consciously imitated from what 
was done in other days and under other conditions so 
long will it be unreal. The only modern work that will 
have any interest for our children will be such as has 
come naturally and unconsciously to the artist to meet 
the occasion. Unfortunately there is little of it. 

Before closing the subject of French Geometrical 
Gothic let us briefly review the final result at which it 
arrived. It is the outcome, as I have tried to show, of 
a strict logical progression from stage to stage, and we 
cannot but admire the steadiness and sureness of its 
advance. Advantage was taken of every accident, of 
every experiment, to economise material, reduce obstruc- 
tions, and suppress all that did not form part of the 
constructional skeleton. But however much we may 
admire the science displayed in the perfected style the 
question obtrudes itself whether it did not go too far. 
In buildings where everything depends on the equilibrium 
of forces, where thrust must balance thrust and nothing 
is in repose, where no margin is left for safety, and 


every part depends on the rest standing firm, so that if 
one gave way the rest would follow, one doubts whether 
the result is worth the risk, and whether too much has 
not been sacrificed to engineering ingenuity. Experience 
justifies this doubt. Amiens, where the theory of stability 
by equilibrium of forces finds the fullest expression, has 
had to be held together by iron cramps all along the 
gallery : Beauvais and S. Denis have their buttress-piers 
tied together with iron to prevent their buckling : Seez 
cracked and settled and threatened ruin long ago, and 
I hope has by this time been repaired : S. Quentin has 
been propped and banded with iron and narrowly escaped 
collapse. Other instances are numerous. Fortunately 
France is not subject to earthquakes, or I imagine a 
much milder shock than any that have failed to bring 
down S. Sophia, shaken and decrepit though it be, 
would lay any one of the French cathedrals later than 
that of Reims level with the ground. 

Logic is not everything, and in England it is not our 
way to hunt our conclusions to death. Our buildings do 
not drive things so fine, but leave something over and 
above the least that would do. And in France I confess 
I often turn from the fine-spun edifices of the end of the 
13th and the 14th centuries to the more generous, if less 
scientific solidity of the preceding period. For me 
French Geometrical Gothic seems to have reached its 
highest achievement at Reims rather than at Amiens. 

To-day, — Sept. 21, 1914, — while these sheets are passing through the 
press, comes the news of the destruction of Reims cathedral by the brutal 
savagery of " cultured" Germany. We are told there was no military reason 
for it. The church was serving as a military hospital for wounded German 
prisoners, who were with difficulty saved by their French captors from 
destruction by the fire of their own side. The finest monument of French 
architecture has been sacrificed to glut the disappointed fury of the invading 
hordes, baulked of the easy triumph they intended. 



The Con- The Norman church of the abbey of Westminster 

church was begun by Edward the Confessor in 1055, and the 
choir was consecrated in 1065 when he was too ill to 
attend, just before his death. The name of his architect, 
"Godwin, called Great Syd, master cementarius of the 
church," has been preserved'. By his name and that 
of his son Aelfwin he must have been a Saxon, and it 
is curious that he should have been the architect of what 
William of Malmesbury calls the first church built in 
England after the Norman manner. The nave seems 
not to have been begun till after the Conquest, in 1 100. 
King This church stood till the middle of the 13th century, 

Henry III -^^ ^^ reign of Henry HI. That prince, Dante's king 
of simple life^ was the greatest virtuoso of his time : he 
had an unbounded passion for architecture and the sister, 
and then subsidiary, arts of painting and sculpture, and 
for collecting beautiful stuffs, jewellery, and not least of all 
relics. Of the last article on this list there was no lack 
of supply at that age, and we hear of a phial of the Holy 

* Charter in 29th Report of the Record Office. Cited W. R. Lethaby, 
Westminster Abbey and Craftsmen, p. 102. 
^ Vedete il Re della semplice vita 

Seder Ik solo, Arrigo d' Inghilterra, 
Questi ha ne' rami suoi migliore uscita. 

Purgat. vn. 130. 





Blood, warranted by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and a 
stone with a footprint left by our Saviour at his Ascension, 
which the king bore in procession from S. Paul's to 
Westminster. To Henry's taste for art we owe what 
I venture to call the loveliest of all churches (Plate 
LXXVII), but his people had good reason to complain 
of his extravagance in building and the extortion by 
which it was supported, as the subjects of Solomon and 
Justinian in their time had done for the same reason. 

As early as 1220 a Lady Chapel had been built at The first 
the east end of the Confessor's apse, no doubt in the chapei 
style of Salisbury. It had a wooden roof, and from 
traces that have been found it seems to have occupied 
the area of the nave of its successor, the present chapel 
of Henry VII. To this the king had been a contributor. 
In 1 241 he had ordered a golden shrine for the Confessor, 
and was no doubt contemplating the rebuilding of the 
abbey church itself. 

After two years of preparation the work was begun The new 
in 1 245. The management of the expenses was entrusted 
to Odo the Goldsmith and Edward his son, who acted 
as treasurers, like Julianus Argentarius for Justinian at 
Ravenna, and Elias de Derham for Bishop Poore at Salis- 
bury. The industry of Professor Lethaby^ has recovered 
the names of the king's master-masons, the actual archi- 
tects of the building. The credit of the general design The 
of the presbytery and transepts, and the first bay of the 
choir west of the crossing seems due to Master Henry of 
Westminster. He was succeeded in 1253 by Master 
John of Gloucester, who was followed by Master Robert 
of Beverley from 1262 to 1280. But Master Henry's 

* W. R. Lethaby, Westminster Abbey and Craftsmen. A work for which 
students of English Art will be very grateful. 



of the 

of the 

The school 
and the 

Need of 
a single 
for the 

design commanded such respect that both his successors, 
instead of working in the style of their own day, as was 
usual in the Middle Ages, kept to the design of their 
predecessor, with only a few minor differences of detail. 
These all held the office of King's Mason, for the work 
was done by the king and not by the monks, the church 
having always been regarded as a sort of royal founda- 
tion, and to this day at the time of a coronation the state 
officials take possession of it for that ceremonial. 

In contrasting the modern architect with those men 
to whose genius we owe the architectural triumphs of the 
Middle Ages, the position of the latter has been much 
misunderstood. When it came no longer to be believed 
that great prelates like William of Wykeham were the 
real architects of their buildings, we were taught that 
these buildings were not the work of individual architects, 
but of a school of craftsmen whose very names are 
unknown. Full credit must no doubt be allowed to the 
influence of the school, but it is nevertheless obvious 
that every one of the great works we admire must have 
been designed by some one member of that school, to 
whom its characteristic features are due. There can be 
no artistic conception without an author : and it is absurd 
to suppose that the design of any great building in the 
Middle Ages came of itself from the associated labour of 
a group of builders without a single head over them to 
direct, as some fanciful people would have us believe. 
A great work of architecture can no more come into 
being in that way, than a great picture from a committee 
of painters, or a great poem from one of poets\ There is 
no great building of the Middle Ages which has not an 

^ L'on n'a gu^re vu jusqu'k present un chef-d'ceuvre d'esprit qui soit 
I'ouvrage de plusieurs. La Bruy^RE. 


individual character of its own ; the expression of an 
individual mind ; of a single artist, working of course in 
the style of his day, — what else could he do ? — but who 
nevertheless put his personal stamp on his work. Nor is 
there any mystery as to who these men were. They 
have indeed rarely put their name to their work ; Vasari Possible 
is astonished at the stupidity and indifference to fame ofXir 
shown by their not doing so'. But Professor Lethaby """"'^^ 
gives us the names of all the Master-Masons and other 
chief craftsmen at Westminster, and believes it possible 
to do the same for Canterbury, Lincoln, York, Durham, 
Salisbury, Wells, and Exeter by diligent search among 
the archives of those places'". 

That their names are often lost is due partly to the 
illiteracy of the age, and perhaps more to the etiquette 
which required that the building should be described 
as the work of this or that abbot or bishop. And yet 
we do find, now and then, the craftsman who really Architects 

. ., . , . 1 • names 

designed the work mscribmg his name on his master- recorded 
piece, as if he were anxious to secure the credit of it, and 
did not wish to be forgotten. Gislebertus has put his 
name on the tympanum at Autun ; Gaufredus on the 
doors of Le Puy ; Thomas Moyses has cut his name 
on the stone he set at Durham ; and at Reims and 
Amiens the figures and names of the architects appeared 
with those of the bishop in the labyrinth on the floor. 
We have the names of Edward the Confessor's architect 
at Westminster, of Pierre de Montereau at S. Denis and 

1 I quali tutti edifizi havendo io veduti e considerati ... e non havendo 
trovato mai non che alcuna memoria de' Maestri, ma ne anche molte volte 
in che millesimo fussero fatti, non posso se non maravigliarmi della gof- 
fezza e poco disiderio di gloria degli huomini di quell' etk. Vasari, Vita 
d' Arnolfo di Lapo. 

^ Op. cit. preface. 


Names of 

Wilars de 

Paris, of fourteen architects employed on the cathedral 
of Rouen between the end of the 12th and the middle 
of the 1 6th century^ we have that of William Joy, the 
master-mason who built the chapter house at Wells for 
Dean Godlee^ ; that of Richard of Farnham, the architect 
of the chapel of nine altars at Durham, and at Lincoln 
is the gravestone of Richard of Gainsborough, builder 
of the central tower and the cloisters. Street gives a 
list of no less than 137 architects, sculptors and builders 
in Spain from 11 29 onwards. He says he found that 
almost all the architects were laymen, and "just as much 
a distinct class as architects of the present day^" 

As early as the 13th century the master-masons seem 
to have had an education rare at that age among laymen. 
In some cases they were entrusted with the management 
of the building accounts. Wilars de Honecort could 
write, and write as beautifully as any scribe, as we see 
not only by the notes appended to his sketches, but by 
a whole page of manuscript at the end of his volume 
in which he gives recipes for a medicine to cure wounds, 
and for preserving flowers. He understood Latin also, 
and writes against his sketch-plan for a large church, 

Istud presbiteriu' invener't ulardus d' honecort 
& petrus de corbeia ir se disputando^ 

It appears that the Master- Mason acted to some 

extent much like a modern architect, with the important 

difference that he was constantly on the work instead of 

The king's directins^ it from a distance. The kin2:'s masons had 

masons ^ , " 

charge of all the royal buildings. Master Henry while 
engaged at Westminster was also employed at Windsor 

^ Loisel, La Cathidrale de Rouen, p. 129. 

^ Canon Church, Early History of the Church of Wells, p. 296. 

^ G. E. Street, Gothic architecture in Spain, Chap. xxi. 

4 Plate XXVIII, Ed. WilHs. 


and was sent to see about the fortifying of York castle. 
Master John of Gloucester, his successor, was also engaged 
at Windsor. Occasionally we find them supervising the 
building accounts, a painful duty well-known to modern 
architects. They were often contractors as well as 
designers and craftsmen, employing men under them, 
and paid by piecework. This practice continued down 
to the 17th century. In the building accounts of Wadham 
College at Oxford we find Mr William Arnold receiving Architects 
20 shillings a week, evidently for acting as architect ; and Cam- 
but he also supplies windows for the ante-chapel and hall " ^^ 
at so much a piece, and carries out other work in the 
same way\ Similarly John Westley and Thomas and 
Robert Grumbold were employed on various buildings 
at Cambridge, both as architects and contractors^ 

The king's masons were all laymen. We hear of King's 
Thomas the Mason and his wife at Windsor in 1252; kymen 
of Alice, wife of John of Gloucester, and his son Edward 
in 1260, and of Alicia the wife and the daughters of 
Simon of Pabenham in 13331 They held a good social 
position, and were owners of house property, citizens and 
freemen, eligible to serve on juries and inquisitions. 
Master John of Gloucester is rewarded by the king in 
1258 with gifts of land and houses for his excellent 
services at Gloucester, Woodstock, and Westminster. 
In 1255-6 five casks of wine are ordered to be returned 
to him for five which the king took at Oxford, an incident 
seeming to imply some personal intimacy\ 

Their wages were higher than those of ordinary Master- 
craftsmen, and were increased and sometimes doubled remunem- 

» My History of Wadham College, Oxford. ^^°^ 

2 Willis and Clark, Architectural History of Cambridge, vol. ill. p. 531. 

3 Lethaby, op. cit. pp. 152-165. 
* Ibid. p. 161. 


when they had to travel'. John of Beverley in 1275 
had 1 2d. a day, which was increased to i6d. when he 
travelled, and the king gave him a tun of wine. Twice 
a year they received furred robes, a curious form of 
remuneration which I have seen in foreign contracts as 
well. Geoffrey de Carlton, cenientarius to the king at 
Windsor in 1378 receives (id. a day and 20.f. a year for 
robe and shoesl In 135 1 a Master-Mason was paid 
26.?. 8rtf. over his wages which were from \s. ^d. to 2s. a 
week, and 165-. 4^. for his dress and shoes, but in 1354 
he refused the dress in a pet, because he had been kept 
waiting for it^ Henry Yevele, King's Mason in 1389, 
was promised a robe yearly of Esquire's degree ; in 1390 
he was exempted from serving on juries, and the manors 
of Fremworth and Vannes in Kent were granted him in 
lieu of his pension of i^. a day\ William Virtue's robe 
in 1 5 10 was to be like the suit of Esquires of the 
Master- Household', and his contemporary, William Drawswerd, 

mason's . - . .. . . 

social rank oue of a famous family of image makers at York, was 
Sheriff, Member of Parliament, and Lord Mayor of his 
native city*. The gravestone of Richard of Gains- 
borough at Lincoln, a.d. 1300, represents him under a 
rich triple canopy, equal to those of the canons. It 
would really seem that in the 13th and following centuries, 
far from being the humble unknown mechanic that has 
been supposed, the Master-Mason architect fared socially 
as well as the architect who represents him at the 
present day. 

The Though sometimes the Master- Masons, as has been 

said already, had charge of the accounts^ they were 

1 Lethaby, op. cit. p. 164. ^ Ibid. p. 197. 

3 Ibid. p. 202. * Ibid. p. 215. ^ Ibid. p. 229. 

^ Ibid. pp. 233-4. ^ Ibid. p. 167. 


generally controlled by a Surveyor, or Treasurer. At 
Westminster he was called Keeper of the King's Works. 
At the beginning of the work this office was held by Odo 
the Goldsmith and his son Edward. In the roll of 1249 
occur the names of Dominus Edwardus, Clericus, and 
Magister Henricus, Cementarius'^ . In 1378 Geoffrey de 
Carlton was Cementarius at Windsor, and William of wiiiiamof 
Wykeham, who was succeeded in 1389 by Chaucer, was as crerk "^ 
Clericus. Again in 1362 we find the names of Mistre 
William Herland, chief carpenter, Henry Yevele, deviser 
of masonry, and William of Wickham, clerk. 

1 Cementarius is the usual term in England. In Italian contracts the 
Master-Mason is styled Lapicida. At Venice the architect Zuane Bon in 
1430 translates this into Tajapiera, Venetian for tagliapietra. 


taste of 


Henry HI had French sympathies, and he seems 

Henry III to have determined that his new church should follow 


: MiKMJto: Villi 

Sealr of- -frrt 

Fig. 99. 

the style of the cathedrals then either just finished or in 
progress in the French royal domain. The cathedral at 


Reims, which was begun in 12 13 after a fire, had been con- 
finished in 1241. The west front of Notre Dame at wmkTrT'^ 
Paris was built between 12 18 and 1235. When Henry's ^'^^^^^ 
work at Westminster was started in 1245, the choir of 
Le Mans, and the nave of Amiens were just completed, 
and Pierre de Montereau was busy building the 
Ste Chapelle, and the nave of S. Denis. 

The effect of the king's French taste was to bring a Disappear- 
foreign influence to bear on native English architecture apseL 
for the third and last time till the Renaissance. It was five- ^"^land 
and-forty years since S. Hugh built his apse at Lincoln, 
and since then apses had been given up, and the great 
English churches ended square. The Continental apsidal its re- 
end, however, reappeared at Westminster (Fig. 99), aScrat 
with a regular cJievet of apsidal chapels radiating from ^2\\^s\.^x 
an ambulatory aisle, the only example of the kind on 
this side the Channel : for though there are chapels 
flanking an ambulatory at Norwich and Gloucester, and 
chapels had been attached to Conrad's apse at Canterbury, 
they were not grouped continuously, nor do they radiate ; 
and the quasi-chevets at Pershore and Tewkesbury are 
very imperfect and unlike the French model. In the 
facade of the north transept again we have the only The north 
English example of anything like the great French ^""^ ^ 
portals, and Professor Lethaby has observed its likeness 
to the west front of Amiens^ The double range of 
flying buttresses also, as Sir Gilbert Scott observes, is 
more like French work than English. 

But however much French ideas were adopted in the 
design they passed through an English mind, and the 
result has been that they appear in an English version. English 
"I should imagine," says Sir Gilbert Scott, "that an French 

^ Op. cit. p. 124. 



Travels of 

Wilars de 

Work of 
Henry III 

Work of 
Edward I 

English architect or master of the works was commissioned 
to visit the great cathedrals then in process of erection 
in France, with the view of making his design on the 
general idea suggested by them. Would that like his 
contemporary Wilars de Honecort he had bequeathed to 
us his sketch-book \" 

It was evidently the practice then for architects to 
travel about, and see what was going on elsewhere in 
the way of their profession. This explains the remark- 
able way in which changes of style took place con- 
currently in distant parts of the same country. 

Wilars de Honecort made his tour among the great 
buildings then rising, and we have his sketch of the new 
apsidal chapels at Reims, and his note that this was how 
the chapels at Cambrai should be done^ No doubt 
Master Henry of Westminster filled his album with 
similar rough notes of what he had seen at Reims, Paris, 
and Amiens. 

The eastern arm at Westminster is much shorter 
than the usual English proportion, for it was bounded by 
the Lady Chapel which had just been finished, and the 
apse therefore occupies the area of that of the Confessor's 
church. King Henry's building included the apse and 
chevet and the short presbytery, the transepts, and the 
two lower storeys of the first bay of the nave. West- 
ward of this remained the rude Early Norman nave of 
1 100. Edward I finished the clerestory of the first 
nave bay, which has one jamb of his work, and one of 

^ Gleaniftgs from Westminster Abbey ^ p. 20. 

■^ Wilars de Honecort. Facsimile by M. Lassus, translated and edited 
by Professor Willis. Plates LIX, LX. Et en cele autre pagene poes vus veir 
les montees des capieles de le glise de Rains par de hors. tres le comence- 
ment desci en le fin ensi com eles sunt, dautretel maniere doivent estre 
celes de Canbrai son lor fait droit. 


his father's, as Sir Gilbert Scott has shown ^ ; and he 
rebuilt in the new style the next four bays of the nave. 
The remaining seven bays were built between 1350 and Work 
1420, and afford a rare instance of mediaeval respect ward iii, 
for a previous style ; the general design of the choir ^nd ^"^ 
being faithfully followed, though the details and capitals ^^^^^'^ ^^ 
betray the "Perpendicular" mason. 

From the dates in the Fabric rolls it may be assumed The 


that the original design is due to Master Henry, and 
that the second part under Edward I though begun by 
him was finished, or nearly finished, by his successors 
John of Gloucester and Robert of Beverley. The com- 
pletion of the nave in the Perpendicular period is due 
to Master Henry Yevele, the King's mason, who was 
also employed at the Palace and the Tower of London". 

Owing to the shortness of the presbytery, the choir. The choir 
instead of being as usual in Benedictine churches under 
the central crossing, is moved entirely into the nave. 
It is the same at Reims, which is certainly one of the 
churches visited and studied by Master Henry. 

Westminster, though the loftiest of English churches, 
measuring 100 feet to the crown of the vault, is surpassed 
in magnitude by its continental rivals. The outside, 
corroded by London fog and soot, patched, refaced, and 
remodelled by frequent restoration, has only its fine pro- 
portion and general features of construction to recommend 
it. But the inside has no rival in Gothic architecture 
for richness and beauty (Plate LXXVII). Nowhere 
else is there such delicacy of detail, such grace of propor- 
tion, such wealth of marble columns, such splendour 
of diapered wall. Nowhere else is there a triforium 

^ V. illustration. Gleanings, Plate X, p. 32. 
2 Lethaby, pp. 165 — 214. 

J. G. A. 18 


comparable with this, with its lovely double traceries and 
richly moulded and sculptured arches ; nowhere else are 
there vaults more fairly devised, or banded so choicely 
with stones of various colours. Compared with a bay 
of Westminster one of Amiens seems poor and thin, the 
triforium bald and shadowless, the mouldings slight and 
ineffective. There is no finer composition in Gothic 
The architecture than the transept ends, with the huge rose 

window above, the return of the triforium beneath it, 
pierced and glazed at back, and filled with angelic 
sculpture in the spandrels. And nowhere do we find 
wall-arcading to surpass that which runs round the lower 
part of the walls, with its marble shafts and graceful 
The pro- The proportions of the bays at Amiens and West- 

porion jjjjnster are very similar. Dividing the height as in 
former cases into 32 parts we get this result : — 












32 32 

In both the arcade takes half the height, but at 

Westminster the triforium is inscribed in a square, while 

that at Amiens is wider than it is high. The width of 

the bay at Westminster is 5J parts, at Amiens a little 


The In one more point of importance it is probable that 

French influence showed itself. Westminster contains 

Beginning either the first, or at all events almost the first, examples 

tracery in England of perfected bar- tracery. The windows are 

simple in the presbytery and apse where the work began, 

but by the time the transepts were reached, some seven 


or eight years later, the elaborate tracery of the great 
rose windows showed that the masons had nothing more 
to learn in that class of work. The S"" Chapelle which 
was rising at the same time as Westminster has traceried 
windows completely developed, some of which seem to 
have set the pattern for windows at Westminster^ But 
I defer the subject of tracery to another chapter. 

With these points the resemblance to French work English 
ends. The Purbeck columns, with their detached marble 
colonnettes, and the round moulded capitals are all purely 
English ; so is the vaulting, which is quadripartite with 
the ashlar of the panels filled in English fashion, and 
banded with stones of two colours ; so are the acute 
arches of the main arcade, which are struck with a radius 
twice the length of their span ; so is the carving, for the 
French artist whose touch Sir Gilbert Scott thought 
he detected in some of the capitals of the wall-arcade is 
the exception which proves the rule. This last invasion 
of foreign taste had even less influence than the former 
on the current of English art. No more apsidal churches 
were built, nor except in a few instances which will be 
noted by and by was the example of Westminster in 
other respects followed elsewhere. Above all even at 
Westminster itself the ideas taken from the French were 
translated into English. 

According: to the more usual fashion in England the The 

^ . 1111 triforium 

triforium at Westmmster is open backwards to the space 
over the aisle vaults, instead of being closed by a wall 
as at Amiens and at Southwark, or glazed with windows 
as at Beauvais, and as it is here when it returns across 
the transept end. The aisle vaults are levelled up and 
a paved floor formed, making a spacious gallery round 

1 Gleanings, p. 19. 






the church (Plate LXXVIII) capable of accommodating 
a great multitude of spectators. These triforium galleries 
were common in Romanesque churches, and in France 
they were often covered with an upper vault, so that 
the roof space above required a second triforium making 
four storeys, as at Tournay, Noyon, Laon, Paris, and 
S. Remi at Reims. The Gothic triforium was not always 
made use of, and at Lincoln and Salisbury it is not 
floored but you walk on planks over the ridge and furrow 
of the aisle vaulting. At Westminster pains were taken 
to make it serviceable by flattening its roof so that the 
outer wall could be raised high enough to contain a row 
of triangular windows. It also has the singularity of 
being continued not only round the chevet but also over 
the apsidal chapels, making an upper storey of them. 
The extreme beauty of this triforium, both in detail and 
in proportion, must strike everyone. It is a faultless 
example of English Gothic at its best, and in my opinion 
has no rival anywhere (Fig. 100). Fig. loi shows the 
detail of the shaft. 

The clerestory is carried up to the level of the side 
vault, and quite fills the bay, thus satisfying the strict 
logic of Gothic construction by obliterating the curtain 
wall, the window arch forming the wall rib of the 
vaulting. Owing to the narrowness of the bay the 
wall arch is stilted to such a degree that the panel of 
the vault has to wind a great deal, and for some way 
up there is little but a thin wall on the back of the ribs 
next the side wall. The clerestory passage has dis- 
appeared, and the window is brought well towards the 
inside face. 

Westminster is one of the places in England where 
polychrome masonry, rare on this side of the Alps, is 




«I.T.P«* »«AFT5 

Fig. 100. (From Spring Gardens Sketchbook,) 




employed. There are traces of chequer work in the 
early Norman building, and the vaulting of the nave and 
of the cloisters is banded with stone of two different 
colours with charming effect. 

King Henry's foreign inclinations were not limited 
to France. Here alone in England till the time of the 
Renaissance do we find specimens of Italian art. It was 




Fig. loi. 

required of a newly elected abbot that he should go 
to Rome for confirmation, and Abbot Ware went there 
in 1258, the year of his election, and it is said also 
in 1267. From Rome he brought with him the materials 
for a pavement of opus A lexandrinum, and an artist 
Odericus to lay it for him in front of the High Altar. 
Twenty-five years later in 1283 he was buried under the 


T. G. J. Mens, et Del. 

iSTMINSTEK Al^'^^'-^Tomb of Henry III 



north side of his own pavement in a place chosen by The 
himself where, as his epitaph says, he now bears up pavement 
the stones which once he bore from the City\ 

Abbas Ricardus de Wara qui requiescit 

Hie portat lapides quos hue portavit ab Urbe. 

For the perfection of these pavements it is necessary 
to use the materials of the Italian workmen, red 
Porphyry, green Porphyry or as they call it Serpentino, 
and Palombino, an opaque creamy-white stone some- 
thing like that used by lithographers I No other stones 
will do as well, as those know who have tried to do 
without them. They were only to be had in Italy, for 
till modern times the porphyry quarries were unknown, 
and all the mosaic of the Middle Ages is made from 
antique fragments, sawn into thin slabs, from the ruins 
of Roman buildings. Many of the circles in these 
pavements are slices of antique columns cut horizontally. 
In Italy the discs, and slabs, and interlacing borders 
of mosaic are set in white marble, but the only marble 
at the command of Odericus and the Abbot was our 
Dorsetshire Purbeck, which fails to do full justice to 
the colours of the inlay, and has moreover stood wear 
and damp rather badly. Another local peculiarity is the 

^ " Ex parte boreali juxta tubam DnI Odomari de Valenc coltis de 
penbroke." Sporley, Mon: Westm: Conipilatio brevis Qr^c. ^'c, p. 54, in 
Brit. Mus. MS. Claud. A. 8. 

The epitaph is now lost. There is an admirable woodcut of the 
pavement in Gleanings, p. 96, with a chapter on the mosaic by W. Burges. 
Canterbury has a pavement of opus Alexandrittum in front of the site 
of Becket's shrine, but it does not conform to the Italian pattern like that 
at Westminster, and cannot have been laid by Italians. It is illustrated 
to a large scale in colour by Fowler. 

2 I have heard this called coccola by Italian workmen whom I have 
employed for this kind of work. Burges {Gleanings, p. 97) says it is called 
Lactemusa in Sicily. Other marbles are used occasionally with Porphyry 
and Serpentino, but these are the principal components of the design always. 



The use of brass letters for the inscriptions, let into the 

pavement ^ ^ ' 

inscrip- marble borders, of which unhappily most have dis- 
appeared. The text, however, can be recovered partly 
from what remains, partly from the casements in the 
stone, but mainly from the manuscript lives of the 
Abbots written by the Monk Sporley about 1460^ 
Camden seems to have followed Sporley, but not always 

Round the great square within the outer border still 
remain parts of an inscription in Lombardic letters giving 
the date 1268 and the names of the king, the abbot, and 
the artist, in three hexameter lines and a pentameter 
with needless false prosody : — 


Round the interior quatrefoil of interlacing bands circu- 
la7'iter scripti were five hexameter lines 


Sporley explains that by these lines " the writer from some 
fancy of his own, by a triple increase of numbers calculates 
the end of the world." Thus three hedges stand for three 

^ Sporley, op. cit. 

2 Camden, Reg-es., Regtnae, nobiles &^c. in Ecclesia Coll. B. Petri 
Weshnon sepulti, 1603. 

^ Lethaby and the plan in Gleanings read subductns, but the casement 
in the marble is distinctly I as it should be. In these inscriptions I give 
the abbreviations as in Sporley's manuscript. It does not follow that they 
were so in the pavement. 


years, a dog's life is thrice as long as that of a hedge, 
a horse's life thrice that of a dog, a man's thrice that of 
a horse, a stag's thrice that of a man, and so on till we 
get the figure 19,683 for the duration of the world. 

A third inscription ran round the disc in the middle, 
in circuitu unius lapidis rotundi : — 



by which, says the Monk Sporley, " we are to learn that 
this round stone having the four colours of the elements, 
fire, air, water, earth, represents the Macrocosm or the 
greater world in which man the Microcosm or lesser 
world dwells\" 

An interesting detail is a circle of Arabic inter- 
lacing work in the outer border, introducing a touch 
of that Oriental feeling which runs through so much of 
the designs in South Italy and Sicily. Similar Arabic 
traceries occur within circles in the heads of Italian 
windows. There is one at S. Gemignano^ 

A third peculiarity of this Anglo- Italian floor is the oia 
use of glass mosaic in some parts, which Burges says 
he has seen in no other pavement but that in the 
semi-Moorish palace of La Ziza at Palermo. It is of 
course unsuitable for such a position, except in the East 
where shoes are taken off before entry. 

Glass mosaic, however, as well as marble was brought The Con- 
from Rome by Abbot Ware, for adorning the shrine [jf^'^'J' 
of Edward the Confessor, together with a mosaicist, 

* Monstrat, id est declarat in se, macrocosrh id est maiore mndm 
archetipu id est figuratifri principalem, microcosmus enim dicitur minor 
mundus sz homo, macrocosmus dicitur maior mndus iste videlt in quo nos 

2 Illustrated in Anderson's examples, Plates LX, LXXIX. 




The Con- Petrus civis Romamis, to work it. This shrine, accord- 

fessor's . .... r i • i i 

shrine ing to the inscription, oi which only parts remain, was 
not finished till 1280, after the death of Henry IIP. 


It consisted as was usual of a structure of stone with 
an altar and retable at the west end, and above was 
the shrine proper of gold and jewellery, which formed 
a sort of lid to the receptacle in the stone structure 
in which the body was laid. This splendid shrine was 
usually hidden by a wooden covering hung to counter- 
balancing weights^ In 1269 the Confessor's body was 
solemnly removed to this new shrine, of which illustra- 
tions are given in a MS. at Cambridge written for 
Eleanor, the queen of Henry IIP. Its extraordinary 
splendour is mentioned by many travellers. " I saw 
one day," says Trevisano, an Italian, in 1497, "the 
tomb of King Edward in the church at Westminster, and 
truly neither St Martin of Tours, nor anything else that 
I have seen can be put into any comparison with it^" 
The shrine was destroyed at the Reformation and the 
body buried elsewhere, but in Sir G. G. Scott's opinion 
the lower part which still remains was not taken down. 
At Queen Mary's counter-reformation the body was 

1 Matthew Paris says the gold shrine was ordered by Henry in 1241. 
Gleanings^ p. 127, &c. 

2 In Erasmus's colloquy, — Peregrinatio Religiojtis ergo, — is a description 
of the shrine of S. Thomas at Canterbury. Auream thecam theca contegit 
lignea ; eafunibus sublata opes niidat ifiastiviabiles. 

3 Two of the illuminations are illustrated in Burges's paper, Gleanings, 
pp. 136-8. '" 

^ Cited Lethaby, p. 9. 


replaced in the present wooden case erected by Abbot The Con- 


Feckenham, who also repaired the lower part with shrine 
painted plaster to imitate mosaic, and put a painted 
inscription of his own over the original one, which was 
worked with dark blue glass on a gold ground. 

The shrine is of Purbeck marble slabs on edge, 
forming three recesses on each side where sick pilgrims 
suffering from the king's evil could place themselves 
in hope of the miraculous cure which the saint is said 
to have effected in his lifetime by his touch \ The 
whole was covered and lined with Roman Peter's glass 
mosaic, of which little now remains. In the spiral shafts 
and their inlay, like those in the cloister of S. Giovanni 
Laterano, and S. Paolo fuori le Mura, and in the quasi- 
classic entablature we trace the Italian hand ; but in 
the trefoiled heads of the niches, and the tracery panels 
at their backs we may detect an English motive. 

In the time of Edward I there was a fresh importa- 
tion of Italian work. He was still in Palestine when 
he heard of his father's death in 1272, shortly after the J^^nry 

' _ ■' Ills tomb 

death of his own son Henry. "God," said he, "may 
give me more sons, but not another father," and he 
brought home with him de partibus Gallicanis according 
to the records, but more likely from Italy, the materials 
for the splendid tomb in which Henry III now reposes 
on the north side of the Confessor's shrine". It is the 
first of the long series of royal monuments, Plantagenet 
and Tudor, and of royal burials in the Abbey which 

> Dean Stanley reminds us of the passage in the Spectator^ " We were 
then shown Edward the Confessor's tomb, upon which Sir Roger acquainted 
us that he was the first who touched for the evil." Metnorials of West- 
minster Abbey, p. 112. Spectator, No. 329. 

2 Henry was first buried before the high altar in the grave where Edward 
the Confessor had lain before his translation. 



The Coro- 

Fig. 1 02. (From Gleanings) 


come down almost to our own time (Plate LXXIX). Henry 
The lower part of Henry's tomb towards the aisle is part tomb 
of the podium which supports the raised floor of the 
Confessor's chapel, and contains a panel, once no doubt 
painted. Above is a tomb in two storeys of Purbeck 
marble, with twisted shafts of Italian design like those 
of the shrine, and on each side are inlaid slabs of 
Egyptian Porphyry and Serpentino surrounded with 
glass mosaic in Italian interlacing patterns. From the 
inner side, and the lower part of the outside, which are 
within reach, the mosaic has mostly been picked out, 
but enough remains to make this the most splendid tomb 
in the Abbey. On the top lies the bronze effigy of 
the king, diapered and gilt, not a full figure in the 
round, but flattened at the back in the manner of a 
high relief. The figure is beautiful, a magnificent con- 
vention, for it is difficult to believe that this graceful 
statue is a portrait, or even a highly idealized repre- 
sentation of the short, stout, ungainly king with the 
drooping eyelid of whom we are told by a contemporary\ 
The tomb was begun in 1281, and as the Confessor's 
shrine was not finished till 1280, we may suppose that 
the mosaics in Henry's tomb are by Peter the Roman, 
like those on the shrine. The effigy, however, was not 
finished till 1291. It is the work of Master William \yiiiiam 
Torel, in whom it has been the fashion to detect an 
Italian Torelli. He is, however, frequently mentioned 
as William Torel, goldsmith and citizen of London, and 
there is no reason to suppose he was a foreigner I The 
figure sculpture of France and England at the end of 

' "Erat enim staturae mediocris, compacti corporis, alterius oculi palpebra 
demissiore, ita ut partem nigritudinis pupillo celaret." This defect was 
inherited by his son. Rishanger, continuator of Matthew Paris ann. 1273. 

2 See Gleanings^ p. 153. Lethaby, op. cit. 





The Coro- 


the 13th century was not behind that of Italy, and owed 
nothing to it. 

Next to this splendid monument is that of Queen 
Eleanor of Castile, the wife of Edward I, a princess 
of Romance. Her exquisite bronze effigy, like that of 
her father-in-law only half in the round, is also by 
William Torel, one of three which he made for her, the 
others being at Lincoln and in the Blackfriars, London, 
where her viscera and her heart were buried. The panel 
of the lower part towards the aisle was painted by 
Master Walter of Durham, but there is very little of 
his work now visible. Above is the splendid grille of 
wrought ironwork by Master Thomas de Leghtone, 
which is one of the triumphs of mediaeval smithery. 
He was paid £12 for it and 20i". more for carriage and 

One more monument of this time may be mentioned. 
The Coronation chair (Fig. 102), which contains the 
fatal stone which Edward brought from Scone, on which 
Scottish kings had been crowned, and which we are 
to believe served Jacob for a pillow at Mahanaim. The 
chair was at first to be made of bronze, and was partly 
finished in metal before the king altered his mind and 
paid lOOs. to Master Walter, the painter, for a chair 
of wood". The famous stone is under the seat, enclosed 
within pierced quatrefoils, of which the front piece is 
lost. The four leopards or lions below are not ancient. 

The woodwork was covered with gesso, gilt, and 
pricked with patterns of foliage and diapers, of which 

^ See Gleanings^ p. 90, and Digby Wyatt's Metal work. 

* "Nunc eadem petra in quadam cathedra de ligno facta per Magistrum 
Walterum pictorem Regis loco dictae cathedrae quae prius ordinata fuit 
de cupro." Wardrobe account cited Gleanings, p. 122. 

Plate LXXX 

I 2^/ 

T.C.J- WKSTMINSTKR AHBK^■— Gesso decoration on ibe Coronation ("hair 


only patches remain. On the back was the figure of The Coro- 
a king seated and with his feet on a Hon ; on the inside chair 
of the elbows are patterns of which one is shown in 
Plate LXXX. The ornament is very indistinct; my 
full-size drawing was made more than 50 years ago, 
with the help of a candle, and working on the seat of 
the chair ; the upholstering and varnishing which the 
chair has undergone for two subsequent coronations may 
have completed the obliteration of the design. The 
tracery panels on the outside of the arms may as 
Burges suggests have been filled with coloured glass 
on gilt or silver grounds. There is some decoration 
of that kind in the canopy of the prior's seat in the 
chapter-house at Canterbury. Though now shabby and 
ruined the Coronation chair was originally a superb piece 
of furniture. 

There are few places where the past comes home Assoda- 
to one as it does in Westminster Abbey. To stand in west-^ 
the Confessor's chapel, where splendid tombs in which ■"'"^^^'^ 
kings and queens have slept undisturbed for centuries 
are set round about the Confessor's shrine, is to have 
all English history brought before one's eyes. No other 
country has been so fortunate. There is the Imperial 
group in the Duomo of Palermo, of Henry VI and 
Constance, and their wondrous son, but the monuments 
have been shifted about and are not in their proper 
place. S. Denis may once have rivalled Westminster 
before the royal dust was scattered and the tombs swept 
away at the Revolution, but its antiquities are now 
modern restorations. S. Sophia has many memories 
but no monuments, and the only place where a few 
bones of Roman emperors and empresses still lie is 
the little chapel at Ravenna. No church north of the 


Alps can compare with Westminster in the possession 
of so many royal and historical monuments in which 
the illustrious dead still repose. Here the returning 
Stuarts dug up and dishonoured the remains of the 
Great Protector, whom living they had feared, but it 
has not generally been our English way to war with 
the dead, and violate their graves. 
West- It is not only in historical association however that 

storehouse Westminster is supreme. It is unrivalled as a storehouse 
the^arts ^f various kinds of art. The architecture is the very 
flower of English Gothic. In the tombs, both early 
and late, we have the very finest mediaeval craftsman- 
ship in stone, wood, and metal. Abbot Ware's pavement 
cannot be matched this side of Lucca. The mosaics 
of Henry Ill's tomb are as fine as any in Rome. 
Limoges enamels adorn the monument of his half- 
brother, Edmund de Valence, and in the wonderful 
retable now removed to the Jerusalem Chamber we 
have an almost unique example of early mediaeval 
West- We shall return to Westminster Abbey when we 

marks come to the later chapters of English Gothic. Thus far 
oTsTyies" we have been dealing only with the earlier phase, of 
which Westminster marks the final stage. For West- 
minster is the last of Early English and the first of 
Geometrical Decorated buildings. Here we have the 
first beginnings of window tracery in the choir of 
Henry HI, and from this beginning we follow on 
steadily to all the subsequent splendour of the Decorated 



On August 27, 1666, six days before it fell a victim to the 
great fire of London, Evelyn tells us he went to " S. Paule's " 
church, where, with Dr Wren, Mr Prat, and others, including 
the Bishop of London and the Dean, they " went about to 
survey the general! decays of that ancient and venerable church. 
...Finding the maine building to recede outwards, it was the 
opinion of Mr Chichley and Mr Prat that it had been so built ab 
origme, for an effect in perspective in reguard of the height, but 
I was with Dr Wren of quite another judgment." 

Mr Goodyear, Curator of the Brooklyn Museum in America, 
has made an interesting study of certain deviations from the 
upright in mediaeval buildings, which, like Mr Prat, he believes 
to be intentional. He calls them " widening refinements." He 
says he finds in a large number of French churches, Amiens 
and Reims among them, that the piers are upright as high as 
the capitals whence the aisle vaults spring, but that the walls 
above diverge, giving with the vault a horse-shoe form to the 
upper part of the section. He detects similar refinements in 
S. Mark's and elsewhere in Italy, and in the churches of Con- 
stantinople, including S. Sophia. 

I have unhappily had so much to do with leaning walls and 
pillars, certainly not due to refinement, that I can understand 
the scepticism of Mr Bilson and M. de Lasteyrie, who are not 
convinced by Mr Goodyear. Of S. Sophia at all events, on 
which I was asked by the Turkish authorities to make a report, 
I can testify that there is hardly a wall or a column which is not 
out of upright, but they certainly were not built so. 

Supposing Mr Goodyear to be right, the question arises, why 
were these refinements made? The object of all other refine- 
ments of which we know, many of which we use ourselves, is 
to defeat some optical illusion. The entasis of a column, the 


battering of an angle, the spacing of an intercolumniation, the 
curvature in the horizontal lines of the Parthenon, all have it 
for their end to make things look straight and regular which 
if built really straight and regular would not look so. Now, 
the curve of a vault meeting an upright wall might conceivably 
make the wall seem to lean outwards. If this were observable, 
and were objected to, it might be corrected by making the 
wall lean a trifle inward. I think it likely that the English 
architects had something like this in their minds, and prac- 
tised a refinement when they corbelled out their vaulting shafts 
above the arcade instead of carrying them down to the ground. 
On the other hand, to make the wall lean outwards, instead 
of correcting the optical illusion, would make it worse. The 
eye naturally expects a wall to be upright, and is distressed 
if it is not so. Standing not long ago in the nave at Amiens 
and looking west, without thinking of Mr Goodyear, I was 
struck by an apparent divergence of the walls, and shortly 
afterwards I noticed the same thing at Laon. Whether this 
were intentional or not, it was not agreeable, because it gave 
an impression of instability. A refinement to correct this 
would be intelligible : I cannot consider it a refinement to 
emphasize it. Mr Goodyear seems to have proved by a 
plumb-line that the divergence is real and not an illusion : it 
remains for us to explain it. But if there were an illusion 
Mr Goodyear would have us believe that so far from wishing 
to correct it the architect would have liked it and sought to 
exaggerate it. 

There are other facts which seem to tell against Mr Good- 
year's theory. At Reims he says the inclination is greatest 
in the middle of the nave, the wall in fact describing a curve. 
This is exactly what one would expect if the wall had yielded 
to a thrust from the high vaults. Being held by cross walls 
at each end, the wall would be weakest in the middle of its 
length, and most likely to give way there. I have seen many 
cases of this in my own experience. Again, at Amiens and Paris 
the tower piers do not conform to the horse-shoe section, but 
are upright; it is natural to suppose that this is so because the 


weight above steadied them. That the question of thrust does 
come into the matter one gathers from Mr Goodyear's state- 
ment that some of the nave columns at Amiens lean in instead 
of out. Unless there is a defect in foundation this implies that 
they have yielded to the thrust of the aisle vaults ; may it not 
be that the high vaults have been operative on the upper part 
of the walls in the opposite direction.-' {v. diagram, Fig. 18, 
p. 50). At Amiens I noticed many considerable cracks in the 
nave vault, implying some yielding in the side wall. 

Lastly, all hitherto known refinements, having it for their 
object to correct illusion and make appearance agree with what 
the eye demands, are not apparent, and can only be detected 
by careful measurement. But these divergences strike the eye 
at once, even when one is not looking for them, and, to my 
taste, they strike disagreeably. 

The subject is interesting and will certainly bear discussion. 
But the inaccuracy in setting out buildings in the Middle Ages 
is so great and so various that it is difficult to base any theory 
upon them. I have had to measure a great number of old 
churches, and have never found them quite regular. Very few 
towers are rectangular, very few arcades evenly spaced or 
opposite one another, very few naves or chancels have their 
sides parallel, very few quadrangles are square, and very few 
columns are upright. 

When Verres wanted to fleece an unfortunate minor in 
Sicily, whose guardians had satisfactorily carried out the repair 
of a certain temple for which they were liable, he was at a 
loss how to manage it, till one of his satellites said, " There is 
nothing here, Verres, that you can lay hold of, unless perhaps 
you should require him to make his columns upright." Verres, 
who knew nothing about such things, asked what was meant by 
making them upright. He was told that scarcely any column 
can be really upright, and furnished with this argument he 
succeeded in his nefarious purpose. 


Camtrtlrgr : 


Date Due 

1iAY 1 1 *Q| ml 



MAR 1^'6JI 



MAR 0'^ 1981 

^^^^^ ^Pdec 3 r3? 



lAY 2 5-'GmY 2 I 191)0 


'?nr< r. 




9 19 



DEC 3 


DEC 2 3 

Id/ 6 

APR 0^ iy^ 

MAR 1 <: Z001 

Library Bureau Cat. No. 1137 


AUG. 1963 

Art NA 440 . J3 1915 1 

Jackson, Thomas Graham, 1835 

Gothic architecture in 
France, England, and Italy 


---3,5002 00389 6458 

Go.h,c arch,.ec.ure In F™ nee, England,