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Sometime Fellow of Jesus College t Cambridge. 

an Introduction 


Dean of Chichester. 

ILonfcon : 

l8 79 . 

[All rights reserved^ 








THE following " Personal and Professional Recol- 
lections" were commenced by my father many years 
ago. They were designed originally for the infor- 
mation of his family, but as the work progressed 
the scope of it became enlarged. In 1873 my 
father drew up directions for its publication in the 
event of his decease, and his instructions upon the 
subject are precise. " I feel it due," he writes, " to 
myself that the statement of my professional life 
should go before the public in a fair and unpreju- 
diced form ; and the more so as I have been one 
of the leading actors in the greatest architectural 
movement which has occurred since the Classic 
renaissance. I only seek to be placed before the 
public fairly and honourably, as I trust I deserve ; 
and I commit this especially to those whose duty 
it is to do it, begging the blessing of Almighty God 
upon their exertions." The manuscript, naturally 
enough, contains much that is unsuited to publica- 
tion, and which my father, had he lived to revise it 
for the press, would undoubtedly have modified 
or erased. With such matter I have endeavoured, 

A 2 

iv Preface. 

aided by the advice of others, to deal as it may be 
conceived that its author would have dealt, had 
opportunity served. There is also much relating to 
purely domestic concerns in which the public could 
not be expected to take interest. The greater 
part of this has been omitted. So much only is 
left as appeared necessary to the completeness 
of the story, and valuable as an indication of cha- 
racter. I trust it may not be thought that too little 
has here been expunged, and that something may 
be allowed to the partiality of a son. 

My thanks are due to the Very Reverend the 
Dean of Chichester who, with equal willingness and 
kindness, undertook to contribute the Introduction, 
and who has further given valuable aid and advice 
in the revision, throughout, of the proofs. I have 
also to thank the Very Reverend the Dean of 
Westminster for the permission to reprint the ser- 
mon preached by him on the occasion of my father's 
interment ; Mr. Edward M. Barry, R.A., for a simi- 
lar permission in respect of a portion of a recent 
lecture delivered in the chair of Architecture at the 
Royal Academy, in reference to my father's career ; 
to Mr. E. A. Freeman, who was at much pains to 
recover a passage in one of his early pamphlets to 
which my father in his manuscript had referred, 
but of which he has given no very accurate indica- 
tion; and to Mr. George Richmond, R.A., for kind 
assistance in regard to the engraving from his 
drawing, which he has allowed me to place as a 
frontispiece to this work. 




Birth and parentage, i. Native village, 4. The early " Evan- 
gelicals," 9. The "high and dry" clergy, 12. Village 
characters, 16. The Drawing Master, 24. Rev. Thomas 
Scott, the "Commentator," 27. Visit to Margate, 33. John 
Wesley, 36. William Gilbert, 37. Stowe, 38. Hillesden 
Church, 42. Residence at Latimers, 48. 


Gawcott Church, 53. Articled to Mr. Edmeston, 55. St. 
Saviour's, Southwark, 59. Death of his brother, 65. The 
Oldrid family, 66. Messrs. Grissell and Peto, 71. Fish- 
mongers' Hall, 73. Death of his father, 77. Poor Law 
work, 78. Marriage, 85. Erects his first church, 85. 
Augustus Welby Pugin, 88. The Martyrs' Memorial, 89. 
The Infant Orphan Asylum, 91. Camberwell Church, 92. 
St. Mary's, Stafford, 97. Chapel on Wakefield Bridge, 101. 
The Cambridge Camden Society, 103. 


The Gothic Revival in 1844, 107. St. Nicholas, Hamburg, 
113. First Visit to Germany, ib. Visits Hamburg, 117. 
The Competition for St. Nicholas' Church, 118. Journey to 
Hamburg and Holland, 127. Dissolution of Partnership, 
130. Apology for undertaking the erection of a Lutheran 

vi Contents. 

Church, 135. Appointed architect to Ely Cathedral, 146. 
Important works (1845 1862), 147. Paper on Truthful 
Restoration, 149. Becomes architect to Westminster Abbey, 
151. Bradfield Church, 155. Tour in Italy, 157. The 
Great Exhibition (1851), 164. The Architectural Museum, 
165. St. George's, Doncaster, 170. The Rath-haus at 
Hamburg, 174. Elected an A. R. A., 175. 


Treatise on Domestic Architecture, 177. Competition for the 
New Government Offices, 178. Is appointed to this work, 
181. Change of Government, 185. Is directed to prepare 
an Italian design, 192. Is elected a Royal Academician, 


The Gothic Revival (1845 1864), 202. Progress of the 
subsidiary arts, Carving, 214. Metal work, 216. Stained 
glass, ib. The Gothic Revivalists, 225. 


Death of his mother, 230 ; and of two sisters, 234 236 ; of 
his third son, ib. ; of his brother, Samuel King Scott, 241. 
Illness at Chester, 247. A "haunted" house, 252. Moves 
to Ham, 254 ; thence to Rook's-nest, 256. Death of Mrs. 
Scott, ib, 


The Prince Consort Memorial, 262. Reply to criticisms on 
this design, 267. The Midland Railway Terminus, 271. 
Glasgow University buildings, 272. Decoration of the 
Wolsey Chapel, Windsor, ib* Competition for the New 
Law Courts, 273. Design for the Albert Hail, 279. Pro- 
fessor of Architecture at the Royal Academy, 280. Works 
at Ely Cathedral, ib. Westminster Abbey, 284. Hereford 
Cathedral, 288. Lichfield Cathedral, 291. Peterborough 
Cathedral, 298. Salisbury Cathedral, 300. Chichester 
Cathedral, 309. St. David's Cathedral, 311. Bangor 

Contents. vii 

Cathedral, 316. St Asaph Cathedral, 318. St. Albans 
Abbey, 320. 


Is knighted, 327. Tour in Switzerland and Italy, 329. Works 
at Chester Cathedral, 330. Gloucester Cathedral, 336. 
Ripon Cathedral, 339. Worcester Cathedral, 342. Exeter 
Cathedral, 345. Rochester Cathedral, 349. Winchester 
Cathedral, 352. Durham Cathedral, ib. St. Albans, re- 
sumed, 353. 


The Anti-Restoration Movement, 358. The Queen Anne 
Style, 372. 


An Account of Sir Gilbert's last days, and of his death and 
funeral, 377. 

Funeral Sermon by Dr. Stanley, Dean of Westminster, 387. 

Papers on the subject of Restoration referred to in p. 367,398. 




INVITED to contribute an Introductory Chapter 
to Sir Gilbert Scott's " Recollections," I willingly 
undertake the task ; yet have I little to offer 
beyond the expression of my personal regard for 
the man, my hearty admiration of the great work 
which he lived long enough to accomplish. 

(i.) It is impossible to survey the revival which 
has taken place in the knowledge of Gothic archi- 
tecture within the last forty years without astonish- 
ment. Not that our actual achievements as yet 
are calculated to produce excessive self-congratu- 
lation : but when it is considered out of what a 
state of childish ignorance we have so lately 
emerged, it is surely in a high degree encouraging 
to review our present position. And to Sir Gilbert 
Scott, more than to any other individual, we are 
indebted for what has been effected. He in- 
genuously acknowledges his obligations to others : 
tells us at what altar he first kindled his torch : 
arrogates to himself no claim to have been facile 
princeps in his art. On the contrary, he frankly 
recalls his own failures ; and recounts the steps, 

x Introduction. 

slow and painful, by which he himself struggled 
out of the universal darkness, with a truthfulness 
which is even perplexing. Yet has he been un- 
questionably the great teacher of his generation ; 
and by the conservative character of his genius he 
has proved a prime benefactor to his country also. 
To his influence and example we are chiefly in- 
debted for the preservation of not a few of our 
national monuments our cathedral and parochial 
churches. And (it must in faithfulness to his 
memory be added) a vast deal more would have 
been spared of what has now hopelessly perished 
had his counsels always prevailed above all, had 
his method been more generally adopted. 

(2.) In the " Recollections" which follow (would 
that they were less fragmentary !) Sir Gilbert has 
chiefly all but exclusively, in fact dwelt upon 
the great Cathedral restorations which were con- 
ducted under his auspices. His remarks will be 
read with profound interest, and will become local 
memorials of the most precious class, as the au- 
thentic private jottings (for they do not pretend to 
be more) of the great architect himself. But one 
desiderates besides an enumeration of the many 
dilapidated parochial Churches on which he was 
employed ; and one would have been glad at the 
same time to be reminded by himself of the 
eloquent plea which was ever on his lips for deal- 
ing in a far more conservative spirit with those 
precious relics of antiquity. Let me be allowed in 
this place to say a few plain words on a subject very 
near to my heart as I know it was very near to 
his : a subject concerning which those who have a 

Introduction. xi 

right to be heard, and who ought to have spoken 
long ago, have either practised reticence or else 
spoken ineffectually until, I fear, it is too late for 
any one to speak with the possibility of much 
good resulting from what he says. I allude to 
the ruthless work of destruction which for the 
last thirty years has been going on in almost 
every parish in England under the immediate 
direction of our architects, and with the sanction 
of our parochial clergy. Verily, it is not too much 
to declare that with the best intentions and at an 
immense outlay, more havoc has been made, more 
irreparable mischief wrought throughout the land 
within those thirty years, than any invasion of a 
barbarous horde could have effected. We have 
severed ourselves, on every side, from antiquity, 
have effectually broken the thousand links which 
used to connect us with the historic Past. 

(3.) At the beginning of the period referred to, 
to seek out and to study the village churches of 
England was almost part of the education of an 
English gentleman. In the case of one of culti- 
vated taste, whatever was remarkable in their 
structure or in their decorations, from the primi- 
tive window or singular font or rude bas-relief 
above the doorway, down to the fragments of 
stained glass, specimens of wrought iron, or 
vestiges of fresco on the walls, nothing came 
amiss. The ancient altar-stone degraded to the 
pavement ; the curiously-carved finials ; the dila- 
pidated stand for the preacher's hour-glass ; all 
found in him an appreciating patron. That the 
edifice itself was as a rule in a most discreditable 

x i i Introdwtion . 

plight, is undeniable. The green walls, low plas- 
tered ceiling, chimney thrust through the window, 
the ponderous gallery above and the tall pews 
beneath, all were sordid and unworthy. But for 
all that, the great fact remained that our village 
churches were objects of surprising interest ; full 
of beauty, full of instruction. There is no telling 
what a privilege it was to pass a day with one's 
pencil among the many relics which they invariably 
contained ; and from every part of the edifice to 
learn something. Externally, enough remained 
at all events to tell the story of the structure : 
within, comfortable it was to reflect that nothing 
after all was so much needed as the removal of 
pews, galleries, whitewash : the re-opening of 
windows : the careful repair of what, through 
tract of time, had vanished : the restoration of 
what had been barbarously mutilated. Nothing 
in short was required but what a refined taste 
and strong conservative instinct might reasonably 
hope to see some day effected. 

(4.) And now, what has been the actual 
result of thirty years of church " Restoration " ? 
Briefly this, that in by far the greater number 
of our lesser country churches there scarcely sur- 
vives a single point of interest. In the case of 
our more considerable structures with a few bright 
exceptions the merest wreck remains of what 
did once so much delight and interest the be- 
holder. The door of entrance has been ''restored," 
but not on the old lines : three other doors in 
order to obtain additional sittings, to exclude 
draughts, and to save expense have been so 

Introduction. xiii 

blocked up as to make it impossible to discover 
what they were. The curious Norman chancel- 
arch has been " enlarged :" the ancient font and 
pulpit have been supplanted : the screen has either 
been painted over or else removed entirely. The 
windows (furnished with stained glass of the kind 
which it gives the beholder a sharp pain across 
the chest to be forced to contemplate) are wholly 
new, and do not assort with the edifice : a huge 
east window in particular (bad luck to the author 
of it !) has effectually obliterated the record of 
what stood there before it. The venerable tomb 
of the founder (on the ground, under a mural 
arch) has been built over with seats. Another 
mutilated recumbent figure of an ancient lord of 
the soil has been buried, inscription and all. 
Sedilia, piscina, aumbry, niche, ruthless hands 
have rendered every one of them uninteresting 
and unintelligible. Some exquisite tracery has 
been chiselled away within and without the 
building. A specimen of the ancient oak seats 
has disappeared, and a forest of rush-bottomed 
chairs covers the floor. There were once traces 
of curious fresco painting on the walls ; but they 
also have been obliterated. After repeated inquiry 
I find that the sepulchral slabs, of which there 
used to be several, are at the present hour either 
(a) buried, or (b) lying in the churchyard, or (c) 
ingeniously plastered into the wall of the tower 
where they cannot be seen and where they cease 
to be of the least interest, or else (a) destroyed. 
A prime object seems to have been to assimilate 
the tint of the walls to that of a cup of 
coffee : also to procure a surface of unbroken 

xiv Introduction. 

colour. Another leading principle has evidently 
been to introduce a quantity of varnished deal 
furniture. A third, to overlay the floor in every 
direction with " Minton's tiles " except where the 
perforations for the " heating apparatus " have 
established a stronger claim. The result is that 
there is no longer discoverable a single inscribed 
stone certainly not in situ from one end of the 
church to the other. When will architects and 
country parsons learn that the most unmeaning, 
most commonplace, most vulgar thing with which 
the floor of an ancient church can be covered is an 
assortment of black and red tiles ? Is it not per- 
ceived at a glance that they must needs be unin- 
teresting, disappointing, and when they have pro- 
cured the ejectment of ancient sepulchral stones, 
downright offensive ? Has the parish then no 
history? It had one a history which thirty years 
ago was to be seen written on the walls and on the 
floor of the parish church. Is it tolerable that on 
the plea of " restoration " these local records 
should all have been obliterated ? How about the 
men who ministered to the many generations who 
once worshipped within these walls ? Behold, 
they have (all but one) departed. And have they 
then, like a long line of shadows, left no material 
trace of their occupancy behind them ? The 
answer is obvious. Certain of them sleep in dust, 
side by side, in front of the altar which they served 
in their lifetime; and a row of sepulchral slabs until 
yesterday acquainted the beholder at least with 
their names, dates, ages. Am I to be told that 
yonder assortment of parti-coloured tiles (which 
are to be bought by the yard by anybody, any day, 

Introduction. xv 

anywhere) are so much more interesting than 
those memorials of the past, that it is reasonable 
they should cause their unceremonious ejectment ? 
.... I have said nothing about the architectural 
Vandalism of these last days, being without pro- 
fessional knowledge ; but I have the best reason 
for knowing that the author of the ensuing " Re- 
collections " would have endorsed every word 
which has gone before. O, that what has been 
written might avail, if it were but in one quarter, 
to arrest the work of ruin which is still steadily 
going forward throughout the length and breadth 
of the land ! 

(5.) I recall with interest an opportunity I once 
enjoyed (1869-70) of acquainting myself with Sir 
Gilbert's skill and conscientiousness in superin- 
tending a work of no great magnitude. The beau- 
tiful church of Houghton Conquest, in Bedford- 
shire, had fallen into a state of exceeding de- 
cadence ; and the rector (the late Archdeacon 
Rose) having been encouraged to invoke the 
assistance of Sir Gilbert Scott, the architect paid 
us a visit. (I say us, because Houghton Rectory 
was the happy home of all my long vacations.) 
Sir Gilbert fully shared our concern at the entire 
destruction of the large east window, which had 
been half blocked up, half replaced by a wooden 
frame containing three vile mullions of wood. 
After conducting him round, the Archdeacon and 
I took our seats by his side on the leads of the 
nave, while he took a leisurely survey of the roof 
of the structure. "What is that?" he inquired, 
directing his glass to the summit of the eastern 

xvi Introduction. 

gable. I volunteered the statement that it was a 
ruined fragment of the former cross, for such it 
seemed. " That was never part of a cross," he at 
last said thoughtfully ; " it is part of the tracery 
of a window. I can see the cavity for the inser- 
tion of the glass." To be brief, it proved to be, 
as he at once suspected, the one necessary clue 
to the restoration of the east window. On the 
window-sill, which was honeycombed with decay, 
his practised eye had already distinguished traces 
oifour mullions. I need not go on. A few more 
fragments were found built into the wall, and the 
entire window for the architect's purpose was 
recovered. He preserved everything for us, from 
the dilapidated screen to the old hour-glass stand. 
Several specimens of fresco were revealed on the 
walls ; a curious coat-of-arms in stained glass was 
detected in the tower ; two windows which had 
been closed were opened ; the grave- stones were 
left in their places ; the very reckoning of the 
parson with certain members of the Conquest 
family, scratched with the point of a knife (I sup- 
pose in the time of Queen Elizabeth) inside the 
arch of the vestry door, was ordered to be reli- 
giously preserved. On the other hand, a por- 
tentous Georgian pulpit, furnished with a for- 
midable sounding-board above, and a species of 
pen for the accommodation of the clerk beneath, 
were banished. The sordid porch and plastered 
ceiling of the chancel were supplanted by objects 
exquisite in their respective ways. 

(6.) I have said nothing hitherto about Sir 
Gilbert's personal characteristics, disposition, 

Introduction* xvii 

habits of mind. It will be found that these 
emerge with tolerable distinctness from the 
autobiography which follows. His indomitable 
energy and unflagging zeal, as well as the en- 
lightened spirit in which he pursued his lofty 
calling : his enthusiasm for the great cause to 
which he devoted himself to the very close of his 
earthly life : these lie on the surface of his narra- 
tive. And here it is impossible not to admire the 
entire absence of any expression of professional 
jealousy from first to last; and indeed the absence 
of depreciatory language concerning others, 
although the man who worked after Wyatt in the 
last century, after Blore in the present, might have 
been excused if he had testified both surprise and 
annoyance at what he was daily constrained to en- 
counter. A stranger, I suspect, would have been 
chiefly impressed by the exceeding modesty and 
unassumingness of his manner, " his beautiful 
modesty," as one who knew him most intimately 
has well phrased it ; adding a tribute to " his per- 
fect breeding and courtesy, not so much finish of 
manner as genuine inbred politeness." Such 
" graces of character," writes another friend of his, 
" will not soon be forgotten by those who knew 
him, however slightly." Obvious as it always was 
that he entertained a decided opinion on the point 
under discussion, he yet bore with the crude 
remarks of persons who really knew nothing at all 
about the matter in hand to an extent which used 
to astonish me. Even when conversing with those 
who were submissive and really only wished to learn, 
there was no appearance of dictation or dogmatism. 
His affability was extraordinary. While on this 

xviii Introduction. 

head let me not fail to acknowledge his wondrous 
patience and kindness in matters of detail. 

I must needs also again advert to the conserva- 
tive character of his genius. When I became Vicar 
of St. Mary-the- Virgin's, Oxford (1863), I found 
to my distress that Laud's porch was doomed. 
The parishioners willingly listened to my recom- 
mendation, and it was spared. I confessed what 
I had done to Scott, and asked for his forgiveness 
if I had counselled amiss : but he commended me 
highly. A few feet in advance of the porch how- 
ever, are two plain piers, erected in the last 
century, either of them surmounted by a strange 
kind of dilapidated urn. Were they also to 
stand ? I presumed that the architect who had 
already removed the high wall which used to 
enclose the north side of the churchyard, and 
substituted for it the present elegant erection, 
would have been for their removal : and certainly 
I was not prepared to offer any resistance had I 
discovered that such was actually his view. But 
no. After a careful survey, he recommended that 
they should be retained, and gave me his reasons 
for retaining them. It was truly edifying and 
interesting to hear his remarks on such occasions. 
The thing was " historical ; " or at least it was 
" good of its kind ; " or it " had a certain cha- 
racter about it ; " or " I don't altogether dislike 
it." In short for whatever reason the end of 
the matter commonly was that " I think we had 
better let it alone." 

(7.) Notwithstanding all that has gone before, 

Introduction. xix 

were I called upon to state my private estimate of 
the man, I should avow that in my account, second 
to no other personal characteristic was the ardour 
of his domestic affections : first, his love for his 
parents, brothers, sisters ; then his entire devotion 
to his wife and his children. There is many a 
passage in the ensuing autobiography which bears 
me out in this estimate. I well remember the 
exceeding distress which the death of his son in 
1865 at Exeter College occasioned him ; an event 
on which he had freely dilated with his pen, but 
which it is thought was of too private a nature to 
find here so extended a record. I should also 
think it right to declare that in my account a deep 
undercurrent of Religion, as it was the secret of 
his strength and of his life, so was it also the secret 
of his heart's affections : the fountain-head too, by 
the way, of a certain playful joyousness of disposi- 
tion which came to the surface continually, and 
never forsook him to the last. His general man- 
ner, however, was grave and thoughtful ; and his 
piety of that quiet and even reserved kind which 
only occasionally comes to the surface, and easily 
escapes observation altogether. No one about 
him, in fact, not even his sons, knew the strength 
and ardour of those religious convictions which 
were with him an inheritance; for (as the reader 
will be presently reminded) the Rev. Thomas 
Scott, of Aston Sandford, the commentator, was 
his grandfather. To his faithful valet, who had 
repeatedly asked him to tell him (but had been in- 
variably put off with some evasive reply) how it 
happened that the lower side of his arms looked 
galled and sore, had in fact a leprous appearance, he 

xx Introduction. 

one day avowed as follows : " When I am praying, 
especially for my sons, I feel I cannot do enough. 
I feel kneeling to be but little, and I prostrate my- 
self on the floor. I suppose that my arms from 
this may have become a little galled." He never 
syllabled his wife's name in conversation with his 
sons without a silent prayer for her repose ; and 
when out of doors, he would always raise his hat 
(the token of how he was mentally engaged) at 
the mention of her cherished name. I trust it is 
not wrong to reveal such matters. One must 
either practise reticence, and so conceal the cha- 
racter which one professes to exhibit faithfully : 
or else risk offending the very persons probably 
whose good opinion one would chiefly be glad to 


May iTth, 1879. 




MY motive in jotting down the following mis- 
cellaneous recollections is this: that a man's 
children have no means whatever of getting at the 
particulars of his life up to the time when their 
own observation and memory begin to avail them, 
and that they are peculiarly apt to receive mis- 
taken impressions. It is consequently, as it ap- 
pears to me, the duty of every one who has 
appeared much before the public to supply this 
defect from his own memory, and thus to prevent 

I was born at the parsonage-house at Gawcott, 
near Buckingham, on July i3th, 181 1. Though my 
father, like myself, was born in Bucks, I hardly feel 
that I have in reality any very direct connection 
with that county, clergymen being so much birds 
of passage, that the place of their children's birth 
seems little more than a matter of chance. 

My grandfather, the Rev. Thomas Scott, so 
well known by his commentary on the Bible 
and other works, was a native of Lincolnshire, 
'. B 

2 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

where his father was a considerable agriculturist. 
I have not been able to ascertain whether the 
latter was a native of that county, but as his 
eldest son J took some pains to disclaim connec- 
tion with families of the same name in his neigh- 
bourhood, I infer that such was not the case. 
He (the father of my grandfather) was born 
in the time of William III. (1701), and was 
connected by marriage with the Kelsalls of Kel- 
sall in Cheshire, the representative of which 
family was about that time vicar of Boston. 2 
His wife was one of the Wayets, 3 a very respec- 
table county family. From the arms made use of 
by my grandfather's family, I gather that they must 
have sprung from the Scotts of Scott's Hall in 
Kent, who left Scotland in the thirteenth century. 4 

My mother's family were West Indians. Of 
the family of her father, Dr. Lynch of the island 
of Antigua, I know but little, but her maternal 
grandfather was the possessor, at that time, of a 
valuable estate known as " Gilbert's Estate." 

This family settled at a very early date in 
Antigua, previous to which they had resided in 
Devonshire, one of their representatives being 
Sir Humphrey Gilbert, half-brother and com- 
panion-in-arms of Sir Walter Raleigh. 

1 William Scott, of Grimblethorpe Hall, near Louth. ED. 

2 Edward Kelsall, Vicar of Boston, 1702 1719. See Mac- 
kenzie's edition of Guillim's " Display of Heraldry," p. 68. 

3 He married Mary Wayet of Boston. One of her sisters 
was married to Lancelot Brown, " the omnipotent magician 
Brown " of Cowper's "Task," Bk. III. The family of Wayet 
was also settled at Tumby in Bain, in the same county. ED. 

* One branch of this Kentish family was settled at Rotherham, 
in Yorkshire, in the reign of Edward I V. ED. 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 3 

My great-grandfather, Nathaniel Gilbert, ap- 
pears to have been a most excellent man. Living 
in a century of extreme deadness in religious 
matters, he was roused to a sense of the short- 
comings of his age in this respect either by the 
preaching or by the writings of Wesley. He 
consequently joined the Wesleyans at a time 
when they were not considered as severed from 
the Church of England. At his request Wesley 
sent over to Antigua some ministers of his society 
to instruct the negroes and others, but though 
the whole family joined the new society, it is 
clear that Mr. Gilbert did not consider himself 
otherwise than a member of the Church of Eng- 
land, for he brought up his eldest son as a clergy- 
man. Nor do I recollect even a hint of those 
members of the family who were living during 
my childhood (including my grandmother and a 
great-aunt, Miss Elizabeth Gilbert,) being other 
than Church people, although the last named 
treasured up most affectionately her personal 
recollections of John Wesley himself, and retained 
through life a strong sympathy with his followers. 
This family was indirectly connected with several 
good families in England, among others with that 
of Lord Northampton, with the Abdy's, and with 
the Gordons of Stocks. Sir Edward Colebrooke 
once told me that he was connected with the 
Gilberts, arid Sir Denis Le Marchant also through 
his marriage, as also Lady Seymour, wife of canon 
Sir John Seymour, and Sir George Grey. 

My father, the Rev. Thomas Scott, was the 
second son of the well-known commentator. He 
was born at Weston- Underwood in Bucks, during 

B 2 

4 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

the short period of my grandfather's residence 
as curate of that village in 1 780. My grandfather, 
about that time, served several churches in that 
district. The next year he removed to Olney, 
the former curate of which, John Newton, was 
his intimate friend; where he was brought a good 
deal in contact with the poet Cowper, who was 
his next-door neighbour. I well recollect an old 
man occasionally calling on us at Gawcott, who 
had known my grandfather at that early period 
of his clerical life. 


The following notice of my native village, and 
of some of its inhabitants, its customs, &c., I give 
merely as a memento of times in which, though 
not long gone by, there remained much more 
of old manners than has survived to the present 

Gawcott is a hamlet of, and situated a mile and 
a half from, Buckingham. It had had a chapel 
in former times, as is proved by a field retaining 
the name of " chapel close," and showing marks 
of ancient building. How long this had ceased 
to exist I do not know, probably for some cen- 
turies. The absence of a church had its natural 
consequences, producing a partly heathenish and 
partly dissenting population. The former of these 
evils, and perhaps to some degree the latter, was 
so much felt by one of its inhabitants that he 
determined on refounding a church in his native 
village. This excellent person, one John West, 
was a man of humble origin, who had made what 
to him was a considerable fortune by the trade 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 5 

of a lace-buyer, that is to say, by acting as 
middle-man between the poor lace-maker and the 
trader. The difficulties he met with in carrying 
out his generous project were considerable. I 
have often heard my father say that after the 
church was built he had the greatest difficulty 
in getting it consecrated, and that he at last 
sent a message to the bishop (Tomline of 
Lincoln) in these words : " Tell the bishop 
that if he won't consecrate it I'll give it to the 
dissenters," a message which had the desired 
effect. This church or chapel, erected during 
the first years of the present century, was perhaps 
as absurdly unecclesiastical a structure as could 
be conceived. Enclosed between four walls 
forming a short wide oblong, it had a roof 
sloping all ways, crowned by a belfry such as one 
sees over the stables of a country house. The 
pulpit occupied the middle of the south side, the 
pews facing it from the north, the east, and the 
west, and a gallery occupying the north side, in 
the centre of which were perched the singers and 
the band of clarionets, bass-viols, &c., by which 
their performances were accompanied. The font, 
I well recollect, was a washhand-stand with a 
white basin ! The advowson was placed in the 
hands of five trustees, all being incumbents of 
parishes in the neighbourhood, and belonging to 
the then very scarce Evangelical party. My 
father was the first " Perpetual Curate." There 
was at first no parsonage, and he lived for a time 
in the vicarage at Buckingham (the vicar being 
non-resident), where my two eldest brothers (and 
one who died in infancy) were born. He soon, 

6 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

however, raised funds for the erection of a par- 
sonage, which, as he had a fancy for planning, 
he designed himself, and I must not find fault 
with my native house. It was close to the 

My earliest recollections of the church bear 
upon the digging of the vault for the founder and 
my sitting in the gallery at his funeral, and seeing 
it pass the opposite windows. This was in 1814, 
so that it is a pretty youthful reminiscence, yet 
though it is my earliest, it does not come to me 
otherwise than any other, and does not seem by 
any means like a beginning, showing that though 
we forget what happened in our early childhood, 
we nevertheless have no feeling of being incapa- 
ble of observing and remembering it. Here, for 
instance, I can recollect who dug the vault, and 
who took me to church, and I have a full sense 
of being conscious of who they said Mr. West 
was, and of the house he had lived in, though I 
was but three years old. 

The inhabitants of Gawcott were a very quaint 
race. I recollect my father saying that when he 
first went there to reconnoitre, he found the road 
to it rendered impassable by a large hole dug 
across it, in which the inhabitants were engaged 
in baiting a badger, a promising prelude to an 
evangelical ministry among them. However he 
succeeded in bringing the place in due time into 
a more seemly state as to externals, though the 
old leaven remained, and a certain amount of 
poaching and other forms of rural blackguardism 
still .prevailed. There grew up amongst all this, 
however, a good proportion of really excellent 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. j 

people, some of whom had at one time belonged 
to the previously more normal type. 

The neighbourhood of Buckingham is by no 
means picturesque. It is situated geologically at 
the junction of the Oxford clay with the lower 
oolite, and though in other districts the latter 
rises into high and picturesque hills, such is not 
the case with this portion of its course. It is a 
plain, slightly undulated, agricultural country, 
partly arable, but mainly devoted to dairy farming, 
butter being the only produce for which it is 
famous. It is (or rather was) here and there 
well wooded with oak, is everywhere enclosed, 
with a good deal of hedge-row timber, sadly dis- 
figured by lopping, and there is usually some 
more ornamental timber round the villages. The 
latter, as a rule, retained some traces of the "Great 
House " the residence of the old proprietor who 
had in most instances succumbed to the all- 
absorbing influence of a single family, originally 
one of their own the squire-race, but then 
become the Marquises and subsequently the 
Dukes of Buckingham, who from their semi-regal 
seat of Stowe, some four miles from my own 
humble village, lorded it over the county. An 
unpicturesque country, denuded of its natural 
aristocracy, is no doubt very dull and unattractive, 
yet it possesses some interest in the natural and 
quaint character of its inhabitants and in its reten- 
tiveness of old customs. I have never met with so 
many odd eccentric characters as in my native vil- 
lage, nor do I suppose that there were, even then, 
many districts in which old customs were better 
kept up. Whether they are so still, I know not. 

8 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

The cottages were usually of the old thatched 
type, built of rough stone, or of timber and plaster. 
The one sitting-room known as " the house " had 
the old-fashioned chimney-corner, in the sides of 
which the master and mistress of the family sat, 
with the wood fire, placed upon bars and bricks, 
on the floor between them. In the ample chimney 
over their heads hung the bacon, for the benefit 
of the smoke, and below it all sorts of utensils 
for which dryness was to be desired, and high 
overhead as they sat there the occupants could 
see the sky through the vertical smoke-shaft. 
The room was paved with unshapen slabs of stone 
from the neighbouring quarry or "stone-pit" and 
the oaken floor timbers showed overhead, though 
hardly sufficiently so for a tall man to feel his 
head to be safe. Between one of these timbers 
and the floor there was placed (where babies were 
to be found) a vertical post, which revolved on its 
central axis and from which projected an arm of 
wood with a circular ring or hoop at its end, so 
contrived as to open and shut. By passing this 
about the baby's body the little thing could run 
round and round at will, while its mother was 
busied at her household work or at the lace- 
pillow. The bedroom arrangements I do not 
recollect, but I do not think they were so defective 
as those we now so often hear of, and the gene- 
rality of cottages had a pretty ample garden. 

The farmers did not live very differently as to 
general forms from the cottagers, the difference 
lying chiefly in the very substantial distinction be- 
tween abundance and scantiness of fare. They 
usually lived in the " house " or kitchen, though 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 9 

they (and indeed some of the cottagers) had 
" parlours " which were only used when they had 
company. In a. corner of the "parlour" was 
usually a smart cupboard called a " bofette." 

I have heard my father say that Mr. West, the 
founder of the church, lived in the same room 
with his servants, all helping themselves at dinner 
from a common dish placed in the middle of the 
round table. 

In the midst of this funny population we lived 
almost as a stranger colony. My father was by 
education a Londoner, and my mother too, though 
a West- Indian by birth, had been educated in 
London, as were also my grandmother and my 
great-aunt, who resided with us, while our isola- 
tion was rather increased, than otherwise, by my 
father taking seven or eight pupils who came from 
all parts of the kingdom, and by our mixing very 
little indeed in local society, though we had 
numerous friends at a distance, who occasionally 
visited us. Our few local friends lived in the 
neighbouring town of Buckingham, and now and 
then a clergyman was admitted to our ac- 
quaintance : most of them, however, shunned us 
as evangelicals, or as they were then called 
" methodists." 

My recollections of the period of my youth are 
indeed very curious in this respect, I mean as to 
the relations which at that time (up to 1830 and 
later) subsisted between an evangelical clergyman 
and his family, and the other clerical families 
around them. 

Now be it remembered that my father was in 
his way very much of a man of the world. 

io Sir Gilder I Scoff. 

Having been brought up in town, he had seen 
a good deal of life in one way or another. He 
was the farthest possible from being a sanctimo- 
nious man, and, though he made religion his pri- 
mary object and guide, he did not bring it to the 
front or parade it in the least degree so as to give 
offence to others. He was, in addition to this, a 
peculiarly gentlemanly man, ready and well fitted 
for any society, and as much at home with men of 
rank as with his equals or inferiors. He was also 
a man of especially popular manners, more so than 
almost any man I recollect, thoroughly genial, 
merry, and courteous in all companies and to all 

My mother too was a particularly ladylike per- 
son, a hater of all vulgarity, an absolute detester 
of all low and unworthy motives, and ready to 
sacrifice any advantage rather than risk any, even 
the most punctilious, point of honour or high feel- 
ing. She was well-born, of a good old family 
called on the monument of one of them 5 (a stranger 
to us) in Petersham church, " generosa et peran- 
tiqua familia." 

She was related to persons of good position : 
her grandfather and uncle were West India 
planters, (the former, President of the Assembly 
in his island), whose family had intermarried with 
baronets, and in one case with a marquis, so that 
there was no social or personal reason for our not 
being familiar with our neighbours, but the reverse. 

6 Thomas Gilbert. He was, says his epitaph, " Integer, 
probus, severe Justus, fidus ad amicos, ad omnes, ad Deum ; 
sine promissis, sine dissimulatione, sine superstitione, firmus, 
benevolus, pius." He died in 1766. ED. 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 1 1 

Yet how many of the neighbouring incumbents 
ever called on us or we on them ? I may almost 
say not one. I have no recollection of knowing 
the wife, son, or daughter, of any clergyman in 
the neighbourhood, and none ever appeared at 
our table, with the exception of one or two curates 
who had slightly evangelical tendencies. I do not 
know whether this arose most from the exclusive- 
ness of the "evangelicals," or from the repugnance 
felt toward them by other clergymen, perhaps 
from both. I recollect one highly eccentric rector 
hard by, a master of a college at Oxford, who 
had assisted the son of a farmer, who showed 
literary talent, to enter the church, and had signed 
his testimonials for deacons' orders, refusing to do 
the same for him when he went up for priests' 
orders, because he had once taken duty for my 
father .in his absence. Of this rector I used to 
hear that when once led, the worse for his cups, 
through the quadrangle of his college, he ex- 
claimed, " All this I do to purge my college from 
the stain of methodism ! " (Wesley had been of 
his college). This, however, was of course an 
extreme case, and the man both eccentric and 
disreputable. The ordinary incumbents contented 
themselves with taking no more notice of us than 
if we did not exist. Even common civilities were 
so rare, that I recollect the pleasure which my 
father expressed when he met with any. There 
were a few exceptions, and my father in one or 
two cases was in the habit of helping a neighbour, 
but as a rule no incumbents ever appeared at our 
table, nor any of us at theirs, nor indeed did we 
know more than two or three, even by sight, 

1 2 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

much less to speak to. I remember that my 
father used to speak with great respect of Mr. 
Palmer, the father of the present Lord Selborne, 
but no acquaintance existed between them. 

Now let it not be for a moment imagined that 
it was because these clerical neighbours held what 
are now called " High Church views." Not a bit 
of it. No such notions existed among, or would 
as a rule have been understood by them. The 
greater part of them preached mere moral essays, 
which would have come almost as naturally from 
a respectable pagan. What most of them hated 
was the name of " methodist," while some of 
them resented the essential doctrines of the 
Christian religion, such as the Atonement, and 
the influence of the Holy Spirit, which went 
among them by the name of " enthusiasm," ' and 
among the best of those who did not exactly 
define their objections, there was one sentiment 
in which they all concurred, that " as concerning 
this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken 

Nor was there less feeling on our own side. My 
father and mother would not have allowed us to 
associate with what they termed "worldly peo- 
ple," nor would they themselves be intimate with 
clergymen whom they considered " not to preach 
the gospel," so that as the result of these two 
influences we were absolutely isolated. 

It is a curious question what the rank and file 
of these old " high-and-dry " men really were. I 
cannot see any resemblance between them and the 

8 The old toast of "Prosperity to the establishment and 
confusion to enthusiasm " illustrates this state of feeling. ED. 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 13 

present high churchmen ; though, on the other 
hand, the fact remains that the high churchmen 
have naturally succeeded to them, and they have 
lapsed into the high church party. Nevertheless 
I do not imagine that they held any doctrine 
in common with their successors, unless it be bap- 
tismal regeneration, which the old men possibly 
held ; not indeed actively, but just as a safeguard 
against the " methodistical " doctrine of " conver- 
sion." They held, I suppose, that the wicked 
suffer future punishment ; but any severe pres- 
sure of that doctrine they practically repudiated. 
They were, I think, theoretically believers, but 
practically or passively disbelievers, in the prin- 
cipal doctrines of Christianity. They did not hate 
evangelicals so much from differing with them on 
specific points, as because they pressed religion 
and piety as the chief aim of their teaching, 
whereas the high-and-dry men did not care, or 
take the trouble to do so, the fact being that they 
were not religious men. 

They seem to me to have been practically 
Pelagians, though they knew nothing and cared 
nothing about what they were, being content with 
the consciousness that they were neither " me- 
thodists " nor " enthusiasts " and that they detested 
both. This, however, does not apply to the lead- 
ing men of the party, many of whom were ex- 
cellent, as they were undoubtedly learned, men ; 
who held, in the main, a good and orthodox code 
of doctrine so much so, that when the evan- 
gelicals came to compare notes carefully with 
them, they did not find very much difference, ex- 
cepting that these made more of sacraments and 

1 4 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

less of conversion, of original sin, and of the in- 
fluence of the Holy Spirit, and that they repudiated 
co-operation with dissenters in any matter what- 
ever (e. g. in the Bible Society), while the evan- 
gelicals did not object to anything which they 
thought would promote earnest religion. 

Many of the bishops who belonged to this 
better stratum of the old high-and-dry party hated 
the evangelicals even worse than the less moral 
of their opponents did. I remember one of them 
at a visitation, publicly rebuking a most pious and 
zealous evangelical for some irregular act, such as 
preaching in the open air, or something of that 
kind, and afterwards taking wine at the visitation 
dinner w r ith a clergyman so noted for his immo- 
rality that he subsequently had to be chass&ed 

My father and mother were among the most 
admirable people I have ever met with, and the 
most affectionate of couples. Their marriage 
was purely a love-match, though strengthened by 
the ties of earnest piety. They had become 
acquainted shortly after my grandfather had taken 
the living of Aston Sandford, near to which is the 
semi-romantic village of Bledlow, on the edge of 
the Chilterns, of which my mother's uncle, the 
Rev. Nathaniel Gilbert, was rector. My mother, 
having lost her father at a very early age, had 
been brought by her mother and aunt to England, 
and had been educated in London, as also had my 
father, though they did not become acquainted till 
they met in Buckinghamshire, at one of the neigh- 
bouring rectories. They were married in the 
beautiful church of Bledlow, and such was the 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 15 

simplicity of manners in that county and time that 
" tell it not in Gath " my father took his wife 
home seated on a pillion, and that from the house 
of the proprietor of a considerable West Indian 
estate, a man of no mean connexions, and a Buck- 
inghamshire rector ! This simplicity, however, 
suited their means, which were very slender. My 
parents, as I have said, were both of them what 
may be called " well-bred," both by nature and 
training "gentlefolk." I have often witnessed, 
with admiring wonder, my father's gentlemanly 
address when he met with persons of a higher 
station, so superior to what we young villagers 
could ever hope to attain to. He was a man of 
popular and winning manner, and of a remark- 
ably commanding aspect, so that, while he felt at 
home with persons of any rank, he could at once 
quell, almost with his eye, the most obstreperous 
parishioner, and even insane persons, under the 
most violent paroxysms, would yield to him with- 
out resistance. 

My mother had been beautiful in her youth, 
and, when I first remember her, was a very noble 
and stately person, somewhat taller than my father, 
with an aquiline nose, piercing, though soft, dark, 
hazel eyes, and black hair. She was indeed a 
commanding woman, though of an intensely affec- 
tionate disposition, and devoted to her husband, 
her family, and the parish. Were it not for such 
parents, and for our having been kept aloof from 
the rough society of the place, and brought in 
contact with strangers, owing to my father taking 
pupils, I cannot conceive to what degree of rus- 
ticity we should have fallen ! As it was, we all 

1 6 Sir Gilder t Scott. 

came out into the world, certainly somewhat 
ungarnished, but rather plain than rustic. Our 
parents always tried to impress upon us the 
feelings of gentlemen, in a degree only second 
to their endeavours to train us up religiously. 

Our village, as I have already said, was full of 
odd, quaint characters. I will describe a few of 

To begin with the farmers : Our great farmer 
was Mr. Law. He cultivated two large farms, 
one which he rented, and the other his own free- 
hold. We held him, and I believe rightly, to be 
very rich. He was nephew and executor to the 
founder of the church, and from him my father 
received the scanty endowment. He was a short, 
burly man, of no great talent, but a very worthy, 
good-natured person ; he was perpetual church- 
warden, and always lined the plate he held at the 
church doors after charity sermons with a one- 
pound note, with which now obsolete form of 
money (called, from its greasiness, " filthy lucre ") 
his breeches-pockets were always well filled. 

Then there was old Zachery Meads, a sulky, 
obtuse old giant, who was never seen at church, 
or ever expected to do anything good. 

Next there was Benjamin Warr, a splendid old 
yeoman, who, with his sturdy wife and a family of 
twenty children (most of the sons six feet high), 
made a fair show in one of our square pews. 

Then, again, John Walker (of Lenborough, an 
allied hamlet), a downright, thoroughly excellent 
specimen of an English farmer a man of sterling 
sense, honour, and excellence in every way. (By- 
the-bye, he is but just dead, and I saw his mourn- 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 17 

ing-card but yesterday.) 7 He has, since our day, 
been more than once mayor of Buckingham. He 
was our best singer, our best yeomanry cavalier, 
our best dairy farmer, our most strong-headed and 
right-minded parishioner, and withal a really 
Christian man. 

The other farmers had nothing very marked 
which merits notice. They used to dress much 
more in the true John Bull style than is now the 
fashion. Their costume was a long frock coat, a 
very long waistcoat, divided at the bottom below 
the buttons, and reaching over the hips, corduroy 
knee-breeches, and, when not top-booted, shoes 
with large buckles. They usually carried a gun, 
and were accompanied by a sporting dog. 

Among the labourers we had many very excel- 
lent men, men of real piety and worth, though I 
need not describe them individually. I may men- 
tion that, so far as I can recollect, these men were 
all decently educated, though how this came about 
I do not know. Indeed, oddly enough it seems 
to me that inability to read was less frequent forty 
years ago among these rustic labourers than it is 
now in the immediate neighbourhood of London. 
In our time we had Sunday-schools, and there was 
a village schoolmaster who kept school on his 
own account, but we had no parish school, beyond 
a national school at Buckingham. The females 
were all employed in lace-making, which was com- 
menced so early in life as to leave little time for 
schooling, yet I fancy they could very generally 
read, and they were by no means ignorant of Bible 
history and of general religious knowledge. 
7 January, 1864. 


1 8 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

Among the more eccentric inhabitants of our 
village I may mention a man of the name of 
Walker, surnamed " Tom O' Gawcott," a super- 
annuated prize-fighter, whose great boast was 
that he would never " darken the doors of Jack 
West's church ; " but in his old age he relented, 
and he died a truly religious man. 

One of our village characters was a Mrs. Warr, 
who kept a shop for " tea, coffee, tobacco, and 
snuff," opposite to the churchyard. As in our 
childish days we were not allowed to go into the 
village alone, " Mother Warr," as we used to call 
her, carried on a great trade with us in lollypops, 
&c., by answering our call across the road from 
the churchyard ; a brook ran through the village 
street, and she or her old husband had placed 
stepping-stones to aid her passage to and fro. It 
was quite a picture to see her in her quaint, old- 
fashioned dress rise at our call from her lace- 
pillow, and step nimbly across the brook with her 
sweet wares. She wore a high cap, with her hair 
brushed vertically from her forehead, her stay- 
laces showed in front, and her gown, divided at 
the waist and gathered up in a bundle behind, 
exposed to view a stiff glazed blue petticoat; she 
had short sleeves hanging loosely from her elbows, 
and large buckles to her shoes, and on Sundays 
she added long silk gloves, a black mantilla 
edged with lace and a bonnet of antique cut. 
Personally she was tall and dignified, as became 
her costume, and in mind as strong as you please, 
and by no means disposed to be trifled with, 
though generally condescending and benignant. 
Her husband, surnamed "Old Baccy," was equally 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 19 

antique, though by no means her equal in other 

The village was as eccentric in its diseases as 
in its other conditions. Two of its inhabitants, 
both named Warr, suffered from the strangest 
form of madness, and poor old Molly, " Mother 
Warr's" sister-in-law, was one of them. I have 
heard that she and two others, while girls, had 
been seized with "St. Vitus' dance," and were 
kept shut up together in the same room, where 
at certain hours, when St. Vitus was rampant, 
they commenced dancing till the room was not 
high enough for their capers. At this particular 
stage in their disorder the charming influence 
of the fiddle, played by a boy, was prescribed, 
which had the effect of reducing the more active 
form of the attack, but in the case of poor Molly, 
left matters not much the better, for ever after- 
wards she had two fits of raving madness in the 
twenty-four hours at noon and at midnight. 
During eleven hours she was quiet and inoffen- 
sive, though the subject to her neighbours of a 
strange mysterious awe, which was perhaps one 
of the hindrances to our venturing to the shop 
for our lollypops, for when we did so she occa- 
sionally served us herself, to our intensest horror, 
for our dread of her, even during her lucid 
intervals, was beyond description. 

One of the two other sufferers from St. Vitus' 
dance was known amongst us as "Nanny White;" 
the success of the boy fiddler had in her case been 
perfect, and she had attained a good old age, not 
in strong health, for she was, poor old lady, 
tremulous through a tendency to palsy. I call 

C 2 

2O Sir Gilbert Scott. 

her a lady advisedly, because she was what one 
may term a peasant-lady. She was a person of 
earnest piety and of admirable conduct, an aris- 
tocrat among the peasantry. Her income was 
3O/. a year, but she lived almost in state. We 
went as children once a year to drink tea with 
her (which was more than we were allowed to do 
with any of the farmers, but good John Walker), 
when she received us with great dignity, dressed 
in her best old-fashioned clothes. The good little 
old lady sat smiling and shaking in her arm-chair, 
while her waiting-maid handed about the tea and 
cake ; we all sat round on old high-backed chairs 
with twisted pillars and cane backs, which, by-the- 
bye, she had bought at a sale of the furniture of the 
latest despoiled of the neighbouring great houses 
(that at Hillesden, which I shall mention anon). 
We sat on that occasion, for the nonce, in her 
" parlour," while in the " house " through which it 
was approached was the old dresser, under which 
was a series of copper cauldrons of gradually 
diminishing sizes, presenting their highly polished 
interiors to the spectator. This good old woman 
some years after, when my father had to rebuild 
his church, made out of her savings a really hand- 
some subscription as " a friend," no one but my 
father and mother knowing whence it came till 
after her death. I recollect that she had at one 
time for her maid and companion a young person 
named " Betsy Scott." I wish I knew enough 
of her to sketch her character. She was a " lusus 
naturae," both in intellect and piety, and after her 
death (of consumption) my father wrote a memoir 
of her, embodying many letters and papers of her 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 21 

writing, some I think in poetry. I well recollect 
his applying to her the quotation from Gray : 

" Full many a gem of purest ray serene 

The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear ; 
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, 
And waste its sweetness on the desert air." 

Two of our favourite village characters were a 
half-cracked man, and a semi-simpleton ; the one 
known as " Cracky Meads," and the other as 
" Tailor King." The former had been a soldier, 
and on his return from campaigning had found 
that his elder brother had inflicted upon him a very 
base injury, which drove the poor fellow out of 
his mind. After this his great desire was to 
build himself a house with his own unaided hands 
on a piece of waste ground by a road side. He 
made many beginnings, but what he built in the 
day the young men of the village pulled down 
at night. At length, however, his perseverance 
and active defence of his work prevailed, and he 
succeeded in completing a very tolerable bachelor's 
cottage. He enclosed a long piece of waste as a 
garden, which he successfully cultivated, and with 
the help of his pension lived pretty comfortably. 
He was, when unexcited, quiet, sullen, and in- 
offensive ; but it took only a little skilfully directed 
conversation to stir him up tremendously in dif- 
ferent ways. His most interesting excitement 
was that of warlike reminiscence, when he would 
tell endless tales of his personal experiences, 
sometimes enacting them with the bayonet, which 
he kept under his bed, with a vigour hardly con- 
sistent with the safety of his audience. His most 
terrible movements, however, were against his 

22 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

brother, upon whom his imprecations were as 
fearful as they were deserved. He was popular 
among my father's pupils, both for these displays, 
and for his services in getting them eggs, and 
boiling or frying them in his cottage, and for 
allowing occasionally a little indulgence in the 
form of a pipe of tobacco. 

Poor " Tailor King" was a very different but 
equally amusing character. He was blessed with 
but a scanty store of sense, but had a double 
supply of instinct. His intincts were wholly de- 
voted to sporting matters. He was always pre*- 
sent in the hunting-field, knew of course where 
every meet would take place, and by long practice 
in the ways of the fox, could so surely prejudge 
his course, as by wary cuts to keep up with the 
hunters. The time lost to his trade by these 
digressions was made up for by the rewards 
received for .occasional aid, taking home a lame 
dog, assisting a fallen rider or a damaged horse, 
and so he made his hunting pay. He could 
sometimes tell the very hole in the hedge through 
which the fox would emerge from the wood. He 
was an uncouth figure, his neck all on one side 
from catching it in a forked bough while leaping 
a hedge. He hunted in a light green coat, knee 
breeches, and low shoes. We were often sent 
by my mother, if she wanted a hare, to Mr. Law 
to ask if he would shoot one for her, and his 
constant reply was, " I'll go and ask the tailor," 
or as he pronounced it "tyahlor." We then 
went together to the tailor's shop, where he was 
sitting cross-legged at his window. " D'ye know 
where there's ever a hare (yahr) sittin', tyahler ?" 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 23 

was the constant question, and the tailor could 
always tell or show where to find one. His con- 
versation was a mixture of ludicrous simplicity 
with instructive cunning, and by the amusement 
of his talk and the general character of his in- 
stincts, he became a great favourite among us 

Another favourite was old " Warr of the Wood- 
house," a clever skilled old woodman ; but I am 
ashamed to say that we only cared for him when 
he was drunk, or "market-merry" as he called 
it, which took place once a week on market-day. 
When he died, after my leaving home, poor old 
" Mother Warr " and her husband retired from 
their shop to the said woodhouse, where they 
ended their days. My wife saw the old woman 
there in her old age, later than I did myself, and 
says that she never saw so picturesque a figure ; 
tall, straight, and dignified still, in her last-century 
dress, sitting at her door in the wood plying her 

These are a few specimens, but the whole place 
was full of character, even where there are no very 
salient points to depict. The old women seem 
to my recollection to belong to another age, and 
the sturdy worthiness of many of the men, with 
their funny old-fashioned way of expressing them- 
selves, formed a most agreeable contrast to the 
contemporary tendency to pauperism, which was 
silently making way among the less estimable 
part of the population, who, like spotted sheep, in 
time infected the flock. 

Our own family was a large and rapidly in- 
creasing one. My eldest brother was a youth of 

24 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

remarkable talent and was viewed as a little god 
by his brothers and even by his parents. This 
had a bad effect on me. He was looked on as a 
representative person, and all efforts were con- 
centrated upon him. His next brother got a 
little attention at second hand, and being a boy of 
steady industry and good ability, he got on ; but I, 
the third, was too far removed to pick up even 
the crumbs, and not having a natural love of 
books and nothing occurring to make me love 
them, I came off but badly. I was also under 
the disadvantage of having no boys of my own 
age to work with ; indeed with all my faults I was 
forwarder than any who were at all of my own 
standing, so that at twelve or thirteen, I had to 
be classed with idle fellows of eighteen or more ; 
a desultory way of going on which was very in- 
jurious. I ought certainly to have gone to school, 
but this was out of the question. My father was 
poor, and as he took pupils himself, he was too 
busy with the older ones, often men of from twenty 
to twenty-five or more, to give me much of his 
personal attention, so that I slipped through be- 
tween wind and water. I do believe, however, 
that if encouraged and helped, I should have 
done well, and in mathematics I did get on fairly. 
My great relief from this life of heedlessness 
and rough handling was the visit of the drawing- 
master. Though I never acquired any very high 
powers of drawing under him, I can never be too 
grateful for his help and kind encouragement. 
He was a Mr. Jones, of Buckingham, who had 
been in his youth patronized by some of the 
Stowe family, and had been sent to London, where 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 25 

he became a student at the Royal Academy, and 
was much noticed by Sir Joshua Reynolds, of 
whom he entertained an affectionate remembrance. 
Foolishly, however, he returned to his native 
town, and had consequently failed of reaching the 
eminence for which nature had fitted him. He 
supported himself as a drawing-master, and occa- 
sional portrait-painter. His visits twice a week 
were the very joy of my life. I remember, as if 
it were yesterday, and almost feel again while 
thinking of it, my anxiety when he was a little 
late in coming, my frequent glances towards the 
path by which he reached our garden, and my 
heart-felt joy when I saw his loose drab gaiters 
through the bushes. Mr. Jones was a mild, be- 
nignant, and humble-minded old man, and though 
he had not attained eminence, he was thoroughly 
grounded in his art. His knowledge of anatomy 
and of perspective was perfect, as was his ac- 
quaintance with the principles of colouring, 
whether in oil or water-colour, and his powers of 
drawing were remarkable. Yet his training had 
stopped short of bringing his powers to bear upon 
actual high-class work of his own. I often wish 
I had some of his drawings, I am sure they must 
evince the elements of genius, though unmatured, 
and consistently enough with this, he instilled into 
my mind an intense love for the subject without 
any ripened knowledge or skill. While, however, 
depreciating myself on this and other subjects, it 
is fair to mention that my home schooling termi- 
nated when I was only about fourteen and a half 
years old. The little I learned of French my 
mother taught me, and I might, had I worked 

26 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

hard, have learned it well, as she understood it 
perfectly, and spoke it with ease. My eldest 
brother had also a good French master, in whose 
instruction unhappily I did not participate. 

How infinitely important it is for boys to feel 
the duty and necessity for exertion. Though I 
have reason to be most thankful for my success in 
life, the defects of my education have been like a 
millstone about my neck, and have made me 
almost dread superior society. A very little extra 
attention would have obviated this, for if with 
the same means of education my brother carried 
off in his freshman's year one of the highest univer- 
sity classical scholarships, why should not I have 
been a fair classic ? It is one of the greatest 
wonders of my life to witness the way in which 
young men deliberately throw away their chances 
of eminence and seem satisfied with the bare 
prospect of getting a living ; as if man was born, 
not to do the very utmost in his day and genera- 
tion which the talents committed to him render 
attainable, but merely to exist. Old Sir Robert 
Peel, as I was told by his son, used to say that if 
any youth of ordinary ability made up his mind 
as to his object in life and bent all his energies to 
its attainment, he would be almost certain of success, 
and this led the son of Sir Robert to determine, 
when a child, that he would be prime minister, and 
to persevere till he became so. 

Being younger than most of my father's pupils 
(who, in fact, were many of them matured men, 
who had determined late in life to read for the 
church), I had very little companionship, and I 
became a solitary wanderer in woods and fields, 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 27 

and about the old churches, &c., in the neighbour- 

I have a tolerably distinct recollection of my 
grandfather, the author of the Commentary on 
the holy scriptures. We used to visit him en 
masse about once a year ; it was a time of great 
joy and excitement when it came round. The 
post-chaise was ordered from Buckingham, and 
usually was made to carry seven. My father and 
mother occupied the seat, three small children 
stood in front, and two sat on the " dickey," while 
the fat old postboy rode as postillion. It was 
some twenty-five miles to Aston Sandford, and I 
think I could find my way now by my recollections 
of that date. My grandfather was, as I remember 
him, a thin, tottering old man, very grave and 
dignified. Being perfectly bald, he wore a black 
velvet cap, excepting when he went to church, 
when he assumed a venerable wig. He wore 
knee-breeches, with silver buckles, and black silk 
stockings, and a regular shovel hat. His amuse- 
ment was gardening, but he was almost constantly 
at work in his study. At meals, when I chiefly 
saw him, he was rather silent, owing to his deaf- 
ness, which rendered it difficult to him to join in 
general conversation. I well remember, when 
any joke had excited laughter at the table, that he 
would beg to be informed what it was, and when 
brought to understand it, he would only deign to 
utter a single word " Pshaw ! " One day, as we 
sat at dinner, a very old apple-tree, loaded with 
fruit, suddenly gave way and fell to the ground, 
to the surprise of our party, and I remember my 
grandfather remarking that he wished that might 

28 Sir Gilder I Scott. 

be his own end, to break down in his old age 
under the weight of good fruit. Family prayers 
at Aston Rectory were formidable, particularly to 
a child. They lasted a full hour, several persons 
from the village usually attending. I can picture 
to my mind my grandfather walking to church in 
his gown and cassock, his long curled wig, and 
shovel hat. 8 He had a most venerable look, and 
I felt a sort of dread at it. On Sundays he had 
a constant guest at his table the barber, to whom 
he was beholden for his wig. Those who are not 
acquainted with the evangelical party in its earlier 
days can hardly understand the way in which 
community of religious feeling was allowed to 
over-ride difference of worldly position. I recol- 
lect the same at Gawcott, where, though not 
allowed to associate even with our wealthiest 
farmer, we ever welcomed to our table a very poor 
brother of his, in position scarcely above a labourer, 
who was a man of piety, and came many miles on 
sunday to attend our church. The same was the 

8 My father's recollections upon the subject of clerical dress 
may be of interest. He has often told me that in the earliest 
period to which his memory extended, the clergy habitually 
wore their cassock, gown, and shovel hat, and that when this 
custom went out, a sort of interregnum ensued during which 
all distinction of dress was abandoned and clerics followed 
lay fashions. This is the period which Jane Austen's novels 
illustrate. Her clergymen are singularly free from any trace 
of the ecclesiastical character. Later on, the clergy adopted 
the suit of black, and the white necktie, which had all along 
been the dress of professional men, lawyers, doctors, architects, 
and even surveyors, of men, in short, whose business it was to 
advise. Of the modern developements which this lay-pro- 
fessional dress has received at the hands of clerical tailors, it 
is unnecessary to say anything. ED. 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 29 

case with the barber at Great Risborough. He 
was a pious man, and he walked over every sun- 
day to hear my grandfather preach, and a place 
was kept for him at the dinner- table. He was, 
however, a superior man, and he had the good 
fortune to get his two sons into the church. 
Some time after he had settled at Risborough he 
found that there was an old bequest for the educa- 
tion (for the church) of any one of his name living 
at Risborough, which he at once claimed and 
obtained for his son. The other boy, having a 
good voice, was placed in the choir at Magdalen 
college, Oxford, when in due time he was admitted 
into the college, and finally into the church. 

Near Aston lived my uncle, the Rev. Samuel 
King. He was son of an excellent man, George 
King, a large wine merchant in the city ; and 
being a pupil of my grandfather's, he formed an 
attachment to his only daughter Elizabeth, and 
married her before or during his residence at the 
university of Cambridge. After they left Cam- 
bridge, he took the curacy of Hartwell, near 
Aylesbury, where was the seat of Sir George Lee, 
at that time occupied by Louis XVIII. and the 
ex-royal family of France. Subsequently, or at 
the same time, he was curate of Stone, close by 
Hartwell, where I first recollect visiting him, after 
which he removed to Haddenham, nearer to my 
grandfather's, so that our visits were jointly to my 
grandfather and to him. My aunt was a gifted 
and lovely woman, and at that time she used 
to aid my grandfather in the correction of a 
new edition of his commentary, as did also a 
young man who then resided with him, Mr. 

30 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

W. R. Dawes, since well known as. an astronomer, 
and who in his old age returned to Haddenham 
and built himself a residence there. I well re- 
member my puzzlement at hearing that certain 
printed sheets, which came every morning by post, 
and seemed to be viewed with great consideration, 
were " proofs of the bible." I connected them in 
idea with the evidences of Christianity. 

The whole household of my grandfather seemed 
imbued with religious sentiment. Old Betty, the 
cook, and Lizzy, the waiting-maid, and old Betty 
Moulder, an infirm inmate, taken in on account of 
her excellence and helplessness, were all patterns 
of goodness, and even poor John Brangwin, the 
serving-man, partook of the general effect of the 
atmosphere of the rectory. Poor old fellow ! I 
visited him last spring, with three of my sons at 
an almshouse at Cheynies, when he poured forth 
his recollections of my grandfather for half an 
hour together. It was Sunday, and we found him 
reading in the copy of the commentary which my 
grandfather had left him in his will ; and he told 
us he had just had a cold dinner. "He never 
had anything cooked o' sabbath day ; Muster 
Scott never had anything cooked o' sabbath 
days " a precept he had followed for more than 
forty years. I regret that my recollections of my 
grandfather himself are so very scanty, while my 
memory of the place, and of its less important 
inhabitants, and of its trifling incidents, is as 
perfect as though it were of last year. 

Some five miles beyond Aston Sandford runs 
the range of the Chiltern Hills, the "delectable 
mountains " of my youth, always forming our 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 3 1 

horizon, though very rarely reached by us. They 
divided the county into two parts, as different as 
possible in their character ; the northern, where 
we lived, homely and picturesque, the southern 
hilly and delightful. Once only in these early 
days I saw this beautiful part of my county, when 
I went to visit my aunt (the widow of the Rev. N. 
Gilbert), at Woburn, near Wycombe, and I well 
remember the pleasure I experienced. I re- 
member our all walking up Stokenchurch hill, a 
coach-load of passengers forming a long procession 
before us. 

After my grandfather's death my uncle King 
was presented to the living of Latimers, in this 
southern division of Bucks, our visits to which 
place were the brightest spots in my early life. 
My uncle was a most lively and amusing man, 
who, having no family of his own, devoted him- 
self, when thrown in the way of children, very 
extensively to their amusement. He was a man 
of multifarious resources, an excellent astrono- 
mer, and perhaps the best amateur ornamental 
turner in the kingdom. He was a glass-painter, 
a brass-founder, and a devotee to natural science 
in many forms. My aunt was a literary person. 
She had received the same education with her 
brothers, instead of learning feminine accomplish- 
ments. She was one of those " ladies of talent " 
one occasionally meets with, whose company is 
courted on account of their superior knowledge 
and conversational powers. I have every reason 
for gratitude to them both, as I shall afterwards 

My maternal grandmother and her sister (as 

32 Sir Gilbert Scoff. 

before-mentioned) lived with us at Gawcott. The 
former was a very excellent, quiet, unobtrusive 
little woman. I rarely heard anything of her 
husband, Dr. Lynch. He died early, leaving her 
with a young family, and I fancy but slenderly 
provided for, for the only thing I ever heard of 
him was, that he impoverished himself by being 
so easy-going, that he could not refuse any one 
who asked money of him. His eldest son was, 
during my childhood, a medical man at Dunmow 
in Essex, where he also died early, leaving a large 
family. My aunt Gilbert had accompanied my 
grandmother and her family to England, or possi- 
bly was here already, as her English recollections 
reached to a much earlier date. This must have 
been about 1790, as nearly as I can tell, my 
mother being at that time about four years old. 
They resided in Great Ormond street, Queen's 
square, which then bordered upon the fields. 
My aunt was a person of considerable talent, 
of great piety, and of an extraordinarily affec- 
tionate disposition, and withal wonderfully simple- 
hearted and forbearing. She devoted herself to 
my mother during her childhood, with an intensity 
of affection, exceeding probably what a child would 
always find agreeable. 

She and my grandmother were provided for by 
annuities upon their father's estate, then pretty 
good, but ever diminishing with the decline of 
West India property. My mother went to a 
very good school (I think in London) kept by a 
Miss Cox, who was afterwards married to a 
Mr. WoodrofFe, a clergyman in Gloucestershire, 
and my mother always kept up an affectionate 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 33 

correspondence with her, and they mutually visited 
from time to time. She was author of a reli- 
gious novel entitled, " Shades of Character, or the 
Little Pilgrim," and of " Michael Kemp." When 
my mother married, my aunt came to live with 
her (my grandmother living for a time near her 
son at Dunmow). When I made my appearance 
on the tapis, my aunt pitched upon my unworthy 
person as her pet, and ever afterwards followed me 
up with an assiduity of affection which it is impos- 
sible to exaggerate. This was probably enhanced 
(though my conduct was not calculated to produce 
that effect) by her having had the charge of me, 
when five years old, for some months, while I made 
a stay on account of some casual disorder at 
Margate. This was in 1816, and as it was the 
landmark of my childhood, I will give a few 
reminiscences of it. 

Of the coach journey to London, I have hardly a 
glimmer of recollection. On our arrival, however, 
we transferred ourselves to the house of a sort of 
" Gaius mine host," who dwelt hard by the coach- 
office where we alighted. This was a Mr. 
Broughton, of Swan-yard, Holborn bridge, who 
kept a boarding-house for travellers, with a pre- 
ference for those of the evangelical party, and a 
still more particular preference for missionaries, 
and most especially for missionaries to New Zea- 
land. This, his most powerful preference, was 
rendered manifest to the eye by his rooms 
being hung with patoo-patoos, war-rugs, and 
all the marvels of a New Zealand museum ; 
and occasionally a tattooed chief or two, to 
his intense joy, took up their quarters under 


34 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

his roof. All this, however, I gathered at 
subsequent visits. 

Mr. Broughton showed his special regard for 
the commentator, my grandfather, by opening his 
house to his descendants at all times gratuitously 
indeed he demanded their acceptance of his 
hospitality as a right. Swan-yard, which has 
perished in the extension of Farringdon street, 
was opposite to the then Fleet market. It was a 
waggon-yard, devoted to broad-wheeled waggons 
and straw, and the house was far from lively. At 
the time of our visit Mrs. Broughton, who was 
enormously corpulent, was laid up with the gout, 
and I was forthwith conducted by my aunt to the 
good lady's bedroom. Here I was so terrified at 
the sight of her vast person, enveloped in volumes 
of dimity, and her legs swaddled in a stupendous 
gouty stocking of white-and-pink lamb's wool, 
that I at once proclaimed a mutiny, and refused 
to stop in the house, in which I so resolutely per- 
sisted, that my good aunt actually yielded to me, 
and transferred me to the cabin of the Margate 
sailing-packet, which was to start in the morning. 

Here we met a number of Buckingham friends, 
who were to join us in our lodgings at Margate. 
My impression of the cabin is very vivid. It was 
full of passengers, and I well recollect a lively and 
lengthened argument, in which my aunt was a 
warm disputant, as to whether in dealing with 
savages we ought to aim at civilizing before chris- 
tianizing or vice versa, a point on which the cabin 
was about equally divided. As the night drew 
on, the ladies and children retired to the berths 
which lined the sides, while the gentlemen retained 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 35 

their chairs. I well recollect peeping out from 
between my curtains, and seeing gentlemen, who 
had lately been warm in argument, sitting quietly 
asleep round tables, on which their heads and 
elbows were deposited. 

Of the next day my leading recollection is the 
sweeping of the boom across the deck as we 
tacked, and the havoc it always threatened 
amongst the crowded passengers. Arrived at 
Margate we took lodgings on " the Fort," at the 
house of one, Captain Bourne ; my aunt and I, 
and our Buckinghamshire friends all living to- 
gether as one family. There was already a 
steamer to Margate ; but it was such a new thing 
that the visitors and inhabitants crowded to the 
pier to see it come in. I well remember the ex- 
citement of seeing its approach. One of my most 
vivid recollections of Margate was our going with 
some of our friends to a Quakers' meeting at a 
place called Drapers, and hearing several ladies 
preach. I also recollect seeing a fleet of thirty- 
two East Indiamen pass in a row, probably under 
convoy, as the war was but recently over. While 
at Margate I lost an infant sister named Elizabeth. 

After leaving Margate we visited my uncle 
Lynch at Dunmow, and in passing through Lon- 
don, my aunt stayed with an old Wesleyan friend, 
Mr. Jones, of Finsbury square. I remember 
their showing me, from his windows, gas-lamps 
as great curiosities. We also went to see another 
Miss Gilbert, a cousin of my aunt's, (we called 
her "Cousin Harriet.") She was a wild, eccentric 
person, and while we were there, went into a fright- 
ful fit of hysterics, owing to her having visited 

D 2 

36 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

the grave of a near relation, who had been her 
sole companion. I have preserved two coins 
which this old cousin gave me that day. I will 
not, however, increase frivolous reminiscences. It 
is vexatious to think of the perversity of children's 
memories. I recollect the funeral of Mr. West in 
1814, and this digression from my village home 
in 1816, as well almost as if they had happened 
last year. Yet of the battle of Waterloo, which 
occurred in the intervening year, I have not even 
the slightest recollection. 

My aunt Gilbert was most interesting in her 
reminiscences. John Wesley was the great saint 
of her memory. I remember her telling me 
of his having kissed her, which she esteemed a 
great privilege. She had been an intimate ally 
of Mrs. Fletcher of Madeley, who, after her 
husband's death, became a sort of female evan- 
gelist " All round the Wrekin." This hill was 
familiar to my childish ideas from my aunt having 
lived so long under its shadow. The date of this 
I know not, but it was during the days of Mrs. 
Fletcher and of Lady Dorothea Whitmore. Who 
the latter was, I do not know, but the family I 
find still resides in the neighbourhood. One of 
my aunt's sisters had married a Mr. Yate of 
Madeley. Her son, the Rev. George Yate, was 
rector of Wrockwardine. I remember another 
son, a naval officer, bringing to Gawcott a flag 
which he had taken in the American war ; and a 
daughter, Anne Yate, used to visit us, (by the way 
it was she who took me to Mr. West's funeral). 
She died of consumption some few years later, 
" poor cousin Anne." 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 37 

My aunt kept up a very extensive correspon- 
dence, and had done so all her life. One of her 
great correspondents was her brother William, 
who lived in America. His was a very re- 
markable character. He was a barrister, and a 
man of acute genius, and was just rising into 
fame when his mind gave way. His insanity 
took a political line, and, the first rage of the 
French Revolution being rampant at the time, he 
went to France to ally himself with Robespierre 
and the rest, but took fright, I fancy, when he 
got nearer, and returned. He subsequently went 
to America, as the only country with the govern- 
ment of which he could feel satisfied. He was a 
friend of Southey and Coleridge during their early 
days. Southey remarks of him in his life of 
Wesley : 9 " . . . . Mr. Gilbert published, in the 
year 1 796, ' The Hurricane, a Theosophical and 
Western Eclogue/ and shortly afterwards pla^ 
carded the walls in London with the largest bills 
that had at that time been seen, announcing The 
Law of Fire.' I knew him well, and look back 
with a melancholy pleasure to the hours which I 
have passed in his society when his mind was in 
ruins. His madness was of the most incom- 
prehensible kind, as may be seen in the notes 
to the ' Hurricane ;' but the poem contains pas- 
sages of exquisite beauty. They who remember 
him (as some of my readers will) will not be 
displeased at seeing him thus mentioned with the 
respect and regret which are due to the wreck 
of a noble mind." 

Another constant correspondent was a cousin. 
9 Vol. ii. chap. 28, foot note. 

38 Sir Gilbert Scot I. 

Poor man, he corresponded till the last, and then 
came the news that he had shot himself. I re- 
member one of my aunt's last letters to him, 
which was evidently intended to keep him from 
religious despair, for she quoted the passage : 
" Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be 
white as snow," &c. Let us hope that he was 
insane. Another correspondent was a Lady 
Abdy, also a cousin. 

My aunt's object in all these cases was a 
religious one, this being the main subject of her 
thoughts. My aunt was a poetess, she wrote a 
good deal, and not badly. She was in great 
requisition for epitaphs, &c. I wish I could get 
some of her longer productions. She was an 
admirable woman, and in my view quite an his- 
torical person. She had a large chest filled with 
selected letters from her correspondents, from 
John Wesley downwards ; but this most valuable 
collection was indiscriminately destroyed after 
her death, which happened I think in 1832. A 
grievous error ! She lies buried a little to the 
south of the church of Gawcott. My grand- 
mother lived a few years longer, and was buried 
at Wappenham. Both were, eighty or upwards 
at their death. 


We lived within about four miles of Stowe, then 
in its greatest glory. The Marquis (afterwards 
Duke) of Buckingham was the puissant potentate 
of the district, and Stowe was its seat of govern- 
ment. It was to us of great advantage, to have 
this centre of art and princely splendour to refer 
to when we pleased. It was a set-off against the 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 39 

otherwise almost unmitigated rusticity of the 

To Stowe we all made an annual pilgrimage. 
This was the great day of our year. It took place 
in early June, that we might enjoy the glories of the 
lilacs and laburnums. The journey was somewhat 
grotesque. My father rode his old horse " Jack," 
or subsequently "Tripod." The older boys walked, 
while my mother, my eldest sister, and the children 
performed the journey in the baker's cart, a tilted 
but unspringed vehicle, furnished with chairs for 
the occasion, and further with a large basket 
of provisions which were conveyed by our serving- 
man William to " The Temple of Concord and 
Victory," our traditional lunching place. I well 
recollect the gratification afforded by the hard- 
boiled eggs, &c., eaten beneath the unwonted 
shade of a classic temple. 

Stowe was really a very fine place. It was 
most extensive and well wooded ; indeed the 
park with its woods merged gradually off into 
the forest of Whittlebury. It was approached 
from Buckingham by a perfectly straight road 
some three miles long, and bordered by a wide 
grass drive and an avenue on either side, and 
leading to a triumphal arch known as the " Corin- 
thian Arch." From several other directions it 
was somewhat similarly approached, so that from 
the Buckingham lodges to those in the direction 
of Towcester could hardly be less than eight 
miles. The house had (and has) a frontage of 
nearly 1000 feet, though it is fair to mention that 
its extreme wings hardly form a part of its archi- 
tecture. It is entered, properly speaking, from 

4O Sir Gilbert Scott. 

behind, where it assumes the form of a convex 
semicircle. To us, however, the approach was 
from the garden front, which is the great archi- 
tectural facade and looks south. Here the en- 
trance is by an octastyle Corinthian portico, ap- 
proached by a lofty flight of steps rising the height 
of a basement storey. I well remember the kind 
of awe with which this stately approach inspired 
me, and how vast it appeared to my young ima- 
gination, We were welcomed under the portico 
by an almost equally stately groom of the cham- 
bers, Mr. Broadway, a man of portentous aspect 
and intense dignity of demeanour. He paid 
special attention to us from his respect for my 
father, and devoted much pains to showing and 
explaining the pictures, &c. I can fancy that 
I hear now the dignified and measured words in 
which he introduced the pictures to our youthful 
inspection : " The Burgomeister Sichs, by Rem- 
brandt;" <( The portrait of the elder, by the younger 
Rembrandt," &c. His tone gave us a reverence 
for the old masters beyond what our discrimina- 
tion would have alone inspired, It was really a 
^very fine collection, and being the only one I had 
seen, I feel thankful to think that I had the 
opportunity through it of seeing noble art so 
early. The sculpture was also fine, containing 
a great number of antiques, which were mostly 
ranged round a large elliptical saloon, entered 
directly from the garden portico. My veneration 
was greatly enhanced by the fact that one vast 
room was wholly devoted to the collection of 
engravings, classified in an infinite number of 
portfolios, and another to similarly-arranged music, 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 41 

and that the library was so extensive as to demand 
the services of a man of learning and position (a 
dignified Roman Catholic priest, Dr. O'Connor) as 
the librarian. One modern picture, the " Destruc- 
tion of Herculaneum" (by Martin), used to fill us 
with wonder, as did a magnificent astronomical 
clock, giving the true motions and positions of 
the planets, and only wound up, as we were told, 
once in four years, i. e. on the 29th of February. 

The house was in point of fact a " palace of 
delights," a wilderness of art, vertu, and magnifi- 
cence, of which upon the whole I have not seen 
an equal, and it is beyond measure aggravating to 
think of its glorious contents having been dis- 
persed through the folly of its possessor. 

The duke of my childhood was the grandfather 
to the present one. He was a man of consider- 
able ability and attainments and of portentous 
ambition and pride. I believe that the downfall 
of the family was fully as much owing to him as 
to his son. He literally came under the woe 
pronounced upon those -' that lay field to field, 
till there be no place, that they may be placed 
alone in the midst of the earth," for he nearly 
ruined the family by purchasing estates with 
borrowed money, the interest on which exceeded 
the rental. 

We made, by-the-bye, two annual peregrinations 
thither, for once a year we went over to the 
review of the yeomanry cavalry, of which the 
Marquis of Chandos (the late Duke) was lieu- 
tenant-colonel. It makes me feel very antique 
to remember that I was present at the festivities 
which celebrated the baptism of the present duke, 

42 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

and very magnificent they were. The fireworks 
were, I suppose, as fine as that time could produce. 
I recollect on that day, while sitting on a bench 
so placed as to overlook a very large piece of 
water surrounded by beech plantations, hearing 
the remarks of two old women. " Lawk, how 
unkid," said one, "you can see nothin' but water!" 
" Oh, bless you," replied her more knowing com- 
panion, " why, the sea's twice as big as that." 

Of the architecture of Stowe I cannot say much 
from memory, nor is it necessary, as it remains, I 
believe, intact. 

As Stowe was my introduction to classic archi- 
tecture and high art, so was my liking for gothic 
architecture due to the old churches in my own 
neighbourhood. The district is not famed for its 
ancient churches, yet it possesses several of con- 
siderable merit. Our own village was utterly 
devoid of early remains, though I venerated the 
old " Chapel Close," where its ancient church or 
chapel had once stood. In the same way 
Buckingham had lost its old church, a very fine 
edifice, which fell in 1776. My drawing-master, 
Mr. Jones, remembered its fall, and told me that 
it had an aisle called the Gawcott Aisle. The 
old churchyard remains, though the church now 
stands on the Castle Hill, and a very ungainly 
edifice it is. 1 There is only one really ancient 
building in Buckingham, the chapel of St. Thomas 
of Canterbury, now a grammar school. 

The building which first directed my attention 
to gothic architecture was the church of Hillesden, 

1 Its reconstruction, under my father's direction, was in 
progress at the time of his death. ED. 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 43 

situated two miles to the south of Gawcott. This 
is a church of late date, but of remarkable beauty. 
It was our great lion, and every new comer was 
taken to see it on the earliest possible opportunity, 
and was appraised by me in proportion to his 
appreciation of its beauties. 

I always looked upon Hillesden with the most 
romantic feelings. It was a beautiful spot as 
compared with our neighbourhood in general ; 
it was situated on a considerable elevation, sur- 
rounded by fine old plantations and avenues of 
lofty trees conspicuous throughout the district. 
Near the church stood the " Great House," a 
deserted mansion of the time, I believe, of Charles 
II. The place had, from early in the i6th century, 
belonged to the family of Denton. They were 
staunch Royalists, and had suffered severely during 
the Great Rebellion. We used to be told that 
Sir Alexander Denton, the then proprietor, after 
a vigorous defence of his mansion, was taken 
prisoner, and after being conducted for some 
distance from his home, was made to look back to 
see his residence in flames. He died in prison. 
The family in the direct line had become extinct, 
and its last member, having married Mr. Coke of 
Holkham, became the mother of the celebrated 
Mr. Thomas William Coke, afterwards Earl of 
Leicester. He was the proprietor of Hillesden 
in my early days, and I recollect going to the 
house of a farmer whose wife boasted that they 
had been playfellows when children. The house 
had been much reduced in size, but what re- 
mained, though uninhabited, retained its old furni- 
ture. I particularly remember the bedrooms, the 

44 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

beds being placed in odd recesses between two 
closets partitioned off on either side, through 
which you would have to pass, to get into bed, by 
doors in their sides. The grounds still retained 
their old form with terraces and a large fish-pond. 
There were also the stables, of earlier date, proba- 
bly of Edward the Sixth's time, and a rather ele- 
gant octagonal dove-cote of brick. Mr. Coke had 
repeatedly refused to sell the Hillesden estate to 
the Duke of Buckingham, but at length it was 
purchased by Mr. Farquhar of Font Hill, who 
immediately afterwards sold it to the duke. This 
was a sorrowful event to me, as the duke was in 
my eyes the great enemy of local history. He 
soon destroyed the old house, and carried off the 
curious old sentry-box, in the form of a brick gate- 
pier, to Stowe, while timber began to disappear, 
and keepers destroyed the liberty of the woods, 
and the little glory which had remained departed. 

The church, however, was there after all, and 
to it I made my frequent pilgrimages, and a little 
later dear old Mr. Jones used to meet me there 
to teach me how to sketch. These were, perhaps, 
the happiest occasions of my youth, and I look 
back upon them now with a glow of delight. 

Hillesden Church is, as I have said of late date. 
The tower is humbler in its pretensions than the 
rest of the church, and is of rather early and simple 
" perpendicular " work. The church itself was 
begun in 1493, by the monks of Nutley, to whom 
the rectorial tithes belonged. It is a very ex- 
quisite specimen of this latest phase of Gothic 
architecture, and possesses all the refinement of 
its best examples, such as the royal chapels at 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 45 

Westminster and Windsor. Indeed, I have seen 
no detail of that period to surpass those of this 
church. In plan it consists of a nave with aisles 
and quasi-transepts, a large chancel with north 
aisle, a sacristy of two stories at the north-east 
angle of the chancel aisle, the upper story of 
which is approached by a very large newel stair 
at the extreme north-eastern angle. This stair- 
turret is a very exquisite and striking feature, 
being finished with a sort of crown of flying 
buttresses and pinnacles, of which I have seen 
no other instance, indeed it is one of the most 
beautifully-designed features I know. 2 The upper 
sacristy has a series of radiating loop-holes look- 
ing into the church. The walls of the chancel 
are ornamented by stone panelling. The ceilings 
throughout had panels of plaster, with wood 
mouldings. I have since seen some which had 
unhappily been taken down, and found the plaster 
to be in thick and very hard slabs, on which were 
set out curious geometric figures, drawn with the 
compasses, as if to form the guides for painted 
decorations. The rood screen was perfect, and of 
exquisite beauty. The fittings were nearly all of 
the original date, and very good, though, of course, 
of very late character. The chief exception was 
the great square pew of the Dentons, a somewhat 
dignified work of Charles the Second's reign, 
furnished with great high-backed chairs. 

The monuments of the Dentons were, of course, 
of very varied date, from Edward the Sixth's time, 
or thereabouts, downwards. There is, by the way, 

2 Its design was reproduced by my father in the angle turret 
of the new buildings at King's College, Cambridge. ED. 

46 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

a fine monument to one of the earliest of the 
family (after Hillesden had come into their hands) 
in Hereford Cathedral, which I have lately had 
the pleasure of reinstating, after it had been lying 
in pieces for twenty years. 3 The north porch is a 
very charming structure, of exquisite design and 
finish. The churchyard cross appears to be of 
the fourteenth century. I greatly hope to have a 
hand in the restoration of the church to which I owe 
so much as my initiator into Gothic architecture. 4 
I fear it is in a very damaged state. I should men- 
tion the remains of painted glass which it contains. 
They are beautiful fragments, in the style of 
those in King's College chapel, though more deli- 
cate in finish. The principal remains illustrate 
the life of the patron, St. Nicholas. In other 
windows, where most of the glass is gone, frag- 
ments remain in the heads, containing charming 
representations of mediaeval cities, such as one 
sees in the background of Van Eyck's pictures. 

I recollect my father writing to the Duke of 
Buckingham to urge his repairing this church. 
The result was that his Grace whitewashed the 
exterior of the tower ! 

Maids Morton church, the second in rank in 
our district, is also of " perpendicular " date, but 
earlier. Its tower is of admirable and unique 
design. It, at that time, retained its old seats, 
with fleur-de-lis poppy-heads ; also a beautiful 
stoup by the doorway, all which have since been 
ruthlessly destroyed. 

Tingewick Church was the nearest to Gawcott 

3 Cf. infra, p. 294. 

4 This wish was realized in 1874 and 1875. ED. 

CHAP, i.] Recollections, 47 

of our mediaeval structures. It was a good church, 
containing norman arcades and a few fragments in 
the south wall of the same date ; the rest, I think, 
all " perpendicular." The tower was attributed 
to William of Wykeham. It has since undergone 
strange transmogrifications. The south wall has 
been rebuilt, I think, twice, and much good and 
interesting old work destroyed. My father, at 
different times, took the curacies of Hillesden and 
Tingewick in combination with Gawcott. 

The only other church I will mention as con- 
nected with my youthful days is Chetwood. I 
was never more astonished than when I first saw 
this church, never having before seen or heard of 
" early english " architecture. It is a fragment of 
a small monastic church, and its east window con- 
sists of five noble lancets, with, externally, plain 
but bold detail. On either side are fine triplets. 
Never having before seen such windows, I was 
greatly perplexed at them, and, failing to get the 
key, and being reduced to peeping through the 
keyhole of the west door, I was astonished and 
puzzled to find that the east windows had shafts 
with foliated capitals, a thing I had never seen 
and could not understand. I remember continuing 


all day in a state of morbid excitement on the 
subject, and having no access to architectural 
books, it was very long ere I solved the mystery. 
My taking in this way to old churches first led 
my father to think of my becoming an architect, 
and, after consulting with my uncle King on the 
subject, this became a fixed arrangement. I was 
then about fourteen years old, and shortly after- 
wards my uncle very kindly offered to take me 

48 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

under his own charge, and to superintend me in 
studies having a tendency in that direction. I 
accordingly took up my residence at Latimer's, in 
1826. I had, two years before, made a trip to 
London, where my eyes were opened to much 
which I had never thought of before. West- 
minster Abbey, I need not say, I was charmed 
with ; it was the only gothic minster I had seen ; 
nor did I see any other, excepting St. Albans and 
Ely, till after my articles had expired, in 1830! 
I recollect that when I saw Westminster Abbey, 
in 1824, they were putting up the present reredos, 
or rather " restoring " in " artificial stone " the old 
one. 5 

My uncle's instruction was mainly in mathe- 
matics ; he carried me on through trigonometry 
and mechanics, in which I took great pleasure. 
He also gave me direct instruction in architecture, 
of which he possessed a very fair knowledge. I 
was by him initiated into classic architecture, both 
Greek and Roman ; and a friend of his (the Rev. 
H. Foyster), who had been once intended for our 
profession, having lent me a copy of Sir William 
Chambers' work, and some one else a portion of 
Stewart's Athens, I was able to follow up architec- 
tural drawing, as then taught, pretty systematically, 
and by the time I was articled I had already been 
put through my facings to a certain reasonable 
extent. I think I also had access to Rickman, as I 
certainly got to know the ordinary facts as to the 
different periods of mediaeval architecture. The 
only treatise I had before seen on this subject had 

5 This was restored anew in alabaster and marble in 1866. 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 49 

been an article in the Edinburgh Encyclopedia, of 
which I remember little but the illustrations, more 
especially a west elevation of Rheims Cathedral, 
in which I took, when quite a child, the greatest 
delight. I stayed, I suppose, with my uncle about 
a twelvemonth, on and off. Though a somewhat 
solitary life, it was one of very great pleasure and 
enjoyment. The country there is peculiarly 
charming, and so wholly different from my own 
home as to be like a new world. My love of 
woodland was here transferred from oak-woods, 
choked up with hazel and blackthorn, to beech- 
woods, through which you may wander without 
obstruction. The very wild-flowers and wild 
fruits were different, while the search for chalce- 
donies and fossils, among the flints with which the 
woods were bestrewed, afforded amusement to my 
solitary wanderings and pleasure in showing upon 
my return what I had found. My uncle was a 
man of infinite resources. Turning, carried to a 
perfection probably never surpassed, mechanical 
pursuits of other kinds, practical astronomy and 
other branches of science, occupied his leisure 
hours, while his conversation was always lively 
and instructive. My aunt, too, was a person of 
great talent and attainments ; and they had occa- 
sionally at their table persons of extensive infor- 
mation, while they themselves visited at the aris- 
tocratic houses of the neighbourhood, and their 
company was sought after, as of persons of talent 
and varied information. 

The twin villages of Isenhampstead Latimers 
and Isenhampstead Cheynies (commonly called 
Latimers and Cheynies) are situated within a mile 


5O Sir Gilbert Scott. 

of one another, and are rivals in beauty of situa- 
tion. They both overlook the charming valley of 
the little Chiltern trout-stream, the " Chess," which 
rises five miles off, at Chesham, and falls into the 
Colne, near Watford. This little valley is not 
much known to the world at large, though of 
exquisite beauty, and now, or formerly, containing 
the dwelling-places of some noble families. Chey- 
nies was the old residence of the family of 
Cheyney, and later of the Russells, whose original 
seat there is still in existence (though now but 
a farmhouse), and whose mortal remains are still 
brought here from the more lordly abbey of 
Woburn, and here deposited in their final resting- 
place. Latimers (now, by the dictum of its pro- 
prietor, called Latimer) is one of the residences of 
the Cavendish family. It belonged, at the time 
I am speaking of, to old Lord George Cavendish, 
afterwards created Earl of Burlington. He was 
brother to a former Duke of Devonshire, uncle to 
the then duke, and grandfather of the present 
duke. He was a noted patron of " the turf," and 
had another seat at Holkar in Furness. His 
eldest son, the father of the present duke, was 
dead, and his next son, Mr. Charles Cavendish 
(the late Lord Chesham) was the expectant heir 
of Latimers. 

The two " great houses " were both probably 
of the age of Henry VII. or Henry VIII. 
(Latimers perhaps a little later), and both were 
chiefly famous for their chimneys. Latimers had 
been spoiled in the Strawberry Hill style, with 
the exception of its beautiful stacks of tall octa- 
gonal chimney-shafts, in charming proportions 

CHAP, i.] Recollections. 51 

and profile, but all alike. Cheynies had been so 
dismantled that its chief glory was also in these 
its upper regions, but unlike those at Latimers they 
were nearly all different in design, the shafts being 
decorated with varied and admirably executed 
pattern-work in brick. 

Both still remain, though those at Cheynies 
have their caps reconstructed and spoiled. The 
house at Latimers has been rebuilt by Blore all 
but its chimneys. Latimers is charmingly situated, 
and I think my uncle's rectory was even better 
placed than the great house. The church was 
modern and vile, but the village which was in 
two parts, one on the hill and the other below, 
was very picturesque, with old timber houses, 
and a glorious old elm tree of towering height 
on the little green. The upper village is now 
destroyed, and the whole merged into the 
" grounds," perhaps to the increase of the beauty, 
but certainly to the diminution of the interest 
of the place. Latimers is a sort of hamlet of the 
little town of Chesham, five miles up the valley, 
where my brother John (now Rector of Tyd St. 
Giles-' in Cambridgeshire, 6 ) was at the time articled 
to a medical man, Mr. Rumsey. This was an 
increase to my happiness, as I could occasionally 
walk over and see him. My recollection of the 
whole district is as of a little paradise. The hills, 
valley, river, trees, flowers, fruits, fossils, &c., all 
seem encircled in a kind of imaginary halo. I 
fancy I never saw such wild flowers or ate such 
cherries or such trout as there. There I ter- 

6 Since preferred to the living of Wisbech and to an honorary 
canonry of Ely. 

E 2 

52 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

minated my childhood, and thence I emerged into 
the wide world, in the prosaic turmoil of which 
I have ever since been immersed. 

Here, then, let me bid good-bye to my childish 
years, strange, half-mythic days, full of quaint, 
rough interest, full of faults and regrets, yet of 
pleasure, of thankfulness, and of affection. Oh ! 
that I had availed myself of the many privileges 
of those my early days, of their religious oppor- 
tunities, and of their means of intellectual im- 
provement ! But regrets are unavailing. Let me 
rather thank God for my pious and excellent 
parents and for the many blessings of my life, 
and crave His forgiveness for my negligence and 


WHILE I was under the direction and tuition of 
my uncle King, he and his father, Thomas King 
of London, were on the look-out for an architect 
to whom to article me. It was a sine-qua-non 
that he should be a religious man, and it was 
necessary that his terms should be moderate. 
They happened to inquire of Mr. Charles Dudley, 
travelling agent to the Bible Society, who, after 
telling them that there was scarcely a religious 
architect in London, recommended Mr. Edmes- 
ton, better known as a poet than as an architect, 
and it was finally settled that I was to go to him 
on or about Lady Day, 1827. 

About this time I may mention, by the way, 
that old John West's church had shown signs of 
falling to pieces, and my father, after the first 
perplexity was over, set vigorously to work to 
raise subscriptions for rebuilding it. He was 
wonderfully supported by religious friends in all 
parts of the country, and raised, I think, I4oo/., or 

I 5<DO/. 

Among the large subscribers I recollect Mr. 
Broadley Wilson, Mr. Joseph Wilson, and Mr. 
Deacon, all men of note in the city, also Mrs. 
Lawrence, of Studley Park, Yorkshire. It was 

54 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

unlucky that the rebuilding of the church should 
have been necessary at perhaps the darkest 
period, or nearly so, of church architecture 
(though not quite so bad as that of old Mr. West, 
to be sure). 

My father was again his own architect, made 
his own working drawings, and contracted with 
his builder at Buckingham, Mr. Will more. I 
cannot say much about either design or execu- 
tion ; but these were days to be winked at, as no 
one knew anything whatever of the subject. It 
did, however, exceed the old church, in having a 
western tower and an eastern apse, and is more 
reasonable in arrangement, though not much 
more ecclesiastical. 

I often wish we had it now to build. I 
recollect one day, when its foundations were 
being put in, our friend Mr. Thomas Bartlett 
coming to see the work, and my father telling 
him that he was about to place me with an 
architect; Mr. Bartlett congratulated me upon it, 
and added, " I have no doubt you will rise to the 
head of your profession," when my father at once 
replied, " Oh no, his abilities are not sufficient 
for that." I hardly knew which to believe. It 
would have been conceited to hold with the 
one, but I could not quite knock under to the 

The new church was commenced, I fancy, 
when I was living at Latimers, but I saw a little 
of the work at intervals. It was my first 
initiation into practical building, though the 
lessons learned were not of the best, as Mr. Will- 
more was far from being a good builder. It was 

CHAP, ii.] Recollections. 55 

built of the rough bluish limestone of our Gaw- 
cott Pits, with dressings of a freestone from Cos- 
grove, near Stoney Stratford. 

During my stay at home before leaving for 
London, my brother Melville was born, just 
twenty years after the birth of my oldest brother, 
who was then at Cambridge. 

My father took me to London and placed me 
with Mr. Edmeston, with whom I lived at his 
house at Homerton, his office being at Salvador 
House, in Bishopsgate Street. The first remark 
of my new master which I recollect was to the 
effect, that the cost of gothic architecture was so 
great as to be almost prohibitory ; that he had 
tried it once at a dissenting chapel he had built at 
Leytonstone, and that the very cementing of the 
exterior had amounted to a sum which he named 
with evident dismay. 

I had no idea beforehand of the line of practice 
followed by my future initiator into the mysteries 
of my profession ; I went to him with a mythic 
veneration for his supposed skill and for his 
imaginary works, though without an idea of what 
they might be. The morning after I was de- 
posited at his house, he invited me to walk out 
and see some of his works when oh, horrors ! 
the bubble burst, and the fond dream of my 
youthful imagination was realized in the form 
of a few second-rate brick houses, with cemented 
porticoes of two ungainly columns each ! I shall 
never forget the sudden letting down of my aspi- 
rations. A somewhat romantic youth, assigned 
to follow the noble art of architecture for the love 
he had formed for it from the ancient churches 

56 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

of his neighbourhood, condemned to indulge his 
taste by building houses at Hackney in the debased 
style of 1827! I am not sure, however, that I 
was any very serious loser from this. Mr. 
Edmeston's practice was a mere blank-sheet as to 
matters of taste, and left me quite open to indulge 
in private my old preferences, or to choose in 
future what course I pleased. 

I learned, too, in his office a great deal which 
I might have missed in a better one. I learned 
all the common routine of building, specifying, &c., 
so far as was practised by him, and I had a good 
deal of time for reading and drawing on my own 
account. Still, however, I confess it had a lower- 
ing and deadening effect, and it failed to inspire 
me with that high artistic sentiment which ought 
to be impressed upon the mind of every young 

Mr. and Mrs. Edmeston were very kindly per- 
sons, and as they had a good library, which was 
my evening sitting-room, I had excellent oppor- 
tunities of that kind for self-improvement, and I 
think I took very fair advantage of them. I read 
much and drew much, made myself acquainted 
with classic architecture from books, such as 
Stewart's " Athens," the works of the Dilettante 
society, Vitruvius, &c., and with gothic, so far 
as the scanty means went. I thoroughly taught 
myself perspective in one fortnight, from Joshua 
Kirby, so much so that I have never had to look 
at a book on it again ; indeed, I used to set myself 
the most difficult problems, and invent new 
ways of solving them. I had liberal holidays at 
midsummer and christmas, when I went home, to 

CHAP. ii. J Recollections. 57 

my intense delight. In my summer holidays, I 
devoted most of my time to measuring and 
sketching at Hillesden, Maid's Morton, &c., and 
on my return I devoted my evenings for a long 
time to making drawings of what I had measured, 
most elaborately tinting them in indian ink, which 
was sponged nearly out twice over, according to 
the custom of the day. I remember indulging my 
rural yearnings, by designing a farm-yard and its 
buildings in true rustic style. I think it was on 
this occasion that Mr. Edmeston wrote seriously 
to my father, warning him that I was employ- 
ing my leisure hours on matters which could 
never by any possibility be of any practical use 
to me. 

I had at first only one fellow-pupil, one Enoch 
Hodgkinson Springbett. He was a very good 
sort of fellow, but without an aspiration beyond 
the class of practice he had been trained to ; I 
used to try to get him to work in his evenings 
without avail. His great pride was in his cards, 
on which he styled himself " Architect and Sur- 
veyor," and in mentioning certain gentlemen as 
his " clients." He was, however, well skilled in 
reducing the plans and elevations of Mr. Edmes- 
ton's houses to a very small scale, and drawing 
them with sparkling neatness in the margin of the 
sheet of drawing-paper on which the specification 
was written out in diamond text for the builder to 
sign as his contract. Thus I went on without a 
companion of my own taste, indeed for a long 
time without knowing a single student of architec- 
ture but Mr. Springbett. It is right, however, to 
mention that he used occasionallv to take lessons 

58 Sir Gilder ~t Scott. 

at the drawing-school of Mr. Grayson, nor would 
it be right to allow it to be supposed that Mr. 
Edmeston's taste in the abstract was proportioned 
to the nature of his practice. He really took 
much pleasure in, and appreciated fine works, 
whether ancient or modern, and being a man of 
literary tastes, his feelings and views were by no 
means in unison with his practice. He was, in 
point of fact, a most agreeable companion, and 
a man of liberal and refined mind, thoroughly 
well-informed and well-read, in fact a most supe- 
rior man in everything but his own direct profes- 
sional work, viewed in its artistic aspect. He 
had, too, a strong appreciation of artistic drawing, 
and recommended me to take lessons of Mr. 
Maddox, an architectural drawing-master of great 
talent. I delayed this very long, fearing to bur- 
den my father unduly. I greatly regret this ; I 
certainly ought to have followed up this extra 
tuition during the whole period of my pupilage. 
As it was, I did so only for a little more than the 
last year of the four of my articles. 

Mr. Maddox was certainly a man of real 
ability, with a wonderful power of drawing, and 
a high appreciation of art. He was, however, 
far from being an estimable man in other ways. 
He was an infidel, and his conversation on such 
subjects was " truly appalling. My lessons with 
him were much disturbed by my catching the 
smallpox, and by a very mournful occurrence 
of another kind, which led to a rather long 
absence ; but I gained great advantage from 
his instruction, and only wish I had had more of 
it. Among my fellow-pupils was Edwin Nash, 

CHAP, ii.] Recollections. 59 

who became my staunch friend. Morton Peto, 
who had just left Decimus Burton, and Thomas 
Henry Wyatt occasionally attended. 

The scanty holidays I obtained, in addition to 
the prolonged ones already mentioned, I used to 
devote to walking out to see old buildings within 
reach of London, and in my evenings in the 
summer, I searched out objects of architectural 
interest in London itself, so that what with books 
and with sketching, I obtained a very fair know- 
ledge of gothic architecture, by the time I was 
twenty years old, though I had hardly a thought 
of ever making use of it. Amongst the longer 
tours which helped me in my studies, I may name 
a pedestrian journey home, by way of St. Albans, 
a visit to my eldest brother at Cambridge, whence 
we walked over to Ely, and a journey to Northamp- 
ton and Geddington, to sketch the crosses. I had 
twice visited Waltham cross, so that I thoroughly 
knew, and had sketched in detail all of the three 
Eleanor crosses by the time I was nineteen years 

I well recollect the ardour with which I looked 
forward to seeing St. Albans. I wrote to my 
brother John at Chesham to ask him to go with 
me, or meet me there, and he came to London to 
accompany me. I had not, however, allowed my- 
self time to sketch. We went on to Dunstable, 
and I visited Leigh ton Buzzard, and Stewkley, on 
my way home. 

When I was in my articles old London Bridge 
was standing, though the present one was in 
course of erection. St. Saviour's, Southwark, was 
then in a certain sense complete. The choir was 

60 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

about that time, or just before, restored by old 
George Gwilt, while the nave, transepts and Lady 
chapel were untouched, though in a strange state 
externally, being faced with brick. Their interiors 
were, however, nearly perfect, but encumbered like 
other old churches with pews and galleries. The 
nave was a magnificent thing. There was a vast 
early-english double doorway, of great height and 
depth on the south side, and at the west was the 
fine early perpendicular doorway, which is given 
by the elder Pugin in his " Specimens," and the 
destruction of which is celebrated by his son in the 
" Contrasts." The Lady-chapel was almost a 
ruin, with unglazed windows boarded up : to the 
east of it projected a seventeenth-century chapel, 
containing the tomb of Bishop Andrewes. To the 
north of the church was a large vacant space, where 
the cloisters, &c., had stood, on the eastern side 
of which there still remained some remnants of 
the monastic buildings. There was also a late 
archway, to the north of the west front, leading 
into the open vacant ground. There was a fine 
late norman doorway on the north of the nave 
formerly leading into the cloisters. 

The fate of this noble church is melancholy but 
instructive. Old George Gwilt had restored the 
choir, and, with his son, had devoted to the work 
the most anxious and praiseworthy study. The 
style being by no means then understood, he had 
taken the utmost pains in studying it wherever he 
had the opportunity, and to whatever criticisms 
his work may be open, the result was on the whole 
highly to his credit. 

This anxious painstaking did not, however, suit 

CHAP, ii.] Recollections. 61 

the parishoners, and when the transept was to be 
proceeded with, they placed it in the hands of 
another architect, Mr. Wallace, who knew little or 
nothing of gothic architecture, and made but a poor 
affair of it. About this time, a parish squabble arose 
on the subject of the Lady chapel, and happily 
Gwilt offered, if funds could be raised, to give his 
services gratuitously, and we see the happy result. 
A few years later Mr. Wallace was deputed to 
report on the state of the roof of the nave, and 
with that perverse thoughtlessness which even in 
our own day characterizes such reports, he con- 
demned it at once as unsafe, the ends of the 
beams being decayed. 

Now about the same period a well-known 
architect had done the same at St. Albans, and 
had his report been followed out to its natural con- 
sequences we might have to deplore that glorious 
nave as a thing of the past ; but another architect, 
Mr. Cottingham (let us give him all praise for the 
act), offered to guarantee the safety of the roof, 
and to give his services gratuitously to save it, 
which he effected by inserting cast-iron shoes to 
the decayed beam ends. At St. Saviour's no 
such happy interposition took place, the con- 
demned roof was taken down in haste before 
arrangements were made for a new one. Parish 
squabbles, spreading over several years, caused 
the nave to remain a ruin, exposed to the ravages 
of the elements, till at length another surveyor 
was found to condemn it in toto, and to erect in 
its stead the contemptible structure now existing. 
Thus did London lose for ever one of the most 
valued of her ancient edifices. 

62 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

Hard by St. Saviour's were, and I fancy are 
now, the ruins of the Hall of the Bishop of Win- 
chester's palace, with its beautiful round window. 
The latter still exists, though immured in a ware- 
house wall. 

Crosby Hall, which was close by our office, was 
then a packer's warehouse, and was divided into 
three stories, an arrangement not so conducive to 
the appreciation of its beauty, as to the close 
inspection of its roof. 

Austin Friars Church was much as it is at 
present (or rather was until the late fire), barring 
the external cementing, which was not yet 

Winchester House, close to Austin Friars, was 
also then standing, an Elizabethan mansion 
erected by the Lord Winchester, to whom most 
of the property of this religious house had been 

St. Bartholomew's, in Smithfield, possessed 
somewhat more of its accompaniments than it 
now retains ; one side of the cloister existing, and 
a good deal of the south transept, though in ruins. 
A great fire occurred there in 1830, by which 
some parts were lost ; but I recollect that it 
brought to light the lower part of the walls 
of the Chapter-house, with fine early arcaded 

The ancient bridge over the Lea at Bow, may 
also be mentioned amongst the remnants of an- 
tiquity I then knew, but which have since 
perished. Waltham Cross was then unrestored, 
or rather unspoiled. 

The monotony of my life was from time to time 

CHAP. IL] Recollections. 63 

relieved by short visits from my eldest brother, 
on his journeys to and from Cambridge. He was 
a most amusing companion, and his little visits 
filled me with delight. My father, too, occasion- 
ally came to town, as did others of my family. I 
had at first no friend that I cared for but Robert 
Rumsey, the son of the medical man at Chesham, 
with whom my brother John was placed ; he had 
been a pupil of my father's, and was articled to 
Messrs. Longman, the publishers. We were very 
great friends. He subsequently gave up the busi- 
ness for which he had been intended, and became 
a stipendiary magistrate in the West Indies, 
where, I fancy, he still continues. 

Later, however, a great change came to me as 
to companionship, through my brother John 
coming to London to attend the hospitals. This 
was a very great relief and pleasure, and we 
almost lived together, always meeting to dine 
together at an eating-house in Bucklersbury. 

Mr. Edmeston was a dissenter at that time, 
though I think he subsequently joined the church; 
and I alternately attended service at the episcopal 
chapel at Homerton, known as " Ram's chapel," 
and at the " Jews' chapel," Bethnal Green, of 
which my old friend and kind patron, Mr. King 
(my uncle's father), was perpetual warden. On 
those alternate Sundays I dined and spent the 
day at Mr. King's house in London Fields, 
Hackney, and I shall never be sufficiently grate- 
ful for the kindness both of Mr. and Mrs. King, 
which was continued by the latter after her hus- 
band's death. 

The incumbent of the " Jews' chapel," was Mr. 

64 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

Hawtrey, a very gentlemanly person, and the 
curate was a noble old gentleman of the name of 
Fancourt. There was a tendency amongst the 
congregation to those views known at the time as 
" New Lights," and which subsequently culminated 
in Irvingism. I was one day startled at hearing 
thanksgivings offered up in the name of Miss Fan- 
court, the curate's daughter, for a miraculous reco- 
very from a long illness. The miracle had been 
performed through the agency of the Rev. Pierre- 
point Grieves, an Oxfordshire clergyman. It 
created much excitement at the time, and was 
unquestionably a very marvellous circumstance, 
though doubtless capable of being explained by 
natural causes. Mr. (afterwards Bishop) Alex- 
ander was a frequent preacher there, and Dr. 
Wolf was worshipped as a sort of demi-god, 
though not without a full appreciation of his 

My last year was ushered in by a great 
pleasure, followed up by the greatest affliction 
I had ever experienced. My next brother, 
Nathaniel Gilbert, three years my junior, had, 
since I left home, grown up into a very charming 
and noble-minded youth, of excellent ability, most 
amiable and genial disposition, and with a fine 
vein of semi-humourous, semi-romantic sentiment, 
which gave interest and expression to all he said. 
Early in 1830 he was articled to Messrs. Bridges 
and Mason, of Red Lion Square, who most gene- 
rously offered to forego their premium, out of con- 
sideration to my father. He took well to his new 
occupation, and promised great success. My 
delight at having him in London was more 

CHAP, ii.] Recollections. 65 

than I can express, for I loved him as my own 

My very office-work was gilded by the prospect 
of meeting him in the evening, which was 
managed by mutual arrangement. One evening 
after he had been in town a month, he told me he 
had a bad headache. I did not think much of 
that, as he had been rather subject to them ; but 
the next evening he failed to meet me, and on 
calling where he lived (the house of my excellent 
friend, Mrs. Boyes, then of Charterhouse Square), 
I found that he was ill. 

The illness increased day by day, and my poor 
mother was hurried up to attend him. It was soon 
evident that it was a case of brain-fever. And 
one evening, when I had hurried from the office to 
see how he was, I was bluntly told by the servant 
boy, that he was dead ! I shall never forget the 
stunning effect of the announcement ; my legs gave 
way beneath me, while incoherent sounds were 
involuntarily uttered, and I was with difficulty 
helped upstairs by my two brothers, Tom and 
John, who had hastened down to break the mourn- 
ful news to me. It was my first introduction to 
sorrow, and deep, deep it was. My health suffered 
much from it for some time. 

My poor brother Nat was but sixteen years 
old, but a fine well-developed fellow, of a noble 
countenance, and a fine bold disposition. I recol- 
lect some time earlier that he, and a pupil of my 
father's of the same standing, apprehended and 
secured a man who had been committing a robbery. 
And about the same time, when the inhabitants of 
Otmoor in Oxfordshire rose against the carrying 


66 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

out of an enclosure act, and the Bucks yeomanry 
were called out, he jumped on to one of the 
cannons as they passed through our village, and 
rode fourteen miles on it to see the fight. 

He lies buried in the churchyard of St. Botolph's, 
Aldersgate, where in 1841 I erected a monument 
to his memory, with an inscription which my father 
had given me some years earlier. 

I will, however, turn to more cheerful topics. 

My father's first cousin, the daughter of his 
eldest uncle, William, had married Mr. Oldrid of 
Boston, and when I was, as I suppose, about 
eleven, had brought her son, John Henry, 1 to 
Gawcott as a pupil. She had three daughters, the 
eldest of whom, Fanny, had once in these early 
days accompanied her to Gawcott, when it was 
supposed that my eldest brother was attracted by 
her. Some years later she and her two sisters went 
to school at Chesham, and on two occasions they 
spent their Christmas holidays at Gawcott, and an 
infinitely merry time it was. It was during these 
visits that my feelings towards my present dear 
wife, 2 the youngest of these cousins, grew up. 
My brother Nat was then at home, and the mer- 
riness of our party was perfect. I was not, 
however, aware that I was wounded, till the 
pain of parting began to be felt. But more of 
this anon. 

I must of necessity wind up the account of my 
pupilage with the narration of two circumstances. 
One was that during the latter period of it, 

1 Sometime lecturer at St. Botolph's, Boston, and since then 
Vicar of Alford. ED. 

4 She departed this life February 24th, 1872. ED. 

CHAP, ii.] Recollections. 67 

Mr. Edmeston very kindly appointed me and 
Springbett, joint clerks of the works to a small 
building, a proprietary school. We attended on 
alternate days, and to my no small advantage, 
though perhaps not to that of the building. The 
other circumstance was one which had a very 
strong influence on my subsequent life, though 
whether more for good or ill it is not easy to say. 
Certain, however, it is, that it was attended with 
many advantages, but also with much vexation 
of spirit. 

The circumstance was this. 

A builder named Moffatt, having taken a con- 
tract under Mr. Edmeston, induced him to 
receive his son, then about sixteen, as a pupil. 
Young Moffatt was a remarkably intelligent, though 
uneducated boy, a native of Cornwall. I remember 
before I saw him, Mr. Edmeston describing him 
to me with great satisfaction on the score of his 
bright intelligent appearance. It devolved upon 
me to help him through our office text-book, 
" Peter Nicholson's," and I found him ready in the 
extreme. He had been brought up at the bench, 
which was then always the case with a young 
builder, and was in theory held to be a good thing 
for an architect. He could do anything and every- 
thing which wood and tools could produce, from a 
four-panel door to the finest piece of cabinet work, 
and knew all the practical lore of the timber 
merchant, the builder, and the mechanic, a class of 
knowledge which I perhaps almost unduly appre- 
ciated, and which with the brightness of his 
uncultivated parts won for him in my mind a sort 
of regretful respect. 

F 2 

68 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

He was subject to lameness, the result of a 
fever, and soon becoming unable to go to town, 
and Mr. Edmeston having established a branch 
office at Hackney, near where Moffatt lived, it was 
arranged that he should be placed there, and I 
used to go in the mornings to instruct him in 
architectural drawing, Euclid, practical Geometry, 
and I think perspective, in all of which he got on 
remarkably well, so long as I continued at Mr. 
Edmeston's. I also persuaded him subsequently 
to take lessons of Mr. Maddox. 

After I left, he continued at Mr. Edmeston's 
city office for some time, till getting sick of having 
next to nothing to do, he rebelled, and refused 
further attendance ; but I shall have plenty to say 
of his subsequent progress before I have done. 

On leaving Mr. Edmeston's about Lady Day 
1831, I went for a month to visit my uncle and 
aunt King at Latimers, where I again saw my 
merry cousin, Carry Oldrid. My uncle met with 
a serious accident while I was there, by the break- 
ing of a ladder, by which we were getting to the 
roof of the house, the ladder breaking between his 
feet and my hands, so that he fell to the ground 
while I escaped. Happily he was not very 
seriously hurt, though he long felt the effects of it. 
This threw me all the more into the society of my 
favourite cousin, and fanned the spark already 

I may note here as an archaeological memoran- 
dum, that during this visit I walked over to 
King's Langley, where I found a farmer, on whose 
ground was the site of the ancient monastic estab- 
lishment, digging up the foundations of the church ; 

CHAP. n.J Recollections. 69 

many of the bases were exposed to view, exhibit- 
ing the plan of a cross church of the first order. I 
compared it at the time to Westminster Abbey. 
I recollect that the bases were of purbeck marble, 
and belonged to columns surrounded by eight 
detached shafts, with larger piers at the crossings. 

The farmer was taking a plan of it before the 
removal of the bases. I mention this because it 
is not generally known. I fear the plan can 
hardly now be extant. 

This visit to Latimers was one of peculiar 
delight. The April of 1831 was as bright and 
genial as the May was severe, and both in one 
respect symbolized my own feelings. The 
Latimers country was charming that April. The 
tender green of the beechwoods, luxuriant before 
its wonted time, and relieved at all points by the 
blossom of the wild cherry ; the snowy splendour 
of the cherry orchards ; the hedgerows and woods 
gemmed with wild flowers, and all nature rejoicing 
in the all too early spring, offered enjoyments almost 
intoxicating to one who had not seen the country 
at this season for four years, and now saw it in an 
unusually exquisite spot, and at an antedated 
season ; but this was accompanied by something 
much more fascinating, the society of my cousin, 
who was the constant companion of my walks. 

On my proceeding at the end of this enchanted 
sojourn, to Gawcott, oh how plain and homely 
everything looked! My dear sister, Euphemia,was 
quite hurt at my admiring nothing. The very 
primroses were pale and colourless compared with 
those at Latimers. The plain homely Oxford 
clay district, with its lopped hedgerow timber and 

70 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

its oakwoods, looked sadly prosaic after the beauties 
of the Chiltern land. My sister suspected a deeper 
cause, and privately suggested it to my mother, 
who, with the decision and commanding force which 
were her characteristics, at once brought me to 
book, and absolutely prohibited any further indul- 
gence of such sentiments, partly on account of my, 
for long years to come, dependent position. 

I really had not indulged specific and acknow- 
ledged intentions, though certainly harbouring 
warm sentiments, but this lecture determined me 
to resist them for the present at least, and my 
state of mind was aptly symbolized by the deep 
snow and sharp frost, by which May was ushered 
in, which killed and blackened the precocious 
growths of the too early spring to a degree which 
I have never witnessed since, and which was said 
by the knowing ones, but mistakenly, to be beyond 
the powers of summer to restore. 

I spent a couple of months at home sketching, 
making sundry drawings, &c., and then paid a visit 
to my eldest brother, who was settled at Goring 
on the Thames, a charming spot, where I also 
sketched a little among the old churches, &c., and 
indulged a few thoughts of my cousin Carry, who 
had recently been there. Shortly afterwards I set 
out on the longest journey I had yet taken, a visit 
to my uncle at Hull. 

On this journey I sketched a good deal, and 
saw much which delighted me. I went to Peter- 
borough, Stamford, Grantham, Newark, Lincoln, 
Howden, Selby, York, Bridlington, Beverly, 
Boston, Tattershall, &c. I also had a pleasant 
coasting trip to Scarborough and Flam borough 

CHAP. IL] Recollections. 71 

Head. My visit to Hull, too, was a very merry 
one, and I formed a more intimate friendship with 
my cousin John, 3 which has lasted ever since. 
On my return I saw my cousin Carry again, but 
followed the prudential counsels of my mother, as 
closely as I could. 

This journey was a very great advantage to 
me ; it opened out and extended greatly my 
knowledge of gothic architecture, and tended to 
reduce my shy, taciturn, and somewhat gauche 
manner, a point in which I was by nature at a 
great disadvantage. 

I now entered upon the second stage of my 
professional life. Returning to London, I ob- 
tained many introductions to architects and others, 
several of whom gave me good advice, varying 
with their particular practice or antecedents. I 
think it was Mr. Waller, a well-known surveyor, 
who advised me to put myself with a builder; 
and, obtaining an introduction to Mr. (now Sir 
Samuel Morton) Peto, I placed myself with him 
and Mr. Grissell, his partner, giving such ser- 
vices as I could offer, in return for having the 
run of their workshops, and of their London 

It is impossible for me to exaggerate the ad- 
vantages of this arrangement in giving me an 
insight into every description of practical work ; 
and that on a scale and of kinds greatly differing 
from what I had been accustomed to. I was 
specially stationed at the Hungerford Market, 
then in progress of erection under Mr. Fowler, to 

3 Afterwards Vicar of St. Mary's, Hull. He died in 1865. 

72 Sir Gilbert Scot I. 

whose very talented and excellent Clerk of the 
Works (the late Mr. Colling) I was under very 
great obligations for kind and continued aid in 
my pursuit of practical information. The work 
was constructed on principles then new. Iron 
girders, Yorkshire landings, roofs and platforms 
of tiles in cement, and columns of granite being 
its leading elements. 

I got much information, too, in the joiner's shop, 
from the foreman, from the clerks in the office, 
and especially from assisting in measuring up 
work, usually with the foreman. I had at one 
time to assist two surveyors of eminence, Mr. 
Roper and Mr. Higgins, in measuring up all the 
work in a row of houses in which Mr. Peto and 
Mr. Grissell lived, in furtherance of some arrange- 
ment under the will of the late Mr. Peto, and a 
most valuable lesson it was. 

I ought, too, to mention the advantage of con- 
stant reference to Mr. Fowler's working drawings, 
some of the best and most perspicuous I have 
ever seen, and of selecting from Messrs. G. and 
P.'s office copies of specifications by different 
architects, which I was kindly allowed to take to 
my lodgings, and make copious extracts from. 

I may mention that my brother John and I 
lodged together during a part of this time in 
Warwick Court, Holborn, where I continued to 
live long after he had left town, and where my 
stay was from time to time enlivened by visits 
from my cousin John from Hull, and sometimes 
from my father and my uncle John, and now and 
then by my eldest brother taking for some weeks 
together the duty of his rector, who held a 

CHAP, ii.] Recollections. 73 

plurality, being incumbent of one of Barry's 
Islington churches. 

My stay with Grissell and Peto, though I seem 
to have made much of it, was not of long con- 
tinuance. It became necessary that I should be 
doing something for my living ; and Mr. Peto did 
not quite relish my prying so closely as I was 
wont, into the foundations of the prices of work 
and materials, though both he and Mr. Grissell 
were most kind towards me. I accordingly some 
time in 1833 entered the office of my very 
excellent friend, Mr. Henry Roberts, who had 
recently obtained by competition the appointment 
of architect to the new Fishmongers' Hall, at the 
foot of new London Bridge. 

Mr. Roberts had, subsequently to his original 
period of pupilage, been for a considerable time in 
the office of Sir Robert Smirke, whose tastes, 
habits, modes of construction, and method of 
making working drawings, he had thoroughly 
imbibed. He had subsequently made the length- 
ened continental tour customary in those days, 
and had not, I think, very long been in practice 
since his return. He was in independent circum- 
stances, and was a gentlemanly, religious, precise, 
and quiet man. I was the only clerk in the office 
at the time, though he subsequently took a pupil, 
so that I had the advantage of making all the 
working drawings of this considerable public 
building, from the foundation to the finish ; and of 
helping in measuring up the extras and omissions, 
as well as of constantly seeing the work during its 

This engagement lasted two years, and though 

74 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

most beneficial to me, it seems almost a blank in 
my memory, from its even and uneventful cha- 
racter. I recollect that during that time I once 
ventured into a public competition for the gram- 
mar school at Birmingham. I also got a picture 
one year (I don't recollect trying again) into the 
exhibition, and attended a course of Sir John 
Soane's lectures, at the Royal Academy. I often 
contemplated becoming a student there, and 
chalked out Gothic designs, but I never followed 
it up. I do not think I did much in sketching 
at this time, Smirkism and practical work having 
for a time chilled my own tastes ; nor had I any 
advantages of artistic study. It was a dull, blank 
period, and I think I was to blame for it. 

I have little recollection of my visits home 
during this time, though in the course of it I lost 
my aunt Gilbert. I remember, however, one visit. 
My father being presented by the Bishop of Lin- 
coln (Kaye) to the living of Wappenham, North- 
amptonshire, eleven miles north of Gawcott, I 
went with him to reconnoitre, and, having to build 
a new house there, I supplied him with a very 
ugly design, founded on one of Mr. Roberts' 
plans, which his old builder, Mr. Willmore, took 
care to spoil and slight, as much as he thought 
necessary for his own purposes. About this 
time, also, I was requested by my friend, Henry 
Rumsey, who had succeeded to his father's 
practice at Chesham, to plan him a house there. 
My taste seemed under a cold spell, and the 
design, though convenient enough, was wholly 
devoid of any attempt at architectural character. 
He wanted to employ several local tradesmen 

CHAP, ii.] Recollections. 75 

and I named my old fellow-pupil Moffatt as clerk 
of the works, who was also to get a good deal of 
the joiner's work done in London under his father. 
Thus was recommenced an acquaintance productive 
of such marked influence on my future career. 
Moffatt performed his duties most efficiently and 
cleverly, but with so little tact as to make an 
enemy of his employer for the very acts by which 
he was best promoting his interests, while I lost in 
my friend's esteem by defending my representative. 

In the spring of 1834, Mr. Roberts kindly gave 
me the appointment of clerk of the works to a 
small work at Camberwell, which I superintended 
throughout its erection, which was very rapid, 
and was completed in the autumn of the same 
year. My conscience tells me that this arrange- 
ment was much more beneficial to myself than to 
the building. 

I now made up my mind to attempt to get into 
practice, but previous to doing so, I took three 
months' holiday, which, foreign travel being out 
of the question, I spent partly at Wappenham, 
and on visits to my uncle King and my eldest 
brother, and partly in a sketching tour, on which 
I was accompanied by my friend Edwin Nash. 
I sketched a good deal during this interval, and 
did something towards recovering my old but 
dormant tastes. My stay at my father's new 
home was very delightful to me, but how much 
more precious had I known that it was my last 
visit to him. His health had evidently much 
failed him of late, and I heard whispers of deadly 
maladies, but they seemed as idle tales to my 
sanguine mind. 

76 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

Alas ! how soon they proved Far otherwise. 

While we were on this tour we heard the 
news of the destruction of the Houses of Par- 

I remember with great interest the many even- 
ings spent in hearing the debates within the walls 
of old St. Stephen's, where I was familiar with 
the eloquence of Peel, Stanley (afterwards Lord 
Derby), O'Connell, Lord John Russell, and others, 
with the early efforts of the then youthful and 
blooming Gladstone, and the quaint absurdities of 
old Cobbett. 

The old St. Stephen's resembled a rather sump- 
tuous methodist chapel, all its real architecture 
being concealed by wainscotting and round-topped 
windows, denying every hint of the real ones. 
When I saw it on my return to London, how 
changed was its aspect ! It seemed as if the 
subject of an enchanter's spell, and converted 
suddenly from a mean conventicle into a Gothic 
ruin of unrivalled beauty, glowing with the 
scorched but quite intelligible remnants of its 
gorgeous decorative colouring. The destruction 
of this precious architectural relic is the single 
blot upon the fair shield of Sir Charles Barry. 

About this time the new Poor-law Act had 
come into operation, and my friend Kempthorne, 
just returned home from his continental tour, had, 
through the interest of the Chief Commissioner, 
who was a friend of his father's, been employed to 
prepare normal designs for the proposed Union 

Being inexperienced, he, in an unhappy moment, 
called in the aid of his old master, Mr. Voysey, 

CHAP, ii.] Recollections* 77 

who, though a clever and ingenious practical 
man, had not one spark of taste, and took a very 
exaggerated view of the necessity for economy. 
The assistant commissioners were instructed to 
press upon the newly-formed boards of guardians 
the desirableness of employing Mr. Kempthorne, 
the commissioners' architect ; and thus poor 
Kempthorne was placed under the real dis- 
advantage (though seeming advantage) of having 
a vast practice thrust upon him before his expe- 
rience had fitted him to conduct it, while he 
embarked with a set of ready-made designs of 
the meanest possible character, and very defective 
in other particulars. 

While visiting my brother at Goring about 
Christmas, 1834, I received a letter from Kemp- 
thorne, telling me that a set of chambers next to 
his own, in Carlton Chambers, Regent Street, was 
vacant, and that if I liked to take them, he could 
find employment for my leisure time, in assisting 
him with his Union Workhouses. I closed with 
this and was soon ensconced in my new chambers 
and busied on work even more mean than that of 
my pupilage. This had not, however, continued 
more than a few weeks, when one morning Kemp- 
thorne entered my room with an expression on his 
countenance which soon showed me that he was 
the bearer of heavy tidings. He soon broke to 
me, kindly and gently, for he was a good, kind 
fellow, the sad intelligence of the sudden death of 
my father. 

Here was a stunning blow, of which I had 
experienced no parallel ! I will not go into our 
family grief, my poor widowed mother's prostra- 

78 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

tion, nor the sudden break-up of our happy home. 
After the first flood of grief was passed, and my 
father's honoured remains were deposited along- 
side of those of old John West, in the church at 
Gawcott, action and decision became the necessi- 
ties of our position. My two eldest brothers were 
fairly on their own hands, and my eldest sister was 
married to my cousin, the Rev. J. H. Oldrid, who 
had succeeded my father at Gawcott. I was the 
eldest of six still unsettled in life, and I must 
adopt my course with promptitude, or my chances 
in life were gone. 

The two steps I took were, first to write a kind 
of circular to every influential friend of my 
father's I could think of, informing them that I had 
commenced practice, and begging their patronage, 
and secondly, to quit Kempthorne, and to use my 
interest to obtain the appointment of architect to 
the Union Workhouses in the district where my 
father had been known. Both steps were happily 
attended with success. Several friends placed 
small works in my hands, and I succeeded by a 
strenuous canvass of every guardian in obtaining 
appointments to four unions in our immediate 

This was a success for which I have to thank a 
gracious Providence, and without which I really do 
not know what course I could have taken. Now, 
however, I found myself in a few months in what 
was to me good practice, though for a time unpro- 
ductive, and involving considerable outlay, in 
which I was helped by my mother out of her 
scanty means, and it would be contemptible if I 
allowed pride to lead me to ignore it by my share 

CHAP, ii.] Recollections. 79 

in a fund, which was, wholly unasked, subscribed 
as a testimonial to, and a help to the descendants 
of, the Commentator, my grandfather. 

If the three previous years come back to my 
memory as a mere blank, those which succeeded 
seem an era of turmoil, of violent activity and 
exertion. For weeks I almost lived on horseback, 
canvassing newly formed unions. Then alternated 
periods of close, hard work in my little office at 
Carlton Chambers, with coach journeys, chiefly by 
night, followed by meetings of guardians, search- 
ing out of materials, and hurrying from union to 
union, often riding across unknown bits of country 
after dark, sudden sweet peeps in at my poor 
mother's new home, (a nice old house at Wappen- 
ham, where my brother had, by Bishop Kaye's 
kindness, succeeded my father at the rectory,) with 
flying visits to Gawcott and elsewhere, as occasion 

I employed one clerk, and had invited Moffatt 
to come to help me in preparing my early work- 
ing drawings, which he did with the utmost dili- 
gence and efficiency, and on the works of one 
union commencing, and those of others within 
reach being about to commence, I recommended 
him as resident superintendent of a little circuit of 
buildings within a few miles of one another. He 
accordingly took up his residence at one of those 
places whence he was to ride the round of the 

By some strange coincidence of circumstances 
an influential magistrate in Wiltshire had become 
acquainted with x and. taken a fancy to Moffatt, 
and had invited him' down there, promising to use 

8o Sir Gilbert Scott. 

his influence in getting him appointed architect to 
the Amesbury Union House. He went accord- 
ingly and succeeded, and we made the plans and 
working drawings at my office. 

An anomalous state of things was thus set up. 
I was architect to four union workhouses in one 
district, to which Moffatt was clerk of the works, 
while he was architect to one in a distant part 
of the country, the drawings for which were 
made at my office. This led him to come and 
make a formal proposal to me. I agreed to this 
proposal, and it became the foundation of our 
future partnership. I will here stop these hard, 
dull incidents, and speak of a circumstance of a 
very different and more interesting character. 

Early in the period which I have been describ- 
ing, during one of my visits to Wappenham, my 
mother had told me that my cousin Carry Oldrid 
had just come on a visit to Gawcott, and that if 
my old feelings continued towards her, she did 
not desire me to be influenced by what, three 
or four years previously, she had said. I met 
my cousin at Buckingham, and, thus set free, 
my old sentiments came back upon me like a 
flood. I spent a day or two at Gawcott in her 
society, and I soon found myself over head and 
ears in love. In a few months we were engaged, 
though without any near prospect of marriage. 
This afforded a softening and beneficial relief to 
the too hard, unsentimental pursuits which at this 
time almost overwhelmed me, and to which I 
must now return. 

The effect of Moffatt's new arrangement was 
magical. He followed up union-hunting into 

CHAP, ii.] Recollections. 81 

Devonshire and Cornwall with almost uniform 
success, and my poor little quartette of works 
round my old home soon became as nothing, 
when compared with the engagements which 
flowed in upon us as partners. Moffatt's own 
exertions were almost superhuman, and when I 
recollect that no railways came to his help, I feel 
perfectly amazed to think of what he effected. 

When I first set about this poor-law work, I 
considered the look of the buildings as wholly out 
of the question, and felt myself bound in a great 
degree to the arrangements laid down by the 
published plans of the commissioners, though I 
attempted better construction than they prescribed. 
I recollect a competitor, Mr. Plowman of Oxford, 
who was both a builder and an architect, saying 
of one of my earliest specifications, that it was 
one of the best he had ever seen, but impossible 
to be carried out in a workhouse on account of the 
cost. This I found to be true, for Kempthorne's 
plans and specifications, in which everything had 
been cut down to the very quick, had given the 
scale of estimate which the commissioners led 
the guardians to expect, so that for a long time 
it was unsafe to venture beyond it. Architecture 
and good finish, or even any great improvements 
in arrangement, were at the time hopeless, and 
one was driven to the wretched necessity of view- 
ing one's profession, as represented by one's chief 
works, merely as a means of getting a living, ex- 
cepting that when competitions became frequent, 
there was an excitement and speculation about 
them, which added a certain kind of interest to 
otherwise most uninteresting work. Competition 

82 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

soon, however, produced other effects. Variety 
became necessary, or where was the ground-work 
for competition ? Thus improved arrangements 
began to be aimed at. Perspective views were 
naturally regarded as attractive elements in a 
competition, and to give them any interest there 
must be something to show, so that external 
appearance began timidly to be thought of, and 
estimates stealthily to creep upwards, and many 
a row and uproar did this produce, to the joy 
of the disappointed competitors. 

The competitions for union workhouses were 
conducted on principles quite peculiar to them- 
selves, They were open in every sense, and 
each of the competitors was at liberty to take any 
step he thought good. They used first to go 
down and call on the clerk, the chairman, and any 
of the guardians who were supposed to have any 
ideas of their own, and after the designs were sent 
in, no harm was thought of repeating those calls 
as often as the competitor pleased, and advocating 
the merits, each man of his own arrangement. On 
the day on which the designs were to be examined 
the competitors were usually waiting in the ante- 
room, and were called in one by one to give per- 
sonal explanations, and the decision was often 
announced then and there to the assembled can- 
didates. Moffatt was most successful in this kind 
of fighting, having an instinctive perception of 
which men to aim at pleasing, and of how to meet 
their views and to address himself successfully to 
their particular temperaments. The pains he took 
in improving the arrangements were enormous, 
communicating constantly with the most experi- 

CHAP. IL] Recollections. 83 

enced governors of workhouses, and gathering 
ideas wherever he went. He was always on the 
move. We went every week to Peele's coffee- 
house to see the country papers, and to find adver- 
tisements of pending competitions. Moffatt then 
ran down to the place to get up information. On 
his return, we set to work, with violence, to make 
the design, and to prepare the competition draw- 
ings, often working all night as well as all day. 
He would then start off by the mail, travel all night, 
meet the board of guardians, and perhaps win 
the competition, and return during the next night 
to set to work on another design. I have known 
him travel four nights running, and to work hard 
throughout the intervening days, a habit facilitated 
by his power of sleeping whenever he chose. He 
used to say that he snored so loud on the box of 
the mail as to keep the inside passengers awake. 
He was the best arranger of a plan, the hardest 
worker, and the best hand at advocating the merits 
of what he had to propose, I ever met with ; and 
I think that he thoroughly deserved his success, 
though it naturally won him a host of enemies 
and traducers. 

I meanwhile carried on my own private poor-law 
practice through Northamptonshire and Lincoln- 
shire, which was viewed by us as my privileged 
ground. I built, I think, at that time two union- 
houses in Bucks, five in Northamptonshire, and 
four in Lincolnshire, in which I stood alone. I 
also had a certain amount of practice of other 
kinds. I lived, like Moffatt, in a constant turmoil, 
though less so than he. The way in which we 
used to rush to the Post Office, or to the Angel at 

G 2 

84 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

Islington, at the last moment, to send off designs and 
working drawings, or to set off for our nocturnal 
journeys, was most exciting, and one wonders, in 
these self-indulgent days, how we could stand the 
travelling all night outside coaches in the depth of 
winter, and in all weathers. The life we led was 
certainly as arduous and exciting as anything one 
can fancy in work, which in its own nature was so 
dull as our business in the abstract was, but one's 
mind seems to shape itself to its day, and I believe 
I really enjoyed the labour and turmoil in which I 
spent my time. 

These were the last days of the integrity of the 
old coaching system, and splendid was its dying 
perfection ! It was a merry thing to leave the 
Post Office yard on the box-seat of a mail, and 
drive out amidst the mob of porters, passengers, and 
gazers. As far as Barnet on the north road seven 
mails ran together with their choicest trotting teams 
passing and repassing one another, the horns blow- 
ing merrily, every one in a good humour, and 
proud of what they were doing. Then the hasty 
cup of coffee at midnight, and the hurried break- 
fast had joys about them which I seem even now 
to feel again. One coach I travelled by " the 
Manchester Telegraph " cleared eleven miles an 
hour all the way down, stoppings included. It 
was a splendid perfection of machinery, but its 
fate was sealed, the great lines of railway being in 
rapid progress. Our shorter journeyings we did 
by gig and on horseback, though they often ex- 
tended through the length and breadth of a 

I had in the midst of all this confusion made 

CHAP, ii.] Recollections. 85 

myself decently acquainted with geology, which, 
with my old church-hunting tendencies, added 
greatly to the interest of my journeys. I was in 
fact an enthusiast on this subject ; and though I 
had not time to follow it scientifically, I obtained a 
very good practical knowledge of the stratification 
and geological productions of the greater part of 
the country. My sketching of gothic architecture 
was at the time but scanty ; having to fight for 
bare existence, I directed my efforts mainly to the 
matter before me. 

In 1838 (June 4th) I was married to my dear 
cousin Caroline. We took apartments until we 
could find a house, and about the end of the year 
we settled down at No. 20 (now 31), Spring 
Gardens, where my two eldest sons were born in 
1839 and 1841. From this date my practice 
began to take a more legitimate and less abnormal 
line ; and though I soon afterwards became actual 
partner with Mr. Moffatt, this partnership was not 
of permanent duration. 

In 1838, shortly after my marriage, I competed 
for a church with success. This was at Lincoln, 
and I cannot say anything in its favour, excepting 
that it was better than many then erected. 
Church architecture was then perhaps at its 
lowest level. The era of the " million " churches 
of the commissioners had long past, and Barry's 
four churches at Islington, which were really 
respectable and well intentioned, and liberal in 
their cost, had been succeeded by an abject fry, 
the products of the " Cheap Church " mania, in 
which all decency of architectural finish and con- 
struction was ground down to the very dust, to 

86 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

meet an idolized tariff of so many shillings a 
sitting. 4 My first church (except one poor barn 
designed for my uncle King) dates from the same 
year with the foundation of the Cambridge Cam- 
den Society, to whom the honour of our recovery 
from the odious bathos is mainly due. I only 
wish I had known its founders at the time. As it 
was, no idea of ecclesiastical arrangement, or ritual 
propriety, had then even crossed my mind. 

Unfortunately everything I did at that time fell 
into the wholesale form ; and before I had time to 
discover the defects of my first design, its general 
form and its radical errors were repeated in no 
less than six other churches, 5 and which followed 
in such rapid succession as to leave no time for 
improvement, all being planned, I fancy, in 1839, 
or early in the succeeding year. 

The designs for these churches were by no 
means similar, but they all agreed in two points 
the use of a transept of the minor kind, 6 which 
happened to be suggested to me by those at 
Pinner and Harrow, and the absence of any 
regular and proper chancel, my grave idea being 
that this feature was obsolete. They all agreed 

4 This tariff system is not yet closed. A district of so many 
thousand souls is still held to require a church of so many 
hundred " sittings " at the cost of so much a-piece. The pro- 
portion grotesque as it sounds of " sittings " to souls has to 
be adjusted, and the area of each laid down in square feet 
and inches. ED. 

5 At Birmingham, Lincoln, Shaftesbury, Hanwell, Turnham 
Bridlington Quay, and Norbiton. 

6 Curiously enough, an old English tradition, derived from 
Saxon times, and prevalent in England and Ireland all through 
the middle ages. ED. 

CHAP, ii.] Recollections. 87 

too in the meagreness of their construction, in the 
contemptible character of their fittings, in most 
of them being begalleried to the very eyes, and in 
the use of plaster for internal mouldings, even for 
the pillars. 

This latter meanness had been forced upon me, 
for at first I aimed at avoiding it, but the cheap- 
church rage overcame me, and as I had not then 
awaked to the viciousness of shams, I was uncon- 
cious of the abyss into which I had fallen. These 
days of abject degradation only lasted for about 
two years or little more, but, alas ! what a mass of 
horrors was perpetrated during that short interval ! 
Often, and that within a few months of this period, 
have I been wicked enough to wish my works 
burnt down again. Yet they were but part of the 
base art-history of their day. In 1841 I was em- 
ployed by Mr. Minton to design him a church, the 
first to which I put a regular chancel, but in some 
other respects, hardly an advance on the others, 
though before its completion I had awakened to a 
truer sense of the dignity of the subject. 

This awakening arose, I think, from two causes 
operating almost simultaneously : my first ac- 
quaintance with the Cambridge Camden Society, 
and my reading Pugin's articles in the " Dublin 
Review." I may be in error as to their coincidence 
of date. The first took place in this manner. I 
saw somewhere an article by Mr. Webb, the secre- 
tary to the Camden Society, which greatly excited 
my sympathy. Just at the same time I had become 
exceedingly irate at the projected destruction by 
Mr. Barry of St. Stephen's Chapel, and I wrote 
to Mr. Webb and subsequently saw him on the 

88 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

subject. I was introduced, I believe, by Edward 
Boyce. Mr. Webb took advantage of the occasion 
to lecture me on church architecture in general, 
on the necessity of chancels, &c., &c. I at once 
saw that he was right, and became a reader of the 
" Ecclesiologist." Pugin's articles excited me al- 
most to fury, and I suddenly found myself like a 
person awakened from a long feverish dream, which 
had rendered him unconscious of what was going 
on about him. 

Being thus morally awakened, my physical 
dreams followed the subject of my waking thoughts. 
I used fondly to dream of making Pugin's acquain- 
tance and to awake, perhaps, while on a night 
journey in high excitement, at the imagined inter- 
view. I had heard of Pugin as a boy, ten or eleven 
years before, at Maddox's. I had again heard of 
him and his " Contrasts " from my ardent and ex- 
cellent friend Charles Bailey, who had often helped 
me with my drawings, and I had more recently got 
to know more of him in this way. I had under- 
taken in 1838 (or thereabouts) a large workhouse 
at Loughborough. The contractor for a part of 
the work was a strange rough mason from Hull, 
named Myers. While engaged under me at 
Loughborough, he competed with success for the 
erection of a Roman Catholic Church at Derby, 
nearly the first which Pugin built. 7 

Myers was a native of Beverly, and had been ap- 
prenticed to the mason to the minster, from which 
he had acquired an ardent love of Gothic architec- 
ture, and this now dormant tendency was roused 
into energy by his being brought into contact with 
7 St Mary's, a really beautiful work. ED. 

CHAP. IL] Recollections. 89 

Pugin. Eternal friendship was sworn between 
them, and Myers was the builder of nearly every 
subsequent work of Pugin's. 

I made my crusade in favour of St. Stephen's 
an excuse for writing to Pugin, and to my almost 
tremulous delight, I was invited to call. He was 
tremendously jolly, and showed almost too much 
bonhomie to accord with my romantic expecta- 
tions. I very rarely saw him again, though I be- 
came a devoted reader of his written, and visitor 
of his erected works, and a greedy recipient of 
every ta 1 e about him, and report of what he said 
or did. A new phase had come over me, tho- 
roughly en rapport with my early taste, but in 
utter discord with the "fitful fever" of my poor- 
law activity. I was in fact a new man, though 
that man was, according to the trite saying, the 
true son of my boyhood. 

It was, I suppose, while the awakening was 
commencing, that I was invited to compete with 
a small number of architects for the erection of 
the Martyrs' Memorial at Oxford. This was in 
1 840, and it seems strange that one so unknown 
in matters of taste, should have been named on a 
select list for a work like this. I owed it, I fancy, 
to the kind influence of my friends, Mr. Stowe 
and Major Macdonald, with two members of the 
committee, and to a third member, Dr. Macbride, 
having been a friend of my father and of my grand- 
father : when I received the invitation I threw 
myself into the design with all the ardour I 
possessed. My early study, full ten years before, 
of the Eleanor crosses was a good preparation. 
I obtained every drawing of old crosses I could 

9O Sir Gilbert Scott. [ 1 840 

lay hand on, and devoted my best endeavours to 
producing a design suited to the object. I suc- 
ceeded. That this was before my awakening to a 
true feeling for church architecture, is proved by 
the defects of the accompanying addition to St. 
Mary Magdalene's church ; but I fancy the cross 
itself was better than any one but Pugin would 
then have produced. 

An amusing incident occurred at, I believe, my 
first interview with the committee. I found them 
in disagreement as to the best stone for the monu- 
ment. The commissioners for selecting stone for 
the Houses of Parliament, had not long before 
made their report in favour of the purely mythic 
stone of Bolsover Moor. One party favoured 
this imaginary stone, for its warm colour ; another, 
the white variety of magnesian limestone from 
Roche Abbey, on account of its fine grain. I 
ventured on the suggestion, that by visiting the 
district, it might be possible to find a stone unit- 
ing these qualities, when Dr. Buckland snubbed 
me with great scorn, saying that such a sug- 
gestion might have been made in years gone 
by, when little was known of the geological 
productions of the country, but that now, 
when every variety of stone was so well known, 
it was hopeless to look out for new ones. I 
happened, however, though without scientific 
knowledge, to have nearly as practical an acquain- 
tance with stone quarries as Dr. Buckland, and 
I did not see the force of the argument. I there- 
fore started off with Moffatt for the magnesio- 
calcareous district. The first quarry we went to 
was that at Mansfield Wocdhouse, which, on the 

CHAP, ii.] Recollections. 91 

discovery of the Bolsover delusion, had been re- 
opened for the Houses of Parliament ; this stone 
did not meet my wishes, being too coarse in grain, 
and not pure enough in colour. On describing, 
however, to the foreman of the quarry what I was 
seeking for, he at once told me he could show me 
what I wanted ; and, taking a hammer and walk- 
ing with us across a few fields, he brought us to 
an ancient and long-disused quarry, grown over 
with brushwood, and on striking off a fragment 
from the rock, presented to me the very stone 
which my imagination had pourtrayed ! My de- 
light was excessive. The committee at once, 
though at a great increase of cost, adopted it, and 
in their next report attributed the happy dis- 
covery to the pre-eminent geological skill of Dr. 

The stone is perhaps the finest in the kingdom, 
though it is not to be obtained in large blocks, 
and is very costly in the quarrying. The rock 
is still known by the name of " The Memorial 

About this time, or shortly afterwards, two 
important works came into our hands by public 
competition : the Infant Orphan Asylum at Wan- 
stead, and the Church of St. Giles, Camberwell. 

The former of these works is a magnificent 
institution : one of the many which own the well- 
known Dr. Andrew Reed as the founder. 

Nothing could exceed the energy with which 
Moffatt threw himself into this competition, the 
most important by far into which we had then 
entered, nor the pains he took in thoroughly master- 
ing its practical requirements. The planning was 

92 Sir Gilbert Scott, 

chiefly his, the external design, which was Eliza- 
bethan, mine. We succeeded. The first stone 
was laid in great state by Prince Albert, and the 
building opened by Leopold, the King of the 

The old Church of St. Giles, Camberwell, was 
burnt down in 1840, and there was a public com- 
petition for designs for its re-erection. We com- 
peted, sending in a very ambitious design, groined 
throughout with terra-cotta. No one had an idea 
whose our plans were. The competition being 
close, we adhered scrupulously to its regulations. 
Mr. Blore acted as assessor, and reported in our 
favour. Tenders were received for our design, 
and came in, I think, pretty favourably, but a 
parish opposition being excited, and a poll called 
for, a compromise was at length made, and we 
were commissioned to prepare a less costly design, 
which resulted in the present structure. 

My conversion to the exclusive use of real 
material came to its climax during the progress of 
this work, and much which was at first shown as 
of plaster was afterwards converted into stone, 
the builder promising to accept some other change 
as a compensation. He died before the com- 
pletion of the work, and his executors ignoring 
this promise, a good deal of dissatisfaction ensued, 
though, I must say, they had a very cheap build- 
ing, and the best church by far which had then 
been erected. The pains which I took over this 
church were only equalled by the terror with 
which I attended the meetings of the committee, 
though, I think, they nearly all continued my very 
good friends, and were very proud indeed of their 

CHAP, ii.] Recollections. 93 

building. The then incumbent was the Rev. 
J. G. Storie, a remarkable person. He was a 
man of great talent, and personal and moral 
prowess, the most masterly hand at coping with a 
turbulent parish vestry I ever saw. His only 
great fault was that he was a clergyman, instead 
of, as nature intended, a soldier or a barrister ; 
but this was the fault of his parents or guardians, 
not his own. He was a thorough man of the 
world, and immersed in the society of men of his 
own taste. I greatly admired, and, to a certain 
extent, respected, while I feared him, -for he was a 
man whose very look would almost make one 
tremble, when his wrath was stirred. He was 
determined to have a good church, and so far as 
his day permitted, he got it, and after all the little 
rubs we had, I view his memory with respect and 
friendship. His expensive habits led him to sell 
the advowson, which was his own, with a covenant 
for immediate resignation. The sale was effected, 
and the covenant performed before the purchase- 
money was paid, and those who wish to know the 
rest may inquire for themselves. However this 
may be, poor Mr. Storie was reduced to poverty, 
from which he never recovered. 

By a strange coincidence, a triple announce- 
ment was one Sunday made in the new church. 
The choir had struck, the bellows of the organ 
had burst, and the vicar had resigned. 

Our great mistake in the church was the use of 
the Caen stone, an error fallen into by many at 
that time and later. It reminds me of a funny 
incident relating to the Oxford Memorial. The 
Chapter of Canterbury had presented three fine 

94 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

blocks of Caen stone for the statues of the three 
bishops. I much desired to sketch carefully, for 
the benefit of the monument, the details of the 
noble tomb of Archbishop Peckham, and took 
occasion to stop at Canterbury for the purpose. 
The verger, however, soon told me that no sketch- 
ing could be permitted without an order. The 
Dean (Bishop Bagot), was away at his See. 
Canon Peel had gone out, Archdeacon Croft, 
whom I knew, was not to be found, and my last 
resource was Dr. Spry. I called at his house 
and sent in my name, with full particulars of my 
mission and its objects. The Reverend Doctor 
was at his luncheon, I heard the " knives and 
forks rattling," no " sweet music to me," and after 
more than one attempt, was sent off with a 
peremptory refusal. 

One of our great works at this time was Read- 
ing gaol, and few brought me greater annoyance, 
I think unjustly. Our design was chosen by the 
Inspector of Prisons, Mr. Russell, though he made 
great alteration in its arrangement. 

Like the Poor-Law Commissioners, he was 
interested in not frightening the magistrates by a 
high estimate, and he almost pledged himself to 
us, that from his experience, he knew we might 
safely name a particular sum. 

Had the usual course of a builder's estimate 
been followed, the error would have been dis- 
covered in time, but the Inspector further pre- 
scribed a course which prevented this. He advised 
the magistrates to contract only for a schedule of 
prices, and to have the work measured up when 
completed. Thus the work went on, and we did 

CHAP, ii.] Recollections. 95 

everything as well as possible, making a capital 
work of it, but when measured up the result may 
be imagined ! The Inspector of course made us 
the scape-goats, which perhaps served us right for 
being so easily gulled. I doubt, however, whether 
it was more costly than other prisons, and it is 
unquestionably a first-rate building. 

I must in fairness confess that cost was our 
weak point. This was not intentional, but re- 
sulted from a combination of circumstances. The 
turmoil of competitions, crowding one upon another, 
left little time for more than the roughest esti- 
mates, though we did employ a regular surveyor 
upon them. Then the degradation of feeling as 
to cost, from which the public was just emerging, 
and our own ardent and sanguine ambition for 
improvement, all tended in the same direction ; 
yet I must confess to a certain carelessness on 
this point, which was decidedly reprehensible. 
Where there is no competition, an architect can 
gradually raise the ideas of his clients, from the 
undue lowness which so generally characterizes 
them, but in the case of a competition there is no 
chance of this, and this is one reason why, as 
soon as I was able, I was rejoiced to kick down 
the ladder which had raised, but at the same time 
endangered, me. 

From about the time of my marriage, I had 
resumed my Gothic sketching to as great an 
extent as my hurried life permitted, and the 
subject of restoration soon forced itself upon my 
attention. I think the first work I had to do 
with of this kind was the refitting of Chesterfield 
church, and here I cannot say much for my sue- 

96 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

cess. Galleries were forced upon me, contrary to 
the wish of the Incumbent, Mr. (afterwards Arch- 
deacon) Hill. I found the rood screen to have 
been pulled down and sold, but we protested, and 
it was recovered. 8 I recollect that there existed 
in the church, as I found it, a curious and beautiful 
family pew or chapel, enclosed by screen- work, to 
the west of one of the piers of the central tower. 
There are two such chapels now in St. Mary's 
church, Beverly. 9 This was called the Fol- 
jambe Chapel, and was a beautiful work of Henry 
VIIL's time. What to do with it I did not know, 
it was right in the way of the arrangements, and 
could not but have been removed. 1 I at last deter- 
mined to use its screen work to form a reredos, and 
if I remember rightly, it did very well. I mention 
these unimportant matters merely for the sake of 
adding that the " Ecclesiologist," in alluding to this 
work some years afterwards, when they had begun 
somewhat to run me down, for purposes of their own, 
coolly stated that I had had the rood screen sold, 
and that it had only been recovered by the exertions 
of the parishioners ; and that I had converted the 
material of a Jacobean screen into a reredos, a 
fair specimen of their criticisms, when they had 
an object in view. My real initiation, however, 
into the various considerations affecting the sub- 
ject of restoration was the work undertaken at 

8 There is no such screen now in Chesterfield Church. 

9 They have also disappeared. ED. 

1 This is a good typical example of what is misnamed " re- 
storation." The removal of ancient remains to make way for 
" necessary " modern arrangements, would be more naturally 
termed " innovation." ED. 

CHAP. IL] Recollections. 97 

St. Mary's, Stafford. The circumstances attend- 
ing the commencement of this work were so re- 
markable that I will briefly detail them. 

I had, about 1838, made the acquaintance of 
Mr. Thomas Stevens, then assistant poor-law 
commissioner for the counties of Stafford and 
Derby. Mr. Stevens was the only son of the 
rector and squire of Bradfield, near Reading, and 
as chairman to the union there, had so successfully 
taken up poor-law work, that he was persuaded to 
join the commission. He was a thorough man of 
business, a sound churchman, and a lover of Gothic 
architecture. His head-quarters were at Lichfield, 
where he attended daily service at the cathedral, 
so far as his journeys permitted, a tusus natures 
surely amongst poor-law commissioners. 

I first met him at Sir Thomas Cotton Shepherd 
Shepherd's, near Uttoxeter, when we formed a 
lasting friendship ; and he shortly afterwards got 
me to meet him at Bradfield, to consult together 
as to the restoration of the church, a work which 
was happily postponed till ten years later. The 
next year he married, was ordained, and took the 
curacy of Keele, in the county of Stafford. 

In 1840 or 1841 he wrote to me, telling me that 
Mr. Coldwell, rector of Stafford, was most anxious 
to restore his church, if only he could get funds, 
and suggested my writing to him, offering to make 
a survey and report, with a view to facilitating 
that object. I did so, and made my report, but 
Mr. Coldwell's appeal was but faintly responded 
to. Mr. Stevens, being about to return finally to 
Bradfield, I visited him on his last day at Keele, 
and we went together to Stafford, where we found 


98 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

Mr. Coldwell in despair of ever effecting his 
wishes. On my return to town I found a letter 
from Mr. Stevens, telling me that, on reaching 
Bradfield, he had found a letter awaiting him from 
a friend, whom he did not yet name, asking his 
advice as to the appropriation of a sum of 5OOO/. 
devoted to church building or restoration, and 
expressing a preference for Staffordshire. 

Mr. Stevens had already recommended St. 
Mary's, subject to the condition that another like 
sum should be raised by public subscription. The 
challenge was accepted, and the sum quickly raised, 
so that the despair of the rector was suddenly 
changed to joy and thankfulness. 

The principal parishioner was, and is, my truly 
excellent friend, Mr. Thomas Salt, the banker, 2 
whose brother-in-law is the Rev. Louis Petit, since 
so well-known by his architectural writings, and 
his truly marvellous sketches. 

Mr. Petit raised some considerable objections 
to certain parts of my proposed restorations, on 
the ground of their not being sufficiently conser- 
vative, and wrote a very important and talented 
letter on the subject. 

I differed from him, not in principle, but on the ap- 
plication of the principles to the matter in question. 
I wrote stoutly, and I think well, in defence of my 
own views, and the correspondence was, by mutual 
agreement, referred to the Oxford and Cambridge 
Societies, who gave their verdict in my favour. 

The whole case is given in the account by me 
of the restoration in Masfen's " History of St. 
Mary's Church," to which I would specially refer. 
2 He died a few years since. ED. 

CHAP, ii Recollections. 


Whether I was right or wrong in my views I 
am doubtful, but the result was a happy one, for 
embedded in the later walling we found abundant 
fragments of the earlier work, which enabled me 
to reproduce the early English south transept with 
certainty, and a noble design it is. 

I employed, during the earlier part of this work, 
the services of my now deceased friend, Edwin 
Gwilt, son of old George Gwilt, the restorer of 
the choir and Lady chapel of St. Saviour's, 
South wark. He was conservative to the back- 
bone, and where stonework had to be renewed, 
he went on the principle of making every stone, 
and even every joint of the ashlar, correspond to a 
nicety with the old. 

The pains we took in recovering old forms and 
details were unbounded, and though too little 
actual old work was preserved, I believe that no 
restoration could, barring this, be more scrupu- 
lously conscientious. 

The most serious practical work was the repair 
of the central tower, whose four piers had become 
so crushed that they had to be nearly rebuilt, a 
dangerous work, which it has since been my too 
frequent lot to repeat, and a most unenviable lot it is. 

Let me impress two or three great principles 
on the mind of those who have to undertake such 
works. I. Be assured that no amount of shore- 
ing can be too much for safety, no foundations to 
your shoreing too strong, and no principles of 
constructing it too well considered. II. Use the 
hardest stone for your new work which you can pro- 
cure, and spare no pains in bonding it, and tying it 
together with copper. III. Be very slow in your 

H 2 

TOO Sir Gilbert Scott. 

operations, excepting at critical junctures, where 
the very contrary is necessary ; be careful in 
your principle of moveable supports, as you cut 
away old work ; set every stone in the very best 
cement, and run in the core with grout of the 
same material. IV. Key up well at the top, and 
leave your shoreing a long time after the work is 
done, and then remove it with the greatest care. 
V. (Though more properly first.) Tie your tower 
well together with iron before you begin, and take 
especial care of your foundations. Above all, 
have a thoroughly practical clerk of the works, 
neither too young, nor too old. 

The shoreing must be all of undivided timbers, 
and often of four or more such balks, bound and 
bolted together into one by irons. 

The fittings of St. Mary's were not very suc- 
cessful ; but, as a whole, it was beyond question the 
best restoration then carried out, nor have many 
since been in the main much better. My valued 
friend, Mr. Jesse Watts Russell, of Ham Hall, was 
a munificent patron of this work ; and this led to a 
friendship which has lasted unshaken ever since. 3 

I may here mention that during the years I 
have been chronicling, our poor-law work still 
continued ; but that we were erecting a very 
different class of building, usually in the Eliza- 
bethan style, and in many cases of really good 
design. I may mention especially those at Dun- 
mow and Billericay in Essex, Belper, Windsor, 
Amersham, and Macclesfield. Some of these, 
indeed, went almost as much too far in this 
direction, as the earlier ones in meanness. 

8 He died some few years after this was written. ED. 

CHAP, ii.] Recollections. 101 

We competed frequently, too, at this time, for 
county lunatic asylums, though with less success. 
The vigour with which my partner entered upon 
these, and his assiduous energy in obtaining the 
opinions of practical authorities on questions of 
arrangement, were beyond all praise. These 
competition drawings were usually prepared at his 
private house at Kennington, where he gave up 
all his sitting-rooms, and peopled the house with 
clerks, who had all their meals together, and had 
half an hour for a good game in his grounds, 
every other minute of the day being devoted to 
the closest work, in which he, and often I, joined 
as zealously as any of them. 

Meanwhile, my church practice rapidly in- 
creased in quantity and in merit. I recollect with 
regret one work of restoration to which I devoted 
my very best energies, but which was rendered 
abortive by one false step. 

Designs were advertised for, for the restoration 
of the beautiful chapel of St. Mary on Wakefield 
Bridge ; and I devoted myself with the greatest 
earnestness to the investigation of the relics of its 
destroyed detail. I was seconded by Mr. Burli- 
son, then clerk of the works to the church at 
Chesterfield, and by examining the heaps of 
dtbris in the river wall, &c., we discovered very 
nearly everything ; and I made, I believe, a very 
perfect design, illustrated by beautiful drawings, 
the perspective views being made by my friend Mr. 
Johnson. My report I viewed as a masterpiece. 
I succeeded, and the work was carried out, and 
would have been a very great success, but that 
the contractor, Mr. Cox, who had been my carver 

iO2 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

and superintendent to the Martyrs' Memorial, 
had a handsome offer made him for the semi- 
decayed front, to set up in a park hard by. He 
then mad6 an offer to execute a new front in 
Caen stone, in place of the weather-beaten old 
one ; and pressed his suit so determinedly, that, 
in an evil hour, his offer was accepted. I 
recollect being much opposed to it ; but I am 
filled with wonder to think how I ever was in- 
duced to consent to it at all, as it was contrary to 
the very principles of my own report, in which 
I had quoted from Petit's book the lines 

" Beware, lest one lost feature ye efface/' &c. 

I never repented but once, and that is ever since. 

The new front was a perfect masterpiece of 
beautiful workmanship, but it was new, and, in just 
retribution, the Caen stone is now more rotten than 
the old work, which is set up as an ornament to 
some gentleman's grounds. I think of this with 
the utmost shame and chagrin. 

During all this distracting period we lived in 
the same house in which my office was placed. I 
fear it was wrong towards my wife to subject 
her to such disturbances, particularly as her health, 
after the birth of my second son, was very indif- 
ferent. In 1844, however, we happily moved to 
St. John's Wood, where my other three boys were 

I have little recollection of the visits from or 
to my relations at this time. It seems, to look 
back upon, like a tumultuous sea of business and 
agitation, leaving no time for the claims of natural 

CHAP. IL] Recollections. 103 

affection, or of friendship, though I hope it was 
not so bad as my memory seems, by its blankness, 
to suggest. We used, however, in most years, to 
go to the sea-side, and on one of these occasions I 
made my first continental trip of one single day. It 
was simply to Calais, where my sketch-book tells 
me I must have worked violently, for I made 
many sketches. 

At this time we were regular attendants at the 
church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, where Sir 
Henry Dukinfield was incumbent, and after leav- 
ing Spring Gardens, we continued to go there in 
all seasons and weathers, till Sir Henry resigned 
the living. We had the greatest respect and 
affection for this excellent man, which continued 
up to his death, and he was godfather to our 
youngest child, who is called after him. 

My wife made, in most years, long sojourns with 
her parents at Boston, and my hasty runs down 
there were a great relief and pleasure. Mr. and 
Mrs. Oldrid were admirable people, most sterling 
characters. A triple union had made our families 
in every way one, and our mutual visits were 
periods of great pleasure and happiness, as well 
as of great advantage to my wife. 

I may here mention that during this period the 
Cambridge Camden Society, with many of whose 
views I strongly sympathized, and who had been 
at one time most friendly, had suddenly, and with 
no reason that I could ever discover, become 
my most determined opponents. My subsequent 
success was, for many years, in spite of every effort 
on their part to put me down by criticisms of the 
most galling character. No matter how strenuous 

IO4 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

my endeavours at improvement, everything was 
met by them with scorn and contumely. I be- 
lieve, though I did not know it at the time, that 
this partly originated in a mistake. They had 
recommended me to the restoration of a church in 
Berks, and a parish opposition having been got 
up against restoring the ancient and very fine 
open seats, Archdeacon Thorpe, the President of 
the Society (in whose archdeaconry it was situated), 
went with me to a parish-meeting, to endeavour to 
quell the opposition. His eloquence and archidia- 
conal authority were alike unavailing, and the 
farmers carried their point against him, to his no 
small chagrin. 4 I fancy that the members of the 
Society vented their vexation upon me, though I 
was as earnest in the cause as they, and that they 
believed the adverse vote was to have been ac- 
tually carried into execution, whereas I had 
watched my opportunity, and had effected by 
default, what the archdeacon had failed to carry by 
assault, and I had in fact gained my point to the 
full, without saying a word about it, so that I had, 
in reality, a double claim upon their approval. 

I suppose that I was not thought a sufficiently 
high churchman, and as they fell in at the time 
with my very excellent friends Carpenter and 
Butterfield, they naturally enough took them 
under their wing. This no one could complain 
of : but the attempt to elevate them, by the syste- 
matic depreciation of another equally zealous 
labourer in the same vineyard, was anything but 
fair. I never would, however, publicly com- 

* The chancel of this church I did not do. It was done 
some years later by a local clerk of the works. 

CHAP, ii.] Recollections. 105 

plain, and my constant answer when urged to 
do so, was, " that those who are rowing in the 
same boat must avoid righting." I therefore bore 
with their injustice patiently, chiefly grieving that 
the leading advocates of so great and good a 
cause should not act on principles better calculated 
to recommend it to the moral perception of the 
public. I think it right to mention these facts, 
though it is many years since I have had any 
cause to complain, and though I now number 
many of the leaders of the Society among my most 
esteemed friends. I remember one amusing little 
key to their line of conduct. They had criticized 
one of the very best churches I had ever built (and 
one in which all their principles were carried out to 
the letter) in a way which led to a remonstrance 
from the incumbent, who pointed out glaring 
errors in matters of fact. The line of defence 
they took was this, that as they had had nothing 
on which to ground their critique but a small 
lithographic view, the onus of any errors they 
might have fallen into, did not lie with themselves, 
but with the architect, who had abstained from 
submitting his working plans for their examination. 
With all its faults, however, the good which the 
Society has done cannot possibly be over- rated. 
They have, it is true, like all enthusiastic re- 
formers, often pressed views, in themselves good, 
too far, and their tendencies have at times been 
too great towards an imitation of obsolete ritual- 
isms ; but in the main their work has been sound 
and good. Their reprobation of bad work has 
never been blameable, indeed at the present time, 6 
6 About 1860. ED. 

io6 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

it is too mild by far. It is, I think, the duty of 
such a Society to rebuke the atrocities of false 
architects with unflinching courage. What I com- 
plain of is, their attempt just at this period, to 
crush those who were labouring strenuously in 
the same cause, and the same direction with them- 
selves ; and that, with the sole object, so far as I 
could ever ascertain, of the more easily elevating 
others whom they viewed as more distinctly their 
own representatives. To expose the misdoings 
of ignorance and vandalism was their duty ; to 
point'out the shortcomings of their fellow-labourers 
would have been a kindness ; but to treat friends 
and allies with studied scorn and contumely, 
through a series of years, because they had not 
sworn implicit allegiance to their absolute regime, 
was discreditable to the sacred cause which they 
professed to make the object of their endeavours, 
and ended in undermining their influence, through 
the obvious self-seeking it evinced ; thus damaging 
the movement they otherwise had so ably ad- 

Even Pugin himself could not escape their lash, 
his single sin being his independent existence. 
It is vexatious to reflect that the vigour of the 
Society, and its tendency to unfair dealing, seem to 
have varied directly But it must be remembered 
that it was then young and vigorous, was natu- 
rally somewhat intoxicated by success, and was 
especially open to the constant temptation of such 
bodies to rate the success of the Society itself 
above that of the cause, and consequently to 
estimate persons rather by their loyalty than by 
their merits. 


HAVING arrived at a point closely approaching to 
what I view as the most important era in my 
professional life, I will offer a few observations 
upon the position of the great revival of Gothic 
architecture at this period (viz. about 1844), and 
also as to my own humble share in it, up to that 

It is almost vexatious when we consider how 
great an event that revival really has been, to 
recollect, at the same time, how unconscious one 
felt of this fact during its earlier years. 

I call these its earlier years, because I hardly 
view those which preceded 1830 (or even a later 
date), as belonging to the period of the revival at 
all. Writers on this subject are wont to talk 
about Strawberry Hill, and a number of such base 
efforts, as the early works of the revival. They 
may be so in a certain sense, but one can scarcely 
trace much connexion between them and the 
work of its really vigorous period, and, as I per- 
sonally know little, and knew nothing, about them, 
I will leave them wholly out of the question. 

When I first commenced sketching from Gothic 
buildings (which was about 1825, though I had 
taken delight in them a few years earlier), I did 

io8 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

not in the smallest degree connect my feelings 
towards them with any thought of the revival of 
the style. I think that a very base church at 
Windsor, (putting aside the ludicrous " Gothic 
Temple " at Stowe, which belongs I suppose to 
the Strawberry Hill type), was the first modern 
Gothic building I ever saw. This was, I fancy, 
about 1823,' and bad as it is, I recollect its giving 
me some pleasure. On a visit to London the 
next year I remember seeing the yet baser church 
at Somers town, since celebrated by Pugin in his 
" Contrasts." I do not think that this was very 
gratifying to me, though, during the same visit, I 
recollect seeing with extreme delight the restora- 
tion of the reredos in Westminster Abbey, then 
in hand: that of Henry VII. 's chapel had, I 
think, been already completed. The great majority 
of new churches were still classic, and I remember 
that in 1826, when my father had to rebuild his 
church, the idea of making it " Gothic " was con- 
sidered quite visionary, nor am I conscious of any 
practical object occurring to me while studying 
Gothic architecture till many years after this time. 
I did so, purely from the love of it. 

A great deal is said, too, as to the influence on 
the public taste of different publications, in leading 
to the appreciation and the revival of mediaeval 
architecture, and it would be unfair to ignore such 
influence. I believe, however, that the effect was 
really of a reciprocal kind. The natural current 
of human thought had taken a turn towards our 
own ancient architecture, and this led to its in- 
vestigation and illustration, while such investigation 
1 The church was, I find, erected 111-1822. ED. 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 109 

and illustration in their turn reacted upon the mental 
feelings which had originated them ; so that, by a 
kind of alternate action, spread over a series of 
years, the mind of the public was, both awakened 
to a feeling for the beauties of the style, and in- 
structed in its principles. So far as I was per- 
sonally concerned, my love of Gothic architecture 
was wholly independent of books relating to it ; 
none of which, I may say, I had seen at the time 
when I took to visiting and sketching Gothic 
churches. The first prints I had met with bearing 
upon the subject (for I do not think that I read 
the article) were in the " Encyclopedia Edinensis," 
where, under the head of " Architecture," were 
two or three engravings illustrative of our style ; 
the west front of Rheims Cathedral, an internal 
view of Rosslyn Chapel, and a view of an Epis- 
copal church at Edinburgh. The latter, by-the-bye, 
must have been a very early work (as it was about 
1823 that I saw this print), and it was, I fancy, 
rather in advance of its day. After this I saw 
nothing tending in the same direction, beyond one 
volume of Lysons' " Magna Britannia," till after I 
had left home to read with my uncle in 1826, and 
then what I saw was very slight, Storer's " Cathe- 
drals " being the choicest and dearest to my 
memory. It must have been very long after- 
wards that I first became acquainted with any of 
Britton's works. 

So far, then, as my own consciousness goes, 
books had little to do with the earnest stirring up 
to a love of the subject which I experienced. I was 
unconsciously subjected to the same potent influ- 
ence which was acting upon the public mind, and 

1 1 o Sir Gilbert Scott. 

which was rather the cause than the effect of the 
publications which subsequently so much aided it. 

Among the books which did most to aid the 
revival in these early days was Pugin's (sen.) 
" Specimens of Gothic Architecture." This, 
though it first appeared in 1821, came out in its 
present more perfect form in 1825. Its great 
utility was that it set people measuring details, 
instead of merely sketching, and its practical effect 
was to lead architects, who attempted to build 
Gothic churches, to give some little attention to 
detail. The specimens given were mostly of late 
date, but the spirit of the work, rather than its 
actual contents, was its great value, and the several 
volumes of " Examples " which followed carried on 
the same feeling. 

There can be no doubt that it was the share 
taken by the younger Pugin in these works, and 
what he saw of their preparation, which stirred 
up within him that burning sentiment which has 
produced such extraordinary results. I should be 
disposed also to attribute to the first of these 
publications a share in the merits of Mr. Barry's 
Islington churches, which, with all their faults and 
their strange commissioners' ritualisms, were for this 
period wonderfully advanced works. They were 
going on while I was in my articles (1827-30), 
and I doubt whether anything so good was done 
(excepting by Pugin) for ten years later ; indeed, 
in their own parish nothing so good has been done 
since. For myself, I can hardly say too much as 
to the benefit derived from Pugin's " Specimens." 
I found them at Mr. Edmeston's when I was first 
articled to him, and they at once had the effect of 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 1 1 1 

leading me to the most careful measuring, and 
laying down with scrupulous accuracy, of the details 
of the works I sketched. Indeed, the greater part 
of my holidays was spent in making such detailed 
measurements. All thanks and honour then to 
the older Pugin, however much our illuminati 
may sneer. 

So far as I was personally concerned, nearly 
another decade had to pass before my studies 
became practically productive. I followed up 
sketching with more or less assiduity according to 
circumstances, but still with little thought of its be- 
coming practically useful ; I still pursued it solely 
from the love of it. Once during this period I, 
for practice sake, entered into a competition, 
and chose my favourite style. I have by me also 
two designs for gothic churches, which I made 
with an idea of submitting them, as probationer's 
drawings, to the Royal Academy. They have 
some merit, though showing most extraordinary 
notions of ritual. I have already said that church 
architecture during this period had gone back. 
Barry's Islington churches were princely com- 
pared with those of this dark decade ; and my own 
awakening attempts, from 1838 to 1841, were as 
bad or nearly so, as the rest, pressed down as I was 
on the one hand by the intensity of the " cheap 
church " mania, and on the other by an utter want 
of appreciation of what a church should be. 

From this darkness the subject was suddenly 
opened out by Augustus Welby Pugin, and the 
Cambridge Camden Society. From that time on 
to 1 844 was the great period of practical awaken- 
ing, and by the end of it the revival was going on 

H2 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

with determined and rapid success. By this time 
" shams " had been pretty generally discarded by 
all architects not hopelessly in the mire. The old 
system of solid and genuine construction had 
generally been revived, and truth, reality, and 
" true principles " were accepted as the guiding 
stars of architecture; while a more correct ritualism 
had been, so far as the opposition of party feel- 
ing permitted, to a considerable extent adopted. 
Pugin's own works were, of course, limited (or 
nearly so) to the Roman Catholic Church. Their 
clergy had sunk fully as low as our own in their 
notions of ecclesiastical arrangement and design, 
and he had much the same difficulties to contend 
with as we had. His success was wonderful, for, 
though his actual architecture was scarcely worthy 
of his genius, the result of his efforts in the revival 
of " true principles," as well as in the recovery 
of all sorts of subsidiary arts, glass painting, 
carving, sculpture, works in iron, brass, the pre- 
cious metals and jewellery, painted decoration, 
needlework, bookbinding, woven fabrics, encaustic 
tiles, and every variety of ornamental work, was 
truly amazing. Amongst Anglican architects, Car- 
penter and Butterfield were the apostles of the 
high church school I, of the multitude. 

I had begun earlier than they, indeed, Camber- 
well church dates before their commencement ; 
but as they became the mouth-pieces or hand- 
pieces of the Cambridge Camden Society, while 
I took an independent course, it followed that they 
were chiefly employed by men of advanced views, 
who placed no difficulties in their way, but the 
reverse ; while I, doomed to deal with the pro- 

CHAP. HI.] Recollections. 113 

miscuous herd, had to battle over and over again 
the first prejudices, and had to be content with 
such success as I could get. The one, cast 
seed only into good ground : the other, as luck 
would have it, over the wayside, upon stony 
ground, or among the thorns ; and only now and 
then, quite exceptionally, and by some happy 
chance, upon a bit of good soil. Each was a 
necessary work. Mine was unquestionably the 
more arduous, and was not, perhaps, the least 
useful, though far from being the most agreeable, 
while it led to thankless abuse from both sides. 
I look back, however, upon my labours at that 
time (1841-44) with some satisfaction, and believe 
that they have in the main effected much good. 

The circumstance which brought about a new 
era in my professional life was this. 

Late in the summer of 1844 my attention was 
called by a city friend to the advertisement for 
designs for the rebuilding of St. Nicholas' church, 
at Hamburg, which had been destroyed by the 
great fire. My friend had been requested (though 
quite informally) to induce one of the English 
church architects to enter the lists of this Euro- 
pean competition, and he fixed upon me. 

Strange to say, I had not then seen anything of 
continental architecture, excepting during part of 
two days which I had spent at Calais. I at once, 
however, made up my mind that the style of the 
design must be German gothic, and that I must 
without delay make this my study. I accordingly 
set out on my first continental tour, and un- 
bounded was the enthusiasm with which I under- 
took it. I was accompanied by my brother John, 

ii4 S* r Gilbert Scott. 

and at first by a young lawyer, my friend Mr. 
Smith, and a young barrister, Mr. Cameron (both 
long since departed). 

Oddly enough, it never occurred to me that 
France should ^be my first field of study ; I knew 
what had been written by Whewell, Petit, and 
Moller, but I had not gathered this fact from 
what they had said. I began with one of the 
worst countries for pointed architecture, Belgium, 
though to me it was then an enchanted land. I 
visited with great delight Bruges, Ghent, Tournay, 
Mons,*Hal, Brussels, Mechlin, Antwerp, Louvain, 
and Liege. 

My companions were very agreeable, but I ex- 
perienced what every architect must feel who 
travels with lay companions, the inconvenience 
arising from the incompatibility of their objects 
with his own. They had always " done " a place 
before my work was well commenced, and had I 
listened to their wishes, I should have obtained 
scarcely any advantage from my tour. As it was, 
I worked very hard and got through a great deal, 
but it was by fighting hard against adverse cir- 

I would strongly advise architects to travel 
only with architects, or even alone rather than 
with lay fellow-travellers. 

I got a fair day's work at Tournay owing to a 
great festival then going on, which amused my 
con-voyageurs, and at Hal I had a luxurious day 
while they were visiting Waterloo. The pictures 
we did enjoy in common, and certainly they are 
a great source of delight in Belgian travel. In 
some places one of my companions was set as a 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. \ \ 5 

watch over me to see that I did not cause them 
to miss the trains, and I was consoled by the 
assurance that once arrived at Cologne, they would 
give me as much time as I liked. 

Leaving Belgium, we took the, customary line 
by Aix-la-Chapelle to Cologne. There my legal 
companions had done everything by the end of 
the first day, and I, now out of all patience with 
lay intervention, got up the next morning at four 
or five and started off on my own hook to Alten- 
berg, leaving them to take their own course while 
I took mine, and arranging to rejoin my brother 
a few days later. 

I sketched pretty well everything at Altenberg, 
to the very patterns of the glass, and I got a good 
day at Cologne, on which I half worked myself 
to death. I here found that I was in a great 
strait, I could not make up my mind whether in 
studying for my Hamburg design, I ought to 
follow the semi- Romanesque, of which Cologne 
supplied such a field of study, or the " complete 
Gothic " of the cathedral and of Altenberg. I 
was not then aware of the French origin of the 
latter style, or my decision might perhaps have 
been different. 

Leaving Cologne, I rejoined my brother at Bonn, 
and proceeded up the Rhine, visiting Swartz, 
Rheindorf, Andernach, Laach, Coblentz, Oberwesel, 
Bacharach, Mayence, and Frankfort, and, my 
brother's patience exceeding that of my lawyer 
friends, I was able to work fairly. Passing Rema- 
gen, I saw the little chapel then recently erected 
at Apollinarisberg. Its architecture is bad, but I 
was much interested by seeing the frescoes in 

I 2 

i 1 6 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

course of operation, never having seen art of this 
class before. 

Near Zinzig, we passed a long procession of 
priests and peasants whom, after a long puzzle 
with our driver, we ascertained to be pilgrims 
on their way to Treves, to pay their devotions 
to the Holy Coat, then being exhibited. They 
sang hymns as they went on their way, and were 
accompanied from the village by the clergy and 
people of the place, who, after going a mile or 
so to see them on their way, took an affectionate 
leave of them and returned. We saw another 
party of pilgrims afterwards at Coblentz ; and an 
English gentleman who had been to Treves, told 
us that such was the vastness of the crowd that 
it took him a whole day to get from his hotel to 
the cathedral and back. 

At Frankfort we were greatly interested by the 
conversation of Dr. Schopenhauer, an old German 
philosopher, who usually took his meals at the 
hotel at which we stayed. I think I never met a 
man with such grand powers of conversation ; but, 
alas, he was a determined infidel. I have since 
met him twice at the same hotel : the last time 
was as late as 1860, when I with some difficulty 
drew him out into conversation, which deafness 
rendered less easy than formerly, and I was quite 
astonished at his brilliancy, and, but for his infi- 
delity, at the noble philosophical tone of his thoughts 
and conversation. I meant to have sent him 
some books on the evidences, &c., of Christianity, 
but I forgot it ; and when I went to Frankfort 
last year, and looked out for him, I found his 
portrait hanging over where he used to sit, 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 1 1 7 

betokening that he had departed. May it be 
that his philosophy had previously become chris- 

My brother John was at this time in a tran- 
sitional state between medicine and divinity. He 
had given up his first profession, and was keeping 
his terms at Cambridge previously to entering the 
Church ; and the long vacation being now nearly 
over, he was obliged to hasten our journey. We 
accordingly set off on a long diligence drive from 
Frankfort to Hanover, which took us two days 
and two nights, to the best of my recollection, 
beside one night on which we rested at Cassel. 
I had a peep only at the exterior of St. Eliza- 
beth's church at Marburg, while breakfast was 
going on. I certainly ought to have stopped, as 
it was the most important church in some respects 
that I had seen in Germany. 

We spent a Sunday at Hanover, and the next 
day went by rail to Brunswick, with which I was 
very much pleased ; and then to Magdeburg, 
whence we took a night journey by steamer to 

Here my brother left me, and I stayed on to 
get local information, and took a diligence journey 
to old Liibeck, to my great delight, and thus 
completed my tour. 

On leaving Hamburg by steamer for London, 
I struck out on the first morning of the voyage 
my design for the church I have the sketch 
now but a stormy sea soon put a stop to work. 
The voyage took, I think, three days and four 
nights, during most of which I was in bed ; and, 
on reaching home, I was so ill as to be laid up for 

1 1 8 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

several days, during which time, however, I was 
enabled to complete my general design, on the 
drawing out of which all force was put, as I had 
only a month left on returning to my office. The 
style I chose was somewhat later than I should 
now adopt, being founded rather on fourteenth 
than on thirteenth century work. I thought at 
the time that it was earlier. My journey had 
enabled me to catch the general spirit of German 
work at that period, though I afterwards found 
that I had not done so perfectly. My design was, 
however, in the main a good one, and the draw- 
ings were admirably finished, all hands being put 
upon them, though the best elevations were made 
by Mr. Coe and Mr. Street, the last-named 
coming out now for the first time, to my obser- 
vation, in the prominent way which has since 
characterised him. The drawings, which were 
very large and numerous, were sent off by a 
steamer, which would, under ordinary circum- 
stances, have delivered them by the time pre- 
scribed ; but an early frost had stopped the 
navigation of the Elbe, and they arrived three 
weeks after the time ! My agent, however, Mr. 
Emilius Miiller, was indefatigable in his nego- 
tiations, and the delay was condoned. 

When my drawings arrived and were exhibited 
with the rest, the effect upon the public mind in 
Hamburg was perfectly electrical. They had 
never seen Gothic architecture carried out in a 
new design with anything like the old spirit, and 
as they were labouring under the old error that 
Gothic was the German (" Alt Deutsch ") style, 
their feelings of patriotism were stirred up in a 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 119 

wonderful manner. My design was to their 
apprehension far more German than those of any 
of the German architects. Professor Semper, my 
most talented competitor, had grounded his design 
on that of the cathedral at Florence, and Heideloff, 
Lange, and others had made more or less of 
failures, while an English architect of the name 
of Atkinson (the future Siberian explorer), then 
living at Hamburg, who had made a powerful 
effort, had failed of making his design German. 
Mr. M tiller kept me constantly supplied with ex- 
tracts from the newspapers, &c., which for the 
most part advocated my design with enthusiasm. 
One writer indulged in a poetical effusion, while 
by another I was compared to Erwin von Stein- 

I subjoin extracts from two out of a multitude 
of such papers in my possession. These must 
have appeared within a few days of the arrival of 
my drawings ; the second, I fancy, may have been 
by the Rev. Pastor Freudenthiel, one of the 
clergymen of St. Nicholas, who is well-known in 
Germany as a poet. 

From the " Hamburger Neue Zeilung" z^rd Dec., 1844. 

Bauplane fur die neue St. Nicolai Kirche. 
Von allgemeinstem Interesse 1st gewiss die Ausstellung der 
39 eingelieferten Bauplane fur die neue St. Nicolai Kirche, von 
besonderem Interesse fur den Kunstverstandigen aber, zu sehen 
wie verschiedenartig und wirklich bunt die Combinationen 
hier ausfallen, die historisch-architectonischen Elemente in den 
Ideen oft nur restaurirt sind, so dass man den Mangel natiir- 
licher Schopfungskraft, welche das Angelernte und Ueberlieferte 
beherrschen und vergessen machen soil, unmittelbar gewahrt 
wie die Manifestationen der Ideen oft selbst geschmacklos und 
antichristlich sind, indem hier eine halbe Pagode, dort ein 
halber griechischer Tempel zum Vorschein kommt. Natiirlich 

I2O Sir Gilbert Scott. 

aber fehlt es auch nicht an tiichtigen kernigen Anschauungen, 
die wiirdevoll und edel aufgefasst sind, wie die unter No. 32, 
"Das Werk und nicht derMeister" No. 25, "Erhabenist 
der Baukunst Streben," etc., doch " die Letzten werden die 
Ersten sein ! " No. 39, " Labor ipse voluptas " wurde 
durch den Frost zu Cuxhaven zuriickgehalten, und es ist die 
Krone von Allen. Das Characteristische diirfte hier vornehmlich 
sein : die reine Entwickelung des historisch-technischen Be- 
griffes christlicher Baukunst in originaler Klarheit und Majes- 
tat. Die Phantasie des Kiinstlers ringt hier gleichsam mit den 
Monumenten der Geschichte und der Steg wird verherrlicht 
durch seine saubere architectonische Zeichnung. Solchen 
Miinster und man wird ihn ewig bewundern in seiner Herr- 
lichkeit ! Auch darin lebt der Geist Ervvin's von Steinbach. 

From the " Nachrichten" January 2nd, 1845. 

Ein Mauerstein zum Bauplane der St. Nicolai-Kirche mit 
dem Motto : " Labor ipse voluptas." 

Wie hast Du aufgebaut, Du wack'rer Meister, 

SQ kiihn den Bau in Deinen Kiinstlerplan, 

Vernichtend jenen eitlen, leeren Wahn, 

Dass deutsche Kunst mit uns'rer Ahnen Geister 

Zu Grabe ging fur alle kiinft'ge Zeit ! 

Hat Albion Dich vormals uns geboren, 

Dich hat die deutsche Gothik auserkoren, 

Als Herold ihrer Pracht und Herrlichkeit ! 

Das ist der Miinster, der mit heil'gen Schauern 

In Strassburg fullet jede Menschenbrust ; 

Das ist der Dom zu Coin, der heil'ge Lust 

Erschuf, zu bauen jene macht'gen Mauern, 

Die fromm der Ahn in alter Zeit begann, 

Ein Engel musste lichtvoll Dich umschweben, 

Als, Meister, Dein Gebild erstand aus schonem Streben 

Das stolz und kiihn nun strebet himmelan ! 

Mein Hamburg, auf, zum allerschonsten Bunde 

Erbaue solch ein Werk nach schwerer Zeit, 

Dass staunen alle Volker ! Weit und breit 

Durchdringe jedes Land die hehre Kunde, 

Dass nun Sanct Nicolaus in lichter Pracht 

Verherrlicht wieder unsers Hamburgs Mauern, 

Dann wird der spat'ste Enkel nimmer trauern 

So lang der Thurm die Vaterstadt bewacht, 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 121 

Dass frommer Glaube bei den Ahnen schwand, 
Dass nicht aus Nacht ein Gottestag erstand. 
Ja, ihm verkiinden noch geweihte Sagen 
In Liedern gross und hehr die fromme Kraft, 
Mit der ein Gott begeistert Volk geschafft, 
Als Armuth mit der Armuth sich verband, 
Um Gaben mild aus ihren armen Handen 
Durch langer Jahre Zeiten fortzuspenden ; 
Bis schon vollendet jenes Werk erstand. 
Es wird der Glaube einst zum sel'gen Schauen, 
Die Hoffnung wandelt sich in Gottvertrauen, 
Nur Liebe bleibt Drum lasst uns ewig bauen 
In jeder Freudenzeit, in schwerer Stunde 
Ein jedes Werk auf ihrem reinen Grunde. 

It must not, however, be supposed that all the 
notices were as favourable as these, many were 
so, and went very much into detail, and several 
pamphlets appeared on the same side. Some, 
however, were written by persons favourable to 
other styles, and to other architects, and were in 
some cases violent in their opposition. 

As it may perhaps not be uninteresting to know 
the line which at this time I took in my advocacy 
of Gothic architecture, I will subjoin some extracts 
from the paper by which my design was accom- 

" A strong feeling has for some years existed in 
most parts of Europe in favour of the study and 
careful investigation of the principles of that 
beautiful but long-neglected style of architecture 
of which such glorious examples are to be found 
in the ecclesiastical edifices of Germany, France, 
England, and other northern countries. This 
feeling, and the investigation consequent upon it, 
has almost universally removed the absurd preju- 
dices of the last three centuries, which, by making 

1 2 2 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

the architecture of Greece and Rome the standard 
for all other countries, however differing in climate, 
manners, or religion, condemned as barbarous all 
the indigenous productions of the countries in- 
habited by the Teutonic nations. A careful exa- 
mination, however, of these works which have 
been so ruthlessly condemned has convinced every 
inquirer that, so far from being barbarous, they 
are the greatest productions of human art, the 
most perfectly suited to the climate, manners, and 
natural materials of the countries where they exist, 
and, above all, that as sacred edifices they excel all 
other buildings in the appropriateness to the spirit 
of the religion from which they have emanated. 
The style of these exquisite buildings has a strong 
and natural claim to be used for ecclesiastical pur- 
poses by the architects of all nations of northern 
Europe, as being that style which spontaneously 
rose and developed itself among all the nations of 
German origin under the peculiar influence of the 
Christian religion. That this style did not owe 
its origin or developement in any degree to the 
particular influence of the Church of Rome is fully 
shown by the fact that it never arrived at any 
great perfection south of the Alps, that it was 
there considered as a foreign style, and that its 
extinction in the sixteenth century was commenced 
by the efforts of the ecclesiastics at Rome, and 
was carried out through the influence of Italian 

"It was natural that when, after three centuries 
of neglect, the beauties of our native architecture 
began again to be appreciated, disputes should 
arise between the different branches of the great 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 123 

Teutonic family for the honour of its first inven- 
tion. Warm and elaborate arguments have accord- 
ingly taken place : Germany, France, and England 
have zealously pressed their claims, with more or 
less success, according to the ingenuity of their 
respective champions. The subject of dispute, it 
must be confessed, has been unimportant, but, like 
the study of alchemy, though fruitless in its imme- 
diate object, it has tended much to promote the 
successful investigation of more practical and 
important questions. These frivolous inquiries 
have now merged into the practical and detailed 
study of the principles of this noble style of archi- 
tecture, and questions as to its origin and its 
inventors have given place to the more important 
inquiry of how it can most successfully be revived 
and re-established. England has taken her place 
among other nations in the study and revival of 
ecclesiastical architecture, and among others the 
architect who has prepared the accompanying 
design has made this the leading object of his 
labours, and it is the opportunity afforded by your 
liberal advertisement of preparing a design in 
some degree worthy of the ancient models, to the 
study of which he has devoted himself, that has 
induced him to enter upon the present competition, 
which he docs rather for the delight he feels in the 
subject than from any great hopes of success," &c. 

Again, on the choice of the variety of pointed 
architecture to be made use of, 

"In tracing the history of an art which was 
subject to continual and uniformly progressive 
change it is a matter of considerable difficulty to 
determine at what precise period it had arrived 

i 24 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

at the greatest degree of perfection. The taste 
of individuals may vary much on the merits of 
such a question, and where every phase of that 
art possesses peculiar merits and beauties of its 
own, the feelings of the same person may be 
subject to much change, according to the im- 
pressions produced upon the mind by the con- 
templations of specimens of different periods. 
As, however, ' the gradual progression of eccle- 
siastical architecture in northern Europe com- 
menced with a style which was evidently bar- 
barous, but rose by degrees to the highest degree 
of beauty and excellence, and as unquestionably 
it afterwards became lowered and corrupted and 
finally extinguished, it is clear that it must have 
had a culminating point, and that there must be 
one period at which it had obtained its greatest 
perfection. To ascertain this point with accuracy 
is an important object to those engaged in design- 
ing a church, which ought not to be less perfect 
in its character than corresponding works of the 
best ages of art. 

" From a very careful consideration of the 
ancient churches of Germany, France, and Eng- 
land, the author of the present design has been 
led to fix the end of the thirteenth century, viz. 
from 1270 to 1300 A.D., as the period at which 
the most perfect ecclesiastical architecture is to be 
found ; very fine specimens are certainly to be 
met with both earlier and later than these dates, 
but. still within these limits appears to be com- 
prised the period of the fullest developement of the 
style. That this was a marked era in the history 
of church architecture is proved by several cir- 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 125 

cumstances in which it differs from other times. 
The architects of the different nations of Europe, 
in the first instance, imitated the later works of 
the Romans, but in the course of time they re- 
modelled these into a style peculiarly their own, 
which style is known by the name Romanesque, 
Lombardic, or (though erroneously) Byzantine. 
In the working out of this change each nation 
took its own course, and the architectural styles 
resulting from this change widely differed in 
different countries. During the twelfth century, 
however, each began to introduce the pointed 
arch, accompanied by other features novel to the 
established manner. During the transition each 
nation still took its own course. We accordingly 
find the buildings of this period in Germany, 
France, and England, widely differing from one 
another. Towards the end, however, of the 
thirteenth century they appear, by a remarkable 
coincidence, to have all arrived at the same point, 
though reaching it by different routes. It is true 
that each country still retained its peculiar taste 
and characteristics, but the essential principles 
and elements, at this period, more nearly coincided 
than at any other, and from this point they seem 
to have again diverged, till they at length differed 
from one another as widely as before. Each, 
though in different ways, departed from the simple 
principles of taste, and introduced into their archi- 
tecture those fantastic and corrupted details, which 
at length led to the extinction of the style, and a 
return to the architecture of ancient Rome. 

" Another peculiar feature which marks the era 
which has been named, is, that at that epoch, 

126 Sir Gilder I Scoff. 

the ornamental foliage was in every instance 
imitated from nature. The enrichment of earlier 
buildings had been derived from classic antiquity, 
but in the course of years had grown into a 
new style, neither classic nor natural. At this 
period, however, the artists fell back upon nature, 
and we find all the foliage and ornaments of 
that time to be copies of real leaves and flowers ; 
while at a later date nature was again departed 
from, and merely conventional forms again made 
use of. The same distinctive features may be 
traced in the sculpture, stained glass, decorative 
painting, jewellery, and other ecclesiastical arts 
of that period, which will be found to evince a 
purity of taste and feeling never before reached in 
the same countries, and not generally retained in 
later times. 

"A careful examination of the architecture of 
this date will show that it possesses in its most 
perfect form all the peculiar characteristics of 
pointed architecture, that it retains no trace what- 
ever of the objectionable features of former styles, 
and that it is at the same time free from the 
defects which were subsequently engrafted upon 
it. Every form is perfect and elegant in its 
design, from the grandest features to the most 
minute ornaments. Individual buildings may 
have their own particular defects, but there is no 
imperfection inherent in the style. It is equally 
suited to the most simple and to the most mag- 
nificent structures, being susceptible of the greatest 
simplicity without becoming mean, and of the 
utmost extent of decoration without the risk of 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 127 

I then go on to show that it would be incon- 
sistent to imitate the local characteristics of the 
old buildings in the immediate district, because 
these arose from difficulties as to materials, &c., 
which then existed, but have since ceased, recom- 
mending rather " To take advantage of the varied 
beauties exhibited by German churches of corre- 
sponding style in general, than by those of a 
particular district ; and to endeavour so to treat the 
subject as we may imagine that the ancient artists 
would have done, if they had possessed all the 
practical advantages which can now be obtained." 

I give these lengthy extracts, not from any 
value they possess in themselves, but in order to 
show the progress of thought upon such subjects 
then attained. 

The decision on the design was for some time 
delayed ; and, during the interval, the mask of 
concealed names was so completely dropped, that 
my design was constantly spoken of as the 
" Scottisch " design, and I was enabled to defend 
myself personally against some attacks made upon 
it. At length it was determined to call in Sulpice 
Boiseree, and Zwirner, the architect to Cologne 
Cathedral. The former could not personally 
attend ; but he wrote a sort of essay on the sub- 
ject, which was considered to coincide with my 
own views. Zwirner, however, went to Ham- 
burg, and I was advised by my agent, Emilius 
M tiller, to be there in case of being wanted. I 
accordingly crossed from Hull, and arriving early 
on a Sunday morning, was roused from my slum- 
bers by the indefatigable Miiller, who had dis- 
covered that he was wrong in advising my 

128 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

presence. I had accordingly to remain incognito 
for the day, and the next morning to retire to 
Ltibeck, where I remained for some days. As ill- 
luck would have it, it was found out by my com- 
petitors that I had arrived ; and as Zwirner had 
gone, with one of the committee, to spend the 
Sunday at Llibeck, I had actually met him 
(though unseen) on the road, which afforded a 
fine card for the invention of a conspiracy. Of 
this, however, I was ignorant, and I remained in 
my retirement until I heard that the decision was 
in my favour, and then returned to Hamburg. I 
stayed there for a considerable time, to make 
arrangements for commencing the execution of 
the work. I went there again in September and 
October of the same year, when a contract was 
entered into for the foundations, and we formally 
broke ground on October 8th, 1845 (L.D.) 

During this visit I made the acquaintance of 
that admirable man, the Syndic Sieviking, the 
founder of the celebrated Raumen Haus. I have 
never met a more accomplished gentleman, or a 
more, charming and excellent man, or one of a 
more elegant mind, or more refined feelings. 

A difference of opinion had arisen as to 
whether transepts should be added to my design, 
omitting the second aisles. This alteration was 
eventually carried. I may mention that I had 
been studying German, though in a very moderate 
degree, from the time that there seemed a 
prospect of my success ; and that my assistant, 
Mr. Burlison, had done so more successfully, and 
had spent some time this year at Hamburg, in 
order to get up practical information. My clerk 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 129 

of the works was Mr. Mortimer, a very talented 
man, who had been engaged for me in that 
capacity at several buildings, among which was 
St. Mary's, Stafford. Of this valued coadjutor, 
and his untimely end, I shall have to speak 

I returned home by way of Holland, for the pur- 
pose of making myself acquainted with the use of 
trass or tarras in water cements. I visited on my 
way Bremen, Osnabriick, Miinster, and Xanten. 
The latter contains an admirable church, which 
had some influence on the manuring of the Ham- 
burg design. In Holland I visited Arnhem, 
Utrecht, Amsterdam, Haarlem, and Rotterdam. 
The journey from Hamburg to Xanten was by 
diligence, as were most of my inland journeys 
in Germany for some years later. 

The information I obtained in Holland was 
most serviceable, and was conclusive in favour of 
tarras. I brought some of it home with me, and 
followed up experiments which were equally con- 
clusive in their result. The pains taken in 
Holland on government works in the preparation 
of mortar is truly amazing. I went into a shed 
where eighty people were employed ; they were in 
four divisions, twenty facing twenty, all armed 
with a kind of hoe. The materials for the mortar 
(consisting of trass and dry slacked hydraulic 
lime) were placed in two lengthened heaps be- 
tween two twenties of men, who, at the word of 
command from a kind of sergeant, commenced 
mixing the ingredients in the most careful and 
systematic manner. This done, the two ranks 
shouldered arms, and a man ran through the shed 


130 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

with a watering-pot, sprinkling a small quantity of 
water on the powder, after which the mixing was 
repeated as before. Again the aquarius ran 
through, and again the mixing was repeated ; and 
this went on till the mortar was reduced to a state 
of paste, and no apothecary's salve was ever 
better manipulated. The mortar is tried from 
time to time by means of wedge-shaped bricks 
stuck together, and the cohesive power tested by 
weights in a scale hung to one of them, the result 
being formally booked by the clerk of the works. 
The work upon which they were engaged was a 
fortification on the banks of the old Rhine. 
There was a mighty cistern, elevated high above 
the works, from which proceeded india-rubber 
hose with brass nozzles ; every bricklayer having 
the command of one of these, and directing the 
jet of water against every side of every brick 
before laying it, lest one particle of dust should 
weaken the adhesion of the mortar. 

About this time a constantly increasing desire 
had grown up in my mind to terminate my 
partnership with Mr. Moffatt. My wife was most 
anxious upon the subject, and was constantly 
pressing it upon my attention, but my courage 
failed me, and I could not muster pluck enough 
to broach it. At length Mrs. Scott "took the 
bull by the horns." She drove to the office 
while I was out of town, asked to see Mr. Mof- 
fatt privately, and told him that I had made 
up my mind to dissolve our partnership. He 
was tremendously astounded, but behaved well, 
and the ice thus broken, I followed up the matter 
vigorously. This was during the latter part of 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 131 

1845, an d at the close of the year an agreement 
was entered into, dissolving our partnership then 
and there " de facto," but taking one year as a 
year of transition, and delaying the actual gazet- 
ting of the dissolution until the close of that year. 

Though Mr. Moffatt occasionally kicked hard 
at this, I must do him the justice to say that he 
behaved fairly and straightforwardly throughout. 
We came to an agreement of this kind : we 
valued the probable receipts of our several works 
and of outstanding bills, and divided the works 
into three portions, one for myself, another for 
Mr. Moffatt, (each taking our allotment " for 
better or worse"), and a third to pay a debt owing 
to our banker. This arrangement turned out 
better for me than for him, as his works having 
a certain amount of speculation about them, he 
lost a good deal of the estimated value of some 
of them. As, however, they were in their nature 
and origin his own works, it did not seem unfair 
that he should stand the brunt of this. The 
year 1846 was to me a time at once of thank- 
fulness and of anxiety. I was most thankful to 
be freed from a partnership which, with many 
advantages, had become the source of much 
annoyance ; at the same time it was " hard lines," 
after having been ten years in practice of the 
most unprecedented activity, to have put by next 
to nothing, and to have to set aside the proceeds 
of many works to cover a debt, which was the 
result of easy-going and bad management on my 
own part, and of some extravagance on that of my 

My connexion with Mr. Moffatt, as will have 
K 2 

132 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

been gathered from the statements made earlier 
in this sketch, was by no means a premeditated 
one. It had grown up spontaneously and almost 
independently of my will. People wonder, I have 
no doubt, how two persons, so contrary in their 
tastes and dispositions, could have joined in part- 
nership, and blame my judgment in permitting it. 
I have only to say, in reply, that I never thought 
of partnership until it came about wholly without, 
and almost against my own will. Nor had I 
any reason to think otherwise than favourably of 
my partner. He was very talented, very practical, 
and very industrious. Nor am I sure, with all its 
drawbacks, that I have not gained more than I 
have lost by the connexion. My natural disposi- 
tion was so quiet and retiring, that I doubt if I 
should have alone pushed my way. My father 
used to be seriously uneasy on this head, and he 
never believed that I could get on in the rough 
world. Mr. Moffatt supplied just the stuff I was 
wanting in. He was thoroughly fitted to cope 
with the world ; he saw through character in a 
moment, and could shape himself precisely to the 
necessities of the case and the character of the 
people he had to do with. This enabled me, 
through a sort of apprenticeship of ten years, to 
learn to rough it on my own account. Strange 
to say as time went on, he seemed gradually to 
lose his power of acting wisely. I had by that 
time chalked out a practice for myself, wholly 
different from that for which he was fitted, and 
at length I was enabled to separate from him, and 
to keep my own practice, making over his own to 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 133 

I was now a free man, but I had almost to begin 
life over again. I wrote a circular, which I sent 
far and wide, publishing my separation to the 
world. I almost wonder to think how readily 
practice came to me in my single name ; but 
''Scott and Moffatt" had become so well known 
as a nom-de-guerre, that it took very many years 
to get rid of it altogether, and now at the end 
of eighteen years I occasionally get a letter so 

The fact is that we had made ourselves a name 
such as few architects have ever made at our 
age, and had done more perhaps than had ever 
been done in the first ten years of architectural 

I fear we were disliked by our fellow-profes- 
sionals for our almost unheard-of activity and 
success. This, however, was only the natural 
jealousy of competitors, and I do not think that it 
was founded on any just reason. Happily, I had 
come to the determination to avoid competitions 
for the most part, though without making any 
resolution which would debar me from them when 
they seemed from special circumstances desirable. 
I have the greatest reason to be thankful that my 
subsequent practice has, for the most part, come to 
me without competition and unasked-for, and that 
this has freed me from much of that professional 
jealousy which follows a frequently competing 
architect. I do not, however, think that I could 
have got into such practice without a long previous 
course of competition, and I would not recommend 
young architects, as a general rule, to try the 

134 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

I was thirty-five years old in the midst of this 
year of transition, and I recollect congratulating 
myself on the old saying, 

" He who ever means to thrive 
Must begin by thirty-five." 

From this time my life seems to have usually 
run in so smooth a course that I hardly know 
what to say about it that is worth saying. 

In that year (1846) I appear to have made two 
journeys to Hamburg. The first was in April : I 
went via Calais, visiting Dunkirk, Bergues, Pope- 
ringhe, and Ypres, to which place I had been 
directed by my dear friend Syndicus Sieviking to 
study for the future Rath-Haus of Hamburg, for 
which he considered the Halles there as a most 
suggestive model ; and highly delighted I was with 
it. I then went by Aix-la-Chapelle, Dusseldorf, 
Neuss, and by diligence across Westphalia to Min- 
den, whence I visited some of the quarries, situated 
in a splendid country, which supply Hamburg ; 
thence to Halberstadt, and by Magdeburg, to 
Hamburg, and returned by sea. The next journey 
was in September. I went by sea, and on this 
occasion, on September 24th, 1846, the first stone 
of the church was laid in great state (L. D.). I 
returned by way of Brunswick, Hildesheim, and 
Cologne, visiting stone quarries and sketching. 

I ought to have mentioned that I had been 
violently attacked in the " Ecclesiologist " for un- 
dertaking a Lutheran church. I wrote a formal 
defence, to which they refused admission. 

The following is the text of my defence thus 
suppressed : 

CHAP. HI.] Recollections. 135 

" To the Editor of the ' Ecclesiologist! 

" SIR, In your last number I find that you have 
made some rather severe remarks upon me with 
reference to the new church of St. Nicholas, 
Hamburg. Had these remarks been founded 
upon correct premises, I should not for a moment 
deny their justice ; but as this is far from being the 
case, and as the natural inference from what you 
say would be, that I was about to erect a church 
for a community which disbelieved the most 
essential doctrines of Christianity, and to dis- 
honour the symbols of our faith by using them 
as mere decorations of a building which is to be 
used by those who deny that faith, I think it 
necessary to trouble you with a few lines to show 
how unjust an impression your remarks are calcu- 
lated to make. 

" Now, nothing can be more manifest than the 
injustice of attributing to any community opinions, 
which, though possibly held by individuals pro- 
fessing to be its members, are directly opposed to 
the authorized doctrinal standards of the com- 
munity itself, and to do so, certainly but ill- 
becomes any member of a church like our own, 
which retains within its pale, and even within its 
priesthood, persons professing almost every variety 
of doctrine from the Romanist to the Socinian. 
If your principle was to be fully carried out, surely 
no one could conscientiously build an Anglican 
church, as such a building would in all probability 
be used at one period or another by persons, who, 
though belonging to the same communion, might 
hold doctrines which he must consider to be little, 
if at all, short of heresy. 

136 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

" Now the position of the Lutheran body is in 
this respect very similar to that of our own. Its 
authorized tenets have generally, I believe, been 
considered to differ but little from those of the 
church of England ; indeed, where they chiefly 
differ, the Lutheran doctrines have generally been 
thought to approach nearer to those of the Roman- 
ists than do those of our own communion. On the 
other hand, however, there are many professed 
Lutherans, whose opinions are at direct variance 
with those of the body to which they belong : but 
are we to select the views of these persons, and 
lay them down as the doctrines of their church ? 
The fact is, that the class of religionists of whom 
you speak, so far from being the genuine type of 
their church, are, I have every reason to believe, a 
small and constantly decreasing minority. 

" Their doctrines (if such they may be called) 
are not indeed the genuine offspring of Germany 
at all, but had their origin in the philosophical and 
infidel spirit which gave rise to the French revo- 
lution ; and I am happy to find that they are now, 
for the most part, confined to a section of the older 
ministers, and are almost universally repudiated by 
the younger members of the community. 

" Of the actual doctrines of the Lutheran church 
it would be very much out of my place, were I 
indeed able to do so, to speak in detail. As re- 
gards those, however, to which you particularly 
refer, I may say, first, that wherever the confession 
of Augsburg has been adopted, instead of explain- 
ing away the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, that 
mystery has been held in exactly the same manner 
as it is by the church of Rome, and by our own 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 137 

church, and the three creeds have been retained 
in the form in which they are received by the 
Western Church in general. 

" On the subject of the Sacraments, it is well 
known that they hold much stronger views than 
many of the English clergy. Their views on the 
Real Presence are too well known to need remark : 
and on the subject of Baptism they agree with 
our own church, according to the strongest inter- 
pretation of its articles and offices. Luther, for 
instance, makes such observations on the subject 
as the following : ' The laver of regeneration is 
one that not superficially washes the skin and 
changes man bodily, but converts his whole 
nature, changing it into another, so that the first 
birth from the flesh is destroyed, with all the 
inheritance of sin and damnation.' Again he 
says, ' This (that is, the old man) must be put off 
with all its deeds ; so that, being the children of 
Adam, we may be made the children of God. 
This is not done by a change of clothing, or by 
any laws or works, but by a renascence and a 
renovation which takes place in baptism.' Again, 
' Those who extenuate the majesty of baptism 
speak wickedly and impiously. St. Paul, on the 
contrary, adorns baptism with magnificent titles, 
calling it the washing of regeneration! Again he 
speaks of the fanaticism of those who speak of 
baptism as a mere mark, and adds that as many 
as have been baptized have taken, beyond the law, 
a new nativity, which was effected in baptism. 
Surely no one, whatever his opinion may be on 
this subject, can call this ' scoffing at regeneration :' 
and even Dr. Pusey, who is certainly not preju- 

138 Sir Gilbert Scot 7. 

diced in favour of the German reformers, speaks 
with satisfaction of their retaining the ancient 
doctrine of baptism, and of the clearness of their 
perceptions on the subject. If we view the 
Lutheran community in the spirit of ecclesiologists, 
we shall not, I think, deny them a large share of 
praise as having preserved more of the ancient 
fittings of their churches than any other, not 
excepting the Romanists, and certainly not our- 

" Mr. Pugin remarks upon this in one of his 
works, stating that he could, when first entering 
an ancient Lutheran church, hardly perceive that 
it was in the hands of Protestants; and again, in 
his ' Glossary, 1 under the head of ' Tabernacle,' 
he speaks of the fine preservation of one, and the 
existence of several others in churches which are 
in the hands of Lutherans, but of the demolition 
of that in Cologne Cathedral, and the probable 
destruction of that at Louvain by the Romanists. 
Indeed, it is to churches which are 'occupied by 
the Lutherans ' that we must look for examples of 
the movable fittings of mediaeval churches. While, 
for instance, one party in our own church is search- 
ing, with but little success, for ancient stone altars ; 
and another is much more successfully seeking for 
judgments against new ones, the Lutherans quietly 
and universally retain and use their ancient stone 
high altars, and even the minor altars which are 
not used are still preserved, so that most of their 
large churches contain more specimens of ancient 
altars than our reformers have allowed to remain 
in our whole island. I know, for instance, a sinele 


Lutheran church which contains upwards of thirty 

CHAP. HI.] Recollections. 139 

of them. But it is not alone the altars which 
they have retained, but almost every accompani- 
ment of the altar : such, for instance, as the mag- 
nificent triptychs, gorgeously decorated with paint- 
ings and imagery, which retain their places not 
only over the high altars, but in many instances 
even over the small and disused altars in other 
parts of the churches. Many of these are of the 
most magnificent description and in perfect pre- 
servation, and several of them are frequently to be 
found in a single church. 

''Again, every high altar retains its ancient 
candlesticks, not for ornament only, but for almost 
daily use. The magnificent tabernacle, a feature 
almost unknown in England, still stands by the 
side of the altar, or forms a recess with richly- 
decorated doors in the wall near to it. Figures 
of the Blessed Virgin, of exquisite loveliness, still 
occupy the niches. The rood-lofts often remain 
decorated with splendid sculpture, or with panels 
filled by most beautiful paintings of saints, or 
other Catholic subjects. Above, very frequently, 
hangs the rood itself, never having been removed, 
as in England, from its place. Pendant lights, 
both for lamps and candles, often containing beau- 
tiful niches and figures, still hang from the vault- 
ings, and ancient brass candlesticks are still 
attached to the walls ; paintings, needlework, 
and, indeed, every kind of decoration are fre- 
quently to be met with, such as we retain hardly 
a remnant of. They have, indeed, not only pre- 
served what is ancient ; but, at periods subse- 
quent to the Reformation, have added multitudes 
of new decorations, particularly paintings of Scrip- 

140 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

tural subjects, often in vast numbers, though of 
course partaking of the general decay of art 
common to the period ; but still showing that the 
fanatical dread of such decorations was unknown 
among them, and a feeling that the ' teaching of 
the Church ' should be displayed upon its walls. 
In the present instance there has been, as you 
state, a dispute as to the proper style to be 
adopted for a church : one party favouring, not 
as you say, a pagan temple ; but the style of 
the Romanesque period in Italy, and the other 
the German style of the thirteenth century. The 
latter having prevailed, it is only common justice, 
after the manner in which you have thought 
proper to speak of them, to inquire a little into 
the grounds which have led them to this de- 
termination ; and, for this purpose, I cannot do 
better than refer to one of the pamphlets which 
has been published on the subject, and you will 
find that the author treats the matter precisely on 
the same principle as you would do yourselves, 
and carries out the details of Christian symbolism 
in a spirit which you could not but approve, 
though you might not go with him in all his 

" After treating at great length on the unsuit- 
ableness of all other styles for a Christian church, 
he proceeds to lay down this general axiom, that 
' The outward building of stone should present 
an image of the spiritual Church of Christ,' and 
after some interesting remarks upon the spiritual 
edifice particularly on the threefold grace of 
Light and Life and Love, imparted by Christ to 
his Church and also on the promise of Christ to 

CHAP. HI.] Recollections. 141 

be present with it in the Sacraments, and in the 
preaching of the Word, and in prayer, he pro- 
ceeds, 'The place now for the assembling of 
Christians for the public worship of God is the 
material church, this as a work of the Christian 
congregation which is itself imbued with the Life 
of Love in the Light of the Gospel ; and must, in 
conformity therewith, bear witness to the same 
threefold grace. The outward fabric must itself 
present an image of the Light and Life and Love 
which are the essential characteristics of the 
Christian Church. Does not the Apostle say of 
the Christian congregation, " Ye are the temple 
of the living God, as God hath said, I will dwell 
in them and walk in them." Thus will we also 
demand of the house of the congregation, that as 
a Christian edifice it may present itself as a temple 
of the living God, in which the Spirit of God may 
dwell and walk.' 

" He then states that such a work have our 
fathers achieved, ' or much rather,' he adds, ' may 
we say, has the Spirit of God itself erected ; ' and 
that 'in the same spirit in which the Apostle says, 
" Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual 
house," have also our fathers breathed into the 
inanimate stones a new life, and built them up 
into a spiritual house of God ; so, therefore, may 
we justly say of such a building, as the Apostle 
Paul did of the Christian Church itself: "Ye are 
God's building, and are built upon the foundation 
of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Him- 
self being the chief corner-stone, in whom all the 
building, fitly framed together, groweth into an 
holy temple in the Lord." 

142 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

"He next proceeds to give a general outline 
of the manner in which the symbolism of church 
architecture is expressed, commencing with the 
prevalence of the cross from the. very foundation 
of the church, to the heaven-aspiring points of its 
steeples. The frequent use of the cross as the 
form of the massive foundation of the church, he 
considers to be an emblem of the Rock upon 
which the Church is built ; and, from thence, he 
carries out the principle, not only where it is 
palpably intended, but even through the details 
of the architecture, where, though the intention is 
not evident, the principle of the cross is constantly 

" He then adverts to the prevailing upward 
tendency of every feature in a Gothic building, 
following it out from the lower features to the 
' steeple, which, with the glance of the eye, draws 
also the heart unchecked to the cross above, and 
seems as the leader of the choir to exclaim, ' sur- 
sum corda ;' and to hear from the whole congre- 
gation of pinnacles around the echo, ' habemus ad 

" He speaks of the clustered pillars as emblems 
of brotherly love, each helping to bear the other's 
burden, and each assisting the other in its upward 
striving, till all meet in the heaven's vault above. 
' As the aim of all is the vault of heaven, so the 
soul of all is the free spirit of love nothing ser- 
vile is to be seen, no architrave checks with its 
oppressive burden the upward striving, every- 
thing, it is true, bears and serves, but it is the 
service of free love.' 

"It is needless to go through the details, but 

CHAP. IIL] Recollections. 143 

they all show the same general spirit and inten- 
tion. I will, however, quote a few passages to 
illustrate the spirit of the writer more fully. After 
remarking that the symbolical allusions of Gothic 
architecture may be traced through a thousand 
features, but all in unison with the whole, and all 
bearing witness to the same spirit : ' But the 
festive garment and ornament is first put upon 
such a building by the hand of sculpture and 
painting. As the Christian spirit strives to em- 
brace and to penetrate all spheres of life, so the 
Gothic building draws all arts into its service. 
The Christian church has become what it is in the 
course of the historical developement of the king- 
dom of God upon earth. This historical develope- 
ment then, together with all the branches of the 
earthly creation, are presented in a Gothic church, 
and more particularly in statues, reliefs, paintings 
&c. There we see the whole creation, from the 
beginning to the last day, Moses and the Prophets 
and the Kings of the Old Testament. The 
holiest place is occupied by the Lord of Lords, 
the King of Kings, and around Him are the 
Apostles and Evangelists ; more distant are the 
martyrs and fathers of the church to the latest 
period, with the representatives of the worldly, 
but protecting power, emperors, kings, and princes.' 
He then shows how every kingdom of nature is 
made to bear its part in symbolizing the kingdom 
of grace, and he adds ( The richest fulness of 
sculpture abounds in the wide portals, as if in- 
vitingly pointing towards rich and blissful trea- 
sures of the Spirit which are contained in the in- 
terior of the building. The revelation of God is 

144 Si r Gilbert Scott. 

most evidently set forth in a Gothic minster, &c., 

" He closes this branch of his subject by re- 
marking that the same system may be carried out 
in many other ways ; ' for as the spirit of Chris- 
tianity is a living one, the symbolization of 
Christian art must be infinitely various.' 

' I will only notice one other point, which is the 
earnest manner in which this writer urges the 
position of the font near the entrance of the 
church. ' Here placed,' says he, ' it reminds and 
admonishes each person, on his entrance, of his 
baptismal vow, which he has once solemnly con- 
firmed, as bound in covenant with his Lord and 
God. There in the sight of the pulpit, and in 
the direction towards the altar, ought the font to 
stand, that here it may hold our sight directed, 
both to the word of the gospel and to the sacra- 
ment of the altar, that by means of these, we may 
obtain that forgiveness which, through the journey 
of life from our baptism to the partaking of the 
altar of the Lord, we so continually stand in 
need of. 

" ' The whole course of the Christian's life lies 
between the sacrament of baptism and that of the 
altar. As he receives baptism at the entrance 
of life, so would he desire at his exit from the 
same to receive the Lord's Supper as the latest 
Viaticum. The font, therefore, should take its 
place at the beginning, as the altar at the termi- 
nation, of the whole building.' 

" I will add but one more quotation. ' Without 
pious faith, without warm love, and a heartfelt 
devotedness, never, and nowhere, was anything 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 145 

truly great or holy accomplished. Such a living 
faith is, however, not an exclusive privilege of 
(Roman) 2 Catholicism. Do we protestants, there- 
fore, at the present day wish to erect houses of 
God as great and noble as those of our fathers ? 
then must we build up ourselves onwards and 
onwards, as living stones into a spiritual house, a 
temple of the living God. Unless endued with 
life and light from above, we cannot perceive 
the sacred glory which beams around Gothic 
architecture. Without these our heart remains 
dead, a cold rock against the floods of faith and 
of love ; but by means of these the stone having 
received life, bears a mightily convincing witness 
that of these stones God has raised up children 
to Himself.' 

" Such have been the arguments, and such the 
tone of feeling, which have led the citizens of Ham- 
burg to select, as you say, the style of a ' Gothic 
cathedral/ rather than that of a pagan temple. 

" Now, let me ask, are persons capable of such 
sentiments, to be treated as heathen men or as 
infidels, and to be denied the very externals even 
of Christianity ? Much rather, should we not 
rejoice to find among them such warmth of feeling, 
and such depth of sentiment, backed as it is by a 
noble liberality, which it would be well for us, if 
we had more of amongst ourselves, and which, 
considering the awful calamity from which they 
are but just recovering, reflects the greatest credit 
upon their Christian feeling. Lastly, may we not 
fairly hope that the practical carrying out of such 

2 The word " Roman " is not in the original ; it was inserted 
by my father. ED. 


146 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

sentiments may be made a means of stirring them 
up to still more elevated zeal, and leading them 
to restore that ancient discipline, which has been 
of late years but too much neglected, and to 
remedy all those evils which we, as members of 
the church of England, cannot but deplore ? 
" I am, sir, 

" Your obedient servant, 

"July 3 oth, 1845." 

The next year, I visited the Saxon Switzerland 
in search of stone quarries, and went on to Prague. 
Indeed from that time, I was in Germany nearly 
every year, though as yet, I remained ignorant of 

In the autumn of 1847, while at the lakes with 
Mrs. Scott, I received intelligence of my appoint- 
ment as architect to the refitting, &c., of Ely Cathe- 
dral, which opened out before me a new field. It 
was from the excitement produced in my mind by 
Dean Peacock's description of Amiens Cathedral, 
which he had visited that autumn, that I was led, 
as late as the end of November, to make a short 
run over to France, chiefly to Amiens and Paris. 

My eyes were at once opened. What I had 
always conceived to be German architecture I 
now found to be French. I thoroughly studied 
the details of Amiens, and those of the Sainte 
Chapelle, which bore most closely on my pre- 
vious German studies, and I returned home with 
a wholly new set of ideas, and with many of 
my old ones dispelled. It seems curious that 
I should have been twelve years in practice, 

CHAP. HI.] Recollections. 147 

before I became acquainted with French architec- 
ture, yet I was the first among English architects, 
as I believe, to study it in detail in any practical 
way, and with a practical intention. In 1848, the 
annus mirabilis, my tour was from Hamburg to 
Bamberg, Nuremberg, Strasburg, Freyburg, and 
Oppenheim. So deserted was the continent by 
Englishmen that year, that I travelled ten days 
without seeing one, or hearing our language 
spoken. I was at Frankfort at the time of the 
German Parliament, when I spent a Sunday after- 
noon in writing a letter to my friend Reichen- 
sperger, who was a member of it, on the necessity 
of founding the revived German Empire on a 
basis of religion. I remember saying that the old 
empire had been so based, and had stood a thousand 
years, and that if the new one were not so, it would 
inevitably fail. 

The next morning I went (by appointment with 
him) to see the sitting of the parliament. I found 
them in a state of perfect uproar and confusion, 
and with difficulty learned, that it was owing to 
having just received intelligence that Prussia had 
signed an armistice with the Danes without ask- 
ing their leave. A fortnight later this turmoil cul- 
minated in the murder of several of the members, 
and the overthrow of the attempted revival of the 
Holy Roman Empire. Among the friends of this 
period, I may mention Herr Reichensperger, M. 
Gerente sen., Herr Zwirner, Dean Buckland, and 
Lord John Thynne. 

The most important works to be noted since 
1845,' are the following: Bradfield Church; 

8 Up to the year 1862, or thereabouts. ED. 
L 2 

148 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

Worsley Church, which was begun when I was in 
partnership with Mr. Moffatt ; St. Mary's, Not- 
tingham, which was finished by him ; Watermore, 
near Cirencester ; Weeton, near Hare wood ; Bil- 
ton, near Harrowgate ; Aithington House, York- 
shire ; the restoration of the churches of Ayles- 
bury, Newark, and Nantwich, and the designs for 
the Cathedral of St. John, Newfoundland. Also 
new churches at West Derby, Liverpool ; Hoi- 
beck, near Leeds (a special work); Sewerby, near 
Bridlington, where difficulties arose from the 
fads of my employer ; the restoration of Elles- 
mere church, and the rebuilding of St. George's, 
Doncaster ; additions to Exeter College, Oxford, 
and the new chapel there ; the new churches 
at Haley Hill, Halifax, and on Ranmore 
Common, near Dorking. Then followed the 
competition for the Rathhaus at Hamburg, and 
that for the Government offices in Whitehall ; 
the restoration of Hereford, Lichfield, Salisbury, 
and Ripon Cathedrals. Of civil and domestic 
buildings, I will here mention the houses in Broad 
Sanctuary, Westminster ; Mr. Forman's house at 
Dorking ; Mr. Manners Sutton's, near Newark ; 
Sir Charles Mordaunt's, Walton Hall, Warwick ; 
and Mr. Sandbach's, near Llanwrst ; the Town 
Hall at Halifax, which came to nothing ; the 
Town Hall at Preston, and Brighton College. 
And I also carried out several semi-classic works, 
among which I will name the chapel at Hawk- 
stone ; the remodelling of St. Michael's, Cornhill ; 
Partis College, and the chapel of King's College, 

In 1848 I read the first paper I had written for 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 149 

a public meeting, excepting, by-the-bye, one on 
the origin of the stone of which Stonehenge is 
composed, written about 1836, for the then exist- 
ing Architectural Society, but which I could not 
muster courage to bring forward. 

My paper was on the truthful restoration of 
ancient churches, and it was read before the archi- 
tectural and archaeological society of the county 
of Bucks, at Aylesbury. It was a somewhat im- 
passioned protest against the destructiveness of 
the prevailing restorations, and was preceded by 
an address from the Bishop of Oxford (Dr. Wil- 
berforce), in which (probably to propitiate some 
low-church dons), he took almost the contrary 
line, inveighing against popish arrangements, &c., 
&c. I was so irate at his paper that my natural 
timidity vanished, and I gave double emphasis to 
all I had written. 

The bishop, however, had the better of me, for 
a rood-loft in the neighbouring church of Wing, 
which I had been for some time defending against 
threatened destruction, was forthwith pulled down, 
asking no more questions, and the bishop's address 
was appealed to as the authoritiy. I cannot resist 
a wicked joke apropos to this case, which had 
been made shortly before in the same town. I 
had been called in to report on the central tower 
of the church, and had found it to be very 
dangerous. At a dinner to which I was invited 
on this occasion, an obtuse old cleric wisely re- 
marked, " What a mercy it was that the tower did 
not fall during the bishop's visitation." " Not 
at all," replied a witty barrister, " not at all, 
I'd match Sam to dodge a falling church with 

150 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

any man," and reverence for the episcopal bench 
did not prevent a general burst of laughter, ex- 
cepting perhaps from the excellent cleric. While 
upon Aylesbury, I must tell a good joke of another 
kind. It happened that the vicar had been long 
annoyed by the church clock striking twelve while 
he was reading the communion service, and that 
very week the sexton had completed an ingenious 
contrivance to prevent the disturbance. His 
scheme was to fasten the clapper up, by pulling 
a wire which reached down into the church, and 
which, when in action, he fixed to a hook which 
he had driven into a pew beneath the tower. 
When the hour of trial came, the clock made 
violent spasmodic efforts to strike twelve, and at 
every abortive stroke, it lifted up the corner of 
the crazy old pew, and let it down again. The 
congregation, fresh from the alarm caused by my 
report, came to the instinctive conclusion that the 
tower was coming down, and, emulous of the 
character given to their diocesan, rushed from the 
supposed falling church en masse. 

My paper was repeated at Higham Ferrers, 
before the Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire 
societies, and I published it in 1850, accompanied 
by a number of fragmentary scribblings a per- 
son who appears in print for the first time, having 
usually a number of miscellaneous arrears to pro- 
vide for. It was dedicated to good Dean Peacock, 
whose friendship had become one of my greatest 
sources of pleasure. 

As I have since become a confirmed scribbler, 
and, as I believe, I have more reason to be satis- 
fied with the papers I have written in the way of 

CHAP. HI.] Recollections. 151 

business than with those written later for public 
reading, I will refer to a few reports which may 
be of interest, although some are already named. 4 

My first report on St. Mary, Stafford, and the 
correspondence with Mr. Petit on the same 
church ; my report on the chapel upon the bridge 
at Wakefield ; on Ely Cathedral ; on St. Peter's 
and St. Sepulchre's churches, Northampton, in the 
papers read before the society there ; a report on 
Westminster Abbey made for Mr. Gladstone 
about 1855 or '56 ; reports on several cathedrals, 
Hereford, Salisbury, Worcester, Ripon, &c. ; and 
one, on the royal tombs (though I do not now 
agree to its recommendations) ; on Gloucester, 
Lichfield, and St. David's cathedrals, several re- 
ports ; on the priory churches at Brecon, and 
many others. See also four lectures read at the 
Architectural Museum, five at the Academy, one at 
Leeds, and one at Doncaster (a paper on Old Don- 
caster church) ; two papers read at the Institute of 
British architects, and one before the Architectural 
association. See also an early letter to the Eccle- 
siologist about St. Stephen's Chapel, a subject on 
which I had got up a great agitation. 

In 1849 I was, wholly unexpectedly, appointed 
architect to Westminster Abbey; the appointment 
having just been resigned by Mr. Blore. This 
was a great and lasting source of delight. I at 
once commenced a careful investigation of its 
antiquities, which I have followed up ever since, 
and the results of which I have frequently com- 
municated viva voce to meetings of societies, &c., 

4 It is hoped to publish in a collected form the most important 
papers, reports, &c., of the character here referred to. ED. 

152 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

on the spot, and, more recently, in a written 
form. I also devoted much time to the similar 
investigation of the Chapter-house, the results of 
which I have frequently exhibited. 

My communications in the early period of my 
appointment were chiefly with the Dean, Dr. 
Buckland, though also with Lord John Thynne, 
the Sub-Dean. Dr. Buckland was excessively 
jovial and amusing, though it was clear that he 
was wearing himself out by his desultory, though 
indefatigable, way of attending to business. No 
one was denied him, on whatever subject he 
called. I have known him, after seeing people at 
the Deanery for hours together, on every imagin- 
able subject practical, scientific, and visionary 
run up to the roof of the Abbey with me ; and, 
after scampering over every part, suddenly recol- 
lect that he had had no breakfast, although he 
had come from Islip, and it was two o'clock. 
Could it be wondered that his mind should give 
way under such a regimen ? 

His last sermon was on the occasion of the 
thanksgiving for the cessation of the cholera, and 
his text was, "If the prophet had bid thee do 
some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it ? 
How much rather then, when he saith unto thee, 
Wash, and be clean." In the course of the ser- 
mon he quoted the seventeenth article, as against 
our poor, that they had given themselves up to 
" wretchlessness of most unclean living." 

Under Dr. Buckland I restored to its place the 
beautiful iron grille to Queen Eleanor's monu- 
ment, which had been removed in 1823 ; I also 
restored the grille of the tomb of King Henry 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 153 

Vth, which had been broken up into a thousand 
pieces, and lay scattered in " the Old Revestry." 
We also newly capped a great number of the 
flying buttresses, and completed the eastern 

During the long period of the poor Dean's ill- 
ness, Lord John Thynne most ably filled his place, 
and considerable works were carried on. Among 
others, I may mention the new choir-pulpit ; the 
enclosure of the choir from the transepts, which 
had been left open when the choir had been 
refitted under Blore ; the iron sanctuary screen 
and altar-rail ; some ameliorations in the lantern 
above ; the stained glass in the south clerestory of 
the choir, and in the north transept ; also the re- 
opening of the ancient entrance to the dormitory 
(now the library) ; and the completion of the 
vaulting of the vestibule to the Chapter-house, 
which had lost two bays, and one half of which 
was walled off. I also introduced the use of a 
solution of shell-lac, with which we have gone on 
gradually indurating all the internal surfaces. 
This was first applied to the royal tombs, and 
promises to stereotype the work in its present 
condition for an indefinite time. 5 Other extensive 
practical repairs have also been effected. 

During this time the new houses and gatehouse 
in Broad Sanctuary were erected, under an act 

5 This process, which has proved perfectly successful in the 
interior of the Abbey Church, was tried as an experiment in the 
bay of the cloister which aligns with the entrance of the Chapter- 
house. As to its success in this case, under conditions inter- 
mediate between those of external and internal architecture, I 
am myself very doubtful. 

1 54 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

of parliament for the improvement of this part of 

My communications with Lord John Thynne 
have always been of the most agreeable kind, 
and I believe I may number him among my 
best friends. Through him I have had works 
placed in my hands by the Duke of Buccleuch, 
and the Earls of Cawdor and Harewood, besides 

The Abbey to me has been a never-failing 
source of interest, though sometimes of annoy- 
ance, owing to the little appreciation which 
exists of the value of the remains of the ancient 
monastic buildings, and the necessity in some 
instances of destroying objects of antiquity in 
order to comply with pressing practical wants. 
On the whole, however, I have, done much to 
preserve and bring to view such objects. I refer 
to my published paper, called " Gleanings from 
Westminster Abbey," as containing notices of the 
majority of these discoveries. About 1854 I was 
requested to make a formal report to the Sub- 
Dean (with a view to its being forwarded to Mr. 
Gladstone) on the general state of the Abbey. I 
do not think I have a copy of this, but it ought 
to be preserved as a public document of some, 
interest and value. The nave pulpit is a recent 
work for which the funds were mainly provided 
by Sir Walter James. 

The name of James reminds me of my most 
talented and excellent friend, the Rev. Thomas 
James, whose death we have had very recently to 
deplore. I made his acquaintance about 1846 in 
Northamptonshire, when he was one of the secre- 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 155 

taries to the Architectural Society. His know- 
ledge and judgment in all matters relating to 
church antiquities were of a high order, and he 
was for some twenty years the life and soul of 
that, the best of the local societies. This society 
has counted among its active members, besides 
Mr. James, the Rev. Ayliff Poole, Rev. E. Harts- 
horne, E. A. Freeman, Esq., the Rev. Lord 
Alwyne Compton, and other excellent ecclesio- 
logists and antiquaries. Mr. James was a most 
amiable and zealous man, and an excellent writer. 
He wrote many articles for the Quarterly Revieiv> 
amongst others one on Northamptonshire. He 
has been one of my best friends for some eighteen 
years. He died of a cancer in the liver this last 
autumn, 1863, at about fifty-two or three years 
of age. 

In 1848 my friend, the Rev. Thomas Stevens, 
commenced the restoration, or rather the partial 
rebuilding and enlargement, of his church at 
Bradfield, which had been in contemplation 
some ten years previously. Though executed 
so long since, I still view it as one of my best 
works. Mr. Stevens is a man of very strong 
views and will, a detester of everything weak, 
mean, or unmanly. As a natural consequence 
of this disposition, he took a very determined 
liking to the transitional, or what we usually called 
the "square abacus" style. In this preference, 
as a matter of taste, I strongly concurred, though, 
as a matter of theory, I held with the use of the 
early decorated as the point of highest perfection 
in the style generally. I elaborately discussed 
the question, shortly after this date, in a paper 

156 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

attached to my " Plea for the faithful restoration 
of ancient churches," from which it will be seen 
how I hung back upon the " square abacus " 
variety. Many were the friendly and jocose dis- 
putations we had on the point. I was always 
willing to be beaten, as this gave me an excuse 
for using a favourite, though, as I thought, not 
theoretically correct style. Mr. Stevens got to 
employ the term "square abacus" as a moral 
adjective, used in the sense of manly, straight- 
forward, real, honest, and all cognate epithets, 
and " round abacus " for what was milder, " ogee " 
being used in the sense of mean, weak, dis- 
honest, &c. This drilling probably made me 
ready at a later time to fall in with the French 
system of using the square abacus irrespective 
of date or of other details. At an intermediate 
period I made use of the transitional style, using 
it in conjunction with tracery, and with a certain 
amount of natural foliage (without reference to 
French types) as a fair developement on eclectic 
principles. The period over which the work at 
Bradfield church extended was a time of great 


pleasure, owing to my constant and most friendly 
communication with Mr. Stevens. He is perhaps 
the most valued friend I have had, a thoroughly 
staunch, firm character, a thorough man of 
business, of undaunted courage and determina- 
tion, and a strenuous follower out of whatever 
he undertook. Some years later he founded, in 
connexion with the church of Bradfield, St. An- 
drew's College, a school which has had a wonder- 
ful run of success, owing to Mr. Stevens' admirable 
and courageous management of it. Of the build- 

CHAP. HI.] Recollections. 157 

ings of the college I do not claim to be the 
architect ; it was not built out of hand, but grew 
of itself, bit by bit, as it was wanted, each part 
being planned by Mr. Stevens, helped a little by 
myself or by my clerk, Mr. Richard Coad. The 
hall is the part I may chiefly claim as my own. 6 

A direct result of my connexion with the col- 
lege was my appointment as architect to the new 
church in the Isle of Alderney, its founder, the 
Rev. J. Le Mesurier, having resided at Bradfield. 
This church is also in the " square abacus " man- 
ner. I must say that this is still the style I, on 
the whole, most delight in, though it is no doubt 
in some respects imperfect, and I am inclined to 
think that, even relinquishing the Gallic mania, 
which has for so long had possession of our minds, 
a legitimate style may be generated by its union 
with later developements. 

In 1851 I joined my friend, Mr. Benjamin 
Ferrey, in a short tour in Italy. We met at 
Berlin and proceeded by the Saxon Switzerland 
and Prague to Vienna. Here we gave a day to 
St. Stephen's, with which I was most agreeably 
surprised. We went, partly by rail, partly by 
diligence, to Trieste, and thence by steamer to 

My special recollections of this early part of 
my journey are first, the affected delight of the 
hotel-keeper at Berlin at seeing me ; my vanity 
accepted it (inwardly) as a tribute to the architect 
of St. Nicholas at Hamburg, but, unluckily for 

6 The stained glass in its western windows is one of the 
earliest works in this material designed by Mr. E. Burne 
Jones. ED. 

158 Str Gilbert Scott. 

my self-love, he proceeded to tell me that I was 
the greatest of English poets ; and I found that 
he took me, or pretended to do so, for Sir Walter 
Scott. The next is Ferrey's depression of spirits 
at the dulness of the country in north Germany, 
and his sudden delight at reaching the Saxon 
Switzerland. He seemed as if he would jump 
out of the carriage window. We were amused, 
in passing through the suburbs of Dresden, to see 
a well-known incumbent of Westminster, in plaid 
trousers, black tie, and a wide-a-wake, sitting 
swinging his legs on a balk of timber by the road- 
side, smoking a cigar. Oh, tell it not in West- 
minster ! The fourth incident related to Ferrey's 
own wide-awake, which persisted in blowing off his 
head, while crossing the Simmering pass outside a 
droschky, which at length threw the Styrian driver 
into such convulsions of laughter that he fell off 
the carnage, but cat-like came down on his legs. 

In crossing the Adriatic, I was delighted at the 
first evidence of a southern climate, in the vast 
tunny fish, which followed our course, ever and 
anon leaping far out of the water, and pursuing us 
again as swiftly as before. 

At Venice, all was enchantment ! No three 
days of my life afford me such rich archaeological 
and art recollections. We both worked hard, 
and did much. I here met Ruskin, whom I 
knew before, and we spent a most delightful 
evening with him. On this occasion I made 
the acquaintance of my valued and now lamented 
friend, Sir Francis Scott, whose friendship I kept 
up until his premature demise last autumn, 1863. 
At Venice I also made three other valuable 

CHAP. IIL] Recollections. 159 

acquaintances, Mr. Gambler Parry, of Highnam 
Court, David Roberts, and Mr. E. W. Cooke. 
We urged Roberts to take Vienna on his way 
home, which gave rise to two noble pictures 
of the interior of St. Stephen's. My impres- 
sions of St. Mark's were stronger than I can 
describe. I considered it, and still continue to do 
so, the most impressive interior I have ever seen. 
The Venetian Gothic, excepting the ducal palace, 
disappointed me at first, but by degrees it grew 
upon me greatly. Ferrey was enraged at it, and 
I could continually hear him muttering the words, 
"Batty Langley," when he heard it spoken favour- 
ably of. We both, however, joined heart and soul 
in our devotion to the ducal palace, and spent 
much time in sketching its details. The Byzantine 
palaces also attracted my attention a good deal, 
especially the Fondaco dei Turchi. Unhappily 
want of time led us to leave Torcello and Murano 

From Venice we went to Padua. Early in the 
morning I looked out into the twilight to see if 
anything in our line was visible, when what was 
my delight to see a splendid Gothic domestic ruin 
close behind our hotel, and what my disgust at its 
soon turning out to be a sham, painted upon the 
back wall of the yard. I called Ferrey and played 
off the trick successfully on him, and was next day 
paid off by him in kind at Vicenza. 

We worked tremendously hard at St. Antonio, 
and at the Arena chapel, and great was our delight 
in both. The next day we went to Vicenza and 
Verona. The latter place charmed us beyond 
measure, and we worked very hard for a day and 

1 60 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

a half, and thence proceeded to Mantua, where 
among other things I made precisely the same 
sketch of the tower of the cathedral which Street 
made the next year. I had done the very same 
by the tower of St. Zeno at Verona. From 
Mantua we went by Modena to Bologna. I 
ought to have mentioned that we met with An- 
thony Salvin the younger, who accompanied us 
and interpreted for us. Ferrey and I tried a little 
speculative Italian on our own account at Bologna, 
asking an elderly gentleman of benignant aspect 
where we should find the church of San Stefano. 
He, seeing that we had exhausted our knowledge 
in the question, made no reply, but, taking one of us 
by the button, he led us silently through two or 
three streets, and, conducting us into the very 
middle of the church, shook hands with us both in 
dumb show, and departed. San Petronio struck 
us much by its vast proportions and wonderful use 
of brick, though this is internally concealed by 
whitewash. From Bologna we proceeded to Flo- 
rence. Again we had three days of the purest 
delight. I worked violently to the last day, 
timing myself strictly to the work I was to do 
every hour of the day ; and at last, to my intense 
disgust and dismay, forgot San Miniato. Next to 
my three Venice days, these at Florence occupy 
the choicest corner of my art recollection. 

Thence we went to Sienna, and had the hardest 
three hours' work in my life, and the pleasantest. 
It was really too bad to hurry in such a manner, 
but Ferrey was in fits at the idea of crossing the 
Alps in the snow, and we had reached the end of 
October. We spent one working day and a Sun- 

CHAP. IIL] Recollections. 161 

day at Pisa, again with unalloyed delight, and 
again worked hard and got through much. Here 
we met with a young English architect, who had 
the happy knack of giving offence to the police 
authorities, and great was our dread of the effects 
of his conversation, as overheard by the Austrian 
officers, who crowded every cafe. We escaped, 
though we afterwards found that our friend had 
been arrested at Verona for sketching the fortifi- 
cations. I had encountered Austrian soldiers 
throughout nearly the whole of my journey ; even 
Hamburg that year was garrisoned by Austrians, 
and from Saxony to Tuscany they were con- 
tinuous. We were greatly struck by their fine 
persons and equipments ; but when Ferrey, as we 
were crossing from Trieste to Venice, was describ- 
ing them ecstatically to an old English officer just 
returned from India, the reply he received was, 
"Aye, but if they ever go to war with the French, 
you'll see how the French will walk into them," 
and so we have seen, eight years later. 

I am hurrying over the architectural part of our 
tour, but to go into particulars would be endless, 
and the buildings are too well known to need it. 
We were, suffice it to say, delighted, and worked 
as hard as men could do from morning to night. 
We usually breakfasted by twilight, to get every 
hour of the day for hard work. I only regret that 
we were so chary of our time, and did not stay 

We went from Pisa to Genoa, and the snow 
had already come, and had covered the Carrara 
mountains most gloriously. I shall never forget 
looking back upon them as we walked up the hill 


1 62 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

at Spezzia in the morning, and seeing them again 
radiant in fiery glory in the last rays of the setting 
sun. I never saw, nor since have seen, anything 
more magnificently splendid. In a few minutes it 
had vanished into cold grey. 

Of Genoa my recollections are of chilling cold, 
warmed only by my enthusiastic delight in the 
western portion of the cathedral, both within and 
without. I have written my impressions of this in 
a paper given in the appendix to my work on 
" Domestic Architecture." It is the best Gothic 
architecture I saw in Italy, and I am convinced 
it is the work of a French architect, or of an 
Italian fresh from France, though it is carried out 
in more than all the exuberance of coloured ma- 
terial peculiar to Italian art. 7 

The fear of snow led us to pass through Pavia 
without stopping, and to spend but a day at Milan. 
Haste, alas ! without good speed, for the snow 
overtook us at Como, and we had to cross the 
Alps after all, through six feet of snow, and in 
sledges (i. e. deal boxes nailed on ash poles) with 
some twenty men to dig a way for us, and nothing 
to be seen but snow and fog. 

In going by diligence from Como to the pass, 
one of our horses jumped over a precipice. I was 
asleep at the time, but Ferrey, who saw it, woke 
me up in dismay. Happily the traces had broken 

7 This work should be compared with the north and south 
portals of the west front of the cathedral of Rouen. A compari- 
son of the two works leads to the conclusion that both were 
executed by the same artist, or guild of artists, and that the 
originators of both were not Italians, but northern Frenchmen. 

CHAP. HI.] Recollections. 163 

and let him go, but a tree caught him, and we 
drew him up again by ropes. 

On our return (which was all in the fog) we 
looked in at Freiburg, in Breisgau (which I had 
seen three years before), and were much charmed. 
We were shown over by an old acquaintance 
of mine, the commissionaire whose quaint English 
books and letters had before amused me, and 
whose worthiness had interested me in him. 

On our journey home we made the acquaintance 
of, I believe, a nobleman from the neighbourhood 
of Leghorn. He was going to London, and thence 
to Paris. He was a most conversational man, and 
not afraid to proclaim himself to be one of the 
most timid of his race. His greatest dread was 
lest there should be an e"meute during his stay 
at Paris. He called on Ferrey and myself in 
London "pour prendre cong" and set off for 
Paris, where, on the very morning after his arrival, 
occurred the celebrated " coup d'ttat" We heard 
of him no more. 

In spite of all the violence now indulged in, 
against every lesson learned south of the Alps, 
I must say that I gained very much by this 
journey, and much desire to repeat it. I was 
convinced, however, that Italian Gothic, as such, 
must not be used in England, but I was equally 
convinced, and am so still, that the study of it is 
necessary to the perfecting of our revival, and I 
have detailed my impressions on this head in the 
paper already referred to. W^hat, however, with 
the folly, on the one hand, of men who adopt 
Italian Gothic, with all its purely local peculiarities, 
and, on the other, of those who, from a mere rabid 

M 2 

164 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

and unintelligent prejudice, condemn unheard any 
one who thinks that any practical hint can be im- 
ported from Italy, one is compelled to abstain from 
making much use of any lessons one has learned 
there. I trust this double folly will in time be 

This year the Great Exhibition had taken up 
much of my attention. I had had a model pre- 
pared of the church at Hamburg, which occupied 
a very conspicuous place in the nave ; perhaps the 
finest of Mr. Salter's models. 

I had also a restoration prepared of one end of 
the monument of Queen Philippa. This had taken 
a very long time to work out by the most careful 
study of the original. I had during the previous 
summer been constantly giving snatches of time to 
it, and as the niche work was all gone, excepting 
some detached fragments preserved in the Abbey, 
and the parts immured in the adjacent monument 
of Henry V., I had obtained leave to make inci- 
sions into the base of that tomb, by which means I 
brought to light the whole design, including two 
niche-figures and one exquisite little angel, one 
of the many which adorned the tabernacle-work. 
I had to work at this by the help of candles and 
looking-glasses. When engaged one day with 
Mr. Cundy, the Abbey mason, on this work, the 
thought suddenly occurred to me that some of the 
lost portions might have found their way into the 
Cottingham Museum. I suggested this to Mr. 
Cundy, and as that collection was at the time for 
sale, he went and searched, and at length found 
one of the large canopies and other fragments on 
the chimney-piece of Mr. Cottingham's office. 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 165 

After some months they were recovered, and all 
(with the fragments before mentioned) refixed in 
their places. It was said that Mr. Cottinofham 


had bought them, thirty-five years earlier, from the 
Abbey mason. The restoration of the end was 
executed by Mr. Cundy, mainly at his own cost. 
The figures were by Mr. Philip, and the coloured 
decorations by Mr. Willement. It is now in the 
South Kensington collection, and is the property of 
the architectural museum. 8 

I had some other things in this exhibition, but 
my great interest was in Pugin's court. The last 
time I saw him was there, on the occasion of the 
opening. How little did I think how soon that 
burning light was to be extinguished ! Had I 
known this, how anxiously should I have striven 
for more intimate acquaintance ! 

During this year, Mr. Cottingham's museum 
being for sale, I wrote a letter in the Builder, 
urging its purchase by the Government, as the 
nucleus of a collection of mediaeval specimens 
for the use of carvers and others. This was 
without avail, but it originated the architectural 
museum. I had a call, in consequence of my 
letter, from a strange person, Mr. Bruce Allen, 
who told me that he had long had a plan 
of the same kind in connexion with a school 
of art for art workmen. After my return from 
Italy he pressed the matter, and invited to a 
meeting a number of architects, to whom he pro- 
posed his scheme, chiefly for the school of art. 
After several meetings, it was determined to 
establish an architectural museum, and to allow 

8 It is now in the architectural museum in Westminster. ED. 

1 66 Sir Gilbert Scoff. 

Mr. Allen to carry on his school of art as a pri- 
vate speculation of his own within the museum, to 
which he was to be curator. The matter went 
on but sleepily for some months, when I deter- 
mined to take it into my own hands, and nail my 
flag to the mast. I accordingly wrote private 
letters, and sent circulars to every one I could 
possibly think of, begging both annual subscrip- 
tions and donations to a special fund for starting 
the collection. The labour I gave to it was 
immense ; I called on all such people as seemed 
to need it, and frequently over and over again. 
The number of times I wrote and called on Mr. 
Blore, without getting in reply one word or one 
penny, was amazing. Street discouraged it, as 
tending to copyism. Butterfield gave very cold 
support. Poor Pugin was just laid by. I never- 
theless obtained liberal support, got up a good list 
of annual subscribers, and some 5OO/. in dona- 
tions. Specimens poured in from all quarters (not 
always good ones) ; I lent nearly the whole of my 
large collection, and employed agents and work- 
men all over the country to get new casts. M. 
Gerente acted as my agent in France, and he got 
us an excellent lot of casts. Later on Ruskin 
gave, or lent us, his whole collection of Venetian 
casts, and some very fine French ones. Much ol 
Cottingham's museum came to us, and before long 
we had formed a very wonderful collection. 

We had taken a very extensive and most quaint 
loft, in a wharf at Cannon Row, Westminster, 
which we soon completely filled. There we used 
to have lectures in the midst of our specimens. 
There Ruskin has poured forth his most telling 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 167 

eloquence. There we held annual conversaziones, 
when 500 or 600 persons were presided over in 
the cock-loft by the prince-like Earl de Grey, and 
were addressed often by some of the first men in 
the country ; but, above all, here were our carvers 
taught their art from the best ancient models, and 
our students acquired a degree of skill and taste 
in the drawing of architectural ornament which 
had never before been reached, nor has (since the 
removal of the museum) been retained. These 
were the days of our pride, and I confess I even 
now feel a pardonable exultation when I call to 
remembrance the share I took in bringing about 
such noble results. No movement ever made in 
our day, had equalled this in its effects both upon 
workmen and students. Our cock-loft was the 
centre of their artistic study and improvement, 
and to myself and others engaged in the work it 
was a source of constant and almost daily delight 
and interest. During my journeys I was ever 
looking out for objects of art, whose representa- 
tion might enrich our collection ; and even in the 
gardens, in the fields, or by the seaside, the very 
leaves and flowers seemed to connect themselves 
with our art-scheme, and to suggest plans for illus- 
trating all such productions as would lend sugges- 
tions to art. 

The vision was, however, soon clouded. 
Funds failed ; I had allowed my enthusiasm to 
outrun our finances, and a heavy debt stared 
us in the face. We made an appeal for aid to 
the Prince Consort, and a deputation, consisting 
of Earl de Grey, Mr. Glutton (the Hon. Sec.), 
and myself, waited on his Royal Highness to 

1 68 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

state our case. He received us graciously, and 
promised and gave aid, becoming also our 
" patron." He took occasion, however, to read 
us a not very complimentary lecture on the state 
of architectural education in this country, which 
he described as contemptible in the extreme. It 
was clearly a ricotto of one of Mr. Cole's, being 
the key to his own course in always employing 
builders instead of architects. There was much 
truth in what he said, though the true result 
should have been a strenuous movement to im- 
prove the artistic education of our profession, 
rather than to employ in our stead, and cry up 
as our superiors, builders and military engineers, 
who make no pretence whatever to aesthetical 
training. I might, had dates coincided (of which 
I am uncertain), have replied that, defective as 
was the training of English architects, there 
stood before his Royal Highness two of them, 
who, having in three several instances accepted 
invitations to compete in foreign countries with 
architects from all Europe, and for buildings 
of first-rate importance, had in each instance 
carried off the first prizes, and that two of these 
European competitions had been in his own 
country, and the third in France, while in two 
at least of them (one in each country), the highest 
authorities . had been consulted, or had taken part 
in the decision. 

We were referred by the Prince to Mr. Cole 
and Mr. Redgrave/who took up the case with 
some favour, and met our committee to arrange 
joint action. The result was an annual subscrip- 
tion of ioo/. (which they were not pledged to con- 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 169 

tinue), on condition of the free admission of the 
students of their school of art. This lasted, how- 
ever, but a single year, 1855. South Kensington 
was then but in embryo, and nothing could be 
permitted elsewhere. Accordingly, when we 
applied in person for the continuance of the sub- 
scription, Mr. Cole told us that, their schools being 
now about to be removed, our collection would 
cease to be available to them, and the payment 
must consequently cease. He then delicately 
suggested that if we were to change our venue, 
and petition for a grant of space in their new 
building, rent free, it might be favourably en- 
tertained, and we were shown on a plan of the 
building a noble gallery which might be at our 
service, with attendance, lighting, warming, &c., 
gratis, " All these things will I give thee, if thou 
wilt fall down and worship me." The gallery 
was to be fitted up for us, and the collection re- 
moved and re-arranged at the public cost. Never, 
in fact, was hook better baited for hungry fish. 
The suggestion was laid before the committee.; 
There were those who, like Laocoon, suggested 
fears of the Greeks, even when in so generous a 
mood. In fact, we all secretly felt that our fate 
was sealed. The Syren voice was understood, 
but could not be resisted; stern poverty constrained 
us to the shore. Meanwhile, when they saw that 
we nibbled, the bait was gradually and studiously 
reduced. Our wrath was great, but our poverty 
was greater, and at last the compact was signed, 
with the fullest consciousness that we were 
doomed to be engulphed ; I had written the word 
before I recollected one of the epithets of Mr. 

1 70 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

Cole, " the modern Ingulphus." It is now about 
eight years since we removed to South Kensington, 
and I can truly say that I have never felt any 
satisfaction in the museum since. There followed 
continual and systematic encroachment, the re- 
sistance of which was deemed a personal affront, 
to be avenged by further encroachments, and, as 
a climax at last, our refusal of some absurd pro- 
posal was made an excuse for our receiving notice 
to quit, the joint consequence of our having done 
the work we were invited for, and of their know- 
ledge that, as we could never get other premises, 
our collection was at their mercy. Our capitula- 
tion and our making over the collection on loan 
was followed by its removal and re-arrangement 
without our leave or knowledge. All this, how- 
ever, would be as nothing were it not that our 
students were frightened away by distance and 
red tape, and the beneficial effects of the collection 
thus seriously reduced. 

These annoying circumstances have been, I 
confess, much mitigated by the noble collection 
brought together under the same roof by the 
department, and the first-rate art-library since 
added to it, so that I am ready to condone all 
past offences, and now recommend all art students 
to lodge near South Kensington, and to avail 
themselves of its unprecedented advantages for 
the pursuit of their studies. 

In 1853, the great parish church of St. George 
at Doncaster was burned down. Ferrey had re- 
fitted the old church, and I thought that we should 
be appointed joint architects, as he proposed, and 
I was willing to accept, but, owing to some local 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 171 

differences, this arrangement was negatived, and 
I was appointed singly. 

I did all I could to bring them to what had 
been suggested by Ferrey, but in vain. 

My first anxiety on undertaking this great work 
was to ascertain whether any part of the ruins 
could be worked up into the new church. I found 
this impossible. I then devoted my attention to 
the restoration, on paper, of the old church from 
its ruins and fragments, and in this I met with 
great success. Mr. Burlison stayed there several 
weeks and thoroughly overhauled everything. We 
traced out the whole history of the church, which 
we found to be a skeleton of transitional early 
english, gradually overlaid with different ages of 
perpendicular work. 

I read a paper on the result of these investiga- 
tions before the Oxford architectural society, 
which is published in Jackson's history of St. 
George's church. 

The next question related to style. The tower 
was a noble work in early and bold perpendicular, 
and as its entire design had been recovered, I 
was anxious to reproduce it. The question then 
arose whether I ought to make the rest of the 
church coincide with it in style. Yorkshire con- 
tains much of the best early perpendicular, e. g. 
at York in the Minster, at Beverly Minster (in 
the east window and the west end), at Bridlington 
(in the west front), and at Howden (in the Chapter- 
house). I was well acquainted with all these of 
old, but I determined on a systematic revisiting 
of them with a view to forming a deliberate 
opinion. My conclusion was that, noble as these 

172 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

specimens are, and excellent as are their details, 
their great merits arise from their similarity to 
the preceding style, and that we had better adopt 
that earlier style at once, and, adopting it, take it 
at about its best stage, and, further, that there was 
no harm in accompanying this by a reproduction 
of the perpendicular tower. 

The old church was insufficient in size for the 
wants of the parish, yet had acquired a part of its 
size by a disproportionate widening of its aisles. 
I could not of course reproduce this. 9 I therefore 
increased the radical scale of the church, repro- 
portioning it with reference to its earlier form. I 
found, however, that much greater length was 
necessary, and I wanted to add a bay to the 
length of the nave, but the Archbishop had spoken, 
and still spoke, so strongly against enlargement, 
that I unfortunately had to give this up. Still, 
however, the church is some twenty feet longer 
than the old one. I will not go further into a 
description of the church. I certainly took great 
pains with it, and believe it to stand very high 
amongst the works of the revival. It has been 
brought almost ad nauseam before the public by 
my friend, and at the time my tormentor, Mr. E. 
B. Denison. 1 He was, however, a strenuous 
supporter of doing the work well, and was a very 
liberal contributor to the funds ; and were it not 
that he has an unpleasant way of doing things 

9 Aisles are valuable in the point of view of accommodation 
in proportion to their width, the least useful part of an aisle 
being that nearest to the pillars. In Newark church, to my 
mind one of the best proportioned churches in England, the 
aisles are wider than the nave. ED. 

1 Now Sir Edmund Beckett, Q.C. ED. 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 173 

which makes one hate one's best works, I should 
have far more reason to thank than to complain of 
him. My comfort was, however, much more seri- 
ously interfered with by a despicable and untrust- 
worthy man, whom I had the misfortune to fall 
in with as a clerk of the works, and who had con- 
trived to ingratiate himself (for the time) with Mr. 
Denison, so much so as to cause much that was 
annoying ; but I will not dwell upon disagree- 
ables. The work was well carried out, and every 
improvement proposed was ably advocated by 
Mr. Denison. He, like my friend Mr. Stevens, 
was a determined advocate of anything strong, 
bold, and forcible, and the lessons he read me on 
this have been most useful. It is true he carries 
this to excess, and, barrister-like, advocates it by 
faulty arguments, which, woe be to the luckless 
wight who ventures to expose ; but his views are 
in the main strong, sound, and true, so that there 
is no good done by sifting them for a few fallacies, 
which any one who knows anything of the subject 
is as well aware of as he is himself. My project 
of reproducing the original design of the tower 
was subsequently modified into the reproduction of 
its general forms in an earlier style. I am not proud 
of this tower. I missed the old outline, and I never 
see it without disappointment, though I do not 
think that this feeling is generally participated in. 
I built another church there on a general 
scheme of Mr. Denison's. I wonder whether I 
have the original sketch. It would be amusing. 2 

~ This church, close to the Great Northern Railway Station, has 
since been altered by Sir Edmund Beckett, or rather by a very 
competent local architect under Sir Edmund's direction. ED. 

1 74 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

Late in 1854 I competed for the new Rathhaus, 
or H6tel de Ville, at Hamburg, a second European 
competition. I founded my design according to 
the wish of my departed friend, the Syndic Sievi- 
king, upon the Halles at Ypres, but changed the 
detail entirely. I confess that I think it would 
have been a very noble structure. 

Early in 1855 this competition was decided in 
my favour, but the execution was postponed sine 
die, owing to the funds set apart for it being 
required for the improvement of the navigation 
of the Elbe. I sent a small view of it that year 
to the Exhibition at Paris. The following re- 
mark terminates the notice of it in a pamphlet 
by M. Adolphe Lance : " L'hotel de ville de 
Hambourg sera une des plus belles et des plus 
raisonnables constructions de ce temps-ci. Heu- 
reux 1'artiste qui y aura attache son nom, heureuse 
la ville qui pourra le compter au nombre de ses 

I was named one of three architects who had 
the examining and passing of English works 
in architecture for the Paris Exhibition, my coad- 
jutors being Professors Cockerell and Donald- 
son. I contributed very largely myself, sending 
two views of the church at Hamburg, one of the 
Rathhaus design, one of the interior of Ely Cathe- 
dral, a drawing of my restoration of the Westmin- 
ster Chapter-house, and a number of others. I 
received a gold medal. 

I spent a little time in Paris on this occasion, 
and saw very much in the Exhibition to give me 
pleasure. As usual, however, I devoted most of 
my time to sketching from old buildings. 

CHAP, in.] Recollections. 175 

In 1855 I had received a hint from Mr. Hard- 
wick, R. A., that I had better put down my name on 
the list of candidates for the Royal Academy, and in 
December I was elected an associate. The only 
notable circumstance connected with my associate- 
ship was that, during an interregnum, in which Pro- 
fessor Cockerell had ceased to lecture, I was, in con- 
junction with Mr. Smirke (also an associate), called 
upon to deliver lectures there. I gave five such lec- 
tures, and I must say that, if they were not good 
ones, it was not for want of pains, for I did all in my 
power to render them so, and am vain enough to 
believe that they contain much that is original 
and meritorious. They were most elaborately 
illustrated by bold chalk sketches and drawings ; 
on these I, my sons, pupils, and assistants worked 
most assiduously. On one occasion I actually 
went into France on a special sketching tour in 
December, to get materials for my lecture. A 
nobler set of illustrations was probably never seen 
to any lectures. They numbered on one occasion 
upwards of seventy, and far more than covered 
an entire side of the great room at the Academy. 
They were many of them from sketches made 
expressly for the occasion ; some were from 
sketches obtained from others, very many were 
enlarged from my older sketch-books, and some 
were taken from published works ; indeed, every 
source was laid under contribution to make my 
lectures thoroughly explanatory in every way. I 
often think of publishing them, but the trouble 
and the cost interfere. 3 

3 They are now published with illustrations as a posthumous 
work. ED. 

176 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

It is a pity that we have not two professorships 
at the Academy the one for classic, the other for 
gothic architecture. It is sad that the latter 
should be either utterly neglected, or else taken 
up by one who has not made it his special 
study, nor cares about its revival, except to head 
deputations to discourage it. 

About this time I erected the church at Haley 
Hill, Halifax, the munificent work of Mr. E. 
Akroyd, the great manufacturer. It is, on the 
whole, my best church ; but it labours under this 
disadvantage, that it was never meant to be so 
fine a work as it is, and consequently was not 
commenced on a sufficiently bold and comprehen- 
sive plan. Nothing could exceed the liberality 
and munificence of its founder, and I think he was 
well satisfied. I confess I hardly am so, as I know 
how much finer it would have been, had it been 
more developed as to size. 


I NOW arrive at the period of the competition for 
the Government offices in the autumn of 1856. 

I will first mention that it found me hard at work, 
writing a treatise on " Domestic Architecture." I 
had long felt that some book was needed, putting 
forth in a popular way, free from exaggeration, the 
applicability of our revived style to general uses ; 
and, at the same time, the inconsistency of giving 
it a queer, antiquated garb, and the necessity of 
making it conform loyally and willingly to the 
habits and requirements of our own age. This 
book, as pretty well all that I write, is the product 
of my travelling hours. People often express a 
wonder how I write lectures, books, &c., in the 
midst of my engagements. I simply do so by 
employing my time on such work while travel- 
ling. I carry a blank book in my pocket, and 
write in pencil as I go. I find that it rather 
amuses than fatigues me, and that my thoughts 
are freer at such times than at any other ; while 
in a night journey I often warm up to more 
enthusiastic sentiments than at other times I have 
leisure for. This book took me a very consider- 
able time to write, and its publication was delayed 
because it was finished at the wrong time of the 


1 78 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

year for books, like other things, may be in or 
out of season. 

This great competition, then, found me in rather 
a prepared state of mind. I was not, however, 
content with this ; but, long before the pro- 
gramme came out, I set to work to put myself 
systematically through my facings. My family 
being, as was usual in the latter part of summer, 
in the Isle of Wight, I retired to a great extent 
from active engagements, and set myself to de- 
sign the elements which I thought best suited to 
a public building. I designed windows suited to 
all positions, and of all varieties of size, form, and 
grouping ; doorways, cornices, parapets, and ima- 
ginary combinations of all these, carefully studying 
to make them all thoroughly practical, and suited 
to this class of building. I did not aim at making 
my style " Italian Gothic ; " my ideas ran much 
more upon the French, to which for some years 
I had devoted my chief study. I did, however, 
aim at gathering a few hints from Italy, such as 
the pillar-mullion, the use of differently-coloured 
materials, and of inlaying. I also aimed at 
another thing which people consider Italian I 
mean a certain squareness and horizontality of 
outline. This I consider pre-eminently suited to 
the street front of a public building. I combined 
this, however, with gables, high-pitched roofs, and 

My opinion is, that putting aside the question 
now rife as to whether we should, or should not, 
introduce foreign varieties of Gothic, my details 
were excellent, and precisely suited to the pur- 
pose. I do not think the entire design so good 

CHAP, iv.] Recollections. 179 

as its elementary parts. It was rather set and 
formal. With all its faults, however, it would 
have been a noble structure ; and the set of draw- 
ings was, perhaps, the best ever sent in to a 
competition, or nearly so. 

A little before the competition, but subsequent 
to my designing the speculative elements of it, 
I had a good opportunity of trying these elements 
beforehand. Mr. Akroyd had asked me to de- 
sign a town-hall for Halifax, to suit a site which 
he favoured. I made a design, which I flatter 
myself was as good a thing of its kind, and of its 
small size, as had been made at the time ; nor do 
I think I could now do better. It was the first- 
fruits of my studies for the Government offices ; 
and, in my opinion, was better than any subse- 
quent design for these buildings. 

When my designs for the public offices were 
exhibited, 1 they excited much attention ; indeed, 
they were, by those who favoured Gothic, con- 
sidered generally the best, though opinions were 
divided to some extent between them and the 
designs by Mr. Street and Mr. Woodward. In- 
deed, few comparatively, as were the Gothic 
designs, they were by far the best in the exhi- 
bition, putting aside, perhaps, those of Sir Charles 
Barry, which were visionary, and founded on the 
diminutive elements of the present Board of Trade 

The judges, who knew amazingly little about 
their subject, were not well-disposed towards our 

1 They bore the following motto : " Nee minimum meruere 
decus vestigia Grseca ausi deserere et celebrare domestica 
facta." ED. 

N 2 

1 80 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

style, and though they awarded premiums to all 
the best Gothic designs, they took care not to put 
any of them high enough to have much chance. 
The first premium for the Foreign Office was 
awarded to a design by my old pupil Coe ; the 
first for the War Office to one (not bad by any 
means) by Garling. Barry and Banks came second 
for the Foreign Office, and I third. 

I did not fret myself at the disappointment, but 
when it was found, a few months later, that Lord 
Palmerston had coolly set aside the entire results 
of the competition, and was about to appoint 
Pennethorne, a non-competitor, I thought myself 
at liberty to stir. A meeting took place at Mr. 
Beresford Hope's, at which Charles Barry, myself, 
and Digby Wyatt were present; and, if I remember 
rightly, it was agreed to stir up the Institute of 
Architects. To the best of my memory, the 
Government had just changed, and Lord John 
Manners had taken the Office of Works, when a 
deputation from the Institute laid the matter 
before him. The result was the appointment of 
a select committee to inquire into the subject. 
This committee had Mr. Beresford Hope for its 
chairman, and included Lord Elcho, Sir Benjamin 
Hall, Mr. Tite, Mr. Akroyd, Mr. Stirling, Sir 
John Shelley, Mr. Lock, Mr. Lygon, 2 and others. 

It appeared, on the evidence of Mr. Burn, who 
had acted as one of the architectural assessors to 
the judges, that while the assessors were of one 
mind as to the order of merit among the designs, 
they did not coincide with the decision of the 
judges; and, further, that they had agreed in 
1 Now the Earl Beauchamp. ED. 

CHAP, iv.] Recollections. 181 

placing me second for both buildings, while no 
one was on any showing first for both ; moreover, 
that they considered second for both (the two 
being essentially parts of the same group) to be a 
higher position than that of first for only one. 3 I 
was thus in a certain sense lifted up from my third 
place and placed upon the balance between second 
and first. The committee reported that the two 
styles were equal in convenience and in cost, and, 
stating what I have just detailed, they recom- 
mended the Commissioner of Works virtually, 
though not in terms, to make his own choice 
between my design and that of Messrs. Banks 
and Barry. 

They reported in July, 1858, but no decision 
was come to till late in November, when I learned 
that I had been appointed (L. D.). 

I at once received instructions to revise my 
design with reference to sundry considerations 
named. Meanwhile, the notion of erecting a 
War Office had been given up, and the Indian 
Government were in treaty for that part of the 
ground which faces King Street; and as the 
Secretary of State for India (Lord Stanley) had 
actually drawn up a minute for my appointment 
to that building also, Mr. Digby Wyatt, at that 

3 It may be well to give here the order in which the premi- 

ated competitors were placed by the judges : 

War Office. Foreign Office. 

H. B. Garling Coe and Hofland 

M. B. D'Hazeville (of Paris) Banks and Barry 

T. E. Rochead *G. G. Scott 

*Pritchard and Seddon *Deane and Woodward 

C. Brodrick T. Bellamy 

The Gothic designs are marked in this list by an asterisk. ED. 

1 82 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

time official architect to the India Office, called 
upon me, and made a proposition that we should 
undertake the work in conjunction, to which I 
willingly agreed. The designs were made and 
approved, and the working drawings ordered and 
proceeded with for both buildings, when Mr. Tite 4 
commenced a violent opposition in Parliament, in 
which he was, unhappily for me, supported by 
Lord Palmerston. It is of no use fighting this 
battle over again now, but I refer to the papers 
on the subject. Suffice it to say that the state- 
ments made both by Mr. Tite and by Lord 
Palmerston were as absurd and unfounded as 
anything could be. 

I wrote in the Times the next day, showing 
their utter fallacy. On a former occasion, while 
the subject was before the select committee, I 
went, or sent round, to all the public buildings I 
could think of, and measured the area of their 
windows, and on comparing them with those of 
my design I was able to show to the committee 
that my design provided half as much light again 
as the average of buildings of the same class. Tite 
was a member of that committee, yet he had the 
face to state that my designs were deficient in 
window-light, and encouraged Lord Palmerston 
to do the same. In my letter in the Times I 
showed this up pretty vigorously ; but a second 
attack followed, in which all this unfair mis- 
statement was again brought forward, with a 
quantity of poor buffoonery which only Lord 
Palmerston's age permitted. 

4 The architect of the new Royal Exchange, and M.P. for 
Bath. ED. 

CHAP, iv.] Recollections. 183 

I was well defended, but the Government, 
being weak, promised to exhibit the drawings in 
the House of Commons before they were to be 
executed. One leading member of our profession 
was so irate at my letter in the Times, which he 
considered to reflect upon English architects in 
general, that he proposed moving the Institute to 
reverse the recommendation of their council to 
award to me the annual Royal Medal of the Insti- 
tute, and was only dissuaded from attempting to 
inflict that gratuitous dishonour upon me by strong 
remonstrances. I had not, I think, then become 
aware that he was Lord Palmerston's private tutor 
in matters of architectural lore. As this gentle- 
man had for many years acted in a very friendly 
way towards me, I have never allowed his conduct 
in this matter to provoke me to any unkindly act. 
I shall have to say a little more about this presently. 
I confess that though I knew, till then, nothing of 
my recommendation for the medal, I did feel deeply 
this attempt to kick me, while prostrate and in 
deep perplexity and trouble : and I cannot recon- 
cile it with the character and generosity which 
this gentleman has usually evinced. I fancy, 
however, that his somewhat morbidly correct 
ideas as to competition rendered the fact of the 
work being given to a man, who obtained only a 
third premium, very galling to him, and had 
much to do with his conduct. Still, as he agreed 
in throwing overboard Messrs. Coe and Hofland, 
while Barry and I were reported, virtually, by the 
select committee, to be on an equality, I fear that 
personal feeling, together with an hostility to my 
style, had an even stronger influence. 

1 84 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

However all this may be, it cannot be denied 
that I was cast down from the eminence I had 
attained. The "very abjects" now loaded me 
with their miserable abuse, and, though I went on 
with my working drawings, I felt that my position 
was sadly altered, and the chance of carrying out 
my design forlorn. It was comforting, under these 
dejecting circumstances, to observe how generously 
a certain select number of persons of influence 
rallied round me, and cheered me in the conflict. 
Not only was I warmly and vigorously aided by 
the Saturday Review, the Ecclesiologist, and by 
the Gothic party pretty generally, but a number of 
members of parliament stuck nobly by me. I 
wish I knew all their names, but I will enumerate 
a few : Lord Elcho, Mr. Dudley Fortescue, Mr. 
Charles Buxton, Mr. Stirling (who had been one 
of the judges in the competition), Sir Edward 
Colebrook, Sir Stafford Northcote, Mr. Dauby 
Seymour, Mr. Pease, Col. Tinney, Sir Morton 
Peto, Sir Joseph Paxton, and Mr. Akroyd. 

Digby Wyatt, though no Goth, held loyally to 
our compact, and we went on in a forlorn hope. 
Even Mr. Disraeli told me that there was no 
chance of carrying it, but Lord John Manners 
held firmly to his own decision, and met the 
attack in parliament manfully, and with great 
success. Indeed, the opponents trusted to num- 
bers, and cared little about argument, while Lord 
Palmerston didn't care a straw what buffoonery 
he gave vent to, for the greater the twaddle he 
talked, the louder of course was the laughter, and 
that was his deadly weapon. 

So things went on, and had the Government 

CHAP, iv.] Recollections. 185 

stood, I should perhaps have carried it in the 
small days of August. But, alas ! the ministers 
were left in a minority on their " Reform Bill," 
and dissolved parliament. Then followed the 
sudden invasion of Italy, and the canard that 
Government had been playing into the hands of 
the Emperor of the French, which was believed 
just long enough to serve, with the pseudo- 
Reform cry, to lose the elections. I am no poli- 
tician, though tending to conservatism, but at that 
time I certainly did take an interest in the elec- 
tions. At length, however, the fatal day arrived, 
the Government resigned, and my arch-opponent 
became once more autocrat of England. 

It was a considerable time before a Commis- 
sioner of Public Works was nominated, and I lived 
upon the slender hope that he might be favourably 

At length Mr. Fitzroy took the office, and 
personally he actually was on my side, but was 
nevertheless bound to uphold Lord Palmerston's 
views. I forget the precise order of events, but 
the builders' estimates were by that time in a 
forward state, and were allowed to come in, and 
they turned out very satisfactorily. Lord Palmer- 
ston, however, sent for me, and told me in a jaunty 
way that he could have nothing to do with this 
Gothic style, and that though he did not want to 
disturb my appointment, he must insist on my 
making a design in the Italian style, which he felt 
sure I could do quite as well as the other. That 
he heard I was so tremendously successful in the 
Gothic style, that if he let me alone I should 
Gothicize the whole country, &c., &c., &c. About 

1 86 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

the same time my drawings and a model were 
exhibited in the tea-room of the House of Com- 
mons, and when the vote for the building came 
on, there took place another memorable debate on 
architecture, in which Lord Palmerston gave way 
to another flood of his secret mentor's second- 
hand learning, Mr. Tite talked nonsense, and some 
fair speeches were made, especially by Lord 
John Manners and Lord Elcho, on my side. The 
matter was left an open question to be decided 
the next session, when I was to exhibit designs 
in both styles. 

It was, as I suppose, about this time that a 
deputation of M.P.'s waited on Lord Palmerston 
to advocate the cause of Gothic architecture. 

Since Satan accompanied the angels on the 
mission narrated in the Book of Job, there has 
seldom been wanting a " devil's advocate " when 
anything delicate has had to be transacted, and 
so it was now. 

They unluckily invited that worthy, vain old 

busy-body, Mr. A , who had been trying to 

make himself look clever in the tea-room by 
finding, mare's-nests in the shape of non-existent 
errors in the arrangement of my plans, and he 
must needs come and tell his foolish tale at the 
deputation. The faults he found were wholly 
imaginary, and the arrangements had been the 
result of long thought and patient consultation 
with the heads of departments, but no one there 
knew anything about this, and so a wound was 
given me by a pretended friend, who had been 
admitted by mistake, and thanks to him Lord 
Palmerston found no difficulty in letting off all 

CHAP, iv.] Recollections. 187 

friendly arguments like water out of a tap. I think 
it was on this occasion that, having discovered the 
error of his argument about " shutting out the very 
light of day," he said, " This Gothic architecture 
admits the sun from its very rising till its setting, 
so that my friend the Speaker, who necessarily 
goes to bed late, and has no shutters to his 
windows, can get no sleep for it." 

It was about the same time that, on going to the 
lobby of the House, I, by the merest chance, dis- 
covered that one of my opponents in the original 
competition had just brought a paper, arguing his 
own claims, for distribution among the members. 
I obtained one, went home and wrote a reply, got 
600 copies struck off in no time, and, it having 
been on a Friday that these papers were sent round, 
I got mine distributed to the members from house 
to house before the next sitting. I had, by the 
request of the editor of some periodical, written 
(anonymously) a conspectus of the arguments con- 
tained in my book on " Domestic Architecture " 
and elsewhere, in favour of our style, under the 
name of " The Gothic Renaissance." This I had 
printed in a separate form and similarly distributed. 
Indeed, I did everything that man could do, nearly 
my entire time being devoted to the fight. 

About the middle of August I heard that a depu- 
tation of architects was going up to Lord Palmer- 
ston to pat him on the back and encourage him in 
his determination to overthrow the work of his 
predecessors. I was foolish enough, on hearing it, 
to call on a leading member of the profession, a 

Mr. B , to protest against this. He professed 

innocence of all privity to the scheme, but told 

1 88 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

me that, if asked, he should not decline to join 

My necessary exertions being for the time over, 
Mrs. Scott persuaded me to go, with our elder sons, 
to spend a day or two at the Oatlands Park Hotel 
near Chertsey, for relaxation after my anxious toils 
and sorrows. The next day was a Saturday, and 
on that day there appeared in the Saturday 
Review a most cutting article, showing up the 
ignorance and folly of Lord Palmerston's architec- 
tural essays in and out of parliament. On return- 
ing from fishing with my sons, I received a message 
from Mr. Burn, who, to my surprise, I found to be 
laid up with a severe illness in the same hotel, 
saying that he had just seen my name in the visi- 
tors' book, and wished I would call upon him. I 
did so, and, though he was very ill, found him very 
jovial, and he talked a little about the Government 
Offices, but said he wanted to go into the subject 
more at leisure with me, and arranged that I should 
call again on Monday. When I did so, he opened 
conversation by saying, "Whoever do you think 
came down to see me yesterday (Sunday) but 

B ? I don't know what he came about, but he 

said he was so anxious to know how I was that he 
thought he would run down on Sunday afternoon 
and see me." He then proceeded to say, " I asked 
him if he had seen the article on the Government 
Offices in yesterday's Saturday Review, and I said 
to him, ' By the lord Harry, it is the best thing I 

ever read in my life.' " B was mum, while 

Mr. Burn proceeded : " I don't know who it is that 
backs Palmerston up, but I am convinced, by what 
he says, that there's some idle fellow in our profes- 

CHAP, iv.] Recollections. 189 

sion who keeps prompting from behind the scenes." 

B had had enough of it and departed ! I 

was able to tell Mr. Burn, what he had by his 

spirited reception prevented B from telling 

him himself, that Mr. B had come down to 

canvas him for the deputation, with a view to 
being able to quote him as agreeing with its 
objects, but the broadside he had received had 
silenced him, and he went back from his Sunday 
trip " with a flea in his ear." I now found to my 
satisfaction that Mr. Burn, the senior assessor of 
the competition, approved distinctly of my appoint- 
ment, though till then (barring our cursory introduc- 
tion years before) he was a perfect stranger to me. 

The deputation took place during the same 
week. Mr. B again was master of the cere- 
monies. Sidney Smirke, the first speaker, assert- 
ing (with his hair perhaps on end) that, if they 
began in King Street with Gothic, it would never 
stop till it had reached Charing Cross. Tite 
repeated his heavy common-places, and spoke of 
Charles Barry and H. B. Garling as the successful 
competitors : poor Coe had no friends. 

I have not, after an interval of many years, 
ceased to feel that the conduct of those architects 
who attended on this deputation was in a high 
degree unprofessional. I am happy, however, to 
say that I have never permitted any such feeling 
to show itself in my intercourse with them, or to 
cause any personal breach. 

There can be little doubt that the deputation 
had been arranged with the cognizance of Lord 
Palmerston, and that it greatly strengthened his 
hands. I tried to get up a counter address, but 

IQO Sir Gilbert Scott. 

the Gothic architects did not come forward in 
sufficient force to make it worth while. This cold- 
heartedness was the greatest damper I had met 
with. I must, however, name some who exerted 
themselves in the most generous way, and who 
willingly signed the address : Mr. Joseph Clarke, 
Mr. Benjamin Ferrey, Mr. John Norton, Mr. 
Ewan Christian, Mr. George Goldie, Mr. Raphael 
Brandon, Mr. T. W. Goodman, Messrs. Pritchard 
and Seddon, Mr. T. P. St. Aubyn, Mr. Arthur 
W. Blomfield, Mr. William Slater, Mr. William 
White, Mr. T. H. Hakewill, Mr. John L. Pear- 
son, Mr. E. Welby Pugin, Mr. William Burges, 
and Mr. S. S. Teulon. 

Shortly afterwards Lord Palmerston sent for 
me, and, seating himself down before me in the 
most easy,, fatherly way, said, " I want to talk to 
you quietly, Mr. Scott, about this business. I 
have been thinking a great deal about it, and I 
really think there was much force in what your 
friends said." I was delighted at his supposed 
conversion. " I really do think that there is a 
degree of inconsistency in compelling a Gothic 
architect to erect a classic building, and so I have 
been thinking of appointing you a coadjutor, who 
would in fact make the design ! " I was thrown to 
the earth again. I began at once to bring argu- 
ments against the proposal, but the blow was too 
sudden to allow me to do justice to my case viva 
voce ; so on my return I immediately wrote a 
strongly and firmly worded letter, stating that I 
had been regularly appointed to the work, that 
Mr. Gladstone had assured me that my appoint- 
ment would be respected, that he (Lord Palmer- 

CHAP, iv.] Recollections. , 191 

ston) had done the same both personally and in 
parliament. I dwelt upon my position as an 
architect, my having won two European com- 
petitions, my being an A.R.A., a gold medallist 
of the Institute, a lecturer on architecture at the 
Royal Academy, &c. ; and I ended by firmly de- 
clining any such arrangement. I forget whether 
he replied. I also wrote, if I remember rightly, 
to Mr. Gladstone. 

Thus closed this stage of the business, and, 
being thoroughly knocked up (or down, as you 
may please to call it), I retired with Mrs. Scott 
and my family to Scarborough to recruit. 

I was thoroughly out of health, through the 
badgering, anxiety, and bitter disappointment 
which I had gone through, and for the first time 
since commencing practice, twenty-four years be- 
fore, I gave myself a quasi-holiday of two months, 
with sea air and a course of quinine. During 
this time, however, besides the work sent down 
to me from time to time, I was busying myself in 
preparing for the next campaign. I saw that, 
with Lord Palmerston, Gothic would have no 
chance, and I had agreed to prepare an Italian 
design. I felt that I could not, while a stone was 
left unturned, make a design in the ordinary 
classic form ; I had, however, such faith in Gothic, 
that I always believed that "something would 
turn up " in its favour. 

To resign would be to give up a sort of pro- 
perty which Providence had placed in the hands 
of my family, and would be simply rewarding my 
professional opponents for their unprecedented 
attempt to wrest a work from the hands of a 

192 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

brother architect, after he had not only been 
regularly appointed, but had commenced the busi- 
ness, had even made his working drawings, and 
had received builders' tenders. 

The way in which the matter was left in parlia- 
ment was that I was to prepare an Italian design, 
which, with the Gothic one, was to be laid before 
parliament the next year. The course I deter- 
mined on was to prepare a design in a variety of 
Italian, as little inconsistent with my antecedents 
as possible. I had, in dealing with Lord Hill's 
chapel at Hawkstone, and with St. Michael's 
church, Cornhill, attempted, by the use of a sort 
of early Basilican style, to give a tone to the 
existing classic architecture ; and it struck me 
that not wholly alien to this was the Byzantine of 
the early Venetian palaces, and that the earliest 
renaissance of Venice contained a cognate ele- 
ment. I therefore, conceived the idea of gene- 
rating what would be strictly an Italian style out 
of these two sets of examples ; Byzantine, in fact, 
toned into a more modern and usable form, by 
reference to those examples of the renaissance 
which had been influenced by the presence of 
Byzantine works. To the study of this I devoted 
myself while at Scarborough, and I produced 
elementary sketches which contained much that 
was, in my opinion, really valuable, as giving a 
new tone to semi-classic ideas. After my return 
to town, I worked out these ideas into new de- 
signs for both buildings, and not, as I think, with- 
out considerable success. The designs were both 
original and pleasing in effect ; indeed, Lord 
Elcho, to whom I showed them before laying 

CHAP, iv.] Recollections. 193 

them before the authorities, thought them better 
than the Gothic design, and rejoiced that good 
was likely to come out of evil. 

I at length showed them to Mr. Cowper, who, 
I should have stated, had, on the unexpected 
death of Mr. Fitzroy during the recess, come into 
the Office of Works. Mr. Cowper was, of course, 
under the control of Lord Palmerston. Left to 
himself, he would, I believe, like Mr. Fitzroy, 
have preferred the Gothic design ; and now, as 
I equally believe, liked the Byzantinesque one. 
He was, however, so far as this question went, 
in the hands of a strong master, and, after a few 
civil remarks, merely said that he would make an 
appointment with Lord Palmerston. 

About this time a friend called, and told me he 
was sure that something secret was being trans- 
acted with one of the original competitors, for 
when, in casual conversation with this gentleman, 
he had referred to the Foreign Office, so extra- 
ordinary an expression had come over his coun- 
tenance that he was convinced that some mischief 
was brewing. Some time later another friend 
told me that he had discovered that a design for 
the Foreign Office was being prepared by this 
architect ! He also asked me if Lord Palmerston 
had not once proposed to make him my coadjutor 
in the matter, and if it was not the case that I 
had refused. I now saw how matters stood. 
Lord Palmerston had hoped at first to be able to 
thrust this gentleman upon me as a colleague ; 
but, failing that, had secretly encouraged him to 
make a design, that he might have " two strings 

his bow." I do not remember the order in 


194 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

which these revelations came to me, relatively to 
other circumstances ; but they probably explain 
the fact that Lord Palmerston allowed several 
weeks to elapse, after I had shown Mr. Cowper 
the designs, before he made any appointment with 
me to see them. When he did so, he kept me wait- 
ing two hours and a half in his back room (during 
a part of which I heard him very deliberately 
going through his luncheon in the next room), and 
then sent me away unseen. At length, however, 
I showed him the design. He was very civil, 
and I thought he liked it. Indeed, I believe that 
he did, but thought it hardly consistent with his 
previous professions to admit it. 

After this I saw Mr. Cowper, and told him 
that I thought Lord Palmerston was favourably 
impressed. Having occasion to go at once to 
Hamburg, I left the matter, as I thought, in a 
tolerably satisfactory position. While abroad, 
however, I received a letter from Mr. Cowper, 
saying that I was mistaken in my impression as 
to Lord Palmerston's feelings, and that I must 
modify the design, and make it much more like 
modern architecture. 

This led, on my return, to a number of futile 
attempts, and in the midst of them I heard by a 
side wind that the competitor to whom I have 
referred had not only made a design, but that it 
was actually at the Office of Works, and under 
consideration ! 

Now indeed a crisis had arrived, and some 
strong step must be taken. I accordingly drew 
up a formal account of all which had transpired, 
stating what I had heard as to these proceedings, 

CHAP, iv.] Recollections. 195 

and entering a decided protest against the course 
thus secretly taken. 

This protest I sent to Mr. Cowper, and in- 
formed my supporters in the House of Commons 
of what had been done. 

This seems to have quashed the project, and 
shortly afterwards I was directed to make some 
modifications in my semi-Byzantine design to 
meet the opposing views half way. The design 
was then referred to the joint opinion of Messrs. 
Cockerell, Burn, and Ferguson. 

I had frequent interviews with these three 
gentlemen, and I have every reason to be grate- 
ful for the kind consideration with which I was 
treated by them. Professor Cockerell, being a pure 
classicist, had the greatest difficulty in swallowing 
my new style. He lectured me for hours together 
on the beauties of the true classic, going over 
book after book with me, and pouring forth 
ecstatic eulogies on his beloved style of art. I 
did not argue against his views, which I respected, 
but rather took the line of advocating variety and 
individuality, and of each man being allowed to 
follow out his individual idiosyncrasies ; but it was 
a bitter pill for him. He kindly desired to aid me, 
but his tastes went all the other way. Ferguson, 
on the contrary, was strongly in favour of my 
views. They embodied in great measure what 
he had been for years advocating, and he would 
have gone to the full extent of my newly generated 
variety of " Italian." Mr. Burn did not go strongly 
into the question of style, but took the thing up in 
a determined and sturdy manner in the light of 
upsetting an unjustifiable combination against a 

o 2 

196 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

brother architect. He stood by me most man- 
fully and sternly. He and Ferguson together 
brought over Cockerell to their views, and they 
made a joint report in favour of my design, sub- 
ject to a few modifications, of which Ferguson 
disapproved, but which he conceded to please 

I cannot say much in favour of the design as 
now approved. My first idea had been toned 
down, step by step, till no real stuff was left in 
it. It was a mere caput mortuum, as is invariably 
the case where a design is trimmed and trimmed 
again to meet the views of different critics. Like 
the man with his two wives in the fable, one had 
pulled out all the black hairs, and the other all 
the grey ones. I hoped, however, to throw more 
life into it in the execution, and I even encouraged 
to myself the most forlorn hope that the House 
of Commons might still decide in favour of the 
Gothic design. The drawings went again before 
parliament ; the House of Commons had no 
liking at all for the new design, but let it pass 
after another architectural debate, and so it stood 
at the end of the session of 1860, and thus my 
second great campaign was over. 

As in the previous year, Lord Palmerston, 
when parliament was once safely prorogued, lost 
no time in changing his tone. I found that 
something was " up," through my friend Mr. 
Hunt 5 (the professional adviser to the Office 
of Works), who sent for me and offered some 
very serious though mystic advice to me to 
comply with any directions I might receive, or 
5 Now Sir Henry Arthur Hunt, C.B. ED. 

CHAP, iv.] Recollections. 197 

I should be in danger of losing my appoint- 
ment. I may here mention that during all these 
wearisome delays, the India Government, grow- 
ing naturally sick of such childish trifling, had 
fought shy of their verbal agreement to share 
the site with the Foreign Office, and had quite 
justifiably commissioned Mr. Digby Wyatt to 
look out for another. I was thus in danger in 
that quarter also. They were the further moved 
to this, because Sir Charles Wood did not like 
the arrangement made by Lord Stanley, that they 
should have the King Street front, while the 
Foreign Office should have that towards the park. 
I was sent for to Lord Palmerston on Septem- 
ber 8th, 1860, when he told me that he did not 
wish to disturb my position, but that he would 
have nothing to do with Gothic ; and as to the 
style of my recent design, it was " neither one 
thing nor t'other a regular mongrel affair and 
he would have nothing to do with it either :" that 
he must insist on my making a design in the 
ordinary Italian, and that, though he had no wish 
to displace me, he nevertheless, if I refused, must 
cancel my appointment. He did not stop for a 
reply, but went on to tell me that he had made 
an agreement with Sir Charles Wood which 


necessitated an entire alteration of plan. The 
India Office was to share the park front with the 
Foreign Office. The State Paper Office was to 
be removed, and the building was to project 
irregularly into the park, leaving the King Street 
front as a future work. 

I came away thunderstruck and in sore per- 

198 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

plexity, thinking whether I must resign or swallow 
the. bitter pill, when whom should I meet in Pall 
Mall but my friend Mr. Hunt. I at once told him 
what had transpired, and he in return told me what 
had given rise to the advice which, a few days 
earlier, he had kindly volunteered. He had been 
consulted by Mr. Cowper 6 as to whether they could 
not fairly get rid of me (as, I suppose, a troublesome, 
contumacious fellow). He (Mr. Hunt) had put the 
case in this way : that I was regularly appointed 
by his (Mr. Cowper's) predecessor, and had per- 
formed, without any shortcomings, the duties com- 
mitted to me : that it was no fault of mine that a 
change of masters had taken place whose tastes 
were different, and that it would be a very serious 
injury to me to displace me, and one for which no 
pecuniary compensation would make amends. On 
the other hand, that employers had an undoubted 
right to prescribe the style of the building they 
desired to erect, and that, in the case of an heir 
succeeding to an estate after a new mansion had 
been designed, though good feeling suggested the 
continuance of the same architect, it was a fair 
condition that he, on his part, should be willing to 
conform to the views of his new client. By these 
arguments alone he had quieted the impatience of 
my employers, now stirred up to a climax, and he 
conjured me to act in conformity with the views 
which he had suggested. He urged the claims of 
my family, whom I had no right to deprive of 
what had become their property as much as my 
own, for a mere individual preference on a question 
of taste, &c., &c. I saw Mr. Digby Wyatt shortly 
8 Now Mr. Cowper Temple. ED. 

CHAP, iv.] Recollections. 199 

afterwards, who, very disinterestedly, urged strongly 
the same view I say disinterestedly, for had I 
resigned he would beyond a doubt have had the 
whole design of the India Office, instead of a half 
of it, committed to his hands. I was in a terrible 
state of mental perturbation, but I made up my 
mind, went straight in for Digby Wyatt's view, 
bought some costly books on Italian architecture, 
and set vigorously to work to rub up what, though 
I had once understood pretty intimately, I had 
allowed to grow rusty by twenty years' neglect. 

I devoted the autumn to the new designs, and, as 
I think, met with great success. I went to Paris 
and studied the Louvre and most of the important 
buildings, and really recovered some of my lost 
feelings for the style, though I fell, ever and anon, 
into fits of desperate lamentation and annoyance, 
and almost thought again of giving up the work. 

That winter my youngest boy but one 7 had a 
severe fever at St. Leonard's, and I was detained 
for six weeks from business, but I went on with 
my design. While I was from home under this 
affliction, I was elected a Royal Academician, the 
pleasure of which was sadly alloyed by the circum- 
stances of the time. I succeeded my dear friend 
Sir Charles Barry, who had died suddenly during 
the autumn. 

My new designs were beautifully got up in out- 
line; the figures I put in myself, and even composed 
the groups, for, though I have no skill in that way, 
I was so determined to show myself not behind- 
hand with the classicists, that I seemed to have 
more power than usual. 

7 We were five, all boys. ED. 

2OO Sir Gilbert Scott. 

The India Office, externally, was wholly my 
design, though I had adopted an idea as to its 
grouping and outline, suggested by a sketch of 
Mr. Digby Wyatt's. This I thought very excel- 
lent, although in his own drawing he had done 
but little justice to the conception. Lord Pal- 
merston highly approved of the design, and it 
passed the House of Commons in the session 
of 1 86 1, after a very stout fight by the Gothic 
party, who naturally and consistently opposed 
it strenuously. I aided this opposition a little 
myself, for feeling the new design (as to its 
plan and outline) to be even more suited to the 
Gothic style than the old one, I had a splendid 
view made of a mediaeval design adapted to the 
altered plan. It was by very far superior to any 
which I had hitherto made, and I placed it with 
my other Gothic designs in the exhibition at the 
Royal Academy, as a silent protest against what 
was going on. I further had a copy made of this 
view, and had nearly succeeded in getting it 
exhibited to the House of Commons with my 
classic design on the same plan, but Mr. Cowper 
was too canny for me, and thus, after more than 
two years' hard fighting, I was compelled to " eat 
my leek." 

The struggle through which I had fought the 
matter, step by step, was such as I should never 
have faced out, had I known what was before me. 
Indeed, at the commencement, nothing would have 
induced me to volunteer a classic design ; but the 
battle, though long one of style, came at last to 
be almost for existence. I felt that I should be 
irreparably injured if I were to lose a work thus 

CHAP, iv.] Recollections. 201 

publicly placed in my hands, and I was step by 
step driven into the most annoying position of 
carrying out my largest work in a style contrary 
to the direction of my life's labours. My shame 
and sorrow were for a time extreme, but, to my 
surprise, the public seemed to understand my 
position and to feel for it, and I never received 
any annoying or painful rebuke, and even Mr. 
Ruskin told me that I had done quite right. 

Such was the length of time over which this 
business spread, that, though my designs were 
commenced before my son Gilbert's term of archi- 
tectural pupilage began, his five years had ex- 
pired before the foundations were begun to be 
excavated. It is now seven years and a half 8 since 
I set about my first sketches, and the work is only 
in certain parts first-floor high. Great, however, 
as has been the annoyance of which I had been 
the victim, I am determined by God's help to do 
my very best, just as much so as if the style was 
of my own choosing. 

I am ashamed to have occupied so much space 
in detailing these heartless and almost heart- 
breaking vexations, and will now leave the subject. 

8 Written in 1864. ED. 


I WILL now make a few observations upon the 
progress and position of the revival during the 
period which I have been passing over, viz. from 
1845 to the present time, 1864. 

Up to that time (1845) the revival in this 
country had been essentially English. I am not 
aware that, with the exception of a few works by 
Mr. Wylde, 1 any foreign idea had crept into it. 
I believe my own journeys into Germany, and 
subsequently into France, gave the first impetus 
in the direction of foreign architecture, and that 
was but a slight one. I think it was in 1849 that 
I drew a series of designs for capitals of the 
foreign type, and my pupil, Mr. Alfred Bell, fol- 
lowed them out further for St. Nicholas at Ham- 
burg, my types being those which I had sketched 
at the Sainte Chapelle. 

In my essays on various subjects at the end 
of my book on Restoration (published in 1850) 
I do not recollect any tendency to foreignism. 
Those essays are not a bad modulus of the mind 
of the revival at that time ; that on the selection 

1 As a fine example of Mr. Wylde's design, St. Martin's 
Northern schools in Castle Street, Endell Street, may be men- 
tioned. ED. 

CHAP, v.] Recollections. 203 

of a style, was intended to be corrective of the 
tendency of the " Ecclesiologist " towards late 
decorated. Their dictum had been in favour of 
the earlier stage of the flowing decorated, or, as 
my friend, Mr. E. A. Freeman, used to say, they 
would call it in their own nomenclature, " the 
early late middle pointed." The three western 
bays of the choir at Ely were at that time their 
beau-ideal, forgetting that the outline and pro- 
portion of these were derived directly from the 
Norman bays with which they came in conjunc- 
tion. So imperious was their law, that any one 
who had dared to deviate from or to build in 
other than the sacred "Middle Pointed," well knew 
what he must suffer. In my own office, Mr. Street 
and others used to view every one as a heretic 
who designed in any but the sacred phase ; and I 
well recollect, when I was, at Holbeck, obliged to 
build in early English or " first pointed," the sort 
of holy and only half-repressed indignation and 
pity to which it gave rise. The revived style 
was one, and its unity was " Middle Pointed." I 
held this as a theory myself. They held it as 
a religious duty, though they now seem to have 
forgotten this phase in the history of their faith, 
and are very irate when it is referred to. So 
tyrannical did this law continue to be, that when 
I first busied myself in forming the Architectural 
Museum, it was with fear and trembling that I 
introduced some early English specimens. I held 
out against the revival of this style of foliage myself, 
but I feared that its admission would, among the 
stricter sort, condemn the whole institution. 

How curiously reversed have these Medo- 

2O4 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

Persic laws since become. Tyranny has been 
equally rampant, but it has persecuted what it 
once enjoined, and now its supporters have got 
back once more into the old groove, and are 
equally tyrannous in the old line. The introduc- 
tion of the foreign element in a systematic way, 
may, perhaps, have been due to Mr. Ruskin, 
certainly it came on shortly after the publication 
of his " Seven Lamps." This, undoubtedly, set 
people upon Italian Gothic. For my own part, 
I never fell into this latter mania ; I held that 
there was much to be learned from Italian Gothic, 
but that it should not be really adopted at all. 
Others took a contrary view, as Mr. Bodley, in 
his design for the memorial church at Constan- 

The French casts in the Architectural Museum 
had, no doubt, a strong influence in bringing about 
the revival of that class of detail ; and, as regards 
myself, my frequent sketching tours in France and 
Germany, and my having constantly to make use 
of these details in my working drawings for Ham- 
burg, had a great tendency in the same direction. 
As yet I held and thought, in my innocence, that 
every one, or nearly every one, held to nature as 
the source of foliated ornamentation. I had, 
during my earlier practice, made use in early 
English work of the conventional foliage ; but 
subsequently I had come to the conclusion that, 
though it was lawful to revive bygone forms of a 
merely mechanical character, it was inconsistent 
to revive bygone conventionalism in matters 
originally derived from nature ; and that while we 
might imitate the architecture of another period, 

CHAP, v.] Recollections. 205 

we must always go to nature direct (though per- 
haps aided by suggestions from art) for objects of 
which nature was the professed origin, and that if 
we saw fit to conventionalize, the conventional- 
ism should be our own. 

It was, I suppose, about 1853 or 1854 that I 
wrote a lecture on such subjects for the Architec- 
tural Museum. I entered into it with intense 
enthusiasm, and actually got up, as well as I was 
able, the subject of botany, so far as concerns the 
English wild plants. I followed this up, not 
scientifically, it is true, but with a delight and an 
avidity which I can hardly describe, and my 
lecture was of a very impassioned character. 

I remember longing most earnestly to discover 
a leaf, from which one might suppose our early 
English foliage to have been derived. . The 
nearest I could find was an almost microscopic 
wall-fern, and certain varieties of the common 
parsley. One night I dreamed that I had found 
the veritable plant. I can see it even now. It 
was a sear and yellow leaf, but with all the beauty 
of form which graces the capitals at Lincoln and at 
Lichfield. I was maddened with excitement and 
pleasure ; but while I was exulting, and ready to 
exclaim, "Eureka! Eureka!" I awoke, and behold 
it was a dream. 

I remember after this, or another lecture on the 
subject, in which I had stated my theory against 
revived conventionalism, Mr. Glutton (our secre- 
tary) came behind me, and whispered in my ear, 
" You've been preaching heresy." I thought my 
theory so certain, that I never discovered his 
meaning till 1856, when he and Mr. Burges made 

206 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

their competition design for the cathedral at Lille. 
This was really the first occasion on which the 
Ecclesiological Society's law, as regards the 
" Middle Pointed," was set at nought. The 
Ecclesiologists had actually at one time doubted 
whether it would not be right to pull down Peter- 
borough Cathedral, if only we could rebuild it 
equally well in the " Middle Pointed" style ; and 
now they were forced to swallow a veritable 
" First Pointed " design, and to sing its unwilling 
praises. Glutton and Burges certainly had the 
credit of overthrowing the old tyranny, and even 
some of its most rigorous abettors soon found it 
necessary to outvie each other in setting at 
nought their former faith, and in trying who could 
be the earliest in the style of their buildings. 
One thing, however, never changed, the intole- 
rance shown by them for all freedom of thought 
on the part of other men. Every one must per- 
force follow in their wake, no matter how often 
they changed, or how entirely they reversed their 
own previous views. Nor was anything more 
certain than this, that however erroneous their 
former opinion might have been, their views for 
the time being were right, and that every one 
who differed from them was a heretic, or an old- 
fashioned simpleton. It had many years before 
been a saying of mine, that there was no class of 
men whom the Cambridge Camden Society held 
in such scorn, as those who adhered to their own 
last opinion but one ; and this sentiment has 
been the great inheritance and heirloom of their 

Let it not, however, be supposed that I object 

CHAP. v.J Recollections. 207 

to changes of taste or opinion ; on the contrary, I 
conceive them to be the necessary accompaniment 
of a state of active and tentative progress. Nor 
even do I object to an earnest belief in the par- 
ticular phase in vogue ; this is the natural conse- 
quence of earnestness and zeal in the work in 
hand. What I do protest against, is the custom 
of taking the cue from some self-elevated leader 
of their own, and, whatever the circumstances 
may be, treating with pitying scorn every one 
who does not chance to fall in with the new 
rule or opinion ; even those who have no power 
of art in them setting themselves up as lights, 
because of their adhesion to the latest promul- 
gated dictum of the clique, and those of a superior 
class neglecting often their own special training, 
in the intensity of their self-satisfaction at belong- 
ing to the privileged party, whose great moral 
rule is to trust in themselves, and to despise 

Still, in spite of these foibles, the revival was 
progressing vigorously ; probably these very 
weaknesses were the mere outbreakings of over- 
excited pulsation, and the eccentricities, which 
were growing upon the revived style, were per- 
haps like the diseases which human beings are 
expected to pass through once and then to have 
done with. 

I feel uncertain sometimes whether the breaking 
down of the "Middle Pointed" regime was a move 
for good or ill. There was, to say the least, a 
theory in that rigorous code. It was argued, and 
with some force, that in the nature of things it is 
anomalous to revive an old style ; that the history 

208 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

of art, while its stream was pure, was one of con- 
tinuous and natural progress, the stream never 
returning upon its own course, and every develope- 
ment being the offspring of its immediate pre- 
decessor; that this natural course had been broken 
by the classic renaissance, since which event all 
had been confusion, until at length we were left 
without a distinctive style of our own ; that at 
this juncture, by a coincidence of feelings and 
circumstances, our old architecture came to be, 
without premeditation, revived, and that it was 
the duty of those who guided that revival to see 
that its course should not be wildly eclectic, but 
that we should select once and for all, the very 
best and most complete phase in the old style, 
and taking that as our agreed point de depart, 
should make it so thoroughly our own, that we 
should develope upon it as a natural and legitimate 
nucleus, shaping it freely from time to time to 
suit our altered and ever altering wants, require- 
ments, and facilities, just as if no rude change had 
ever taken place. Assuming this theory to be 
sound, it was further argued that the " Middle 
Pointed " is the true point of perfection which we 
.should take as our nucleus of development; that 
however admirable may be the vigour of the 
earlier phases, and whatever beauties we may 
find in the later, this middle style has the un- 
doubted merit of completeness. It may be less 
vigorous than its predecessor, but it has purged 
itself of the leaven of early rudeness, and has so 
completed all its parts as to meet every practical 
necessity, while it has not commenced the down- 
hill road of enervation and decay. One thing 

CHAP, v.] Recollections. 209 

was also in its favour, that the theory had become 
so generally accepted, that this phase might really, 
and without affectation, be said to be already 
thoroughly revived and adopted as our own, and 
that we really were in a position to take it as our 
starting point, and were actually doing so with 
considerable success. I had added to this theory, 
in my own version of it, that we should endeavour 
to import into this revived style all which was 
valuable in other varieties, the vigour of the 
earlier work, and all useful developements of the 
later. I refer on this point to my remarks on 
future developement in my little volume of i85O, 2 
and I was certainly trying, with some success 
now and then, to carry the theory into effect. 

There is then some ground for doubt how far 
the break-down of this theory, which followed 
immediately upon the Lille competition, was of 
advantage to the cause. Its most ludicrous fea- 
ture was, the pious devotion to "First Pointed" 
in its most ultra-Gallic form, which at once began 
to inspire the minds of those who, before this, 
had given an equally religious tone to their ad- 
hesion to " Middle Pointed," now in its turn be- 
come semi-impious. I confess I was disposed 
for one reason to welcome the change. I had 
long felt the slavery of being morally debarred 
from making use of the earlier style, in which I 
secretly delighted, and was glad to have a little 
more freedom, without being subject to the jibes 
of self-constituted critics. This was, however, a 
vain imagination, as exclusiveness is never at a 

2 " A Plea for the faithful Restoration of our Ancient 
Churches " (T. H. Parker), chapter iii. 


2io Sir Gilbert Scott. 

loss in forging new fetters to take the place of 
those worn out. Not that this is of any great 
consequence, as some bond of union is unques- 
tionably needed, and no one should be weak 
enough to allow his own judgment to be biassed 
by the fads of others, unless he sees that their 
judgment is to be relied upon as sound. 

There can be no question that a kind of chaotic 
state of things has ensued upon the dissolution 
of the "Middle Pointed" confederation. This, 
while it has perhaps done good by encouraging a 
tentative striving after new developements, and 
the introduction of many elements of value into 
the revived style, has nevertheless weakened the 
movement by destroying its unity, and by bringing 
it back very much to what it had been at first, a 
system of eclecticism, the very thing which we 
were striving to avoid. 

There has, in fact, been no end to the oddities 
introduced. Ruskinism, such as would make 
Ruskin's very hair stand on end ; Butterfieldism, 
gone mad with its endless stripings of red and 
black bricks ; architecture so French that a 
Frenchman would not know it, out-Heroding 
Herod himself ; Byzantine in all forms but those 
used by the Byzantians ; mixtures of all or some 
of these; "original" varieties founded upon know- 
ledge of old styles, or upon ignorance of them, as 
the case may be ; violent strainings after a some- 
thing very strange, and great successes in pro- 
ducing something very weak ; attempts at beauty 
resulting in ugliness, and attempts at ugliness 
attended with unhoped-for success. All these 
have given a wild absurdity to much of the archi- 

CHAP, v.] Recollections. 2 1 1 

lecture of the last seven or eight years, which one 
cannot but deplore : but at the same time it must 
be allowed that much of the best, the most ner- 
vous, and the most original results of the revival, 
have been arrived at within the same period. 
The worst things have in fact been produced by 
men, not drilled by the study of ancient work, but 
" climbing in some other way." It is their works 
which disfigure our streets with preposterous 
attempts at originality in domestic architecture. 
The really trained men, who have thoroughly 
studied ancient work, though they have not been 
exempt from great eccentricities, have neverthe- 
less produced very fine works of art, full in many 
cases of original developement. I believe now, 
that the " wild oats " of this period may be consid- 
ered as sown, that we are getting back into a very 
reasonable groove, and may trust that the days 
of mere eccentricity are passed, and I cannot but 
hope that we shall get into a condition of liberal 
unity, in which our efforts will be brought to act 
in one direction, not by a scornful bearing towards 
one another, but by a general conviction of 
the reasonableness of the course which we are 

Just now, indeed, the contemptuous line is 
chiefly adopted by a somewhat old-fashioned clique, 
of which the head is my valued friend, Mr. J. H. 
Parker of Oxford. These early pioneers in the 
revival, horrified at the wildness of these later 
days, have taken upon them to abuse, not the 
ignorant pretenders who have brought disgrace 
upon our cause, but the most talented of our 
band. No insult indeed is sufficiently bitter 

p 2 

212 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

against every one who learns a single lesson 
abroad, or attempts the smallest originality of his 
own. Our tendency to wildness has given some 
excuse for this, and I do trust that a little com- 
mon-sense exercised on both sides will soon put 
an end to a state of things which is bringing much 
scandal upon the revival, and is greatly rejoicing 
its opponents. 

' As regards myself I gradually fell into the use 
of French detail, not exclusively, but in combina- 
tion with English. In domestic architecture I do 
think that I struck out a variety eminently prac- 
tical, and thoroughly suited to the wants and habits 
of the day. Had I carried out my designs for 
the Government offices, this developement would 
have been realized ; as it is, it is hardly known. 
I have carried it out to a certain degree at Kelham 
Hall, 3 but that is, in its ideal, rather more Italian- 
ized than my own more deliberate developement 
would have been ; still, however, that house shows 
it fairly. Mr. Forman's house at Dorking 4 was 
built earlier and on a less pretentious scale, but it 
contains a great deal of what I was then working 
out. Sir Charles Mordaunt's, at Walton near 
Warwick, contains it in a minor form, and worked 
out with less sufficient funds, as does Hafodunos 
House, near Llanwrst. 5 The Town Hall at 
Preston also exemplies it, and the Rector's house 
at Exeter College, though in a less degree. One 
feature in all these buildings is the ample size of 
the windows. 

3 Near Newark, the seat of J. H. Manners-Sutton, Esq. ED. 

* Pipbrook House. ED. 

6 The seat of II. R. Sandbach, Esq. ED. 

CHAP, v.] Recollections. 213 

My friend Parker is very irate at the whole of 
these developements. He says they are Italian, 
French, or anything else, and wants me to make 
everything purely English, indeed he would make 
it Tudor. Now I distinctly aver, that if we were 
to build houses really like the old Tudor mansions, 
people would not in these days live in them. We 
must have large windows, plate glass in large 
sheets, sash windows if we like, and every con- 
venience of our day. These clearly demand a 
new expansion of the style, and I boldly say that 
none has been proposed so good as this. The 
tide is rather setting against it now, because of 
its non-English form, and I am myself desirous, 
as soon as the vortex of business gives me a little 
leisure, to go again over its details carefully, and 
to Anglicize them, without sacrifice of essentials. 
Thus far I go with the present turn of feeling, but 
I see no sense, after for years labouring to bring 
domestic architecture into a practical form, in at 
once giving up all the results to a mere change of 
fashion. The general tendency at the present 
moment is to return to English detail. I hold 
with this to a certain extent. We were certainly 
going too far the other way, but if by doing this 
we have introduced any features bolder, more 
manly, more reasonable, more useful in any 
way, or have added to our store elements 
which tend to enrich it, and to increase our 
legitimate resources, let us not, in the name of 
common sense, throw them away again. Anglicize 
if you please, and I go all the way with you, 
for we were running wild on foreign detail ; but 
retain all the good you have picked up in your 

2I 4 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

wanderings, and use it up in your reformed archi- 

I will offer a few remarks on our progress 
in the subsidiary arts, beginning with that of 

It has been a drawback to my own artistic 
success that, being one of the first of the revivers, 
I had, as it were, to grow with my own work, 
instead of being previously trained for it. Had 
I, for instance, known my future lot, how assidu- 
ously should I have practised myself in my youth 
in the drawing and designing of foliage, and in 
all the branches of decorative art as connected 
with Gothic architecture. I had no kind of idea 
of ever wanting them, and wonder that I practised 
them even as much as I did. The consequence 
of this want of knowledge of the future has been 
that I was unprepared, in my personal artistic 
training, to do justice to the developement in which 
I have had to take a prominent part, and have 
had to work up the subject, as I was able, in the 
midst of the vortex and turmoil of distracting 
business. I had it in me, but I had no leisure to 
stop to cultivate it. In spite of these great dis- 
advantages I do believe that I have done as much 
as most men to forward the art of carving ; but 
had it not been for them, I am sure that I should 
have done very great things in this direction. I 
have had a vast deal of bad carving done for me, 
it is true, some of it detestable. This has been 
mainly owing to the extent of my business, which 
has been always too much for my capacity of 
attending to it, added to the disadvantages before 
mentioned. Nevertheless where mv real influence 

CHAP, v.] Recollections. 215 

has been brought to bear, the results have been 
very different, and would have been very far more 
so, had it not been for these disadvantages, which 
I could not by any means get over. 

I remember that, as early as 1840, my anxiety 
about the carving for the Oxford memorial was 
most intense, and though the result is not very 
high, I do think that, considering the time, it was 
remarkable. The carving at Camberwell church, 
which is conventional, is another fair specimen 
(barring the human heads, which I then thought 
as detestable as I do now). My carver then was 
a Mr. Cox, who continued to do my work for some 
years. When we founded the Architectural 
Museum, I turned my attention very much to 
French carving, of the type of that in the Sainte 
Chapelle, and later I urged the adoption of a bolder 
style, using natural foliage in a great degree, but 
attempting to get something of the boldness of 
the best conventional types. I think that this 
has been admirably attained by Mr. Brindley 6 in 
some of my later works, as at Kelham Hall, 
Wellington College Chapel, and the Town Hall at 
Preston. These are examples of carving of a 
very high order. My friend Mr. Street, during 
this period, has been working up the pure conven- 
tional foliage, Mr. Earp 7 being his handpiece, and 
he has done very great things. I think that his 
work and mine together, for the last few years or 
so, have been a noble developement. He can lay 
claim to his, more personally than I can to mine, 

6 Of the firm of Farmer and Brindley, whose studios are in 
the Westminster Bridge Road. ED. 

7 His studios are now in the Finchley Road. ED. 

2 1 6 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

as he gives drawings, while I do my work by influ- 
ence ; but the results in both cases are of a high 
order. Let us push on to perfection in this noble 

Metal-work has, during the period in question, 
made considerable progress, though it has suffered 
from its share of the eccentric mania of the day. 
Mr. Skidmore 8 can claim an eminent place both 
in skill, progress, and eccentricity. My own indi- 
vidual share has not been great, excepting that I 
have had one or two great works carried out, such 
as the choir-screens at Lichfield and Hereford 
cathedrals. Both of these were designed in full 
by myself, and are carried out according to my 
designs, in general ; in both, however, as in all his 
works, Mr. Skidmore has " kicked over the traces" 
wherever he has had a chance. In some cases the 
work has gained, and in some suffered from this. 
Original ideas have been imported, but a certain air 
of eccentricity has come in with them. On the 
whole the works are both very fine, and especially 
the latter. I believe that Mr. Street has made great 
progress in metal work, acting through a smith at 
Maidenhead. I have only seen a little of his 
work, but that was first rate. 

With gold and silver work and jewellery I have 
had nothing to do. This is foolish of me, as I 
delight in nothing more, but my avocations will 
not permit me. I hope that the Memorial to the 
Prince Consort will be a success in the way of 
metal-working, if not invaded by interference on 
the one side or by wildness on the other. 

How far stained glass has progressed, I am 
8 Of Coventry. ED. 

CHAP, v.] Recollections. 217 

unable to form an opinion. The universal mania 
for earliness and eccentricity has here been ram- 
pant with a vengeance, and eliqueishness has had 
its full swing. I recollect about 1855, just before 
Mr. Clayton 9 established himself in practice, he 
designed for me several windows for the clerestory 
of the choir of Westminster Abbey ; and though 
the windows themselves were late thirteenth cen- 
tury, he was so strong in the old " Middle Pointed " 
theory, that he insisted upon treating his draperies, 
&c., in the style of the middle of the fourteenth. 
In 1860 when he was employed to fill some win- 
dows in the north transept, so great had been the 
change in his views, that he could, with the utmost 
difficulty, be kept from making his glass earlier in 
style than the stonework itself, and his figures 
absolute scarecrows. Yet I believe that he has 
never been considered early enough, or grotesque 
enough, in his views for the more learned. Per- 
sonally I have always been under the disadvantage 
of having had no time to obtain such a mastery 
over this subject, as would enable me to exercise 
that strong influence which I should have desired. 
My theory is, that if there is real merit in early 
Christian art of which I am perfectly convinced 
its merit must of necessity be independent of, and 
separable from, its defects and its quaintness ; and 
that if we believe in our own great revival, we are 
bound to show our faith by discriminating the 
faults from the merits of our originals, and by 
endeavouring to produce an art which avoids the 
one while it retains the other, and adds to this 
whatever of better instruction and skill our own 
9 Now of the firm of Clayton and Bell. ED. 

2 1 8 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

age can afford. This theory I, from year to year, 
endeavour to dun into the heads of those with 
whom I have to do. Alas ! as an Hibernian once 
said, " The more I tell them to do it, the more 
they won't do it at all." Either they are such 
simple zealots as to believe in the faults of their 
masters as implicitly as in their merits, or else they 
do not really believe in the revival, and treat the 
old examples merely as viewed through a Wardour 
Street shop-window, or, as Simonides views an 
early codex, as things made only to be forged. I 
believe the former to be their real view, but I beg 
them to apply their common-sense to the subject 
for a little time, and then to act freely for them- 
selves. As it is, one constantly sees in painted 
glass, things which in Punch would pass for very 
good jokes, and caricatures in Punch, which, in 
glass, would be viewed as true Christian art. 

Hardman, or rather his artist Powell, has had 
the advantage or disadvantage of a long drilling 
under Pugin. It made him a first-rate glass- 
painter, but on the death of his great master, 
instead of turning to old examples, he has been 
content to work on upon the material be- 
queathed to him, which has become from year to 
year more diluted, and its loss by dilution being 
unsupplied by any infusion of new strength, he has 
sunk for the most part into little more than an 
agreeable prettiness, though he occasionally when 
he brings his mind to bear strongly upon a par- 
ticular work, produces really fine things, and his 
sense of pleasant colouring is certainly stronger 
than that of a great majority of our glass-painters. 
The works he did for Pugin have been as yet 

CHAP, v.] Recollections. 219 

barely surpassed, e. g. those in the Houses of 

The art of glass-painting has suffered a 
great loss from the crochets and ill-nature of a 
man who of all others was the best qualified to 
help it forward. I refer to Mr. Whinston. He 
had devoted years to the study of old examples, 
and no man more thoroughly understood them. 
From his profession and education one would 
have expected him to prove a wise and judicious 
moderator between the excesses of over-excited 
partisans of conflicting views. He might have 
done infinite good had he taken up that position. 
As it is, he has absolutely thrown away his van- 
tage-ground by imitating the worst excesses which 
he ought to have corrected, and by appearing as 
the almost exclusive advocate of a single type of 
glass-painting, and the unmeasured abuser of 
every one who in the smallest degree differs from 
him. This unhappy course has left him literally 
without influence, which I the more deeply regret 
as I am one who admires with him the particular 
phase to which he has attached himself, and go 
almost the whole way with him in my reprobation 
of some of the follies which excite his wrath, and 
I feel that his influence and censorship, had they 
been judiciously used, would have been of the 
most essential service to the cause. As it is, his 
bitter invectives render it impossible for any one 
to converse with him on the subject, excepting a 
few persons who have submitted to act in sub- 
serviency to his dictation, and who being, naturally, 
persons of no great mark, are very far from repre- 
senting in their works any great advantage received 

220 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

from his instruction. In one respect, however, he 
has been eminently useful. He has, in conjunc- 
tion with Messrs. Powell of Whitefriars, effected 
very important improvements in the manufacture 
of glass for the purposes of glass-painting. 

Another great loss which this art has sustained 
arose from the premature death of the elder 
M. Gerente, of Paris. This gentleman, educated 
to another profession, had so earnest a feeling for 
art, and directed that feeling so strongly upon 
glass-painting, as to devote several years exclu- 
sively to the study of it, and to tracing and draw- 
ing from ancient examples throughout France. 
He told me that, after he had made up his mind 
to become a professional glass-painter, he would 
not allow himself to execute a single work, till he 
had devoted four years, exclusively to the study of 
ancient glass-paintings. He was a man of most 
vigorous talent, of great originality of conception, 
and at the same time a very learned antiquary. 
From such a man, though at first too antiquarian 
in the treatment of his works, the greatest results 
might have been hoped for, but Providence willed 
it otherwise. After escaping, almost miraculously, 
the dangers of the Revolution of 1848, in which 
he was taken prisoner by the mob, and actually 
set up for execution and the muskets levelled at 
him, when he was saved by the accidental inter- 
ference of one of his own workmen, and after- 
wards was engaged in actual fighting for twenty- 
four hours together ; he was cut off in the very 
next year, after only eight hours' illness, by the 
cholera. He called on me one day in great 
agitation ; he had just lost his father by that 

CHAP, v.] Recollections. 221 

disease, and, after watching him through his illness, 
had been seized with such a panic that he fled 
precipitately to England, convinced that if he 
stayed in Paris he should die of it. A fortnight 
afterwards Le pere Martin called upon me, and 
told me that Gerente had returned, had been 
immediately seized with cholera, and had died ! 

He was succeeded by his brother, educated as 
a sculptor, who has followed up with considerable 
success his elder brother's methods. 

Among the most promising artists in this 
department are Clayton and Bell, both of them 
men who took to art directly and solely from a 
natural genius for it. Mr. Alfred Bell was a pupil 
of my own. He was recommended to me by the 
clergyman of his native village, himself an amateur 
artist, who had aided his early genius. His pro- 
ductions at that early age (fourteen) were most 
remarkable, and, during the whole time that he 
was with me, nothing he had to do seemed to 
present any difficulty whatever to him. Since 
then he has reverted to his original bent for 
painting, rather than architecture. I only regret 
that he, owing to circumstances, and perhaps to an 
over-confidence in his own unaided powers, too 
much neglected a regular drilling in the elements 
of art. This has prevented his natural talents 
exhibiting themselves to full advantage. Mr. 
Clayton has been better drilled, and has a stronger 
turn of mind, and were it not for the two great 
banes of glass-painting, a morbid love of queer 
antiquated drawing on the one hand, and the 
destructive effect of over-pressure of work on the 
other, very great results indeed might be antici- 

222 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

pated from them. They were the first in this 
country who became glass-painters, because they 
were artists ; but it is a destructive profession, and 
if the greatest artist who ever lived had become in 
early life a glass-painter, and had had a great run 
of business, I do not hesitate to say that his future 
fame would have been ruined. No real art can 
stand against a constant high-pressure and working 
against time. Some of Clayton and Bell's pro- 
ductions are of a high character, but a large pro- 
portion are damaged or ruined by one or both of the 
influences above-mentioned. Their works are by 
no means whatever proportioned to their ability. 

Ill-luck seems inseparably attached to this most 
unhappy art. Three distinct misfortunes dog its 
course at every step. First, the multitude of 
mere pretenders, or, at best, men of very slender 
artistic feeling and less skill, who disgrace and 
drag down the art which they profess. Secondly, 
the absurd rage for antiquated drawing, which 
exercises a ruinous influence upon it. This may 
be divided into two classes : one, that of the 
pseudo-artists, who imitate or pretend to imitate 
old drawings, merely to mask their inability to do 
anything better. Their grotesqueness is that of 
incapacity. The other is that of artists of a 
better class, who, as a simple matter of choice, 
follow the oddness of old work. This is the 
grotesqueness of error. The third misfortune is 
the natural consequence of the second. A number 
of persons, whether glass-painters or others, dis- 
gusted at the folly of this deliberate grotesqueness, 
run at once into the opposite mistake, and seek to 
remedy the evil by means of copies in glass of 

CHAP, v.] Recollections. 223 

actual picture-painting. This again divides itself 
into two classes : the pretenders, who, though 
incapable of producing works of art at all, calculate 
(and successfully) upon the prevalent ignorance, 
and produce wretched, mawkish attempts at 
picture-painting, which a large proportion of the 
public believe in and cry up as something very 
fine, but which is really the most sickening of all 
things. The culminating specimen of this is, 
perhaps, the east window of All Saints Church, 
Hastings. The second class consists of really 
good or tolerable artists, who, falling into this 
mistake, do all the mischief in the world by, as it 
were, gilding an error by art which would other- 
wise be pretty good. The leaders of this are the 
Munich painters and their patrons in this country, 
and the culmination of the error is to be seen in 
Glasgow Cathedral. 1 It is perhaps fortunate that 
these painters make use of such contemptible 
architectural decoration in their windows that no 
one who has any real knowledge is, in this country, 
deceived by them. A few classic architects, a 
Dean or two, and a mixed multitude of the semi- 
ignorant public form the list of their patrons. 

The annoying thing is, that those who know 
better give them the best possible excuse for their 
error, for it becomes a fairly open question whether 
a person will choose reasonably good art united 
with erroneous principles, or sound principles 
wedded to a grotesque art. It was vexatious 
enough that Clayton and Bell, from whom better 
things might have been hoped, and who have pro- 
duced fine work (as in St. Michael's, Cornhill) 
1 And in the Chapel of Peterhouse, Cambridge. ED. 

224 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

should, for the most part, deliberately follow in the 
wake of the incapables : but it is yet more so, when 
a society of painters of the highest class, having 
been formed with the express intention of uniting 
high art with true principles, are found producing 
works yet still more strange than those of any of 
their predecessors. 2 

Let us hope against hope. 

In decorative colouring I fear that we are not 
much more in advance. Our architects must be- 
come artists, and then, and not till then, shall we 
have a chance of success. Pugin did great things, 
but I cannot say much for subsequent progress. 
In mosaic work and inlays I think we have done 
better ; indeed I cannot but think that this is one 
of the most promising branches of decorative art, 
and one of the most important, inasmuch as our 
climate demands decoration which cannot be in- 
jured by damp. 

In encaustic tiling we have made little progress 
since Pugin's time. No one has equalled him in 
the designing of patterns, though I think that Lord 
Alwyne Compton greatly excels him in arrange- 
ments ; w r hile Godwin, of Hereford, comes far 
nearer to the texture of old tiles than Minton 

Incised stone in some degree trenches now 
upon tile-work, and offers a wide field for pro- 
gress. I hope that the introduction of it by 
Baron Triqueti into Wolsey's chapel at Windsor 
will prove a cause of advancement in that art, as 

2 From the date of this critique it is evidently only to the 
very earliest works of Messrs. Morris and Co. that reference 
is here made. ED. 

CHAP, v.] Recollections. 225 

the employment of enamel mosaic in the same 
chapel will also, as I trust, in its own particular 
direction. The use of high art (as painting and 
sculpture) in connexion with the revived style, 
has not yet made great progress, though I think 
it will do so. I will not dwell upon this question ; 
for my individual views on the subject, I would 
refer to my lecture delivered at Leeds in 1863, 
and entitled, " The Gothic Renaissance," and to 
my book on " Domestic Architecture." 

My latest engagement of importance has been 
the Memorial to the late Prince Consort. I was 
invited to enter a competition for this, with some 
half-a-dozen other architects. I sent a single 
design for the memorial proper, and several for 
the Hall, which was proposed at the same time. 
My design for the monument was accepted. My 
idea in designing it was, to erect a kind of ciborium 
to protect a statue of the Prince ; and its special 
characteristic was that the ciborium was designed 
in some degree on the principles of the ancient 
shrines. These shrines were models of imaginary 
buildings, such as had never in reality been 
erected ; and my idea was to realize one of these 
imaginary structures with its precious materials, 
its inlaying, its enamels, etc., etc. This was an 
idea so new, as to provoke much opposition. 
Cost and all kinds of circumstances aid this oppo- 
sition, and I as yet have no idea how it may end ; 
I trust to be directed aright. [March 10, 1864.] 

April, 1865. 

I confess that few things perplex me more than the 
question of our position as the Gothic Revivalists. 


226 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

We commenced, as I have often said, without 
premeditation, acting spontaneously from mere 
love of it, without combination, without even 
comparing notes, with no thought of overthrowing 
or supplanting the vernacular classicism, but 
merely from an ardent and newly-generated affec- 
tion for our old architecture; which led, first, to the 
mere study of it, and then, as a natural con- 
sequence, to its reproduction. Reproduction gra- 
dually ripened into revival, first for ecclesiastical 
purposes, and then for general use : our zeal 
increasing as we went on, we now began to flat- 
ter ourselves that we should eventually supplant 
the classicism of the day. Our love of the Gothic 
led us to a condemnation of the Classic, of which 
at first we had never thought : till at length we 
came to entertain a sort of religious horror of all 
styles of pagan origin. The formal and specific 
character which the revival now assumed, naturally 
led to a more systematic action. At first, free 
choice was allowed in the variety of Gothic which 
each man should adopt for any of his works. 
Gradually this was seen to be inconsistent with 
an organized revival, and it became necessary to 
unite in the adoption of our one style. The 
" middle-pointed " was soon fixed upon, though 
some (including myself) held, that whatever was 
valuable in other styles should be translated into 
it, so as to make it more comprehensive of all 
which was good. Some among us hated other 
varieties as much as they did classic, or perhaps 
even more, and seemed to think the use of per- 
pendicular, or Norman, or even early pointed as 
nothing short of heresy. This absurdity was, 

CHAP, v.] Recollections. 227 

however, a mere exaggeration of consistency, for 
if the revival was to be a great reality, it must 
have a consistent nucleus ; so that it became 
necessary for a man, whose taste for the style 
was of an eclectic and general character, to put 
restraint upon himself for the sake of maintaining 
the unity and consistency of the movement. 

I must confess that I regret the rude breaking- 
up of this consistent theory. It was begun by the 
transference of the claim of sovereignty from mid- 
dle to early pointed : this was followed up by the 
attempering of the early style with foreign fea- 
tures ; and eventually by the exclusion of English 
Gothic, in favour of French with a mixture of 
Italian, and often by a violent exaggeration of 
foreign character. This, in its turn, produced a 
reaction toward our own architecture, and at the 
same time in favour of a later style. Had this 
brought us back to where we once were, with all 
the advantage of what we had gathered during our 
wanderings, it might have been advantageous ; but 
all our movements are in excess, and we seem for 
the time at least, to be at sea again, without chart 
or compass. All must now be very English and 
very late ; while by some, liberty is again pro- 
claimed, and men are left to adopt any style they 
may fancy, from the twelfth century to the 
eighteenth, while a few still adhere to the ex- 
aggerated early French or half Italian in vogue 
a few years back. 

There is one great advantage attendant upon 
these changes, in that they have produced a liberal 
spirit as to the varieties of our own architecture, 
which renders our restorations more conservative, 

Q 2 

228 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

and our knowledge more general ; while a study 
of foreign architecture cannot fail to supply us 
with much valuable matter, even though we do not 
actually adopt foreign styles. Still, however, our 
position is anomalous. I confess to thinking that 
while the foreign rage was upon us, we were gene- 
rating a secular style peculiarly suited to our own 
wants : but unhappily this was . caught up by an 
ignorant and untutored rabble, and so caricatured 
and exaggerated, that its very originators came to 
hate it, and can now hardly make use of their own 
developements without exposing themselves to 
ridicule, as adhering to exploded notions, and as 
abetting their own vulgar imitators. This reaction 
may well lead to an anglicizing of the variety thus 
developed, which would be-in itself desirable: 
though I confess to an opinion that a little touch of 
Italian character has the advantages of facilitating 
the use of brick, with the square sectional forms 
which the nature of that material suggests ; of 
severing purely secular from religious architecture 
in the minds of the public ; and of avoiding a too 
severe clashing between our gothic and our 
classic street architecture. If all this can be 
obtained without departing too far from English 
types, so much the better. A slight infusion of 
Italian feeling may also have the advantage of 
admitting the free use of round and segmental 
arches, which I feel to be essential to secular 

In our church architecture we have, as I con- 
sider, little reason to depart far from our own 
types; though I confess, even here, to a tendency to 
eclecticism of a chastened kind, and to a desire 

CHAP, v.] Recollections. 229 

for liberty to unite in some degree the merits of 
the different styles. We ought, I think, to have 
periodical conferences between the leaders of the 
revival, with a view to keeping as much as may be 
together ; though unfortunately in these days the 
publicity of these conferences is sadly against 
their efficiency. I believe that a sort of free- 
masonry is almost essential here, the differences 
of opinions among architects, and the contemp- 
tuous feelings entertained by one clique towards 
another, militating sadly against agreement. 


IN the above reminiscences since 1845, I have 
confined myself almost wholly to professional 
topics, indeed my intention has been to limit 
myself, after the first part of the work, to such 

What I have written being intended primarily 
for my children, I wished to give such family 
information as was wholly beyond their reach, but 
after that to give them an outline of my profes- 
sional career alone, almost to the exclusion of 
personal and family matters. I will however 
mention that my mother died at Wappenham in 
1854. She had for a long time been in very bad 
health, having suffered from an oppression of the 
brain (whether of an epileptic or paralytic kind 
I do not know), which had the effect of under- 
mining her memory to a very painful degree. I 
believe that it was brought about in some degree 
by the intensity of her sorrow at my father's death, 
and it was furthered by a sort of excess in her 
religious devotions. She would shut herself up 
every day for, I think, two hours (or it might not 
have been quite so much) for religious reading and 
devotion in a cold room in all seasons, and gave 
way no doubt to emotions calculated to overstrain 

CHAP, vi.] Recollections. 231 

the mental system. Her piety was of the most 
ardent kind, only equalled by her affection for her 
family. She lived, from the time of my father's 
death, in a good old house opposite the Rectory at 
Wappenham, a house which my father had occu- 
pied while the Rectory was being built, and which 
(as he really only occupied the latter for a year or 
so) I got to view as "my home." During my 
early ''workhouse" days I was always dropping 
in there on all occasions. Later on I went there, 
I fear, less and less frequently till the time of my 
poor mother's decease, though always feeling it to 
be my old home. I grieve to say that from that 
time I felt that I had lost my boyish home, and 
although my brother and his family were there, 
and though my sister Mary Jane lived in a cottage 
built for her in the village, I have never been at 
Wappenham again. This has, during the last two 
months since my dear sister's decease, caused me 
the most poignant grief. I have felt like one 
awakening from a feverish dream, and have almost 
madly wondered where I have been and what 
I have been doing. I earnestly advise young 
persons diligently to keep up communication with 
their relatives. You do not seem to need it at the 
moment, and you feel as if you could do it at any 
time, but when death makes a breach in the family 
circle, then it is that one's neglect comes back upon 
the conscience in a way which is almost over- 
whelming. It seemed at one time as if it would 
affect my reason. 

In 1848 we lost my father-in-law, Mr. Oldrid, 
under circumstances peculiarly painful and dis- 
tressing. He was an excellent man, of sterling 


Sir Gilbert Scott. 

and exemplary worth. Both he and my mother 
died, I believe, in their seventieth year. My 
mother-in-law, Mrs. Oldrid, died some years 
later, and reached, I think, her eightieth year. 
She was a person of great excellence, and of a 
very powerful mind, which retained all its vigour 
and freshness till the very last. For many 
years I saw much more of her than of my own 
mother, the one being in full vigour and energy, 
while the other was almost laid aside from the 
malady I have mentioned. She frequently came 
to stay with us in town, and we often visited her 
at Boston, which became a third home to me. 
Her conversation was always lively, amusing, and 
instructive. She was a sort of female mentor in 
our family, while at the same time she was the life 
of our party, when she was with us. She departed 
this life after a painful illness in 1857. Mr. and 
Mrs. Oldrid lie buried in the family vault in the 
church-yard at Leverton, near Boston, where Mr. 
Oldrid had a small estate. 

My uncle King died in Jersey in 1856. My 
aunt King followed him two months later, to the 
very day, and thus nearly the entire generation 
had passed away, which had been the guides and 
guardians of my youth, and here I would say, 
" Make me to be numbered with thy saints in 
glory everlasting." 

On my mother's side of the family, Mr. Na- 
thaniel Gilbert of Antigua, her first cousin, the 
head and the last of the Gilbert family 1 came 

1 Southey, in his life of Wesley, says of him, " Mr. Gilbert 
was a man of ardent piety . . . Being enthusiastic by constitu- 
tion, as well as devout by principle, he prayed and preached in 

CHAP, vi.] Recollections. 233 

over to England for some years (I suppose about 
1845), and lived here in very good style for a 
long time, occupying Stocks, near Tring, the seat 
of his cousin Mr. Gordon. When, however, the 
duties on free-grown and slave-grown sugar were 
equalized, he returned precipitately to Antigua, 
where he found his circumstances almost ruined by 
the change. He shortly afterwards died, leaving 
the estate to his widow (and cousin) with a re- 
mainder to her sister, and after her to the Bible 
Society. I daresay the reversion could be pur- 
chased of them for an old song. The estate 
has been so much reduced in value, that my 
sister Mary Jane, whose income depended on it, 
in some degree, was put to some inconvenience 'for 
several years by the failure of supplies fron the old 
family source. 

As regards my own personal history, I will 
only say that, since we ceased to reside in Spring 
Gardens, we have lived in all happiness, first at 
St. John's Wood, and then at Hampstead, watch- 
ing the growing up of our five boys, and have 
every reason to bless God for the happiness and 
prosperity He has granted us, nearly the only 
drawback to which has been my wife's delicate 

his own house to such persons as would assemble to hear him 
on Sundays, and encouraged by the facility of which he found 
himself possessed, and the success with which these beginnings 
were attended, he went forth and preached to the negroes. 
This conduct drew upon him contempt, or compassion, accord- 
ing as it was imputed to folly or to insanity. But he had his 
reward ; the poor negroes listened willingly to the consolations 
of Christianity, and he lived to form some two hundred persons 
into a Methodist Society, according to Mr. Wesley's rules." 
Ch. xxviii. p. 332. 

234 Sir Gilbert Scoff. 

In the earlier part of these remarks I have 
alluded to my sister Mary Jane's death. This 
was the first breach in our immediate family circle 
of brothers and sisters since the death of my 
brother Nathaniel in 1830, a space of nearly 
thirty-four years. How much do we owe to 
Almighty God for so long sparing us from so 
bitter a grief. Mary Jane had been for some 
time in very weak health, though I had hoped that 
she was getting over it, but this last year (1863) 
she was attacked more violently than before, and 
in the autumn it was seen that her sickness would 
be unto death. My brother Samuel and his excel- 
lent wife most kindly asked her to stay with them 
at 'Brighton, knowing well that it was to die 
there. I will not attempt to describe her cha- 
racter, nor the circumstances of her illness and 
departure. They will, I trust, be sketched by a 
more able hand, but it is delightful to think how 
cheerfullyand happilyshe passed away from this life 
to a better, knowing well that her end was coming, 
and preparing for it with all cheerfulness and 
deliberation, both in temporal and spiritual things. 
Her character was one of exquisite beauty ; I have 
never known anything to surpass it. I saw her 
several times during her illness, and no word or 
expression but of happiness passed her lips. I 
saw her within a few hours of her death, and 
when I bid her good night she said, "We shall 
meet in .heaven." Before I could get back in the 
morning her sweet soul had taken its flight. This 
was on the 22nd of January last (1864), her age 
being wit'hin a few days of forty-three years. She 
was a burning and a shining light, and had been 

CHAP, vi.] Recollections. 235 

made instrumental, as one may fairly hope, to the 
salvation of many souls. Our family, with the 
exception of my two sisters Euphemia and Eliza- 
beth, met at her funeral. She lies in the church- 
yard of Hove, near Brighton. It was a peaceful 
and pleasant family party, for, though the occasion 
was mournful, a halo of sacred cheerfulness seemed 
to hover around every memory of our departed 

I confess, however, that when alone my feelings 
were very different, and for some time I suffered 
from severe depression, which disappeared when 
I was in company. I believe I. shed more tears 
for my sweet sister than I had ever shed in an 
equal time before. I was, in fact, haunted with 
my own neglectful conduct, and was only consoled 
by the assurance of my two surviving sisters that 
she attributed it wholly to the necessities of my 
peculiar practice. I am now threatened with a 
second grief. My dear sister Euphemia is suffer- 
ing from a disease which they say must be fatal, 
and which is of a most painful nature. Nothing 
could be more touchingly beautiful than the corre- 
spondence between her and our sister Mary Jane 
during the last few months ; each being conscious 
of the seeds of dissolution working within them, 
and each more anxious, and grieving more, for the 
other than for herself. How earnestly do I wish 
that I could experience the sentiments which have 
so wonderfully supported them in these .grievous 

March 2 yd, 1865. 
I re-open my book after closing it for twelve 

236 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

months, and I must recommence on subjects 
similar to those with which I closed it. Two most 
heavy afflictions have come upon me during the 
interval ; the one expected, the other absolutely 
unlocked for. My dear sister Euphemia departed 
this life in perfect peace on February 8th last 
(1865). I will return to this subject by-and-by, 
but during our long anticipation of this sad event 
who would have thought that one of the strongest 
of our dear boys would be snatched away from us 
before her ? My son Albert Henry was born in 
August, 1844, a few days after our removal from 
Spring Gardens to St. John's Wood. During his 
infancy and early childhood he showed some ten- 
dency to water on the brain, accompanied by a 
very early intellectual developement. Happily his 
health, in the course of a few years, was re-estab- 
lished ; though we did not for a long time venture 
to send him to school, but committed his education 
to private tutors, all of whom in succession gave 
us the most flattering accounts of his promise and 
talents. We had, indeed, abundant evidence of 
the high order of his mind, both as to power and 
tone, especially evinced by his facility of compo- 
sition, which from a very early age was remarkable. 
He went for a short time to St. Andrew's College, 
Bradfield, where his progress was very satisfactory, 
but he was obliged to leave, owing to a slight 
indisposition, which led us to think that he needed 
home care, and he accordingly completed his 
preparation for the University under private 

He went to Exeter College, Oxford, at the 
beginning of 1864, and we are told by the rector 

CHAP, vi.] Recollections. 237 

and the tutor that his progress during the one year 
of his continuance there was really remarkable, - 
and his conduct in every way exemplary; indeed, 
he won the respect and affection of all who knew 
him there. 

During his long vacation we were in search of a 
new place of abode, Hampstead being too cold for 
our younger boys, and, after many disappoint- 
ments and difficulties, we found a suitable residence 
at Ham, in choosing which, and in moving into it, 
our son Albert was of great assistance, though he 
was obliged to return to Oxford before we were 
quite settled. Who would have imagined that, while 
removing for the health of our younger children, 
we were so soon to lose their elder and far stronger 
brother. He had been exceedingly charmed with 
the place when he first visited it with me in 
September, and when he returned in the winter 
he at once availed himself of its facilities for 
boating, and nearly every day went with his 
brother Alwyne on the river for a row in a 
boat, which he had hired for the vacation. How 
little did we think that this harmless recreation 
would be the cause of so much grief! Often 
did I feel exultation at the thought that Alwyne, 
who could not stand even the commencement of 
our Hampstead winters, should be able now to 
row every winter day on the Thames without any 
inconvenience ; little thinking that, though the 
frail boy stood against it unhurt, the strong man 
was destined to quail under its effects. 

Albert felt no evil from this exposure till within 
a week of the end of the vacation. On" Saturday, 
January 2ist, he rowed as usual in the morning, 

238 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

and, after an early dinner, went with Alwyne to 
town. The day was sharp and frosty, but with 
us at Ham pretty bright, though in London there 
was a most dense fog. They were late in return- 
ing, having found no little difficulty in groping 
their way about town. The next day (Sunday) 
Albert complained (as I have since heard) of a 
little stiffness in the limbs, but nevertheless went 
twice to church. On Monday I still knew nothing 
of his being unwell, but I afterwards heard that he 
complained of stiffness, and said that he would try 
to row it off. After rowing he had a long run 
after a dog. The next day he was very stiff, and 
we afterwards heard that, while reading logic with 
Alwyne, which he usually (and very kindly) did 
in the afternoon, he lay down on the floor of his 
room, and said he felt as if he was going to have 
rheumatic fever. We heard nothing of this ; but a 
medical man, Dr. Julius, who was attending my 
son Gilbert, saw him and gave him some trifling 
medicine, saying that it was only stiffnes.s from 
rowing. I was out all that day. The next morn- 
ing (Wednesday) he was still very stiff, with pains 
in all his joints, even to the fingers and toes ; but 
the medical attendant, when I told him that I 
feared it was rheumatism, said he thought it was 
not. In the evening I found him much worse, 
and hardly able to walk, and the doctor at once 
said that it was rheumatism. We put him into a 
hot bath and got him to bed, but in the night he 
suffered acutely, and the next day was utterly 
helpless, unable to move hand or foot. I had to 
be away that day at Salisbury, to attend the first 
meeting of the restoration committee. On my 

CHAP, vi.] Recollections. 239 

return at night I found him very ill, and the next 
day he continued the same. We then, with great 
difficulty, carried him down into a larger room. 
On Saturday he seemed better, the rheumatism 
having left his limbs to a considerable degree, but 
the doctor announced that his heart was (as he said, 
slightly) affected. He had been somewhat de- 
lirious at times, but during Sunday night became 
more so, and on Monday, January 3Oth, 1865, 
he departed without pain, and apparently with- 
out consciousness, at about half-past three in 
the afternoon. He was interred in Petersham 
Churchyard on the following Saturday. I ear- 
nestly pray God never to let his image be 
dimmed in my memory, but to keep it ever fresh 
in my thoughts. I doubt not that our Gracious 
God will make his dear soul an object precious 
in His sight, and will train it to ever higher and 
more exalted happiness. 

April 2ist, 1865. 

I will mention that among a very large number 
of letters of condolence of the kindest character, 
addressed to us on this sad event, I received one 
written by the direction of the Queen, expressing 
her warm sympathy with me in my loss. 

My sister Euphemia, whose illness and death I 
have already alluded to, departed this life in per- 
fect peace. Her last days were happily much 
more free from suffering than had been feared, 
and her mind was in a state of the most heavenly 
and childlike quiescence, happiness and love. 
Her life had been one of constant labour for the 
good of others, and of constant, unremitting, and 

240 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

untiring work. Her great characteristic was ener- 
- getic, strong-willed devotion to doing good. While 
in health, she was a person of almost herculean 
power of work, and was always at it ; and she 
continued this far into her illness, and, in lessen- 
ing degrees, even towards the close of it. The 
love and veneration felt for her in the three places 
where she had thus ministered (Gawcott, Boston, 
and Alford), were unbounded. 

She added to this robust side of her mental 
constitution, a great tenderness of spirit, and an 
earnestness of affection, such as one would hardly 
have expected from one of so strenuous a turn of 
mind. Her letters breathe a strong, yet tender 
love, which is quite beautiful ; and when her illness 
came upon her, this became yet more marked. 
She was a very beautiful letter-writer, and I very 
much wish a collection of her letters could be 
made. My still heavier loss, which preceded her 
death by but eight or nine days, has, in some 
degree preoccupied my mind against the sorrow 
which her loss would otherwise have caused me ; 
but I feel that one of the very dearest companions 
of my early life has been taken from me, and 
one of the most loving of relatives and best of 
religious counsellors, though, alas, too little con- 

June \*]th, 1865. 

I open this book again to record bereavements. 
At the beginning of May, 1865, I lost my 
cousin John Scott of Hull, 2 the eldest male cousin 

2 Vicar of St. Mary's. He preached his last sermon on 
Easter-day. ED. 

CHAP, vi.] Recollections. 241 

on my father's side, and one of the loved com- 
panions of my youth. 

I cannot now stop to commemorate him, as 
death has since come far nearer to me, and has 
removed one of the dearest of my circle of 
brothers, and perhaps the very one who seemed 
the least likely to be cut off. 

My brother Samuel King Scott was seven 01 
eight years younger than I, having been born in 
November, 1818. He was consequently but a 
child of eight or nine years old when I left my 
early home : I well remember him, at that time, 
as the blithest, most lively and humorous of our 
family, and every one's favourite. " Sammy King 
is just the thing," was a favourite rhyme in our 
nursery, and expressed rudely the general feeling 
towards him. His little strokes of wit, even in 
those days, were vernacular amongst us, and I 
have often told them to my own children. Years 
afterwards (I do not recollect whether before or 
after my father's death) he was articled to Mr. 
Stowe, a surgeon at Buckingham, a little before 
my brother John went into partnership with him. 

These were my early days of workhouse building, 
and as Buckingham was the centre of my first 
batch of unions, I was often there ; and I have a 
lively recollection of the delight I then felt in my 
young brother's company. I used to arrive by 
mail-cart at seven in the morning, just as he was 
getting up, and sometimes on a cold morning I 
turned into his bed to supplement my night's rest ; 
which had been divided between the top of the 
mail to Aylesbury, a short bout of bed at a public- 
house there, and what one could get balanced on 


242 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

the mail-cart between there and Buckingham. 
These little visits were peculiarly delightful to me, 
Sam was so jolly and cheery, and his master, Mr. 
Stowe, was so kind, and took such an interest in 
my special pursuits, as well as in my favourite 
study at the time, geology. Later on, my brother 
John and his wife added to the pleasure of these 
little flying visits, so that they are among quite 
the bright spots in my memory. Sam was treated 
in Mr. Stowe' s house not as an apprentice, but 
rather as an adopted son. 

Years rolled on again, and we had him in Lon- 
don " walking the hospitals." I was then married, 
and we lived in Spring Gardens, where he used to 
come whenever his work allowed ; and very happy 
we were when he came, though he was working so 
hard, and I was so busy, and travelling so much 
about the country, that our communications were 
after all but scanty, though very, very pleasant. 
One of his hospital friends, now an eminent phy- 
sician, told me the other day that he was the 
general favourite amongst them. " They all had 
their quarrels," he says, " among themselves, but 
none of them ever quarrelled with him, though all 
went and told him of their quarrels." I ought to 
say, that at this time, and I think a good deal 
earlier, he had become a sincerely religious cha- 
racter, and I never heard of a single act or word 
of his inconsistent with a strictly conscientious 
Christian life, though this did not for a moment 
clash with the natural cheeriness of his lively and 
humorous disposition. 

As soon as ever he had passed his examinations, 
he became a candidate for the office of house- 

CHAP, vi.] Recollections. 243 

surgeon to the Sussex County Hospital at Brighton, 
but seeing that another candidate had a better 
chance than he, he desisted, and accepted the 
post, which chanced to be also vacant, of surgeon 
to the public dispensary there. The duties of this 
office seem to have been that of doctor-general 
to the poor of Brighton, and he worked at this 
for more than a year desperately hard, so much 
so, as to injure his health ; but by doing so he won 
golden opinions among the most estimable inhabi- 
tants of the town, as also among the medical 
practitioners. This led to his being selected by 
one of the first surgeons there, Mr. Philpot, 
brother to the present bishop of Worcester, as his 
partner, and subsequently his successor. 

About 1846 he married a daughter of Dr. 
Bodley, a highly respected physician, who had 
formerly practised at Hull, where he had been 
an intimate and valued friend of my uncle and his 
family ; but who had retired, and then was living 
at Brighton. 

He was peculiarly happy in his marriage, its only 
drawback being that his family increased at an 
unusually rapid rate : so that before he had freed 
himself from the burdens incident to commencing 
practice, he found himself surrounded by a large 
party of children. No man, however, has led a 
happier life in every possible way, nor was any one 
in his position more loved, valued, and respected. 
He was the kindest and most hospitable of men ; 
always ready to do good, devoted to his work, 
and withal a strict, consistent, and unswerving 
Christian man. I hear of him wherever I go, and 
always in the same strain, and the feelings enter- 

R 2 

244 Si y Gilbert Scott. 

tained towards him at Brighton were warm beyond 

He was of a wonderfully hearty constitution, 
and of intense powers of enjoyment ; and for many 
years he relieved the monotony of active practice 
by a month of pedestrianism in the summer. He 
had " done " every part of Switzerland, while the 
Highlands, North Wales, and the Lake district 
had their turns, and sometimes the less romantic 
parts of the country : for such was his zest for 
nature and scenery that no one beauty suffered 
with him by contrast with another, so that the 
South Downs or the Surrey hills were as charming 
to him as if he had never visited Snowdon, Ben 
Nevis, or Mont Blanc ; and he enjoyed a little 
country residence he was in the habit of taking 
for his family on the borders of Ashdown forest, 
with as great a zest as the valleys of Switzerland, 
or the borders of the Westmoreland lakes ; with 
which latter district he was as familiar as a moun- 
tain guide. His knowledge of geology, botany, 
and other branches of natural science, rendered 
these trips the more delightful. 

Last summer, 1864, he went again to the Lakes 
with his two eldest boys, my nephew the Rev. T. 
Scott, my son Albert, and another friend, and a 
most delightful tour they made, thoroughly ex- 
ploring all the western half of the district ; and, 
stout as he was, they say that he was the most 
indefatigable of the party, often continuing his 
mountain walks after some of the younger ones 
had been obliged to desist. 

This proved to be his last expedition. It is 
now seen that his mountaineering was a mistake. 

CHAP, vi.] Recollections. 245 

A stout man of forty-five, working hard, early and 
late, day and night, for eleven months in the year, 
is unfit, however strong and vigorous he may feel, 
for exercises belonging either to youth or to the 
trained pedestrian. He was conscious of no 
effects but what were good, but something was 
going on within, of which he felt nothing. The 
strong man was failing at the heart, but the 
danger was unknown and unfelt. So exuberant 
were his sensations of health, that he delighted in 
playing with his constitution. He habitually rose 
at six, exercised himself for half an hour with 
heavy dumb-bells, and then plunged into a cold 
bath. The powerful machine was overstrained at 
its one weak point. 

Early last April he went with one of his sons, 
and my own son Alwyne, to a place on the South 
Downs, and there for the first time felt an oppres- 
sion in going up hill. The next week he felt it 
again, and more sharply, in walking over the 
downs to see the review of the Volunteers. It 
came on yet more heavily when he was called out 
soon afterwards to see a patient in the night, and 
shortly after this it came upon him with such 
overwhelming violence as to prostrate his strength 
and compel him to retire from work. 

I ran down to see him at his little retiring place 
near Ashdown forest, and found him changed, 
from vigour to feebleness, a broken, prostrated 
man ; still in his languor rejoicing in the beauties 
of nature, and supported by the consolation of 
religion, cheerful and happy, though evidently 
conscious of his position. 

He was delighted to see me, but I left him with 

246 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

a strong feeling on my mind that I had looked 
upon him for the last time, and I wept bitter tears 
after straining myself to get the last peep of him 
standing at the farmhouse door to see me off. 
For a few days we had better accounts, but ten 
days after I had left him, he was suddenly called 
to a better world, June 9th, 1865. 

Last Tuesday we committed his body to the 
tomb, to rest not far from that of our dearly 
loved sister, Mary Jane, in Hove churchyard. 
Nineteen years before I had been present at his 
wedding in the same church. 

Thus within less than a year and a half I had 
followed to the grave, from the same door and to 
the same churchyard, a dear sister and brother, 
next to each other in age, and nearer yet in good- 
ness and love, both far younger than myself, and 
one far stronger : both far better. They were 
both pleasant and lovely in their lives, and in 
death were not far divided. 

My dear brother's heart was found to have lost 
a large portion of its muscular fibre, which his 
physician attributed to a slow chronic inflammation 
brought on by too violent exercise ; a practical 
warning to the strong man not to glory in his 

He was followed to the grave by, I believe, all 
the medical men in Brighton. His friend and 
pastor, Mr. Smith, declared, after the funeral, that 
he had never met with a more thorough-going, 
consistent Christian, or a man more estimable in 
every relation of life, and that he never expected 
to find his equal. " The memory of the just is 

CHAP, vi.] Recollections. 247 

All his brothers were present at the funeral, and 
many others, both friends and relations. 

March loth, 1872. 

I have neglected this little chronicle now for 
nearly seven years years of mercy and prosperity 
in most respects. 

In 1870 I was threatened with a fatal disease, 
being suddenly attacked, while at Chester, in the 
heart and lungs. 

I was detained at the deanery for five weeks 
before I could return home : 3 my dear wife went 
down there to be with me, and she brought me 
home, and by God's mercy, I was, in the course 
of the following spring, sufficiently restored to 
resume my usual engagements. 

Now after yet another year, a terrible blow has 
fallen upon me. My wife had repeatedly been 
threatened with heart disease, but had been hither- 
to mercifully relieved. Last spring she had a very 
alarming attack, but again recovered. In Decem- 
ber last, while staying in London, she was attacked 
by very acute rheumatism in the right shoulder, 
which was followed by a return of the symptoms 
of disease of the heart. Again, however, this gave 
way to remedies, but again returned. She suffered 
from frequent faintness, drowsiness, and swimming 
in the head, with pain and stiffness about the 
region of the heart. Dr. Bence Jones, who was 
consulted, made rather light of it, though his 
remedies did not much relieve her. She seemed 

3 Nothing could have exceeded the kindness of the Dean 
and Mrs. Howson under circumstances which cannot but have 
occasioned to them great inconvenience. 

248 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

to get weaker, and sometimes kept her room. At 
length some other trouble complicated the attack. 
She kept her bed, and although I usually went 
three times in the night to see her, while a servant 
constantly sat up with her, I was blind, or nearly 
so, to the danger ; though I confess to suffering 
from an indescribable internal alarm. Oh ! what 
dismay and grief came at length upon me, when, 
on February the 24th, she was snatched away 
from us during sleep ! 

Her loss is to me that of one of the wisest and 
best of earthly companions, helpers, and advisers. 
She was a person of very strong and clear intellect ; 
of quiet and decided perception of the right thing 
to do, under any emergency ; and she was gifted 
with that decision and courage in which I was 
myself naturally deficient. 

She has, over and over again, given me advice 
of the greatest importance in my profession ; she 
was the means of terminating (a quarter of a 
century back) my partnership with Mr. Moffatt, 
for while I hesitated and delayed, she took the 
matter into her own hands, drove to town while I 
was away, called on my partner, and unflinchingly 
communicated to him my decision. 

In training up her children, and managing her 
household, she was exemplary, and her intercourse 
with her friends and neighbours were such as to 
secure a lasting friendship and a sincere regard, 
which did not cease when we removed from the 
neighbourhood in which we had been living. One 
of her most striking characteristics was her wide- 
spread and- open-handed charity. None came to 
her and went away empty. 

CHAP, vi.] Recollections. 249 

My wife was my second cousin, her mother 
being the daughter of Mr. William Scott of Grim- 
blethorpe Hall in Lincolnshire, the eldest brother 
of my grandfather, the commentator. My mother- 
in-law had known my father in their youth, but they 
had been for many years separated, until, in 1821, 
she brought her only son to Gawcott as a pupil. 
From that time, the families became intimate, and 
on one occasion Mrs. Oldrid brought her eldest 
daughter Fanny to Gawcott, when the foundation 
was laid of the regard felt for her by my eldest 
brother, which subsequently culminated in their 

I did not form the acquaintance of my cousin 
Caroline Oldrid till the winter of 1828, when she, 
and her sister Helen, being then at school at 
Chesham, came over to spend their Christmas 
vacation with us. I have often heard my wife tell 
with great zest of this. They were to have stopped 
through the holidays at Chesham, but getting 
thoroughly sick of it, they asked leave to go to 
Gawcott, nearly thirty miles off. They walked 
over to Amersham to meet the Buckingham coach, 
sending on their luggage, and arrived just too late, 
or els^ the coach was full, I forget which. They 
were not, however, to be stopped, and at once 
ordered out a chaise and posted through the snow 
to Gawcott. I arrived from London for my Christ- 
mas holiday a few days later, and there I met for 
the first time my future wife. 

She was then a most merry girl of seventeen, 
and a most happy Christmas we spent together. 
Nothing could exceed our merriment, and our 
constant fun and jokes. My sister Euphemia and 

250 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

my brother Nathaniel were there, and we were all 
in joyous happiness together. 

I well remember when our happy meeting came 
to an end, what a vacancy and a sort of pang I 
felt, which whispered to me that some feeling 
hitherto unknown was stealing into my heart. 

Not long after this, my eldest brother followed 
up his early love, and was married in the be- 
ginning of 1830 to Fanny Oldrid. I saw her 
sister again for a short time, on her way from 
Boston to Goring, where my brother was then 
living. My next meeting with her was at Latimers 
in April 1831, when we were thrown much to- 
gether, and my early feelings were greatly fostered. 
I saw her again, for a day or two, that year 
at Boston on my return from Hull. I well 
remember drinking wine with her at a picnic at 
Tattershall Castle out of the same silver cup with 
an indescribable feeling of pleasure. Again I saw 
her in London about 1833, and two years later, in 
the course of the summer of 1835, we were engaged. 
She was now a matured woman of twenty-four, 
merry and full of life and fun as before, but she 
had seen much in the interval to subdue and 
chasten her spirits, and had become deeply re- 

I was not even now in any fit position for 
marriage, and our engagement extended over 
nearly three years, during which I regularly visited 
Boston. In this I was facilitated by my employ- 
ment in the erection of several Union houses in 
the county. We were married on June 5th, 1838, 
being each a little under twenty-seven years of age. 
Our wedding tour was by Southwell and Matlock 

CHAP, vi.] Recollections. 251 

to Malvern, thence to Bristol, and home by way 
of Oxford. 

At first, we had no house of our own, and lived 
in lodgings, my office continuing to be at Carlton 
Chambers, but soon we found a house to our mind, 
in which we could unite the two No. 2O, 4 Spring 
Gardens, where my practice has ever since been 
conducted, during a period of thirty-three years. 

As our family, however, and my practice both 
began to increase we removed (1844) to St. John's 
Wood, where we lived for many years. 

My wife was ever an admirable helper to me in 
my business, always ready with wise advice and 
encouragement. At one time, after my separation 
from Mr. Moffatt, we were for some years in 
straitened circumstances, but she always en- 
couraged me to face them out boldly, and by 
God's blessing they gradually mended till at 
length we became very prosperous. 

My practice took me much from home, and she 
led a comparatively solitary life. Her great re- 
laxation was when we went to the sea-side, which 
we did every year, unless some other tour to 
Wales or to the Lakes engaged us. She oc- 
casionally went with me on my professional 
journeys, but after the birth of our second son, 
her health was much undermined, and she became 
an indifferent traveller. Once, I remember, we 
took a little voyage in an open sailing boat, round 
the Isle of Wight, with much enjoyment. Later 
on, we took to driving excursions in an open one- 
horse chaise, which we repeated very often for 
many years, going down in this manner to the 
4 Now Number 31. ED. 

252 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

sea-side, usually to the Isle of Wight. This de- 
lightful custom we kept up to the very last year of 
her life. On one occasion we went from London, 
in our own carriage, to the further side of Devon- 

One of our earliest excursions (not made in this 
way, though) was to Skegness in Lincolnshire, the 
retreat of her youthful days. I shall never forget 
our enjoyment of this plain, unfrequented coast. I 
used to take my work with me, and often, there 
and elsewhere, have I marked out my designs on 
the sand in a large scale, repeating them, perhaps, 
on paper in the evenings. 

Our favourite watering-place, however, was 
Shanklin, where we very often went, occupying 
usually the residence of the absentee squire, a 
rather large though cottage-like house, with 
charming gardens and thick plantations. My 
wife delighted in the seclusion of this quiet spot. 

On one occasion we took another house there, 
the grounds of which extended to the very edge 
of the " Chine," and which proved to be haunted. 5 

5 I well remember the circumstances. Every evening after 
dark, footsteps, as of a man pacing slowly up and down the 
verandah, upon the garden front of the house, were distinctly 
to be heard. We at first took it to be the gardener. Finding 
that this was not the case, we boys used to lie in wait, and 
when the footsteps were heard, leap out into the verandah. 
I can well recollect doing thus upon a bright moonlight night, 
and our amazement at finding no one. This failing, we 
stretched strings across the track, so as to render it impossible 
for any one to walk there in the dark without stumbling, but 
these interfered in no way with the even regularity of the strange 
footfalls. Another time we strewed the flagging with sand, 
and when the footsteps were again heard, we went out with 
a lantern and carefully examined the sanded pavement : not 

CHAP, vi.] Recollections. 253 

Our last visit to the Isle of Wight was some 
twelve or thirteen years back. After staying a 
time at Shanklin, but not in our favourite home, 
we took a house at Niton, called La Rosiere, which 
we greatly liked. We found, however, by repeated 
experience, that, much as we loved this charming 
island, it did not really suit my dear wife's health, 
being too relaxing. We, one year, tried Sea View, 
near Ryde, but at last we gave it up, and in future 

a trace of any kind was to be found. I do not remember 
that we ever thought of there being anything supernatural in 
the matter, only the noises were unaccountable, and so, strongly 
piqued our curiosity. Our groom, who slept in the house, 
came one morning about this time to my mother, and asked 
for leave to go to his home. When pressed for his reason for 
this sudden wish, he stated that he had in the early dawn seen 
by his bedside a ghostly female figure, from which he inferred 
that his mother, his only female relative, was in danger. He 
was with some difficulty persuaded to wait the result of a letter 
to his mother, who of course was found to be well enough. We 
thought no more of this, judging it, in spite of the extraordinary 
impression which it had evidently made upon him, to be nothing 
but a dream of indigestion. More than a year after this, we 
happened to meet some friends of ours, who, as we then found, 
had occupied the same house during part of the following 
season. They asked us whether we had not been disturbed 
by ghostly noises and so forth, and told us that they had 
themselves been so annoyed, that they had had to leave the 
house, and that after giving it up, they had ascertained that 
every one in the village knew the house to be " haunted," but 
that the fact was carefully kept secret lest the letting value of 
the villa should surfer. The village story goes, I know nothing 
of the truth of this, that in that house in about 1820, a wicked 
uncle murdered his niece and ward in a cellar, which is 
accessible only by a trap-door in the floor of the room in which 
our groom slept. The old gentleman is said to have been 
accustomed to pace up and down that verandah after dark, for 
many years, during which the crime remained undetected. I 
attach no particular value to these facts myself, but as my 
father has referred to them, and the evidence is first-hand, it 

254 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

went to St. Leonards, where we had bitter ex- 
perience of fevers during two succeeding winters, 
due not to the place itself, but to the bad con- 
struction of the houses we happened to take. We 
persevered, and in subsequent visits found it 
perfectly healthy. We at that time were living at 
Hampstead, which we found too cold for some of 
our boys in the winter ; which led to the painful 
break-up of our party every year, my wife and the 
younger ones spending the winter at St. Leonards. 
She thus became almost an inhabitant of that 
place, and formed many friendships, becoming 
known there, as was the case wherever she re- 
sided, as a ready helper of the poor. 

The causes above referred to led us, in the 
autumn of 1864 to leave Hampstead, after a long 
search and many projects, for Ham, near Rich- 
mond. I have already related the most heavy 
trial which overtook us very shortly after making 
this change. It was a life-long sorrow to my dear 

On one occasion only my dear wife went with 
me abroad. Her health had rendered her so poor 
a traveller that she always shrank from it ; but at 
length, in 1863, she made up her mind to venture, 
and was in the highest degree delighted. Our 
tour was not long as to distance, though it spread 

it may be worth while to give it. The footfalls, the attempts 
made to discover their cause, the fact that the groom made 
that statement to my mother, and that he was beyond a doubt 
sincerely alarmed, I can vouch for. I also heard myself the 
statement of the lady who rented the house the next season. 
Of the rest I can only say 

" I know not how the truth may be, 
I tell the tale as t'was told to me." ED. 

CHAP. vi. J Recollections. 255 

over some time. We went by Boulogne and 
Amiens to Paris, where we stopped a fortnight in 
a pleasant private hotel overlooking the gardens of 
the Tuilleries. We then went on to Rheims, and 
thence, by the exquisite valley of the Meuse, to 
Namur and Brussels, where she stayed, with our 
second son and a friend, while I made a rush to 
attend the consecration of my church at Hamburg. 
We returned by steamer from Antwerp to London. 
Curiously enough, I have never myself been abroad 
since then, 6 not liking to leave her for so long a 
time as it would have required. 

One of our subsequent trips was into Devon- 
shire. We went in our own carriage, with post- 
horses hired at Petersham, travelling by stages of 
twenty or thirty miles, by Reading, Marlborough, 
Chippenham, Clifton, Bridgewater, and Minehead 
to Lynton, where we stayed a fortnight. We had 
great fun in going from Minehead to Lynton. 
Our Petersham post-horses not being trustworthy, 
we drove four-in-hand from Minehead over the 
noble piece of table-land, iioo feet high, which 
intervenes. At Lynton we were lodged in the 
best situated house in the place, belonging to Sir 
Smith. The situation was simply enchant- 
ing, but to my wife it was like an exquisite prison, 
as she could never get down to the sea nor visit 
the finest scenery. We accordingly transferred 
ourselves, again with four horses, to Westward- 
ho, and subsequently drove straight across the 
country to Sidmouth. Finally we drove back 
through Dorset and Wilts, along the old, but 
now unfrequented roads a beautiful mode of 

6 This was written in 1872. ED. 

256 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

seeing the country, though subject to the incon- 
venience arising from the deterioration of the inns. 

After 1869, we never returned to Ham, but, 
after a visit to Worthing and Brighton, we took 
for three years a charming residence Rook's-nest, 
near Godstone. 

This place was an elysium to my dear wife, 
though trouble followed us up. On the day of our 
arrival there her eldest sister 7 died. The next 
summer she had to go into Lincolnshire to nurse her 
second sister, whose life she was the means of saving. 

Towards the end of 1870 my own health failed, 
and she had then to go to Chester to nurse me. 
Shortly afterwards she was herself attacked in the 
heart. Our eldest son, and subsequently our 
second son John, were also taken ill, and then 
came my greatest trouble her own illness and 
departure, brought about mainly, as I think, by 
her solicitude for others. 8 

My dearest wife, as I have said before, was a 
deeply religious person. Although she read ex- 
tensively on all subjects, those bearing upon 
religion were her favourite topics. Her early 
training, like my own, had been strictly " evangeli- 
cal." Her parents had at one time, owing to the 
wretched state of the church at Boston, become 
Baptists, and she was not baptized until she was 
adult. This took place at Latimers church in 

T Wife of the Rev. Thomas Scott, Rector of Wappenham, 
Northants, my father's eldest brother. ED. 

8 My father, after her death, made it a practice, so often as 
the thought of her recurred to his mind to pray silently for her, 
and whenever, being out of doors he had occasion to mention 
her name, he was accustomed to raise his hat while he offered 
this tribute of natural piety. ED. 

CHAP, vi.] Recollections. 257 

1831. I was there at the time, but did not witness 
the service. Old Mr. King, my uncle's father, 
was one of the witnesses, and we have a Bible 
which he gave her on the occasion. 

She was ever after, and had been in heart 
before, a devoted member of the Church of 
England ; though broad and liberal in her views, 
and delighting in piety wherever met with. 

When we first married, and for many years 
afterwards, we attended St. Martin's Church, 
where Sir Henry Dukinfield was vicar. She 
greatly delighted in his ministrations, and even 
when we moved to St. John's Wood, we continued 
to drive twice on the Sunday to St. Martin's, till 
he resigned the incumbency. He was godfather 
to our youngest son, Dukinfield Henry ; his 
other sponsors being Mr. and Mrs. Austen, who 
chanced to be connexions of Sir Henry, though 
my dear wife's acquaintance with them was inde- 
pendent of this, having been formed much earlier, 
during her visits to my brother at Goring, where 
the Tilsons, of whom Mrs. Austen was one, 
resided ; my wife and Mrs. Austen were devoted 

Her most intimate friend when at Ham was a 
Roman Catholic, an excellent and deeply-injured 
lady, who used on one day in every week to spend 
an afternoon with her, confiding to her in private 
her deep sorrows. 

The following letters were written to me by this 
lady, on hearing of my dear wife's decease: 

" My dear Mr. Scott, I cannot indeed find 
words adequate to express my sorrow and sym- 


258 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

pathy at the sad intelligence contained in your 
most kind letter just received. I heard the report 
on Sunday evening, but would not believe it, until 
I went on Monday morning to see Mrs. Ham- 
mond, from whom I found, alas, that it was but 
too true. If I feel overcome with sorrow at the 
loss of so dear a friend, what must be the grief 
of her bereaved husband and children ! and truly 
does my heart bleed for you. Under so severe a 
blow nature must have its vent ; but I know that 
you will not grieve as those without hope, for your 
dear wife has literally ' gone to sleep in the Lord,' 
and she whom you so deeply mourn is only gone 
before, to await that happy day when you will 
both meet again in the bosom of your God. I feel 
that I cannot thank you sufficiently for having, in 
the midst of your own heartrending sorrow, so 
thoroughly appreciated my friendship towards our 
dear departed one. That our good God may be 
with you all in your trouble, is the sincere prayer, 
my dear Mr. Scott, of yours most sincerely, and 
with the deepest sympathy, 

"K. H." 

In a postscript, she speaks of her as one of 
the most Christian women she has known. Again 
she writes : "If the prayers of an habitually 
sorrowful heart can avail aught, rest assured that 
in my communion to-morrow I will pray for you 
and yours with all the fervour of my soul, that our 
good God in His own good time may heal the wound 
He has Himself inflicted, by taking from you the 
best of wives, and from your sons the tenderest of 
mothers. In this neighbourhood there is but one 

CHAP, vi.] Recollections. 259 

wail of woe from all, both gentle and simple, who 
have had the privilege of her acquaintance." 

From the Rev. G. W. Weldon, 9 a man of great 
piety and talent, with whom she was on very 
friendly terms when living at St. John's Wood, I 
received the following : " I have just read with 
sorrow the tidings of your recent sad bereavement. 
Though years have passed since we met, the deep 
feeling of personal attachment for her who is 
gone has never changed. Allow me to add my 
sympathy to that of your other friends. By bitter 
very bitter experience I know what the heart 
feels at such a crisis, and how little even the 
kindest words avail, to touch the sore spot. I 
shall only add one word, and that shall be in 
the form of a prayer. May the Lord soon ac- 
complish the number of His elect, and hasten 
His kingdom." 

I ought to have mentioned, among our summer 
outings, that of 1868, when, instead of going to 
the seaside, we took a furnished house for a 
couple of months at Wrotham, in Kent. 

Wrotham Place is a pleasant old Elizabethan 
house, in part perhaps earlier, of red brick and 
stone, very picturesque, and with a fine old hall, 
now used as a sitting-room ; my wife loved it much, 
and greatly enjoyed her stay there, and the more 
so, as the country around is very beautiful, and 
as she there made several very agreeable friend- 

She possessed a noble mind, and was devoted 

to reading and deep thought, sometimes indulging 

in speculative views especially as to the unseen 

8 Now of St. Saviour's, Chelsea. ED. 

S 2 

260 Sir Gilbert Scot I. 

world. Every book which she could get on such 
subjects she read with avidity. She was also 
much addicted to mental study. 

She took much interest in my profession, and 
often aided, encouraged, and corrected me in its 
pursuit. Her criticisms on my designs were always 
true, and, as I usually followed them, were very 

My profession, and its overbearing and per- 
plexing demands on my time and on my thoughts, 
although it provided her with the means of living 
in great comfort, was also a cause of much loss 
of happiness. I was always working under high 
pressure, ever in a hurry, too often therefore out 
of humour, and in the evenings jaded, tired and 
oppressed. My days were usually spent away 
from her, and my time was greatly taken up by 
long journeys, so that her life was on the whole a 
very solitary one. Our having no daughters 
greatly added to this disadvantage. I wish I 
could look back upon having done my utmost to 
introduce amusements and recreations to compen- 
sate for this, but alas ! I did not. My life past is 
made up of subjects for regret. All I can say is, 
that I worked hard, and endeavoured to provide 
for her and for my children what they needed for 
their material well-being. 

In appearance, my wife was, in her latter years, 
very remarkable, for though she lived to be sixty 
years of age, she had scarcely any appearance of 
the effects of age upon her, and few supposed her 
to be even fifty. There was not a wrinkle on her 
face, and her hair was very little touched with 
grey. She was peculiarly dignified and stately in 

CHAP, vi.] Recollections. 261 

her deportment. She only once ventured in any 
formal way into print. I wish I had encouraged 
her to do so more. This was a little pamphlet on 
the state of the lower orders, in London more 
especially, and is, in many respects exceedingly 


July 1 ith, 1872. 

I RESUME, after an interval of some seven years, 
the statement of my personal and professional 

I think I had stated before this interval the 
preliminary circumstances of the Memorial to the 
Prince Consort. As, for example, that I had, for 
my own personal satisfaction and pleasure, at the 
time when a monolithic obelisk, 150 feet high, was 
thought of, endeavoured to render that idea con- 
sistent with that of a Christian monument. This 
I effected by adding to its apex, as is believed to 
have been done by the Egyptians, a capping of 
metal, that capping assuming the form of a large 
and magnificent cross. The (so-called) "lona" 
cross is, in fact, the Christian version of the obelisk, 
and though the idea of a cross of metal on a 
colossal obelisk is different from this in type, it is 
not so in idea. The faces of the obelisk I pro- 
posed to cover with incised subjects illustrative 
df the life, pursuits, &c., of the Prince Consort. 
The obelisk was to have had a bold and massive 
base, at the angles of which were to be placed 
four granite lions, couchant, after the noble Egyp- 
tian model. The whole was to be raised on an 

CHAP. VIL] Recollections. 263 

elevated platform, approached by steps from all 
sides. I showed the drawing to the Queen, though 
not till after the idea of the obelisk had been finally 

I made my design for the actual memorial also 
con amore^ and before I was invited to compete 
for it. Though I say con amore, in one sense it 
was the reverse, for I well remember how long 
and painful was the effort before I struck out an 
idea which satisfied my mind. Why this was so 
I know not, but such was the effort that it 
made me positively ill. My revilers will say that 
this ought to have been the result of my success, 
rather than of my previous failures ; be this as it 
may, I remember vividly the contrary fact, and 
the sudden relief when, after a long series of 
failures, I hit upon what I thought the right idea. 

I do not recollect that this was derived con- 
sciously from the ciboria which canopy the altars 
of the Roman Basilicas, although the form is the 
same, but it came to me rather in the abstract as 
the type best suited to the object, and proved 
then to be an old acquaintance appearing, for the 
first few moments, incognito. 

Having struck out the idea, which, when once 
conceived, I carried out rapidly, the two next 
thoughts which occurred to me were, first, the 
sculptured podium illustrating the fine arts ; and 
secondly, the realization in an actual edifice, of the 
architectural designs furnished by the metal-work 
shrines of the middle ages. Those exquisite pro- 
ductions of the goldsmith and the jeweller profess 
in nearly every instance to be models of architec- 
tural structures, yet no such structures exist, nor, 

264 Si*' Gilbert Scott. 

so far as we know, ever did exist. Like the 
charming architectural visions of the older poets, 
they are only in their primary idea founded upon 
actual architecture, and owe all their more gor- 
geous clothing to the inspiration of another art. 
They are architecture as elaborated by the mind 
and the hand of the jeweller ; an exquisite phan- 
tasy realized only to the small scale of a model. 

My notion, whether good or bad, was for once 
to realize this jeweller's architecture in a structure 
of full size, and this has furnished the key-note of 
my design and of its execution. 

The parts in which I had it in my power most 
literally to carry out this thought were naturally, 
the roof with its gables, and the fleche. These 
are almost an absolute translation to the full-size 
of the jeweller's small-scale model. It is true 
that the structure of the gables with their flanking 
pinnacles is of stone, but the filling in of the 
former is of enamel mosaic, the real-size counter- 
part of the cloissonne enamels of the shrines, 
while all the carved work of both is gilded, and is 
thus the counterpart of the chased silver-gilt 
foliage of shrine-work. All above this level being 
of metal, is literally identical, in all but scale, with 
its miniature prototypes. It is simply the same 
thing translated from the model into reality, having 
the same beaten metal-work, the same filagree, 
the same plaques of enamel, the same jewelling, 
the same figure-work in metal ; and each with the 
very same mode of artistic treatment which we 
find in the shrines of the Three Kings at Cologne, 
of our Lady at Aix-la-Chapelle, of St. Elizabeth 
at Marburg, of St. Taurin at Evreux, and in so 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 265 

many other well-known specimens of the ancient 
jeweller's craft. For the perfect carrying out of 
this idea I am indebted to the skill of Mr. Skid- 
more, the only man living, as I believe, who was 
capable of effecting it, and who has worked out 
every species of ornament in the true spirit of the 
ancient models. 

The carving has been equally well executed by 
Mr. Brindley. 

The shrine-like character I proposed to carry 
out in the more massive parts of the structure by 
means of the preciousness of the materials. In 
one respect I failed. The use of marble for the 
arches, cornices, &c., proved to be too costly, 
which led me to content myself with Portland stone. 
The rest, however, is all of polished granite or 
marble from the platform upwards, while below 
that level unpolished granite is used. 

The sculptors, with three exceptions, were not 
nominated by me, but by the Queen, the exceptions 
being Mr. Armstead and Mr. Philip, who have 
executed the sculpture of the podium and the 
bronze figures at the angles ; and Mr. Redfern, 
who modelled the greater part of the figures in 
the fleche. I must say of the latter that the 
models were much superior to the execution in 
metal. Of the sculptors of the podium, Mr. 
Philip had long been known to me, and Mr. 
Armstead had come under my notice during the 
great Exhibition of 1862 through his beautiful 
figure-groups on the Outram shield, and his 
designs for historical subjects for Eatrington Hall, 
Warwickshire. Being men of less established fame 
than the older sculptors, they undertook the work 

266 Sir Gilder I Scoff. 

at a far lower price than these would have done, 
and, as it proved, to their own cost. 

In my own opinion the result places them on 
quite as good an artistic footing as most of their 
more academic companions ; indeed, I am mis- 
taken if to Mr. Armstead will not be eventually 
awarded the palm among them all, or at least an 
equal position with the best. 

I think I ought to have exercised a stronger 
influence upon the sculptors than I have done. 
My courage rather failed me in claiming this, and 
I was content to express to them my general views 
both in writing and vivd voce. I should mention, 
however, that before the work was commenced a 
large model of the entire monument had been 
prepared under my own direction. This was made 
by Mr. Brindley, but the sculpture was by Mr. 

The sculpture had been drawn out in a general 
way on the first elevations, partly by Mr. Clayton 
and partly by my eldest son. From these general 
ideas Mr. Armstead made small-size models for 
the architectural model, and imparted to the 
groups a highly artistic feeling. 

Without derogating from the merits of the 
sculpture as eventually carried out, it is but just 
to say that I doubt whether either the central 
figure or a single group, as executed, is superior to 
the miniature models furnished by Mr. Armstead. 
They remain to speak for themselves ; while the 
two sides of the podium and the four bronze 
figures on the eastern front, which he designed, 
give a fair idea of what his models would have 
proved, if carried out to the real size. 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 267 

I mention this in justice both to him and to 
myself, as his small models were the carrying out 
of my original intention, and have in idea been the 
foundation of the actual result. 

The sculpture was placed under the special 
direction of Sir Charles Eastlake ; after his death 
under that of Mr. Layard ; and finally under that 
of Mr. Newton, so well known as the discoverer or 
recoverer of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. 

The enamel subjects were not only designed, 
but drawn out in full-size coloured cartoons by 
Mr. Clayton, and from these executed by Mr. 
Salviati, at Venice. 

The structural work has been admirably carried 
out by Mr. Kelk, and his representative, Mr. Cross. 

I have been the more particular in my outline of 
this work at the present moment, because the 
memorial has just now (last week) been opened 
by the Queen, complete (in the main), with the 
exception of the central figure, which has been 
delayed, first, by the lamented decease of Baron 
Marochetti ; and, since then, by the long illness 
of Mr. Foley, contracted while correcting his 
model in situ. 

The Queen has been graciously pleased to 
award me on the occasion the honour of knight- 
hood. Oh that she were with me who I confess 
to have so long and so earnestly wished might 
live to be the beloved sharer of this honour ; now 
in her absence but a name ! 

I shall have, I believe, to bear the brunt of criti- 
cisms upon this work of a character peculiar, as I 
fancy, to this country. I mean criticism premedi- 
tated and predetermined wholly irrespective of the 

268 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

merits of the case. I need not enumerate in full 
the various strictures which have already been 
made. Most of them are groundless, some wholly 
untrue, some merely stupid, and most of them 
simply malicious. I will name, however, a few. 

1. That the supports of the fleche are invisible, 
being concealed within the haunches of the vaults : 
a fault, however, if such it be, which it shares 
with all the great fleches of the middle ages. 

2. That the angle piers do not appear strong 
enough for their work. This is, of course, a matter 
of feeling : to my eye they do look strong enough, 
and in some points, where they have been acci- 
dentally increased, they look too bulky. I will, 
however, say that they did look too slight in the 
original drawing, a defect which I was probably 
the first to perceive, and which I corrected with 
great care. 

3. That much of the height of the fleche is lost. 
So is it in the case of every spire that ever was 
erected, as they are all of necessity much higher 
than they appear. I will only add upon this point 
that the greatest fault in the design, in my own 
own opinion, is that the fleche is too high. I was 
rather driven to this by a particular influence, and 
I now regret it. 

4. That the outline of the fleche is broken. 
This is due to the figure- sculpture, but it was 
never intended to have a purely pyramidal outline 
like that of a shrine. 

5. That the podium being of white marble 
weakens the structural effect. 

This is in theory true, but the difficulty was 
deliberately faced, inasmuch as the sculptured 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 269 

podium is the very soul of the design, and is well 
worth a minor sacrifice. The high relief of the 
figures will, when the first glare has gone off, 
relieve this whiteness, while the vast counterforts 
of sculpture at the angles compensate for any loss of 
apparent strength, and the plain massiveness of the 
whole of the substructure tends to the same result. 

6. That the great mass of steps takes off from 
the height of the superstructure. 

This I wholly deny ; its effect is the reverse. 

This being my most prominent work, those who 
wish to traduce me will naturally select it for their 
attacks. I can only say that if this work is 
worthy of their contempt, I am myself equally 
deserving of it, for it is the result of my highest 
and most enthusiastic efforts. I will also con- 
gratulate our art, so industriously vilified by the 
same party, on this, that if the Prince Consort 
Memorial is worthy of contempt among the works 
of our age, it argues favourably of the present 
state of the art among whose productions this is 
selected for vituperation. 

The following is a letter written to me spon- 
taneously by Mr. 1 Layard, whom I had not seen 
for some years. 

July \i\th, 1872. 

My dear Mr. Scott, I have been in Eng- 
land since the beginning of last week, and I 
have visited the memorial almost every day that 
I have been in London. I must offer you my 
warmest congratulations upon the great success 
which has been achieved. It is a magnificent 

1 Now Sir Austen H. Layard, English Ambassador to the 
Porte. ED. 

270 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

monument, which will be an honour to the 
country and to you. I had always been of 
opinion an opinion which on more than one 
occasion I have expressed to the Queen that 
when the memorial was completed and fully ex- 
posed to view, men of knowledge and of fair and 
impartial judgment would be astonished at its 
beauty and originality. Judging from what I hear 
said around me, this is the case. Of course there 
will be adverse criticisms : the most perfect work 
in the world would not escape them, but they are 
not worthy of notice, and will in a very short time 
be forgotten. Those who have had anything to 
do with the Press know from whence these 
criticisms generally come, and can trace the 
motives for them. 

In this case they appear to represent the opinions 
of one prejudiced and unfriendly man, opposed to 
the judgment and taste of the million. I am con- 
vinced that if so grand and splendid a monument 
had been erected in Italy or in Germany, our coun- 
trymen would have gone many hundreds of miles 
to see it, and would have pronounced it an example 
of the vast superiority of foreign over English 
taste. But I am equally convinced, that such a 
monument could not have been erected out of 
England. I trust that the statue of the Prince 
may soon be in its place, and that it may worthily 
complete this glorious shrine. 

Yours very truly, 


July i iM, 1872. 
When I left off, in 1865, the account of my 

CHAP. VIL] Recollections. 271 

professional career I had not mentioned the 
terminus of the Midland Railway which had not 
indeed then come into my hands. I was persuaded 
(after more than once declining) by my excellent 
friend Mr. Joseph Lewis, a leading director of 
that Company, to enter into a limited competition 
for their new terminus. I made my design while 
detained for several weeks with Mrs. Scott by 
the severe illness of our son Alwyne, at a small 
seaside hotel at Hayling in September and 
October, 1865. I completely worked out the 
whole design then, and made elevations to a large 
scale with details. It was in the same style which 
I had almost originated several years earlier, for 
the government offices, but divested of the Italian 

The great shed-like roof had been already 
designed by Mr. Barlow, the engineer, and as if by 
anticipation its section was a pointed arch. 

I was successful in the competition, and the 
building has ever since been in progress, having 
been undertaken in sections, of which the last is 
now ordered. 

This work has been spoken of by one of the 
revilers of my profession with abject contempt. I 
have to set off against this, the too excessive 
praise of it which I receive from other quarters. 
It is often spoken of to me as the finest building 
in London ; my own belief is that it is possibly too 
good for its purpose, but having been disappointed, 
through Lord Palmerston, of my ardent hope of 
carrying out my style in the Government offices, 
and the subject having been in the meanwhile 
taken out of my hands by other architects, I was 

2 72 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

glad to be able to erect one building in that style in 
London. I had carried it out already in a few in- 
stances, in the provinces; of which the most remark- 
able are the Town Hall at Preston, Kelham Hall 
in Nottinghamshire, and the Old Bank at Leeds. 

About the same time I was commissioned to erect 
the new University buildings at Glasgow, a very 
large work, for which I adopted a style which I 
may call my own invention, having already initiated 
it in the Albert Institute at Dundee. It is simply 
a thirteenth or fourteenth century secular style 
with the addition of certain Scottish features, 
peculiar in that country to the sixteenth century, 
though in reality derived from the French style of 
the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. I think 
the building, though as yet incomplete, has been a 

I ought to have named in conjunction with the 
Prince Consort Memorial, the decoration of Wol- 
sey's Chapel at Windsor as a memorial of the 
same kind. 

The vaulting of this chapel, formerly of timber 
and plaster, has been carried out in stone with 
panels of mosaic ; and the walled-up window of the 
west end is filled with figure-work in the same 
material. It was my intention that the walls 
below the windows should be covered with frescoes 
by Mr. Herbert, but for these were substituted, at 
the suggestion of her Royal Highness the Princess 
of Prussia, subjects in marble-inlay by Baron 

This has been a source of deep disappointment 
to me, as it will, I fear, be to all lovers of art. The 
Baron's work is not, in my opinion, worthy of his 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 273 

fame or of its object, and I have had myself to 
suffer through it a good deal of vexation, more 
perhaps through the injudicious ardour of his 
friends than from any intention of his own. I 
have no doubt that my traducers will, when the 
time comes, be delighted with this opportunity of 
blaming me for matters wholly beyond my control. 
Within the last year or two I have gone on 
with the government buildings, completing the 
group by the erection of the Home and Colonial 
Offices. I have had to make several attempts at 
the design for these latter offices, owing to new 
directions from successive administrations ; and 
finally my scheme has been greatly impoverished 
for economy's sake. The principal damage has 
been done by striking off the two corner towers, 
which are much needed to relieve the monotony 
of so vast a group. I live in hopes of their 


I have now to chronicle a great failure. I was 
invited, early in 1866, to compete, with a limited 
number of architects, for the New Law Courts. 
At first I declined, owing to some absurd con- 
ditions then exacted, but on the withdrawal of 
these, I consented, and at once threw myself 
vigorously into the work. The instructions were 
unprecedented in voluminousness, and the arrange- 
ments were beyond all conception complicated 
and difficult, which was further enhanced by the 
insufficiency of the site. The business of every 
conceivable department of the law had to be 


274 Si r Gilbert Scott. 

studied, and its officers consulted over and over 
again. It took me, I think, from April to Sep- 
tember to get up my information and throw it into 
anything like shape, and at length I succeeded in 
packing together, in what I had reason to think 
a good form, every room required, to the number, 
I should think, of some thousands. We were told 
that arrangement alone was to settle the com- 
petition, so I neglected the purely architectural 
work until a late period. Then, however, I took 
it vigorously in hand, working at it at odd times, 
while my more practical study was going on, and 
then taking a month at the sea-side for this 
department exclusively, besides much subsequent 
work, upon my return home. No previous com- 
petition had involved me in such an amount of 

I do not know that my general architectural 
design was of much merit, though I think that it 
was fully as good as any recent work I know of 
by any other architect. Of its parts, I am bold 
to say, that many exceeded in merit anything that 
I know of among modern designs. I say this 
especially of the portico towards the Strand, of 
the internal cloister, and of the domed central 
hall ; nor were other parts devoid of merit, but I 
refer to the drawings (some of which, by the way, 
were spoiled and vulgarized by bad colouring, 
through which much exquisite outline drawing was 
unhappily ruined). The two surveyor-assessors 
awarded the greatest number of marks to Mr-. 
Edward Barry, and the second greatest number 
to myself, while the heads of law offices awarded 
the greatest number to me, and the second to 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 275 

Mr. Water-house. The competition judges wishing 
to follow the advice of the assessors (now added 
to their own number), desired to give their verdict 
in favour of Mr. Barry, but as his architecture was 
approved of by no one, they conceived the idea 
of linking on to him some other architect, in whose 
architectural powers they had more confidence, 
and they pitched upon Mr. Street, whose arrange- 
ments no one had ever spoken in favour of. 

I at once protested against this as a palpable 
departure from the conditions, which were, not to 
take the sum of two men's merits and balance this 
aggregate against the single merits of others, but 
to weigh each man's merits one against another. 
Mr. Street complained of my protest, and I then 
wrote to the government, stating that if the judges 
reaffirmed their decision, I should abide by it. 

They did very unjustly reaffirm it, but the law 
officers of the crown cancelled their decision as 
unfair. As, however, I had engaged to stand by 
the reconsidered verdict of the judges, I felt bound 
to adhere to my promise, and I withdrew from the 
competition ; though I was vain enough to feel 
convinced that my merits (architecture and plan 
together) were greater than those of any other 
competitor, an opinion to which I still adhere. 
Mr. Waterhouse was perhaps the closest rival, but 
Mr. Street had but a poor plan, while his architec- 
ture was unworthy of his talent, and had evi- 
dently been very much hurried ; while Mr. Burges, 
though his architecture exceeded in merit that of 
any other competitor, was nevertheless eccentric 
and wild in his treatment of it, and his plan was 

T 2 

276 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

Laughably enough the competition ended in 
Barry, who had been buoyed up by Street's archi- 
tecture, being cut adrift, and Street, who had only 
come in under Barry's wing, being declared the 
winner ; as illogical and unfair a decision as 
could well have been come to ; yet practically a 
good one, as it ensured a noble work : for an able 
and artistic architect can surely make a good plan, 
while no amount of skill in mere planning can by 
itself enable a man to produce a noble building. 
I am myself content. I was not beaten, for the 
first decision, which went against me, was declared 
null and void, while before the final decision, I had 
withdrawn from the competition. So ended the 
effort of three quarters of a year. 

At first several of the designs were highly extolled. 
Mr. Layard told me that he thought mine one 
of the finest things he had ever seen. But in time 
some of the great unknown of the public press came 
in with their wretched revilings, and young Pugin, 
galled at not being a competitor, added his vindic- 
tive abuse, until at last it was set down as proved 
that the whole set of designs was a parcel of use- 
less rubbish. 

I am a partial witness, but I can only say I do 
not believe a word of it. 

If it would have been my lot (had I succeeded) 
to have suffered the bullying and abuse which has 
been heaped upon Mr. Street, I cannot say that I 
regret my want of success. That which I had 
suffered eight years before in respect of the 
government offices, was quite as much as I 
could then bear. It is well that this second load 
of persecution has fallen upon a man of spirit and 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 277 

nerve calculated to -bear it. I heartily wish him 
the highest success. 

I consider that this great competition did me 
harm, simply as a conspicuous non-success, and 
as exposing me to the gibes of enemies, whom I 
had innocently supposed not to exist, but whom it 
brought out of their lurking-places. I have now 
no doubt that beside the opposition provoked by 
envy and jealousy, I had become unpopular with 
my own party, through having given way at the 
last in respect of the style of the government 
offices. I had made a desperate fight, but I sup- 
pose that many were unaware how desperate and 
earnest a struggle I had made, or, if aware of this, 
would think that when finally overcome I ought 
to have resigned, rather than give way. I have 
already given my reasons for not doing so. The 
claim of party had grown up artificially. I had 
been educated to classic architecture, and had 
practised it early in life. My tastes, by degrees, 
had led me to abandon it, and my zeal, to aim at 
supplanting it by the revived style, but whether 
this feeling of earnest partisanship should over- 
ride the claims of one's family in a case in which 
I had fought to the last gasp, and where the pro- 
perty of the work had long been mine, I leave 
others to judge. After a severe mental struggle I 
decided otherwise, and I think I was right, but I 
do not blame those who take the contrary view ; 
though the course I took has unquestionably ren- 
dered me less popular with the men of my own 
party, and perhaps also with my opponents, as the 
opposition which I encountered was almost as 
much in favour of others, as it was against the 

278 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

style itself ; and its main object was to force me to 
resign in favour of one or another of my opponents, 
one at least of whom took an active personal part 
in the agitation. 

It should be always remembered that not only 
had I been formally appointed architect to the 
Foreign Office, and had subsequently been ap- 
pointed (in conjunction with Mr. Digby Wyatt) 
architect to the India Office, but that the designs 
and working drawings had been made, and 
builders' tenders received for the work, and that 
nothing but this agitation about style stood in 
the way of the immediate commencement of both 

I believe that the style of domestic Gothic which 
I then struck out has been the nucleus on which 
much which has since been carried out has been 
founded. As Mr. Ruskin says of his own sug- 
gestions, it has often been barbarized into some- 
thing very execrable, but it has also been the 
foundation of much which is fairly good ; so that I 
have not reaped the fruit of my own labours, and 
as, during the never-ceasing changes of fashion, this 
style has gone rather out of vogue before I have 
had much opportunity of carrying it into execution, 
it follows that when I myself make use of it, I 
have often the credit of being the imitator of my 
own copyists. 

A race of detractors of me and of my work has 
since arisen, the mildest of whom say that I have 
fallen off since my defeat by Lord Palmerston. I 
do not think that they have any ground for this 
statement, as some of my best works are of subse- 

CHAP. VIL] Recollections. 279 

quent date, or were commenced about that time ; 
e. g. Kelham Hall, Preston Town Hall, the Leeds 
Bank, the Glasgow College, the Prince Consort 
Memorial, the Midland Terminus, the Albert 
Institute at Dundee, and St. John's College 
Chapel at Cambridge. 

My design for the Albert Hall was, I think, 
worthy of more consideration than it has received. 
I wish that I had adopted a pointed-arch style 
instead of the round-arch byzantine, but I was 
warm on that style at the moment, and wished, too 
much perhaps, to propitiate the non-gothic party. 
I designed it during a tour in Perigord, among the 
half byzantine churches of south-western France, 
making it a completion of the idea of St. Sophia: a 
central pendentive dome, surrounded by four semi- 
domes. I made two other designs for this hall, 
the one Gothic, the other byzantine, besides a 
sketched variety of the main design worked out 
with pointed arches. I should mention that these 
designs were not, like that eventually carried out, 
intended for a vast music hall, but as what was 
called a " hall of science," a place for great scien- 
tific gatherings. 

During all this period a constant agitation was 
going on at the Institute of British Architects, 
upon the periodical election of their president. 
The Gothic men went in for Mr. Beresford Hope, 
but were twice defeated, once by Professor Donald- 
son and once by Mr. Tite. At length, however, 
the hopes of Hope were realized. After Mr. Hope, 
Mr. Tite had a second innings, and then the 
Council in 1870 selected me as their nominee. I 
however declined to stand feeling that my ex- 

280 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

tensive engagements, my distance from London, 2 
and the claims of my family upon my spare time 
forbade it. I felt also that I was not by nature 
fitted for such a post. 

I have during this period held the office of 
Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy. 

Circumstances have been much against the due 
performance of my duties here. I have, however, 
given a good many lectures, but they have been 
interrupted ; first by the interval of rebuilding, 
secondly, by my own serious illness in 1870-71, 
and in this year by the terrible bereavement which 
I have suffered. 

The best of my recent lectures have been those 
on vaulting, and I was preparing for this year a 
course of lectures on domes. 

I hope, if spared, to publish my professional and 
ante-professorial lectures with ample illustrations 
in the style of those in Viollet le Due's dictionary. 3 
The illustrations of all my lectures have been 
almost profuse, and many of them are very ex- 
cellent drawings by my pupils and assistants, my 
sons and myself. 


I was appointed to this, my first Cathedral 
restoration, in 1847, mv special work being the 
re-arrangement of the choir. 

The original choir had occupied the space 

8 My father was then living at Rook's-nest near Godstone. 

5 These have been published since my father's death by Mr. 
John Murray. ED. 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 281 

beneath the tower, and extended (I think) two 
bays into the nave. 4 When the central tower fell 
in 1320, and Alan of Walsingham built the exist- 
ing octagon, he left the choir in the position in 
which he had found it, extending across the area 
of his new octagon. Thus it remained until the 
time of Essex in the last century, who wholly did 
away with this arrangement, pushing the altar on 
to the east end of the presbytery, and making the 
choir two full bays short of reaching to the octagon. 
(See Bentham's two plans.) My work was not to 
carry the choir westward to its old place under 
the crossing, inasmuch as this would have injured 
the effect of the octagon ; at the same time that 
the unoccupied space eastward (formerly devoted 
to shrines) would, as things now are, have been 

I contented myself with leaving the choir and 
sanctuary to occupy the eastern arm of the cross, 
with the exception of two bays to the east, left as 
an ambulatory. I wished this to have occupied 
three bays, but to this the Chapter would not 

I re-used Walsingham' s stalls, as far as they 
would go, designing new desk-fronts, &c. 

This was the first case in which an open screen 
had been adopted in our cathedrals, and I devoted 
infinite pains to its design. There was no ancient 

4 This position of the choir, which we are apt to regard as 
exceptional, is in reality the old and normal one, the tradition 
of the Basilica, and of the earliest Christian Churches. Thus 
St. Alban's, Gloucester, and Westminster represent the primitive 
tradition, while Lincoln, York, and Salisbury exhibit the more 
modern and abnormal arrangement, the great ecclesiological 
innovation of the middle ages. ED. 

282 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

choir screen remaining. I returned only one stall 
on either side, as is (now) the arrangement in Henry 
VII. 's chapel. The stall usually occupied by the 
Dean is here the Bishop's throne. He thus repre- 
sents the Abbot, and has done so since A.D. 1 109, 
while the Dean, since the dissolution of the monas- 
tery, has represented the Prior, 

The Bishop wanted much to have a throne in 
the usual position, but I would not consent to the 
obliteration of an early tradition. 

I suggested the filling in of the wide niches 
over the stalls, with reliefs, which has been gradually 
carried out and is now complete. 

I placed the organ, partly in the triforium and 
partly overhanging the choir, founding its design 
upon those of mediaeval organs (e.g. Strasburg), 
and I placed the organist in a gallery in the aisle, 
passing the trackers upwards. 

Subsequently I refitted St. Mary's chapel as a 
parish church. 

Under my suggestion, and with my co-operation, 
the ceiling of the nave was painted by Mr. Le 
Strange and Mr. Gambier Parry. I suggested to 
Mr. Le Strange the ceiling of St. Michael's at 
Hildesheim as a model. The pulpit, the restora- 
tion of the western doorway, the pavement of the 
nave, the strengthening of the west tower, the 
restoration of the lantern tower, and the strengthen- 
ing of the south side of choir and east side of 
south transept, have since been carried out under 
my direction. 

The design of the central lantern I most care- 
fully investigated from ancient evidences, and 
can speak of most of it with much certainty. 

CHAP. VIL] Recollections. 283 

The great evidences were the mortices and the 
carpenters' marks. It was clearly proved by 
Dean Goodwin to have been a belfry, as I had 
supposed, contrary to the opinion of Mr. Le 

The interior of the timber lantern has been deco- 
rated by Mr. Gambier Parry, but with this I have had 
nothing to do. I am now completing the great 
turrets and pinnacles of the octagon. I have made 
a strong move towards rebuilding the lacking north 
wing of the west front, but it has not hitherto been 
vigorously taken up. I wrote a paper on Ely 
Cathedral while abroad in 1873. This was read at 
the bisex-centenary festival of St. Etheldreda's 
foundation, in my absence, by my eldest son. It is 
published in a book upon the festival. 

These works were mainly carried out under my 
dear friend, Dean Peacock, one of the noblest of 
men : the lantern work was a memorial to him. 
The actual restoration of the fabric of the choir 
had been commenced before my appointment, and 
was managed up to that time by the Dean and 
Professor Willis. The internal work of the western 
tower had already been completed by them, and the 
reconstruction of the apse of the south-western 
transept went on only partially under my direction. 
Indeed, coming in, as I did, in the midst of these 
works, my connexion with them generally was but 
partial, though it increased as they went on. I 
had nothing to do with the works at Prior Craw- 
den's chapel, which were carried out by a minor 
canon, a disciple of Willis, and were nearly 
finished when I was appointed. I was assured, by 
the clerk of the works, that the seat behind the 

284 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

altar was deliberately carried out wrongly as a little 
bit of annoyance to the Ecclesiological Society. 
It looks now as if there had been no altar. 

I gave very much study to this cathedral apart 
from actual works executed, and many matters of 
interest turned up from time to time. The screen, 
stall-work, pulpit, &c., were executed by Messrs. 
Rattee and Kett. 


I was appointed to this charge, I think, in 1849. 
This is an appointment which has afforded me 
more pleasure than any other which I have held. 
My work here has been very much a matter of 
investigation, and up to a certain date is fairly 
chronicled in "The Gleanings." Since that time, 
however, many other things have come to light. 
I may mention the bases of the piers of the Con- 
fessor's church, in the sanctuary ; a compartment 
and numerous capitals from the Norman cloister ; 
and some fragments belonging to the shrine of St. 
Edward, e. g. a piece of the return of the cornice 
of its western end over the reredos. The fact has 
also been ascertained that the whole of the shrine 
had been taken down, and had been rebuilt in 
Queen Mary's reign, and that even the steps had 
been reset and misplaced, the marks worn by pil- 
grims' knees (still very distinguishable) being quite 
out of their proper places. 

We have found too, among other things, a com- 
partment of ancient grisaille glazing, the hatch of 
the kitchen, the kitchen itself, the lower parts of 
St. Catherine's chapel, extensive fragments of terra 

CHAP. VIL] Recollections. 285 

cotta figures walled up in the westernmost part of 
the triforium, a beautiful fragment of Torregiano's 
Ciborium, 5 and other objects of interest. 

I had, almost immediately after my appointment 
as architect of the Abbey, devoted a great amount 
of time to investigating, and making measured 
sketches of, the Chapter-house, then occupied as a 
record office, and I was, therefore, well prepared 
when, many years later, the work was actually 
placed in my hands. I may truly say that this 
was a labour of love, and that not a point was 
missed which would enable me to ascertain the 
actual design of any part, nor was any old feature 
renewed of which a trace of the old form remained. 
I know of no parts which are conjecturally restored 
but the following : the external parapet, the pin- 
nacles, the gables of the buttresses and the roof. 

In my drawing, made long before, I had shown 
the shortened window over the internal doorway 
as of five lights. I did so because some of the 
bases of the mullions remained which showed the 
window to have been of five lights. Why then, it 
may well be asked, in the restoration, has it been 
made of only four lights like the other windows ? 
I will explain why. 

All the other windows have ancient iron ties at 
or near their springings. These are of round iron, 
but hammered flat where they pass the mullions. 
Now the west, or shortened window, had lost all 

5 This baldachino, which is figured by Sandford, in his 
" Genealogical History of the Kings of England," p. 470, and 
is described by him as the tomb of Edward Vlth (whose body 
was laid beneath the altar of the Blessed Virgin which it 
adorned), was destroyed during the Great Rebellion. ED. 

286 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

its tracery, and was walled up with voussoirs of 
the vaulting ribs. On removing these, however, 
we found the iron tie still in its place, and it was 
flattened, like the others for three (not four) 
mullions. It was clear, therefore, that the west 
window had been like the others. How 'comes it, 
then, that the bases of mullions tell another tale ? 
Why, it was clear, from fragments of tracery found, 
that the window had been renewed by Abbot Byr- 
cheston, when he rebuilt the bays of the cloisters 
opposite to the chapter-house entrance, and in 
the same style with them. He therefore had 
altered it from a four to a five-light window, and 
had moved the mullion bases, although he left 
the old tie in its place, flattened out for three 
mullions, as he had found it. 

The cloister has been partially restored with 
much care. The mosaic pavement of the sanc- 
tuary has been restored, where it had been short- 
ened eastward, the old matrices having been found 
and refilled. A concrete, containing chips of glass 
mosaic, was found under the altar pavement. 

The reredos, which I found in plaster, has 
been restored in alabaster and marble, with great 
care and precision. 6 The five central canopies 
were found to be modern, and to occupy the 
space of a recess, intended no doubt for a 
rich retabulum. This has been restored. Some 
curious papering was found behind the masonry of 
the reredos, where it abutted against the pillars, 
on which were painted coats of arms. 

During this time Abbot Ware's Customary 7 has 
come to light, and has been examined, together 

6 In 1866. ED. 7 Liber consuetudinarius. ED. 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 287 

with many other documents bearing upon the 
history of the church and buildings. 

The mason of the Abbey, when I was first ap- 
pointed, was Mr. Cundy : subsequently Messrs. 
Poole have occupied this post, who have also 
carried out the restoration of the Chapter-house. 

My own works at the Abbey have not been 
extensive. They consist of two pulpits, three 
grilles, an altar-rail, the gable and pinnacles of 
the south transept, sundry tops of pinnacles, a 
new altar-table in the sanctuary of the church, 
and another in Henry VII. 's Chapel ; but the 
most satisfactory has been the hardening of the 
decayed internal surfaces with shellac dissolved 
in spirits of wine. The Abbey has also been 
warmed, which will tend, I hope, to its durability. 
The bronze effigies of kings and others have been 
cleaned, and the ancient gilding exposed. 

I have planned a great sepulchral cloister on 
the south side of the Abbey buildings, extending 
along College Gardens ; but I see no prospect of 
its being carried into execution. 

We are now engaged in restoring the eastern- 
most of the portals (in this case a quasi-portal) of 
the north transept. We have found them to be 
gabled, as shown in Loggan's view, and we find 
very much of the evidences of the old design. 
May I be spared to see them all perfected. 8 

I commenced these works under Dean Buck- 
land, whose place was soon taken by Lord John 
Thynne, who has retained, as sub-dean, a general 

8 The work is still in progress, and the western portal of this, 
so-called, Solomon's porch is now approaching completion, but 
the great central one has not yet been commenced. ED. 

288 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

directing power. Dean Stanley, however, has now 
assumed the lead, and takes infinite interest in the 


The western towers having fallen about 1796, 
the nave had been wretchedly dealt with by 

When I was first appointed to continue this 
restoration, the former work, carried on under Mr. 
Cottingham, had been suspended for many years. 

He had repaired the nave, the internal crossing 
with its piers, the interior of the sanctuary (from 
the crossing to the altar- space enclosure), the east 
end of the Lady Chapel externally, and also most of 
the interior of the same. The parts through 
which I had to carry on the work were the tran- 
septs, the choir-aisles, the eastern transepts, and 
the north porch ; together with the rearrangement 
of the choir, and the replacement of the monu- 
ments removed during Mr. Cottingham's work. 

The reparations were carried on with the most 
scrupulous regard for evidence, and with the least 
possible displacement of old stone : the last being 
rendered most difficult by the extreme decay of 
the external work, the stonework being often 
hollowed out by internal decay, even where it 
appeared upon the surface comparatively sound. 
The present state of the central tower-will illustrate 

Among lost features recovered, I will mention 
the circular windows which light the eastern tri- 
forium of the north transept. These had been 
converted into perpendicular windows, though 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 289 

retaining their early circular arches : no sugges- 
tion remained of what they had originally been. 
It one day occurred to me that they might have 
been circles, and being in the green to the east- 
ward of the transept, I held up a half-a-crown 
piece, fitting it, in perspective, to the window arch, 
when I found that its lower edge just touched the 
sill. This led me to cut into the inserted work, 
when I discovered the circles, with even the 
grooves for their cusps, and some of the curious 
pear-shaped cusps themselves. The restoration 
of these is absolutely exact. The eastern pin- 
nacles of the Lady Chapel had been rebuilt by 
Cottingham, but the side ones were wanting. 
Some of these I found stowed away in the crypt, 
and I rebuilt those on the north side, partly out of 
old materials. The monuments removed by Mr. 
Cottingham were scattered about in all directions, 
and I could not have recovered their positions had 
it not been for the aid of the Rev. F. T. Havergal, 
one of the Priest Vicars, whose knowledge and 
research were of the greatest possible importance: 
all that we could identify were replaced in their old 

I was interested in discovering among these a 
monument to one of my old friends, the Dentons 
of Hillesden, 9 which I replaced as near its old 
position as I could ; but I subsequently found, 
to my regret, that parts of its altar-tomb and 
heraldic remains had escaped my notice. I 
applied to Lord Leicester, the representative of 
the family, for aid to its more perfect restoration, 
but in vain. 

9 Cf. ch. i. pp. 45, 46. 


290 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

The beautiful stall-work of this cathedral had 
been removed by Cottingham, and had been, 
for some twenty years, stowed away in the 
crypt, all in fragmentary pieces. It was a part 
of my task to fit these together and rearrange 

I do not know whether I was justified in the 
course which I took with regard to this. There 
was at that time a violent agitation, first, for 
opening out the choirs of our cathedrals ; and, 
secondly, for making, where practicable, the choirs 
more proportioned to present uses, so as to give 
no excuse for using them for congregational 
purposes. I was so far influenced by this fancy 
as regards screens, (be it right or wrong), as to 
have laid down a rule for myself to open out 
choirs in cases where no ancient screens existed, 
but not otherwise. I also yielded so far to the 
argument for choirs, proportioned to practical 
needs, as to think that, as in this case the old 
dimensions and landmarks had been lost for 
twenty years, I was at liberty to adopt what 
seemed to be a more convenient arrangement. 
The old choir had extended through the cross- 
ing into the nave, the eastern arm forming only 
the sanctuary. 1 

My rearrangement made the eastern arm the 
choir, giving up the transepts as well as the nave 
to the congregation. Practically, for ordinary 
purposes, this was a gain ; for great diocesan 
uses it was a loss. From an antiquarian point of 
view it was an error. I leave it to others to judge 

1 C note on Ely Cathedral, ch. vii. p. 281. ED. 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 291 

of it. I confess I do not think I should now do 
the same. 

I do not believe that Cottingham had found an 
old screen : at any rate, he left no relics of it. The 
metal screen in its present form came about in 
this way : Mr. Skidmore was anxious to have 
some great work in the exhibition of 1862, and 
offered to make the , screen at a very low price. 
I designed it on a somewhat massive scale, think- 
ing that it would thus harmonize better with the 
heavy architecture of the choir. Skidmore fol- 
lowed my design, but somewhat aberrantly. It is 
a fine work, but too loud and self-asserting for an 
English church. The reredos had already been 
erected by Mr. Cottingham, jun. The decoration 
of the north transept was carried out by Mr. 
Octavius Hudson. 

I had the pleasure of carrying out this work 
under the kind and friendly assistance of my dear 
friend, Dean Dawes, for whom I conceived a 
sincere regard. 

The tower is in a very bad state, and I hope its 
restoration will soon be undertaken. The old 
roof marks had been obliterated by Mr. Cot- 

The builders employed were Messrs. Ruddle 
and Thompson, of Peterborough. The clerk of 
the works was Mr. Chick. 


My work here was mainly the opening out and 
rearrangement of the choir. 

I succeeded, rather against my will, Mr. Sidney 
u 2 

292 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

Smirke, who had restored the south aisle of the 
nave, and had really commenced upon the choir. 

This choir had been dealt with by Wyatt in 
the most extraordinary manner possible. It had 
originally been of very early pointed work, almost 
or quite transitional in character, but had, in the 
fourteenth century, been rebuilt from the arcade 
upwards in rather late decorated ; the outer order 
of the arches being also reconstructed in that 
style. The older columns had been octagons 
with a triple shaft on every side. The fourteenth- 
century architect had removed the shafts facing 
the choir, in order to gain width, and had corbelled 
his vaulting shafts above the stalls. Wyatt had 
disregarded both of the old dates, and, by the help 
of cement, spikes, and tar-cord, had converted the 
columns and arches (towards the choir) into copies 
of those of the nave. When I was first called in, 
this cement work had been partly removed, and 
the mutilated work behind it presented the most 
difficult enigma. I believe that I recovered the 
design absolutely, but some parts of it were dis- 
covered through remains so slight that, though 
conclusive, their interpretation was of intense 

I was greatly aided in this investigation by the 
qualities of the stone employed, for the fourteenth- 
century architect had used a different stone from 
that of the older work. 

Wyatt here, as at Salisbury, had removed the old 
altar-screen, and had extended the choir through 
the Lady Chapel to the extreme east end. He 
had enclosed the area thus formed, by blocking up 
its arches with wood-work and glazing; so that the 

CHAP. VIL] Recollections. 293 

choir could not be seen at all from the nave. He 
had left the old choir-screen of the fifteenth cen- 
tury, but this had unhappily been taken down 
before I was called in, and I do not recollect that 
the idea of replacing it was ever suggested. I 
erected an altar-screen on the site of the ancient 
one, and put up a metal screen between the choir 
and the nave. No old stalls remaining, new ones 
were introduced, over which it was always intended 
to place grilles, but this has never been carried 
out ; so that this, from being the closest of quires, 
is now the most open. 

Colouring was found about the bosses of the 
groining, which I desired to have restored by 
Mr. Octavius Hudson, but this was not approved 
by the chapter. 

The work has, at a later period, been extended 
to the Chapter-house and the Lady Chapel, and it 
is now contemplated to extend it to the exterior of 
the west front. Wyatt had, by the help of Ber- 
nasconi, translated this fine work into Roman 
cement : we hope to retranslate it into stone. 2 

I have had the privilege of working at Lichfield- 
under several very marked men. The greater 
work was carried out in the time of Dean Howard, 
but, from his great infirmity, he was not able to 
take so active a part as he would otherwise have 
done. Nothing, however, was decided upon but 
in the fullest consultation with him, and he threw 
himself into it with all possible zeal and with the 
greatest mental energy. He was a most charming 
man, and kept up a cheerful, lively, and even 
jocose and buoyant spirit, under circumstances of 
2 This work is now in progress. ED. 

294 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

very great bodily suffering, which he bore with the 
most Christian and heroic submission. I may indeed 
say that he rose above his sufferings in a manner 
of which the mere recollection is quite edifying. 

His second in command was Mr. Precentor 
Hutchinson, a really wonderful man. I had 
known him for years as a great promoter of 
church extension in the diocese, and when he 
joined the chapter he rose at once to the circum- 
stances, and did his work right nobly. I do not 
know how to describe him, as he united in a mar- 
vellous manner the finest disposition and temper, 
the richest humour, and the most energetic ac- 
tivity and zeal. I delighted in him, and, I need 
not say, deeply deplored his unexpected loss. 

He was succeeded as precentor by another right 
wonderful man, Archdeacon Moore. Again I am 
unable to describe him. Dean Stanley has done 
so to the life. A grander man I never knew. He 
seemed, in conversation, to unite in himself the 
characteristics of Lichfield's two great men, John- 
son and Garrick ; and at the same time to blend 
with them the great charm of the generous open- 
hearted man of the world. Two such precentors 
have rarely succeeded one another. 

He also is gone, but he enjoyed at the age of 
eighty-three all the vigour and life of middle age ; 
indeed, very far more than often falls to the lot of 
a man at any age. 

Dean Champneys I saw but seldom. I always 
found him a very kind and agreeable man. Lately 
the Deanery has fallen to the lot of my valued 
friend and patron Dr. Bickersteth, formerly Arch- 
deacon of Bucks, under whom, I hope, the west 

CHAP. VIL] Recollections. 295 

front, the great gem of the cathedral, now set in 
paste, will be reset in genuine stone. 

An intensely vexatious circumstance occurred 
during the earlier period of my connexion with 

The ordinary work of the cathedral was carried 
on by a staff of masons, permanently engaged, 
under a foreman. At that time Professor Willis 
went to Lichfield to prepare himself for a lecture 
on the cathedral. He did not communicate with 
me, but carried on his examinations with the 
assistance of the foreman of masons. I sub- 
sequently learned that, while in company with 
this man, he had discovered, upon the upper 
surface of the string course of the triforium of the 
transepts, the marks of the setting-out of the 
groining shafts of the early- English work, which 
from that level upwards was removed, or altered, in 
the fifteenth century. No communication what- 
ever was made to me upon the subject, and the 
first I heard of it was from a complaint, made I 
think by Professor Willis himself, that the stones, 
on which these invaluable evidences had existed, 
had been removed by this very foreman, who, with 
the exception of the professor himself, was the 
only man who was aware of their existence. The 
man's excuse was, that as Professor Willis had 
taken notes of them he did not think there was 
any need to preserve them, and, as his men had 
nothing else to do in the winter, and the stones were 
somewhat out of repair, he had set them at work 
to renew them. I must say I think the professor 
was exceedingly blameable in entrusting such evi- 
dence, thus discovered, to the sole guardianship of 

296 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

an ignorant mason, and in making no communica- 
tion whatever to me, as the architect to the cathe- 
dral; but the occurrence is more important as show- 
ing the danger of keeping on these staffs of masons, 
who, if they have nothing else to do, employ them- 
selves in doing irreparable mischief. What has 
now become of the professor's notes I know not. 
I never saw, or at the time heard of, these interest- 
ing relics, and now they are irrecoverably lost. 

In the Lady Chapel, the wall arcades had been 
much tampered with by Wyatt, and plaster but- 
tresses and pinnacles had been introduced, having 
no reference at all to the original design. This 
was made sufficiently clear by the jointing of the 
masonry, and has since been restored as closely 
as evidences would permit or guide. The eastern 
bay was occupied by a sort of reredos made up by 
Wyatt, partly out of old details (probably from 
the choir or altar-screen) and partly in cement 
from his own design. I did not wish to remove this, 
but the chapter had it taken down ; when it was 
found that this bay had been a plain wall without 
arcades, intended no doubt to leave a space for 
some rich retabulum. 3 

The west window was an odd affair, put up, I 
think, by James II., when Duke of York. This 
has been replaced by a window more in character, 
though possibly a little too late in detail. 

The interior of the nave has been cleared of 

The removal of Wyatt's reredos has rendered necessary the 
completion of the fine flemish renaissance glass with which the 
eastern window (as are also the side windows of the apse) is 
filled. This work has been carried out with great care by 
Mr. Thomas Grylls. ED. 

CHAP. VIL] Recollections. 297 

whitewash and repaired. I always hold this work 
to be almost absolute perfection in design and de- 
tail. It is parallel in style to the eastern part of 
Lincoln Minster, the Chapter-house at Salisbury, 
Bishop Bridport's tomb there, and the ruined front 
of Newstead Abbey. The exterior of the south side 
of this exquisite nave had been renewed some years 
before my connexion with Lichfield, under Mr. 
Sidney Smirke. The north side remains nearly 
untouched (at least in modern times), including 
the northern return of the north-western tower. 
This part is in a very sad state of decay, yet it is 
such a precious gem of architecture that I, some 
years back, urged that instead of restoring it, the 
chapter should have perfect drawings and photo- 
graphs made of its details, so that if these should 
eventually perish, records would be kept of them. 
This was pretty fairly effected. 

More recently, a monument to Bishop Lonsdale 
has been erected to the north of the altar, and sedi- 
lia formed of some of the old canopies, formerly 
belonging to the choir-screen, have been con- 
structed to the south ; at the back of which, in the 
aisle, is erected a monument to Dean Howard, 
with a canopy formed from the same source. 

The effigy of the bishop is by Watts, and that 
of the dean by Armstead. 

The woodwork of the choir was executed by 
Mr. Evans, of Ellaston, who will be known to the 
admirers of " Adam Bede " and its authoress. 

Lichfield necessarily reminds me of dear old 
Mr. Louis Petit. I always regret that I was not on 
more intimate terms with him. I opened acquain- 
tance with him (in 1841, 1 think), by a controversy 

298 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

about St. Mary's, Stafford ; and the odd, and 
somewhat perverse, line which he frequently took, 
in parallelism with his more natural and congenial 
vein, led him always to fancy me to be an oppo- 
nent ; whereas I really had a sincere affection and 
an immense admiration for him. He was of a 
noble, generous nature, with fine gifts, both as a 
scholar, as a gentleman, and as a most original 
artist ; and though, as an architectural critic, he 
was too much led away by a talented but less 
genial friend (also departed), he was nevertheless 
a grand creature, and as noble-hearted a man as 
ever lived. His very face was a charming picture. 


Here I have done comparatively little. I had 
many years back, in Dean Butler's time, under- 
pinned the foundations of a part of the church 
towards the north-east. At a later period I did 
the same to the eastern aisles of the transepts, 
which were giving way, and added buttresses to 
them. About the same time some decoration was 
carried out in the ceiling of the choir, and generally 
the whitewash has been cleaned from most of the 

A few years back my attention had been called 
to some unquestionable evidences of continued, 
and increasing, subsidence all along the north side 
of the church. These parts had long since shown 
signs of considerable sinking, but these new proofs 
were of an alarming character. I strongly advised 
that the north aisle of the nave should be securely 
shored, and this was done, but for a very long 

CHAP. VIL] Recollections. 299 

time the chapter, with one brilliant exception, 
did all in their power to shut their own eyes, and 
those of the public, to the truth. They called in 
another architect, who preached " Peace ! peace ! " 
They then sent for a third, who at the first was 
almost " carried away with their dissimulation," 
but was obliged at last to admit the danger. This 
aisle has, therefore, been thoroughly underpinned. 
Still the central tower, which had been affected by 
the general movement northwards, and also the 
north aisle, of the choir are in a very sad state, and 
nothing is doing. Some of the chapter, when 
their eyes were unwillingly opened, wanted to go 
beyond me, and to have flying buttresses built 
against the north aisle wall. I did not like this, 
because it would so seriously affect its aspect. I 
trust that what we have done may prove effectual. 
My knowledge of Peterborough Cathedral had 
begun in 1831 during my first considerable archi- 
tectural tour. Blore had then just completed the 
rearrangement of the choir. My visits to Boston 
brought me in frequent contact with it. When I 
used to go down by the Boston mail, if it were 
summer, I always had a run round the cathedral, 
while the coach stopped for half an hour. The 
view as we came from the east, along the north 
side, used to charm me more than almost any 
other that I know of. There were at that time a 
few lofty poplars, and trees of other forms, which 
added a wonderful charm to the remarkable group 
forming the north-west angle of the cathedral, as 
seen from the east. These have disappeared, 
perhaps from natural decay ; and partly perhaps 
from a strange prejudice against Lombardy pop- 

3oo Sir Gilbert Scott. 

lars, which, though possibly well grounded where 
there are too many of these trees, without the 
relief of other kinds, is a great error where they 
rise from, or among, trees of other forms. I 
remember hearing a man say that when he came 
upon the view of this group he felt as if he should 
like to die on the spot : his more prosaic com- 
panion replied that such a sight was just what 
gave him the strongest desire to live. 

I often wonder that the interior of Peterborough 
Cathedral does not excite to stronger expressions 
of admiration. It seems to me, next to Durham, 
to be the finest Norman interior that we have. 
Not only the nave, but also the transepts, with 
the remarkable variation between their eastern 
and western sides, have always filled me with the 
highest admiration, and this is renewed by every 


I was appointed to this work, I think, about 
1859. I have made several reports upon it, to 
which I refer. 

The first work undertaken was that of external 
repair. The stone, though generally in fair pre- 
servation, was partially decayed, and the whole 
building was gone through carefully and conser- 
vatively, replacing only such stones as were irre- 
coverably perished. 

I made a very careful survey of the Chilmark 
and Tisbury quarries, and selected nearly all the 
stone to be used from what is called the " trough 
bed " at Chilmark, which is a bed but little used 
in the old work, though superior in strength and 

CHAP. VIL] Recollections. 301 

durability to any of the others. It is almost a 
pure limestone, very shelly and hard, and was left 
unused by the old masons simply because the 
quarries were subterraneous, and this bed formed 
their ceiling. There is a corresponding bed in 
one of the quarries at Tisbury (that nearest to the 
village), but it is not so hard or good as that one 
bed at Chilmark. The quarries at Teffont I do 
not know, but I believe that they also contain this 

The foundations were extensively examined all 
round the church, and underpinned or repaired 
where found necessary. They have been through- 
out defended by a mass of concrete surrounding 
them, with a channel formed above it. 

Our next great work was the strengthening of 
the tower. The original thirteenth-century builders 
had erected a central tower, rising sufficiently high 
to receive the roofs of the four arms of the church. 
The storey against which these roofs abutted is a 
very light structure, and was intended to be visible 
from within. It is perforated in its thickness by a 
triforium gallery, leaving externally a wall of little 
more than two feet in thickness, while the interior 
consists of a light arcade with Purbeck marble 
shafts. The corner turrets have each a staircase, 
rendering them mere shells. 

On this frail structure the fourteenth-century 
builders carried up the vast tower, some eighty feet 
high, with walls nearly six feet thick, and upon this a 
spire rising 180 feet more. It need not then be 
wondered that the older storey, so unduly loaded, 
should have become shattered. Subsequent 
builders have bolstered it up by flying buttresses, 

302 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

and by every form of prop that they could invent, 
till, as Price calculated, the sectional area of the 
added supports exceeded that of the original 
structure. Still, however, the crushing went on, 
and when I examined it, it had proceeded to very 
alarming lengths. I proposed to bond it together 
(in addition to the numerous ties it already had) by 
diagonal iron ties, and then gradually to insert new 
stones in place of those which were shattered. 

The Chapter, for further satisfaction, called in 
the aid of an engineer eminent for iron construc- 
tion, Mr. Shields, whose opinion very much 
coincided with my own. To him was confided the 
arrangement and construction of the iron-work, 
which was admirably carried out under his 
direction by Messrs. James of London. It con- 
sists ' mainly of two heights of diagonal ties, 
branching out towards their ends and passing 
round the stair turrets, and so grasping them 
firmly, through a height of several feet, in which 
space they are connected by vertical irons placed 
upon the exterior faces. When this system of ties 
was once firmly fixed, I felt that we could safely 
proceed with the reparation of the stonework. 
This was carried out under the direction of my 
excellent superintendent, Mr. Hutchins. Nearly 
all the steps of the four staircases were shattered, 
and had to be taken out and renewed, and the 
same was the case with a very great amount of 
the stonework. This was effected almost stone by 
stone, so that small parts only were disturbed at 
once : a very lengthy process, but the only safe 
one. It spread over many months, till at last 
every crushed stone had been replaced by one 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 303 

stronger than the old one had ever been, and set 
firmly in cement, so that by the time we had done, 
the work was stronger than it had been when 

Reparations of a minor kind were effected through- 
out the tower and even to the top of the spire, 
where I had the satisfaction of inspecting them up 
to the very vane. 

We dare not do anything to the bent piers which 
carry the tower. Their curvature seems to have 
arisen from two causes, first, from the pressure of 
the arcades upon their flanks, and secondly, from 
their backs or flanks not consisting, as do their 
fronts, of Purbeck marble closely bedded, but of 
compressible rubble walling. These two causes 
acting together would almost necessarily produce 
flexure. This had been remedied in the north and 
south arches at an early date by building arches 
across them at (say) half-height. The same might 
have been effected by a stone screen in the 
eastern arch, but in the western it would produce 
an inconvenient obstruction. I have advised the 
authorities to keep a watch over the piers, and if 
any increased curvature should be observed, to 
take some precaution, such as the insertion of iron 
beams from pillar to pillar. 

On the death of Bishop Hamilton (in 1869) a 
fund was raised for the restoration of the interior 
of the choir as a memorial to him. With this fund, 
and amounts otherwise obtained, the stonework of 
the choir and its aisles has been thoroughly re- 
paired, and the choir fittings brought back, as 
closely as possible, to what may be supposed to 
have been their original state. All the desk-fronts 

304 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

were modern, and no traces of the old ones re- 
mained. The canopies were of modern deal. The 
reredos was the gift of Lord Beauchamp ; the 
choir-screen of Mrs. Lear. 

During the restoration of the choir, the colouring 
discovered under the coating of yellow wash was 
in part restored. That of the Lady Chapel was 
repainted in the winter of 1870-1, while I was laid 
up by serious illness. I do not think that it was 
very faithfully reproduced from the old remains. 
I was able, in the spring of 1871, to go and 
examine the evidences of the painting of the choir 
ceiling. This, as was always known, was decorated 
with medallions containing busts of prophets. 
These had been visible until the time of Wyatt, 
who covered them with yellow wash, which never- 
theless allowed them to be slightly seen. There 
is an interesting correspondence about this in the 
Gentleman 's Magazine, at the time that they were 
being washed over. 4 

We very carefully removed the colour-wash and 
disclosed a considerable part of the paintings, 
together with the legends that accompany them. 
The rest of the subjects we selected as well as we 
could to continue the series. They represent 
prophets, with legends from their several books, 
relating to the coming of our Lord. Those in the 
crossing of the eastern transept show our Lord in 
Glory (a " Majesty "), together with the Apostles 
and Evangelists. Eastward, over the presbytery, 
are depicted the employments proper to the several 
months of the year. 

4 Cf. Gentleman's Magazine, 1789, pp. 874, 1065, 1195. ED. 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 305 

In the eastern transepts are other medallions 
which have not yet been investigated. 

The arches and walls of the whole choir and 
presbytery were richly decorated. Messrs. Clay- 
ton and Bell made a tentative restoration of 
some parts, but not (as I now find) very accu- 
rately. I have quite recently (1877) made a care- 
ful investigation of these decorations with the help 
of my talented assistant Mr. S. Weatherly. 

An interesting controversy arose last year (1876) 
respecting the true position of the high altar. 
It was started by the Rev. H. T. Armfield, an 
antiquarian, who laid great stress upon the falling 
off in dignity in the decorations of the vaulting 
after passing eastward of the crossing, as being 
inconsistent with the assumed position of the high 
altar, eastward of that spot. I refer to papers on 
the subject, and to a printed report by myself and 
my eldest son, which showed that there were so 
many arguments for the received position, that the 
contrary arguments were outweighed ; though the 
difficulties which they suggest have never been 
fully explained. 

The whole of these lengthened works have been 
carried out under Dean Hamilton, assisted by the 
chapter and by a general committee. Dean 
Hamilton deserves all possible praise and grati- 
tude, both from myself and from all lovers of the 
cathedral. I do not know how to speak of him as 
he deserves, and it would be simply impossible to 
speak of him too highly. Beginning this great 
work when he was entering upon old age, he has 
continued it with unflagging energy, liberality, and 
devotion, to, I believe, the venerable age of eighty- 

306 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

three, and though his bodily health has all along 
been feeble, and has sometimes wholly failed him, 
he has never for a moment shrunk from the work, 
nor has the clearness of his insight into all its 
bearings for a moment abated. Personally I feel 
the highest and most sincere gratitude to him for 
his uniform kindness and support. His latest act 
has been a new subscription of 3ooo/. towards the 
repairs of the interior of the nave. The whole 
may most literally and truthfully be called Dean 
Hamilton's work. 

He has, I fear, been sadly galled by the want of 
pecuniary support from many of the great men of 
the diocese, but these great names, so conspicuous 
by their absence, it is not my place to enumerate. 

The two bishops of this period, Bishop Hamil- 
ton and Bishop Moberly, I must refer to with 
admiration and regard. I will also mention a 
humbler name, that of the late Mr. Fisher, a 
retired professional man, who devoted several 
years of his life to collecting and administering 
funds for the restoration of the cathedral. Next 
to the Dean, he really claims, as I think, the 
highest place among its promoters. One of his 
especial works was the collecting of gifts for 
figures to be placed in the niches of the west 
front, which were executed, at, I fear, too low a 
price, by that very promising sculptor, Mr. Red- 
fern, whose early death we have such deep cause 
to lament. This artist was of humble birth, a 
native of the hills above Dove Dale, w r here his 
talent, while he was but a boy, became known to 
Mr. Beresford Hope, who brought him to London, 
and placed him with Mr. Clayton. He subse- 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 307 

quently studied at Paris. I had thought him a 
successful man, but it turns out now that his 
spirits were broken by pecuniary distress, and that 
he had fallen into the hands of cruel usurers, who 
made his life a torment to him, and this so under- 
mined his health that he fell a victim to some, 
otherwise slight, attack of indisposition. He was 
one of four sculptors whom I have known to die in 
poverty within about two years. 

I may mention two small works at Salisbury, in 
which I took an especial interest. One of these 
was the restoration of the screens which part the 
smaller transepts from the choir. These had ori-* 
ginally been plain walls with very high copings (as 
was the case with all the early surroundings of the 
choir and 'presbytery) and were each pierced by a 
good early english doorway. 

That on the south side had been enriched 
externally in the fourteenth century, at the time 
when the transept arches were strengthened, by a 
series of very elaborate niches. These niches had 
been built up solid, and the doorways so far 
destroyed that no trace remained of their original 
form. By removing modern work we found traces 
of the design, both of these doorways, and of the 
niche work, which by long and careful study was 
developed into certainty, and they have been now 
restored to their true forms. I have some idea 
that the niches had at one time been arcaded 
towards the choir, but this was not proved with 

The other was the restoration to its original 
place of the effigy attributed to Bishop Poore. 
This had occupied the position of a founder's 

X 2 

308 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

tomb to the north of the high altar, under a part 
of the thick screen-wall, which was arcaded to 
receive it : as is shown by Carter, both in his 
architectural book, and by his sketch made in 
1781, which was published by Dr. Milner. Wyatt 
swept away the whole of this, and placed the 
effigy in the north-east transept upon a fifteenth 
century altar-tomb belonging to some one else. 

I have had the pleasure of retranslating it to its 
old position, and of re-erecting the arcaded screen- 
wall over it ; in doing which I was aided by some 
beautiful fragments recently discovered, which, 
though probably not parts of the tomb, very much 
resemble Carter's sketch. 

Where Wyatt deposited the body found in the 
tomb no one knows. As to the question whether 
this was or was not Bishop Poore's tomb, I would 
refer to a correspondence between myself and 
Canon Jones, of Bradford, as also to a letter 
addressed by me to the Secretary of the Society 
of Antiquaries in 1876, and to the report already 
referred to upon the position of the high altar. 

I may mention that the tablet described by 
Leland states that Bishop Poore was buried at 
Durham. A document in the " Fcedera " says, I 
believe, the same. Matthew Paris, Matthew of 
Westminster, and a document in the hands of 
Canon Jones, all say that the bishop was buried 
at Tarrant. Bishop Godwin says the same, but 
his editor states that Poore desired to be there 
interred, but that the Salisbury people claimed 
his body and left only his heart at Tarrant. Dr. 
Milner adopts this view. A body was, anyhow, 
found by Wyatt in the tomb. 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 309 


I was called in after the fall of the central 
tower 5 to reconstruct what had fallen ; but not 
wishing to displace Mr. Slater, the architect in 
whose hands the work had previously been, I 
voluntarily associated him with myself, and shared 
the payments with him. He was not, however, 
acknowledged by the restoration committee. 

The work was carried out under a general com- 
mittee, of whom the Duke of Richmond was 
chairman. It was, I think, the finest committee 
I ever worked under ; extremely numerous, and 
consisting of an admirable set of men, among 
whom I may mention Bishop Gilbert and Dean 
Hook. I at once made most careful examination 
of the remains, and stationed my son Gilbert at 
Chichester while the vast heap of debris was 
removed. His task was, by the help of prints 
and photographs, to " spot " and identify every 
moulded and carved stone found among the debris, 
and to label and register them so that we might 
have every detail of the old work to refer to, and, 
if sufficiently preserved, to re-use. He executed 
this task most admirably, so much so that we 
were not left to conjecture for any detail of the 
tower, and much was refixed in the new work. 6 

We should, however, have been uncertain as 

5 This took place on February 21, 1861, at 1.30 p.m. ED. 

8 Of this work 1 had the satisfaction of superintending every 
detail, from the foundations which I set out myself, to the 
weathercock (the old one) which I refixed with my own hands, 
on June z8th, 1866, upon which day the completion of the spire 
was celebrated by a solemn Te Deum, sung in the presence of 
the Bishop. ED. 

^io Sir Gilbert* Scott. 


to some actual dimensions, had it not been that 
a former resident architect 7 had made perfect 
measured drawings of the whole, which drawings 
had come into the possession of Mr. Slater : these 
my association with him had given me the use of. 
This was a most happy circumstance, and enabled 
us to put together upon paper all the fragments 
with certainty of correctness : so, one thing with 
another, the whole design was absolutely and indis- 
putably recovered. The only deviation from the 
design of the old steeple was this. The four arms 
of the cross had been (probably in the fourteenth 
century) raised some five or six feet in height, and 
thus had buried a part of what had originally been 
the clear height of the tower, and with it an orna- 
mental arcading running round it. I lifted out 
the tower from this encroachment by adding five 
or six feet to its height ; so that it now rises above 
the surrounding roofs as much as it originally did. 
I also omitted the partial walling up of the belfry 
windows, which may be seen in old views. 

The new work was carried out with great solidity. 
The foundations were sunk to a considerable depth ; 
in doing which we found many Roman remains, 
fragments of mosaic pavements, pottery, &c., and 
also several boars' tusks. 

The foundation of each pier was a square bulk 
of masonry surrounded by stepped buttresses and 
immense footings, all built of great blocks of 
Purbeck stone, and laid on a mass of cement 

The piers to some height above the floor of the 
church are wholly of Purbeck stone set in cement, 

7 Mr. Joseph Butler, surveyor to the chapter property. ED. 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 311 

but as this was found' ruinously costly they were 
carried up above that level with dressings of Port- 
land stone, but the mass of Purbeck. The super- 
structure was partly of Chilmark stone and partly 
of the rag from Purbeck. 

No part of the piers or other portions bearing 
concentrated weight have any rubble walling, but 
are wholly of block stone ; that of the piers and a 
good deal more being laid in cement. 

The tower was carried up to the base of the 
spire independently of the old structure, being 
steadied by massive shoring. When we had 
reached that height, the arches, walls, &c., con- 
necting the four arms of the cross were completed, 
thus uniting the new tower with the old structure. 
This done, the spire was carried up. I do not 
think that a settlement of a hair's breadth, shows 
itself. This is as admirable a piece of masonry as 
ever was erected, and as faithful a restoration. 

The foundations and the lower part of the piers 
were built by Mr. Bushby, of Littlehampton ; the 
rest of the work by Messrs. Beanland, of Bradford, 
in Yorkshire. The clerk of the works was Mr. 
Marshall, now in business at Chichester. 

I have since, in conjunction with Mr. Slater, 
carried on the restoration of the Lady Chapel, 
and of a chapel to the east of the south transept. 

The fitting up of the choir, &c., were wholly 
Mr. Slater's work. I had nothing to do with 


I had visited St. David's before I was called in 
there, and had sketched most of its details. I had 

3 1 2 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

also read and reviewed Basil Jones and Freeman's 
history of it, so that I was fairly prepared for my 
work, which has been a very interesting and 
arduous one. 

My first report will show in what condition I 
found the church, and my second, addressed to 
Bishop Thirlwall, the nature of the principal 
works. The most difficult of these was the repa- 
ration of the tower, which involved little short 
of the reconstruction of its two western piers. 
This was carried out with admirable care and 
energy by the builder, Mr. Wood of Worcester, 
under my very excellent clerk of the works, Mr. 
Clear, who had just completed a similar work for 
me on a smaller scale in Darlington Church. 

The cathedral had been erected by Bishop 
De Leia in the latter years of the twelfth century, 
but the tower had fallen, through the failure of its 
two eastern piers about 1220. In rebuilding it 
the two western piers were left standing, so that 
the tower was supported on piers of unequal 

During the six centuries which have passed since 
this, the height and weight of the tower had been 
vastly increased ; and while the two eastern piers 
have borne it well, the two western ones had 
gradually become crushed literally to fragments. 
At one time a vast wall had been erected between 
the piers, displacing half the width of the choir 
screen, but the abutment was insufficient. One 
transept-arch had also been walled up, as I think 
had been the nave arch, though this had been re- 
opened before I was called in. Not only were the 
two older piers thus shattered, but very much of 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 313 

the superstructure also, while the later storeys 
above were split from top to bottom by gaping 
cracks of vast width. I trust the tower is now 
perfectly sound. 

Besides this great work, the church has been 
put into substantial repair throughout, excepting a 
part of the south transept and the porch. The 
aisles of the eastern arm, once in ruins, have been 
roofed, repaired and re-united with the church. 

The east end had originally a fine triplet of 
lancet windows of very early style and over these 
four lancets of somewhat later date. The former 
had been blocked up by the addition in front of 
them of Bishop Vaughan's chapel. The latter had 
(excepting their outer jambs) been replaced by a 
perpendicular window embracing the width of the 
four older lancets. This perpendicular window 
was of inferior stone, and was so decayed as to 
need renewal. I discovered when I came to deal 
with it, that the sills of the four lights remained 
beneath the later sill, and that the internal com- 
prising arch was formed of the internal arch stones 
of the older lancets. I further discovered that a 
certain heightening of the side walls, added in the 
fifteenth or sixteenth century, contained the debris 
of the original east windows. I determined on a 
bolder course than usual, and took down the added 
walling for the treasure buried in it, and, having 
secured that treasure, rebuilt it. This gave me 
the details of the eastern lancets perfectly, as to 
design, and in a great measure the actual stone- 
work fit to be re-used, so that the lights are now 
replaced, in part with their old material, wholly of 
their old design. 

314 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

We found that the rafters of the flat roof 
of the eastern arm had belonged to the high 
roof of early times. I determined, however not 
to replace them as a high pitched roof because 
the later roof was of good design and capable 
of reparation. Mr. E. A. Freeman says he would 
either have retained the perpendicular window 
or else have " gone the whole hog" arid re- 
stored the high roof. I reply, i. The perpen- 
dicular window was rotten, and I had found the 
older one. 2. The perpendicular roof was hand- 
some and susceptible of reparation, and the old 
one was of plain square timbers. 3. I knew what 
the east end had been up to the foot of the gable, 
and thus far I could restore it with absolute 
certainty, and in a considerable degree with its 
own actual material and workmanship, but I knew 
nothing whatever of the design of the older 
gable. I therefore took the intermediate course, 
preserving and replacing all I knew of the 
earlier work, and beyond this preserving the 

One thing that I did was non-conservative. 
The two stories over the tower arches had formed 
an open lantern, of the twelfth and thirteenth cen- 
turies below, and of the fourteenth above. Timber 
groining had however been introduced in the six- 
teenth century, cutting across the windows and 
spoiling this fine feature. I lifted this groining to 
the top of the lantern, and by doing so at once pre- 
served it, and exposed to view the lantern windows. 

The whole of the church had been prepared for 
stone groining, but none of it erected, excepting 
in the eastern chapels (now mostly ruined). The 

CHAP, viz.] Recollections. 315 

north transept roof being very rough and un- 
sightly, I have ventured to complete the groining 
beneath it, but only in oak. I should wish to do 
the same in the south transept. The beautiful 
oak ceiling of the sixteenth century in the nave has 
been thoroughly repaired. 

I should have mentioned above that the walled- 
up eastern triplet has been filled with enamel 
mosaic, and the four lancets over it with stained 
glass, at the expense of my late dear friend the 
Rev. John Lucy of Hampton Lucy, as a memorial 
to Bishop Lucy. 

I am now preparing to restore the west front 
(which was mainly rebuilt by Mr. Nash), as a 
memorial to Bishop Thirlwall. 

This work has been carried on under a general 
committee of which the Bishop has been chair- 
man. The secretary has all along been Mr. 
Charles Allen of Tenby, a very talented and 
business-like gentleman, who was formerly in 
India and was private secretary to Lord Dalhousie 
when Governor- General. The Dean has taken but 
little part in it. 

The leading Canon when I undertook the work 
was a most eccentric man, aristocratic and gen- 
tlemanly by nature, but, as one must suppose, 
somewhat touched in his mind. His mono- 
mania was hatred of the Dean and of most of 
the Canons, which he carried to a most amusing 
extent. Next to that came hatred of all that is 
Welsh, though a Welshman himself ; and lastly, a 
general hatred of the human race : sentiments, 
however, expressed with the greatest amount of 
bonhomie and joviality; which made him an 

3 1 6 Sir Gilbert Scoff. 

amusing, though tiresome companion, but a man 
little suited to promote a great work like this. 
Indeed, he sometimes used to say that he wished 
the whole Cathedral was pulled down and a new 
one built. Happily we have a canon now in his 
place who is the very reverse, a thorough pro- 
moter of the work not only by his influence but 
by his example, as he has undertaken the north 
transept at his own cost. 8 

When we have restored the west end and the 
south transept, the work still remaining will be 
the recovery from a state of ruin of the eastern 
chapels : and a most important work it will be. 


Never was so dreary a work undertaken as this 
looked at first sight. I used to say that Bangor 
Cathedral contained nothing worth seeing but 
three buttresses. 

I saw it first some seven or eight and twenty 
years ago, when travelling in Wales, in search of 
green slate, with Mr. Moffatt. These noble 
buttresses struck me so much that I obtained leave 
to excavate round one of their bases, which had 
been deeply buried by the accumulation of soil. 

When a few years since I was appointed archi- 
tect to the restoration I again felt a desire to see 
this buried base, forgetting for the moment that I 
had taken measured sketches of it more than 
twenty years before. There chanced to be a 
crowd in the churchyard owing to the funeral of 
some person of note, and my excavation was 
mobbed. When standing between the crowd and 
8 Canon Allen, now Dean of St. David's. ED. 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 317 

the hole, I heard a Welshman behind me exclaim, 
"I mind Scott and Moffatt digging there 
before," which called to my mind my former 
researches which I had so strangely forgotten ; 
though I had often referred to and made use of 
my sketches then made. 

On more careful examination I saw reason to 
hope that a careful search would bring to light 
more work of the age of these buttresses, and this 
hope has been amply realized. 

The cathedral seems to have been built (so far 
as concerns its oldest existing remains) about the 
time of King Stephen. It was probably damaged 
during the Edwardian Wars, and its eastern part, 
or rather perhaps its transepts, rebuilt wholly or 
in part after their termination. A century or more 
later it was burnt by Owen Glendower, and lay in 
ruins for most of the fifteenth century, till restored 
during the reign of Henry VII. 

Since that time it has passed through a course 
of gradual degradation, up to the period of the 
commencement of the works still in progress. 

We soon found that the more modern walls, 
whether of Henry the Seventh's time, or of later 
date, contained vast quantities of the debris of the 
church partially destroyed by Glendower, and as 
the state of repair of these parts demanded the 
removal of much of the work of this later date, we 
were enabled to exhume these remains. We found 
among them enough to complete the design of the 
two great transept windows, and to reconstruct 
them, in part, with their own materials. We found 
also portions of, I think, seven other buttresses of 
nearly the same design with the original three, 

3 1 8 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

besides very numerous other details, such as the 
corbel-tables of the transepts and chancel, the 
jambs, bases and caps to the arches of the cross- 
ing, and of the other arches opening into the 
transepts, &c., &c., most of which have been 
followed, and often the stones themselves re-used. 

Nearly the only exception is the design of the 
crossing-piers, which were originally too weak, and 
these, though following in part the ancient design, 
have been increased in size. 

We found also much of the tile pavement ; also 
the plan of the earlier Norman piers of the cross- 
ing, and generally of the central portion of the 
Norman church. The south transept is carried 
out exactly according to the evidences found, but 
we were obliged to raise the level of the floor of 
that on the north, owing to its having been, for 
some reason, placed impracticably low. 

The transept-crossing, with preparations for a 
central tower, are complete, as also is the structure 
of the chancel ; in which I have retained the work 
of Henry the Seventh's time, though I have added 
the earlier buttresses which we discovered. 

I beg to refer to the second report which I 
made when the work had attained a certain degree 
of forwardness. It is still going on, thanks mainly 
to the liberality of Lord Penrhyn. 


This has not been an interesting work. It is 
one of a minor class, consisting of (i) The re- 
arrangement of the choir; (2) The external re- 
modelling of the eastern arm of the church ; 
(3) The opening out of the clerestory of the nave 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 319 

and the internal improvement of its roof ; with a 
few other smaller matters. 

The chancel, with the exception of its late deco- 
rated east window, had been externally renewed in 
costly stone but horrid architecture, early, I sup- 
pose, in this century ; not the smallest trace of its 
old design being left. There were extant early 
prints of it, and from these I made a design for its 
restoration, but accompanied it by earnest advice, 
not to act upon it until the whole work had been 
stripped of its modern concealment, and evidences 
of its original design searched after. This the Dean 
and Chapter ignored, saying that they could not 
have their cathedral disturbed earlier than was 
necessary, and 1, in an evil moment of weakness, 
yielded. I introduced two couplets on either 
side, designed as closely as I could from the 
prints ; when at length, as the work approached the 
central tower, to our dismay the old details made 
their appearance. Whether to welcome their 
apparition, as I am wont so heartily to do, or to 
deprecate it as the Tiemesis I so fully deserved, I 
did not know. I could not well ask for money to 
re-do all I had done, and yet I could not repeat it 
in the face of facts such as these. I therefore 
restored the remaining windows on either side cor- 
rectly, and left the others to take their chance : 
monuments of weak compliance, and beacons to 
warn others against such foolish conduct. There 
ought to be a brass plate set up recording our 
shame and our repentance. 

I found the old stalls arranged in the structural 
chancel, and wretched deal-grained copies of them 
placed under the crossing. I removed the real 

320 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

stalls into the crossing; but, 1 regret to say, 
seated the eastern arm, a step which was pressed 
upon me against my wish. 

I think it might have been better to have 
kept them where they were, and to have thrown 
the crossing into the nave as I am doing at Ban- 
gor. Both had originally their stalls in the cross- 
ing ; but at Bangor they were removed (or placed) 
eastward in the re-arrangement under Henry the 

The nave had a modern roof with plaster ceiling 
of an arched form hiding the curious clerestory. 
The roof itself was substantial, and as it lent itself 
well to a form which would show the windows (a 
form founded on that of the transepts of York), I 
adopted that treatment, and I think with fair suc- 


August 8//z, 1872. 

IT was many years ago I forget how many that 
I was first appointed architect to St. Albans 
Abbey, and it was many yearafe before that that I 
had first visited it, and still longer since I had 
begun to entertain a romantic interest for it. It 
was while I yet lived at Gawcott that my enthu- 
siasm was first stirred up towards St. Albans by 
Henry Rumsey, my father's pupil. He promised 
to get my uncle King to take me there from 
Latimers ; but this never came off. Still earlier I 
can recollect hearing from my old aunt Gilbert the 
nursery rhyme, 

" When Verulam stood 

St. Albans was a wood ; 

Now St. Albans is a town 

Verulam's thrown down ;" 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 321 

and later my interest was excited by hearing that 
two places in our neighbourhood had to send their 
children there for confirmation, because they were 
peculiars of London, and, as I now know, because 
Offa had granted them to St. Albans Abbey. 

When I first turned my attention to architecture 
I almost dreamed of St. Albans. I so inspired 
my fellow-pupil, though not much of a gothicist, 
that he walked there with his brothers and saw it 
before me. He was, however, punished for his 
temerity by being apprehended as an incendiary. 
It was in the days of " Swing." 9 

I forget whether it was in 1827 or 1828 my 
first or my second year in London that I planned 
with my brother John, then articled at Chesham, 
to meet him at St. Albans, and to walk on to 
Gawcott (for our holiday) together. I recollect 
well the romantic feeling I attached to the con- 
cluding clause of one of his letters : " Adieu ! 
till we meet at the ' Woolpack ' " that being 
a hostelry at St. Albans. However, by some 
shifting of the cards, we met in London, and got 
to St. Albans, part of the way on foot, and part by 
coach. It was, I know, on the 27th of May, as I 
remember the oak-apples worn two days after, but 
I forget the year. I well remember the intensity 
of my delight at this visit. 

What, however, I referred to at starting was my 

9 This was a period of great discontent among the agricul- 
tural labourers, owing in part to the introduction of machinery, 
and in part to the severity with which the Game Laws were 
enforced. Incendiary fires were common, and threatening 
letters were employed as a means of coercing farmers and 
landlords. These letters usually bore the signature of a feigned 
" Captain Swing." ED. 


322 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

being called in to report on the Abbey many years 
back. The immediate cause of this was the hope, 
then entertained, that St. Albans would shortly be 
erected into a see. Subscriptions were raised on 
the condition of this taking place, and on the 
failure of the scheme were returned ; all but a 
portion which had been given unconditionally, 
which was expended on some ordinary repairs, 
mainly of the north arcade of the nave, and on 
some parts of the north transept. 

My report was printed, and is extant. I shortly 
afterwards gave a walking-lecture at the Abbey : 
this was in part written, but is now lost, excepting 
such fragments as Dr. Nicholson gathered for his 
guide-book (since greatly amplified). I was called 
in again last year to report afresh, owing to a new 
movement for the restoration of the church. A 
public meeting was held in London, and funds were 
raised to somewhere about one-quarter of what 
was needed. 

The present work commenced about 1870-1, 
owing to the dangerous condition of the central 
tower. I may refer to Mr. Chappie's printed 
paper, giving an account of the reparation of the 
tower. The tower was giving way seriously at 
its north-eastern corner, and also in the walls 
abutting upon that angle. This angle especially, 
but also the tower generally, was thoroughly 
shored. I was laid by at the time with the illness 
I was attacked with at Chester, and could not go 
at first to inspect the system of shoring, but com- 
municated my views to Chappie through my eldest 
son, who was of great service in arranging the 
system of shoring. Early in the spring I was able 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 323 

to go myself and inspect it ; also to attend a 
public meeting at Willis' Rooms for the further- 
ance of the work. 

We had first to apply a vast system of shoring, 
and then carefully to remove the defective parts, 
replacing them with hard brickwork in cement and 
running the pier everywhere full of liquid cement ; 
we, at the same time, made good the orders of 
brickwork which had been cut away : some parts 
are said to have been cut out to a depth of seven 
feet. On the opposite side we had to underpin 
the foundation, which had been undermined by 
burials, and to sustain it with a vast mass of 
cement concrete. 

The same process in a minor form was applied 
to the other piers, though we did not restore the 
inner orders to the western piers, inasmuch as we 
supposed that they had been cut away to allow the 
stalls of the monks to be carried past them. 

We found under the south-east pier the evidence 
of a marvellous fact. Its foundations had been 
excavated into a sort of cave, some five or six feet 
in diameter, which was filled in with rubbish (mere 
dust, with some timber struts among it). I can 
only conceive that this had been done with the 
intention of destroying the building by setting fire 
to the struts, but that the process had been 
suspended. 1 

The superstructure, which was much shattered 
and rent, has . been carefully and substantially 

1 It appears that when the work of destruction was counter- 
manded, no pains were taken to make good the mischief already 
done, and the tower has remained propped up on short oaken 
struts from the "Reformation" until the recent repair. ED. 

Y 2 

324 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

repaired and bound together by iron rods. The 
north transept had been affected by the general 
failure, and is now being repaired : its north-east 
angle has been underpinned to a considerable 
depth. Its abutting walls eastward have also 
been strengthened ; so that I trust the old tower 
is now safe and sound again. 

We are now engaged in the repairs of the choir 
and the restitution of the two very curious en- 
trances to the sanctuary from the choir aisles with 
the very remarkable tabernacle work which they 
once sustained. This I had discovered on a 
former occasion, having found the fragments of 
the tabernacle work of the southern entrance 
made use of to block up the entrance itself. This 
I and my assistant, Mr. Burlison, had put to- 
gether and found nearly perfect. It is now being 
erected in situ. 

On the other side, though we have found no 
fragments, we have discovered the traces, on the 
wall, of similar tabernacles. 

I ought to have mentioned that, previous to the 
commencement of the present movement, the 
eastern chapels, so long alienated, had been re- 
covered to the church, by making over the old 
gate-house, long used as a prison, to the grammar 
school, which had hitherto occupied the Lady 
Chapel. They at present remain desolate, and 
the footpath still perforates them, but surely this 
cannot continue. 2 

Our great discovery I have now to relate. I 
one day directed the removal of the blocking up 
of a recess under one of the windows of the south 
2 This scandal has now ceased. ED. 

CHAP, vii.] Recollections. 325 

choir aisle ; this was followed up after I had left, 
and a number of fragments of the substructure 
of the shrine of St. Alban were found. 

I will here mention that, very long ago, Dr. 
Nicholson had removed the walls which blocked 
up two of the five arches formerly opening into 
the eastern chapels, and had found (among other 
things) a number , of beautiful purbeck marble 
fragments which we concluded to belong to this 
structure. I bargained with him that when he held 
such another field-day I should be sent for, but he 
died before it occurred, and I was cheated out of 
this piece of archaeological sport by my zealous 
assistant, Mr. Micklethwaite, who, like William De 
Valence in Hatfield Park, 3 killed the bucks during 
my absence, so that when I went down thirsting 
for the chase I found it over and the quarry 

Nearly the whole of the marble shrine (erected 
early in the fourteenth century) was recovered, and 
is now, by the ingenuity of the foreman and the clerk 
of the works, set up again, exactly in its old place, 
stone for stone, and fragment for fragment : the 
most marvellous restitution that ever was made. 
The old site was marked by the impressions of the 
feet and knees of the pilgrims, and by the sockets 
of the pillars, and to these marks the veritable 
stones are now fitted as if they had never been 
removed. It is a magnificent piece of work, and 
its recovery is one of the most wonderful facts of 
modern archaeology. It is fair to all parties to say 
that I got snubbed by the committee because a 
little of their money was spent on the discovery, 
3 Cf. Matthew Paris (Bohn's tr.), ii. 534. 

326 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

and was ordered to make no more such researches 
at their expense. Several special subscriptions 
have, however, been made, and Mr. Ruskin, on 
hearing of the discovery, guaranteed the whole 
cost, if needful : so that now pilgrimages may be 
made again to the shrine of the proto-martyr of 

This, however, is not all ; we have also found, 
and in part set up, the shrine of St. Amphibalus. 4 
This is of a little later date, and of common stone, 
and it agrees with the old description discovered 
by Mr. Mackenzie Walcott. 

Numerous other fragments were also discovered 
which are not yet appropriated to their places and 

May the work prosper. 

I ought to pay, in passing, a tribute to the 
memory of Dr. Nicholson, the late rector. No 
man has been more zealous for the conservation 
and restoration of the church than he. During a 
long period he not only preserved the church from 
increasing dilapidation, but carried on many effi- 
cient reparations and restorations out of the scan- 
tiest resources. To him, too, we owe the dis- 
covery of the extensive and most interesting wall- 
paintings, and of many other objects of interest. 

* The priest, for concealing whom St. Alban was arrested, 
and to whom he owed his conversion. ED. 


August ^th, 1872, Portsmouth. I have been this 
day to Osborne to be knighted. 

I have had a very agreeable day. I was sum- 
moned to Osborne to the council, and was invited 
to go down by the special train at nine o'clock. 
At the station I met Lord Ripon, Mr. Cardwell, 
Mr. Childers, the Lord Advocate of Scotland, and 
Sir Arthur Helps. We went down together to 
Gosport, where we adjourned to a large man-of- 
war's boat of twelve oars, and were rowed, under 
the command of an officer, to the mouth of the 
harbour. Here we embarked on a fine steamer, 
and proceeded towards the Isle of Wight. After 
a little time our attention was called by an officer 
to a mass of smoke far ahead. It was the American 
fleet, which had been for some time lying in the 
Southampton water, saluting the Queen in passing 
Osborne. We presently met them, one after 
another, five vessels. On coming off Osborne, 
we were landed in the ship's boat, and found 
carriages in waiting to take us up to the house. 
The Prince of Wales' s two boys were at the water- 
side on their ponies. 

On reaching the house, after a little walking 
about, I was asked to go with the ministers to- 

328 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

wards the presence chamber. Among them was 
Lord Bridport with a sword, which 'he informed 
me was to be used on me. We waited on a stair- 
case a long time, while Lord Ripon, as the Pre- 
sident of the Council, and I think Sir Arthur 
Helps as the Secretary, were with the Queen, and 
while we waited there the Prince of Wales passed 
through the staircase. He shook hands with and 
congratulated me. 

Presently Lord Ripon came out and told me that 
my business would come on last : then the council 
were called in, but their business did not occupy 
more than a few minutes, and, at length, I was 
summoned. Having made my bows, the sword 
was handed to the Queen. She touched both my 
shoulders with it and said in a familiar gentle way, 
" Sir Gilbert." Then she held out her hand, I 
kneeled again and kissed it, and backed out, the 
whole taking something less than half a minute. 

I should say that, previously, Mr. Cardwell had 
come out and asked me which of my names I 
chose to be called by, when I chose " Gilbert." 

I thank God for the honour. 

We then adjourned to luncheon with some of 
the ladies and gentlemen of the Court. 

I had been there once before, and had lunched 
there then in the same way : this was some nine 
years ago, when my design for the Prince Consort 
memorial was first adopted. Excellent Sir Charles 
Phipps was there then ; now Sir Thomas Biddulph 
took his place. Sir John Cowell, one of the 
gentlemen of the Court, and a member of our 
committee, treated me with much kindness. Mr. 
Doyne Bell was also there. 

CHAP, viii.] Recollections. 329 

We returned to the water's edge, and went back 
to Gosport as we had come. I then took leave 
of the members of council, and crossed over to 
Portsmouth on my way home, the twelve-oar with 
its officer taking me over. 

I had not seen the Prince of Wales since his 
illness. He looks stouter and fairly well, yet 
showing traces of the attack in a more languid 
tone and manner, but I hope this will soon pass 

All the members of council were very kind and 

February zist, 1877. It is four and a half 
years since I wrote anything in this book. 

Since that time I have returned from Rook's- 
nest to my old house at Ham, and have lived 
there three years with my son John, and his wife 
and family, beside my two younger sons. 

I had a severe attack of illness six months after 
my return, which led me to make a long stay 
abroad. I went with my son Dukinfield, and my 
good servant Pavings to the Engadine. I had 
just before been elected President of the Institute 
of British Architects, and waited in England in 
order to perform some preliminary acts of hospi- 
tality and good fellowship. We started on July 
loth (or rather on the nth, for it was at one in 
the morning), from Harwich and went by Rotter- 
dam, Cologne, and Heidelberg to Freiburg, and 
thence through the Black Forest to Schaff- 
hausen, then by the Lake of Constance to Chur, 
and on by the Albula pass to Samaden, whence 
we moved to Sils, and stayed there some five 

330 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

Here my brother John and his son, and my 
own son Alwyne, joined us, and we travelled by 
the Splugen to Andermatt and Lucerne, thence 
to Interlachen and eventually to Evian on the 
lake of Geneva. Here I was strongly recom- 
mended to extend my tour and to go to Rome ; 
so, being left by my sons, I went first to Lyons, 
then to Le Puy, Nismes, Aries, and Avignon, and 
thence to Genoa and on by Piacenza, Parma, 
Bologna, Ravenna, Pistoja and Lucca to Florence, 
and again by Perugia and Assisi to Rome. 

Here I spent five weeks very agreeably, being 
very much in the company of my old friend John 
Henry Parker. I went thence to Naples, and to 
Pompeii, Herculaneum and Baiae, returning by 
water to Genoa and from there by Marseilles 
and Paris, to London, reaching home on New 
Year's Day, 1874. 

The next year my son John and I had a trip 
first through Normandy, and afterwards to Ham- 
burg, whence I went with my youngest son (who 
had joined us at Brussels) to the Hartz, the Saxon 
Switzerland, Vienna, Saltzburg, Munich, &c., and 
home by way of Strasburg and Rheims. 

During the autumn of this year I determined to 
remove to London, whether wisely or not God 
knows ! We did not actually leave Ham until a 
year later. 


I commenced this work, so far as related to the 
interior of the Lady Chapel, many years since in 
conjunction with Mr. Hussey, who was then archi- 
tect to the cathedral. I think so far as we went 

CHAP, viii.] Recollections. 331 

the work was fairly successful, and it was well 
decorated in colour by the late Octavius Hudon. 

We did not at that time do much external work, 
but I commenced a careful study of its probable 
design, which I afterwards continued with great 
earnestness for a very long time. 

The exterior had been so cut to pieces that it 
was only by study, spread over several years, that 
its beautiful design was at all recovered. 

I will here refer to my report, drawn up at the 
time when I was appointed successor to Mr. 
Hussey, upon his resignation, and also to a paper 
read before the local architectural society and 
printed (now very scarce), which contains a state- 
ment of what had been done up to its date. 

The most interesting part of the work is that 
already alluded to, the Lady Chapel.. The con- 
nexion between this part of the cathedral and the 
eastern parts of Bangor, will be found detailed in 
the paper I have mentioned. This was made 
clear by the bases of the buttresses, and more so 
by a fairly complete buttress, which was found 
embedded in the wall of the later chapel on each 
side : that on the north side still remains. The 
beautiful cornice existed under the roofs of these 
chapels. Portions of the open parapet were dis- 
covered, and were fitted into sockets found cut in 
the cornice, and into sinkings in the east walls 
of the choir. Other details gradually developed 
themselves, the marks of the buttress-gables re- 
mained against the walls, breaking through the 
cornice; and, eventually, nearly every iota was 
discovered, up to the top of the cornice, as well as 
the parapet over it. The eastern gable and pin- 

332 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

nacles were worked from conjecture. The curious 
mode in which the roof springs from an inner wall 
behind the parapet is genuine, that wall having 
remained. The windows gave themselves almost 

The paper alluded to details the discovery of 
the spire-like roof of the south-east apse of the 
choir-aisle. This was proved beyond all question 
by portions still remaining in place, and by very 
numerous fragments found embedded in the walls. 

The same paper gives my reasons for departing 
from my customary rule in removing one of the 
side chapels, which had at a late date been added 
to the Lady Chapel, while I left the other. It was 
horribly decayed, it spoiled that side of the beauti- 
ful Lady Chapel, it had destroyed the apse of the 
choir-aisle, and its walls were the burial place of 
the details of the finer work which it had dis- 
placed ; while its design was the same as that of 
the north chapel which I left. 

In its walls were found the windows of the apse, 
and almost every detail of its design, many of 
which were put up in their proper places. I leave 
others to judge of the result, only adding that the 
structure is exact to the old design, except the 
scaling of the spire-like roof, of which no evidence 
was found ; but it was so strongly pressed, that I 
ventured upon it. The buttress which severs the 
apse from the aisle, and the pinnacle upon it, were 
merely conjectural. 

The external stonework of this cathedral was so 
horribly and lamentably decayed, as to reduce it to 
a mere wreck, like a mouldering sandstone cliff. 
The most ordinary details could often only be 

CHAP, viii.] Recollections. 333 

found in corners more protected, through accidental 
circumstances, than the rest. I can assert for 
myself, and for my able and lamented clerk of the 
works, Mr. Prater, that not a stone retaining any- 
thing like its old surface has been wilfully dis- 
placed, nor a single evidence of detail disregarded. 
I am the more specific on this point, because the 
frightful extent of the decay forced upon me, 
most unwillingly, very considerable renewal of the 
stonework. I can aver, however, that this was 
unavoidable, unless, indeed, I was willing, and my 
employers too, to leave the cathedral a mere ruin. 
The present state of the south-west angle of the 
south transept will show how matters stood : 
though this is not nearly so much decayed as was 
the tower, and some other portions. Other parts 
were better, and have been left to speak for them- 
selves. We rebuilt the south walk of the cloister 
exactly on its old lines. It had long since been 
taken down, but was essential as an abutment to 
the aisle of the nave. I have noticed that a news- 
paper scribbler speaks of my having " destroyed 
the cloister." Any one would suppose from this, 
that I had pulled down the three remaining sides ; 
but what this man means by destruction, is the re- 
instatement of the part which had been destroyed, 
the other sides not having been so much as 

We added the stone vaulting to the nave aisles, 
which had been prepared for, but not carried out. 
The same was the case with the nave itself. I 
did not venture upon adding stone vaulting here, 
but completed the work in oak upon the lines 
given by the stone springers. 

334 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

The choir had been groined in timber and 
plaster by my predecessor, upon the old springers. 
I advised merely to substitute oak boarding for 
the plaster, as the ribs were of wood, but the 
chapter pressed its entire reconstruction in oak, 
owing to its lines not being quite perfect. It has 
been decorated by Clayton and Bell. The beau- 
tiful stall- work has been carefully restored. It was 
essential to the scheme that the choir should be 
opened out. I felt averse to this, because the 
stone screen, though not beautiful, was ancient, ex- 
cepting its doorway. I, however, consented to 
remove it, and set up its old portions in the side 
arches behind the stalls, and without further dis- 
turbance of the canopies of the return stalls than 
opening out their panels, I have applied to the 
western side an open screen founded on their own 

The substructure of the shrine of St. Werberg 
had been made into a bishop's throne. We have 
removed it into the south choir aisle, adding to it 
some parts recently discovered, and have made a 
a new throne. 

The arches of the presbytery are at present 
open, but will eventually have metal grilles. 

The whole of the interior has been carefully 
denuded of its coatings of yellow wash, without 
disturbing the surface of the stone. 

The old sedilia have been completed according 
to their own evidence, and one, which had a 
modern canopy (though far from new), has been 
replaced by the original one, strangely discovered 
among the ruins of St. John's Church. This seems 
to prove that all of them came from thence. 

CHAP. VIIL] Recollections. 335 

The groined chambers to the north-east of the 
cloister, which had been subdivided and applied to 
mean purposes, have been thrown together and 
appropriated as the priest-vicars' vestry. 

The fine Norman crypt on the west side of the 
cloister, once the substructure of the abbot's 
hall, has very unhappily been made over to the 
grammar school, a very ill-judged proceeding. 

The site of the abbot's, and more recently the 
bishop's, residence has also been made over to the 
grammar school, now built anew. 

The great work still crying out to be undertaken 
is the restoration of the vast south transept, known 
as St. Oswald's Church. The sides of this have 
already been externally repaired, but the beautiful 
south front was refaced with most barbarous work 
early in this century. 

I have made a design, founded on the remains 
of its aisle fronts and on old prints, for its restora- 
tion a noble work for any wealthy neighbour to 
undertake. Its interior waits to be dealt with 
like that of the nave. 

The whole of these works, excepting the in- 
terior of the Lady Chapel (and not excepting the 
whole of this) have been carried out under the 
zealous and energetic direction of Dean Howson, 
whose never-flagging labour has raised some 
8o,ooo/ for the work. May he live to see it nobly 

Another suggested work is the addition of a 
spire to the central tower. This was intended and 
prepared for by its builders, early in the fifteenth 
century. I do not propose to venture on stone, 
but have designed a spire of timber covered with 

336 Sir Gilbert Scot I. 

lead. This is sadly needed to render the cathe- 
dral conspicuous from the surrounding country, 
whence it is either invisible or marked out only by 
the dull and heavy outline of its tower. 

I had here been represented for several years 
by the most faithful and laborious of clerks of the 
works, Mr. Frater, whose early decease we have 
all had to lament with very deep sorrow. A better, 
more talented, or more conscientious man could 
not be found for such a position. He was justly 
respected, and is sincerely regretted by all who 
knew him. 

In the course of our works we made many dis- 
coveries relating to the Norman church. Mr. 
Hussey ha'd long since discovered the bases of 
the pillars of the Norman apse (though unfor- 
tunately he removed them). We found parts of 
the walls and the responds of the apses to the 
aisles, and also the lower courses of the apsidal 
chapel projecting from the north transept ; also 
one of the pillars of the Norman choir and some 
parts of the outer walls of the choir aisles, which 
as far as possible we have left exposed to view. 
We also found very numerous fragments of all 
periods, some of them very interesting, all of 
which have been preserved. 

The restoration of the south-east angle of 
the south transept involved immense study, 
and though it is no doubt as correct as prac- 
ticable, what we had to work from was a mere 

This cathedral was formerly under the manage- 

CHAP. VIIL] Recollections. 337 

ment (as to its repairs, &c.) of Messrs. Fulljames 
and Waller, architects of Gloucester. 

I was long since called in to report upon the 
general scheme for its reparation drawn out by 
those gentlemen, and especially by Mr. Waller, a 
man of considerable talent. At a subsequent date, 
Mr. Waller having retired owing to ill-health, I 
became associated with Mr. Fulljames, and, later 
still, upon that gentleman's retirement, I took his 
place. These works were gradually carried on 
under a clerk of works (Mr. Ashbee) and a staff 
of masons ; but subsequently the larger work was 
undertaken of the internal reparation and partial 
re-arrangement of the choir. This was carried out 
with all due regard to the beautiful woodwork 
which remained. The stalls and canopies have 
been carefully restored, and as there were no old 
desk-fronts, &c., these were designed anew, making 
use of some remains which had been removed to 
the lady chapel, both as guides, and also as a part 
of the work. 

The side galleries were removed. The choir- 
screen (a modern one) remains untouched, with 
the organ upon it. The Dean objects to opening 
out the screen, and as the return-stalls are com- 
plete, I am not at all anxious to do so. The 
organ is a good seventeenth-century one, and I 
am very desirous to retain it, though, as is usual, 
all parties there condemn it. 

Among other things we ascertained, by removing 
the floor eastward of the beautiful encaustic tile- 
floor of the altar space, the position of the inner 
altar screen, which had been long since done 
away with. On this site a new reredos was erected, 


338 Sir Gilbert Scott: 

leaving a space between the two screens, as in old 
times. Of the actual reredos little trace remained, 
except fragments of details, and the outer jambs 
of its two doorways. We discovered the curious 
sunk area behind the reredos (with steps leading 
into the same) from which was an entrance to the 
space beneath the high altar. This is now exposed 
to view. 

In making these investigations we found the 
bases, and lower parts of the shafts, of two great 
round pillars of the Norman apse, which still 
remain beneath the floor. 

The canopies of the beautiful sedilia have been 
restored, mainly from their own evidence. 

About this time Mr. Waller, having happily been 
restored to health, resumed practice, and his aid was 
of very important service in the restoration of the 
porch, of which he had, years before, made careful 
measured drawings, since which time the progress 
of decay had obliterated much which had then 
existed. He was also very useful in respect of 
the sedilia. He has now for some years been 
reinstated in his position of resident architect, I 
retaining that of consulting architect. His in- 
vestigations of the history of the church have been 
carried on with much care and success, and he 
exercises a wise and important guardianship over 
the fabric, in which he has, since resuming office, 
carried out some very important works of repara- 

The choir vaulting has been decorated by Messrs. 
Clayton and Bell, as I think, very judiciously and 
successfully, though Mr. Gambier Parry thinks the 

CHAP. VIIL] Recollections. 339 

This gentleman had decorated a chapel adjoin- 
ing the south transept, and had reported upon the 
system to be adopted for the choir vaulting. As 
it would have been too much to decorate both the 
ribs, and the intervening spaces, while the walls 
below remained uncoloured, he had recommended 
that the spaces should be decorated and the ribs 
left plain. I thought this wrong, because this 
vaulting is an intricate system of ribs, an absolute 
net-work, in which the figure of the ribs is every- 
thing and the forms of the intervening spaces 
nothing. I therefore recommended to decorate 
the ribs and leave the spaces, for the most part, 
plain. This has been done, the only exception 
being the star-like arrangement of panels over the 
altar, and another over the choir proper : these 
tw r o portions have decoration in the spaces. To 
my eye the effect is most satisfactory. 


As to this work, I refer to my reports and also 
to my paper on it in the Archceological Journal 
of 1874. This cathedral is of transitional work, 
altered at several periods. The choir unfor- 
tunately had long been converted into a parish 
church, which greatly embarrassed our work. It 
could not be opened out to the nave, having a 
massive ancient screen, serving perhaps as a but- 
tress to the tower piers. The altar-screen, once (as 
at Selby) a bay in advance, had been removed 
and the altar pushed back to the east wall. 

The choir was galleried and had beneath the 
galleries a set of boxes or closets for leading 
families, though remains of the side screens still 

Z 2 

34O Sir Gilder i Scott. 

existed. A part of the beautiful stall-work had 
been injured, and repaired in an heterogeneous 
style when the central spire fell. 

The choir had been prepared for groining in the 
fourteenth century (or late in the thirteenth) when 
it was lengthened. I think it received oak groin- 
ing then, though at a late date this had been 
renewed in lath and plaster ; but this late groining 
had magnificent oak bosses with figure subjects 
carved on them. 

The transepts had been groined in plaster and 
papier-mache some thirty or forty years back by 
the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The nave had 
a flat deal ceiling. The nave-aisles were prepared 
for groining, but it had never been carried out. 

We substituted oak groining for the plaster- 
work, re-using the ancient bosses. We raised the 
choir roof and the eastern gable to its old pitch. 
We removed the papier-mache groining from the 
transepts, and exposed and restored the old oak 
roof. We (at a later date) added oak vaulting to 
the nave, adapted to the old corbels and imitated 
from the transepts at York. 

They could not afford to raise the roof to its 
proper pitch, but I hope that this may one day 

The arrangement of the choir was difficult and 
unsatisfactory. The old rood-screen remaining, 
I acted on my principle of not disturbing it, but 
as the cathedral is also a parish church, the 
whole parochial congregation has to be crammed 
into the eastern arm. I found this effected, as I 
have said, by side galleries and a kind of stage- 
boxes, but now all are seated on the floor. 

CHAP, viii.] Recollections. 34! 

We cleared away the galleries, &c., from the 
choir, and did what we could for it, considering the 
serious hindrance of its being used as a Parish 
Church, and we restored the damaged stall-work. 
The organ retains its old place, but is now being 
rebuilt (too big, I fear, as usual). 

The altar had formerly stood one bay in advance 
of the east wall, as at Selby, but had been moved 
back. This modern position we retained, and 
removed the sedilia to suit it. 

Our greatest work, however, was the strengthen- 
ing of the three towers, all of which were danger- 
ous. The western towers had sunk dreadfully, and 
were split from top to bottom on three sides (if 
not four). The cracks were nearly a foot wide. 
We underbuilt the walls for some twelve feet below 
their old foundations, propping them up meanwhile 
with an enormous mass of timber shoring. The 
danger was terrific. At one time a perfect ava- 
lanche of rubble roared in upon the men engaged 
below from the centre of the wall over their heads. 
Thank God, however, it was effected in safety. 
Each tower was tied with iron in every storey, the 
cracks built up and bonded across, and the towers 
are now sound and strong. 

The central tower was, and is, a curious union of 
twelfth and fifteenth century work, two sides of each 
date. It had given way from this strange union, 
the older work falling away from the later. We 
have, I think, succeeded in making it strong again. 

In some places my over-zealous clerk of works 
introduced too much new stone. One ought to be 
always on the spot effectually to prevent this. 

This, however, I may say, that had we not taken 

342 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

it in time, the building would probably not have 
stood long. 

I have been blamed for my treatment of the five 
western early english windows, which, with the 
flanking towers and portals, form a perfect fa9ade 
of the thirteenth century. These five wide lights 
had been turned into two-light windows (each) in 
the fourteenth century. The mullions and tracery 
then added (and which may be seen in any old 
view of this front) were of an inferior stone, and 
had decayed and given way so as to be only pre- 
vented from precipitating themselves into the nave 
by beams of wood placed across them. I found 
them to be beyond the reach of repair, and having 
once taken them out, the beauty of the earlier de- 
sign was so apparent, that it seemed barbarous to 
introduce new ones, so the windows now retain 
their original design. Persons may differ as to 
this. I have the satisfaction of finding, unasked 
for, the full approval of that eminent antiquary 
Mr. Edmund Sharpe, whose death we have just 
now to deplore. 

The main works were carried out under Dean 
Goode, to whom it is just to say that he zealously 
promoted them. The contractors were Messrs. 
Ruddle and Thompson of Peterborough, the clerk 
of works, Mr. Clarke, who so entirely lost his 
health from his exposure there, that for several 
years he was laid by, and supposed to be so for life ; 
but happily he has recovered, and has now been 
two or three years at work again. 

This work was in the hands of Mr. Perkins, the 

CHAP, viii.] Recollections. 343 

local architect, a pupil of Rickman. I had been 
occasionally consulted by the Dean, but not to any 
great extent, so that the entire structural reparation 
and restoration was Mr. Perkins's sole work. 

When, however, the internal work of the choir 
was taken in hand, I was called in, and I acted, so 
far as that was concerned, jointly with Mr. Perkins. 

The structural work was in the main already 
done, including some things which I regretted, 
such as the removal of the perpendicular screens. 
I fear I am jointly responsible for the removal of 
the Jacobean and Elizabethan canopies, and of the 
choir screen, but I forget now how this was. 

The ancient stalls remain. Strangely, as an 
effect of divided responsibility, I forget whether 
the returned stalls were ancient. 

My work comprised the stall-fronts and desks, 
the screens behind the stalls, the choir screen, the 
presbytery- screen, the reredos, altar-rails, &c.,and 
the decoration of the vaulting. Subsequently to 
Mr. Perkins' death, or partly so, I carried out 
sundry works in the nave. 

I had proposed to make a double open screen 
to the choir, and to place on it the key-board of 
the organ, and the choir organ itself, drafting off 
the heavier parts to the blank walls on .either side, 
east of the tower-piers, but this, though recom- 
mended by Sir Frederick Ouseley, was foolishly 
overruled, and the organ has been placed in the 
aisle, in the usual awkward position. 

The paving of the aisles of the choir was Mr. 
Perkins' work, that of the choir and nave was mine. 
The decoration of the choir vaulting I both designed 
and drew out. full size, to a great extent, while laid 

344 Si r Gilbert Scott. 

up by long illness in the winter of 1870-71. I 
unluckily left that of the choir-aisles to Mr. Hard- 
man, who made it too monotonous. I did not 
volunteer the decoration at all, but Mr. Perkins 
had stripped off the plastering of the choir-vaulting, 
and by doing so had exposed some very rough 
rubble-work of reddish tufa. This Lord Dudley 
very much disliked, so the groining was replastered 
and decorated in colour. I aimed in designing 
this at a non-perspicuous effect, which should 
allow of a slight difficulty in discerning the pattern 
at first sight, which I thought would tend to 
enhance the effect of height, as it unquestionably 
does. I confess I think the choir ceilings very 

The great organ in the south transept I opposed 
as useless and obtrusive, but I believe that my 
letter on the subject was suppressed, for want of 
courage to withstand the munificence of Lord 
Dudley, a feeling in which I sympathize, from a 
sense of his grand generosity. 

This work, though carried out at first under the 
dean and chapter, was made over, early in its 
progress, to a general committee, of which the 
dean was chairman, Lord Dudley, Lord Lyttelton, 
and Sir John Packington (now Lord . Hampton) 
being among its leading members. 

I have to regret the removal of the elegant 
sounding-board from the choir-pulpit. I much 
desired its retention. With it, unknown to me at 
the time, was removed the interesting representa- 
tion of the New Jerusalem below it. Owing to 
divided responsibility, my colleague being the 
practical agent, and very timid, this was done, 

CHAP, viii.] Recollections. 345 

and the column, into which it had been inserted, 
restored, long before it came to my knowledge 
all the more stupid I ! 

I actually sent a carver to study it as an exam- 
ple for another object, when he found it conspicuous 
only by its absence. 1 

I may mention that the perpendicular screen, 
which occupied the place now taken up by the 
new reredos, did not belong to that position, 
but had been placed there within the memory of 
man, having been removed from the north-east 

The woodwork was executed by Farmer and 
Brindley, and the grilles, &c., by Skidmore. 


I had been consulted here many years ago, upon 
some matters by the then architect, the late Mr. 
Cornish of Exeter, a very kindly and excellent old 
gentleman, and a thorougly practical man ; but at 
a later period I was appointed architect to the in- 
ternal restorations, my commission being limited 
to these. 

Immense opposition arose to what was pro- 
posed on the ground that I retained the choir- 
screen. 2 The architectural society and two local 
architects were furious about it, but I held hard 
and fast to it. At length we so far yielded as to 
pierce the backs of the altar recesses on either 
side of the screen, which, without sacrifice of any 

1 It is figured in Pugin's " Specimens," vol. ii. ED. 

2 My principle is not to destroy an old close screen nor to 
erect a new one. 

346 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

architectural feature, has in some degree opened 
out the choir to the nave. 

In the choir nothing remained of the old fittings, 
except the bishop's throne, the sedilia, the side 
screens of the presbytery, and the misereres. 
The stall elbows were of some semi-modern 
date, and the rest of the work of the last cen- 

The screen-walls behind the stalls were of brick 
plastered, but were finished by a beautiful four- 
teenth-century, double-embattled, coping and freize, 
not unlike those of D'Estria's screens at Canter- 
bury. I suppose that they had been taken down 
in Queen Elizabeth's time (possibly owing to some 
sculpture which they contained) and rebuilt in 
plastered brick, the old copings being re-used. I 
substituted for the brick wall an open screen, with 
the oak canopy work of the stalls attached to it, 
and re-set the beautiful coping. The stall-work, 
all but the misereres, is new, with return stalls 
against the great screen. The doorway of the 
screen towards the choir is the old one, restored 
even to its colouring, much of which is original. 
The modern parapet of the screen has been 

There was a great discussion about the age of this 
screen. Archdeacon Freeman, who sympathised 
with the opposition, wished to prove it to be of late 
date, arguing from the old accounts, which con- 
tain extensive entries for iron-work and tiles, that 
there had originally been an open iron screen; but 1 
found all the iron thus described to exist in the pre- 
sent structure, used for ties, and the tiles also, used 
as the floor of the loft, so that at length the Arch- 

CHAP, viii.] Recollections. 347 

deacon admitted that it was Bishop Stapledon's 
screen of I32O. 3 

We found evidences that the original reredos, or 
altar-screen, had gone as high as the arches of the 
side arcades. It had been destroyed after the 
Reformation, and the screen which was existing 
when we commenced work was of the present cen- 
tury. We could not think of reproducing, from 
imagination, the old altar-screen, which would have 
blocked out the arches at the east end, but I was 
overpressed in the contrary direction, and made 
the reredos too inconsiderable, though not so 
much so as to disarm opposition. I need not go 
into the history of the " Exeter Reredos " case : 
suffice it to say that the common-sense decision 
was come to, that the injunctions of the sixteenth 
century for the destruction of imagery were at first 
directed against such imagery as had been abused 
to superstitious purposes, and were only rendered 
general on the ground of the difficulty found in 
deciding as to which had, and which had not, been 
thus abused, and therefore could not be applied to 
new sculpture intended for no such purposes. I 
subsequently rather increased the height of the 
reredos, which was a very great gain. 

The restoration of the throne was carried out 
with the utmost care and study of the evidences. 
The lower part was nearly all modern, and much 
of it was in plaster. Evidence existed of the old 
design of this portion : indeed, some important parts 
of the old work remained, and these indications have 
been precisely followed, excepting that I yielded to 
pressure in making the front open. There were 

3 The style is quite that of Bishop Stapledon's date. ED. 

348 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

no evidences one way or another, but it had most 
probably been close. This front is magnificently 
carried out, in exact imitation of the old work at its 
angles, which still existed : the sides and back are 
simpler, and follow evidences attached to the 
several angle buttresses. The whole of the old 
work was cleansed of its paint and varnish, but 
where it had been decorated in colour this was 
preserved and restored. 

This work is attributed in all the histories to the 
fifteenth century, but Archdeacon Freeman found 
proof that (as its style evinces) it was contemporary 
with other works in the choir. 

The decoration of the vaulting of the Lady 
Chapel is an exact restoration of what was found. 
In the side chapels, Mr. Clayton weakly departed 
from the old design, so far as to add some foolish 
patterns to the mouldings, otherwise it would have 
been correct. 

Of the decoration of the choir-roof very slight 
indications were found, excepting on and around the 
bosses. The painting of the ribs is imitated from 
that of the Lady Chapel, counterc hanging the 

In all this work I was greatly thwarted by the 
Dean, but I think the result is good. 

The stonework generally has been carefully 
divested of its coatings of yellow wash without 
disturbing its surface. The Purbeck marble-work, 
however, demanded very extensive reparation, 
being sadly decayed and mutilated. 

The pavement of the fifteenth century was 
found, in part, beneath the modern flooring, and 
has been useful in determining levels, though I am 

CHAP, yiii.] Recollections. 349 

inclined to think we are a step too low as regards 
the altar platform. 

I think the interior of this cathedral will, after 
all is done, be as charming as any in England. 

The organ retains its old place, and is only 
altered in appearance by a moderate increase in 
depth from front to back. It is, however, vexa- 
tious that, in renewing the pipes of the choir-organ 
which were decayed, they have not reproduced the 
embossed patterns. I fear now they will never 
do it. 


I had been called in once before on some minor 
matters, but was commissioned in 1871 to under- 
take the greater work. 

Externally the work consisted, in the first place, 
of the restoration of the north side and east 
end of the choir and presbytery. This part was 
terribly decayed, mutilated, and altered, but by care- 
ful study it has been brought back to its old state 
with a great amount of certainty. At the east end 
a perpendicular window had been inserted, and the 
lower range of lancets had been filled in with 
tracery of late date. These parts had been 
renewed some forty years back, and the question 
arose whether it would not be best, as the old 
design was evident, to bring it back to its original 
form. The great argument in favour of this step 
was the extreme ugliness of the great perpendicular 
window, which was very offensive to the Dean and 
others. This course was determined on, and 
carried out. 

A question then arose as to whether the roofs 
and gables, which had all been lowered, should 

350 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

be raised to their ancient pitch. There was not 
money enough to raise the roofs, but I persuaded 
the chapter to raise the gables, hoping that the 
roofs might follow, but as yet they have not. The 
design of the gabled roof, which formerly existed 
over the east side of the eastern transepts, was dis- 
covered by my son Gilbert, and has been restored 
to the north transept. There is a confusion of design 
in the windows of this transept, owing to my having 
left the jambs of some later windows which had 
been inserted there. 

The levels of the choir and presbytery have 
been regulated by clear evidence which remained 
beneath the modern floors. The tile paving is 
founded largely on portions of the old tiling then 
discovered, some of which have been preserved. 
The position of the high altar was ascertained and 

The decoration of the walls behind the side 
stalls, and of the screen behind the returned stalls, 
followed exactly evidences clearly found, excepting 
that the shields of which we did not discover the 
bearings, have been filled with the arms of the 
Bishops of Rochester, worked out by the kind aid 
of the herald, Mr. S. T. Tucker, Rouge Croix. 

There was also another curious exception : at 
the back of the sub-dean's stall there was a patch 
of some, older decoration of a very singular kind, 
a sort of plaid pattern. This the Dean would 
not permit to remain, but it has been taken out 
and preserved in a frame, I think in the chapter- 

The painting on the wooden screen had been 
covered over with renaissance decoration, but 

CHAP, viii.] Recollections. 351 

some parts had been left uncovered, and all was 

The screen itself is of the thirteenth century, 
and of oak. The original panelling is visible on 
its western side, that toward the east is of the 
fourteenth century. The stone screen in front is 
also of the fourteenth century, the two together 
supporting the rood-loft. 

The great transept on each side (south and 
north) has been restored externally. It had been 
most monstrously " transmogrified," yet parts of 
the old work remained, though in an advanced state 
of decay : in fact it had almost perished. The 
design has been recovered from these remains, 
aided by old prints. The interior of the south 
transept, with its timber groining, has been repaired, 
as has a projecting building on its eastern side. 
The clerestory and triforium of the nave, which 
were becoming seriously dangerous, have been 

The north and south walls of the nave aisles 
are almost wholly of the date of some 150 years 
back. They, no doubt, had gone over so much 
that they were then rebuilt. Their foundation 
was of loose chalk and had given way. This is 
now banked up (underground) with concrete. 

Mr. Irvine, the clerk of works, discovered many 
interesting matters underground, and has con- 
structed theories on them which I feel unable to 
explain. I think he supposes Bishop Gundulph 
to have begun to build the nave, and that some 
of the bases are of his work, but that the super- 
structure is nearly three-quarters of a century 

352 Sir Gilbert Scott. 


Here I have done nothing but the opening out 
of the screen. I was called in about this several 
years back, but declined the task, thinking it im- 
possible to effect it without altering old work. 

In 1874! was again called in, and on close exa- 
mination, I found that the work forming the back 
of the returned stalls, and practically the east side 
of the screen, terminated precisely in a plane, 
flush with the back of the stalls, this plane 
bisecting all the mouldings as if they had been 
sawn down their axes ; so that it was quite possible 
to open out the choir by simply removing the 
stone screen, which was modern, and the rough 
timber framing against which the boarding behind 
the stalls was fixed. 

This at once formed an open screen, and needed 
little more than the repetition of the same features 
on the west, which already existed on the east, to 
make it a sightly and consistent design. The 
screen, being thus bisected by a plane, wanted 
only the other half supplied to make it complete, 
and that without touching the existing work. 

This is a rough definition of what was done. It 
is not an exact or exhaustive one, but I may state 
that no old work was disturbed, and that the new 
western face is, in all parts which applied, an 
exact reproduction of the work on the eastern 
side. Its use, however, has been stupidly marred 
by filling in the openings with plate glass. 


I was only engaged here on internal work in or 
about the choir. 

CHAP, viii.] Recollections, 353 

The stalls and screen were of Bishop Cosin's 
time. The screen had been removed twenty-five 
years back, and the canopies of the stalls divided 
into lengths, and pushed back between the 
columns. The side stalls are now set right, and 
a very open screen placed where the old one 
stood. There is also a new pulpit and pavement, 
for which I am responsible. 

The altar-screen had formerly a Purbeck slab, 
as a sort of retabulum, on which we know that rich 
embroidery was hung. This had been covered over 
by a piece of very bad sculpture twenty-five years 
back, which we removed, and have placed needle- 
work there again. 

I suspect that the floor between the stalls 
(which rises two steps above that of the nave) 
is a step too high, as it leaves no " Gradus 

The lectern is also new. The organ-case and 
the repairs of the stalls are the work of Mr. C. H. 
Fowler, the chapter architect. 

A violent opposition was raised against this work 
by certain of the canons, who thought thereby to 
curry favour with the bishop. The Dean and 
Archdeacon Bland were the great supporters of 
the work. 


To return to St. Albans, much has been done 
since I last mentioned it. The repairs of the 
eastern part of the main building are generally 
completed, and the Marchioness of Salisbury 
having undertaken to raise funds towards the 
restoration of the eastern chapels, much has been 

A a 

354 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

done to them also : I may refer here to my report 
addressed to Lady Salisbury. 

At the present moment the work is in abeyance, 
but no doubt it will soon be resumed, as the new 
see is nearly established and fresh funds are being 

I gave a dinner at St. Albans in 1875 to the 
Council of the Institute, and many other friends, 
and we had a delightful field-day in the abbey. 

The tower had been thoroughly repaired and 
strengthened in 1871, as had been also its two abut- 
ting walls to the north-east and north-west. The 
openings made in modern times in these two eastern 
walls as I have already mentioned, had been walled 
up, and the two ancient entrances reopened ; that 
on the north side, however, being strengthened 
by reducing its width, though without concealing 
its earlier dimensions. The opening in the south 
wall had been investigated as to its internal design 
many years before, when we had found its materials 
pulled down and used to wall up the opening. 

These details had been carefully stored up 
during the long interval, and were now built up in 
their original places with exact precision : thus 
recovering, and, to a large extent, with its own 
materials, a very curious feature, a projecting 
doorway surmounted by a range of three taber- 
nacles, in a style very similar to that of the 
Eleanor crosses, though probably a little earlier in 
actual date. 

On the opposite side of the presbytery a careful 
examination showed the traces of a similar 
arrangement to that of the south doorway, though 
not precisely opposite to it. Here, however, we 

CHAP VIIL] Recollections. 355 

had not the copious stored-up fragments which 
enabled us to reconstruct, so largely with its own 
materials, the southern one. There was in fact 
but one small fragment of the doorway, but there 
were considerable marks of the rest, marks which 
would have been of themselves unintelligible, but 
with the aid of the other side quite clear and in- 
disputable. As we were compelled to reopen this 
doorway, owing to the necessity of walling up its 
modern supplanter (one bay eastward) for security, 
I copied the north doorway. 

Later on we discovered the veritable pinnacles 
of the tabernacle work over this doorway, and we 
then removed those which had been copied from 
the work on the opposite side, and substituted the 
true ones, with their coloured decorations upon 
them. They differ in design from those of their 
opposite neighbours, showing that, while doing 
two things substantially alike, the builders indulged 
in variety in the details. 

A doubt has suggested itself to me since then 
as to whether the doorway itself was not different 
in design. The circumstances are these. 

In the north aisle of the presbytery there were 
two external doorways : one of early perpendicular 
character, clearly introduced at the time which its 
style indicates, the other as clearly of modern 
introduction, but made up extensively of old 
details, mostly of a style agreeing with the date 
of this eastern arm of the church, 1280-90. This 
latter doorway was, as I have said, clearly a modern 
insertion, though strangely enough inserted at a 
point where a small original doorway had always 
existed. In fact, when in modern times this main 

A a 2 

356 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

approach to the church from the town had been 
made, the place of this old small doorway was 
found to be more convenient than that of the later 
perpendicular one, so the latter was walled up and 
the former enlarged. Oddly enough they had a 
doorway of the thirteenth century date on hand, and 
this they inserted, making up some of its orna- 
mental details from fragments of the nave- screen. 
I fancied at the time that the doorway thus used 
had been an outer doorway of the eastern chapels, 
and I thought that if its place could be found, we 
might re-insert it. Unluckily while thinking aloud, 
in presence of the clerk of the works, he took me 
toa hastily at my word, and removed the inserted 
doorway, before I was aware of it. We afterwards 
found precisely the inner design of the old door- 
way, which formed an opening in the wall-arcading. 
This we have restored, but, finding no trace of its 
outside form (excepting that the base-moulds 
returned to make way for it) I did not make any 
attempt at restoring the actual opening. 

Meanwhile we examined by excavation the 
walls of the eastern chapels, only to discover that 
there never had been any doorway to them, and 
thus we were left with a fine contemporary door- 
way on our hands, and so remain to this day. 

Suspicions have grown upon me that this was 
in reality the doorway of the north side of the pres- 
bytery, far richer and somewhat larger than its 
southern neighbour. This has not yet been suffi- 
ciently investigated. I mention it with some shame 
as an antiquarian failure, arising from going on too 
fast, and ahead of full investigation. I repent and 

CHAP, viii.] Recollections. 357 

The great triumph of our work has been, of course, 
the recovery and the putting together of the sub- 
structure of the shrine of St. Alban. The second 
has been the like discovery of that of St. Amphibalus, 
which I hope will also be soon set up in its old 
place. 4 Careful descriptions of these shrines ought 
to be written. 

I forbear to say anything of our operations in the 
nave, till they are more advanced, and the difficulty 
occasioned by the leaning of the five western bays 
on the south side of the nave is passed. God 
grant us success. 6 

I am in this, as in other works, obliged to face 
right and left to combat at once two enemies from 
either hand, the one wanting me to do too much, 
and the other finding fault with me for doing 
anything at all. 

The leader of the latter party is Mr. Loftie, 
whom I have answered twice in the Guardian, 
in 1875, and also in Macmillarfs Magazine in 
this year (1877). He seems irrepressible, for no 
matter how often a statement of his is refuted, 
he reiterates it just as if no such refutation had 
been made. Happily he is an Irishman, and his 
own bulls are his best refutation. 

The leader among those who wish me to do 
what I ought not to do is Sir Edmund Becket. 

4 This has been done. It now stands in its original place in 
the ante-chapel of the Lady Chapel. ED. 

5 This great engineering work, to which my father had 
devoted immense pains, and all the details of which he had 
most carefully contrived, was carried out with complete success 
only a few weeks after his death. ED. 


(October, 1877). 

I CAN hardly say that this movement expresses a 
sentiment which is new to me, for in the case of 
the first considerable restoration placed in my 
hands, that of St. Mary's Church at Stafford, 
I was assailed nearly on the same principle by Mr. 
Petit. My correspondence with that highly-gifted 
gentleman was lithographed, and I would refer to 
it as a very early discussion of this question, dating 
as it does about 1840 or 1841. The expression 
which I see has been made use of in the latest 
deliverance of opinion on the subject, to the effect 
that more harm has been done by modern restora- 
tion than by three centuries of contempt, &c., was 
originated by myself during that correspondence 
thirty- six years ago. 

Some seven years later I wrote my paper on 
faithful restoration, wholly on the side of con- 
servatism ; but in a note, added in 1858, I 
combated the extreme views of Mr. Ruskin 
against any form of restoration. Much later 
I wrote a paper on restoration, again wholly 
on the side of conservatism, which was read 

CHAP, ix.] Recollections. 359 

before the Institute of British Architects and 
printed. I have drawn up directions to builders 
and clerks of the works employed on such works, 
have helped in framing those of the Institute, and 
in my three opening papers, delivered while Presi- 
dent of that body, I have expressed myself, as 
strongly as words would enable me, on the same 
subject, nor have I failed on all possible minor 
opportunities to do the same. 

It is therefore rather hard to bear that I should 
now be made the butt of an extreme party, who 
wish to make me out to be the ring-leader of 

I have said enough in every paper I have 
written, and on every occasion on which I have 
spoken on the subject, to show that, whatever 
view one may take of the anti-restoration move- 
ment, I cannot for a moment assert that it is un- 
provoked. On the contrary, I hold that there 
never was a case of v more intense and aggravating 

The country has been, and continues to be, 
actually devastated with destruction under the 
name of restoration. For years and years the 
vast majority of the churches to be restored have 
been committed to men, who neither know, nor care 
anything whatever about them, and out of whose 
hands they have emerged in a condition truly 
deplorable, stripped of almost everything which 
gave them interest or value; while it must be 
admitted that the best of us have been blame- 
able, and that even our conservatism has been 
more or less destructive. 

The three great grounds of complaint against 

360 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

the new party are (i) That they have remained 
absolutely silent while all this destruction and 
barbarism has been perpetrated, never giving one 
word of encouragement to the few who, though 
inadequately, have been for years raising their 
voices against it : (2) That now, after having 
stood silently by, witnessing all this devastation 
without complaint or protest, they suddenly turn 
round and visit it all on those whose protests they 
have all along refused to support : that they do 
not scruple to load with false accusations and to 
hold up to execration, as the authors of all the 
mischief, the very persons who have (however 
feebly) endeavoured to mitigate it, and who have 
never received the smallest expression of sympathy 
from those who now, when all the mischief is done, 
raise their voices to vilify the men whose efforts 
they had throughout declined to aid : (3) That 
they now take, what they must well know to be, an 
impracticable line, advocating, not any reasonable 
mode of treatment of ancient buildings, but the 
mere abstaining from doing anything whatever to 
them beyond the barest sustenance. 

This long-continued silence on their part has 
made them in truth participes criminis : this 
treatment of those who have all along protested 
is the most culpable injustice : and this imprac- 
ticability of view makes one doubt the sincerity of 
the opinions thus tardily proclaimed. Yet, if they 
would adopt a reasonable and practicable line, 
they might even yet effect great good. 

I have at this moment to fight a double battle. 
I have, as throughout, to be fighting against those 
who would treat old buildings destructively, and I 

CHAP, ix.] Recollections. 361 

have, on the other hand, to defend myself against 
those who accuse me of the principles against 
which I contend, and who oppose one's doing 
anything at all. 

The last paper I had occasion to write, and that 
not a month back, was in opposition to Sir Edmund 
Becket, who argues that we ought to deal with 
old buildings as the mediaeval builders them- 
selves did ; in point of fact, to treat them 
as we should do any modern building, doing to 
them just what is right in our own eyes. On 
the other hand, we are told by the anti-restoration 
party that we have no right to do anything to them 
beyond the barest reparation. Thus everything 
which, previous perhaps to the present century, 
was done to them has become sacred as a matter 
of history, and claims as much regard as the 
noblest architecture of their earlier days. 

These conflicting views are to my mind almost 
equally mistaken. 

My answer (written the other day) to the first 
view is that these old buildings have become, by 
the general consent of those best able to judge, 
antiquarian and historical monuments, which fact 
severs them from the merely common-sense treat- 
ment, to which other buildings are subjected. 

But surely there must be a limit to this sever- 
ance. The principle can hardly be supposed to 
extend to alterations so modern, as to be contem- 
porary with buildings which have no claim to such 

If, for example, a house of comparatively 
modern date, standing by the side of an an- 
cient church, needs alteration or enlargement 

362 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

to suit it to its present uses, not even our critics 
would affirm that no such alterations should be 
permitted. They would only say, if the house has 
any character, the better parts of it should be 
spared, and the alterations which may be necessary 
should be carried out in reasonable harmony with 
them. Why, then, if the church has features in it 
of only the same period with the house, should 
those features claim any greater respect ? More 
than this, these features may be not only altogether 
out of harmony with the rest of the church, but 
may be at variance with its uses, may disfigure 
the original structure, and may be the result of 
abuses which by common consent should be 
abolished. Surely, then, the fact, that the church 
itself has become an historical monument, cannot 
reasonably be pleaded in favour of its compara- 
tively modern disfigurements. True, these more 
modern features may have merits and claims of 
their own, and these should be respected, but 
their claims are wholly different from those of the 
ancient fabric itself. 

Take for instance the case of Ely Chapel (St. 
Etheldreda's) in Holborn. 

The palace to which it belonged was destroyed 
in 1776, after which houses were built against 
either side of it towards the east, blocking up two 
of its side windows. The east and west windows 
only suffered from some minor vandalism, but the 
rest of the side windows were deprived of their 
mullions and traceries, galleries were built on each 
side of the chapel, and two at its west end, and 
the area was pewed in the most wretched manner. 

The blocked-up windows were some years back 

CHAP, ix.] Recollections. 363 

partially opened out, and the beautiful tracery dis- 
covered. The Anti-restoration Society now protest 
against that of the remaining side-windows being 
replaced according to the design thus discovered. 
Whether they disapprove of the removal of the 
galleries and pews, I know not, but they oppose 
any of the mutilated architecture being reinstated, 
proclaiming the execrable wooden window-frames 
of the end of the last century to be just as his- 
torical as the charming tracery of Bishop de Luda ; 
and, as I suppose, blaming the removal of the 
historical lath and plaster which had concealed the 
two remaining ancient windows. 

This is a fair example of the lengths to which 
this new society will go, and I do not hesitate to 
say that the palm for sound sense lies with the 
architects employed, who are replacing the lost 
traceries, while avoiding the reparation of features 
which have only suffered from decay. 

There are, however, many questions connected 
with the treatment of ancient buildings which are 
far more reasonably open to discussion, and I wish 
that some really judicious men would take these, 
fairly and dispassionately, under consideration. I 
have long and often urged that such doubtful cases 
should be submitted to the decision, in each case, 
of some independent and competent body, which 
should unite the archaeological and the ecclesio- 
logical elements in due proportions, not neglecting 
the claims of architecture and good taste. 

November igth, 1877. 

The promoters of this hue and cry against all 
restoration, seem to direct themselves especially 

364 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

against the architects, as if they were the prime 
movers in the matter : they go so far as to lay it to 
our charge, as if it was our love of employment 
which led to our engagement in such works. 

The case, however, is quite otherwise. In no 
instance do I remember acting as prime mover in a 
restoration: on the contrary, I am sent for by others 
who feel its necessity, or are so convinced of its 
desirability that they apply to me to report on the 
condition of the building. True, if I were convinced 
that restoration were in itself wrong, I ought at 
once to say so, and to decline to report, or to do 
anything to further such wish or intention ; but 
not having this conviction, my aim has been to 
recommend the course which I feel to be the best, 
and if the work is carried out, to do it in the best 
manner which my experience and judgment suggest 
to me. 

I have not read Professor Colvin's article, but in 
an extract which I saw the other day in a news- 
paper, I see, that in speaking of me, he says that 
I proclaim, Conservatism, Conservatism, and again 
Conservatism, to be my principle, but that he sees 
no real difference between my principle, and that 
against which I declaim. 

I was almost going to say that if there is no 
such difference, " Then I have cleansed my heart 
in vain, and washed my hands in innocency." I 
do not however say this ; for though this has been 
my aim, bad judgment, the urgent influence of 
clients, the constant endeavour of those who work 
under me, whether as clerks of works, builders, 
or workmen, the tumbling down of portions of 
ancient buildings which I most wished to preserve, 

CHAP, ix.] Recollections. 365 

and a thousand other circumstances cut the 
grounds of this all too boastful claim from under 
one. Yet surely there must be a great difference 
between the works of those who long, and who 
labour, to act conservatively, and those of men who 
have no such desire, or if they had, are too igno- 
rant to know how to carry out their own aims. If 
Mr. Colvin does not see such difference, surely it is 
owing to his own want of knowledge of the subject 
rather than to the absence of such a distinction. 

Is there no difference forsooth between stone- 
work, gently cleansed of its coating of whitewash, 
leaving every mark of the old mason's tool as 
distinct as when first wrought, and work rudely 
scraped or re-tooled, so as to leave no trace of its 
original surface ? These critics see none. 

Is there no difference between a restored roof 
which retains all its ancient timber, excepting the 
rotten parts which threatened its speedy ruin, and 
whose existence has been indefinitely prolonged, 
by most careful and only needful reparation ; and 
a roof entirely destroyed, whose place is occupied 
by a new one, perhaps of deal, and probably 
having no reference whatever to the old design ? 
These men see none. 

Is there no difference, again, between a build- 
ing carefully and learnedly studied, and its parts 
investigated with the most anxious and studious 
care, and one ignorantly dealt with, without investi- 
gation, without anxiety, without knowledge. These 
people see none. 

I should care less for this wilful blindness, were it 
not for its mischievous result ; and here again these 
critics will and are welcome to accuse me of 

366 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

vulgar selfishness. The result I refer to is this. 
Seeingthat pretended judges proclaim that no differ- 
ence exists between the work of devoted and earnest- 
minded men, and that of the ignorant herd who 
have usually to deal with ancient works seeing 
that, on the contrary, the works of the former are 
held up systematically to execration, while those 
of the latter are passed by unnoticed the public 
who are utterly careless of the whole matter, will 
place future works in the hands of ignorant 
tyros, in preference fo employing men who have 
devoted themselves to the earnest study of the 

An advocate of the "do nothing" system of 
medical treatment declaims equally against the 
most eminent physician and the most ignorant 
quack ; both alike doctor their patients, and both 
alike are wrong in doing so. The public, not 
quite convinced that nothing should be done, are 
thereby encouraged to employ the first doctor 
that may turn up, instead of the learned and 
judicious physician. But here we have a wholesome 
safeguard, " all that a man hath will he give for his 
life," and the folly of the critic falls harmless to 
the ground. Such safeguard, however, does not 
exist in the case of ancient buildings. 

On the contrary, the majority of men prefer the 
worst architect, and the most slap-dash way of deal- 
ing with the work, and would give anything to be 
rid of the restraint which a conscientious architect 
imposes upon their wishes. I can truly say that 
my life is burdened with the constant outcry made 
against me for endeavouring to keep a check 
upon the vandalism of my employers, and upon 

CHAP, ix.] Recollections. 367 

the earnest pressure on all sides to destroy or 
alter something which this, that, or the other 
man, has a fancy against ; and I feel no doubt 
that the practical result of this outcry against 
doing anything will be the encouragement of de- 
structiveness. I would here refer to my speech 
and to a long paper in reply to Mr. Stevenson in 
the transactions of the Institute, also to my reply 
to Mr. Loftie in Macmillaris Magazine? and to 
the following letter to Sir Edmund Lechmere re- 
specting an attack on me by Mr. Morris (all in 

My dear Sir Edmund, I thank you for sending 
me the number of the Athenceum. 

I have been told that I am systematically and 
very bitterly traduced by writers in that paper ; but 
as I know that I do not deserve it, I never seek 
to see these articles, much less to. answer them. 

You, my dear Sir Edmund, know whether I am 
"destroying" the church, 2 or contemplating such 
treatment of it as is intended by that term. You 
know whether I am " hopeless, because interest, 
habit, and ignorance bind " me. Nay, you know 
whether I have obliterated a single chisel-mark of 
the old masons, and whether I have not, lovingly 
and carefully, traced out the almost obliterated 
evidence and relics of much of their work, and 
shown by every possible means, my love of a 
building of the class, of which " the newly invented 
study " is " the chief joy " of my life. 

Nevertheless, painful and galling as it is, I 

1 Both these papers will be found in Appendix C. ED. 

2 Tewkesbury Abbey. ED. 

368 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

rejoice in such letters and protests : for true 
most dreadfully true it is that what " modern 
architect, parson, and squire call restoration," has 
wrought wholesale ruin among our ancient build- 
ings. I have lifted up my voice on this subject 
for more than thirty years, and, though not fault- 
less, have striven with all my might to avoid such 
errors, and to prevent their commission by others. 
I feel more deeply on this subject than on any 
other, and never lose an opportunity of protesting 
against barbarisms of this kind, in season and out 
of season. 

I am, therefore, willing to be sacrificed by being 
made the victim in a cause which I have so in- 
tensely at heart. 

I do fear, however, that these indiscriminating 
letters defeat their own object ; for I observe 
that they rarely attack any but the works of 
those who strive to act conscientiously ; and 
most of all attack me who, I am bold to say, 
am amongst the most scrupulously conservative 
of restorers, and have the greatest conceivable love 
of ancient remains. Thus, by abusing the archi- 
tect who more than others has lifted up the 
standard of conservatism, and by sparing those 
(whose name is legion) who have filled the country 
with havoc and destruction, they encourage the 
increasing disposition to commit these works to 
the hands, not of conservatives but of destroyers, 
by thus assuring "squires and parsons" that the 
latter will be dealt with mercifully, or winked at, 
while the former will have to suffer in their 

I dare say people may be low-minded enough to 

CHAP, ix.] Recollections. 369 

say that my protests against the destructiveness 
of others is self-interested. I leave such minds 
to enjoy their own fallacies. 

Anyhow, restorations or reparations are neces- 
sary , but I think it wholesome that those who 
carry them out should live in constant danger. 

Herodotus (I think) tells us that the Egyptians, 
while religiously scrupulous as to having the bodies 
of their relations embalmed, so soon as the process 
was over, pursued the unhappy embalmer, and 
if they caught him, slew him. This is somewhat 
like the lot of the embalmers of ancient monu- 
ments : so if I suffer among those who deserve 
it, I only trust it will impel me to strive not to 
deserve it. If so, " all's well that ends well." 
Yours very faithfully, 


It seems to be the opinion of some, in whose 
ranks I may place Sir Edmund Becket, (who, 
however, puts himself out of the pale by boasting 
that he is no antiquary, and by condemning per- 
sons who are so, and who bring their knowledge to 
bear upon restoration, as steeped in antiquarianism), 
that the rule of action in dealing with mediaeval 
buildings is, to act as the mediseval builders them- 
selves did ; in fact precisely in the same manner 
as that in which we treat modern buildings. We 
ought, they consider, freely to make such alterations 
in them as we deem best calculated to suit them to 
our own convenience, and even to ourown taste, with- 
out showing any special respect for their architec- 
ture, beyond what harmony and good sense suggest ; 
much less any special regard for them as links in 

B b 

370 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

the history of art, or in history of any kind. We 
should not, as they think, bring to bear upon their 
treatment any of that class of feeling which we 
call " sentiment," unless it be some slight tribute 
of respect for a noted architect, founder, or bene- 

Now I view this theory applied to ancient 
monuments as wholly wrong. As regards modern 
buildings it is obviously (within certain reasonable 
limits) right ; and it is natural that persons who 
eschew antiquarianism, historical associations, and 
" sentiment," should apply it equally to the treat- 
ment of ancient buildings still in use, especially 
when their object is the defence of some favourite 
scheme of their own. 

The anti-restoration party, on the contrary, take 
the extreme reverse of this view ; claiming for all 
ancient buildings and works, and for some which 
are not very ancient, so intense an amount of 
veneration as almost to forbid even reparation, 
and absolutely to forbid anything approaching to 
restoration or any treatment calculated to render 
them fitter for their present uses. 

I infinitely prefer the last named view, though 
I believe it to be such an exaggeration as would 
defeat its own objects ; but the former I hold to 
be a most dangerous error. 

I have recently met in an old pamphlet on 
Restoration by Mr. E. A. Freeman, written in 
i852, 3 with the following passage, in which he 
defines well the difference between the claims 
of old and modern buildings : 

3 The pamphlet is entitled "The preservation and restora- 
tion of ancient monuments." ED. 

CHAP, ix.] Recollections. 371 

" Antiquity is the science of the past ; it is the study of things 
and events sufficiently removed from us to have acquired an 
extrinsic value, as witnesses to a state of things no longer exist- 
ing. We look upon an ancient church or castle, not merely as 
a work of art, but as the relic and witness of a former age, of 
sentiments, institutions, and states of society which have passed 
away. Feelings like these could not have existed in the 
middle ages with regard to any of the great works of Roman- 
esque or Gothic architecture. For in the first place, they did 
not represent a past state of things but a present; all the 
forms of Gothic architecture, and, for this purpose, we may 
add, of Romanesque also, were parts of one living whole, con- 
tinually changing, developing, improving, or corrupting, but 
never becoming completely extinct. So too with those religious 
and political sentiments and circumstances of which those forms 
of architecture were the material expression ; the building to 
be destroyed did not at any period speak of an entirely past 
state of things. The age of William the Conqueror and the 
age of Henry VHIth were indeed widely different, more 
widely different, in some important respects, than the latter is 
from our own ; but the change between them was gradual and 
imperceptible ; no one period was separated from any other by 
the same impassable gulf which separates us from the whole 
they constitute ; no single event from the Conquest to the Re- 
formation ever produced the total revulsion of taste and senti- 
ment, which, speaking widely, we may call the result of the 
latter. Had William of Wykeham devoted himself to archseo 
logical research, the works of Poore or even of Gundulf could 
not have appeared to him in the light of antiquities. They 
were merely modern erections, claiming no respect beyond 
what intrinsically belonged to them as works of art, and which, 
if he thought he could improve upon them, he would sacrifice 
with as little scruple as we should any structure of the last age. 
The venerable rust of antiquity had as yet hardly gathered even 
upon the swords of the crusaders ; its consecrating mould had 
still to settle upon the frowning towers of London and of 
Rochester, upon the massive arches of Southwell and St. Albans. 
Had a past existed to him, in the sense in which his age is the 
past to us, that past could hardly have been looked for in any 
remains more recent than the camps and walls and gateways, 
which remained then probably in far greater abundance than 
at present, to bear witness to the universal sway of the Imperial 


B D 2 

372 Sir Gilbert Scott. 


January, 1878. 

The movement in favour of this style, or family 
of styles, has been no doubt a vexatious disturber 
of the Gothic movement. 

The ardent promoters and sharers in the Gothic 
movement had fondly flattered themselves that 
theirs was a preternatural heaven-born impulse ; 
that they had been born, and by force of circum- 
stances trained, and led on, by a concurrence 
of events wholly apart from their own choice and 
will, to be instruments under Providence in effect- 
ing a great revival. They viewed that revival as 
in part religious, and in part patriotic. 

For myself, I felt conscious of having been led 
to love Gothic architecture in my youth spon- 
taneously, without any external inducement, and 
without any selfish, or even hopeful aim. I fol- 
lowed up Gothic architecture from every book I 
could find, and every old building I could meet 
with, just as practically and just as much in detail, 
while I had no thought of ever using, or aiding in 
reviving it, as I have done since it became the 
employment of my life. So that the sketches which 
I made, and the details and measurements which I 
took, while I had no practical object in view, are as 
useful to me in my professional work, as those I 
have since made with a direct view to practical use. 

I did not attempt in my early practice to use 
what I had thus gathered, but while working con- 
tentedly in modern styles, continued, as time and 
opportunity would permit, to sketch and take 

CHAP, ix.] Recollections. 


details, for the mere love of it, from ancient 

Later on I took to designing churches, and then 
found my acquired knowledge useful, though in a 
state little serviceable, from my never having 
thought much of it from a practical point of view. 

I was awakened from my slumbers by the thunder 
of Pugin's writings. . I well remember the enthu- 
siasm to which one of them excited me, one night 
when travelling by railway, in the first years of 
their existence. I was from that moment a new 
man. Old things (in my practice) had passed 
away, and, behold, all things had become new, or 
rather modernism had passed away from me and 
every aspiration of my heart had become mediaeval. 
What had for fifteen years been a labour of love 
only, now became the one business, the one aim, 
the one overmastering object of my life. I cared 
for nothing as regarded my art, but the revival of 
gothic architecture. I did not know Pugin, but 
his image in my imagination was like my guardian 
angel, and I often dreamed that I knew him. 

In later years I fully thought that my experience, 
and that of some, perhaps many, others pointed to 
a special interposition of Providence for a special 
purpose, and often have I expressed this in writing, 
as in a paper entitled the " Gothic Renaissance," 4 
in my first R.A. lecture, and in my inaugural 
address in 1873 as President of the Institute of 
British Architects. 

The course which the revival was at one time 
taking was first disturbed by the Italian mania, 
arising from Mr. Ruskin's writings ; then by the 
4 Published by Saunders and Otley, in 1860. 

374 S* r Gilbert Scott. 

French rage, coming in with the Lille Cathedral 
competition ; and later on by the revulsion against 
this, which might have set things right again, had 
not many who had been most ardently French so 
much so that no moderate man could hold his 
own for their gallomania become as furiously 
anti-gothic ; and to carry out their new views turned 
round in favour of seventeenth- century work, and 
finally of "Queen Anne." 

I have no right to expose this frivolity, for I 
was myself, in a measure, carried away with some 
of the earlier rages ; and also because when beaten 
out of my gothic by Lord Palmerston in the matter 
of the Government Offices, I felt compelled, in the 
interests of my family, to succumb, and to build 
them in classic, for which my early training had 
fairly fitted me. It did, however, seem hard that 
the very men who had once goaded me for not 
being Gothic or French enough, should be the 
very men to forsake gothic (for secular buildings 
at least) at the moment when its success was the 
most promising. I had always resented my classic 
opponents calling our mediaeval enthusiasm a mere 
" fashion," but this change did really appear no 
better than a tailor's change in the cut of a coat, 
and the trifles which gave rise to it seem to be 
evinced by the strange vagaries in dress, &c., by 
which it was accompanied. 

When, however, one considers the results, the case 
is not so bad. Though many buildings may be 
erected in the so-called " Queen Anne " style, which 
would otherwise have been gothic, the majority of 
such would, no doubt, have been erected in the ver- 
nacular style of the day, and so far the change 

CHAP, ix.] Recollections. 375 

has been an unquestionable gain : we have rich 
colour and lively, picturesque architecture in lieu 
of the dull monotony of the usual street archi- 
tecture, and more than this the style is half-way 
between gothic and classic in its effect, and goes 
all the way in its use of material. 

The style of Queen Anne's time was really the 
domestic variety of the architecture of Sir Chris- 
topher Wren, and a very good style it really was ; 
but the style now known by that name embraces 
all varieties, from the close of the Elizabethan 
period to the middle of the eighteenth century, 
with a preference for that most resembling Eliza- 
bethan, so that it really brings in very much which 
is highly picturesque and artistic in character 
such as no " Gothic man " would fail to appreciate. 

Again, it has the advantage of eluding the popular 
objections to gothic, when used for secular pur- 
poses. It meets the prejudices of the modern 
halfway, and turns the point of his weapons. 
When first taken up it was really more like the 
true Queen Anne, than it has since become : 
its use of common sash windows was one of its 
popular points, and the difficulties, assumed to be 
felt in accommodating gothic windows to modern 
use, were urged as an argument in its favour. 
Once, however, in the saddle, the Queen Anne-ites 
soon threw off this disguise, and freely adopted 
lead lights, iron casements, and all kinds of old 
fashions which a gothic architect would have 
hardly dared to employ, so much so, indeed, that 
a so-called " Queen Anne " house is now more a 
revival of the past than a modern gothic house. 

In my book, written about 1859, my object was 

376 Sir Gilbert Scott. 

to show that gothic would admit of any degree of 
modernism. The aim of the Queen Anne architects 
now seems to be to show that nothing can be too 
old-fashioned for their style. 

I heartily wish them all success in this, and 
when they have succeeded, I trust we Goths may 
be allowed to pick up a few crumbs of their revived 
old fashions, and to use them in our style, without 
being taunted as the revivers of obsolete customs, 
or with making our houses look -like churches. 



THE latest date which appears in the " Recollections " is 
January, 1878. My father departed this life on the 27th of 
the following March. A few words seem needed to complete 
the story. 

The following works of importance were in progress at the 
time of his death, beside those which are referred to in the 
" Recollections : " 

The refitting of the choir of Canterbury Cathedral, as to 
which some controversy has arisen, as will be seen from certain 
passages in the papers on the subject of restoration printed as 
Appendix C ; the restoration of Tewkesbury Abbey ; the erec- 
tion of the Great Hall of Glasgow University, for which the plans 
had been prepared, and which is now about to commence ; 
the Cathedral of Edinburgh, the nave of which has just been 
consecrated. The restoration of the nave of St. Alban's 
Abbey, still in progress, is a work which has on several 
accounts excited general interest. The great work of forcing 
back to the perpendicular by mechanical means the south 
wall of the nave for some 105 feet of its length, a wall 66 feet 
in height, which in the centre of the length to be dealt with 
overhung its base to the extent of 2 feet 3 inches, is an ex- 
ample of architectural engineering upon a large scale, which 
has attracted much attention ; the more so, perhaps, since 
he who had devised the whole plan, which has been carried 
out with such complete success, did not live to enjoy the 
satisfaction of it. The repair of John De Cella's magnificent 
portals, and the restoration of Abbot Trumpington's nave roof, 
were also pending at the time of Sir Gilbert's death, and 
have given occasion to warm controversies. The choir screen 

378 Appendix. 

at Beverley Minster, the Hook Memorial Church at Leeds, 
and the restoration of the Parish Church of Halifax, may also 
be mentioned ; as well as the restoration of the west fronts 
of Lichfield and St. David's Cathedrals, and of the nave of 
Salisbury. The restoration of the Chapel of New College was 
also in progress, and that of St. Margaret's Church, West- 
minster ; while in the Abbey itself the work of bringing back 
the noble portals of the north transept to their original design 
had been commenced, and is still in course of execution. 
Among many other works of more or less general interest, 
which were similarly in progress at the time of Sir Gilbert's 
death, and which it has been left to his sons to carry on to 
completion, may be mentioned the Cathedral of Graham's 
Town in South Africa. 

Of the last few days of my father's life, a very minute 
account has been preserved by John Pavings, who had long 
acted as his valet, and for whom, from his constant and faith- 
ful service, my father had a high regard. Although of his 
four sons then living two resided under the same roof with 
him, and the others but a few miles away, yet so little 
anticipation was there of any danger on the part of the medical 
men or of others, that only one of us my brother John was 
with him at all during the last days of his life, and he, from 
one cause and another, saw but little of him. 

It was on Tuesday the igth of March that my father first 
began to ail. He had long suffered from varicose veins in the 
left leg. On this day they caused him much discomfort, and 
Dr. Westlake, who was called in, ordered him to keep to his 
bed. So little, however, was thought of this, that on Wednesday 
morning my brother and his wife, who resided with my father, left 
town for four days, and on the Saturday following my youngest 
brother, who also lived at home, went down into Suffolk for some 
fishing, intending to return on the zyth, and leaving no address. 
On the Friday Dr. Westlake saw my father again, and said in 
answer to an inquiry, " Sir Gilbert will be about again in a 
week." On Saturday he felt well enough to leave his bed 
for the sofa. 

On Sunday he suffered somewhat from rheumatism, situated, 
as Dr. Seton, his regular medical adviser, ascertained, in the 
muscles between the ribs. In spite of this, he was, as usual, 
full of fun. A nephew, a medical student, happening to call, 


my father sent out word, "Ask Doctor Alfred to come in." 
" Is there a guinea ready? " was the reply ; to which my father 
sent back, "Ask him for his diploma." On this day he kept 
his bed, but on the Monday he got up and had an interview 
in his study with two members of Glasgow University on the 
subject of the Bute Hall. He had acted against medical 
advice in leaving his bed while suffering as he was from the 
veins in his leg; and now, instead of returning to it, he 
decided to sit down to lunch with Dr. Allan Thomson and his 
companion. To his man, who ventured a remonstrance, he 
said, " I feel perfectly well ; why should I be mewed up here ? 
I shall enjoy lunching with them, and it will do me good." 
There is reason to fear that this imprudence cost him his life, 
the exertion bringing about that disaster against which his 
medical advisers had distinctly warned him, the detachment 
of a blood-clot from the inflamed vein, and its passage into the 
circulation, and eventually to the heart. Still, although, as his 
man expresses it, " done up," he was in good spirits. " I am 
going," he said to Pavings, "to the Academy meeting for 

the election of ." " What shall you do with your 

leg, then, Sir Gilbert ? " " Take it with me, I hope," was the 
reply. " If you go, I shall go to take care of you," said his 
man. " So you may," rejoined my father. " Sir Francis always 
takes his butler with him, and he tucks him up. You shall do 
the same for me." A little later, speaking with Pavings of 
Cromwell and the Roundheads, " round-heads," he said, 
" like yours ;" and calling for his rule he measured his own 
and Pavings' heads. Sir Gilbert's was an inch the longer, but 
his man's was the wider by one finger-breadth. 

This evening Dr. Seton saw him for the last time. Though 
strongly urging the necessity of perfect rest, he yet thought so 
favourably of the case that he did not call on the following day. 
The next morning (Tuesday the 26th) my father recounted 
to his man a quaint dream which he had had, over which they 
had a good laugh together. " In the course of it," said my 
father, " I saw my dear wife ; I never saw her more plainly 
in my life," and he seemed quite to brighten up on thinking 
of it. All this day he lay in bed, but saw several persons on 
business in his bedroom, and enjoyed his meals as usual. 

After dinner a letter arrived from one whom my father had 
often assisted, a Roman Catholic architect who had had great 

380 Appendix. 

misfortunes and was lying ill. Pavings was disposed to blame 
the man, but Sir Gilbert said, " It is very wicked to speak 
harshly of poor people," and wrote out a cheque at once. 
This was the last time that my father put pen to paper. Some 
seven hours later he was called to his account, and by a 
touching coincidence he, on whose behalf he last employed 
his pen, survived his benefactor but a single day. After this 
an allusion to a person of humbler position, whose necessities 
my father had constantly relieved, led him to remark upon the 
law of Moses concerning the jubilee, and to apply to the case 
of such pensioners the passage in Deuteronomy (xv. 13, 14), 
" Thou shalt not let him go away empty : thou shalt furnish 
him liberally : of that wherewith the Lord thy God hath blessed 
thee thou shalt give unto him." This led to a long conversa- 
tion upon the story of the Exodus, in the course of which Sir 
Gilbert answered many difficulties which had occurred to 
Pavings. On his saying, " How did Moses get up to the top 
of that mountain ? " my father laughingly replied, " Moses had 
not such a game leg as I have." 

Between nine and ten that night my brother John was with 
him, but stayed only for a short time, as Sir Gilbert seemed 
tired and wished to go to sleep. 

A little later his leg appeared to trouble him, for remarking 
that the doctor had not called that day, he said, " My leg is 
no better ; if it does not soon get better, it will do for me." 
Still he was cheerful, chatting with Pavings about Stowe at 
the time that the present Duke was christened, and about his 
native village, which led to his telling the following story : 
Mr. Law was a pious but absent-minded farmer, who was 
occasionally invited to dine at the parsonage on Sundays. 
On one occasion my grandfather being away Mr. Law had 
to say grace, which he did at great length. He also happened 
in the course of the same meal to get confused among the 
various cruets on the table, and sprinkled the sugar upon his 
meat. After he had gone, the eldest of the brothers was 
laughing at his long grace, when Miss Gilbert, his aunt, re- 
proved him, saying, " My dear, Mr. Law's grace was ' seasoned 
with salt'" "Yes," he replied, "and his meat with sugar." 
I give this story not for its own sake, but as illustrating the 
almost child-like love of fun which my father exhibited to the 
very last. An allusion in the course of conversation to the 

Appendix. 381 

old stage-coachmen, recalled to his mind a song they used to 
sing forty years ago : " All round my hat I wear a green 
willow," and he sang a line or two of it to give Pavings the 

He talked cheerfully until about eleven p.m., when his man 
handed him his Bible and hymn-book, and left him for a little. 
He returned for a few minutes. "It is pleasant," said my 
father, " to see your fat face. Good night. Schlafen Sie wohl." 

About four o'clock in the morning his bell rang. Pavings 
finding him coughing violently gave him some brandy, and 
at Sir Gilbert's request prepared a poultice. While thus 
engaged, my father said to him, " Your had better make up a 
bed on the sofa ; for if you leave me, you will find me gone in 
the morning." The instant the poultice was placed over the 
region of the heart, my father called out, "Oh, it is come 
again ! Lift me up." My brother John was summoned at 
once, but my father never recovered consciousness, and died 
some twenty minutes afterwards. A little before he died he 
opened his eyes, and lifted them upwards, as though in prayer. 
This was the last gesture he made : the eyelids fell, and after 
a few heavy moans all was over. 

He was interred on Saturday, the 6th of April, in West- 
minster Abbey. The Dean of Westminster, anticipating the ap- 
plication from Sir Gilbert's colleagues of the Institute of British 
Architects, intimated to us immediately after my father's death 
the wish that his body should be laid to rest within the walls of 
the Abbey, by the grave of Sir Charles Barry, and beside the 
great nave pulpit which he had himself designed. 

The Abbey Church of Westminster was, of all others, the 
place in which, even apart from the honour of such a resting- 
place, my father would have desired to be laid. Of all the 
great churches of England with which he had been connected, 
this was the one which he best loved. The works upon which 
he was from time to time engaged about the Abbey, and the 
investigation of its antiquities in their minutest detail, was to 
him a source of unfailing delight. He one day remarked to 
his valet, "When I get old and past work, I shall take a house 
near the Abbey, so as to be able to attend the daily service 
there, and to wander about the dear old place," and, he added, 
"I think that I shall be very happy." But a still happier lot 

382 Appendix, 

was to be his. A kindly Providence spared him the sad con- 
sciousness of failing powers, the weariness of enfeebling old 
age, and the slow misery of a lingering sickness. Too soon, 
alas ! for those to whom he was most dear, but for himself, in 
truest kindness, not too late, he was called away, and where he 
had thought to wander as a worn-out old man he now lies at 
rest, taken from us in the fulness of his powers, which years 
had ripened to maturity, and age had not commenced to 

The coffin bore the following inscription : 

Georgii Gilberti Scott, equitis 
viri probi architecti peritissimi 

parentis optimi reliquiae hie 

in fide Jesu Christi resurrectionem 

expectant. Obiit xxvii . die Martis 

anno Salutis MDCCCLXXVIII". setatis LXVII. 

By order of Her Majesty, one of the royal carriages attended 
the funeral procession. In the church the pall was borne by 
Mr. A. B. Mitford, who represented the First Commissioner of 
Works; Lord John Manners, M.P., the Postmaster-General; 
Mr. R. Redgrave, R. A., representing the President of the Royal 
Academy ; Mr. Charles Barry, the President of the Royal 
Institute of British Architects ; Mr. Frederic Ouvry, the Presi- 
dent of the Society of Antiquaries ; and Mr. A. J. B. Beresford 
Hope, M.P., President of the Council of the Architectural 
Museum. The Royal Academy, the Institute of Architects, 
the Society of Antiquaries, and the Council of the Architectural 
Museum were further represented by numerous deputations, as 
were also the Archaeological Institute, the London and Mid- 
dlesex Archaeological Society, the Ecclesiological Society, the 
Architectural Association, the Turners' Company, of which 
Sir Gilbert was a member, and many other public bodies con- 
nected with art and learning. On the Sunday following the 
interment, the Dean of Westminster preached in the Abbey 
Church the funeral sermon, which by his kind permission is 
reprinted in the following Appendix. 

I am also happy to be permitted to close this story by an 
extract from a lecture delivered before the Royal Academy in 
January last, by Mr. Edward M. Barry, R.A., who succeeded 
my father in the chair of architecture : 

" In Sir Gilbert Scott a great movement has lost a representa- 

Appendix. 383 

tive man, intent on the reproduction of the forms of old 
English architecture. Few advocates of change, amounting 
almost to revolution, have experienced as large an amount of 
practical success, and he lived to see the Gothic revival, of 
which he was a leader, to a great extent triumphant. Heartily 
identified, however, as he was with the revival, Sir G. Scott 
was not an artistic bigot. He could spare some of his 
admiration for the architecture of Greece and Rome, of which 
he expressed in his Academy lectures 'no stinted or cold- 
hearted eulogy.' With the calmness of judgment which dis- 
tinguished him, he admitted that the Renaissance style had 
many merits, and that it possessed at least one feature, the 
dome the noblest and ' most sublime ' achievement of archi- 
tecture which had found no abiding place in English mediaeval 
art. His remarks on the internal treatment of this crowning 
achievement of Renaissance architecture have a special interest 
at the present time, when a renewed attempt is being made to 
induce some of our best painters to devote themselves to the 
glorious task of decorating the dome of St. Paul's. Identifying 
himself with the revival of the Gothic architecture of his own 
country, Sir Gilbert Scott distrusted the introduction of prin- 
ciples of composition and details borrowed from abroad, and 
thus remained, as he began, an essentially English architect. 
The Albert Memorial in Hyde-park may be described as an 
exception to Sir Gilbert Scott's usual practice in this respect. 
At the commencement of the present century an age of no 
architecture had supervened on the first classical revival of 
Inigo Jones and Wren, and had brought us to what may be 
called the Dismal Period : the era of Bloomsbury streets and 
Batty Langley's gothic. When men demanded something 
better, they were invited to choose between two renaissances 
the Classic, and the Gothic. Then arose the battle of the 
styles, a conflict which cannot be said to be yet over, and 
which, perhaps, may never be decided. Sir Gilbert Scott 
adopted the latter, and became the principal church architect 
of his day. The Gothic revival was not, however, only, or 
even chiefly, an architectural movement, being warmly sup- 
ported by the clergy, who rejoiced to see the national interest 
awakened in its sacred buildings. Atonement was demanded 
for past days of ecclesiastical carelessness, and the Cambridge 
Camden Society arose, with its suggestive motto, ' Donee templa 

384 Appendix. 

refeceris.' 1 A great impetus was given to the new taste by the 
erection of the Houses of Parliament in the Gothic style, and 
by the labours of Pugin and others in the education of work- 
men in the old mediaeval traditions. Sir Walter Scott had 
previously paved the way by entrancing a nation (already, alas ! 
half forgetful of him) and turning their thoughts to the history, 
customs, and architecture of olden times. New Gothic 
churches and other ecclesiastical edifices arose throughout the 
country, and the cry for restoration increased in volume. 
Cathedrals were repaired and thrown open to the people, 
services were multiplied and rendered more attractive, and it 
was found that our old buildings could once more be filled with 
overflowing congregations. In the architectural part of this great 
movement Sir Gilbert Scott occupied the foremost place. To 
effect so great a change, enthusiasm is necessary, and when men 
are much in earnest, enthusiasm may easily lead to extravagance. 
So-called revivals are often difficult to distinguish from prac- 
tical innovations, and many a fierce theological conflict has been 
waged over architectural details in our churches. Sir Gilbert 
Scott was neither by taste nor temperament an innovator. In the 
midst of controversy his works showed sobriety of design, and 
moderation of judgment. The Tractarian movement and the 
Gothic revival went, indeed, hand in hand; but he was too 
earnest a champion to wish his cause to be identified with any 
single party. Like many High Churchmen, he desired to 
tread the ' via media,' very much as did the late Dean of Chi- 
chester ; so that Sir Gilbert Scott may almost be termed the Dr. 
Hook of the Gothic revival In the early stage of the latter, it 
was by a design for the parish church at Camberwell, that the 
name of Scott attracted notice, and at a subsequent period he 
had the satisfaction of distancing all competitors at Hamburg, 
thus winning for English architects conspicuous international 
distinction. In his own country, he secured an amount of 
employment scarcely paralleled in professional annals. In a 
few years great changes had arisen in the public taste. A 
time of architectural carelessness had been followed by an era 
of activity, an age of neglect by an outburst of restoration. 
Complaints have lately been much urged against restorations ; 
doubtless with truth in certain cases. Sir Gilbert Scott had too 
much to do, to expect to escape criticism. An architect's deeds 
are never hidden, and all can have their say upon them. Few, 


however, have dwelt more than Sir Gilbert Scott on the necessity 
of a conservative spirit of reverence for the past. In so doing, 
he carried out the teaching of his predecessors at the Royal 
Academy, and particularly that of Professor Cockerell. In 
regard to restorations, it should be remembered that architects 
have serious responsibilities from which their critics are free, 
and however great may be their reverence for the past, they 
must recognize the practical requirements of their own time. 
Our old buildings must not be allowed to fall, while we are dis- 
cussing, as an abstract principle, the propriety of restoration. 
Architects, nevertheless, should be jealous of unnecessary 
change, and the question is well dealt with in the following 

sentence from one Of the discourses of Sir Joshua Reynolds : 

' Ancient monuments, having the right of possession, ought not 
to be removed unless to make room for that which not only has 
higher pretensions, but such pretensions as will balance the 
evil and confusion which innovation always brings with it.' 
The Gothic revival has now attained a respectable age, and we 
may begin to inquire as to its results. It has apparently 
settled the question that, for the present at least, our ecclesias- 
tical architecture is to be Gothic. For secular buildings, no 
such decision has been accepted. Important works are daily 
carried out in both the rival styles, and there are not wanting 
signs of an increasing feeling in favour of the classic Renaissance 
or certain developements of it. Sir Gilbert Scott erected his most 
important civic building, the Public Offices, in the latter style, 
although under protest, at the bidding of Lord Palmerston. 
This was probably the greatest disappointment of a long and- 
successful career, and to be regarded as an episode only, as his 
name will ever be indissolubly associated with the Gothic 
revival of the reign of Queen Victoria. His memory will live, 
not only in stately cathedrals, but in many a lowly village, as 
the great ecclesiastical architect of our time. Too learned to 
be over-confident, he was ever a student, and conspicuous for 
a modest and unassuming manner. Architect of his own 
fortune, his mortal remains were fitly interred in that famous 
Abbey which he loved so well the national Campo Santo of 
Westminster. His grave is side by side with that of Sir Charles 
Barry, to whose place he succeeded in the Royal Academy on 
the death of the latter in 1 860. The career of Sir Gilbert Scott 
was in some respects unique, and the exact circumstances of 

c c 

386 Appendix. 

the revival, under which it was possible, can scarcely recur. It 
may, however, supply encouragement to architectural students. 
Great reputations are not indeed to be lightly won, or easily 
supported; but every young student may at least determine 
that the noble art of architecture shall not suffer in his hands 
by any lack of devotion, hard work, and perseverance. All 
may follow, though it may be at a distance, in the steps of the 
great men who have passed before, and thus may endeavour to 
deserve, if it be not given to them to achieve, success which may 
compare with theirs." 


ABBEY, APRIL 6x H , 1878, 


"I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the 
Lord." PSALM cxxii. 

" THE house of the Lord." It is an expression which we at 
once recognize as figurative. " Behold the heaven of heavens 
cannot contain Thee ; how much less this house that I have 
builded ! " So it was said even in the Jewish dispensation. 
In the Christian dispensation it is still more strongly expressed 
that the only fitting temple of the Most High is the sacred 
human conscience, or the community of good men throughout 
the world, or that vast unseen universe which is the true taber- 
nacle, greater and more perfect than any made by hands. 
Nevertheless, like all familiar metaphors, the expression " the 
house of God " has a deep root in the human heart and mind. 
Our idea of the invisible almost inevitably makes for itself a 
shell or husk from visible things. This is the germ of religious 
architecture. This is the reason why the most splendid build- 
ings in the world have been temples or churches. This is the 
reason why even the most spiritual, even the most Puritanical, 
religion clothes itself with the drapery not only of words, and 
sounds, and pictures, but of wood, and stone, and marble. A 
Friends' meeting-house is as really a house of God, and there- 
fore as decisive a testimony to the sacredness of architecture, 

C C 2 

388 Appendix. 

as the most magnificent cathedral. The barbaric artificers of 
the rude tabernacle in the desert were as really inspired in 
their rude manner as the Tyrian architects of the temple of 
Solomon. Who is there that does not feel a glow of enthu- 
siasm, when coming back after long absence, it may be like 
him who addresses you to-day, long illness, he finds himself 
once more in the old familiar, venerable sanctuary, which has 
become the home of his affection, the outward and visible sign 
of his country's and of his own hopes and duties? Who is 
there that, having grown with the growth and strengthened 
with the strength of an institution like this, does not feel that 
it is part of himself that its honour or dishonour is his own 
glory or his own shame? That which a sentiment usually 
ascribed to the witty Canon 1 of a neighbouring cathedral, with 
singular humour, treated as an impossibility, is in fact the sim- 
ple truth. We who live under the hull or framework, the 
vaults or the dome of a building like Westminster Abbey or 
St. Paul's, are conscious of a thrill of satisfaction when the hand 
of an approving public is placed on our outward shell ; a 
thrill which penetrates to our inmost souls, because we within, 
and that superb shell without, constitute but one and the same 
living creature. It is the consciousness of this intimate con- 
nexion between the spiritual and the material temple, between 
the grandeur of religion and the grandeur of its outward habi- 
tation, which gives a living interest to the thought which I 
would this day bring before you the religious aspect of the 
noble science and art of the architect. We yesterday laid 
within these walls the most famous builder of this generation. 
Others may have soared to loftier flights, or produced special 
works of more commanding power ; but no name within the 
last thirty years has been so widely impressed on the edifices of 
Great Britain, past and present, as that of Gilbert Scott From 
the humble but graceful cross, which commemorates at Oxford 
the sacrifice of the three martyrs of the English Reformation, 

1 It is told of Sydney Smith that he once said to a child who thought 
that it was pleasing a tortoise by stroking the shell, "You, might as well 
hope to please the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's by patting the dome." 
("Memoirs of Sydney Smith," vol. i. 324.) It would seem, however, that 
the story had an earlier origin. The remark was made, at least in the first 
instance or simultaneously, by the present Sir Frederick Pollock to his 

Appendix. 389 

to the splendid memorial of the prince who devoted his life to 
the service of his Queen and country ; from the Presbyterian 
University on the banks of the Clyde, to the college chapels on 
the banks of the Isis and the Cam ; from the proudest minster 
to the most retired parish church ; from India to Newfoundland 
the trace has been left of the loving eye and skilful hand that 
are now so cold in death. Truly was it said by one, who from 
the distant shores of a foreign land rendered yesterday his sorrow- 
ing tribute of respect, that in nearly all the cathedrals of Eng- 
land there must have been a shock of grief when the tidings 
came of the sudden stroke which had parted them from him, 
who was to them as their own familiar friend and foster-father. 
Canterbury, Ely, Exeter, Worcester, Peterborough, Salisbury, 
Hereford, Lichfield, Ripon, Gloucester, Manchester, Chester, 
Rochester, Oxford, Bangor, St. Asaph, St. David's, Windsor, St. 
Alban's, Tewkesbury, and last, not least, our own Westminster, 
in which he took most delight of all buildings in all the world, 
are the silent mourners round the grave of him who loved their 
very stones and dust, and knew them to their very heart's core. 
But it is good on these occasions to rise above the personal 
feelings of the moment into those more general lessons which 
his career suggests. 

I. It was the singular fortune of that career that it coincided 
with one of the most remarkable revolutions of taste that the 
world has witnessed. That peculiar conception of architectural 
beauty which our ancestors in blame, and not in praise, called 
Gothic, was altogether unknown to Pagan or Christian anti- 
quity. It was unknown alike to the builders of the Pyramids 
and the Parthenon, to the builders of the Roman Basilica, or 
the Byzantine St. Sophia. Born partly of Saracenic, partly of 
German parentage, it gradually won its way to perfection by the 
mysterious instinct which breathed through Europe in the 
Middle Ages. It nourished for four centuries, and then died 
as completely as if it had never existed. Another style took 
its place. By Catholic and Protestant it was alike repudiated. 
By the hands of English or Scottish prelates, no less than by 
English or Scottish Reformers, its traces wherever possible were 
obliterated. Here and there a momentary thrill of admiration 
was rekindled by the high-embowed roof, or by the stately pil- 
lars of our ancient churches, as in the " Penseroso" of Milton, 
or as in the " Mourning Bride " of Congreve. But as a general 

3QO Appendix. 

rule it was regarded as a lost art and our poets of the six- 
teenth century make no more allusion to it than if they had 
been born and bred in the new world of America. 

" Look through the popular writers of the sixteenth century, the uncon- 
scious exponents of the sentiments of the age that followed the Reformation ; 
examine the writings of Spenser, for instance, and Shakespere, the many- 
sided, to whom all the tones of thought of all ages seem to have been 
revealed and familiarized ; of Chapman and Marlow and the rest, and I 
question whether you will find a line or a word in any one of them indicat- 
ing the slightest sympathy with the aesthetics of ecclesiastical architecture, 
which exercise such a fascination over ourselves. Not one line, not one 
word, I believe, of the charms of cloistered arcades and fretted roofs, and 
painted windows, and the dim religious light of the pensive poets of our 
later ages. No wail of despair, no murmur of dissatisfaction reaches us 
from the generation that witnessed the dire eclipse, in which the labour of 
so many ages of artistic refinement became involved. Their children have 
betrayed to us no remembrance of the stifled sorrows of their fathers. As 
far as regards its taste for ecclesiastical monuments, the literature of Eliza- 
beth might have been the production of the rude colonists of the Antilles or 
of Virginia." 2 

Here and there an antiquarian, like Gostling at Canterbury 
or Carter at Westminster, allowed the genius of the place to 
overpower the tendencies of the age. And if a protest came 
at last against the indiscriminate disparagement of mediaeval 
art from Horace Walpole, it was more in deference to his rank 
than from conversion to his sentiments, that the authorities in 
church and state consented to preserve what else they would 
have doomed to destruction. At last, in the first half of this 
century, a new eye was given to the mind of man. Gradually, 
imperfectly, through various channels in this country chiefly 
through the minute observations of a Quaker student the 
visions of the strange past rose before a newly awakened 
world. The glory and the grace of our soaring arches, of our 
stained windows, of our recumbent effigies, were revealed, as 
they had been to no mortal eyes since the time of their erec- 
tion. To imitate, to preserve this ancient style in its remark- 
able beauty was the inevitable consequence, we might say the 
overwhelming temptation, of this new discovery. The hour 
was come when the ecclesiastical architecture of the past was 
to be roused from its long slumber, and with the hour came 
the man. We do not forget that splendid if eccentric genius 

2 Sermon preached on the Founder's Day, at Harrow, October 10, 1872, 
by Charles Merivale, D.D., Dean of Ely. 

Appendix. 391 

who gave himself, though not with undivided love, to the 
service of another communion. We cannot but remember the 
gifted architect who raised the stately halls and the command- 
ing towers of the palace of the imperial legislature, and who 
was laid long years ago in fit proximity to his own great 
works within these walls, and where he has now been followed 
by him of whom I now would speak. For there was one who, 
if younger in the race, and at the time less conspicuous than 
either of them, was destined to exercise over the growth of 
Gothic architecture in this country a yet more enduring and 
extensive influence. 

When in this Abbey the first note of that revival was struck 
by the erection of Bernasconi's plaster canopies in the place of 
the classic altar-piece given by Queen Anne, 8 a boy of fourteen 
years old was in the church watching the demolition and the 
reconstruction with a curious vigilance, which from that time 
never flagged for fifty years. That was the earliest reminis- 
cence which Gilbert Scott retained of Westminster Abbey : 
that was the first inspiration of the Gothic revival which swept 
away before its onward progress not only the plaster reredos 
of this Abbey, but a thousand other crudities of the same im- 
perfect period. He impersonated the taste of the age. Anti- 
quarian no less than builder, he became to those fossils of 
mediaeval architecture what Cuvier and Owen have been to the 
fossils of the earlier world of nature. It may be that others 
will succeed on whom the marvellous bounty of Providence 
shall bestow other gifts of other kinds. But meanwhile we 
bless God for what we have had in our departed friend and 
his fellow-workers. The recovery, the second birth, of Gothic 
architecture, is a striking proof that the human mind is not 
dead, nor the creative power of our Maker slackened. We 
bless alike the power which breathed this inspiration into the 
men of old, and which even from their dry bones has breathed 
it once again into the men of these latter days. 

II. But it is not enough that a great gift should be resus- 
citated or a great style imitated. We must ask wherein its 
greatness consisted, and in what relation it stood to the other 
gifts of the Creator. There are many characteristics of the 
mediaeval architecture, as of the mediaeval mind, which have 

3 " Memorials of Westminster Abbey," p-53- 

392 Appendix. 

totally perished, or which ought never to be revived, which 
represent ideas that for our time have lost all significance, and 
purposes which are doomed to extinction. The Middle Ages 
have left on the intellect of Europe few, very few, enduring 
traces. Their chronicles are but the quarries of later historians : 
their schoolmen are but the extinct species of a dead theology. 
Two great poems and one book of devotion are all which that 
long period has bequeathed to the universal literature of man- 
kind. But their architecture still remains 

Of equal date 
With Andes and with Ararat, 4 

and the reason of this continuance or revival is this, that in its 
essential features it represented those aspirations of religion 
which are eternal. As in mediseval Christianity there were 
elements which belonged to the undeveloped Protestantism of 
the Western churches, so also in mediaeval architecture there 
are elements which belong to the churches of the Reformation 
as well as to the churches of the Papal system. Its massive 
solidity, its aspiring height, its infinite space, these belong not to 
the tawdry, trivial, minute, material side of religion, but to its 
sobriety, its grandeur, its breadth, its sublimity. And therefore 
it was that when this revival of Gothic architecture took place, 
it was amongst the Protestant churches of England, rather than 
in the Catholic churches of the continent, that its first growth 
struck root. The religious power of our great cathedrals has, 
as has been well remarked,* not lost, but gained, in proportion 
as our worship has become more solemn, more simple, more 
reverential, more comprehensive. There is a cloud of super- 
stition doubtless which, with the latter half of the nineteenth 
century, has settled down over a large part of the ecclesiastical 
world; but the last places which it will reach will be the 
magnificent architectural monuments which defy the introduc- 
tion of trivial and mean decorations, or, if introduced, condemn 
them for their evident incongruity with other portions of the 
buildings. The great antiquaries, the great architects of this 
century, are but too well acquainted with the differences 
between the loftier and the baser aspects, between the golden 
and the copper sides of their noble art, to allow it to become 

4 Emerson. 

6 Dean Milman's "History of Latin Christianity," vol. vi. p. 91. 

Appendix. 393 

the handmaid of a sect or party, or the instrument of a senseless 

And this leads me to one more point of the marvellous 
revival of which he who lies in yonder grave was the pioneer 
and champion. For the first, or almost for the first time in 
the history of the world, the architecture of the nineteenth 
century betook itself, not to the creation of a new style, but to 
the preservation and imitation of an older style. With perhaps 
one exception, 6 every age and country down to our own has 
set its face towards superseding the works of its predecessors, 
by erecting its own work in their place. The Normans over- 
threw the old Romanesque churches of the Saxons. Henry 
III. in this place " totally swept away, as of no value what- 
ever," the noble abbey of the Confessor. Henry VII. built 
his stately chapel in marked contrast to all the other portions 
of this building. The great architects of the cathedrals of 
St. Peter at Rome, and St. Paul in London, adopted a style 
varying as widely from the mediaeval, which they despised, as 
from the Grecian, which they admired. But now, in our own 
time, the whole genius of the age threw all its energies into 
the reproduction of what had been, rather than into the pro- 
duction of what was to be. No doubt it may be said that 
there is in the original genius which creates something more 
stimulating and inspiring. Yet still the very eagerness of re- 
production is itself an original inspiration, and there is in it 
also a peculiar grace which, to the illustrious departed, was 
singularly congenial. If one had sought for a man to carry 
out this awe-striking retrospect through the great works of old, 
to gather up the fragments of perishing antiquity, it would 
have been one whose inborn modesty used to call the colour 
into his face at every word of praise whose reverential attitude 
led him instinctively to understand and to admire. And yet 
in him this very tendency, especially in his maturer age, took 
so large and generous a sweep as to counteract the excesses 
into which, in minds less expansive and less vigorous, it is 
sure to fall. Because the bent of his own character and of his 
own time led chiefly to the restoration of mediaeval art, he was 

6 The continuance of the Pharaonic style in Egypt by the Ptolemaic 
princes and Roman emperors. There are also a few rare examples in 
Mediaeval Architecture, such as the completion of the nave in Westminster 

394 Appendix. 

not on that account insensible to the merits of the ages which 
had gone before, or which had succeeded. With that narrow 
and exclusive pedantry which would fain sweep out from this 
and other like buildings all the monuments and memorials 
of the three last centuries, he had little or no sympathy. He 
regarded them as footprints of the onward march of English 
history, and whilst, with a natural regret for the inroads which 
here and there they had made into the earlier glories of the 
Plantagenet and Tudor architecture and whilst willing to 
prune their disproportionate encroachments, he cherished their 
associations as tenderly as though they had been his own 
creations ; and he would bestow his meed of admiration as 
freely on the modern memorial of Isaac Watts as on the 
antique effigy of a crusading prince or of a Benedictine abbot. 
It was this loving, yet comprehensive care for all the hetero- 
geneous elements of the past, this anxious, unselfish attention 
to all their multifarious details, which made him so wise a 
counsellor, so delightful a companion, in the great work of the 
reparation, the conservation, the glorification of this building, 
which, amidst his absorbing and ubiquitous duties, it is not 
too much to say was his first love, his chief, his last, his 
enduring interest. 

Such is the loss which the whole church and country de- 
plore, but which we of this place mourn most of all. We 
cannot forget him. Roof and wall, chapter-house and 
cloister, the tombs of the dead and the worship of the living, 
all speak of him to those who know that his hand and 
his eye were everywhere amongst us. But these very 
trophies of what he did for us must render us more alive 
to do what we can for him. His memory must stimulate 
us who remain to carry on with unabated zeal those works 
in which he took so deep a concern : the completion of 
the chapter-house by its long-delayed and long-promised win- 
dows of stained glass ; the northern porch, which he desired 
above all things to see restored to its pristine beauty ; the 
new cloister, which he had planned in all its completeness 
as the link for another thousand years between the illustrious 
dead of the generations of the past, and those of the genera- 
tions of the future. So long as these remain unfinished, his 
grave will continue to reproach us. When they shall be accom- 
plished, they will be amongst the noblest monuments of him 

Appendix. 395 

whose ambition for his glorious art was so far-reaching, and 
whose requirements of what was due to this national sanc- 
tuary were so exacting. 

But there is yet a more sacred and solemn thought which 
attaches to the immediate remembrance of so faithful a 
servant of this State of England, of so honoured a friend of 
this church of Westminster. 

It has been sometimes said that it was by a strange irony of 
fate that the great leader in the revival of mediaeval archi- 
tecture should have been the grandson of that venerable com- 
mentator who belonged to the revival of evangelical religion. 
Yet in fact, from another point of view, it was a fitting con- 
tinuity. It is always useful to be reminded that the revival, or, 
as we may better put it, the increase, of sincere English re- 
ligion, belongs to a generation and a tendency long anterior 
to the multiplication of those external signs and symbols of 
which our age has made so much ; and in the deep sense of 
that inward religion, that simple faith in the Great Unseen, 
the grandson who multiplied and disclosed the secrets of the 
visible sanctuaries of God throughout the land, was not an 
unworthy descendant of the grandfather who endeavoured, 
according to the light of his time, to draw forth the mysteries 
of the Book of books.. We in this place, who knew him and 
valued him, who leant upon him as a tower of strength in our 
difficulties, who honoured his indefatigable industry, his child- 
like humility, his unvarying courtesy, his noble candour, we 
who remember with gratitude his generous encouragement of 
the students of the rising generation, and who know how he 
loved and valued the best that we also have loved and 
valued, we all feel that in him we have lost one of those 
just, gentle, guileless souls who in their lives have lifted, 
and in their memories may still lift, our souls upwards. 
And when we speak of the work which such a career 
bequeaths to those that remain, let us remember that al- 
though, as we said at the beginning of this discourse, the 
shell, the framework, of a great building like this, is an 
inestimable gift of God, its creation and preservation one 
of the noblest functions of human genius and national en- 
terprise, yet on us who dwell within it, to whose charge it is 
committed, depends in no slight manner its continuance for 
the future, its glory and its usefulness for the present. There 

396 Appendix. 

are some eager spirits of our time, in whom the noble passion 
for reform and improvement has been stifled and suspended 
by the ignoble passion for destruction, who have openly avowed 
their desire to suppress all the expressions of worship or of 
teaching within this or like edifices, and keep them only 
as dead memorials of the past better silent with the solitude 
of Tintern or of Melrose, than thronged with vast congre- 
gations, or resounding with the music of the Psalmist, or the 
voice of the preacher. It is for us so to fulfil our several 
duties, so to people this noble sanctuary with living deeds, and 
words of goodness and of wisdom, that such dreams of the 
destroyer may find no place to enter, no shelter or excuse from 
our neglect, or ignorance, or folly. The grave of our great 
architect is close beside the pulpit, which he erected to com- 
memorate the earliest establishment of services and of sermons 
in the nave, which for the first time were then set on foot by 
my predecessor, and which have since spread throughout the 
whole country. That reminds us of the kind of support which 
we, the guardians and occupants of abbeys and cathedrals, can 
give even to their outward fabric. It has been well said by a 
gifted author, who, if any of his time, has been devoted to the 
passionate love of art, that in the day of trial it will be said 
even in those magnificent buildings, not " See what manner of 
stones are here," but " See what manner of men." 7 Clergy, 
lay-clerks, choristers, teachers, scholars, vergers, guides, alms- 
men, workmen yes, and all you who frequent this church 
every one of us may have it in our power to support it, by our 
reverence and devotion, by our eagerness to profit by what we 
hear, by our sincere wish to give the best that we can in teach- 
ing and preaching, by our honest and careful fulfilment of the 
duties of each day's work, by our scrupulous care to avoid all 
that can give needless annoyance or offence, by our constancy 
and belief, by our rising above all paltry disputes and all vulgar 
vices. In the presence of this great institution of which we 
are all members, and in the presence of the Most High God, 
whom it recalls to our thoughts, and in whose presence we are, 
equally within its walls and without them every one of us has 
it in his power to increase the glory, to strengthen the stability, 
to insure the perpetuity of this abbey. That is the best memo- 

7 Ruskin's "Lectures on Art," 118. 

Appendix. 397 

rial we can raise, that is the best service we can render, to all 
those, dead or living, who have loved, or who still love, this 
holy and beautiful house, wherein our fathers worshipped in 
the generations of the past, and wherein, if we be but true to 
its glorious mission, our children and our children's children 
shall worship in the generations that are yet to come. 



(Read at a Meeting of the Institute of British Architects, 28th May, 1877.) 

GENTLEMEN, I have to apologize for again addressing you, 
after having spoken once on the subject of Mr. Stevenson's 
Paper ; but, on consideration of that Paper, and having ob- 
served from what was said by several speakers that it was 
viewed by them as being especially directed against myself, I 
have thought it right to crave your kind indulgence in not rest- 
ing satisfied with what I said on the spur of the moment, and 
in reading a written comment on the Paper. 

Why / who have laid myself out to protest against the 
havoc which has been made through the length and breadth 
of the land under the name of Restoration should be singled 
out as the special butt of this yet stronger protest, it is not easy 
to say. In accepting this challenge, I may claim a somewhat 
back-handed compliment. When Napoleon III. was told that 
a prophetic authority had pronounced him to be Anti-Christ, 
he replied, "He does me too much honour /" Much the same is 
the honour intended to be conferred on me. Yet be it 
honour or affront I feel it incumbent on me, as its selected 
recipient, to state carefully how far I agree and how far I 
differ from the sentiments expressed in that Paper, and the 
more especially as whether formally or not it is actually the 
manifesto of the Society recently formed for the prevention of 

It is but fair, at the outset, to say candidly that there has 


been every possible provocation to the line taken by this new 
Society ; and that up to a certain point I heartily sympa- 
thize with their views. I wish this to be thoroughly understood j 
or, while only finding fault with the views promulgated by the 
Society on the ground of exaggeration and unfairness, I may be 
supposed to be taking a side in the argument wholly at variance 
with my own known sentiments. No over-statement on their 
part, no personal accusations against myself, will, I trust, for 
a moment betray me into disloyalty to the side which I have 
for years advocated, or into ceasing to protest against the 
course of vandalism, which has justly made the very word 
" Restoration " a by-word and a reproach, and which has robbed 
England of a large portion of her antiquities. So far, then, from 
objecting to the general aim of Mr. Stevenson's Paper, if 
purged from certain excesses and over-statements, I will at once 
say that a very large number of the sentiments and remarks 
contained in it are simply reiterations of those which I 
have, for not less than thirty-six years, expressed ; though so 
exaggerated, and pressed to such an extreme, as greatly to 
destroy their practical value, and then adroitly turned against 
myself and those who have similarly protested. This is no 
doubt a somewhat annoying form of warfare, but others have 
had to bear it before us. William Wilberforce lived to be 
viewed by his over-ardent disciples as the great clog in the way 
of negro emancipation, and Wilkes was constrained to proclaim 
himself to be no Wilkesite ; and so it is a mere truism to say 
that, although I have protested against unfaithful and overdone 
and ignorant restoration, I have myself largely transgressed 
what Mr. Stevenson enunciates as the correct view i.e., that 
there should be no restoration at all. 

I have myself (as he quotes me) said I could wish the name 
were expunged and " reparation " substituted : but, whether 
called by one name or the other, it is clear that I should have 
been wasting my breath in attempting to suggest rules and limi- 
tations, if no such thing at all were to be permitted ! I there- 
fore at once admit that, notwithstanding all my outcry against 
bad restoration, I have somewhat largely infringed the new rule 
which forbids any restoration, good, bad, or indifferent I will 
now, at the risk of egotism, show by a few extracts from my own 
poor writings what have been my sentiments at different periods 
of my professional life. 

4OO Appendix. 

In a letter written to Mr. Petit in 1841, I said, 

" It has often struck me that, viewing an ancient edifice as a national 
monument, as an original work of the great artists from whom we learn all 
we can know of Christian architecture, and as a work which when once 
restored, however carefully, is to a certain extent lost as an authentic exam- 
ple, it is hardly right that the fate of such a building should be left wholly 
to the local committee or their architects, but that it would be well if they 
could call in to their aid two or three non-professional and disinterested 
parties, well known to understand the subject," who, on hearing arguments, 
&c., would "be able to give such opinion as would set all questions at rest, 
and would ensure our doing justice to the subscribers and the public." 


" I do not wish to lay it down as a general rule that good taste requires 
that every alteration which from age to age has been made in our churches 
should be obliterated, and the whole reduced to its ancient uniformity of 
style. These varieties are indeed most valuable, as being the standing his- 
tory of the edifice, from which the date of every alteration and repair may 
be read as clearly as if it had been verbally recorded ; and in many cases 
the later additions are as valuable specimens of architecture as the remains 
of the original structure, and merit an equally careful preservation. I even 
think that if our churches were to be viewed, like the ruins of Greece and 
Rome, only as original monuments from which ancient architecture is to be 
studied, they would be more valuable in their present condition, however 
mutilated and decayed, than with any, even the slightest degree of restora- 
tion. But taking the more correct view of a church as a building erected 
for the glory of God and the use of Man (and which must therefore be kept 
in a proper state of repair), and finding it in such a state of dilapidation that 
the earlier and later parts the authentic and the spurious are alike decayed 
and all require renovation to render the edifice suitable to its purposes, I 
think we are then at liberty to exercise our best judgment upon the sub- 
ject, and if the original parts are found to be ' precious ' and the late inser- 
tions to be ' vile,' I think we should be quite right in giving perpetuity to 
to the one, and in removing the other. As, however, an erroneous judg- 
ment might lead to unfortunate results, this is just one of those points on 
which the opinion of a kind of Antiquarian Commission might advan- 
tageously be taken." 


"I have long and most painfully felt that the modern system of radical 
restoration is doing more towards the destruction of ancient art than the 
ravings of fanaticism, or the follies of churchwardens have succeeded in 
effecting. The existence and authenticity of these invaluable relics is 
invaded on both sides : on the one by neglect, mutilation, and wanton 
destruction ; and on the other, by the extreme to which well-meant restora- 
tions are too frequently carried." 

It is difficult to say from which side the greatest danger is to 
be apprehended, but between the two I feel convinced that 

Appendix. 40 1 

greater havoc has been made among sacred edifices in our own 
time boasting as we do of a revived taste for their beauties 
than they had experienced from three centuries of contemp- 
tuous neglect. It is desirable for the sake of guarding against 
both these sources of danger, that those who have a true feeling 
for the subject should endeavour to come to an understanding 
among themselves, and to compare their own views ; so that 
their differences of opinion may not be taken advantage of by 
those who are glad of any excuse for withholding their 
contributions, or those, on the other hand, whose love of 
change is equally on the watch for an opportunity of in- 
dulging itself. With this object I have used my humble 
endeavours " to show the necessity for some such ordeal as I 
proposed." For, " while acknowledging the dangers to which 
others are exposed, we are too apt to fancy that we are ourselves 
individual exceptions." 

In 1848 I wrote a Paper on "The Faithful Restoration 
of Ancient Churches," in which I entered an earnest protest 
against Radical Restoration, and urged the most Conservative 
treatment, winding up with a quotation from a poetical friend 
of Mr. Petit's 

"It \vere a pious work, I hear you say, 
To prop the falling ruin and to stay 
The work of desolation. It may be 
That ye say right ; but, O ! work tenderly ! 
Beware lest one worn feature ye efface ; 
Seek not to add one touch of modern grace ; 
Handle with reverence each crumbling stone, 
Respect the very lichens o'er it grown ; 
And bid each ancient monument to stand 
Supported e'en as with a filial hand. 
Mid all the light a happier age has brought, 
We work not yet as our forefathers wrought." 

While this Paper was in the press, two years later, Mr. 
Ruskin's "Seven Lamps of Architecture" came into my 


On his condemnation of all restoration (a notion which, as 
you see, I had anticipated and answered eight or nine years 
earlier), I added in a note as follows : 

" Were our old churches to be viewed merely as monuments of the archi- 
tecture of bygone days, I confess that I should cordially agree with hi 
for who would dream of restoring the sculptures of the Parthenon, or the 

D d 

402 Appendix. 

hieroglyphics of Thebes ? Again, were it possible by present care to nul- 
lify the effects of past neglect, I would heartily fall in with his advice. I 
would ' watch an old building with an anxious care. ' I would ' guard it 
as best I might, and at any cost, from the influence of dilapidation.' I 
would ' count its stones as you would the jewels of a crown ; set watches 
about it as if at the gates of a besieged city ; bind it together with iron 
where it loosens ; stay it with timber when it declines/ or do anything and 
everything I could to preserve it from the influences of time or the hand of 
the spoliator. But, alas ! the damage is already effected ; the neglect of 
centuries and the spoiler's hand has already done its work ; and the building 
being something more than a monument of memory, being a temple dedicated 
so long as the world shall last to the worship and honour of the world's 
Creator, it is a matter of duty, as it is of necessity, that its dilapidations and 
its injuries shall be repaired ; though better were it to leave them untouched 
for another generation than commit them to irreverent hands, which seek 
only the memory of their own cunning while professing to think upon the 
stones, and take pity upon the dust of Sion." 

" Yon ancient wall 
Better to see it tottering to its fall 
Than decked in new attire with lavish cost, 
Form, dignity, proportion, grace, all lost ! " 

In 1863 I read my Paper before this Institute from which 
Mr. Stevenson has largely quoted, and, he will forgive my saying, 
the spirit of which he has most ingeniously misinterpreted. Of 
this I will only say, Read it and judge for yourselves. 

In my inaugural address as President of this Institute in 
1873, after some remarks on the marvellous inequality in merit 
and demerit of the architecture of our own day as compared 
with its uniformity of merit in previous ages, I add : 

"There is, however, a yet sadder inequality to be recorded sadder 
because irreparable in the injury inflicted. The million ugly houses, or 
even the majority of them, may go to decay, or be rebuilt ; but a single 
ancient edifice destroyed or ruined by ignorant 'restoration? can never be 
recovered. It is unquestionable that the ancient structures, from the study 
of which a knowledge of our mediaeval styles has been resuscitated, had 
suffered for the most part so severely from neglect, ill-usage, and decay, 
as to demand the aid of a loving and careful restoration ; and this they 
have happily, in very many instances, received. The knowledge and skill 
of our neo-mediseval architects has often been devoted with admirable 
success to this grateful work, and from among the restorations of ancient 
buildings may be instanced many of the most happy results of the Gothic 
revival But here, again, the unhappy diversity I have alluded to, as 
existing in new works, is found to exist in its most aggravated form. Our 
old buildings too often nay, in a majority, I fear, of cases fall into the 
hands of men who have neither knowledge nor respect for them, while, 
even amongst those who possess the requisite knowledge, there has too 
often existed a lack of veneration,. a disposition to sit in judgment on the 

Appendix. 403 

works of their teachers, a rage for alteration to suit some system to which 
they had pledged themselves in their own works, and even the pre- 
posterous idea that the ancient examples they were called upon to repair 
were a fitting field for the display of their own originality. 

" Nor have the official guardians of our ancient buildings exercised much 
restraint upon these vagaries : on the contrary, they have too often been 
most culpably careless as to the hands to which they have committed their 
trust, and are usually the inciters to ignorant tampering, the needless 
removal of valuable features, and even the condemnation and destruction 
of the buildings under their charge. The result has been truly disastrous ; 
so much so that our country has actually been robbed of a large proportion 
of its antiquities under the name of ' restoration ;' and the work of destruc- 
tion and spoliation still goes on merrily ; while at the public festivities by 
which each auto-da-fe is celebrated, we find ecclesiastical dignitaries, 
clergy, squires, and architects congratulating one another on the success 
of the latest effort of Vandalism. Our Institute has done itself infinite 
honour by appointing a standing committee to investigate and protest, and 
by publishing a code of excellent suggestions as to the mode of dealing 
with ancient remains ; but still the work goes on, and the equivocal 
motto of the Ecclesiologist 'Donee Templa refeceris' 1 seems likely to 
prove well-nigh the death-knell of our ecclesiastical antiquities." 

In my second opening address in 1874, the same subject 
was brought forward by Mr. Ruskin's refusal of the Gold Medal, 
on the ground of the prevalence of destructive restoration. On 
this I offered the following remarks : 

" Now, all this may be viewed from two very different points. We 
may, on the one hand, very fairly protest against the injustice of being 
made in any degree responsible for acts in which we have had no hand, 
over which we had no control, and against which we should protest as 
loudly as Mr. Ruskin : but, on the other hand, we, being the incorporated 
representatives of architectural practice, may, in a certain sense, be held 
to represent its vices as well as its virtues, and in the eyes of a self- 
constituted censor, and one who from his first appearance before the public 
has devoted himself wholly to protest and warning, we can hardly wonder 
that, if he holds us thus responsible, he should not think it a time for us 
to be playing at compliments with our censor. 

" Read for a moment his expressions of righteous indignation uttered 
nearly a quarter of a century back, and imagine what must be his feelings 
wherever he directs his steps. If he travels in France, he finds restoration 
so rampant that nothing which shows much of the hand of time is con- 
sidered worthy of continued existence, but must be re-worked or renewed, 
cleverly, artistically, and learnedly perhaps, but nevertheless as new work 
taking the place of the old, or old work re-tooled till scarce a 
vestige of the surface on which the old men wrought so lovingly is 
allowed to remain. If he goes into Italy, much the same meets his eye. 
In his own Venice the Fondaco dei Turchi, the most venerable secular 
Byzantine work, is rebuilt. At Rome he would observe an area of some 
half a square mile excavated and carted away, which contained- 
covered only to be in great measure destroyed the ancient wall of 

D d 2 

404 Appendix. 

Tullius, twelve feet thick, of solid masonry, and against it a second 
Pompeii of antique Roman houses, hardly explored, but merely disinterred 
and carted away as rubbish. At Assisi he would find the works of Cimabue 
and Giotto in the hands of the restorer, though, as I trust, with better 
promise. In Belgium he would find ancient buildings chipped over and 
made to look like new ; or, as is the case with the wonderful church of the 
Dominicans, at Ghent, deliberately destroyed. And is the case much 
better in our own country ? Has not the hand of a false and destructive 
restoration swept like a plague over the length and breadth of our land, 
and are not those churches which have been treated with veneration and 
care a mere gleaning among those which have been dealt with in careless 
ignorance of any value to be attached to them? To Mr. Ruskin's eye the 
best of our restorations are mere vandalisms, for he protests against them 
root and branch ; and to him all the difficulties and disappointments met 
with in carrying them out would be only so many reasons for reproaching 
us for having undertaken them at all. Anyhow, he would find in England 
far more than one half of our ancient churches to have been so dealt with 
by ignorant and sacrilegious hands that one is ready to curse the day when 
the then youthful Cambridge Camden Society, all too sanguine and ardent, 
adopted for their motto the ominous words so sadly realized, ' Donee 
Templa refeceris.' But restoration has not laboured alone in the work 
of Vandalism : deliberate destruction has been rife amongst us. Has not 
one great cathedral body deliberately pulled down its ancient hospital hall 
of the fourteenth century, and another its stupendous tythe barn of the 
thirteenth? Near another cathedral, where the episcopal palace is formed 
out of a vast Norman hall (the sole remaining instance of a hall of that 
age supported by original timber pillars and arcades), I have only just 
now seen some of these timber arches lying as old material in a builder's 
yard, having been turned out, I fear under the eye of a Fellow of this 
Institute, for the purpose, to use Mr. Ruskin's own words, of ' temporary 
convenience. ' " 

In my third annual address in 1875, 1 was dwelling especially 
on a duty that I would commend to the Society which Mr. 
Stevenson represents the duty of making and preserving 
accurate drawings of perishing architectural remains and, I 
added : 

"We, as an Institute, do a great deal by means of Jlhe competition for 
our Pugin Studentship (which usually take the form of measured drawings 
of some of these perishing art treasures), but we should aim at, and strive 
after, some more systematic method of dealing with this most urgently 
pressing object. I know many remains whose details every time I visit 
them, seem to get dimmer and dimmer, jfrom the yearly falling away of 
their surfaces in impalpable dust, and which another generation will find 
utterly unintelligible. Such is the case with the remains which surround 
the cloister court of Fountains Abbey ; such, too, is the case with that 
invaluable remnant the sanctuary of Tynemouth Priory, with its ac- 
companying fragments, perhaps unequalled in their architecture by any 
cotemporary building in England ; such is the case in a still more dis- 
tressing degree with Kelso Abbey, and such is the destined fate, sooner or 

Appendix. 405 

later, of most of the ruined structures which remain throughout our land 
as proofs at once of the glorious art of our forefathers and our own heed- 
lessness. We need not suppose that the admission th'at this duty is 
incumbent on ourselves involves the consequence that the cost must 
necessarily fall upon us. There can be no doubt, that if we take the 
initiative, funds will be supplied by the very many who take an intelligent 
and zealous interest in the subject ; but, if we hold our peace, who ought 
to be the first to speak, how can we expect others to bestir themselves ? 

"When we come to buildings still in use, and especially to churches, 
we have a truly mournful and disgraceful scene presented to us. 

"Our churches had, during the three centuries between the extinction 
and the revival of Gothic architecture, for the most part been allowed to 
fall, step by step, into a state of sordid and contemptuous neglect, decay, 
and dilapidation ; while they become encumbered with galleries, pews, and 
all manner of incongruous interpolations : nothing being, in many cases, 
considered too mean in character for an old Gothic church. People 
became conscious of this before our architects became fitted to correct 
it ; and, like Jack, in Swift's ' Tale of a Tub,' set about ridding their 
churches of disfigurements before they knew what to substitute for them, 
and, with every blemish which they removed, tore off some fragment of the 
original fabric, and mended the tear with work of their own, if not quite as 
incongruous, certainly far more nauseating. Soon, however, they got to 
think they knew all about the matter ; and boldly set about restorations, 
as if the old art had been beyond question revived. They even disputed 
among themselves as to whether restorations should be ' conservative, 
destructive or eclectic;' great authorities not being wanting to defend even 
the destructive system. 

Meanwhile, even with those best disposed, knowledge was imperfect, 
and the difficulties of careful and well-considered treatment immense. 
The promoters of the work were more impressed, perhaps, with the 
axiom of the first church restorers that the house of God ought not 
to be less carefully dealt with than our own houses, than with the 
equally indisputable fact that they had a treasure of ancient art and 
of ancient church history to deal with, which demanded the most 
earnest study for its conservation. Walls and roofs were found decayed, 
and their entire renewal was urged ; changes in our ritual, it was argued, 
demanded corresponding changes in arrangement ; clerks of the works, 
builders and workmen vied with each other in opposing conservative 
measures ; and fight as they would all kinds of influences continued, in 
addition to their own short-comings, to check or frustrate the efforts of 
conservative architects, so that the result was, at the best, a mixture of 
successes with failures, of right decision with compromise. 

"This has now been going on for years, so far as concerns the best 
among us, but many well-meaning restorers, from imperfect knowledge 
and want of firmness, come yet worse out of their work. Beyond these, 
however, is a very different set of restorers (so-called), a host of men not 
always architects even in name, though occasionally such, men justly respected 
in other branches, and who ought to know better than to touch this ; but, 
for the most part, men who have taken to Gothic architecture, as being a 
style in vogue, and merely as a part of their stock in trade ; and into their 
hands a very large proportion of our churches fall. They may be likened 

406 Appendix. 

to a herd, before whom our precious pearls are cast, and who trample 
them under their feet, and turn again and rend all objectors. 

We receive, from time to time, appeals to our Committee for the Conser- 
vation of Ancient Monuments against vandalisms which one would have 
thought incredible ; and only within the last few days I have heard of one 
clergyman selling to a grocer one of the old chained-up books which he 
thought would disfigure his ' restored ' church ; and of another expelling 
a famous series of brasses to secure the uniformity of his encaustic tile 
floor ; while one hears of noblemen of the highest names who make over 
the nomination of architects for the restoration of the churches on their 
estates as a piece of patronage which is the perquisite of their agents. 

"Taking a review of the results of this sad history, one may say that a 
certain proportion of our churches have been carefully dealt with ; another 
proportion treated with fair intention but less success ; but that, as I fear, 
the majority are almost utterly despoiled, and nine-tenths, if not all, of 
their interest swept away. Nor is a word of remonstrance raised against 
this by those whose position would enable them to prevent it ; indeed I 
can with confidence assert that more objection is raised against those who 
labour hard to do their duty carefully, than against the whole host of those 
who have so ruined our old churches, as to render a church-tour one of the 
most distressing and sickening of adventures. Yet, happily, a remnant 
remains : a few churches in each district are still left unrestored ; and for 
the preservation of these, like the remnant of the Sibylline books, it is 
worth while to pay any price. I saw one such church recently, on a 
little tour in the eastern counties, as if in the still water missed by the 
tide of destructive restoration : its roof still retaining the thatch which 
once prevailed through that district, but admitting the rain in torrents ; 
its timbers the veritable old ones, though partially decayed ; its quaint 
and beautiful seating remaining almost entire, though preyed upon by 
the worm ; its floor retaining beautiful tiles, of varied geometrical form 
and unique design, though loosened and displaced; its windows still 
containing extensive remnants of the most beautiful fourteenth -century 
glass, exquisite in design and colouring, but ready to drop out of its 
leading ; the walls, happily, nearly as good as new, and with windows, 
arcades and niches of the most perfect design ; the whole just wanting 
that tender, loving handling which would preserve all which time has 
spared, and give it a new lease of existence. Oh, that we could 
search out these last gleanings from the harvest of destruction, and save 
them from the destroyer's hands." 

I now come to the Paper of suggestions relative to ancient 
buildings which was issued twelve years since by our Institute, 
and which Mr. Stevenson has so boldly held up to ridicule and 

This Paper consists, I think, of contributions from different 
members of a sub-committee, which will account for some 
trifling inconsistencies. I was myself a contributor, though 
strange to say I do not know that I have till recently examined 
it with care in its completed form. I really feared, from Mr. 

Appendix, 407 

Stevenson's alarming description, that I should find it to be 
something which we have just cause to be ashamed of. The 
reverse is the case ; for, subject to some few inadvertencies of 
which he has not failed to take full advantage, to the extent T 
will not say of misrepresenting but of absolutely reversing its 
real aim, I do not hesitate to say that I have never met with a 
document more creditable to the great Society from which it 
has emanated, nor one more truthfully and more wisely ad- 
vising on the course to be taken by those whom it addresses. 

It is a plain, unvarnished and unpretending document. Mr. 
Stevenson's Paper on the contrary is graced with literary 
and rhetorical beauty ; yet I am bold to say that the manifesto 
of the Institute is worth a thousand of that which holds it up 
to ridicule and traduces its suggestions. The only point of 
importance which Mr. Stevenson has fairly made good against 
this document is that in its first clause it, strangely enough, leaves 
the clearing away of modern incumbrances which conceal 
ancient work to the employers instead of their architects. This 
is a manifest mistake, and it ought at once to be corrected. 
Personally I also object to the clause about stripping off 
plastering to show the junctions of parts of differing date. This, 
however, is inconsistent with other clauses which direct the 
careful examination of old plastered surfaces in search for 
colouring directing that "plastered surfaces of ancient date 
should be preserved if possible ;" and that, " as a general rule, 
ancient plastering should not be removed, but only repaired 
where necessary." The clause in question was, then, only in- 
tended for exceptional cases. Subject to the correction of such 
inadvertencies and of some minor details as well as to a few 
verbal corrections, I boldly aver that I have rarely read a docu 
ment more characterized by experience and wisdom, or mor* 
diametrically the reverse in its tone, of the colouring which it } 
critic has laid upon it. I would further assert that were thes< 
suggestions (subject to the minor corrections I have alluded to) 
faithfully followed, our churches would be models of all which 
is excellent and to be desired. 

As truthful would it be to attribute the defects in our Con- 
stitution to Magna Charta ; what still remains of the slave- 
trade to Wilberforce ; or of small-pox to Jenner, as to saddle 
the guilt of the barbarisms committed on our old churches upon 
the admirable code of suggestions which was drawn out for the 

408 Appendix. 

express purpose of arresting the tide of vandalism. To hold 
up such a document to ridicule is not only grossly and absurdly 
unfair, but it tends to give unbridled licence to the evils it 
sincerely professes to deplore ; for, as the intended deduction, 
that we are to do nothing, is one which can never be acted on, 
it follows that the holding up the rules of action, and the 
protests of those who offer them, to contempt, is simply throwing 
the reins upon the neck of vandalism. All honour, then, to 
the Institute, which has (even with a few imperfections) pro- 
mulgated such a code of rules ; but what honour can we award 
to those who seek to turn its wisdom into folly ? 

Imagine any one quietly stating that " the Institute Paper 
advises the destruction of Perpendicular work," backing it by a 
reversal of the meaning of what it does say, which is dia- 
metrically the contrary, and which really goes too far in urging 
the exposure to view of alterations in the later styles, and is 
in another place called to account for doing so. 

Imagine, again, the statement that it advises the getting rid 
of " the flat roofs of perpendicular times," and that the " new 
roof should be made of the same steep pitch as the original roof," 
when what it really says is "if it be found absolutely necessary 
to construct a new roof, owing to the existing roof being entirely 
decayed or modern, one of the two following courses should be 
adopted : either the old roof where it exists should be carefully 
copied, or the new roof should be made of the same pitch as 
the original roof." It further suggests that, " where there is a 
clerestory, it will be well to keep the pitch of the roof erected 
at the time it was built," and adds, " flat roofs are by no means 
to be condemned." Again, imagine any one saying of the 
beautiful western porch at Peterborough " that, as the Institute 
Advice puts it, it is a modern addition put up without regard to 
architectural propriety ; " while at the same time he criticizes, 
and with more justice, the suggestion " that the whole of the 
old work should be preserved and exposed to view, so as to 
show the history of the fabric with its successive alterations as 
distinctly as possible." 

This system of misrepresentation seems unhappily held to be 
essential to the anti-restoration movement. As a small example 
of it, our friend, though two days before reading his Paper he 
made a special .journey to Canterbury to see what was really 
contemplated, nevertheless stated in his Paper that I con- 

Appendix, 409 

templated the removal of the screen which separates the choir 
from the nave ; while the fact was that we were only talking 
of the removal of some comparatively recent fittings, for the 
sake of bringing that screen into view. 1 He has since modified 
that statement, so I only notice it to show that we are viewed 
as lawful spoil. 

The statements of writers in newspapers merely follow out 
the same principle, actually bristling with inaccuracies of the 
grossest kind, and, unlike Mr. Stevenson, they usually refuse 
to correct them. I have recently met with a signal instance 
of this, reminding one of a story told by Lord Brougham 
in the House of Lords to show the uselessness of attempting 
to correct such statements. A grave and correct parishioner 
had complained at a parish vestry meeting of the state of 
the church, declaring that if not bettered he would not con- 
tinue to attend that damp church. The local paper reported 
his words correctly excepting the word " damp" which they 
changed for a strong word of somewhat similar sound. The 
respectable parishioner protested, but the editor annotated his 
protest by saying that, having consulted his reporter, he felt it 
due to him to say that the speaker had not said " damp" but 
had used the objectionable word attributed to him. 

The question, however, before us is not the truth of par- 
ticular statements and criticisms (no doubt they are meant to 
be true, but things by superabundant zeal are seen through 
a distorting medium), but rather what is the true course to be 
followed ? We are all agreed as to the calamity which the 
country has suffered ; we differ as to the remedy. We do not 
differ widely as to the premisses, though we may as to the con- 
clusion to be drawn from them. Mr. Stevenson's view has an 
unquestionable prima fade advantage. It is certain that, if 
restoration were from this moment stopped, no new mischief 
would be done by it ! Many persons have died from bad 
doctoring. If all medical treatment were prohibited, such 
disasters would unquestionably cease. Nor is this illustration 
imaginary, for a few years since a medical (or anti-medical) sect 
was founded, which, abhorrent of old allopathy, and dis- 
contented with the infinitesimal treatment, styled itself the "do- 
nothing" party. Their general acceptance would have done 

1 This statement was afterwards corrected in Mr. Stevenson's Paper at 
the author's request. 

4 1 o Appendix. 

away for ever with deaths from overdosing, and who knows but 
that disease itself would have fled before their frown? But 
the movement unfortunately failed, because misguided and 
impatient patients would not be persuaded to allow themselves 
to be let alone. 

Such doctors would not have been content with crying down 
incompetent practitioners, and would have condemned Hahne- 
rnann himself as a tamperer with the human constitution they 
would forbid all such meddling ; and, had they succeeded, we 
might have become a race of Methuselahs ; but human nature 
is blind, and the proffered boon was refused ! O, fortunati 
nimium, sua si bona norint ! 

I could almost wish myself that the " do-nothing " system 
could be applied to old buildings, if only as an experiment ; 
but I fear it would meet with the same fate as when proposed 
to human patients ; and then, perhaps, after all it might be 
found the best course to call in good doctors (if there be any), 
and for them to stick to such prosaic rules as those of the 
Institute of British Architects reasonably revised, and ren- 
dered as much more stringent as may be, to the pious 
conservation of whitewash, high pews, three-deckers, and 
other bequests (if Mr. S. will have it so) of the Reformation, 
or (as I should say) of the yet more blessed days of Queen 
Anne and the Georges. 

I confess to having tried this in some degree myself; but 
I have been circumvented by the prejudices of my clients. I 
uniformly succeed as regards Jacobean pulpits, and I think 
altar tables ; but am less successful in my attempts in favour 
of seventeenth-century pewing, unless it be indisputably fine 
such as we find at Brancepeth, St. John's Leeds, or Halifax. 
By the way, I can claim a share with Mr. Norman Shaw (who 
actually carried out the work) in the credit of saving St. John's, 
Leeds, probably the most interesting church of the Jacobean 
period from destruction. It was referred to me, and on 
taking leave of a leading Leeds architect as I was starting 
to inspect it, his last exhortation was, " Paint it black enough." 
I painted it in the most brilliant colours I was master of, and 
it was saved, all but its pew doors, the loss of which I 
deplore, for they were beauties. Sounding-boards I strive 
after, but often fail. I preserved one, however, recently in 
spite of the incumbent, the parishioners, and an archbishop. 

Appendix. 4 \ \ 

I set off against this the loss of another a beauty by the 
casting dictum of a bishop, a weakness of which I am ashamed. 

Returning to the consideration of the do-nothing system, I 
will mention some cases bearing upon it. Mr. Stevenson has 
sketched a charming picture of an unrestored church. His 
exquisite language and touchingly pathetic tone carried one 
quite away. Certainly such a church it would be sacrilege to 
touch ! I cannot help flattering myself that he founded this 
beautiful picture on the lines, of one which I clumsily attempted 
to draw in my own Paper read before this Institute ; but the 
charm of genius has given it such beauty that one can hardly 
recognize the resemblance to the rude original: I confess that 
when I sketched it T was conscious of allowing my imagination 
to congregate, into one fancied church, charms which were 
culled from several ; but my friend has gone far beyond this. 
A whole rural deanery would scarcely supply the raw material 
for such a church as his. Would that he would tell me of its 
whereabouts, under oath that I would not restore it ! 

This is far different from what we usually find. Sordid 
neglect, barbarous mutilation, and ruinous dilapidation are the 
most frequent characteristics of an unrestored church, united, 
it is true, with the charm of its traditional and untouched 

I made a survey of such a church a few weeks back ; no 
architect had ever touched it ; only unsophisticated country 
builders, innocent of archaeology and even of the word " resto- 
ration." What was its condition? The tower looked suffi- 
ciently old and rubbishy, having no architectural features 
whatever. The clerk, a man of sixty, declared it had not been 
meddled with in his day, or within his hearing of; but an 
octogenarian whom we found, told us that he had himself 
worked at the rebuilding of it during the first years of the 
century. The windows of the church seemed of doubtful age, 
and I found that they had been tinkered out of shape and style 
by a neighbouring mason some thirty years back. The octo- 
genarian told me that he remembered a chancel screen, through 
which poor people "peeked" at the parson and old oak seats 
" with a kind of ornament at the top of the ends," but these 
had been replaced with high deal pews, and he said with a 
humourous leer that he supposed the old ones were burnt. 
The roofs, on the other hand, were in a good traditional state ; 

4 1 2 Appendix. 

lowered in the seventeenth century, and containing many frag- 
ments of older work mingled with later parts, some by no 
means bad. There were also a beautiful pulpit, desk, and altar 
table of the same period. One clerestory had fourteenth- 
century round windows, the other mullioned ones of the seven- 
teenth. Now, is it best to let such a church wholly alone, or to 
preserve all old work, down to the seventeenth century inclu- 
sive, and try to improve the rest ? 

But I will take a stronger case. Llandaff Cathedral had 
been allowed, from the Reformation downwards, to fall into 
something more than a semi-ruinous state : in the middle of 
the last century, with just as good intentions as the man men- 
tioned by old John Evelyn, they set to work to redeem it. 
Their system was as follows : they sent for Mr. Wood, of Bath, 
who had just erected the Pump Room there. He seems to 
have advised that so much of the eastern part as they thought 
needful should be cut out from the rest and internally con- 
verted, so far as might be, into a double of his Pump Room. 2 
He found the arcades, projecting strings, labels, &c., in the way; 
so he walled up the arches, and chopped off projecting mould- 
ings, and, as the old walls might prove to be damp, he battened 
them over, cutting the grounds to which his battens were nailed 
deep into the walls. By this clever device, he was able to shut 
out from view all that was " gothic ; " and an enthusiastic 
clergyman writes at the time : " The church, in the inside, as 
far as it is ceiled and plastered, looks exceeding fine, and when 
finished, it will, in the judgment of most people who have seen 
it, be a very neat and elegant church." 

The rest he happily left a ruin, of which the architecture is 
as fine as anything in this country. 

Now when our friends Messrs. Prichard and Seddon were 
called in to advise, what ought they to have said ? An echo 
answers " nothing" They did not think so, but following the 
dictates of common sense, they did away with the Pump 

3 Since this Paper was in type I have received a letter from a friend 
stating that it was the Hot Baths not the Pump Room, which Mr. Wood 
erected. Mr. Freeman's and Mr. King's accounts of Llandaff Cathedral 
give particulars as to Mr. Wood's works at Llandaff. My information 
about his having imitated at Llandaff his own work at Bath was oral and 
may have been mistaken. The present Pump Room is of far more recent 
date. It may have been his Assembly Room to which the statement 

Appendix. 413 

Room, re-roofing and repairing the entire church, and thus 
recovered a noble and most charming interior. I am not 
pledging myself to all that was done, my knowledge of it is 
insufficient ; but I confidently assert that they took the only 
right course. I offer no opinion on the added south-west 
tower, for I have not seen it ; I speak only of the manner in 
which they rooted out the barbarism of the eighteenth century 
and reinstated the beauty of the thirteenth. 

I am tempted to speak of St. David's. I knew it well, long 
before I was professionally connected with it, and most truly 
sordid was its condition. Not to mention the eastern chapels 
which were, and still are, in ruins, the choir aisles were walled 
off and unroofed ; the roofs throughout dripping water into the 
church, the walls, pillars, arches, &c., running down with wet, 
and everything evincing the most abject and contemptuous 

When called upon to advise, I found two of the four piers of 
the central tower crushed in the most fearful manner, so as to 
threaten destruction to the whole building ; was this, I would 
ask, a case for doing nothing ? What I have done has saved 
the existence of this most noble church, rendered the structure 
safe and strong, made the interior dry and wholesome, brought 
to light many most interesting features before nearly lost. The 
choir aisles have been re-roofed, and their arcades re-opened ; 
and all this without the loss of a single ancient feature, unless 
it be one quite decayed Perpendicular window of whose early 
English predecessor we found and largely re-used the actual 
details. In the same way very many noble churches have 
been saved from utterly perishing, by careful treatment applied 
only just in time. 

I will take another instance. The first considerable church 
entrusted to me was placed in my hands some thirty-six years 
back, almost in that golden age when restoration was unknown. 
It was a grand cruciform church ; the nave and crossing being 
of noble Transitional work, one transept of developed Early 
English of the finest kind, the other of exquisite Decorated ; the 
choir and its aisles of Early English passing on into Decorated. 
The clerestory of the nave, with its roof, were very good Per- 
pendicular, and some other parts had more or less changed 
their style. No ancient fittings remained, all having under- 
gone that honest traditional transformation so romantically 

4 1 4 Appendix. 

pourtrayed by Mr. Stevenson as the legitimate out-spring of 
the Reformation. Here, surely, was a case for nobly declining 
to interfere. But let us look a little further into the condition 
of the church : the nave was severed from the rest of the 
church, not by the magic lattice-work of screens, but by par- 
titions dividing the interior into two separate buildings. The 
nave was so deeply be-galleried on the north, south, and east, 
that the galleries enclosed the pillars of the arcading, so as 
wholly to box up their capitals, which being found rather in 
the way as well as invisible, no scruple was felt about cutting 
away their noble transitional foliage and mouldings to make 
better room for the timbers ; their outer faces had, conse- 
quently, undergone amputation. I have mentioned that the 
cross gallery was at the east ; the glorious three-decker was, 
consequently, placed westward, and in that direction were the 
pews made to face. The available church being reduced to 
less than half its size, no room was to be lost, so wherever 
pillar or pier or arch came in the way of a sitting they had 
been hollowed and mined into without remorse. 

Partly from such causes and partly from others, the piers of 
the central tower most noble works of the end of the twelfth 
century had given way alarmingly, and the crushing process 
continued to increase. The transepts, usefully occupied by 
gallery stairs of great commodiousness, had been most beau- 
tiful structures, especially that to the south, but the lofty spire 
having fallen across it in Queen Elizabeth's time, it had been 
patched up in true Reformation style ; and aided by subse- 
quent neglect and decay, its " comeliness " had (as I should 
say) been "turned into corruption," or, as Mr. Stevenson might 
perhaps say, into historical picturesqueness. The exterior was 
much marred by decay. Now was this a case for doing 
nothing ? In my simplicity I thought not ; so I swept away 
high pews, galleries, three-decker and partition walls works, it 
may be, of the days of good Queen Anne, but more probably 
of much later date. Thinking it a case for more than usual 
care, I engaged as clerk of the works, a talented young friend, 
a son of old George Gwilt, the most zealous antiquary I knew, 
and conservative almost to the level of the anti-restoration Society. 
We had to lay out, I think, some 15007. to make the tower safe ; 
and, some important antiquarian questions arising, we referred 
them to the decision of the Oxford and Cambridge Societies. 

Appendix. 4 1 5 

Another church I remember, also a cruciform church, but 
with aisles only to its chancel. Its nave and transepts were 
completely filled up with a gallery in each, whose front crossed 
each arch of the central tower, while each chancel aisle 
was "similarly filled by other galleries. What would the do- 
nothing theory say to this ? In another case - a cathedral 
the choir was cut off to the very crown of its arches on all 
sides by partitions of lath and plaster with a little glass, and 
absolutely severed from the rest of the church. 

No trick was so commonly played with a large church in the 
two last centuries as cutting off a large part of their length 
by a wood and glass partition reaching to its very roof, and 
gallerying the remainder in every possible way that could be 
contrived. Very many noble churches have I had the pleasure 
of redeeming from such degradation, and reinstating them to 
their original size. One of these I have seen so re-opened since 
our last meeting. It had been chopped in two as late as 1798, 
but no one could remember ever seeing the whole interior until 
now, or had the smallest conception of its grandeur. One 
poor man, a dissenter, was melted to tears at the first sight of 
it. The consequence of such restoration is always a vast 
increase in the number of worshippers; for while, as Mr. 
Stevenson says, " Men believed in the preaching of the Word, 
and the church had been arranged with this view," by a strange 
inconsistency the "better classes" monopolized that preaching 
to themselves, and, boxing themselves up in their high pews, 
left their poorer neighbours to hear as they could, or not 
at all. 

In one glorious monastic church, of which only the nave has 
been spared, not only was the church cut in two, by such a 
partition, but the remainder was interspersed with private 
galleries, each containing the special pew of a reputable family, 
approached by its own private staircase. I recollect nearly 
forty years ago being invited to sit in the pew of one of these 
magnates, and on failing to see where it was, and finding 
another place, I at last spied out my friend sitting with his 
sister in a glazed gallery which seated only three, the third seat 
being kindly reserved for myself. In the same church, being 
near a watering-place, each parishioner took the key of his pew 
in his waistcoat pocket. I recollect being told by an aged lady 
visitor that, after waiting near a large empty pew, a young man 

4 1 6 Appendix. 

came and unlocked it, locked himself in alone in the pew, put 
the key again into his waistcoat pocket, leaving her out in the 
cold ! These were the men who " believed in the preaching 
of the Word," and these were the churches "arranged with this 
view." I was at this church only last Wednesday, now long 
since opened out and filled with open sittings from end to end, 
"just as if the Reformation was a mistake." 

In another church, a noble family held an octagonal glazed 
pew, hung like a bird-cage from the chancel arch, and so well 
contrived that, by facing about east or west, his lordship could 
attend either the nave or chancel service. Many of these 
aristocratic pews had fireplaces, before which the noble occu- 
pant was wont to stand with his coat-tails hooked over his 
arms, as if in a coffee-room. But time would fail to tell of 
these monstrosities, which I do not wonder that the new enthu- 
siastics should venerate, being the productions of the days of 
Queen Anne and the Georges. 

In the north of England the high pews, whether in galleries 
or below, were usually lined with green baize ; and where they 
cross pillars or windows the stonework was painted green to 
match, up to the same level with the baize ! 

The parish in which I was born had once a noble church, 
with a central tower which swayed so much in the wind as to 
cause certain cracks to open and shut so conveniently that the 
boys are said to have cracked nuts in them. One fine night 
the do-nothing system having prevailed too long the tower 
fell and destroyed the whole church. In another, the parish 
vestry at length became alarmed, and invited an eminent 
engineer who was in the neighbourhood to meet them. He 
declined because the vestry where they met was too near the 
tower. It fell the next week, and destroyed the church. 
Brunei is said to have been similarly consulted about a tower, 
and reported that the only reason he could give why it should 
not fall to-morrow was that it did not fall yesterday. 

I have had the happiness of saving several noble towers 
imminently threatened with destruction, among which I may 
mention St. Mary's at Stafford, St. Mary's at Nottingham, 
those of Aylesbury and Darlington churches, the central towers 
at St. David's, and St. Alban's, and the western towers at Ripon. 
Two which I was desirous to save, were, after much anxious 
thought, found to be past recovery, having been neglected too 

Appendix. 4 1 7 

long. I do not covet such work : one sleeps more quietly 
without it. I have surveyed three towers within the last few 
weeks ; one I pronounced to have nothing the matter with it, 
two to be in very serious danger. 

I will only trouble you with one other case, and that a more 
agreeable one. It is that of a church dearly loved by me, as 
that which first called forth my reverence for architecture. It 
was, when I first knew it, more than half a century ago, almost 
equal to Mr. Stevenson's poetical beau-ideal. Hard by there had 
once been a mediaeval mansion belonging successively to the 
Giffords, the De Veres, the Bolbecks, and the Courtenays. 
The oldest part of the church the unpretending tower was 
only of early perpendicular date, but the exquisite decorated 
churchyard cross showed the church to have been cared for at 
an earlier period. The Courtenays had forfeited the Manor 
during the Wars of the Roses, but had recovered it after Bos- 
worth Field ; when they and a little Abbey, which held the 
great tithes, rebuilt the church about 1493 in architecture just 
as good for a village church as the chapel of Henry VII. is for 
a royal burial-place. The Courtenays were again attainted, 
and the manor went into another highly respected family, 
which (excepting the time of the Commonwealth) held it till 
the present century, when it lapsed by the female line into 
another noted family, who sold it within my own memory. 
There had not been a resident incumbent for many centuries, 
and the resident proprietors had passed away, but the church 
as yet remained as they had left it, saving only the effects of 
damp, decay, and neglect. The exquisite screen and rood- 
loft still secluded the beautiful chancel. The old seating re- 
mained nearly throughout ; but, of later ages, there were the 
long succession of tombs, the stately family pew, a small 
gallery in the tower, and Moses and Aaron depicted in 
gorgeous array over the rood loft All the windows seemed to 
have been filled with painted glass of the very highest merit ; 
but only the upper range of lights of one window remained 
entire, containing beautiful illustrations of the legend of St. 
Nicholas; others had fragments of noble figures of abbots, &c., 
while the heads of the lights in the chancel and its side chapel 
contained most charming scraps, like some of Van Eyck's, or 
Hans Hemling's backgrounds, giving views of mediaeval cities, 
so faithfully drawn that, if we knew them, we might recognize 

E e 

4 1 8 Appendix. 

the individual steeples. Here I used to spend much of my 
time, when I hardly knew that there was such a profession as 
ours; and later on I used during my holiday-time to make 
measured drawings of the details. 

Well, nearly half a century passed away, and I was called 
upon to survey the dear old church with a view to its resto- 
ration. During the interval decay, neglect, and mutilation had 
been silently doing their deadly work. The panelled ceiling 
had almost all disappeared, and all sorts of things were much 
worse for half a century's neglect. I undertook the work, not 
professionally, but as a labour of love, and set myself to pre- 
serve all which was old, to restore some parts which were lost, 
and to put the whole in so substantial a state as indefinitely to 
prolong its existence. 

Some of the mouldings of the lost ceilings remained stowed 
away in a corner ; and with these, and the help of sketches which 
I had made when a boy, I had the happiness of reinstating 
them. Some fragments of stonework which had fallen from 
their place I had myself stowed away during my youth, and they 
came out now, ready to guide the restitution of the fallen parts. 
I had a terrible fight for the family or "great house " pew, put up 
by a chief justice in the last century, and condemned as a sym- 
bol of human pride, though the family to whose pride it had 
ministered had passed away. I saved it by the compromise of 
a little of its width to reopen the way into the chancel aisle 
the older scene of family worship which it had closed. 

I was circumvented about Moses and Aaron the too canny 
vicar having unshipped them before I was aware of it He 
also got rid of the sounding-board, the red rag of the modern 
cleric, but it was only Georgian. I plead guilty to the sacrifice 
of a gallery of a like date. I saved with difficulty the worm- 
eaten door, studded with the bullets of Cromwell's soldiers who 
besieged and burnt the castle. I was defeated in the next fight 
for the non-removal of two effigies and their aitar tomb, 
shattered by the Cromwellians, which stood upon the altar 
platform, the vicar declaring them (not without reason) incom- 
patible with the due performance of the service. My defeat, 
however, was due to his proving that it was impossible that 
this could have been their original position, and that there was 
no burial beneath them. It was clear, therefore, that their frag- 
ments had been collected and placed here after the Common- 


wealth ; and the tomb was re-erected without restoration in a 
more probable and less inconvenient position. 

The one ancient stained glass window was rendered tho- 
roughly strong and permanent without the insertion or loss of a 
single piece of glass, and all shattered fragments were preserved 
m their places. I had the privilege myself of replacing the 
exquisite fan groining of the porch: and, one thing with 
another, the church was brought back much into the state it 
was in when Cole, the antiquary, says of its distinguished 
occupant, after describing enthusiastically the various beauties 
of the place, " but the best thing belonging to the place is its 
master." For myself, who have for half a century loved it be- 
yond all other parish churches, I can only say that it is one of the 
greatest comforts of my life to think of its present condition. 

I have dwelt, all too lengthily, upon these instances, just to 
show how unavoidable it is that some restorations should take 
place. Mr. Petit, a strong anti-restorationist, used to say that, 
like the measles, restoration was inevitable; and, like children so 
visited, he could only wish the churches safe through it. Time 
would fail to tell of the necessities of enlargement, &c., to meet 
present needs. These and the desire to reinstate lost features 
are the great difficulties of the restorer ;. though sometimes 
compensated by the discovery of lost and beautiful features, 
such as the two shrines at St. Alban's. 

In carrying out such works as I have been describing, the 
best of us often err. We are too apt to be led astray by siren 
voices both from without and within. We are it may be 
weak, and open to intimidation. We are possibly obstinate, 
and adhere too much to our own fancies. We are perhaps 
insufficiently careful, and pass over things with too little 
thought. We are sometimes not sufficiently severe with de- 
structive builders, clerks of the work, and workmen, whose bar- 
barisms found out when too late are often truly heart- 
breaking. And one evil influence with another we are 
guilty of all kinds of short-comings and over-steppings ; and it 
is most wholesome to have such Papers as that under con- 
sideration to goad us into more careful dealing, and to bring 
our sins to remembrance : and if the New Society were to 
abate somewhat of what I think the exaggeration of its views, 
I should welcome it as a court of appeal, which we so greatly 
need in difficult cases, and which I called out for as early as 

E e 2 

420 Appendix. 

thirty-six years back. I dare say our codes of rules are not of 
sufficient stringency, and should be stiffened. I know that, 
whatever their defects, we do not always adhere to them as we 
ought. I do not, therefore, complain of our critics if their 
little finger proves thicker than our loins ; nor when we have 
chastised others with whips, they chastise us with scorpions. 

I will add one more word : that while wishing success to 
the Society in all their reasonable endeavours, I would suggest 
to them a few most useful fields for their exertions. 

1. To press upon the proprietors of ruined buildings the 
duty of protecting them as much as possible from increasing 
decay by securing the tops of the shattered walls from wet. 

2. To find out and oppose, while there is time, the con- 
templated destruction of ancient buildings, down even to those 
of the last century. The losses we are constantly sustaining by 
the actual destruction of old buildings is truly appalling ! Of 
timber buildings, which are constantly being taken down as 
ruinous, I assert that timely and judicious reparation is the 
only possible means for their preservation. 

3. To have measured drawings made, systematically and 
constantly, of all the unprotected architectural antiquities of 
our land, that when, in the course of nature, their architecture 
perishes, authentic drawings may remain behind. 

4. I am ready and willing to take my share, where I deserve 
it, in the protests against bad restoration, but I beg the Society 
to recollect that (as I have elsewhere said) the great majority 
of ancient buildings are committed to the mercy of a herd who 
trample them under their feet and turn again and rend all 
objectors. Let this herd at least have a share of censure, or 
their patrons will conclude that they have done rightly in 
casting their pearls before them. 

I will only add, as regards churches, that it will be useless 
to endeavour to persuade seriously thinking people that it is 
wrong "to restore churches from motives of religion." They 
were built from such motives, and must ever be treated with 
like aim. It is equally useless to persuade them that it is 
wrong from " religious sanction " to redeem them from " their 
present state of mutilation," that it is right to preserve the high 
pews which, added by the rich like " field to field till there be 
no place," have driven God's poor from their own churches. 
Mr. Stevenson talks of the " dreary ranges of low benches," 

Appendix. 421 

and truly they do often look dreary enough, but I do not know 
that they are more so than high pews which half bury the 
pillars. Let us not, however, judge of churches only when 
empty : " empty benches " are proverbially dreary : let us 
rather see them when thronged by devout worshippers, and the 
dreariness of the seat-backs will not much trouble either eye or 
memory. Better see the people than have them buried to the 
neck in Georgian " dozing pens." Let the Society make up 
their minds at once that any attempt to banish religious motives 
from the treatment of churches is suicidal ; and let them rather 
aim this being taken for granted at making us do this 
necessary and religious work with the smallest possible sacrifice 
of history and antiquity. 

By the bye ! I have good news for the Society ! A clergy- 
man whom I met the other day, and who confessed to the 
malice prepense of contemplated " restoration," told me that he 
had found his parishioners " too conservative to part with their 
money too anti-ritualistic to part with their square pews." 


Si Rj On reading Mr. Loftie's article on " Thorough Restora- 
tion," in last month's Macmillan, my first reflection was that I 
had never felt more pointedly the truth of the injunction, 
"Judge not, that ye be not judged ;" since, after having for 
years been amongst the most earnest of protesters against the 
system he condemns, I find my sentiments, and almost my very 
words taken out of my mouth, and adduced to my ow n 

This is the more excruciating, when I find in a list of 
damaged churches one, which had filled me with such wrath 
as to provoke me (though without expressly naming it) to 
introduce a most pungent paragraph into my inaugural 
address, when elected President of the Institute of British 
Architects ; and then find one of my own (which I had rather 
plumed myself upon) introduced in the same list This, how- 
ever, is, after all, a mere flea-bite ; but, while Mr. Loftie does 
not think it worth while to say much about the common run of 
restoration (such as those which have provoked my most earnest 

422 Appendix. 

protests) he devotes himself with a special gusto to writing 
down some of my own which I had flattered myself were un- 
assailable, or to which I had at least devoted special love and 
earnest anxiety. 

Now, how am I to account for this ? Am I really such a 
self-deceiver as to fancy my own works to be honest and con- 
scientious, while in fact they are just as bad as those against 
which I have been crying out " in season and out of season " 
for so many years ? or do I look at matters from a different 
stand-point from Mr. Loftie? or is that gentleman's per- 
ception warped or obscure? I cannot answer these questions. 
There is only one test that I can think of. It is clearly useless 
to discuss the abstract merits or demerits of works. I can, 
however, -examine into questions of fact, and by inference from 
these it is possible that some aid may be obtained in judging 
of questions of opinion. Anyhow, it will be the better for the 
general subject that it be divested from any palpable errors of 
this nature. 

Mr. Loftie lays great stress upon the restoration, ten years 
back, of the church of St. Michael, near St. Alban's. " A very 
bad case, indeed," says he, " where one of the oldest churches 
in England has been deliberately ruined." The excellent in- 
cumbent, who is absolutely devoted to his church, and well 
knows every stone and brick of it, says on the contrary, " I 
consider the restoration of the church as thoroughly conser- 
vative, and often point out to visitors evidences of your great 

anxiety that every old feature should be distinctly shown 

Pray accept my best thanks for your true and careful restoration 
of the dear old church of St. Michael's." 

Another competent person, who watched the work through- 
out, says : " I have no hesitation in saying that a more careful 
restoration was never carried out, special care to preserve every 
portion of the building being taken by Sir Gilbert Scott." For my 
own part I can assert the same. I took a very particular in- 
terest in the building and its conservation: and even walls 
which it seemed at first impossible to save, were bolstered up and 
embalmed, one may say, against the common decay of nature, 
by being saturated internally with cementing matter ; so that 
their surface remained identically as I found it, with all its 
strange intermixture of flint, stone, and Roman tile. In this 
course of laborious conservation, work, apparently Saxon, con- 

Appendix. 423 

structed in Roman brick, has been discovered throughout the 
church. An arch and doorway on the north of the chancel, 
and windows on either side the nave, of this age and material, 
have been discovered and carefully opened out to view, cut 
through and ignored by the Norman arcade, itself so old that 
Clutterbuck says of the arches, that " they bear a striking re- 
semblance to those in part of the nave in the Abbey Church." 
The old roofs of the nave, the north aisle, and the south chapel 
of the nave have been cleared from the lath and plaster which 
largely concealed them, carefully repaired, without in the least 
disturbing their antiquity, and exposed again to sight. The 
half-timber work of the south chapel has also been opened out 
to view : while not a wall or a bit of wall has been disturbed or 
renewed, beyond a small amount of reparation imperatively de- 
manded for safety. Windows of later date, long walled up, 
have been opened out again and, where necessary, repaired. 
None, however, have been renewed excepting the east window 
of the chancel, which had fallen out and had been replaced by a 
wooden frame : and, even in this single renewal, the jambs, 
&c., are the old ones, and the arch contains the only old stone 
which could be found of it. In fact, the loving pains taken 
to preserve and hand down in its identity this ancient fabric, with 
all the changes in its history not only retained, but rediscovered 
and brought again to light, was beyond what I can describe. 
And this is what Mr. Loftie calls being " deliberately ruined ! " 
Hitherto, however, difference of view may be pleaded. Let 
us come, then, to more palpable questions of fact. He says 
still speaking of St. Michael's " the Elizabethan entrance, 
ceiling, and pews were all relics of his (Lord Bacon's) time, and 
are all swept away, and the chapel reduced to the level of an 
ordinary chancel aisle." These expressions evidently took 
their rise from Mr. Thorne, who probably trusted too much to 
his memory, and similarly speaks of the " Elizabethan porches, 
ceilings, and fittings " as " strengthening Baconian associa- 
tions ;" and further says : " the Verulam Chapel opposite the 
tomb, with its Elizabethan entrance, ceiling, and pews, had 
quite a Baconian character before the recent restoration when 
.... the chapel was reduced to an ordinary chancel aisle." 
I learn also that Mr. Loftie speaks of a " ceiled pew," as being 
the very seat in which Bacon sat, " alluded to in the touching 
epitaph " the epitaph containing the words, Sic sedebat. 

424 Appendix. 

Now, all this is most perplexing. In the first place, the 
" ordinary chancel aisle " into which I have succeeded in 
reducing the "Bacon chapel" or "ceiled pew" neither exists 
nor ever did exist. The chancel has not and never had an 
aisle. Clutterbuck correctly describes the church, as it was 
then and now is, as consisting (besides the tower), of " a nave, 
north side-aisle, a south chapel of the nave, and a chancel ; " 
but no chancel aisle was there. Again, there was no ceiled 
pew or anything of the kind; nor was there any form of 
" Elizabethan ceiling " whatever. The chancel, it is true, was 
ceiled but how ? Let us hear from the clerk of the works. 
" The roof was for the most part fir, some of the rafters were 
chestnut. The whole of it is in such a rotten state, it was found 
impossible to do anything with it ; and but for the modern 
ceiling shaped in fir to form the same it must have collapsed." 
This " Elizabethan ceiling " was probably put up " during the 
repair of the church," which Clutterbuck mentions "in the year 
1808." Mr. Thorne mentions "new roofs." The only new 
roof takes the place of this, which was so rotten as only to be 
held up by a modern ceiling. 

Let us come, however, to the " Bacon chapel " or pew. I 
never heard of its having anything to do with Bacon, nor did 
any one I have inquired of, and I utterly disbelieve it. Even 
Mr. Loftie can hardly believe it to be identical with (hardly 
that it contained) the handsome arm-chair referred to in the 
" Sic sedebat /" It was a common, ordinary pew, bearing no 
signs of antiquity, and was about one-third of it in the chancel, 
and two-thirds in the nave : as a consequence, if it is older 
than 1808, it was severed in two by the chancel screen, which 
it seems was only removed in that year. Besides this frustum 
of the Gorhambury pew, the main portion of which (with its 
fireplace) was in the nave, the chancel contained " three 
ordinary square seats for the Gorhambury servants," of which 
the incumbent says : " My own opinion is that the pews were 
made by some of the members of the family of the present 
owners of Gorhambury, the Grimstons." 

In corroboration of this opinion I have (in addition to my 
own memory and that of a most trustworthy assistant) the 
testimony of the clerk of the works that " no remains of posts 
were found which could have supported such a covering [or 
' ceiling '], but only a curtain on brass rods : that the framing 

Appendix. 425 

was in part of deal, and some few panels on the sides of wains- 
cot, but quite modern : not small, square panels, with moulded 
styles and rails like Queen Anne's period, but simply of a very 
coarse moulding." He gives the section, which is of quite 
modern character. 

So much for the "Bacon chapel," which I, for one, never till 
last month heard of. The "Elizabethan porch" or "entrance" 
consisted of jambs and lintel of Portland stone, in section like 
the nosing of a stone step, which the clerk of the works from 
its own evidence, states to have been " re-used " that is re- 
moved here from some place where it had been previously 
employed. " The insertion of it," he says, " caused the de- 
struction of one half of the decorated canopy of a tomb found 
in the south wall of the chancel." and now opened out to view. 
I do not know that Portland stone was brought into the neigh- 
bourhood of London till Inigo Jones's time, 3 which hardly 
allows of these pieces having been used and re-used before 
Bacon's decease in.i626. The fact is that this entire Baconian 
theory is a mere mares nest. Neither " chapel," " ceiled pew," 
" porch," " entrance," nor " ceiling " of Bacon's time, existed, 
save in the fertile imaginations of these zealous gentlemen. 
Nor had the church ever exhibited its antiquities so profusely 
or so plainly as has been the case since (in Mr. Loftie's lan- 
guage) it has been " deliberately ruined." 

I now come to the glorious abbey church (now happily the 
cathedral) of St. Alban. 

I may begin by saying (at the risk of egotism) that for 
scarcely any church have I so strong and earnest a love as for 
this. It was the day-dream of my boyhood to be permitted to 
visit it, and on the earliest opportunity which offered only a 
year less than half a century back I made, with a palpitating 
heart, my first pilgrimage there. This was before the repairs 
were undertaken by Mr. Cottingham, and while the small 
leaded spire, so characteristic of the district, still crowned the 
central tower. Ever since that time I have been a not unfre- 
quent visitor and student, and my various reports, as well as 
to those who recollect them my many peripatetic lectures, will 
show how earnest have been my feelings towards this, probably 

3 Mr. Hull, the geologist, in his Treatise on Building Stones, says of 
Portland stone : "previously to 1623 this stone docs not appear to have at- 
tracted any attention." 

426 Appendix. 

the most interesting of all English churches; and I can scarcely 
think it possible for any one to believe (whatever may have 
been my errors of judgment) that I should have purposely 
injured a building so dear to me. 

Mr. Loftie begins by saying that " the works, as carried out, 
have already been the subject of controversy." No one knows 
this better than himself, for it was he who raised that contro- 
versy, in which he was, as I think, signally discomfited. 

He begins with a thrice-told tale about the tower having 
been " stripped of its original plaster." This has been more 
than once fully explained, but is too good a stone to remain 
unthrown. Mr. Loftie has, however, in the interval of fight, 
forgotten his tale. It is clear that he now thinks that it was 
internal plaster which was thus stripped, for he goes on to say 
of the exterior of the tower that " the exquisite weathering of 
the old bricks" has been "rudely removed;" and, again, that 
" there was a venerable bloom on the bricks." Now, will it be 
believed that this " exquisite weathering" and "venerable bloom" 
are ascribed to brickwork which I was the first to expose to view, 
and which had never known what weather was since the days 
of Henry I., when the walls were coated with the mortar with 
which my critic accuses me of having " daubed " them " every- 
where"? I can hardly be blamed for destroying beauties 
which existed in Mr. Loftie's brilliant imagination and nowhere 

The facts of the case are these : the tower, like the rest of the 
Norman structure, was built of Roman bricks from Verulam, 
and coated all over with plastering. This plastering had often 
gone out of repair, and been patched again and again in a not 
very slightly manner. It was once more in bad order, and was 
falling off in large flakes when I was repairing the tower, so 
much so that it was found necessary to remove it, with the full 
intention of repeating it. Here I suppose came in what he 
alludes to as " the wishes of the townsmen," for I recollect 
arguing against some one's wishes, and urging that the tower 
was always meant to be plastered. So far, however, was I from 
being " led by them," that I obstinately persisted in my own 
way, and began to replaster the walls, when on my next visit I 
was so horrified at their hideousness, that I at once restripped 
my own plaster, and exposed to view the entire structure 
of Roman brick. The "pointing" alluded to was simply to 

Appendix. 427 

protect the decayed mortar-joints. I do not ask Mr. Loftie's 
opinion as to its necessity, he has no means of judging while 
I have. Whether the Roman brick, or the plastering which 
covered it, be the best looking, I leave to others : but this being 
the largest structure in England of the Roman brick, the 
interest attached to that material, and the fact that the con- 
struction is now visible, at least make some amends for the loss 
of its coating of mortar. 

As a matter of taste, pure and simple, there is room for two 
opinions. Sir Edmund Becket likes it, Mr. Stevenson does 
not, and while Mr. Loftie is not quite sure what we have done 
(whether plastering or unplastering) he dislikes it, whatever it 
may be. We find the editor of Mr. Murray's Guide to St. 
Albarfs Cathedral saying that "the tile-work, which is the 
great feature of St. Alban's, is thus shown in its integrity, and 
the tower has infinitely gained in beauty of tone and colour," 
and the editor of his Handbook to the Environs of London (Mr. 
Loftie's text-book for St. Michael's) saying that " lastly, to the 
great improvement of its appearance, the remaining cement was 
stripped from the exterior, the mortar repointed, and the struc- 
tural character fairly exposed to view." 

Mr. Loftie next attacks the interior, which he says has been 
"simply gutted." By this he means that the pewing, galleries, 
&c., have been removed. He omits, however, to give the 
reason for their removal. This was not done, in the first 
instance, with any notion about the incongruity of such fittings, 
but simply because the central tower, under or near which most 
of them were placed, threatened to fall, and the space occupied 
by them was imperatively required for the timber shoring, 
excavations, and new foundations requisite to render it secure. 
Mr. Loftie mentions the " Georgian oak panelling." Any one 
who looks at Neale's view of the interior of the choir, will at 
once observe that this panelling enclosed the two eastern piers 
of the tower, in which the chief danger existed. How, then, 
let me ask, were these pillars to be repaired (one of them was 
crushed for seven feet deep into its substance) without removing 
the panelling? The same was the case with the adjoining 
walls of the presbytery. One, at least, of them was crushed 
throughout its length beneath the casing of this "Georgian 
panelling." How was it to be rendered safe while this re- 
mained ? It was as much as we could do to save it at all. 

428 Appendix. 

If the panelling had remained, the tower would probably not 
now be standing. 

" But," it will be asked, " why not have refixed this panelling 
when the work was done ? " One reason was this, that it had 
covered up on either side the ancient doorways into the pres- 
bytery, the beautiful tabernacle-work over which had been 
ruthlessly hewn down, probably to make way for it. New 
openings had been rudely cut through the walls to the east- 
ward of these, and it became necessary to security that these 
should be solidly walled up, and consequently that the older 
ones should be re-opened just where the wainscoting was. But 
" why not refix the old pewing, galleries, &c. ? " Our work 
had been begun for the safety of the building, but it had grown 
into restoration. A bishopric was hoped for and even promised. 
The galleries, &rc., had already partly disappeared before we 
began, and the organ shown at the west end of the choir in 
Neale's view had yielded to one (on a sufficiently absurd design) 
in the transept. But what need is there of explanations ? Let 
any reasonable being take a glance at Neale's or Clutterbuck's 
views, and ask himself whether, when the Abbey Church should 
become a cathedral, it would be possible to retain such fittings ? 
They dated, I believe, from 1716 to 1 80 1, with other parts 
erected within the last fifteen years. I know of no " Eliza- 
bethan " work or " traces of the Stuart period " earlier than 
Queen Anne's time. The pulpit and its sounding-board will, 
no doubt, be retained. 

I may add that Mr. Loftie speaks of the oak as " black 
with age." He is not perhaps aware that oak does not 
get black with age, but with oil and varnish. The " Watch- 
ing Loft " is of far greater age than the work he laments, 
but shows more disposition to become white, than black, with 

Mr. Loftie winds up his remarks on this most venerable 
building by saying that " it would have been impossible, three 
years ago, to believe that it could be made to look so new by 
any expenditure of thought or money." 

I write while fresh from St. Albans, and I simply meet this 
statement by denying it. True, that where the tower piers 
have been repaired to save the building from destruction their 
new plastering necessarily "looks new." True, that where 
stone details of windows had so perished that it had for many 

Appendix. 429 

years been thought hopeless to glaze 4 them, the renewal or 
repair of such portions must necessarily look in part new. 
True, that where dirt has given place to cleanness, it may look 
newer for the operation, just as any other building, when 
repaired, looks fresher than before. But I assert that not 
only the real antiquity, but the old look of the building has 
been thoroughly respected. Wherever the whitewash is 
scraped off old paintings and inscriptions appear; and, con- 
trary to what is usual, where stonework is divested of its 
whitewash, its darker colour gives it a look of even increased 
age. The building was in a degree a ruin, and must be 
repaired. Five whole bays of the nave clerestory had scarcely 
a square yard of old stone surface remaining, while the aisle 
roof below them was, after each successive winter, strewed 
thickly with the debris annually brought down. Is this state 
of things to remain because, forsooth, some can be found to 
prefer ruin to reparation ? This glorious temple must not, 
and so far as I am concerned shall not, be left to crumble on 
to its destruction, but I hope to redeem it at the smallest 
possible cost of real, and even apparent, antiquity. 

I will not, however, further defend my own course as regards 
this building. Mr. Street, in recently addressing the Institute 
of British Architects, said that as to St. Alban's Abbey he 
(Mr. Street) could only say that the work which had been 
done there under the direction of Sir Gilbert Scott was the 
opening to us of what was practically a sealed book, and he 
could hardly conceive that anybody, who at all cared for 
mediaeval art, could object to what had been done there. 

The rector of St. Alban's, in writing to express his "ad- 
miration " of " the ingenuity displayed " by Mr. Loftie, goes 
on to say : " I can positively affirm that Mr. Loftie's state- 
ment, that the exquisite weathering of the old bricks has been 
rudely removed, is absolutely untrue. The only external 
portions of the building in which they were exposed to the 
weather have not been touched, while the tower, where they 
had been plastered over, and could by no possibility have 
gathered any bloom, now reveals them; and even the last 
three winters have given them a weathering which will grow 

4 The glass had been replaced by open brickwork which Mr. Loftie has, 
I believe, elsewhere called Elizabethan lattice-work, but which has been 
shown to have been put in by a man now living. 

43 Appendix. 

more charming as years roll on. So far from the tower looking 
'modern' (as it did when it was stuccoed) the course after 
course of the tiles of old Verulam now exposed to view impart 
an appearance of unique antiquity, and tell even the chance 
beholder the story of the pile. I shall never forget Charles 
Kingsley's enthusiastic admiration when I had the pleasure of 
pointing this out to him." After saying what I have already 
stated about the old pulpit, he suggests that Mr. Loftie " might 
have told his readers of the finding of the shrine of St. Amphi- 
balus ; of the discovery of the charming perpendicular door- 
way and stone screen in the south presbytery aisle ; also of the 
lovely fourteenth-century choir ceiling; of the restoration of 
the old levels, adding to the height of the interior of the build- 
ing in some places as much as two feet ; of the discovery of 
the foundations of the old choir stalls, whereby you have been 
able to replace their temporary successors on the old lines." He 
mentions also the ancient tile pavements and wall paintings, the 
presbytery entrances, &c, but adds " only this would not have 
agreed with the indictment." 

Mr. Ridgway Lloyd, the great local antiquary of St. Albans, 
who has done so good a work in elucidating its history, 
writes to me also to express his indignation at the attack. 
After telling me that watching the progress of the work had 
been one of his greatest pleasures for several years, he 
says : 

" With your permission I will give a few instances to show 
the conservative character of your work. 

" The Georgian (not Elizabethan) oak panelling in the 
presbytery was of no great merit, and its removal was most 
fortunate, since it served to hide the fractures in the north-east 
pier of the lantern tower, which so nearly led to the destruc- 
tion of the central tower, and a great part of the eastern limb 
of the church. It also concealed from view the presbytery door- 
ways as well as the canopied structure over the southern of 
these doorways. That over the north door is certainly new 
[though following old indications], but soon after it was 
finished, some finials [pinnacles] belonging to its predecessor 
were found in the Saint's chapel, and at once the new finials 
were cut off and the old ones substituted. 

" It is true that after the two eastern piers carrying the 
lantern tower had been partly rebuilt with brick and cement, 

Appendix. 43 r 

they were plastered over to match their fellows on the western 
side, but who would wish it otherwise ? 

"In the Lady Chapel, in almost every instance in which the 
wall-arcading has been renewed, old and new work may be 
seen side by side, the former by its presence attesting the 
faithfulness of the latter. 

" One most valuable of the many discoveries made during 
the restoration is that of the ancient paintings on the ceiling of 
the choir. This was until recently adorned with a series of 
seventeenth-century paintings indifferently executed, but it 
was discovered that the panels bore an earlier design beneath. 
The later painting having been carefully removed, a splendid 
series of thirty-two heraldic shields (date circa 1370) was dis- 
closed, showing the mediaeval arms assigned to the saints 
Alban, Edward the Confessor, Edmund, Oswyn, George, and 
Louis ; to the emperors Richard (Earl of Cornwall) and Con- 
stantine ; to the kings of England, Scotland, Man, Castile and 
Leon, Portugal, Sweden, Cyprus, Norway, Arragon, Denmark, 
Bohemia, Sicily, Hungary, Navarre, France, and to the Crusader 
king of Jerusalem ; as well as those of several of the sons of 
Edward III. There are also several sacred devices, including 
the coronation by our Lord of St. Mary, and, in addition, 
nearly the whole of the Te Deum in Latin, and a number of 
quotations from the Antiphons at Matins and Lauds from the 
Sarum Antiphoner. This discovery, which is entirely due to 
the work of restoration, it is impossible to estimate too highly. 
Among lesser ' finds ' may be mentioned the two pits for heart- 
burial, one in the Lady Chapel and the other in the south 
transept : both have been most carefully preserved." 

Of the entire work of restoration, reparation, or whatever we 
may call it, I may say that it has been replete with the most 
important discoveries ; that it has been characterized by the 
most studious conservatism ; that it has saved the building 
from destruction ; and that it is gradually fitting it for its 
advance to the rank of a cathedral, without the loss of any 
object of antiquity. 

Passing over a number of less important matters, we will 
now proceed to Canterbury Cathedral. 

Mr. Loftie introduces the subject by giving an account of 
all the things done to the Cathedral for" the last half-century, 
including the erection of the south-west tower, which, with the 

4 3 2 Appendix. 

reparation of its fellow tower, he mysteriously describes as 
being " in the style now universally recognized as that of 
Camberwell ;" an expression I do not understand, unless it be 
a means of connecting it with myself, I having, thirty-five years 
back, built a church at Camberwell, though as far as possible 
from being in the style of this tower. I beg, however, to clear 
the ground by saying that I have never carried out any structural 
work in connexion with Canterbury Cathedral. The question at 
issue, however, relates to the proposed refitting of the choir, 
and I have elsewhere stated it as follows : 

We do not know what were the fittings of the choir at 
Canterbury after its restoration in 1180. Very probably they 
were only temporary. " We have, however, records of their 
having been renewed by Prior De Estria about 1304. He 
is especially said to have decorated the choir with beautiful 
stonework, a new pulpitum (or rood loft), and three doorways. 
The fittings, &c., then introduced continued undisturbed till 
after the great Rebellion. It is probable that they had been 
much injured during that period ; and we find that Archbishop 
Tenison, in 1702, removed all the old stallwork; concealed 
the beautiful side screens of De Estria by classic wainscoting ; 
and substituted pewing for the side stalls ; but, to the west, 
erected new return stalls with very rich canopies, concealing 
entirely the pulpitum or rood screen of De Estria. The 
wainscoting of the sides was removed about 1828, leaving the 
pewing backed up by De Estria's side screens. The Dean 
and Chapter now desire to substitute for these pews as near a 
reproduction as may be of De Estria's stalls. We have found 
parts of them below the flooring, and trust to find other 
fragments from which their pattern may be recovered. The 
difficulty, however, is with the western or return stalls : for 
behind them we find De Estria's pulpitum or rood screen with 
its original and rich colouring, apparently complete, except- 
ing the stone canopies of the Priors' and Sub-Priors' stalls, 
which were rudely hewn off when Tenison's stalls were erected. 
We want to preserve both the stalls and the more ancient 
objects which they conceal. I love Tenison's stalls well, but 
I love De Estria's pulpitum more. Some probably take the 
contrary view. Why should not both be gratified ? " 

Now this is a very fair subject for discussion and difference 
of opinion ; and the more so as this is practically " Queen 

Appendix. 433 

Anne " work, and to the special lovers of that style its removal 
would naturally be exasperating. For myself I do not in the 
least degree wish its removal on account of any discrepancy 
between it and the surrounding architecture. Some have gone 
so far as that ; for my part I have no sympathy with that feel- 
ing, but the reverse. My own leanings entirely arose from my 
excitement at the discovery (or re-discovery) of De Estria's 
pulpitum, hidden behind Tenison's stalls, which I do not hesi- 
tate to say filled me with an enthusiasm with which the de- 
votees of Queen Anne cannot be expected to sympathize. 
That work is described by those who desire to minimize it as 
small in quantity and greatly mutilated. I have devoted much 
time to it, and have to state that it is almost entire, having 
only suffered from the mercilessness of Archbishop Tenison's 
workmen, who, while putting up the stalls, chopped away the 
two canopies and much of the mouldings of the central door- 
way. The necessity for restoring the inner face of the side 
screens in 1828, when Tenison's wainscoting was removed, no 
doubt arose from its like barbarous treatment by the same men. 
It is droll to find the enthusiastic advocates of the style of the 
last century arguing, from the havoc made in older work by 
their demi-gods, ' that it is hopeless, to the extent of being 
beneath contempt, to try to recover the older work from their 

Putting, however, such considerations aside, the simple ques- 
tion is this : having a Queen Anne work placed in front of a 
mediaeval work, each possessing its own claSs of merit, ought 
we to be content with seeing one, or ought we to endeavour to 
render both visible ? I have taken the latter view, and have sug- 
gested that a worthy position should be sought for Tenison's 
work, and that the choir screen, the " pulpitum " of Prior de 
Estria should be exposed to view. Mr. Loftie has spoken of 
this idea as " a new design by Sir Gilbert Scott founded on a 
fragment." He speaks of" the portion of it already restored 
behind the altar" (which does not exist), and says "could we be 
certified that the stone screen exists intact behind the panel- 
ling, we might hesitate. But nothing of the kind is asserted. 
A small portion only remains, and from it an eminent architect 
is prepared to reconstruct the whole." He has elsewhere de- 
scribed what is proposed as "modern work in imitation of some 
fragments of a stone screen of the fourteenth century." Mr. 

F f 

434 Appendix. 

Morris speaks of it as " Sir Gilbert Scott's conjectural restora- 
tion," and again, as " the proposed imitation, restoration, or 
forgery of Prior Eastry's rather commonplace tracery." 

The facts are that the old screen, or " pulpitum," remains 
throughout its extent in very fair condition, with its ancient 
colouring nearly complete and exceedingly beautiful. It is true 
that the barbarous mutilations made in putting up Tenison's 
work have left a few parts in some degree to conjecture ; but 
the evidences left in situ, aided, it may be fairly hoped, by frag- 
ments still to be found, will probably bring these exceptional 
parts into the region of certainty, just as the discovery of the 
two thousand fragments of the shrine of St. Alban led to the 
re-erection of that structure without a jot or tittle of new work 
or a single modicum of conjecture. Anyhow, what is aimed 
at is the exposure to view of an actually existant and ancient 
work not its restoration, for, with few exceptions, it is there, 

Another reason in favour of exposing to view this fine old 
work is that Canterbury differed from many other cathedrals in 
having no canopied stalls excepting those of the two great 
dignitaries. In this it agreed with the sister (or daughter) 
cathedral at Rochester, where we have evidences of the same 
arrangement. Tenison altered this by adding canopies to all 
the returned stalls, and thus ignored the traditions of the building. 

It is the fashion of the critics to under-rate the screenwork 
of De Estria, but I find Professor Willis describing it (the 
side screens he never saw the western one) as consisting of 
" delicate and elaborately worked tracery," and again saying of 
it, " the entire work is particularly valuable on account of its 
well-established date, combined with its great beauty and 
singularity." He also speaks of " the beautiful stone enclosure 
of the choir, the greatest part of which still remains." The 
ancient obituary of Prior De Estria calls it " most beautiful 
stonework delicately carved." 

Those who seek to under-rate it also try to make the most 
of the restorations which followed the removal of the wainscot 
work in 1828; but Professor Willis speaks of it as "in excellent 
order." Mr. Parker tells us that he saw and studied the screen 
work when unrestored, and speaks of it as "a very beautiful 
piece of fourteenth-century work." No doubt it suffered much 
from the reparation of Tenison's mutilations, but if these 
authorities speak so strongly of its present beauty, what would 

Appendix. 435 

they say to the parts still concealed which have never been 
touched by reparation ? Some parts of the side screens them- 
selves retain their ancient colouring, so that even they cannot 
be so far gone from their old state as is described. 

Mr. Loftie, in one of his letters, says " that very little is left 
of the construction of Canterbury Cathedral older than the 
present reign " (!) but Mr. Morris's fear is that " before long 
we shall see the noble building of the two Williams [of the 
twelfth century] confused and falsified by the usual mass of 
ecclesiastical trumpery and coarse daubing." Let him be 
assured that, whether it be of the twelfth or nineteenth cen- 
tury, there is no idea of touching it : on the contrary, in my 
paper read before the Institute of Architects in 1862, the 
following passage occurs, and the principles there advocated 
for the exterior may be supposed equally to actuate us in deal- 
ing with the interior : 

" Imagine for one moment, by way of illustration, that un- 
equalled ' history in stone,' the eastern half of Canterbury 
Cathedral, so admirably described and unfolded by Professor 
Willis, if the hand of undiscriminating restoration had passed 
over it : the works of Lanfranc, of Conrad, of William of 
Sens, and of the English William, whose intricate inter- 
minglings now form a history at once so perplexingly entangled 
and so charmingly disentangled; and which together present the 
very best illustration existing in this country of the changes of 
architectural detail from the Conquest to the full establishment 
of Pointed architecture; and which must ever form the very text- 
book of the architectural history of that period, as being at once 
the most perfect in its steps, the most completely chronicled, 
and the most admirably deciphered. Imagine, I would say, this 
treasury of art-history reduced to an unmeaning blank by the 
hand of the restorer, either all indiscriminately renewed, or one 
half renewed and the other scraped over to look like it ; the 
coarsely-axed work of the early Norman mason, the finer hew- 
ing of his successor, and the delicate chiselling of the third 
period, all scraped down to the semblance of the new work by 
the same undiscriminating drag, or replaced by new masonry, 
uniting all periods into one, or else making a mimic copy of 
their distinguishing characteristics ! I take an extreme imagi- 
nary illustration, because the work in question, as it remains in 
its authenticity, forming the most precious page of our archi- 

436 Appendix. 

tectural history, is so well known as to place the principle I 
am speaking of in a clearer light than if I took a less marked 

This Canterbury question is, however, as I have before said, 
a fair subject for fair discussion ; and I will add no more than 
this that, while I heartily sympathize with the new movement 
for the preservation of ancient monuments in its leading aims, 
I must protest against its being carried to the length of leaving 
our ancient buildings to fall into ruin, or to retain (in all cases) 
the effects of mutilation, disfigurement, and decay. And, as 
quite a secondary objection, I would venture respectfully to 
suggest that the legitimate aims of the movement are hardly 
likely to be furthered by overstatement or misrepresentation. 


P.S. It is rather comical to think how much more is said 
about moving Gibbons's returned stalls if indeed they be 
Gibbons's from the position they were made for at Canter- 
bury, than about the removal of his corresponding stalls from 
the position they were made for at St. Paul's. This may, 
however, be accounted for on the ground of the latter being a 
fait accompli ; but what will be said to spending 4o,ooo/. on 
obliterating Thornhill's paintings in the dome of St. Paul's in 
favour of mosaics of our own day, though arranged and directed 
by a " Committee of Taste " ? 



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List of Publications. 

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English Catalogue of Books (The}. Published during 1863 to 
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This Volume, occupying over 450 Pages, shows, the Titles of 
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Gnillemin. See " World of Comets." 

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List of Publications. 13 

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TTABITA TIONS of Man in all Ages. See LE-Duc. 

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Principal Schools of England. See Practical. 

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History of a Crime (The) ; Deposition of an Eye-witness. By 
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France. See GUIZOT. 

Russia. See RAMBAUD. 

14 Sampson Low, Marston, 6 Co.'s 

History of Merchant Shipping. See LINDSAY. 

United States. See BRYANT. 

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Hunting, Shooting, and Fishing; A Sporting Miscellany. 

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Kingston (IV. H. G.). See "Snow-Shoes." 

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T ADY Silver dale's Sweetheart. 6s. See BLACK. 

J -> 

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Landseer Gallery (The). Containing thirty-six Autotype Re- 
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Annals of a Fortress. Numerous Illustrations and 

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Life and Letters of the Honourable Charles Sumner (The}. 
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Society Lawyers Judges Visits to Lords Fitzwilliam, Leicester, 
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Lindsay (W. S.) History of Merchant Shipping and Ancient 
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Little King ; or, the Taming of a Young Russian Count. By 
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Long (Col C. Chaille) Central Africa. Naked Truths of 
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List of Publications. 1 7 

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Ninety- Three. By VICTOR HUGO. Numerous Illustrations. 

My Wife and I. By Mis. BEECHER STOWE. 

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