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Title: The Brochure Series of Architectural Illustration, vol. 06, No. 12, December 1900 - The Cathedrals of England
Author: Various
Language: English
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                          THE BROCHURE SERIES
                           The Cathedrals of
                            DECEMBER, 1900


                            BROCHURE SERIES

                   1900.      DECEMBER      No. 12.

                       THE CATHEDRALS OF ENGLAND

Such a general survey of the most representative English cathedrals
as is undertaken in the present article naturally leaves no space for
a detailed consideration of the various diversities of architecture
that they present, and future issues of this series will be devoted to
illustrating, individually, the various developments of the English
Gothic style. The characteristic features of the English Gothic
cathedrals, as compared with those of the Continent, and particularly
with those in France, are as follows:--

The English minsters are long, narrow and low in contrast with the
greater squareness and height of French contemporary churches. The
English transepts have bolder projections, and the number of side
chapels is smaller. The east end is almost invariably square. The
aisles are practically always single; Chichester is the only example
to the contrary. The central tower is a predominant feature; and a
single western tower is characteristic of English early churches.
Flying buttresses, though not uncommon, are not so prominent as in
French cathedrals. Doorways are more simple, placed in less important
positions, and often provided with a separate elaborate porch, as at
Salisbury. Window traceries, though developing along the same lines
as in France, finally evolve "Perpendicular" instead of "Flamboyant"
tracery. The beautiful fan-tracery vaulting is an important feature
of English Gothic, and is peculiar to it. The clustered shaft is a
special feature of the style. Great emphasis was placed by the English
architects on the development of mouldings; and the generally smaller
scale of English work lead to greater refinement and attention to
detail in carving.


Perhaps the most striking difference between the English and the
Continental cathedral, is however, in its situation. Instead of being
almost invariably pressed upon and crowded by the streets and shops
of the city, the English minster is usually set about with great masses
of foliage, and wide stretches of lawn.


The architectural significance of the various constructional dates
given in the brief historical synopses which follow, will be made clear
by reference to Mr. E. A. Freeman's tabulation of the English styles by

                            I. ROMANESQUE.

    Saxon                                          before 1066.
    Norman                                           1066-1195.

                              II. GOTHIC.

    Early English or "Lancet,"                       1189-1300.
    Decorated    {Geometrical}                       1300-1377.
                 {Flowing    }
    Perpendicular                                    1377-1547.

                           III. RENAISSANCE.

    Including Elizabethan, Georgian,
      Palladian, etc.                            1547 _et seq._

The last thirty years or so of each period may be described as a time
of Transition from one style to the succeeding.


In considering the English cathedrals the Saxon style may be
disregarded, as there are no important remains which date prior to
the coming of the Norman conquerors; and the only cathedral church of
prominence in the Renaissance style is St. Paul's in London.[1]



Litchfield Cathedral is sometimes styled the "Queen of English
minsters," and, though surpassed by other cathedrals in age, size,
grandeur of site and elaborate decoration, it has yet claim to the
title because of the symmetry, proportion and picturesqueness of its
general effect. It is built of red sandstone, and dates mainly from
the thirteenth to the fourteenth centuries. The earliest structure
on the present site was a Norman church dating from about 1100. The
oldest part of the existing building is the lower part of the west half
of the choir, erected about 1200. The transepts followed in 1220-40;
the nave dates from 1250, and the west front from about 1280, while
the Lady-Chapel belongs to the beginning of the fourteenth century.
The cathedral close was formerly surrounded by a wall and moat; and
in 1643 the cathedral was defended against the Puritans, who battered
down the central tower and demolished many of the carvings, monuments
and windows. It was, however, restored before the end of the century.
The most conspicuous external features are the three beautiful spires
and the fine west façade. This façade is one of the most graceful and
harmonious in England; and it has the advantage over such a front as
that of Peterborough in its organic connection with the rest of the
building. It is covered with niches for about one hundred statues,
almost all of which are now filled with modern carvings.


Chichester Cathedral was originally begun about 1085, completed in
1108 and burned down in 1114. In its present form it is substantially
a Transitional Norman building of the twelfth century, with some
pointed details introduced after a second fire in 1186. The Lady-Chapel
dates from 1288-1304. The spire, erected in the fifteenth century,
collapsed in 1861, and has since been rebuilt. The whole edifice has
been restored since 1848. The detached Bell Tower, a feature peculiar
to Chichester among English cathedrals, is, despite its weather-worn
appearance, one of the most recent parts of the building, dating from
the fifteenth century.

Canterbury Cathedral, the third church erected on the same site,
represents English architectural history from 1070 to 1495; but its
general external appearance is that of a magnificent building in the
Perpendicular style. The present structure was begun by Laufranc,
the first Norman architect, and was finished in 1130. The choir of
this Norman cathedral was burned in 1174, and the present choir, in
the Transitional style from Norman to Early English, was erected by
William of Sens (who may almost be said to have introduced the Pointed
style into England), and by his successor, William the Englishman
(1174-1180). The old Norman nave and transepts remained intact for two
hundred years more, when in 1378-1410 they were replaced by the present
Perpendicular structure. The great central tower was added in 1495.
The northwest tower is modern, the older tower having been pulled down,
with doubtful wisdom, to make room for one to match its southwest
neighbor. In spite of its huge proportions the interior of the nave
produces a wonderful effect of lightness. The choir, one hundred and
twenty feet long, is the longest in England. The great Norman arches,
supported by circular and octagonal piers alternately, furnish a
striking contrast to the inner portions of the nave.


Norwich Cathedral was begun in 1096, and has preserved its original
Norman plan more closely than any other in England. The first Bishop
of Norwich, Herbert de Losinga, completed the choir and transepts, and
began the nave. The latter was finished by his successor about 1140.
The clearstory of the choir was rebuilt in 1356-69, and the vaulting
of the nave and choir were added in the fifteenth century. In the same
century the west front was altered, and the spire rebuilt. The most
prominent features of the exterior are the lofty spire and the unusual
apsidal termination of the choir.


Durham Cathedral, locally known as "the Abbey," is usually ranked among
the six finest English cathedrals, though, apart from its magnificent
situation, the first impression made by the exterior scarcely seems to
warrant so high a place. The composition of the east end is externally
unsatisfactory; and the west front suffers from the difficulty of
obtaining a good near view.

The site was first built upon by the monks of Lindisfarne, who, in
999, chose it as a resting place for St. Cuthbert's remains. After
the Norman conquest a new and larger church was begun, the choir of
which seems to have been completed in 1093-95. The transepts and nave,
also in the Norman style, were all finished by 1143. The cloisters
and upper part of the central tower are Perpendicular (1400-80). A
destructive restoration was carried out in 1778-1800, sweeping away
many ancient details, and spoiling the exterior by scraping. Recently
the entire building has been restored.


Hereford Cathedral was begun in 1079, and not finished till 1530, and
consequently shows an interesting mixture of architectural styles. The
nave, south transept and piers of the tower are Norman, the Lady-Chapel
is Early English; the north transept was rebuilt between 1250 and 1288;
the north porch was erected about 1290. The tower dates from the
fourteenth century.



Peterborough Cathedral is one of the most important Norman churches
left in England, though at first glance the exterior does not seem to
bear out this assertion. The elaborate and somewhat foreign-looking
west façade, with its recessed arches, gables and sculptures, is
however an Early English addition of about 1220; and forms, as
it were, a screen in front of the original west wall. The present
building is the third church on this site. The first was destroyed by
the Danes; the second was burned in 1116. The oldest part now standing
is the choir, consecrated about 1140. The great transept dates from
1155-77, the late-Norman nave from 1177-93, and the west transepts, in
the Transitional style, from 1193-1200. A series of uniform Decorated
windows was added throughout the church in the fourteenth century.
The spires and pinnacles of the flanking turrets of the west façade
are of the Decorated and Perpendicular periods. The interior gives an
impression of unusual lightness for Norman architecture, an effect
enhanced by the color of the stone. In 1643 it suffered severely at the
hands of the iconoclastic Puritans. The clearstory and triforium of
the nave are impressive in size and effect. The painted wooden ceiling
dates from the twelfth century.


Salisbury Cathedral is a splendid example of pure Early English, having
had the rare advantage of having been begun and finished within a
period of forty years, 1220-1260, and is remarkable for the uniformity
and harmony of its construction. Mr. Ferguson has pointed out that
there is scarcely a trace of foreign influence in the building, the
square east end taking the place of the apse of the Norman churches,
and fixing the future character of English choirs; and he adds that
it is "one of the best proportioned and at the same time most poetic
designs of the middle ages." The various parts of the building all
unite to lead the eye to the central point,--the richly adorned spire
built in 1250, which is the loftiest in England. The sculptures on the
beautiful west front were nearly all destroyed by the Puritans, but
have recently been replaced.

[Illustration: LINCOLN CATHEDRAL      CHOIR]


Worcester Cathedral is in plan a double cross with very short
transepts, and with a chapter-house and spacious cloisters on the
south side. In general characteristics it is Early English, but
includes specimens of all styles from the Norman down to the latest
Perpendicular. The oldest parts of the present church are the choir
and Lady-Chapel, which date from the first quarter of the thirteenth
century. The north side of the nave belongs to the Decorated and the
south side to the early Perpendicular period; but they are very similar
in general appearance. The central tower shows traces of the transition
from Decorated to Perpendicular. In the interior, the choir dates from
the purest Early English period, and impresses by its richness and
uniformity; and the magnificent groined roof, extending in an unbroken
line for 420 feet, is a feature that perhaps no other cathedral can


Lincoln Cathedral, splendidly crowning the hill on which the city is
built, may perhaps claim to be the finest church in Great Britain.
Other cathedrals equal or surpass it in certain points; but in the
combination of size, delicacy of detail, effectiveness of both interior
and exterior, good preservation and grandeur of position, it has
probably no rival. Of the original cathedral, built at the end of the
eleventh century, the tower, a portion of the west front, and part
of first bay of the nave remain. The Norman cathedral was injured by
an earthquake in 1185, and its restoration was at once undertaken by
Bishop Hugh, called "St. Hugh of Lincoln" (1186-1200), who finished the
choir and east transepts--the earliest piece of Early English work of
known date. The west transepts and chapter-house were completed soon
after, and the nave, including the west front, by about 1250. The upper
story of the central tower, which dates from about 1240-50, was added
between 1300 and 1320. The upper parts of the west towers are late
Decorated, dating from about 1380. Among the more noteworthy external
features are the fine central and west towers, and the west façade,
in spite of its mixture of styles and the fact that it is in some
degree merely a screen. The choir of the interior is the oldest known
example of the Early English style, and is separated from the nave by a
decorated screen (1320) surmounted by the organ. Though the vaulting is
too low the entire interior is harmonious and imposing.


Winchester Cathedral is a stately edifice, incorporating every style
of English architecture from the Norman to the Perpendicular. It
was founded on a more ancient site in 1079. The choir and transepts
were finished in 1093. The conversion of the nave from Norman to
Perpendicular was begun by Bishop Edington before 1366, and the whole
was completed in 1486. The builder of the greater part of the nave
was Bishop William of Wickham, the renowned architect and statesman,
who occupied the See from 1366 to 1404. The church is the longest in
England, measuring 560 feet in all. The west façade, with its spacious
portal, was begun in 1350, finished in the fifteenth century, and
restored in 1860.


Ely Cathedral is architecturally one of the most interesting in
England. It occupies the site of an abbey founded by St. Ethelreda in
673. The existing building was begun in 1083 by the first Norman abbot,
and the last half at least was completed in its original form when the
see of Ely was created in 1109. The west part of the nave, including
the west tower, was finished about 1180, and the west porch was added
before 1215. The east end was added between 1229 and 1254. The central
tower, which belonged to the original church, fell in 1322, and
advantage was taken of this opportunity to construct the beautiful
decorated octagon. A new spire was erected on the west tower at the
end of the fourteenth century, the weight of which may have caused
the collapse of the northwest transept, though some authorities think
the latter was never finished. The whole building has been carefully
restored. The most striking feature of the edifice is the castellated
west tower, which is unlike any other cathedral tower in England,
and to some extent suggests military rather than ecclesiastical
architecture. The greater part of this tower is Transitional Norman
(117-489), but the octagonal top and turrets were added in the
decorated period.

[Illustration: WELLS CATHEDRAL      CHOIR]

Wells Cathedral is, in its present condition, predominantly an Early
English building, of the first half of the thirteenth century. It is
the third church on the same site, and the foundation of the present
edifice is commonly attributed to Bishop Joceline, 1206-1242. The
church as he designed it was finished at the end of the thirteenth
century. Thereafter a complete transformation of the east part was
undertaken, the first step being the construction of the Lady-Chapel,
about 1320, while the Presbytery dates from about 1350. The upper
parts of the central tower also belong to the early fourteenth century.
The upper parts of the west towers and cloisters are Perpendicular.
The beautiful west façade, elaborately adorned with arcading and
sculptures, is, like the west front of Lincoln, architecturally a mere
mask. The choir, one of the most beautiful in England, is Early or
Geometrical Decorated in the general effect.



York Cathedral is one of the largest and grandest of English minsters.
The present structure is the third on the site, and was built by
the first Norman bishop. The choir was rebuilt by Archbishop Roger,
1154-81, the south transept by Archbishop Gray in 1215-55, and the
north transept about the same time, while the Norman nave was gradually
replaced by the present one between 1290 and 1345. The Lady-Chapel was
added in 1360-73, and the present choir substituted for Archbishop
Roger's before 1400. The towers date from the fifteenth century, and
the edifice as thus rebuilt was reconsecrated in 1472. In its present
form, therefore, the minster shows examples of the Early English
Decorated, and early and late Perpendicular styles. The most striking
features of the exterior are the noble west façade in the Decorated and
the imposing central tower in the Perpendicular style.

Gloucester Cathedral stands on a site consecrated to religious purposes
since the seventh century. The church was raised to cathedral dignity
in 1541, having previously been included in the diocese of Worcester.
In its present form the body of the church is the work of Abbot Serlo
at the end of the eleventh century; but this Norman core was most
skilfully altered and recased, chiefly in the fourteenth century, and
in general external appearance is thoroughly Perpendicular.

St. Albans Abbey, which was raised to the dignity of a cathedral
in 1877, is one of the finest and largest churches in England. The
earliest parts of the existing building date from the eleventh century;
the choir was built in the thirteenth, and the Lady-Chapel in the
fourteenth. The fine tower is Norman. An extensive, and not especially
successful, restoration of the buildings including a new Early English
west front with a large decorated window, has recently been completed.

Exeter Cathedral, though comparatively small and unimposing, is, in
virtue of its details, one of the most admirable examples in England
of the Geometrical Decorated style. The oldest existing parts of the
building are the transeptal towers, dating from the early part of the
twelfth century, almost unique features in English churches. The rest
of the cathedral was built, or, at any rate, altered from Norman to
Decorated, between 1280 and 1370, mainly from designs of Bishop Quivil.
The elaborate west façade was added by Bishop Brantyngham (1370-1394).
The whole has been carefully restored.


[1] St. Paul's Cathedral was illustrated in THE BROCHURE SERIES for
November, 1900.

                          Transcriber's Note:

Italics are indicated by _underscores_.

Small capitals have been rendered in full capitals.

Footnote is at the end of chapter.

A number of minor spelling errors have been corrected without note.

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