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Title: Gothic Architecture
Author: Corroyer, Édouard
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                           ÉDOUARD CORROYER

                         OF DIOCESAN EDIFICES

                              EDITED BY

                           WALTER ARMSTRONG


           _With Two Hundred and Thirty-Six Illustrations_

                               NEW YORK
                          MACMILLAN AND CO.


                           EDITOR'S PREFACE

The following pages, which have been translated under my supervision
by Miss Florence Simmonds, give such an account of the birth and
evolution of Gothic Architecture as may be considered sufficient for
a handbook. Mons. Corroyer writes, indeed, from a thoroughly French
standpoint. He is apt to believe that everything admirable in Gothic
architecture had a Gallic origin. Vexed questions of priority, such as
that attaching to the choir of Lincoln, he dismisses with a phrase,
while the larger question of French influence generally in these
islands of ours, he solves by the simple process of referring every
creation which takes his fancy either to a French master or a French
example, here coming, be it said, into occasional collision with his
own stock authority, the late Mons. Viollet-le-duc. The Chauvinistic
tone thus given to his pages may be regretted, but, when all is
said, it does not greatly affect their value as a picture of Gothic
development. Mons. Corroyer confines himself in the main to broad
principles. He travels along the line of evolution, pointing out how
material conditions and discoveries, and their consequent social
changes, brought about one development after another in the forms
and methods of the architect. In a treatise so conceived, the fact
that the field of observation is practically restricted to France,
the few excursions beyond her frontier being made rather with a view
to displaying the extent of her influence than with any desire for
catholicity of grasp, is of no great moment. The English reader for
whom this translation is intended, will get as clear a notion of how
Gothic, as he knows it, came into being, as he would from a more
universal survey, while he has the advantage of some echo, at least,
of the vivacity, which inspires a Frenchman when his theme is "one of
the Glories of France."

    W. A.



    INTRODUCTION                                                     1

                                PART I

                        RELIGIOUS ARCHITECTURE


          ARCHITECTURE                                               11

     2. THE ORIGIN OF THE INTERSECTING ARCH                          16

     3. THE FIRST VAULTS ON INTERSECTING ARCHES                      24


     5. THE ORIGIN OF THE FLYING BUTTRESS                            41

          CENTURIES                                                  51

     7. CATHEDRALS OF THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY                         67

          CENTURY                                                    85

          FRANCE AND IN THE EAST                                    105

    10. TOWERS AND BELFRIES--CHOIRS--CHAPELS                        128

    11. SCULPTURE                                                   153

    12. PAINTING                                                    179

                               PART II

                        MONASTIC ARCHITECTURE

    CHAP.                                                          PAGE

    1. ORIGIN                                                       205

    2. ABBEYS OF CLUNY, CITEAUX, AND CLAIRVAUX                      215


    4. FORTIFIED ABBEYS                                             247

                               PART III

                        MILITARY ARCHITECTURE

    1. RAMPARTS OF TOWNS                                            269

    2. CASTLES AND KEEPS                                            291

    3. GATES AND BRIDGES                                            309

                               PART IV

                          CIVIL ARCHITECTURE

         THE NOBILITY                                               333

    2. TOWN-HALLS, BELFRIES, AND PALACES                            360


    Canterbury Cathedral. By A. Brunet-Debaines          _Frontispiece_

    FIG.                                                           PAGE

     1. Plan of a cupola of the Abbey Church of St. Front at
          Périgueux                                                  17

     2. Pendentive of a cupola of the Abbey Church of St. Front
          at Périgueux                                               18

     3. Diagonal section of a pendentive                             19

     4. Plan of a cupola of Angoulême or Fontevrault                 20

     5. Section of a bay of the cupolas of Angoulême                 20

     6. Section of a bay in the Church of St. Avit-Sénieur           21

     7. Plan of vault on intersecting arches                         21

     8. Section of an intersecting arch                              22

     9. Plan of a bay in the nave of St. Maurice at Angers           24

    10. Transverse section of the nave of St. Maurice at Angers      25

    11. Plan of a bay of the nave. Ste. Trinité, Laval               26

    12. Section of two bays of the nave. Ste. Trinité, Laval         27

    13, 14. Comparative sections of Churches of Angoulême and
          Angers                                                     28

    15. View in perspective of nave vault. St. Maurice at Angers     29

    16. Plan of a summer of the nave vault. Ste. Trinité, Laval      30

    17. Plan of one of the nave piers. Ste. Trinité, Laval           30

    18. Plan of the nave, St. Maurice, Angers                        33

    19. Plan of La Ste. Trinité, Angers                              34

    20. Section of a bay. Ste. Trinité, Angers                       35

    21. Transverse section of a bay. Ste. Trinité, Angers            37

    22. Section of a single-aisled Church vaulted on intersecting
          arches with buttresses                                     38

    23. Section of a three-aisled Church vaulted on intersecting
          arches with flying buttresses                              39

    24. Durham Cathedral. Transverse sections                        43

    25. Abbey Church at Noyon. Plan                                  44

    26. Transverse section of Noyon Church                           45

    27. Church of Tournai, Belgium. Exterior view of north transept
          towards the Scheldt                                        46

    28. Monastery Church at Moissac. Vault of the hall known as
          the _Salle des Capitaines_ above the porch                 47

    29. Church of Tournai, Belgium. Interior of north transept       47

    30. Soissons Cathedral, south transept. Section of flying
          buttress                                                   48

    31. Perspective view of south transept, Soissons Cathedral       49

    32. Cathedral of Laon. Plan                                      52

    33. Cathedral of Laon. Interior of the nave                      54

    34. Cathedral of Laon. Main façade                               55

    35. Cathedral of Laon. The east end                              57

    36. Cathedral of Laon. Section of the nave                       58

    37. Notre Dame de Paris. Plan                                    59

    38. Notre Dame de Paris. Section of the nave                     60

    39. Notre Dame de Paris. Flying buttresses and south tower       61

    40. Sens Cathedral. Plan of a bay                                62

    41. Sens Cathedral. Section of a bay of the nave                 63

    42. Sens Cathedral. Interior                                     64

    43. Bourges Cathedral. Section of the nave                       65

    44. Rheims Cathedral. Plan                                       68

    45. Rheims Cathedral. Section of the nave                        70

    46. Rheims Cathedral. Flying buttresses of the choir             71

    47. Amiens Cathedral. Plan                                       72

    48. Amiens Cathedral. Section through the nave                   73

    49. Beauvais Cathedral. Apse                                     75

    50. Beauvais Cathedral. North front                              76

    51. Beauvais Cathedral. Transverse section                       77

    52. Chartres Cathedral. Rose window of north transept            78

    53. Mans Cathedral. Plan                                         80

    54. Mans Cathedral. Flying buttresses of the apse                81

    55. Mans Cathedral. Section of the choir                         82

    56. Coutances Cathedral. North tower                             83

    57. Rodez Cathedral. West front                                  86

    58. Bordeaux Cathedral. Choir and north front                    87

    59. Lichfield Cathedral. West front                              88

    60. Lincoln Cathedral. Plan                                      91

    61. Lincoln Cathedral. West front                                92

    62. Lincoln Cathedral. Transept                                  94

    63. Lincoln Cathedral. Apse and chapter-house                    95

    64. Brussels Cathedral (Ste. Gudule). West front                 97

    65. Cologne Cathedral. South front                               99

    66. Burgos Cathedral. West front                                101

    67. Cathedral or Duomo of Siena. West front                     102

    68. Church of St. Francis at Assisi. Apse and cloisters         103

    69. Church of St. Ouen at Rouen. Central tower and apse,
          south front                                               106

    70. Albi Cathedral. Plan                                        108

    71. Albi Cathedral. Section of the nave                         111

    72. Albi Cathedral. Apse                                         113

    73. Albi Cathedral. Donjon tower and south front                114

    74. Church of Esnandes. A fortified church                      116

    75. Abbey of Mont St. Michel. Flying buttresses of the choir    118

    76. Abbey of Mont St. Michel. Plan of the choir                 119

    77. Abbey of Mont St. Michel. Details of the apse               120

    78. Alençon Cathedral. West front                               122

    79. Façade of the Cathedral of St. Sophia. Island of Cyprus     123

    80. Cathedral of St. Nicholas. Island of Cyprus                 124

    81. Cathedral of St. Nicholas. Island of Cyprus                 126

    82. Church of St. Sophia. Island of Cyprus. Ruins               127

    83. Steeple, Vendôme                                            129

    84. Giotto's Tower at Florence                                  130

    85. Bayeux Cathedral. Towers of the west front                  132

    86. Senlis Cathedral. South tower of west front                 133

    87. Salisbury Cathedral. Steeple                                135

    88. Church of Langrune (Calvados). Steeple                      136

     89. Church of the Jacobins at Toulouse. Tower                  138

     90. Church of St. Pierre at Caen. Tower                        140

     91. Church of St. Michel at Bordeaux. Tower                    141

     92. Cathedral of Freiburg-im-Breisgau                          142

     93. Antwerp Cathedral                                          143

     94. Rheims Cathedral. Statues of west front                    154

     95. Rheims Cathedral. Statues of west front                    155

     96. Rheims Cathedral. Statues of west front                    156

     97. Rheims Cathedral. Principal door. Statue and ornament      157

     98. Rheims Cathedral. Principal door. Statue and ornament      158

     99. Notre Dame de Paris. Principal door. Running leaf pattern  159

    100. Notre Dame de Paris. Principal door. Running leaf pattern  160

    101. Chartres Cathedral. Statues of north porch                 161

    102. Chartres Cathedral. Statues of south porch                 162

    103. Amiens Cathedral. Central porch of west front              163

    104. Amiens Cathedral. Statues in the south porch               164

    105. Amiens Cathedral. Choir stalls. Carved ornament            165

    106. Abbey of Mont St. Michel. Ornament of cloisters            166

    107. Wooden Statuette (thirteenth century). _Ateliers_ of La
           Chaise Dieu, Auvergne                                    167

    108, 108_a_. Two ivory statuettes. School of Paris         168, 169

    109. Wooden Statuette (fourteenth century). School of Paris     170

    110, 110_a_. Two ivory diptychs (fourteenth century). School
           of the Ile-de-France                                     171

    111, 111_a_. Ivory diptych and plaque (fourteenth century).
           School of the Ile-de-France                         172, 173

    112. Head in silver gilt repoussé. _Ateliers_ of the
           Goldsmith's Guild of Paris                               174

    113. Group carved in wood (fifteenth century). School of
           Antwerp                                                  175

    114. Wooden statuette, painted and gilded (fifteenth century)   176

    115. Wooden statuette, painted and gilded (sixteenth century)   177

    116. Paintings in Cahors Cathedral. Horizontal projection of
           the cupola                                               180

    117. Paintings in Cahors Cathedral. One of the prophets in the
           cupola                                                   182

    118. Paintings in Cahors Cathedral. Fragment of central frieze
           of cupola                                                184

    119, 120. Painted windows of the early twelfth century. From
           St. Rémi, Rheims                                         187

    121. Painted window of the twelfth century. Church of
           Bonlieu, Creuse                                          188

    122. Painted window of the thirteenth century. Chartres
           Cathedral                                                189

    123. Painted window of the thirteenth century. Chartres
           Cathedral                                                190

    124. Painted window of the thirteenth century. Church of St.
           Germer, Troyes                                           191

    125. Painted windows of the fourteenth century. Church of St.
           Urbain, Troyes                                           193

    126. Painted glass of the fourteenth century. Cathedral of
           Châlons-sur-Marne                                        194

    127. Painted window of the fifteenth century. Évreux Cathedral  195

    128. Enamel of the eleventh century. Plaque cover of a MS.      196

    129. Enamel of the thirteenth century. Plaque cover of an
           Evangelium                                               198

    130. Enamel of the twelfth century. Reliquary shrine of St.
           Thomas à Becket                                          199

    131. Enamel of the sixteenth century. Our Lady of Sorrows       200

    132. Abbey of Mont St. Michel. Cloister (thirteenth century)    206

    133. Abbey of Cluny. Gateway                                    216

    134. Abbey of Cluny. Plan                                       219

    135. Abbey of Cluny. Door of the Abbey Church                   221

    136. Abbey of St. Étienne at Caen. Façade                       228

    137. St. Alban's Abbey (England)                                230

    138. Abbey of Montmajour. Cloisters                             231

    139. Abbey of Elne. Cloisters                                   232

    140. Abbey of Fontfroide. Cloisters                             233

    141. Abbey of Maulbronn (Wurtemberg). Plan                      235

    142. Abbey of Fontevrault. Kitchen                              236

    143. Cathedral of Puy-en-Velay. Cloisters                       237

    144. Abbey of La Chaise Dieu (Auvergne). Cloisters              239

    145. _Chartreuse_ of Villefranche de Rouergue. Plan             242

    146. _Chartreuse_ of Villefranche de Rouergue. Bird's-eye view  243

    147. _Grande Chartreuse._ The Great Cloister                    244

    148. _Grande Chartreuse._ General View                          245

    149. Abbey of Mont St. Michel. General View                     248

    150. Abbey of Mont St. Michel. Plan at the level of the
           entrance                                                 249

    151. Abbey of Mont St. Michel. Plan at the level of the
           lower church                                             250

    152. Abbey of Mont St. Michel. Plan at the level of the
           upper church                                             252

    153. Abbey of Mont St. Michel. Section from north to south      253

    154. Abbey of Mont St. Michel. Section from west to east        254

    155. Abbey of Mont St. Michel. Crypt known as the _Galerie
           de l'Aquilon_                                            256

    156. Abbey of Mont St. Michel. North front                      257

    157. Abbey of Mont St. Michel. The almonry                      258

    158. Abbey of Mont St. Michel. A tympanum of the cloisters      259

    159. Abbey of Mont St. Michel. The cellar                       260

    160. Abbey of Mont St. Michel. Refectory                        262

    161. Abbey of Mont St. Michel. Hall of the knights              263

    162. St. Michael's Mount, Cornwall                              264

    163. Abbey of Mont St. Michel. Gate-house                       270

    164. City of Carcassonne. South-east ramparts                   273

    165. City of Carcassonne. North-west ramparts                   274

    166. Fortress of Kalaat-el-Hosn. Section                        277

    166_a_. Fortress of Kalaat-el-Hosn. General view                278

    167. City of Carcassonne. Plan of the thirteenth century        279

    168. City of Carcassonne. Ramparts, south-west angle            280

    169. Ramparts of Aigues-Mortes, north and south                 281

    170. Ramparts of Avignon. Curtain and towers                    282

    170_a_. Machicolations                                          283

    171. Ramparts of St. Malo                                       284

    172. Mont St. Michel. South front                               287

    173. Mont St. Michel. As restored on paper                      288

    174. Castle of Angers                                           292

    175. Carcassonne. Citadel                                       293

    176. Loches Castle. Keep                                        294

    177. Falaise Castle. Keep                                       297

    178. Lavardin Castle. Keep                                      298

    179. Keep of Aigues-Mortes                                      299

    180. Provins Castle. Keep                                       300

    181. Castle, Chinon                                             302

    182. Castle, Clisson. Keep                                      303

    183. Castle. Villeneuve-les-Avignon                             304

    184. Castle of Tarascon                                         305

    185. Vitré Castle                                               307

    186. City of Carcassonne. Castle gate                           310

    187. City of Carcassonne. Gate of the Lists                     312

    188. City of Carcassonne. Gate known as the _Porte Narbonaise_  313

    189. Ramparts of Aigues-Mortes. Drawbridge                      314

    190. Ramparts of Dinan. Gate known as the _Porte de Jerzual_    315

    191. Vitré Castle. Gate-house                                   317

    192. Ramparts of Guérande. Gate known as the _Porte St.
           Michel_                                                  318

    193. Ramparts of Mont St. Michel. Gateway known as the
           _Porte du Roi_                                           320

    194. Entrance to the Port of La Rochelle                        322

    195. Bridge at Avignon                                          323

    196. Bridge of Montauban                                        325

    197. Bridge of Cahor                                            326

    198. Bridge of Orthez                                           327

    199. Fortified bridge. Mont St. Michel                          328

    200. Town-hall at St. Antonin (Tarn et Garonne)                 334

    201. Barn at Perrières (Calvados)                               335

    201_a_. Barn at Perrières (Calvados). Section                   336

    201_b_. Barn at Perrières (Calvados). Plan                      336

    202. Tithe-barn at Provins                                      337

    203. Granary of the Abbey of Vauclair                           338

    204. Hospital of St. John, Angers                               339

    205. Abbey of Ourscamps (Oise)                                  340

    206. Lazar-house at Tortoir (Aisne)                             341

    207. Hospital at Tonnerre. Section                              343

    208, 208_a_. Houses at Cluny                               347, 348

    209, 210. Houses at Vitteaux and at St. Antonin                 349

    211, 212. Houses at Provins and at Laon                    350, 351

    213. House at Cordes. Albigeois                                 352

    214. House at Mont St. Michel                                   354

    215, 216. Wooden houses at Rouen and at Andelys            355, 356

    217. Hôtel Lallemand at Bourges                                 357

    218. Jacques Cœur's house at Bourges                         358

    219. Town-hall of Pienza, Italy                                 361

    220. Town-hall and belfry at Ypres                              363

    221. Market and belfry at Bruges                                365

    222. Town-hall of Bruges                                        366

    223. Town-hall at Louvain                                       368

    224. Belfry of Tournai (Belgium)                                370

    225. Belfry of Ghent (Belgium)                                  371

    226. Belfry at Calais (France)                                  374

    227. Belfry of Béthune (France)                                 376

    228. Belfry of Évreux (France)                                  377

    229. Belfry of Avignon (France)                                 378

    230. Belfry gate known as _La Grosse Cloche_, Bordeaux          379

    231. Cloth hall known as _La Loge_, Perpignan                   381

    232. Bishop's Palace at Laon                                    382

    233. Archbishop's Palace at Albi. Plan                          383

    234. Archbishop's Palace at Albi. General view                  384

    235. Palace of the Popes at Avignon. Plan                       385

    236. Palace of the Popes at Avignon. General view               387

                         GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE


The term _Gothic_, as applied to the architectural period dating from
the middle of the twelfth to the end of the fifteenth century, is
purely conventional.

The expression is clearly misleading as indicating the architecture
of the Goths or Visigoths; for these tribes were vanquished by Clovis
in the sixth century, and left no monumental trace of their invasion.
Hence, their influence upon art was _nil_. The term is radically
false both from the historical and the archæological point of view,
and originates in an error which demands the strenuous opposition
due to persistent fallacies. By a strange irony of fate the term
_Gothic_, used in the last century merely as the opprobrious synonym
of _barbaric_, has been specialised within the last sixty years in
connection with that polished epoch of the Middle Ages which sheds
most lustre upon our national art. And this, in spite of its Germanic

Romanesque architecture, or to be exact, that architecture which,
by virtue of the archæologic convention of 1825, we agree to label
Romanesque, undoubtedly borrowed its essential elements from the
Romans and Byzantines, modifying and perfecting them by the genius
of Western Europe; but the architectural period which began in the
middle of the twelfth century, and is so unjustly dubbed _Gothic_, was
of purely French birth; its cradle was the nucleus of modern France.
Aquitaine, Anjou, and Maine were the provinces in which it first took
root. The royal domain, and notably the Ile-de-France, witnessed its
most marvellous developments, and it was from the very heart of France
that its splendour radiated throughout Europe.

But the tyranny of usage leaves us no choice as to the title of this
volume. We are compelled to style it _Gothic Architecture_, though we
would gladly have registered our protest by naming it _French Mediæval

[1] This idea, which has recently found support in quarters which
might have been considered free from such _chauvinism_, is based
upon a narrow and peculiarly modern view of art. Art activities in
the Middle Ages were as instinctive and unconscious as speech. The
forms of architecture were invented and elaborated much in the same
way as language. For the purpose of the historian of architecture,
the northern half of France, the three southern quarters of Great
Britain, and the districts threaded by the Rhine, form a single
country, a single _foyer_ of art. They all pressed on from similar
starting-points to similar goals; and if the French went ahead in
one direction, they fell astern in another. It may be allowed that,
on the whole, the architects of the _Ile-de-France_ did better than
their rivals. Gothic architecture is pre-eminently logical, and logic
is pre-eminently the artistic gift of the Frenchman. So that its more
scientific development in the "French royal domain" was only to be
expected. That success of this kind gives a right to call the whole
development "French mediæval architecture" cannot be allowed.--ED.

The term _Gothic_ is, however, purely arbitrary, as is also that
of _pointed_, which has been introduced by writers who admit the
principle of the broken arch as the characteristic of so-called Gothic

The broken or pointed arch, which is formed by the intersection of
two opposite curves at an angle more or less acute, was known to
architects long before its systematic application. It occurs in
buildings of the ninth century in Cairo, and was used prior to this
in Armenia, and still earlier in Persia, where indeed it superseded
all other forms of span from the times of the last of the Sassanides
onwards. It is an expedient which gives increased power of resistance
to the arch by diminishing its lateral thrusts.

The pointed arch is a form which admits of infinite variations. The
one law which governs its construction is expediency. It frankly
abandons those rules of classic proportion which are the canons, so
to speak, of the round-headed arch. Thus we shall find the pointed
approximating to the round-headed form in the twelfth century, only
to diverge from it more widely than before, till, towards the close
of the thirteenth and throughout the fourteenth century, it took on
the acute proportions necessitated by a perilous disposition to prefer
loftiness to solidity.

Fundamentally, it is of little moment whether the architecture of the
twelfth to the sixteenth century be termed Gothic or pointed, when
we recognise these terms as equally inexact. The point to be really
insisted upon is that the filiation we have already demonstrated in
our book on Romanesque Architecture continued slowly, but surely, in
the wake of civilisation, of which architecture is ever one of the
most striking manifestations.

So-called Gothic architecture was not the product of a single
generation; it was the continuous logical development of the
Romanesque movement, just as the latter in its time had been the
outcome of a gradual adaptation of old traditions to new-born
exigencies. Thus our Aquitainian forbears, by their successful
translation into stone of the eastern cupola, prepared the way for
the groined vault, the embryo of which is clearly traceable in the
pendentives of the dome at St. Front.

The great churches which, towards the middle of the twelfth century,
rose throughout the rich Western provinces that cluster about
Aquitaine, were all constructed with groined vaults. In these examples
we can discern no halting, tentative application of newly adopted
principles. The work is that of consummate architects, who brought
to their labours the assurance born of experienced skill, and in the
later part of the twelfth century, the new system had replaced all
others for the construction of vaults throughout Western Europe.

The architects of the royal domain, and notably those of the
Ile-de-France, had been the first to adopt the groined vault. Towards
the close of the twelfth century their assimilation of the new
principles, their native ingenuity, and professional hardihood alike
urged them to its further development. They became the inventors of
the flying buttress.

The substitution of the groined vault for its parent, the cupola,
was the direct consequence of the old tradition. The development
was merely a stage in the march of ideas, a consummation logically
arrived at in the track which the Romans, constructors not less
bold though more prudent than their artistic progeny, had marked
out for them. The groined vault, in short, is simply the growth
of Roman principles perfected by continuous experiment. But the
flying buttress, or rather the system of construction based on its
use, caused a radical change in the art of building of the twelfth
century. Stability, which in the ancient buildings was ensured by
solid masses at the impost of vaults and arches, was replaced by the
balance of parts. From this daring system some of the most marvellous
of architectural effects have been won; but the innovation had a
dangerous inherent weakness, inasmuch as it involved the exterior
position of those essential vital organs for whose preservation the
ancients had wisely provided, by keeping them within the building.

It is therefore not surprising that though fifty years after its
introduction the groined vault was generally adopted throughout
Western Europe, and even in the East, the success of the flying
buttress was infinitely more gradual and restricted. Thus, in the
North, the multiplication of great religious monuments built, or even
rebuilt on the new lines, was simultaneous with the construction in
the South of vast churches on the old principles. The adventurous
builders of the North had eagerly adopted the new division of churches
into several aisles, all with groined vaults, the vault of the great
central nave relying upon exterior flying buttresses for resistance to
its thrust.

In the South, on the other hand, architects were prudent, either
through instinctive resistance to, or deliberate reaction from, the
innovating influence, or by way of fidelity to an ancient tradition.
They built with a single aisle, wide and lofty; the vaults were
indeed supported by ribs, but their thrusts were received by powerful
buttresses inside the walls, the projections thus formed being further
utilised for the construction of chapels in the intervals.

This latter system, which has the incontestable merit of perfect
solidity, recalls the construction of the Basilica of Constantine,
or of the tepidarium in the Baths of Caracalla. The stability of the
edifice was ensured by the resistance of masses at the imposts, and
the whole principle of construction formed, as it were, a protest
against the miracles of equilibrium so much in favour among the

The new system of vaults supported by flying buttresses made
very slight way in the South. It appears but rarely, and in the
few instances where it is used has entirely the air of a foreign
importation. Even in the cradle of its origin, it took root slowly
and with difficulty, for its first applications were not without
disaster. Lacking that mathematical knowledge which is the mainstay
of the modern architect, the experimental skill shown by the
thirteenth-century builder in constructing his vaults, and then
in neutralising their thrusts by flying buttresses reduced to
the legitimate function of permanent struts, was little short of
miraculous. For it must be borne in mind that the thrust of these
vaults, and the strength of the flying buttresses, varied of necessity
according to their span, and the resisting powers of their materials.
It was only by dint of long gropings in the dark that the necessarily
empirical formulæ of the innovators were gradually transformed into
recognised rules, and this knotty problem of construction received
no positive solution till the last years of the thirteenth, or more
emphatically, the first years of the fourteenth century. While even
then the solution could claim no universal acceptance, for what was
comparatively easy in countries where stone abounds became difficult,
if not impossible, in districts where such a material as brick was the
sole resource of builders.

Nevertheless, the growth of Gothic architecture was rapid, so rapid
that even in the fourteenth century it began to show symptoms of that
swift decadence which is the Nemesis of facile success. The abuse of
equilibrium, the excessive diminution of points of support--defects
often aggravated by insecurity of foundation and exaggerated loftiness
of structure--the poor quality of materials, and the faulty setting
thereof due to empirical methods, the over-rapidity of execution
caused by mistaken emulation, the dearth of funds consequent on
social and political convulsions complicated by the miseries of
war,--all these things joined hands for the extinction of a once
resplendent art. But the initial cause of its ruin must be sought in
its abandonment of antique traditions. These traditions had persisted
uninterruptedly throughout the so-called Romanesque period, only to
pave the way for a seductive art in novel form, which, casting aside
the trammels of the past in obedience to the dictates of the moment,
fell on decay as rapidly as it had risen to eminence. Dawning in the
France of Louis the Fat, it reached its apogee under St. Louis, and
was in full decadence before the close of the fifteenth century.

The narrow limits assigned to us forbid not only detailed discussion
of our great monuments, but even a summary of the most famous. We must
be content to work out that theory of evolution already put forward by
us in _L'Architecture Romane_. We propose merely to offer a synthesis
of that architectural development which succeeded the so-called
Romanesque epoch, from its birth in the twelfth to its extinction in
the fifteenth century.

And as the groined vault is, broadly speaking, the essential
characteristic of so-called Gothic architecture, and the flying
buttress one of its most interesting manifestations, we shall make
a special study of their origin, their modifications, and their
principal applications in connection with religious, monastic,
military, and civil architecture. We shall dwell more particularly
upon religious architecture as presenting the grandest and most
obvious evidences of artistic progress, not in its admirable buildings
alone, but in those masterpieces of painting and sculpture to which it
gave birth in France.

                                PART I

                        RELIGIOUS ARCHITECTURE

                              CHAPTER I


   _The cupola, in its symbolic aspect, was the germ, whence sprang
   an architectural system the revolutionary action of which upon
   art can scarcely be over-estimated._[2]

[2] _L'Architecture Romane_, by Ed. Corroyer; Quantin, Paris, 1888.

So-called Gothic architecture was no spontaneous and miraculous
manifestation. Like all human activities, its end is easy to
determine; but it is difficult to fix even an approximate date for
its beginning. The traces of its origin are lost in that period of
architectural activity which preceded it, and prepared its way by a
train of unbroken evolution.

The cupola of St. Front, which we may reasonably call the mother
cupola of France, was not an imitation of that of St. Mark at
Venice, for both were based upon the church built by Justinian at
Constantinople, in honour of the Holy Apostles. But the form thus
imported into Aquitaine received such modification and development, as
to make it virtually an original achievement. One of the knottiest of
architectural problems was solved in the process, and that admirable
constructive principle was established which consists in concentrating
the thrust of a vault upon four points of support strengthened by

The construction of such a cupola as that of St. Front in dressed
stone was an event of great moment in a district which still preserved
the Gallo-Roman tradition in its integrity, and was commonly reputed
the fatherland of our architecture. Its immediate consequences were
shown before the close of the eleventh century by the erection of
large abbey churches on the model of St. Front in various neighbouring

But while accepting the new principle, the architects of the period
directed their energies to its perfectibility. Their efforts, and
even their successes, in this direction are manifest so early as the
first years of the twelfth century. The churches of Angoulême and
of Fontevrault may be cited in proof. "We here recognise the main
preoccupation of the Romanesque builders--namely, how best to reduce
the immense masses of churches built with the primitive cupola by a
more deliberate and judicious distribution of thrust and resistance.
We further see how the adoption of these principles led to the
emphasising of critical points by buttresses, which now began to
project from the exterior walls."[3]

[3] _L'Architecture Romane_, by Ed. Corroyer; Quantin, Paris, 1888.

The new system spread rapidly, notably in Anjou and Maine, its growth
being marked by an ever-increasing refinement and perfection. The
architects of the rich abbeys of these provinces, the importance of
which was aggrandised by their strong attachments to the all-powerful
religious organisation of the period, gave a further development
to the Aquitainian method. They transformed the pendentives of the
cupolas into independent arches which performed exactly the same
functions, thus logically working out an architectonic principle of
amazing simplicity, the success of which was so rapid that, by the
middle of the twelfth century, it was systematically applied to the
construction of great churches at Angers, Laval, and Poitiers.

The works of the Angevin architects were of course known to their
Northern brethren, who, in common with all the builders of the day,
had long been seeking the final solution of the great problem of
the vault. The architects of the Ile-de-France at once appropriated
the Angevin system with that special professional ingenuity which
characterised them, and applied it to the construction of innumerable
churches, large and small, all of them built on the basilican
plan--that is to say, with three, or even five aisles.

Thus the Aquitainian cupola of dressed stone exercised an absolutely
direct influence upon Gothic architecture, since it gave birth to the
_intersecting arch_, which is the main feature of so-called Gothic.
This influence was first manifested in the general arrangement of
single-aisled churches vaulted upon intersecting ribs, the earliest
departure from the original cupola. It was then more grandiosely
demonstrated in vast abbey or cathedral churches, built in accordance
with the basilican tradition, and all vaulted on the new principle.

Angers and Laval are primitive examples of churches whose square
compartments carry groined vaults, which thenceforth took the place of
cupolas with pendentives.

The abbey church of Noyon shows the application of this principle,
novel in the twelfth century, to the several-aisled churches of the
Northern architects. The _original_ vaults of Noyon[4] were planned in
square. The intersecting arches united the principal piers diagonally,
the strain being relieved by a subordinate or auxiliary arch which
rested upon secondary piers, indicated on the exterior by buttresses
less salient than those of the main piers, and on the interior by a
column receiving the lateral archivolts which united the chief piers.

[4] The original disposition of the vaults built about 1160 is
indicated by the spring of the arches above the capitals, and by the
base plan of the principal piers. The present vaults on rectangular
plan were built after the fire of 1238, in accordance with prevailing

This system of construction, the principle of which was logically
developed at Noyon, for instance, no longer exists, save in its
traditional state in the great churches of Laon, and in the cathedrals
of Paris, Sens, and Bourges, to name but the principal, without regard
to the innumerable churches built on these principles throughout
Western Europe. In these great buildings the vaults were all square on
plan down to the adoption in the first half of the thirteenth century
of equal bays, vaulted on a rectangular plan, and marked inside and
out by equal piers and projections, as at Amiens, Rheims, and many
other churches of the period.

Hence we see how incontestable was the influence of the cupola
upon so-called Gothic architecture. This truth is demonstrated by
monuments yet in existence, lapidary documents above suspicion. It
cannot be insisted upon too strongly, not merely for the satisfaction
of archæeologic accuracy, but more especially as yet another proof
that the filiation between the art of the ancients and that of the
so-called Romanesque architects is no less evident than that which
links together the Romanesque and the so-called Gothic. Of this latter
filiation we have a direct proof in the Aquitainian cupola, the parent
of those of Angoumois, which in their turn gave birth to the Angevin
intersecting arch, and so prepared the way for the flying buttress,
which again was to mark a new departure.

                              CHAPTER II


So early as the eleventh century churches were built with one or
several aisles, and in this latter case the side aisles only had
ribbed vaults, the nave being covered by a timber roof. The next step
was to vault all three aisles, buttressing the barrel-vaulted nave by
continuous half-barrel vaults or ribbed vaults over the aisles, and
further strengthening it by projecting transverse arches, or _arcs
doubleaux_, the whole being crowned by a roof which embraced the side
aisles. These cumbrous and timidly constructed buildings were merely
imitations of the Roman basilicas. To ensure their solidity they had
perforce to be narrow; and the necessary abolition of top lighting
made them gloomy. We find then that, before the appearance of the
cupola, mediæval architects were perfectly acquainted both with the
barrel vault and the ribbed vault, the latter formed, on traditional
principles, by the interpenetration of two demi-cylinders. They had
even attempted to improve upon the construction by strengthening the
line of penetration with a salient rib, giving an elliptic arch. But
this rib was purely decorative, for in the Roman vault the stones
at the line of intersection, whether ribbed or not, were in complete
solidarity with the filling on either side in which they were buried.

It follows that we shall seek in vain in the Roman ribbed vault the
germ of the intersecting arch, with its essentially active functions.

For the origin of the intersecting arch we must turn to the eleventh
century. We shall find it in the dressed stone cupola of St. Front,
and more especially in its pendentives.

Fig. 1 gives the plan of one of the cupolas of St. Front. It is
composed of four massive transverse arches, the thrusts of which are
received upon four piers united by pendentives (Figs. 2 and 3) passing
from the re-entering angles at the spring of the arches to the base
of the circular dome itself, each of the concentric courses bearing
upon the keys of the _arcs-doubleaux_, and transmitting to them, and
therefore to the piers by which they are supported, the weight of the
cupola itself.



  PLAN, FIG. 1]

Fig. 3 is a section through one of the pendentives of St. Front,
following the line A B in Fig. 1. It shows that the first six courses
are cut so as to make what is called a _tas de chargé_; the upper
surfaces are horizontal, the faces curved to the radius of the dome
itself. After the sixth course the voussoirs are cut normally to the
curve of the arch. The vaulting of religious buildings having long
been the crux of mediæval architects, the construction of the St.
Front cupolas must have been an event much noised abroad, for towards
the close of the eleventh century a large number of churches with
cupolas were built in imitation of the mother church at Périgueux.

The construction of the churches of Angoulême and Fontevrault in the
first years of the twelfth century shows that the architects were
attempting to cover spaces of ever-increasing span on the Aquitainian
model, while at the same time they set themselves to lighten their
vaults, and consequently to reduce their points of support.

Fig. 4 gives the plan of one of the cupolas of Angoulême or of
Fontevrault, both being built on precisely similar plan, with the
exception of the number of bays to the nave.


Fig. 5 gives the section of a bay in one of these churches, and
illustrates the considerable difference already existing between
the mother cupola of St. Front and its offspring. The cupola on
pendentives begins to show a certain attenuation, and we shall
presently note a fresh step forward towards the solution of that
problem so persistently grappled with by the mediæval architect--how
to reduce the weight of the vault.


The Church of St. Avit-Sénieur furnishes a most instructive example.

The cupola of this building is strengthened by stiffening ribs. It
becomes an annular vault, formed of almost horizontal keyed courses,
sustained by transverse and diagonal ribs, which act the part of a
permanent centering.

The Church of St. Pierre at Saumur marks a further step onwards in the
construction of vaults derived from the cupola.[5]

[5] _L'Architecture Romane_, by Ed. Corroyer.

Finally, the architects of Maine and Anjou achieved the long-desired
consummation. Under their treatment the pendentives resolved
themselves into their actively useful elements, the visible signs of
which were diagonal or intersecting arches, salient and independent,
set in precisely the same manner as the pendentives of the cupola
(Fig. 3), and performing identical functions (Fig. 8).



The vault proper is no longer formed of concentric courses, as in the
mother cupola. It consists thenceforward of voussoirs cut normally to
the curve, and filling the triangles (A, B, C, D, Fig. 7) determined
by the longitudinal, the diagonal or intersecting, and the transverse
arches. These arches form a stone skeleton, no less solid though far
less ponderous than the cupola pendentives, and sustain the vault by
distributing its thrusts over four points of support.

The triangular fillings no longer imprison the ribs, or, more exactly
speaking, the intersecting arches, nor do they any longer neutralise
their active functions. These fillings, on the other hand, have, like
the intersecting arch, gained a new independence. They now contribute
to the elasticity of the divers organs of the vault, a most essential
element in its solidity. The peculiar arrangement of the intersecting
arches in the nave of Angers gives incontrovertible proof of the
direct filiation of this building to the Aquitainian cupola. The
voussoirs of the intersecting arches are about equal in horizontal
section to those of the transverse arches, while their vertical
section equals the thickness of the filling plus the internal salience
which marks their function. They look in fact like slices cut from
the pendentives of a cupola (A, Fig. 8). It must be remarked, too,
that at Angers the stones of the filling do not yet rest upon the
extrados of the ribs, in the fashion adopted some years later in the
Ile-de-France and elsewhere (see B, Fig. 8), but embrace them (as at


The identity of function in the pendentive and in the Gothic
intersecting arch, both constructed, as they are, of stones dressed
normally to their curves, shows that they sprang from a common origin,
which is as much as to say that the Aquitainian cupola begat the
intersecting vault.

                             CHAPTER III

                       THE FIRST GROINED VAULTS

The first application of the system of intersecting vaults appears in
the great churches of Angers and Laval.

It is probable that the new methods propagated by the religious
architects of Aquitaine and neighbouring provinces had excited the
emulation of the Northern builders, more especially those of the
Ile-de-France. Evidences to this effect are to be found in certain
subordinate portions of their buildings at this period, such as side
aisles or apsidal chapels. Their timid arrangement seems, however,
reminiscent of the Roman system of ribbed vaulting, with a slightly
increased prominence of the ribs superadded, rather than of the
revolution that had been effected in church vaulting generally.



But, if we except perhaps Laval, nowhere shall we find the new system
of vaulting upon intersecting arches more mightily demonstrated than
at Angers, the aisles of which measure 54 feet across. The grandeur
of the architectural composition, no less than the admirable technical
skill shown in the details, gives proof of the consummate mastery
arrived at by the builders of these noble structures so early as the
middle of the twelfth century. The plan of these churches resembles
that of Angoulême and Fontevrault. It is in no way allied to the
Northern buildings.


They are constructed with single aisles, like the cupola churches,
with a series of bays, square on plan; but the arrangement of the
vaults has been perfected by the logical use of intersecting arches in
the place of pendentives, the architects of the day having realised
by this time the progress we have explained and demonstrated in the
preceding chapter.

These vast aisles, vaulted on intersecting arches, are of course
allied to the cupolas; they recall their general outline, but the
arrangement of the vaulting is different. The intersecting ribs are
no longer merely decorative features; they have taken on all the
active functions of the _arc-doubleau_ and the formeret. Their union
constitutes an elastic ossature, the weight being concentrated upon
four points of support, which receive the impost of the arches, and
compose a stone skeleton, each unit of which has been cut and dressed
to fill the exact place it occupies in the whole.


If we compare the sections (Figs. 13 and 14) of the churches of
Angoulême and Angers, we may clearly trace the filiation between these
buildings, the one dating from the first years of the twelfth century,
the other from some thirty or even forty years later. We shall also
note the advance made by the Angevin architects in the construction of
groined vaults in the place of domes with pendentives, a development
worked out by the more perfect and reasoned application of the same
architectural principle.



The Church of Laval, built simultaneously with that of Angers,
or only a few years later, shows a further advance, not merely in
the matter of form, but in the increased science and ingenuity of
combinations, and the methodical accuracy of the execution.



The arches which compose the ossature of the vaults become independent
in their functions, as at Angers, immediately upon leaving the abacus,
an essential characteristic of the new system. The lateral points of
support are composed of piers proper and of clustered columns, crowned
by corbelled capitals, which, by prolonging them, mark the formerets,
the diagonal, and the transverse arches as they fall upon the abaci.
It is easy to see in this arrangement the origin of those clustered
shafts so generally and even excessively used in the thirteenth and
fourteenth centuries, the main object of which was to conceal as far
as possible the points of support.

These details, and the section (Fig. 12) showing the mode of
construction in the vaults, demonstrate sufficiently that at Laval, no
less than at Angers, a direct filiation exists between the dome upon
pendentives and the groined and ribbed vault.

                              CHAPTER IV


The new system derived from the domes upon pendentives, so brilliantly
applied in Anjou and Maine in the first half of the twelfth century,
was thenceforth the normal method of the religious architect. The
admirable simplicity of the new method and its adaptability to every
class of building, from the great abbey church to the modest chapel,
sufficiently accounts for its rapid dissemination throughout Western
Europe, where religious bodies had founded innumerable abbeys, large
and small, of varying rules and orders, but all welded together by one
mighty organisation.

A long array of churches on the Angevin model rose, not only in the
neighbouring provinces--as Ste. Radegonde at Poitiers, Notre Dame de
la Coulture and the nave of St. Julien at Mans,--but farther afield
towards the south. To name only the most important--the charming
Church of Thor, dedicated to Ste. Marie du Lac, between Avignon and
the fountain of Vaucluse; that of St. Sauveur at St. Macaire, near
Bordeaux; the nave of St. André at Bordeaux, begun in 1252 on the
cupola plan, but modified and finally crowned with a groined and
ribbed vault; St. Caprais at Agen, which shows the same modifications,
and lastly, the immense brick nave of St. Étienne at Toulouse,
which measures 64 feet--all demonstrate the progression of the new
principles in the second half of the twelfth century.


Towards the North the advance was no less general. Various buildings
show to what excellent account contemporary architects had turned the
system of vaults on intersecting arches, recognising its admirable
adaptability to different climates, and to the most diverse materials.
But it was reserved for Angers, the cradle of its birth, to give an
added perfection to this ingenious system.

The Church of the Ste. Trinité, on the right bank of the Maine, built
by the sons or pupils of those architects who had planned St. Maurice
for the hill on the opposite shore, marks a fresh advance in the
construction of these vaults. Like St. Maurice, it has but a single
aisle, which is divided into three bays, each as nearly as possible
square on plan. The system of vaulting takes on a greater elegance by
the insertion of a transverse arch, with its supporting shafts, in the
centre of each bay. This divides the bay into two equal parts, and,
cutting the diagonal ribs at their intersection, supports them at the
critical point.

Fig. 19 gives the plan of these vaults, the system of which was
eagerly seized upon by the Northern architects, and the great abbey
church of Noyon appears to have been the first-fruits of this new
development of the Angevin idea.



The great abbey churches and immense cathedrals which were built from
the second half of the twelfth to the middle of the thirteenth century
attest the importance of the development carried out at Angers by
the arrangement of their own vaults in square compartments. For we
now find this system adopted in the construction of the churches or
cathedrals of Noyon, Laon, Notre Dame at Paris, Sens, and Bourges, to
name only acknowledged masterpieces of so-called Gothic.


The influence of the cupola, which we established in our first
chapter, was both direct and consecutive. It was direct in churches
built with one aisle and vaulted on intersecting arches, and
consecutive in the so-called Romanesque churches, which were either
completed or modified on the new lines by the substitution of vaults
on intersecting arches of dressed stone for timber roofs. A large
number of buildings in England, Normandy, Germany, Northern Italy,
Switzerland, the Rhine Provinces, and those of Northern France bear
testimony of the highest interest to the transformations consequent on
the invention of the groined vault and its universal application.

Architects who had been trained in the great abbey schools, emboldened
by the successes of their forerunners and their own individual
experience, raised on every hand vast cathedrals, in which every known
development of the system was essayed with unequalled daring. Going
on from strength to strength, they eventually abandoned the antique
traditions, and disregarding the statical conditions which ensured
the solidity of the ancient buildings, they invented a system of
construction which is, as it were, merely a skeleton in stone, a stone
version of the timbered roof; its characteristic expression was the
permanent strut known as the _flying buttress_; its governing idea
was equilibrium, for which it provided by architectural stratagems
ingenious in the highest degree, but also extremely precarious. Its
existence or stability depends for the most part on the quality of the
materials and their degrees of resisting power, the essential organs,
by which I mean those vital _weight-carrying_ portions, the failure
of which would involve the ruin of the whole, being _outside_ the
building, and therefore exposed to all those deteriorating influences
from which the _load_ they bear, that is to say, the vaults, are
protected by walls and roof.



The great buildings constructed on these new principles consisted of
a central nave with two, or even four side aisles. The huge structure
depended for its light first upon low windows in the collateral
portions, secondly, upon windows at a much higher level. Hence it
became necessary to raise the vault of the central nave, and to
give it an abutment in the form of _detached semi-arches_ or flying
buttresses. The crowns of these semi-arches impinged the piers at the
planes of greatest pressure and received the collective thrust of
all the ribs, formerets, transverse and diagonal arches. Their bases
rested upon abutments, the strength of which was calculated according
to the thrust they had to meet.

                              CHAPTER V


The primitive method of vaulting adopted in the central provinces of
France in the construction of churches with three aisles rendered such
buildings of necessity low and heavy. The main aisle being covered by
a barrel vault, supported on either side by a continuous half-barrel
vault, the sole means of lighting lay in the windows of the side
aisles, so that the nave was always gloomy in the extreme. The
Norman architects had avoided this difficulty, first in their native
province, and afterwards in England, by vaulting the subordinate
aisles only, and by raising the lateral walls of the nave high enough
to allow a line of windows to be introduced between the lean-to roofs
of the side aisles and the nave roof, the latter being an open timber
construction instead of a vault.

The lateral gallery in the first story of Norman churches built on the
basilican model is merely a development of the ancient tradition.[6]
It bears the name of triforium because--or so we are told--each
compartment of such an interior gallery between the main piers of the
nave was originally divided into three by pillars supporting lintels
or by small columns supporting an arcade.

[6] See _L'Architecture Romane_, by Ed. Corroyer; Maison Quantin,
Paris, 1888, chaps. i. iii. and iv.

Towards the close of the eleventh century Norman architects on both
sides of the Channel were raising vast churches, the side aisles of
which bore above their ribbed vaults galleries after the fashion
of the primitive basilicas. These galleries in their turn were
covered by open timber roofs like that of the nave. The bays were
emphasised in the nave and in the side aisles by transverse arches,
or _arcs-doubleaux_, which served as buttresses to those of the main
vault. But after the adoption, towards the middle of the twelfth
century, of the Angevin method of vaulting for religious buildings,
the functions of the lateral walls and of the supporting arches became
better defined, for these walls and arches had now to meet the thrusts
of the transverse as well as that of the diagonal arches, which,
meeting in bundles, as it were, at each pier, gathered their energies
at well-marked points.

It was thus that the cross walls or _arcs-doubleaux_ of the side
aisles were gradually modified till they became detached semi-arches
concealed beneath the outer roof of the side aisles.

We have traced this modification in the Abbaye aux Dames at Caen.[7]

[7] _L'Architecture Romane_, by Ed. Corroyer; Paris, Maison Quantin,
88, chap. xvii.

Fig. 24 shows us an English example. It may be followed out in a
number of other churches in England, at Pavia in Italy, at Zurich in
Switzerland, and at Basle on the Rhine, to name but a few of the
churches in which the modification of the vaults was long posterior to
the construction of the building itself.


In France we shall find no example more deeply interesting than
Noyon, which at the date of its construction (the last quarter of
the twelfth century) formed, as it were, an epitome of the advance
so far made by the architects of the Ile-de-France. In this curious
building we find a fusion of the antique tradition developed by the
Normans in their triforiums, and of the Angevin methods, as manifested
in the groined vaults derived from domes: methods further perfected
by the example of La Ste. Trinité at Angers; in other words, by the
adoption of intersecting arches planned on a square, the thrusts of
all being received on the main piers, reinforced by an intermediate
transverse arch. And we note the appearance of the detached semi-arch
beneath the roofing of the inferior aisles merging at its springing
into the lateral _arc-doubleau_, and so resisting the thrust of the
intersecting arches and transverse arches of the nave.

  [Illustration: 25. ABBEY CHURCH AT NOYON. PLAN]


It has been said that Noyon was suggested by Tournai, doubtless on
account of their superficial affinities. But the likeness is merely in
general aspect, the methods of construction being wholly different. At
Tournai the apsidal transepts are vaulted upon transverse arches of
great strength, and upon radiating semi-arches united where they meet
by a ring of voussoirs set horizontally, and at their springing by
vaults keyed into their mass, an ingenious arrangement which recalls
the vaulting of the _Salle des Capitaines_ over the porch of the
monastery church at Moissac.

The combination of these _arcs-doubleaux_, which, in addition to the
solidity of their independent structure, are strongly reinforced by
the massive circular courses of the walls, is very peculiar, for it
dispenses altogether both with auxiliary arches and with abutments.
Tournai, therefore, cannot be held to have begotten Noyon, for here
we have groined vaults, the intersecting arches of which demand the
reinforcement of abutments either concealed or apparent to sustain
the thrust of these vaults over the lateral _arcs-doubleaux_. The
ingenious arrangement above cited had in no sense modified the methods
of abutment followed by the architects of the twelfth century even
after the adoption of the vault on intersecting arches. These, as will
be remembered, consisted in buttressing the walls and piers of the
nave by cross walls or by arches concealed beneath the roofing of the
side aisles.


We find at Soissons the first application of an architectural system,
the special feature of which is the _flying buttress_.



The south transept of Soissons Cathedral was evidently suggested by
Noyon. This is apparent in the adoption of the two-storied side aisle
and in the semi-circular plan. But the method of vaulting common to
both churches has a greater refinement at Soissons. Reduced to its
simplest expression of strength by the attenuation of its skeleton,
the vault still exercises its full thrust on those parts which rise
above the upper gallery.

The architect of Soissons was not content, like his brother of Noyon,
to support the vault laterally by interior arches collaborating with
the _arcs-doubleaux_ of the triforium, and reinforced by an abutment
impinging on the wall of the central nave. To him the idea occurred of
detached semi-arches in open air, springing from above the roof of the
triforium and its buttresses and marking each bay. Thus was born the
_flying buttress_, a feature frankly emphasising its special aim and
function, namely, to meet the thrust of the main vault at its points
of concentration.



[8] These flying buttresses, in themselves insufficient for the task
laid upon them, and worn by the destructive action of the weather,
were pushed entirely out of shape by the constant pressure from
within, the thrust of the vault being aggravated by the circular
plan of the building, while the vaults themselves became dislocated
by reason of their insufficient abutments. It became necessary to
reconstruct the buttresses in 1880, to avert the total collapse of the
south transept.

The reconstruction of these flying buttresses, and of many others of
the same period, furnishes us with a criticism _ad hominem_ upon the

The flying buttress, in combination with the intersecting arch,
gave birth to a new system of construction, a system on which
were raised vast buildings which compel our admiration and demand
our careful study, but should not invite our imitation. They are
monuments to the ingenuity of the twelfth and thirteenth century
architect, but no less are they beacons warning against the perils of
a rationalism--more apparent than real--which their authors carried to
its extreme limits, casting to the winds all traditional principles,
and consequently all authority.

It would seem as though the architects of this period, emboldened by
such achievements as the churches of Noyon, Soissons, Laon, Paris,
Sens, and Bourges, and spurred by professional emulation, went on from
one feat of daring to another, passing from the triumphs of Rheims,
Amiens, and Mans to the supreme architectural folly of Beauvais, and
creating monuments no less amazing in dimension than in the statical
problems grappled with, if not always solved.

                              CHAPTER VI


The study of mediæval architecture is one of the most fascinating of
pursuits, but it is one beset with difficulties. The obscurity in
which the origin of our great monuments is buried is profound and
often impenetrable.

A fertile cause of error is the confusion which in many cases has
arisen between the dates of foundation and of consecration. Very often
a church was built and afterwards considerably modified, rather than
actually reconstructed, on the same consecrated site.

Lightning was the most frequent cause of the destruction, total or
partial, of mediæval churches. Striking the steeple, the tower, or the
roof, it fired the timber superstructure of the nave. This in itself
would not have been an irreparable disaster; but as the timbers gave
way the calcined beams charred the piers, and so prepared the downfall
of the whole building, which was then either restored or reconstructed
in the fashion of the day. Hence, whether we base our deductions upon
more or less trustworthy records or upon contemporary readings of
existing data, the result is too often a confusion among vanished
monuments, or a contradiction between the buildings as they now exist
and the historic records which relate to them.

  [Illustration: 32. CATHEDRAL OF LAON. PLAN]


Nothing is easier for interested theorists than to post-or ante-date
the structure of a building. They have nothing to fear from the
testimony of writers, and, with very few exceptions, it is difficult
to assign a precise date to the construction of great churches and
cathedrals or to point with certainty to their architects. The
obscurity of these great artists is perhaps to be accounted for by
the fact that they were ecclesiastics. As such the honour of their
achievements belonged not to the individual, but to the corporate
body, the _order_ of which they were members, and members moreover who
had, in most cases, taken the vow of humility.

Modern science, architectural and archæological, has failed to throw
much positive light on this subject. It contents itself for the most
part with ingenious hypotheses and learned deductions which leave
us still in doubt as to precise dates. But we shall at least find
some sort of foothold in a careful architectural survey of buildings
themselves. This should be, of course, supplemented by study of
historic records, and such a study will convince us that art in the
Middle Ages, as in all epochs, obeyed the immutable laws of filiation
and transformation. We shall follow the artist step by step, observing
his research, his hesitation, his errors, and even his corrections.

These are trustworthy documents in which to study the origin of a
building and to note its successive transformations, which latter were
far more frequent than total reconstructions. For it was not until the
beginning of the thirteenth century that great cathedral churches in
any considerable numbers were conceived and continuously executed.[9]

[9] It is possible, if not easy, to trace the architectural
development of the Middle Ages in a good many cathedrals and
churches of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. We have, however,
confined ourselves, for the purposes of our present synthesis, to
the churches and cathedrals of the royal domain, and more especially
of the Ile-de-France, not only because they served as models for the
architects of their day, but because they illustrate in a remarkable
degree the various transitions we desire to study.

  [Illustration: 34. CATHEDRAL OF LAON. MAIN FAÇADE]

The great abbey churches founded towards the close of the twelfth
century in the royal domain, but continued and finished in the early
years of the thirteenth, still preserved a more ancient tradition.

Laon, which is derived from Noyon and from the south transept of
Soissons, consists of a nave with transepts, and of two-storied side
aisles vaulted upon intersecting arches, above which, as at Soissons,
rise flying buttresses, which meet the thrust of the main vault.

This arrangement of the side aisles proves the continuity of the
Norman formulæ, just as the method of construction adopted in the main
vault demonstrates the persistent influence of the dome.[10]

[10] See chap. i., "The Influence of the Cupola on Gothic

The admirably constructed main vault is square on plan, each square
containing two transverse compartments, after the Angevin method as
derived from the Aquitainian dome. Here we find indications that,
if the builders of the Church of Laon had fully assimilated this
method, their minds were nevertheless not altogether at rest as to
the functions of the flying buttress. This was, of course, essential
to the piers which received the united thrust of both transverse
and diagonal arches. But it was far from logical to reinforce the
intermediate piers supporting nothing but the auxiliary transverse
arches by abutments identical with those of the main piers.

The illogicality so striking at Laon is absent from Noyon. There,
on the contrary, the architects--of the original construction--had
emphasised the functions of the main piers by buttresses of greater
projection and solidity than those accorded to the secondary piers.

  [Illustration: 35. CATHEDRAL OF LAON. THE EAST END]


Notre Dame de Paris was begun towards the close of the twelfth
century, and finished, save for the chapels, in the first half of
the thirteenth. As at Laon, the Norman tradition is observed in the
arrangement of the upper galleries of the side aisles, while the
influence of the dome is again to be traced in the sex-partite
groining. The same illogical system of abutments obtains as at Laon.

This vast building, consisting of a nave and double side aisles of
equal height sweeping round the semi-circular choir, seems to be one
of the first five-aisled cathedrals; its grandiose arrangement, the
boldness of its combinations, and the perfection of its detail mark
the considerable progress made by the architects of the Ile-de-France.

  [Illustration: 37. NOTRE DAME DE PARIS. PLAN]

The method of construction here adopted has a peculiar significance.
The upper internal galleries, vaulted on diagonal arches, and raised
considerably above the level of the second side aisle, the boldness of
the flying buttress, which at one span embraces the two side aisles
and forms the abutments of the main vault--alike prove that the
architects of Notre Dame de Paris had adopted the newly discovered
systems even to excess, and were applying them with unparalleled skill
and ingenuity.


The Norman tradition which had obtained in the Ile-de-France
passed away in the first years of the thirteenth century. At
Châlons-sur-Marne the nave is flanked by two-storied side aisles. But
the upper gallery, vaulted and greatly reduced in size, shows that the
conventional arrangement was fast dying out.

The influence of the dome was longer lived, as is shown in the
construction of vaults at this period. We may still trace it at
Langres in the domed form of the vaults, which, in spite of their
rectangular plan, seem to be a reduced copy of the Angevin naves.


The naves of Sens and of Bourges are also vaulted in square
compartments. The thrust of the vaults is carried by the diagonal
arches to each alternate pier, the intermediate one receiving only the
auxiliary transverse arch already fully described. Yet here again the
exterior flying buttresses are all of equal solidity in spite of the
varying strain. This arrangement, prudent if illogical, shows once
more with what distrust architects had adopted that system of exterior
abutment, the characteristic of which is a detached arch exposed to
all the vicissitudes of weather, and yet responsible for the stability
of the whole edifice.

The Cathedral of Sens marks a new phase of development by its
suppression of the upper gallery over the side aisles. These are now
vaulted and covered by a lean-to roof; a flying buttress of single
span receives the thrust of the main vault. The building is perfectly
solid; its construction shows research, though it is as illogical as
that of Laon or of Paris; for the exterior flying buttresses are all
of equal strength, and so fail to proclaim their true functions, the
interior thrusts varying considerably.




The arrangement at Bourges, which appears to have been mainly built,
if not actually finished, in the first half of the thirteenth
century, differs from that of Sens. The structure is one of five
aisles, and in plan recalls Notre Dame de Paris, but the details are
very dissimilar. The inner side aisles no longer support a gallery,
nor are they of equal height with the outer aisles; they are raised
so as to afford space for lighting (see Fig. 43). The main vault is
sex-partite planned on squares; but the same illogicality exists
here which we have already pointed out, and in connection with which
we will risk appearing somewhat insistent, in the hope of directing
special attention to it. It is more glaring here than elsewhere, the
flying buttresses themselves being of exaggerated dimensions and of
double span, embracing the two side aisles.


Both at Bourges and Sens the space between the summit of the
archivolts and the bases of the upper windows, known as the frieze,
or, in modern parlance, the triforium, becomes a purely decorative
feature. It consists of a narrow arcaded corridor, occupying in the
interior of the building that portion of the wall space which in the
exterior has been appropriated by the lean-to roof of the side aisles.
At Sens there is merely a single gallery; at Bourges it becomes
double, through the stepped arrangement of the side aisles (see Fig.
43), a variation in which we may trace an ingenious blending of the
systems of Anjou and Poitiers with those of the Ile-de-France.

                             CHAPTER VII


The Cathedral of Rheims, which was begun soon after the destruction of
the original building by the fire of 1211, is a supreme expression of
the fusion of the three systems--those of Aquitaine, of Anjou, and of
the Ile-de-France. It may be taken as the most perfect manifestation
of persistent efforts to establish a method of construction based on
equilibrium--the equilibrium, that is to say, of a building vaulted
on intersecting arches, the thrusts of which are received by exterior
flying buttresses.

The temerity, and even the dangers of such a system, are sufficiently
demonstrated in the wonderful works of the thirteenth-century
architects themselves. For, notwithstanding the skill and beauty of
their many admirable combinations, they were unable to reduce their
methods to scientific formulæ. The statical power of their structures
remained an uncertain quantity, determined by the durability of the
material and its exposure or non-exposure to the weather, the interior
skeleton being formed of the same material as the exterior.

  [Illustration: 44. RHEIMS CATHEDRAL. PLAN]

The perils inherent in such a system are more apparent at Rheims than
elsewhere, because of the colossal proportions of the building. The
arrangement of the flying buttresses, however, is more logical than
at Laon, Paris, Sens, and Bourges, by reason of the quadripartite
arrangement of the main vault. The thrusts being equally distributed
among the supporting piers, each flying buttress performs an identical
office; their equal strength and solidity is therefore perfectly
appropriate and logical. But though theoretically correct in its
disposition of flying buttresses of equal strength to meet thrusts of
equal strength, the method is vitiated by its inherent weakness as a
system of abutment. The fragility of the flying buttress exposed it
to two grave dangers, active and passive; active, taking into account
the constant strain upon it as an abutment; passive, in regard to the
gradual reduction of its solidity by exposure to weather. In support
of this statement, it is only necessary to refer to the restorations
which it has been found necessary to make within the last few years,
to preserve the nave. The flying buttresses have been strengthened
from below, a proceeding without which the collapse of the huge
building would have been inevitable.

But we shall find much to call for unqualified admiration at Rheims in
the grandiose conception of the work and in its powerful execution, in
the magnificent arrangement of its eastern façade, and in the perfect
harmony of the ornamentation, where sculpture, capitals, friezes,
crockets, and floriations are so many types of mediæval decorative art
at its best.

The Cathedral of Amiens, which dates from about 1220, and is one of
the largest as well as one of the most admired of Gothic masterpieces,
is directly founded upon that of Rheims. The plan is on the same
lines, with this exception, that at Amiens the choir is of greater
importance relatively to the nave, and that the piers and points of
support are weaker and much more lofty.



The Rémois architects, while exercised by the problems of equilibrium
which their system involved, sought to minimise its dangers, which
they recognised no less fully than their predecessors, by prudently
avoiding all false bearings. It will be easily seen by a comparison
of the two sections (Figs. 45 and 48) that the builders of Amiens
were troubled by no such misgivings, or that they were at least more
venturesome if not more accomplished. They did not hesitate to base
the columns which received the crowns of the flying buttresses on a
corbel arrangement which had no solid bearing, as may be seen by
following the direction of the dotted line X in Fig. 48. The boldness,
or rather the imprudence of such an arrangement is patent, for the
failure of anyone of the courses, or the decay of any part of the pier
into which the corbels are keyed, would necessarily involve a rupture
in the flying buttresses, on which the stability of the main vault
depends. The disintegration of the whole building and its total ruin
could be the only result. The perils of such combinations, or rather
such _tours de force_ of equilibrium, are exemplified at Beauvais.
The architects who built the choir, about the year 1225, basing it on
that of Amiens, determined to raise a monument which should surpass,
both in plan and elevation, all the structures of their epoch. They
increased the breadth of the choir and of its bays, raising, in the
latter, intermediate piers on the crowns of the lower archivolts, thus
dividing the upper bays, and at the same time strengthening the vault
by auxiliary transverse arches. They exaggerated the height of the
archivolts and of the large windows, and diminished their thickness,
in order to give greater elegance and lightness, and the main vault
rose to a height of more than 160 feet above the ground level. This
tremendous elevation, the exaggeration of which in proportion to the
width of the nave is striking, necessitated a complicated system of
flying buttresses surpassing in boldness all that had gone before.
The section in Fig. 51 will give some idea of what has been justly
described as an architectural folly. It is astonishing that the
structure should have stood as it has done, taking into account the
false bearings of the intermediate piers, here again shown by the
dotted line X (Fig. 51).

  [Illustration: 47. AMIENS CATHEDRAL. PLAN]


These rest for half of their thickness on off-sets from the piers,
which, proving unequal to the strain, have been temporarily stayed,
and must eventually be consolidated.

The choir, however, was finished about 1270, and stood for several
years. But dislocations then declared themselves. The forces so
elaborately balanced lost their equilibrium, and on the 29th November
1284 the vault fell, dragging down with it the flying buttresses, and
carrying havoc through the rest of the building. In the reconstruction
which followed it was thought imperative to double the points of
support in the arcades both of the main and side aisles, and to
reinforce the flying buttresses by iron chains.


During the thirteenth century a number of cathedrals were raised all
over Europe on the model of the great buildings of Northern France,
and more especially of Amiens, which seems to have roused a great
enthusiasm; these were, however, of far more modest dimensions. They
had neither the exaggerated height nor the structural audacities
of their exemplars. Few of these churches and cathedrals, the
reconstruction of which on the new system generally began with the
choir, which was added to the primitive nave, were completed by
those who initiated their erection. The most highly favoured in this
respect were finished in the course of the fourteenth century; but in
the greater number of cases the work dragged slowly on, and reached
its end some two centuries after its inauguration. Reconstructive
undertakings were constantly impeded by wars or social convulsions,
which either hampered or entirely cut off the resources of bishops and
architects, their promoters. Such interruptions were of great service
to modern archæological study, offering as they do distinct evidence
of the various transformations which were successively accomplished
from the so-called Romanesque period to the Gothic.

  [Illustration: 49. BEAUVAIS CATHEDRAL. APSE]




The majority of these great buildings, which show traces of the
vicissitudes through which they passed, bear a strong likeness to
each other, and vary only in detail, according to the skill of their

The peculiar interest of Chartres centres in its remarkable statuary;
it has, however, other features which command attention, such as
the rose window of the north, transept and the design of the flying
buttresses. These consist of three arches, one above the other, the
two lower ones being connected by colonnettes, radiating from a
centre, so that the lower arch is related to the upper, as the nave of
a wheel is to the felloes, the colonnettes forming the spokes.

At Mans the arrangement of the choir is so far more remarkable in that
it is extremely unusual, or indeed, in its way unique. The flying
buttresses are planned in the form of a Y (see A on the plan Fig. 53),
thus affording space for windows in the exterior wall, to light the
vast circular ambulatory, which at Mans is of unusual importance, and
surrounds the choir with a double aisle. The flying buttresses which
rise above the _arcs-doubleaux_, bi-furcated (B on the plan), are
over-attenuated in section; their exaggerated height and proportionate
slenderness threaten to make them spring, so that it has been found
necessary to bind them together by ties and iron chains. Such
expedients are a sufficient criticism of the ingenious but precarious
system adopted by the architects of Mans.

  [Illustration: 53. MANS CATHEDRAL. PLAN]



The influence of the Ile-de-France in Normandy is manifest in the
arrangement of choirs and apsidal chapels in Norman cathedrals of
the thirteenth century. The Cathedral of Coutances, a monument
of the eleventh century, was rebuilt in the early years of the
thirteenth century under the impulse given by Northern France to the
architecture of the period. It is in the choir that we clearly trace
this influence, in the double columns of the apse, and the ingenious
disposition of its collateral vaults. But the façade is purely Norman,
not merely in general design, but in the details of the composition,
facsimiles of which may be found in England.


The Cathedral of Dol in Brittany, one of the great churches of the
thirteenth century, seems to have escaped the influences of the
Northern innovation. Its general plan, its square apse lighted by
large windows, the details of its architecture and ornamentation,
all proclaim its affinity to the great churches which rose
contemporaneously with it on either side of the Channel, in Normandy,
and in England. It is very probable that it was built by the same
architects or their immediate disciples, working on the more ancient
methods of the Norman schools founded by Lanfranc at Canterbury
towards the close of the eleventh century, on the model of those he
had established in France at the famous Abbaye du Bec.

                             CHAPTER VIII


The Cathedrals of Rheims, Amiens, and Beauvais excited extraordinary
enthusiasm in their time, not only in the provinces of France, but
among neighbouring nations, notably in England, Belgium, Germany,
Sweden, Spain, and Italy.

This enthusiasm was less fervid in the provinces farthest from
the royal domain; but even in these outlying districts several
remarkable buildings rose in the first half of the thirteenth century,
constructed on the new lines.

In 1233 the Cathedral of Bazas was begun, and, unlike the majority of
such undertakings, was carried through and finished in a comparatively
short time.

  [Illustration: 57. RODEZ CATHEDRAL. WEST FRONT]



The Cathedral of Bayonne, a contemporary building, shared the fate
of Meaux, Troyes, and Auxerre. It was completed, with one tower
only, in the sixteenth century. In 1248 the foundations of Clermont
Cathedral were laid. The plan provided for six or seven towers, but
the choir was the only portion finished in the thirteenth century. The
transept and four towers, together with a portion of the nave, were
completed in the following century, and the work was then abandoned
until the reign of Napoleon III., who caused it to be again taken
up. The Cathedral of Limoges was begun in 1273, under the direct
inspiration of Notre Dame at Amiens. Down to our own times it has had
to content itself with a choir, a transept, and the suggestions of a
nave, the last of which has lately been completed. At Rodez a greater
perseverance was shown, and the work went steadily on from 1277 until
the Renascence, at which period, however, the two western towers were
left unfinished, notwithstanding a contemporary description of their
magnificence, which, in a truly Gascon vein, compares them to the
Egyptian pyramids, among other world-renowned marvels.

"In 1272 Toulouse and Narbonne entered the lists against Amiens,
imitating its plan, and proposing to at least equal it in dimensions.
Neither of these undertakings proved happy. Archbishop Maurice of
Narbonne died the same year the works were begun; his successors took
but a lukewarm interest in their progress. In 1320 the sea retreated,
leaving the port on which the wealth of the inhabitants mainly
depended high and dry. Fortunately the choir with its noble vault 130
feet high was already completed, but the transept walls were left to
fall into ruins. At Toulouse Bishop Bertrand de l'Isle-Jourdain lived
just long enough to carry the work above the triforium of the choir;
it was then abandoned till the fifteenth century. His successors
squandered the revenues of their vast diocese so shamelessly in
pleasures and display that Popes Boniface VIII. and John XXII.,
scandalised at their disorders, dismembered their territory and
subdivided it into four bishoprics, granting to the Bishop of Toulouse
the title of archbishop by way of compensation. But this compensation
was of small avail to future zealous prelates for the carrying out of
Bertrand's projects, and the choir of Toulouse was never finished.
It falls short of its predestined height of 130 feet by 90, and the
transept was not even begun.

"The Cathedrals of Lyons, of St. Maurice at Vienne, and of St.
Étienne at Toul have affinities more or less direct with the great
architectural movement. At Bordeaux the building of a great cathedral
was contemplated at the time of the English occupation; but the choir
would never have been finished but for the liberality of King Edward
I. and of Pope Clement V., who had formerly been archbishop of the

[11] Anthyme St. Paul, _Histoire Monumentale de la France_; Paris
Hachette and Co., 1884.

The great cathedrals constructed in England in the thirteenth century
bear witness to the expansion of French art on the lines already laid
down in the preceding century by the teaching and achievements of the
Norman monkish architects who had followed William the Conqueror to
Great Britain.[12]

[12] This is a very summary way of dismissing the vexed question of
French influence upon English architecture. The undeniable fact that
wherever a French architect can be identified as the author of an
English building--William of Sens at Canterbury, for instance--the
work he did differs entirely in character from contemporary English
work is enough to refute much of the claim made for France. The
principles of Gothic architecture were the common property of the two
countries, and by each were developed according to their lights.--ED.

English builders assimilated the constructive principles of the
architects of Anjou and of the Ile-de-France. In the numerous
cathedrals they raised from the thirteenth to the close of the
fifteenth century it is easy to trace the original characteristics of
French art throughout all the transformations or adaptations by which
its methods were modified in accordance with British usages and ideas.

This influence is very apparent in the Cathedrals of York, Ely,
Wells, Salisbury, and Canterbury, the last of which was constructed
from the plans of an architect or master-mason, known as William of
Sens; in that of Lichfield, where the spires of the façade recall
those of Coutances in Normandy, and above all, at Lincoln, one of
the most beautiful of English cathedrals. Here we have perhaps the
most strongly-marked instance of the steady and continuous filiation
between the buildings of France and England during the so-called
Gothic period. It is quite possible that they were the work of the
same architects, as they certainly were carried out by pupils or
disciples of the same master-builders.[13]

[13] It is difficult to believe that Mons. Corroyer is in earnest
in comparing the spires of Lichfield to those of Coutances, or the
central tower of Lincoln to that of the same French cathedral. Mons.
Corroyer appears to be unacquainted with the line of filiation between
English spires and towers, and so looks, as a matter of course, for a
French mother to such as strike his fancy.--ED.

Lincoln Cathedral, founded in the eleventh century, and finished in
1092, shared the fate of so many other timber-roofed buildings of
the period. The greater part of it was destroyed by fire in 1124.
It was rebuilt and enlarged by St. Hugh in accordance with the new
ideas he had brought with him from France, a very natural consequence
of his supervision, when we take into account that as mandatory of
Pope Gregory VII. he had been Bishop of Grenoble. The church was
again partly destroyed by an earthquake in 1185. It was then rebuilt,
enlarged, and completed by Bishop Grossetête, an Englishman by birth,
who had, however, been educated and brought up in France in the early
part of the thirteenth century, and had carried over with him to his
native land the essence of the grand and noble inspirations which
marked that marvellous era.

  [Illustration: 60. LINCOLN CATHEDRAL. PLAN]


The lantern-tower at the intersection of the western transept,
which had fallen in 1235, was either rebuilt or finished by Bishop
Grossetête about 1240. In its general outline and in detail it recalls
the great lantern-tower of Coutances in Normandy, which seems also to
have served as model for that of St. Ouen at Rouen in the fourteenth

The vast and magnificent Cathedral of Lincoln is an admirable subject
for comparative study. Its architecture combines most strikingly the
characteristics of the two nations. It blends in one harmonious whole
the massive solidity of English structure overlaid with detail, formed
by lines vertical, rigid, dry, and hard as iron, and the mingled
grace and strength of French architecture, which may fitly be compared
with gold, in its union of the supple and the durable, of solidity
and power of resistance equal to those of the less precious metal,
with an adaptability to artistic ends far greater.



In the façade and the west towers English characteristics predominate,
but the choir and the apse are French in composition, and most
probably in execution, as is also the presbytery, in which both the
arrangement and the details of the bays recall those of the lateral
façades of Bourges.[14] All three are veritable masterpieces, worthy
of the most brilliant period of French mediæval architecture.

[14] Here Mons. Corroyer directly traverses the opinion of
Viollet-le-duc, who could see no ground whatever for ascribing a
French origin to the choir of Lincoln. Indeed, the conception of that
choir, and nearly all its details, are not only unlike, they are
opposed to those of French contemporary examples. Here are the words
of the great French architect: "After the most careful examination I
cannot find, in any part of the Cathedral of Lincoln, neither in the
general design, nor in any part of the system of architecture adopted,
nor in the details of ornament, any trace of the French school of
the twelfth century (the lay school, from 1170 to 1220), so plainly
characteristic of the Cathedrals of Paris, Noyon, Senlis, Chartres,
Sens, and even Rouen.... The construction is English, the profiles of
the mouldings are English, the ornaments are English, the execution of
the work belongs to the English school of workmen of the beginning of
the thirteenth century."--_Gentleman's Magazine_ for May 1861--Letter
to "Sylvanus Urban." The date of Lincoln choir is known. It belongs to
the last years of the twelfth century, and so anticipates such French
work as can show analogies with it, Le Mans, for instance, where the
work in question dates from 1210-1220.--ED.

In Belgium French influence manifested itself so early as the first
half of the thirteenth century in the building of the remarkable
Church of Ste. Gudule at Brussels. Up to this period the methods
of the Rhenish schools had obtained in the Low Countries, and the
setting aside of these methods in favour of the new system of France
is significant of the high repute of the latter throughout Western
Europe. Further evidence to this effect is to be found in the great
churches of Ghent, Tongres, Louvain, and Bruges among others, which
were either built between 1235 and 1300, or at any rate begun during
this period, to be completed in the fourteenth century and even later.


Ste. Gudule at Brussels was begun about 1226; but only the choir
and the transept were finished by 1275. The nave was built in the
fourteenth century, together with the towers of the west front, which,
however, were not finally completed till the following century, or
perhaps the sixteenth. Several chapels, the windows of which are
filled with magnificent painted glass, date from the same period as
these towers.

French influence is no less patent at Cologne, which is undoubtedly
the daughter of Amiens. The opinion of a German writer is of special
interest on this point.


"The famous Cathedral of Cologne, one of the masterpieces of the
German School, is a direct emanation from French tradition. The choir
is a replica of that of Amiens; it was dedicated in 1322, after which
the work of nave and transepts was carried on continuously; the nave
measures 43 feet in width, and 140 in height; the total length of
the church is 503 feet. The two towers of the west front have been
completed in our own times--from the original designs, it is said.
The general effect, whether of interior or exterior, is certainly not
equal to that of the finest French cathedrals, but the style is rich
and pure, and touches perfection in the treatment of details."[15]

[15] W. Lübke, _Essai d'Histoire de l'Art_.

In Scandinavian countries French art, which had already manifested
itself at Ripen in Jutland during the so-called Romanesque period,
gives us a fresh instance of its expansive power in an important
Swedish building which dates from the end of the thirteenth century.
The Cathedral of Upsala has this peculiarity, that it was designed and
even begun by a French architect, one Estienne de Bonneuil, who, on
30th August 1287, received the royal authority to betake himself to
Upsala to construct the cathedral.[16]

[16] Charles Lucas, _Les Architectes français à l'Étranger_ (from the
journal, _L'Architecture_).

In Spain the chief monuments of thirteenth-century Gothic architecture
which betray the influence of France are the great five-aisled Church
of Toledo, the cathedral at Badajoz, and the front of St. Mark's
at Seville. French influence again is manifest in the cathedrals
of Léon, of Palencia, of Oviedo, of Pampeluna, of Valencia, and of
Barcelona, founded at the end of the thirteenth century and continued
in the fourteenth, as well as in the churches of Torquemado, Bilbao,
Bellaguer, Monresa, and Guadalupe, all dating partly from the
fourteenth century.

The Cathedral of Burgos, begun in the first half of the thirteenth
century, shows a striking analogy with French buildings of about the
same period in the plan and construction of its flying buttresses
and windows as well as in the decorative sculpture of its portals.
The lower stories of the west front seem to date from the fourteenth
century, but the openwork spires which crown it were not finished
until the fifteenth. In this curious building we find elements taken
from France, mingled with decorative passages of pure Italian, and
with others characteristically Spanish in their use of motives only to
be explained by the vitality of the Saracenic traditions.

  [Illustration: 66. BURGOS CATHEDRAL. WEST FRONT]

Innumerable churches were built in Italy during the so-called Gothic
period, principally towards its conclusion. Not to speak of the
famous Cathedrals of Milan and Florence, nor of S. Anthony, nor of
the Cathedral of Padua, the Cathedrals of Siena and Orvieto seem
especially to lean away from antique and Lombard traditions towards
those of France, a characteristic especially notable in the decorative
details of their west fronts, which recall in many ways the work of
French architects during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.



It is the opinion of some archæologists that the true parent of
the Cathedrals of Siena and Orvieto was the Church of St. Francis
at Assisi, which is not far distant. Now St. Francis of Assisi is
undeniably French in origin. This church, which was founded in 1228
to receive the remains of St. Francis who died in 1226, was possibly
completed as to the lower structure in the thirteenth century; but it
is improbable, to say the least, that this completion should have been
the work of a German, for at this period Gothic architecture was still
in embryo in Germany, while in France it had reached its most glorious
development. The upper church seems to be later in date by a century;
we may clearly trace its affinities with French art in the system of
construction, which has all the characteristics peculiar to that which
prevailed in the south of France at the close of the thirteenth and
the beginning of the fourteenth century. Of this system the Church
of Albi is the most finished type.[17] Assisi, in its single aisle,
in its buttresses, both as to their interior projections and their
exterior half-turreted forms, shows a complete analogy with the French
Albigeois church.

[17] See chap. ix. "Albi," etc.

                              CHAPTER IX

                               THE EAST

"The thirteenth century was so prolific in religious architecture as
to leave little scope to those which followed. But even had the growth
of great religious monuments been less rapid at this period, the wars
which convulsed France in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries would
have paralysed such undertakings as the building of great cathedral
churches. The religious buildings actually completed in the fourteenth
century are rare; still rarer are those which date from the fifteenth.
In those stormy days enterprise was confined to the completion of
unfinished churches, and the modification, restoration, or enlargement
of twelfth and thirteenth century buildings. It was not until the
close of the fifteenth and opening of the sixteenth century, when
France was beginning to recover its former power, that a fresh impulse
was given to religious architecture; even then, however, the Gothic
tradition persisted, though in a corrupt and bastard form. Many of the
great cathedrals were finished, and a number of small churches, which
had been destroyed during the wars, or had fallen into decay through
long neglect, consequent on the poverty of the community, were either
rebuilt or restored. The movement was, however, presently arrested
by the Reformation, when war, fire, and pillage again destroyed or
mutilated most of the newly completed religious buildings. The havoc
wrought by this last upheaval was in its nature irrevocable, for when
order once more reigned at the close of the sixteenth century, the
Renascence had swept away the last traces of the national art; and
though superficially the system of construction which prevailed in
French churches of the thirteenth century still obtained, the genius
which had presided at their construction was extinct and its memory

[18] Viollet-le-Duc, _Dictionnaire raisonné de l'Architecture
française_, etc., vol. i.


The Church of St. Ouen at Rouen, except for the west front and its
towers, which are modern, is a typical example of the rare religious
buildings constructed in the north of France during the fourteenth
century. The arrangement of these churches varies, inasmuch as,
while in general they follow the methods of construction adopted by
the Northern architects of the thirteenth century, their special
characteristic is a refinement or rather an attenuation of the piers,
less by actual reduction of their section than by a diminution of
their apparent bulk. This was effected by multiplying the clustered
shafts, the slenderness of which was still further exaggerated by
the prodigality of the mouldings, and the over-hollowness of their
profiles. These profiles and mouldings rise from the base to the
summit, and in the fourteenth century mark the spring of the arches
by rings of sculpture, crowned with rudimentary abaci. These latter
details were the last traces of a tradition which was to finally
disappear in the fifteenth century. Thenceforward the lines of
the intersecting arches of the vault, as of the longitudinal and
transverse arches, run down without interruption to the base of the
piers, where we find a complex faggot of mouldings crossing and
recrossing, and showing little beyond the technical dexterity of the

The main preoccupation of the architects of this period seems to
have been the reduction of solid surfaces so as to give full play
to the soaring effect of their airy shafts and vaults. The walls
disappear, save below the windows, which now occupy the entire space
of each bay. The triangular divisions of the vault are concealed by
a serried network of supplementary ribs, for the most part useless
save as decorations. But it must in justice be remembered that to this
exaggeration of the window spaces we owe the growth of the beautiful
art of painting on glass. This art, the admirable fitness of which
for decorative purposes can hardly be over-estimated, had already
manifested itself in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In the
interval from that period to the Renascence it produced its grandest

[19] See chap. xii. "Decorative Painting on Walls and Glass."

It must be borne in mind that the great constructive and
reconstructive movement which had manifested itself throughout Western
Europe, and notably in the north of France, by great buildings, the
distinguishing characteristics of which are vaulted roofs and flying
buttresses, had made little progress in Southern France. The few
exceptions of importance are--Bazas, Bayonne, Auch, Toulouse, and
Narbonne. The Southern architects, as we have already stated, adhered
to the ancient tradition, whether influenced by impulses of reaction,
resistance, or defiance. Their conservatism is comprehensible
enough in view of the strong Gallo-Roman tendencies which governed
architectural activity throughout the district. The builders of the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries did indeed accept the Angevin
intersecting arch, an invention the admirable simplicity of which was
its own recommendation. But this concession was without prejudice to
their broad principles. In the general arrangement of their religious
buildings they still adhered to Roman usage, and to such models
as the Basilica of Constantine and the tepidarium of the Baths of

[20] _L'Architecture Romane_, by Ed. Corroyer; Paris, Maison Quantin,
chaps. iii. and vii.

Towards the close of the thirteenth, and throughout the fourteenth
century, a large number of churches were built in the South,
consisting of a single wide and lofty aisle, vaulted on intersecting
arches, the thrusts of which were received by buttresses of great bulk
and prominence in the interior of the building, but very slightly
indicated on the exterior. The spaces between the massive interior
buttresses, on either side of the aisle, were occupied by a series of
chapels, supporting disconnected tribunes or a continuous corridor.
The two great churches of the Cordeliers and of the Jacobins at
Toulouse were built in the brick of the country in the second half
of the thirteenth century. These have two aisles, according to the
Dominican usage of the period, but the exterior arrangement is the
same as in the one-aisled churches. The Churches of St. Bertrand
at Comminges, and those of Lodève, Perpignan, Condom, Carcassonne,
Gaillac, Montpezat, Moissac, etc., were built in the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries on the single-aisled plan. That of Perpignan has
this peculiarity; its vaults, though supported on intersecting arches,
are built in accordance with Roman methods, which further prevail
both in the forms of the terra-cotta materials, and in the manner of
their application. The reins of the vault, which measures some 53 feet
across, are ornamented by terra-cotta jars embedded in an admirably
prepared lime mortar of great durability. The actual roof lies without
the support of any intervening structure of timber upon the extrados
of the vault. This consists of voussoirs of Roman brick, retained
by a layer of terra-cotta upon which the tiles, also of the antique
Roman form, are laid. This arrangement protects the vault from any
infiltration of water due to the rupture of the tiles, an absolutely
necessary precaution, if the former was to retain its stability.

  [Illustration: 70. ALBI CATHEDRAL. PLAN]


The Cathedral of Ste. Cécile at Albi is a monumental type of the
single-aisled system. It is one of the largest and most important of
Southern buildings constructed on the traditional principles of the
ancient Romans. The vast single aisle, some 60 feet wide, is built
entirely of brick, with the exception of the window tracery, the choir
screen, and the south porch. Here we may study constructive principles
no less simple than sagacious, combining all the necessary conditions
of stability. The points of support and abutments of the vault on
intersecting arches are all enclosed by the outer wall; they are thus
protected from the accidents of climate, and their durability is
almost indefinitely assured.

  [Illustration: 72. ALBI CATHEDRAL. APSE]


The foundations of the cathedral, which was dedicated to St. Cecilia,
were laid in 1282, on the ruins of the ancient Church of Ste. Croix.
The main building was finished towards the close of the fourteenth
century, and the whole as it now stands was completed in the last
years of the fifteenth and early part of the sixteenth century, by
the addition of the baldacchino of the southern porch, or principal
entrance, of the stone rood loft, and choir screen, the stalls
of carved wood, and the fresco decorations which adorn the whole
building. This varied workmanship renders Albi one of the most
instructive of studies in connection with French decorative art,
the successive developments being marked by monumental examples of
the highest order, inspired or created by divers influences. The
architecture is of the Southern French type, as far as the main
building is concerned; in essentials, the same type prevails in the
magnificent porch known as the _baldaquin_, in the choir screen,
and in the rood loft; but in these later additions the inspiration
of Northern art at the close of the fifteenth and beginning of the
sixteenth century is also perceptible. The statuary and sculptured
ornaments of wood and stone are Flemish; the paintings indicate their
Italian origin by their crudity of colour and vulgarity of motive.

The Cathedral of Albi has a special interest as being one of the most
curious examples of Southern Gothic architecture in the fourteenth
century. It has a further peculiarity, inasmuch as it was not only a
church, as it still is, but a fortress. Such a combination is readily
accounted for by a study of the epoch following on the fierce struggle
which ended in the extermination of the Albigenses, and of the social
and political events resulting therefrom.

The interior is purely ecclesiastical, of the most beautiful type of
its time; the grandeur of its dimensions, its structural perfection,
and the magnificence of its decoration, are unsurpassed in their way.

The exterior is that of a fortress. Its intention is proclaimed by the
buttresses rising from the glacis of the base to form, as it were,
flanking towers; by the arrangement of the bays, or rather curtains,
crowned by an embattled machicolated parapet, which unite these
towers, and by the grandiose military character of the architecture.
The formidable aspect of the building is much enhanced by the western
tower, in effect a donjon keep, completing the system of defence by
its connection with the fortifications of the archbishop's palace,
which in their turn are carried on to ramparts, crowning the
escarpments which, to the north, rise from the Tarn.[21]

[21] See "Civil Architecture," Part IV. chap. ii.

A few fortified churches still exist--such, for example, as Les Stes.
Maries (Bouches du Rhone), which dates from the thirteenth century.
Albi was not a solitary instance of this usage. The Churches of
Béziers, Narbonne, and many others of the thirteenth and fourteenth
century had been surrounded by defensive outworks rendered necessary
by religious strife. The buildings thus transformed into strongholds
served the further purpose of sheltering fugitive populations in times
of panic.

One of the most interesting of such examples is the Church of
Esnandes, not far from Rochelle, on the creek of Aiguillon, a building
which dates from the twelfth century. It was fortified at the
beginning of the fifteenth century to resist the incursions of the


As we have already remarked on the authority of a learned writer,
the buildings of the fifteenth century are less numerous than those
of the fourteenth. Those concerned in such undertakings were content
to finish churches begun at an earlier period, or to attempt their
reconstruction, frequently on plans which it was impossible to carry
out, so that many buildings were left incomplete. We may instance a
very famous monument, the Abbey of Mont St. Michel. The Romanesque
choir fell into ruins in 1421, during the Hundred Years' War. In 1452
Cardinal Guillaume d'Estouteville undertook the reconstruction of the
church on a scale so considerable that the choir only was completed
during the first years of the sixteenth century.[22] This part of
the church shows the effect of the decadence of which there had been
indications so early as the close of the thirteenth century. Certain
of the arrangements are very ingenious, notably that of the triforium,
which rests on the reins of the lower vault, and forms, as seen from
outside, a series of small apses standing out from the main wall. But
the mason's work is negligent, especially in the flying buttresses,
which were so carefully treated by the architects of the thirteenth
century. The lines are attenuated by a multiplicity of mouldings to an
almost threadlike slenderness; the spring of the arches is undefined
by capitals, and the complicated network of the fenestration adds to
the wire-drawn effect, and further diminishes the proportions of the
building. There is little to admire but the extreme manual dexterity
of the carvers. The carving of the granite, the only stone used at
Mont St. Michel[23] save for the arcadings of the cloister, is very
remarkable, as is also the ornamental sculpture; this is executed
with extreme skill, in spite of the excess of detail with which it is

[22] _Description de l'Abbaye du Mont St. Michel et des ses Abords_,
by Ed. Corroyer; Paris, 1877.

[23] See Part II., "Monastic Architecture."




The decadence of Gothic architecture was manifest even at the close of
the thirteenth century in such _tours de force_ as the choir of St.
Peter at Beauvais, and the Church of St. Urbain at Troyes. During the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries buildings or parts of buildings
were constructed with remarkable skill, but the noble simplicity which
was the strength of thirteenth-century architecture was no more. By
the close of the fifteenth century a studied mannerism had taken
its place. The western doorway of Alençon Cathedral is a typical
example of this development, the defects of which were still further
accentuated in the following century.


"The qualities of the architecture of the decadence must be sought
not in the construction, but in the decoration of churches; here we
may freely admire the happy detail and patient execution which mark
the work of carvers and limners during the last two centuries of the
Middle Ages."[24]

[24] Anthyme St. Paul, _Histoire Monumentale de la France_; Paris,

Gothic architecture put forth its expansive force at the close of the
twelfth and during the thirteenth century, not only throughout Western
Europe, but even in Eastern countries, where monuments still survive
of the highest interest to us as the work of monkish architects who
came from France in the wake of the first Crusaders. The modifications
and enlargements of famous buildings in the Holy Land towards the
close of the twelfth century show evident traces of their influence,
which is further manifested in certain structures of Rhodes and
Cyprus from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century, in which Western
and more especially French types have served as models.


"It will hardly be disputed that the prolonged sojourn of the
Crusaders in the Levant, the teachings of their architects, and
the contemplation of their works, were considerable factors in the
development of Arab art. There was a reaction of the West upon the
East; sometimes indeed such a direct influence is perceptible as to
astound and perplex the observer. To understand the part played by the
Crusaders in the East, and to appreciate its Western and independent
character, we must cast a rapid glance at the monuments constructed by
them in Cyprus and Rhodes after their expulsion from Syria. We shall
find the movement which originated in the twelfth century progressing
throughout the following centuries on the same lines; in other words,
drawing a continuous inspiration from France.[25]

[25] Melchior de Vogüé, _Les Églises de la Terre Sainte_.

"The island of Cyprus was conquered in 1191 by Richard Cœur de
Lion; in the following year it was ceded to Guy de Lusignan, in whose
family it remained until the close of the fifteenth century. Catherine
Cornaro, the widow of the last of the Lusignans, gave it in 1489 to
the Venetians, who retained possession of it till its conquest by
the Turks in 1571. Throughout the thirteenth century Cyprus was a
refuge for successive remnants of the Christian colonies of Syria.
French predominance was at its height in the fourteenth century.
The religious monuments of this period are very numerous and of
great variety of structure. Art had emerged from the cloister, and
had ceased to be the monopoly of monastic bodies. In Cyprus we no
longer find that scholastic uniformity which characterises the Latin
churches of the Holy Land. The new blood of secularism had entered
into Romanesque architecture and led to a fresh development of the
art in Cyprus as in France Architects applied the thirteenth-century
methods, fully recognising their consequences. They sacrificed to
local exigencies by the substitution of flat roofs for timber ones,
but this modification in nowise affected the general arrangement of
their buildings.



"The most considerable monument of the thirteenth century is the
Cathedral of Nicosia, built between 1209 and 1228, and dedicated to
St. Sophia (see Fig. 79). This large three-aisled church has all the
characteristics of French cathedrals of the period."[26]

[26] Melchior de Vogüé, _Les Églises de la Terre Sainte_.

The Churches of St. Catherine and of the Armenians, the mosques
of Emerghié and of Arab Achmet also date from the close of the
thirteenth century. Among the more numerous buildings of the
fourteenth century the most noteworthy are the Cathedral of St.
Nicholas at Famagusta (Figs. 80 and 81), with its three portals
and two towers; the Church of St. Sophia at Famagusta (Fig. 82),
the Premonstrant Monastery of Lapaïs, remarkable for the beauty
and nobility of its abbatial buildings, which comprise a large
three-aisled chapel, and several religious buildings at Paphos and
at Limasol. At Rhodes there are a number of churches built in the
fifteenth century after French models, which had no less a vogue
for dwelling-houses than for religious and military architecture;
in a word, architecture--civil, religious, or military--was French
in all its manifestations. "The guns of the order still point from
the embrasures of the towers, Soliman's stone cannon balls strew
the neighbouring ground; sculptured on the house fronts are the
blazons, and in many cases the French names, of their bygone owners.
Involuntarily the mind travels back by the space of three centuries,
reincorporating these forgotten worthies, and repeopling their
dwelling-places. One half expects to see the emblazoned doors thrown
open, to give egress to knightly owners, mustering for the last time
under the banner of St. John."[27]

[27] Melchior de Vogüé, _Les Églises de la Terre Sainte_.


                              CHAPTER X


The first steeples were round, on the model of the Greek and Byzantine
cupolas, and modest in diameter, so that the bells they contained can
only have been small ones. These bells were suspended from the summit
of the tower, the portion of wall surrounding them being pierced by
arcaded openings, and crowned by a long pyramidal roof.[28]

[28] _Encyclopédie de l'Architecture et de la Construction_, article
"Clocher," by Ed. Corroyer.

Such towers were very frequently isolated from the body of the church.
A large number of Italian churches, dating from all periods of the
Middle Ages, have steeples at a considerable distance from the main

Force of habit determined the application of the round form to towers
of the twelfth century; but it is evident that a square plan was
preferred, even so early as the tenth century, and such a form was in
course of time rendered necessary by the development of the founder's
art, and the increase in the dimensions of bells at the beginning of
the twelfth century. Besides the great bells which proclaimed the
hour of prayer to a distant flock, small bells were in use to regulate
the religious exercises of the clergy. They are called in the Latin
texts _signum_, _schilla_, _nola_; in French _sin_, _esquielle_,
_eschelitte_; from the beginning of the tenth century they were placed
in the campaniles which crowned the domes.

The Italian word _campanile_ has the force of the French terms _tour_,
_clocher_, _beffroi_ (or the English tower, steeple, belfry). But the
denomination _clocher_ has a general application to all pyramidal
structures rising above the roof of a church.

The belfry was a tower, in most cases isolated, which contained the
bell destined to sound the curfew and tocsin, and to call the burghers
to civic assemblies.

Like the belfry, the Italian campanile is generally an isolated
building, but it is usually placed in the near neighbourhood of a
church. Among the most famous _campanili_ are those of Florence--begun
in the fourteenth century, on the plans of Giotto,--of Padua, of
Ravenna, and the famous leaning tower of Pisa.


In France the term campanile has a more general application, and is
given to the little pierced arcaded turrets which, in many churches,
crown the walls of the façade and shelter small bells.

  [Illustration: 84. GIOTTO'S TOWER AT FLORENCE]

The most ancient belfries of the original provinces of France have
great analogies with Byzantine monuments as to form, even when
differing in detail. One of the most remarkable of these is the tower
of St. Front at Périgueux, which seems to date from the first years
of the eleventh century. It marked the sepulchre of the Saint, and
apparently embraced two bays of the original three-aisled Latin church
of the sixth century, evident traces of which have been discovered to
the west of the great domed building of later times.

The tower of St. Front is composed of three square stories,
diminishing on plan as they rise, and crowned by a conical dome,
resting upon a circular colonnade, the columns of which vary in
height and diameter, and owe their origin to Roman examples in the

[29] _L'Architecture Romane_, by Ed. Corroyer; Paris, Maison Quantin,

The influence of this remarkable building was very considerable. It
served as a model to architects of the neighbouring provinces. The
type was improved upon in the tower of the Abbey Church of Brantôme
by the avoidance of the false bearings which mar the structure of St.
Front, while at St. Léonard, near Limoges, a very original feature was
superadded in the octagonal form of the crown or roof. The Auvergnat
architects further perfected the construction by introducing internal
piers for the support of the recessed walls of the upper stories, as
at Puy.[30]

[30] _Ibid._ 1888.

It is worthy of note that, in spite of the importance given to
these buildings, the space allotted to the bells themselves was
comparatively limited, which seems to indicate that the towers were
destined for other purposes than the reception of bells. In the
eleventh century the tower bore the same relation to the cathedral or
abbey as did the donjon to the feudal castle. It was, in fact, the
symbol of power. As abbots and bishops enjoyed the same rights as the
nobles, it will be readily understood that the costliness of such
emblems would be governed solely by the resources of their authors.
The number of towers built at about the same period in connection with
cathedrals and abbeys, and the importance of such as were attached
even to simple parish churches may be explained if we consider
them mainly as denoting the status of an enfranchised commune. The
rivalries in connection with neighbouring towers undoubtedly had their
origin in conditions such as these.



Towards the close of the eleventh century and throughout the twelfth
many towers were built at an angle with the door, or in front of it,
so as to form a porch, as at St. Benoît-sur-Loire and Poissy; or above
it, as in the Churches of Ainay and of Moissac.

Later on immense towers with spires were built at each angle of the
western façade, the gable of the nave rising between them.

At the Abbey Church of Jumiéges a large projecting porch filled the
central bay of the ground story between the bases of the towers, but
more frequently the towers were in one plane with the chief porch, and
were themselves pierced with lateral porches, the three doors, with
their richly sculptured voussoirs, forming one vast decorative whole.

The architects of the so-called Romanesque period built their towers
at the intersection of the transepts; but avoiding the constructive
audacities of the tower of St. Front, which was one of the most
generally accepted models of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, they
ensured the solidity of their central tower by placing the more or
less conical cupola which crowned the structure upon a square base,
carefully loaded and abutted at each angle.

At the close of the twelfth century the architects of the
Ile-de-France adopted a square form for the body of the tower, and in
imitation of Oriental and Rhenish builders, reserved the octagonal
plan for the spire, ensuring the solidity of the angles by a variety
of ingenious combinations.

The great central towers of the Norman churches built in England and
Normandy from the thirteenth to the fourteenth century were not always
merely belfries, as at Salisbury or Langrune, for instance; in many
cases they were lanterns, their functions being to light the centre
of the church and to form a magnificent decorative feature at the
intersection of transepts, nave, and choir in cruciform structures,
such as St. Georges, Bocherville, Coutances, etc. Of all the French
provinces Normandy clung most persistently to the lantern tower, and
that of St. Ouen at Rouen is one of the most interesting examples.



In other provinces, notably Picardy, Champagne, Burgundy, and the
Ile-de-France, lantern towers were superseded by timber _flèches_
cased in lead, which rose at the intersection of the roofs of nave and

Among the most remarkable towers of the twelfth century in the
Northern provinces we may mention those of Tracy-le-Val (Oise), of
the Abbey Church of the Ste. Trinité at Vendôme, and of Bayeux; those
of the Abbaye-aux-Hommes at Caen; the old tower of the Cathedral of
Chartres, and that of St. Eusèbe at Auxerre.

In the thirteenth century the height and decorative richness of these
structures had increased to an extraordinary degree. The tower of
Senlis (Fig. 86) is a most elegant example of the first years of a
century which witnessed the birth of so many marvels of architecture.

In Burgundy several remarkable towers were built by the monks of
Cluny, who were free from the asceticism introduced by St. Bernard
among their brethren of Citeaux. The most notable of their structures
are perhaps the towers of the Church of St. Père, near Vézelay, built
about 1240.

In the South various original developments in Gothic architecture were
logically brought about by a judicious use of the materials of the
country, such as brick. Most interesting examples of such development
are to be found in the tower of the Jacobin Church at Toulouse, which
dates from the close of the thirteenth century, and the donjon tower
of Albi, the characteristics of which we have already discussed.


Examples of isolated towers are hardly to be found of later date than
the thirteenth century. Bordeaux perhaps offers an exception. But
the general usage after this period was to include the towers in the
composition of the façade; their actual functions as belfries became
apparent only above the level of the vaults. A beautiful example of
this treatment may be studied in the noble composition of Notre Dame
de Paris.

Its contemporary, the Cathedral of Laon, has four towers, terminating
in octagonal belfries, the angles of which are flanked by two-storied
openwork pinnacles; on the second of these stories are placed colossal
bulls, the effect of which is very striking.

The towers of Rheims, which date from the second half of the
thirteenth century, are of secondary importance in the splendid
façade; but they are marked by a feature which was a novelty at
the time. The interior of the belfry is built with a cage to allow
free play to the bells, and space for the timbers by which they are
supported, while the exterior forms an octagonal tower flanked by
important pinnacles.

Rheims may be said to mark in Gothic architecture the boundary which
separated its period of perfection from that of exaggeration and
mannerism. The mania for lightness and the desire to dazzle and
astound soon seduced its artists into a dangerous path which led
inevitably to decadence. Such effects first manifested themselves more
especially in the provinces of the German frontier, and the spire of
Strasburg, built in the fourteenth century, is a famous example of
these mistaken tendencies.

Throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries towers adhered to
the plan and general arrangement adopted by the later architects of
the thirteenth century, diverging chiefly in the marvellous profusion
of detail and of sculpture, and in the excessive lightness of design.
The points of support were attenuated, and the mass of ornament
seemed designed to conceal them as far as possible. In France the
misfortunes of the times tended largely to perpetuate these dangerous
foibles; for a number of churches which were founded at the close of
the thirteenth century remained unfinished till the fifteenth and
sixteenth, when Gothic art was in full decadence.

  [Illustration: 90. CHURCH OF ST. PIERRE AT CAEN. TOWER]

But we must not pass over unmentioned certain buildings famous for
boldness of construction and magnificence of decoration, if not for
purity of style. The following are perhaps the most important:--In
France the tower of St. Pierre at Caen, which shows strong traces
of that analogy, or family likeness, so to speak, uniting Norman
edifices; and the tower of St. Michel at Bordeaux, the spire of which
was destroyed by a hurricane in 1768, and has lately been restored
to its primitive height of 365 feet; in Austria the tower of St.
Stephen, one of the most important of such buildings in that country,
finished in 1433; the tower of the Cathedral of Freiburg-im-Breisgau
(grand-duchy of Baden), one of the most beautiful and important
examples. It was mainly constructed towards the close of the
fourteenth century, but the openwork spire was added about the middle
of the following century.


The Cathedral of Antwerp in Belgium was begun in the middle of the
fourteenth century; the nave and the four side aisles were not
completed till a century later. The façade is said to have been begun
in 1406 by a Boulognese master-mason, one Pierre Amel; but of the
two belfry towers only that on the north was completed in 1518. Its
principal merit lies in its boldness of construction and its unusual
height of 410 feet, rather than in purity of style or beauty of
detail, the latter being a conglomerate made up from every period of


_Choirs._--In Christian churches the choir[31] proper was an
institution long before the chapels.[32]

[31] _L'Architecture Romane_, by Ed. Corroyer; Paris, Maison Quantin,

[32] _Encyclopédie de l'Architecture et de la Construction_, article
"Chœur-Chapelle," by Ed. Corroyer.

  [Illustration: 93. ANTWERP CATHEDRAL]

At the extremity of the basilica, in the centre of the chalcidium or
transept which gave to the basilican plan the form of a T or Tau--a
figure venerated by the Christians as symbolising the Cross--were
placed the altar, the sanctuary, and the precincts occupied by the
deacons and sub-deacons. The altar stood in the midst, between the
hemicycle or apse and the nave arch. The hemicycle or apse which
formed the Pagan tribunal was by the Christians reserved for ordained
priests, hence its name, _presbyterium_. A semi-circular bench
(_consistorium_), interrupted in the middle by a seat higher than the
rest, on either side of which sat the inferior clergy, surrounded the
apse, the raised seat (_suggestus_) being the throne of the bishop or
his representative.

This portion of the basilica underwent a later modification; from
the _presbyterium_ it became the _martyrium_, or shrine in which was
placed the body of the patron saint of the basilica or the relic to
which the devotion of the faithful was specially addressed. This usage
had been established even before the year 500 in the first basilica of
St. Martin at Tours.

The primitive apse was lighted only from the nave or transept. After
its transformation into the _martyrium_ it was not only pierced with
windows, but, according to some authors, was provided with openings
along its base, or even arcaded, so as to give access to a low gallery
running round it. If this be so, the characteristic arrangement of
mediæval churches dates from the fifth century.

In later times when it became customary to place the altar at the
back, against the wall of the apse, seats for the bishops, priests,
and choristers--_the choir_--were arranged between the altar and the
nave. In monastic churches, built after the Latin tradition, the choir
was generally in the crossing, or where there were no transepts,
in the nave itself. It was separated from the congregation by a low
enclosure of stone or marble. There are a few examples of churches
with _two_ choirs, one at the east, the other at the west.

In the first churches of the Romanesque epoch the choir was confined
to the space between the piers of the crossing; it soon, however, made
considerable advances. In monastic churches the choir or sanctuary was
cut off from the surrounding spaces by barriers of stone or wood, and
towards the nave was closed by a _jubé_, or rood screen and loft, the
upper part of which was accessible to the monks for the reading of the
epistle and gospel. Bishops, on the other hand, being free from the
necessity of closing the choirs of their cathedrals, made a point of
providing their flocks with wide spaces, in which ceremonies could be
afforded a liberal development.

At the end of the twelfth century and beginning of the thirteenth
these ideas governed the construction of important churches. Changes
continued to be made, however, and from the reign of St. Louis we find
the choirs of great cathedrals arranged on the exclusive principles
of the monastic churches. The arcades surrounding them were filled
with high stone walls, against the inner sides of which the stalls of
the clergy, with their lofty and richly carved wooden canopies, were
securely fixed.

Among the more famous choirs we may quote those of Notre Dame de
Paris, of Amiens, of Beauvais, of Auch, of Lincoln, of Canterbury, of
Spires, of Worms, of Burgos, etc. In order to satisfy the laymen whose
view of the ceremonies performed in the choir was intercepted by
these enclosures, the sanctuary was surrounded by chapels contrived in
the wall of the apse, and in the side aisles of the nave.

_Chapels._--From the end of the tenth century, according to M. de
Caumont, we shall sometimes find aisles running entirely round the
choir or sanctuary and communicating with it by an arcade. Even at
this early period there must have been chapels in such aisles. In the
twelfth century the disposition to elongate the choirs of important
churches became general, and brought with it certain modifications of
the plan. The Church of Vignori, which dates from the tenth century,
has an apse divided into three chapels, recalling in its arrangement
that of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem.

The Church of St. Servan, built in the eleventh century, has five
chapels round the choir, and the Auvergnat churches--Notre Dame du
Port at Clermont, and St. Paul at Issoire among others,--which date
from the beginning of the twelfth century, also show in this respect
some interesting peculiarities. The importance given to the apse by
these rings of chapels can scarcely be too much insisted on.

On plan these apsidal chapels are, for the most part, round-ended.
They are pierced with one or more round-headed windows, and have
segmental vaults. On the outside they are often ornamented by
mouldings, modillions, and even by variations in the colour of their
stones. Chapels between the buttresses of the nave are rare in several
aisled churches of the Romanesque period, but in many such buildings
they were added at a later time.

The great revolution which took place in the art of building towards
the end of the twelfth century had, for one of its results, the
multiplication of chapels in the numerous great churches dating from
that epoch. The principle of that revolution being to replace the
inert masses which had previously resisted the various thrusts by
comparatively slender points of support upon which those thrusts could
be collected, stability being secured by a scientific calculation
of forces, it led, as a natural consequence, to a considerable
augmentation of disposable surfaces in the interior. These surfaces,
mere curtains between the points of support, were ornamented with
vast networks of stone, embracing panels of painted glass, on which
the principal events of the Old and New Testaments, and the scenes
so vividly outlined in the traditions of the time, were traced with
admirable art. Room was found for chapels of considerable size, not
only in the walls, or rather between the piers of the apse, but also
in those of the side aisles, the bounding walls of which were carried
out to the external faces of the buttresses receiving the thrust of
the main vault, which buttresses now formed the lateral walls of a
continuous line of chapels.

The veneration paid to the relics of saints increased greatly after
the year 1000, in consequence of the pilgrimages to the Holy Land
which preceded the Crusades. Each religious community established a
patron, and demanded a special oratory dedicated to him, and it was a
point of honour to make such a shrine excel that of the neighbouring,
and, in most cases, rival corporation. The demand for these shrines
increased to such an extent at the close of the fourteenth and
throughout the fifteenth century that, though chapels were constructed
in all the available spaces of the vast cathedrals, they were found
insufficient, and sanctuaries, which in earlier times had been
the special property of particular bodies, were shared by several

The Lady Chapel, or chapel dedicated to the Virgin, was generally in
the apse, and in the thirteenth century, especially at its close, had
been so considerably developed as to give great importance to the
portion of the apse allotted to it. Very curious examples of this
development are to be studied in the Cathedrals of Bourges, Amiens,
Meaux, and Rouen, among others.

In many cathedrals and churches of the Middle Ages lateral chapels
or annexes were built to serve some subsidiary purpose; such were
chapter-houses, muniment rooms, treasuries, or even mortuaries, as
the presbytery of Lincoln, the circular chapel at Canterbury, known
as Becket's Crown, containing the tomb of Thomas à Becket, and Henry
VII.'s chapel at Westminster.

A most interesting example of this species of structure dating from
the end of the twelfth century is to be seen at Soissons Cathedral; a
two-storied vaulted building is connected by openings with the upper
galleries of the round-ended south transept, and contains a funeral
chapel, with a vaulted chamber above for a treasury.

In many countries small ancient buildings are to be found, known
as baptisteries or chapels; these latter are doubtless the little
rural churches which were built in great numbers in the first
centuries of the Christian era, and are designated _capella_ in texts
of the time of Charlemagne, or perhaps oratories, such as it was
customary to attach to the charnel-houses of towns or great religious

[33] _L'Architecture Romane_, by Ed. Corroyer; Paris, Maison Quantin,

The use of private chapels dates from the earliest days of
Christianity; great personages who had embraced the new faith followed
the example of the Romans who constructed private basilicas in their
palaces. The custom was perpetuated, and the splendid Palatine Chapel
of Aix is one of the most magnificent of its results. In later times
kings and great nobles built themselves sanctuaries within their
castles. In the time of Charles V. the Louvre owned an important
chapel; the feudal castles of Coucy and Pierrefonds, among others,
contained large chapels, the arrangement of which is very curious.
Archæologists cite as of special beauty among seignorial chapels
the ancient oratory of the Dukes of Bourbon at Moulins, the Chapels
of Chenonceaux, Chambord, and Chaumont, and the Chapel of Jacques
Cœur's _hôtel_ at Bourges. Many episcopal palaces have very
remarkable chapels, such as that of the archbishop's palace at Rheims.

Refuges, hospitals, madhouses, and prisons also had chapels more or
less important.

The term _Sainte Chapelle_[34] was applied in the Middle Ages to
buildings raised over spots sanctified by the martyrdom of a saint, or
destined to enshrine relics of peculiar holiness. The most famous was
the royal oratory, built by Pierre de Montereau between 1242 and 1248
on the south side of the royal palace, now the _Palais de Justice_,
Paris, to receive the Crown of Thorns, the pieces of the true Cross,
and other relics brought by the royal founder, St. Louis, from the
Holy Land.

[34] The plans and elevations of these chapels are so well known, and
have been so frequently published, that we abstain from reproducing
them in the present work.

The distinguishing feature of the _Ste. Chapelle_ of Paris is its
division into two stories--the upper chapel, which communicated with
the royal apartments, and the lower chapel on the ground floor, which
may have been open to the public. Its construction is remarkable no
less for the happy boldness with which the whole of the spaces between
the buttresses were utilised for the introduction of immense painted
windows, than for the perfection of execution and the beauty of the
sculptures, and this in spite of the rapidity with which the work was
carried out. An annexe, which has now disappeared, adjoined the apse
on the north, and consisted of three stories serving as sacristies and
muniment rooms. The spire, a wooden structure cased in lead, dating
from the time of Charles VII., was destroyed by fire in 1630; it was
shortly restored, only to be again demolished at the close of the
eighteenth century, and was finally replaced by the architect Lassus,
who restored the building.

The _Ste. Chapelle_ of St. Germain-en-Laye must have been built some
years before that of the royal palace of Paris. It is remarkable for
certain peculiarities of structure which show a greater architectural
skill; the piers which sustain the vault have a greater interior
projection; the formerets are disengaged from the wall, and the square
windows occupy the whole space between the buttresses, and rise to
close beneath the cornice. This most original and learned arrangement
gives the building a very graceful aspect, and brings out its elegant

The _Ste. Chapelle_ of Vincennes, begun by Charles VI., was not
completed until the reign of Henry II. In construction it is akin to
that of Paris. The two-storied annexes which formed the sacristies and
treasury were finished towards the close of the fifteenth century.

After the example of kings and princes the great abbeys began to
raise important oratories independent of their conventual churches.
The Abbey of St. Martin des Champs at Paris founded two large chapels
about the middle of the thirteenth century,--one dedicated to the
Virgin, and the other to St. Michael.

Pierre de Montereau was commissioned to build, in addition to the
_Ste. Chapelle_ of the palace, a chapel dedicated to the Virgin,
within the precincts of the Abbey of St. Germain des Prés; the plan
of the vaults differs here from that of the Ste. Chapelle of the
palace. According to a drawing by Alexander Lenoir, made before the
destruction of this chapel of the Virgin, the pointed arches comprised
two bays, in imitation of the vaults on intersecting arches in Notre
Dame of Paris, the origin of which we discussed in chapter vi.

The Abbey of Châalis, near Senlis, founded by Louis the Fat in 1136,
which was one of the most important abbeys of the Cistercian order
in the thirteenth century, possessed an abbey church of five aisles,
over 330 feet long. Towards the middle of the thirteenth century
it nevertheless founded a _Ste. Chapelle_, known as the Chapelle
de l'Abbé. The building has undergone various vicissitudes, and
the ribbed vaults which date from the reign of St. Louis were once
decorated with frescoes, attributed to Primaticcio. The building
still exists, however, almost in its entirety. It illustrates the
considerable influence exercised by the Ste. Chapelle of Paris from
its very foundation on the great nobles, more especially the heads of
rich abbeys eager to parade their immense power and wealth.

                              CHAPTER XI


In the Middle Ages all the arts were auxiliary to architecture. The
architect traced the details of his conception in the workshop, and
superintended the construction; he directed stone-carvers, masons,
sculptors, illuminators, painters, and glass-stainers, and laid his
_imprimatur_ on every branch of the work of which he was the creator.

Thus the connection between the allied arts was very close. The
history of sculpture is that of architecture, for the diverse
influences which marked their origin and modifications were common to
both. Each reached its apogee in the brilliant manifestations of the
thirteenth century, and each followed the same path to decadence less
than two centuries later.

Statuary and ornamental sculpture were inseparable, being executed by
the same artists in pursuance of the same idea: the study of nature.

In obedience to the law of increasing development they abandoned the
hieratic forms imposed by religious tradition, but only to give a new
expression to these very traditions, which were still preserved and

Roman inspiration, and even direct imitation of Roman sculpture,
is clearly traceable in the first half of the thirteenth century.
Rheims, which may be accepted as the masterpiece, the last word, so to
speak, of Gothic architecture, illustrates this influence in certain
magnificent examples of the western porch.




The architects of the thirteenth century were pre-eminently the
children of their generation. Ignoring their Latin descent they
followed in the paths of the innovators so far as monumental structure
was concerned; but they in their turn inaugurated a new departure
by abandoning the Byzantine convention in statuary and sculptured
ornament which had prevailed throughout the preceding century, in
favour of the more ancient Roman tradition. In this one respect they
made a salutary return upon those antique principles which they
afterwards definitively abandoned.



The influence of Roman art upon French mediæval sculpture is
unquestionable. Its course may be traced through the relations
existing between North and South long before the Crusades, principally
by means of the great religious communities, and even more manifestly
in the countless monuments raised in Gaul on Roman models, or in those
constructed by Gallo-Romans for several centuries. Many of these
survived the incursions of the barbarians.

The origin of ornamental sculpture is no less venerable.
Superficially, it would seem to have drawn its inspiration mainly from
the Romanesque epoch; but according to modern _savants_[35] its source
must be looked for in much remoter periods. Oriental art, imported
into Scandinavia, and there barbarised, was introduced into Ireland
in the early centuries of our era. The Irish monks, whose power was
very great, and who seem to have been the principal agents in the
Renascence of the days of Charlemagne, created, or at any rate greatly
influenced Carlovingian art by their manuscripts and miniatures. From
Carlovingian art that of the so-called Romanesque period was born, and
this was in its turn the parent of the ornamental sculpture of the
thirteenth century. In the admirably decorative character of this
art we recognise the influence of an ancient tradition handed on from
generation to generation, to be finally rejuvenated, invigorated, and
transformed as to detail by a close study of nature, precisely as had
happened in the allied development of statuary.

[35] M. A. de Montaiglon, Professor at the _École des Chartes_.

The architects of the Ile-de-France, like those of Rheims,
assimilated the principles of the new art with the supple skill which
characterised them, such assimilation bearing rich fruit at Notre Dame
de Paris in the sculptured figures of the west porch, and no less in
their accessory ornaments.



A most instructive comparative study is furnished by the north and
south porches of Chartres Cathedral. Here we find, in one building,
examples of sculptures inspired by the hieratic tradition of
Byzantium, and of those which had been transformed and naturalised by
a return to antique ideals.


At Amiens again certain of the sculptures were influenced by the new
principles. But in the greater part there is a prodigality of motive
and looseness of execution which indicate decline no less surely than
the mistaken ingenuity of the structural details.


Mediæval sculpture followed the fortunes of architecture, both in
its rise and fall. In its first beginnings it was characterised by
a purity of style not unworthy of Rome in her most glorious days,
but rapidly losing touch with the antique ideal, it lost measure and
proportion in its development. The wise laws of simplicity, essential
to all greatness in art, were set aside in favour of an unruly
exuberance which ran riot in details, and was the immediate cause of
a decline perceptible even in the fourteenth century, and absolute
in the fifteenth. "Sculpture was at its zenith. We are astounded by
the activity and fertility of thirteenth-century artists, who peopled
façades and embrasures with figures from seven to ten feet in height,
and animated every tympanum with countless statuettes. The façade of
Notre Dame, by no means one of the richest, has sixty-eight colossal
statues, for the most part of the highest excellence; at Chartres and
at Amiens there are over a hundred to each porch. The famous figure of
Christ at Amiens is a masterpiece; bas-reliefs work out the details of
the main subject, and enrich the story with innumerable pictures of
amazing vigour and originality."




The favourite themes of the thirteenth century had something in
common with those of the Romanesque epoch, though there is a sensible
difference of treatment and considerable progress in composition,
which exhibited more of taste and learning and less of eccentricity.
But the satiric power and delight in caricature of our forefathers
still demanded an outlet. These found expression in many a caustic
gibe at clergy, princes, and rich burghers, and took substance in many
a quaint gargoyle. A luxuriant system of ornamentation, adapted from
the vegetable kingdom, was auxiliary to statuary. The main subject was
enframed by it, or relieved against it; while often the composition
itself was enriched by its introduction to complete the decorative
effect. Or such a system of decoration was the only sculpturesque
motive employed; it was then used with the utmost elaboration, and
developed at the expense of statuary. Such was the case in Burgundy
and Normandy, in which provinces the latter art was of slow growth.
The Byzantine character of the scrolls, carved bands, and fantastic
foliage of Romanesque art disappeared; ornament took on a new
independence, and began to seek its types among native plant forms.

The carved leafage (Fig. 106) of the cloister arcades in the Abbey of
Mont St. Michel strikingly illustrate this departure. The very plants
which inspired the thirteenth-century sculptors still flourish at the
foot of the ancient abbey walls.




Thus the flora of our own fields was applied in lithic form to the
elements of our church architecture. But the breadth proper to
architectural sculpture was still preserved by means of ingenious

It was not until the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries that the
imitation of natural forms became servile, tedious, and over-minute,
and that the beauty of the whole was sacrificed to exaggerated
faithfulness of detail.[36]

[36] Anthyme St. Paul, _Histoire Monumentale de la France_; Paris,
Hachette and Co., 1884.


It should be noted that the decadence which manifested itself in
monumental sculpture was far less rapid in the more intimate art which
may be distinguished as _imagery_. In the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries all sculptors were _image-makers_; but towards the close of
the latter, and during the fifteenth, the term was specially applied
to carvers of images in wood, ivory, etc. Art still flourished in
their ateliers in all its beauty, notably that of the goldsmiths,
who carved images in high or low relief in precious metals, and who,
thanks to the severely paternal regulations of the _maîtrise_, were
enabled to bring French decorative art to the highest degree of
perfection. The beautiful carved wooden stalls of Amiens, Auch, and
Albi, to name but the most famous, testify to the vigorous talent of
the fourteenth and fifteenth-century image-carvers.


  [Illustration: 110. IVORY DIPTYCH (HEIGHT 6⅜ IN.) FOURTEENTH


  [Illustration: 111. IVORY DIPTYCH (HEIGHT 4¾ IN.) FOURTEENTH

Flemish _ateliers_, which were kept up by the severe rules of the
guilds, exercised a salutary influence upon the Burgundian craftsmen.
This is more especially true of the great workshops of Antwerp
and of Brussels, and perhaps also of those of Southern Germany.
Burgundian influences reacted in their turn upon the artists of the
Ile-de-France, notably in Paris (that brilliant centre of all artistic
activities in the fourteenth century), and stirred them to emulation.
The union of these various elements brought about the revival of the
fine tradition of the thirteenth century, and towards the close of
the fifteenth century paved the way for a French Renascence, which
heralded that more famous movement of the sixteenth, the credit of
which is usually given to the Italians, who, however, such was the
infatuation of the times, contributed rather to the debasement than to
the regeneration of French national art.

  [Illustration: 111A. IVORY PLAQUE (HEIGHT 6-11/16 IN.) COVER OF AN


  [Illustration: 113. GROUP CARVED IN WOOD (HEIGHT 10-1/4 IN.) FIFTEENTH

The remarkable sculptures that owe their origin to the _ateliers_ of
Antwerp are distinguished by one of the quarterings of the civic arms,
a severed hand burnt in with a red-hot iron. Those of Brussels are
branded in like fashion. The images of wood, ivory, and _vermeil_,
that we figure as illustrating the art of the image-carvers from the
thirteenth to the fifteenth century, show that the old tradition was
still cherished in this community. Their artists were so far swayed
by iconographic convention that a certain hieratic sentiment is
perceptible in their works; but this is never allowed to outweigh
fitness of action and expression, and their masterpieces are so
instinct with taste and delicacy, composed with so much skill and
executed with such freedom, that they are the admiration of modern

[37] The statuettes, diptychs, etc., in wood, ivory, and _vermeil_, or
silver-gilt, figured from No. 107 to No. 115, belong to the author.



These essentially French qualities they owe, primarily, of course,
to the genius of their creators, but in a scarcely inferior degree
to the fostering care of the _maîtrises_, institutions which only
require a certain modification by the progressive leaven of today, to
become models for the imitation of all whose function it is to develop
national art.

                             CHAPTER XII


The origin of painting dates from remote antiquity, and the art had
already passed through many developments before it was applied by
Gothic architects to the decoration of their buildings.

"In the thirteenth century the architectonic painting of the Middle
Ages reached its apogee in France. The painted windows, the vignettes
of manuscripts, and the mural decorations of this period all denote
a learned and finished art, and are marked by a singular harmony of
tones, and a corresponding harmony with architectural forms. It is
beyond question that this art was developed in the cloister, and was a
direct product of Græco-Byzantine teachings."[38]

[38] Viollet-le-Duc, _Dictionnaire raisonné_, vol. vii.

From the archæological point of view, however, it is important to bear
in mind the considerable influence exercised upon continental art by
the manuscripts and miniatures of Irish monks, so early as the reign
of Charlemagne.


Towards the close of the twelfth century sculpture and painting alike
entered on a new phase, resulting from that process of architectural
evolution we have been considering. The hieratic tradition was set
aside for the direct teaching and inspiration of nature. But as the
mastery of the painter increased, the mural spaces available for
the application of his new methods diminished rapidly, till, by the
thirteenth century, the only wall surfaces left to him were those
beneath the windows, and some few triangular spaces in the vault,
where the interlacing network of arches became gradually closer and
closer. Finding themselves thus practically excluded from the new
Gothic buildings, the painters of the day turned their attention with
entire success to the decoration of ancient monuments by the new
naturalistic methods. The domes of great abbey churches such as St.
Front (Périgueux) offered immense bare surfaces, the concave forms
of which they utilised with extraordinary skill, adorning them with
compositions in which figure and ornament are so adroitly combined,
that they seem to be of normal proportions, in spite of their really
colossal size (Fig. 117).


Thanks to a discovery of mural paintings made in the Cathedral of
Cahors in 1890, of the greatest archæological importance, we are able
to verify these statements.

During the progress of certain works undertaken for the preservation
of the two domes, some paintings of great interest were laid bare on
the removal of several coats of whitewash from the western cupola.
Traces of similar decoration were found on the eastern cupola and its
pendentives, but these it was found impossible to preserve, the action
of the air causing them to peel at once from the surfaces. But the
western composition is intact, and though the brilliance of the colour
has no doubt suffered from time, we can still appreciate the learning,
vigour, and firmness of hand perceptible in the design, which is
outlined in black.

This western cupola, which is ovoid, and some fifty-three feet in
diameter, like that of the east, is divided by its pictorial scheme
into eight sectors, separated by wide bands of boldly-designed fruits
and flowers. Fig. 116 gives an exact idea of the general arrangement.
Eight colossal figures of prophets, varying in height from fifteen to
sixteen feet approximately, form the chief motives of the decoration.
David, the prophet king, and the four great prophets: Daniel to
the left of David; then in order, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel on
the right, towards the choir of the church, and the three minor
prophets--Jonah, Esdras, and Habakkuk--are painted in modulated tones,
the dark outline forming a setting, on a background varying from tawny
to deep red. The figures are enframed in a firmly-drawn architectural
setting. This architecture is painted in gray against the masonry,
the courses of which are indicated by double lines of brown upon the
pale ochre of the general surface. Each prophet holds a phylactery
or banderole inscribed with his name in beautiful thirteenth-century

The floriated bands which divide the sectors terminate above in a
circular frieze surrounding the crown of the cupola. The latter
represents a starry sky, the centre painted with the apotheosis of
St. Stephen, the patron of the cathedral. The frieze is painted
with scenes from the trial and stoning of the Saint; the life-size
figures are full of expression and grouped with great variety. In
these paintings there are evident leanings towards the naturalistic
evolution; and though the figures of the prophets are still hieratic
in certain respects, the poses, heads, and details all point to
evident research in the matter of physiognomy. This research is
carried very far in the figures of the circular frieze, where the
hands have evidently been carefully studied from nature.


Technically speaking, these paintings are not frescoes. "The medium
employed seems to have been egg, the white and yolk mixed, and the
method very analogous to that of water-colour painting.... The red
tones were laid over a bed of deep orange, the effect being one of
extraordinary vigour and brilliance, taking into account the means at
command. The use of a prepared ground was systematic, and was resorted
to whenever intensity of the tones or colour effects was desired.
Evident efforts in the direction of modelling are noticeable,
though these have been neutralised to a great extent by a lack of
concentration in the lights, and if it were not for the thick outline
in which each figure is set, there would be much in common between
the methods of these paintings and those renderings of diffused light
affected by our modern _plein-airistes_. The general tone is that of
the simpler paintings of the thirteenth century, that is to say, of
those in which no gold was used. The effect is warm and brilliant, the
dominant hue orange, heightened by reds of various tints."[39]

[39] From the technical notes of M. Gaïda.

According to the archæological records derived from various works of
the historians of Le Quercy, these paintings in the west cupola of
Cahors were carried out under the direction of the Bishops Raymond de
Cornil, 1280-93, Sicard de Montaigu, 1294-1300, Raymond Panchelli,[40]
1300-1312, or Hugo Geraldi, 1312-16, the friend of Pope Clement V. and
of Philip IV. of France, who was burnt alive at Avignon, or perhaps
even of Guillaume de Labroa, 1316-24, whose residence was at Avignon,
and who governed the diocese of Cahors through a procurator. From this
period onwards there was no further question of decorative works, the
successors of these bishops being fully occupied in maintaining the
struggle against the English invaders.

[40] Raymond Panchelli, or Raymond II., who in 1303 began to build the
Bridge of Valentré at Cahors.

It seems reasonable therefore to infer that the Cahors paintings
date either from the end of the thirteenth century or the beginning
of the fourteenth. In any case, these decorations are of very great
artistic merit, and of the highest interest as an unique example of
French decorative art at the finest period of the thirteenth century,
when Gothic architecture had reached its apogee, and was producing
masterpieces which served as models for contemporary artists, and even
more notably, for those of the early fourteenth century.

That vigilant guardian of our beautiful cathedrals and historic
monuments, the _Administration des Cultes_, has taken measures which
do it infinite honour in this matter. No attempt has been made to
restore the paintings, but all necessary steps have been taken to
ensure their preservation as they stand, so as to leave intact the
archæological value of these convincing witnesses to the genius of our
French mediæval painters.

The mural spaces available for fresco decoration having been gradually
suppressed, and decorative painting limited to the illumination of
certain subordinate members of the structure, the mediæval artists
began to apply themselves to the decoration of the great screens of
glass which, with their sculptured framework of stone, now filled
the entire spaces between the piers. In this new art, or rather this
incarnation of the spirit of decoration under a new form, we find a
fresh illustration of that supple assimilative genius which already
distinguished the French artist.


[41] Drawings lent by M. Ed. Didron, painter upon glass.

"It is in the nature of the material used, that painted windows
should greatly affect the character of the building they decorate.
If their treatment is injudicious, the intended architectural
effect may be greatly modified; if, on the other hand, they
are intelligently applied, they tend to bring out the beauty of
structural surroundings.... As is the case with all architectonic
painting, stained glass demands simplicity in composition, sobriety
in execution, and an avoidance of naturalistic imitation. It should
aim neither at illusion nor perspective. Its scheme of colour should
be frank, energetic, comprising few tints, yet producing a harmony
at once sumptuous and soothing, which should compel attention, but
seeks not to engross it to the detriment of the setting. Like a mural
mosaic, an Eastern carpet, or the enamelled goldsmith's work of the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries, a truly decorative window has no
affinities with a picture, a scene or landscape gazed at from an open
window, where the interest concentrates itself upon a particular
point, and where the illumination is not equally diffused throughout.
The fundamental law of decorative painting rests on a convention the
aim of which is the satisfaction of the eye, which finds its pleasure
to a far greater degree in the logical decoration of some structural
or useful object than in its realisation of natural phenomena.
Between painted windows and pictures a great gulf is fixed; and the
modern school, the heir of the Italian Renascence, seeking to bridge
it over, has seduced decorative art from the safe paths of sound

[42] _Le Vitrail à l'Exposition de 1889_, by Ed. Didron; Paris, 1890.



The true functions of stained glass were never more admirably
understood than in the twelfth century. The artists of that day
had a perfect comprehension of those colour-harmonies, the subdued
splendour of which best accorded with the simple and vigorous forms
of Romanesque architecture. Upon his glass of various tints the
painter first outlined his figure or ornament in black. This outline
he supported with a flat half-tint which supplied a rough modelling
and allowed the forms expressed to make their fullest effect from a
distance. When, in the thirteenth century, the extreme austerity
of religious buildings began to relax, the splendour of the painted
windows increased proportionately; but the coloration, though it
increased in glow and vigour, still preserved its complete harmony
with its surroundings. An additional richness is perceptible in
work of the fourteenth century, at which period red glass began to
be used with a certain prodigality. The system of execution remains
unchanged so far; but the black outline is considerably attenuated,
and the half-tone which emphasises it loses much of its importance.
The figures, in place of the hieratic repose of an earlier period,
affect a certain grace and animation which herald a tendency towards
realistic imitation. These germs of naturalism soon bore fruit. At
the close of the fourteenth century the discovery of how to obtain
yellow from salts of silver, and the facility with which it could be
used to warm the grayer tones of glass by the help of the muffle,
caused a revolution in the art of glass-painting, and prepared the way
for polychromatic enamelling. This discovery, eminently useful when
discreetly applied, was to lead to regrettable exaggerations.



In the fifteenth century the figures of saints were usually drawn
upon glass so tinted as to be of a soft white tone; the hair, beards,
head-dresses, jewels, trimmings, and embroideries were painted in
yellow. The figures stood out in bold relief against a background
of blue or red, and were divided by a damasked drapery of green or
purple. Vast architectural motives were introduced enframing the
figures and filling up the immense window spaces of the latest period
of mediæval art. The transformation was radical. It is of interest to
note that the final development of the Gothic style ought logically
to have brought about a recrudescence of vigour in the coloration
of stained glass; but the exact reverse was the case; and a marked
modification took place in the glowing effects won by a diversity of
strong tints. The sort of _camaïeu_ which was the result obliged the
painter to insist more strongly on the modelling of the figures, and
to give less importance to the black outline, which was eventually
suppressed altogether.


In the sixteenth century painted glass became to a certain extent
translucent pictures, in which architectural fitness was no longer
respected. Composition lost its simplicity. A subject spread from
panel to panel, regardless of the intervening tracery. Nevertheless,
we forget the defects of this luxuriant development, and cease to
wonder at its popularity, in view of that broad and vigorous execution
and beauty of colour which give it a special decorative value of its


Enamelling is so closely allied to glass-painting as to claim a
word for itself. Here, again, the decorative art of the Middle Ages
was characteristically displayed, and though the process is more
specially applicable to the ornamentation of goldsmith's work than to
the decoration of large surfaces, it is one of the most brilliant and
exquisite of the auxiliary arts.


The earliest enamels are _champlevé_ and _cloisonné_. By the
_champlevé_ process a hollow, the edges of which outlined the
figures or ornaments, was cut in the field or ground of metal for
the reception of the fusible enamel; for _cloisonné_, _cloisons_, or
slender walls of metal were fixed upon the field to separate flesh
from draperies, and one tint generally from another. The background,
the _cloisons_, and the flesh were gilt and burnished; details were
defined by engraved lines, so that the draperies only were enamelled.

  MS. HEIGHT 4-3/4 IN., WIDTH 2-9/16 IN.]

Fig. 128 reproduces an enamel of the close of the eleventh century, in
which these various characteristics may be studied. The inscriptions
on either side of the cross are formed by letters vertically
superposed, which read downwards.

From the beginning of the thirteenth century enamels were executed by
the process known as _taille d'épargne_. By this method the ground
was cut out, as described above, for the reception of the various
ingredients which, after undergoing the process of firing, formed
the enamel; the draperies, hands, and feet of the figures which were
_épargnés_ (_spared_ or left) were modelled and chased in very low
relief; but the central figure, such as the Christ, and the heads of
the subordinate personages or attendant angels, were always in high
relief, vigorously modelled, and chased.

Fig. 129, a plaque forming the cover of an evangelium, is a
characteristic example of this class of enamel. It dates from the
early thirteenth century, and is a production of the _ateliers_
founded at Limoges by the monks of Solignac.

  AN EVANGELIUM. HEIGHT 7-2/16 IN., WIDTH 6-11/16 IN.]

The reliquary figured No. 130 is also a work of the Limousin
enamellers. The methods employed are identical, but the carving of the
figures is less delicate, indeed almost rudimentary, the modelling
being replaced by hasty strokes of the graver. The lower panel of this
reliquary represents the martyrdom of Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of
Canterbury, the upper part his apotheosis. It is crowned by a ridge
roof of two sides.


As is well known, Thomas à Becket was canonised two years after his
tragic death, which had aroused general reprobation throughout
Christendom. The universal feeling expressed itself at Limoges by
the manufacture of a great number of reliquaries destined to receive
relics of the sainted martyr.

In the details of the draperies and hands of those portions of
Fig. 129 which are carved in low relief, we may trace the germs of
those low-relief enamels known as translucent, or to be more exact,
transparent enamels. This process originated in Italy, and was
commonly employed in France, and even in Germany throughout the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, more especially the latter.
These enamels could only be executed on gold and silver. The method
consisted in modelling the design in very low relief on the face of
the plate, which was then covered with a transparent enamel of few
colours. The process was a slow and difficult one; the pieces were
consequently very costly, and the demand for them proportionately


The enamellers of the sixteenth century, especially those who
flourished at its beginning, were evidently inspired by these
low-relief enamels to seek the same brilliant opalescence of effect
by more scientific and less costly methods. But the simplification of
the process degenerated into vulgarisation, and its original qualities
gradually faded out. Fig. 131, representing Our Lady of Sorrows, and
signed I. C. (Jehan Courteys or Courtois), gives some idea of the
design, at least, of the painted enamels executed by the Limousin
artists of the early sixteenth century.

Gothic architecture, more especially in its religious manifestations
from the twelfth to the fifteenth century, made its prolific influence
felt, not only by the structural qualities of its vast and numerous
buildings, but by those various arts created, perfected, or at least
developed, for their decoration. We have traced a bare outline of
its activities, regretting that space fails us to make an exhaustive
study of their various manifestations. The priceless fragments which
illustrate these offshoots of an art essentially French are now the
chief ornaments not only of French, but of all European museums.
They take rank as factors of the first importance in art education,
pointing the way to fresh masterpieces of French genius.

                               PART II

                        MONASTIC ARCHITECTURE

                              CHAPTER I


The origin of monastic architecture is of no greater antiquity than
the fourth century of the Christian era. The hermits and anchorites of
the earliest period made their habitation in the caves and deserts of
the Thebaïd; their sole monument is the record of their virtues, which
have outlived any buildings they may have raised during their years
of solitude. But the first Christians who banded themselves together
under a common rule, and discarded anchoritism for the cenobitic life,
marked their worldly pilgrimage by monuments, traces of which are
still to be found in historic records or fragmentary remains.

The history of abbey churches is identical with that of
cathedrals.[43] The architectural evolutions and transformations
which succeeded each other in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries
manifested themselves in both. Like the cathedrals, the abbey churches
were the creation of monkish architects, and were carried out either
under their immediate direction or that of their pupils.

[43] See Part I., "Religious Architecture."

But a kindred field of study offers itself in the abbeys themselves,
their organisation and adaptation to the domestic needs of their
be-frocked inmates.


Monastic institutions date from the Roman era. The first abbeys were
those established in France in the fourth century, by St. Hilary of
Poitiers and St. Martin of Tours. These religious associations or
corporations, which eventually became so powerful, by reason not only
of their numbers, but of the spirit which animated them, must be
reckoned as among the most beneficent forces of the Middle Ages. Even
from the philosophical side alone of the religious rule under which
they flourished, by virtue of which enlightened men wielded supreme
power, they were admirable institutions.

To instance one among many, the so-called _Rule_ of St. Benedict
is in itself a monument, the basis of which is _discipline_, the
coping-stone _labour_. These are principles of undying excellence, for
they are the expression of eternal truths. And from them our modern
economists, who so justly exalt the system of co-operation, might even
in these latter days draw inspiration as useful and as fruitful as
that by which men were guided in the days of Benedict.

Three great intellectual centres shed their light on the first
centuries of the Middle Ages. These were Lérins, Ireland, and Monte
Casino. Their most brilliant time was from the fourth century to
the reign of Charlemagne, by which period they may be said to have
prepared the way for successive evolutions of human knowledge, by
assiduous cultivation of the sciences and arts, more especially
architecture, in accordance with the immutable laws of development and

_Lérins._--St. Honoratus and his companions, when they landed in the
archipelago, built on the principal island a chapel surrounded by the
cells and buildings necessary for a confraternity. This took place
about 375-390 A.D. The members of the budding community were learned
monks, who had accepted the religious rule which had now become their
law. They instructed neophytes sent them from the mainland, and their
reputation grew so rapidly that Lérins soon took rank as a school of
theology, a seminary or nursery whence the mediæval church chose the
bishops and abbots best fitted to govern her.

The school of Lérins was so esteemed for learning that it took
an active part in the great Pelagian controversy which agitated
Christendom at the time,[44] and zealously advocated the doctrines of
semi-pelagianism, but this tendency was finally subdued by St. Vincent
of Lérins, whose ideas were more orthodox. The theological teaching of
Lérins seems to have dominated, or at least to have directed religious
opinion in Gaul down to the sixth century.

[44] _Pelagianism_ was the heresy of the monk Pelagius, who flourished
in the fourth century. He contested the doctrine of original sin,
as imputed to all mankind from the fall of Adam, and taught that
the grace of God is accorded to us in proportion to our merits.
_Semi-pelagianism_ taught that man may begin the work of his own
amelioration, but cannot complete it without Divine help.

_Ireland._--So early as the sixth century Ireland was the centre
of art and science in the West. The Irish monks had followed the
oriental tradition as modified by its passage through Scandinavia;
they exercised a considerable influence on continental art by their
manuscripts and illuminations, and prepared the way for the renascence
of the days of Charlemagne, to which such importance was given by the
monuments of the Romanesque movement.

St. Columba was a monk of the seminary of Clonard in Ireland,
whence towards the close of the sixth century he passed over to
the continent, founding the Abbeys of Luxeuil and Fontaine, near
Besançon, and later that of Bobbio, in Italy, where he died in 615.
His principal work was the _Rule_ prescribed to the Irish monks who
had accompanied him, and those who took the vows of the monasteries he
had founded. In this famous work he did not merely enjoin that love of
God and of the brethren on which his _Rule_ is based; he demonstrated
the utility and beauty of his maxims, which he built upon Scriptural
precepts, and upon fundamental principles of morality. The school
of Luxeuil became one of the most famous of the seventh century,
and, like that of Lérins, the nursery of learned doctors and famous

_Monte Casino._--In the sixth century St. Benedict preached
Christianity in the south of Italy, where, in spite of Imperial
edicts, Paganism still prevailed among the masses. He built a chapel
in honour of St. John the Baptist on the ruins of a temple of Apollo,
and afterwards founded a monastery to which he gave his _Rule_ in 529.
This was the cradle of the great Benedictine order.

The number of St. Benedict's disciples grew apace. He had imposed on
them, together with the voluntary obedience and subordination which
constitute _discipline_, those prescriptions of his _Rule_, which
demanded the partition of time between prayer and work. He proceeded
to make a practical application of these principles at Monte Casino,
the buildings of which were raised by himself and his companions.
Barren lands were reclaimed and transformed into gardens for the
community; mills, bakehouses, and workshops for the manufacture of
all the necessaries of life were constructed in the abbey precincts,
with a view to rendering the confraternity self-supporting; auxiliary
buildings were reserved for the reception of the poor and of
travellers. These, however, were so disposed that strangers were kept
outside the main structure, which was reserved exclusively for the
religious body.

The great merit of St. Benedict, apart from his philosophical
eminence, lies in his comprehension of the doctrine of labour. He was
perhaps the first to teach that useful and intelligent work is one
of the conditions, if not indeed the sole condition, of that moral
perfection to which his followers were taught to aspire. If he had no
further title to fame, this alone should ensure his immortality.

"The apostles and first bishops were the natural guides of those who
were appointed to build the basilicas in which the faithful met for
worship. When at a later stage they carried the faith to distant
provinces of the empire, they alone were able to indicate or to mark
out with their own hands the lines on which buildings fitted for
the new worship should be raised.... St. Martin superintended the
construction of the oratory of one of the first Gallic monasteries
at Ligujé, and later of that of Marmoutier, near Tours, on the banks
of the Loire. In the reign of Childebert, St. Germain directed the
building of the Abbey of St. Vincent--afterwards re-named St.
Germain-des-Près--in Paris. St. Benedict soon added to his _Rule_ a
decree providing for the teaching and study of architecture, painting,
mosaic, sculpture, and all branches of art; and it became one of the
most important duties of abbots, priors, and deans to make designs for
the churches and auxiliary buildings of the communities they ruled.
From the early centuries of the Christian era down to the thirteenth
century, therefore, architecture was practised only by the clergy, and
came to be regarded as a sacred science. The most ancient plans now
extant--those of St. Gall and of Canterbury--were traced by the monks
Eigenhard and Edwin.... During the eleventh and twelfth centuries
there rose throughout Christendom admirable buildings due to the art
and industry of the monks, who, bringing to bear upon the work their
own researches, and the experience of past generations, received a
fresh stimulus to exertion in this age of universal regeneration, by
the enthusiasm with which their kings inspired them for the vast ruins
of the ninth century."[45]

[45] Albert Lenoir, _L'Architecture Monastique_; Paris, 1856.

From the earliest centuries of the Christian era communities both male
and female had been formed with the object of living together under
a religious rule; but it seems evident that the greater number of
monasteries owed their fame and wealth, if not their actual origin,
to the reputation of their relics. These attracted the multitude.
Pilgrimages became so frequent, and pilgrims so numerous, that it was
found necessary to build hospices, or night-refuges, in various towns
on their routes. A confraternity of the _Pilgrims of St. Michael_ was
formed in the beginning of the thirteenth century in Paris, where the
confraternity of _St. James of Pilgrims_ had already built its chapel
and hospital in the Rue St. Denis, near the city gate.

From the seventh to the ninth century important abbeys flourished
in nearly all the provinces now comprised in modern France. Later,
under the immediate successors of Charlemagne, great monasteries were
founded in all the countries which made up his dominions. Charlemagne
himself had greatly contributed to the development of religious
institutions by his reliance on the bishops, and more especially the
monks who represented progress, supported his policy, and enforced
his civilising mission. But after his death the study of art and
science declined so rapidly that a radical reform became necessary in
the tenth century, a reform which seems to have had its birth in the
Benedictine Abbey of Cluny, established in Burgundy about the year 930.

From this hasty sketch of monastic organisation some idea may be
gathered of the importance of religious institutions in the eleventh
and twelfth centuries, and of the immense services they had rendered
the State by diligent and useful toil, among the chief fruits of which
must be reckoned the revival of agriculture, and the development of
the sciences and arts, more especially architecture.

Monastic architecture exercised a great and decisive influence upon
national art by its vast religious buildings, the precursors of our
great cathedrals.

Until the middle of the twelfth century science, letters, art,
wealth, and above all, intelligence--in other words, omnipotence on
earth--were the monopoly of religious bodies. It is bare historic
justice to remember that the Middle Ages derived their chief title to
fame, and all their intellectual enlightenment, from the abbeys, and
that the great religious houses were in fact schools, the educational
influence of which was immense. It must be borne in mind that if the
great cathedrals of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were not
actually constructed by the monks, their architects were nevertheless
the pupils of monks, and that it was in the abbey schools, so
generously opened to all, that they imbibed the first principles of
the art they afterwards turned to such marvellous account.

The study of architecture in particular was not merely theoretical. It
was demonstrated by the monks in their important monastic buildings,
the crowning point of which was the abbey church, a structure often
larger and more ornate than contemporary cathedrals.

On the plan commonly adopted, the cloister, a spreading lawn adorned
with plants, adjoined the church on the north, and sometimes on the
south. An open arcade surrounded the cloister, by means of which
communication with all the necessary domestic offices was provided.
Of these the principal were: the refectory, generally a fine vaulted
hall, close to the kitchens; the _chapter-house_, a building attached
to the church, the upper story of which was the dormitory of the
monks; the vaulted cellars and granaries, above which were the
lodgings provided for strangers; the storerooms were connected with
stables, cattle-stalls, and various outdoor offices, often of great
extent. All these dependencies for the service of the community were
kept strictly separate one from another, thus all necessary measures
were taken to provide for the needs and duties of hospitality without
any disturbance of the religious routine.

The abbeys of the Romanesque period were largely used as models in
their day. They were modified by lay architects or monkish builders
who, however, were careful to abate nothing of their perfection; they
partook of the developments which marked the middle of the thirteenth
century, and were subjected to that progressive transformation, the
great feature of which was the adoption of the Angevin intersecting
arch, the distinguishing characteristic of Gothic architecture.

                              CHAPTER II


The Benedictines, the Cistercians, the Augustinians, the
Premonstrants, and notably the congregation of Cluny were all
energetic builders, and the vast and magnificent structures of their
creation were reckoned the most perfect achievements of their day. The
study of their buildings--the church, the dwelling-places of abbot and
monks, with all their dependencies--is most instructive. It fills us
with admiration for the learning and judgment of the monkish builders
who, accepting the limitations imposed by climate, locality, material,
the numbers of their inmates, and the resources of their order, turned
them all to account as elements of beauty and harmony.

The architects of the first abbeys undoubtedly adopted the
constructive methods of the period, and built in the Latin, Roman,
or Gallo-Roman manner. The double gateway of the Abbey of Cluny, the
architect of which was probably Gauzon, sometime Abbot of Beaune,
who laid the foundations of the famous monastery, is an interesting
proof of this assertion. But monastic architecture underwent the same
modifications to which ecclesiastical architecture had been subjected
under those various influences which manifested themselves in the
glorious monuments built from the eleventh to the thirteenth century,
when Gothic architecture reached its apogee.

The abbots of the many abbeys of various orders built throughout
this period were too enlightened to disregard the progress of their
contemporaries, and they promptly applied the new principles to the
construction or embellishment of their monasteries.

  [Illustration: 133. ABBEY OF CLUNY. GATEWAY]

The Abbey of Cluny was founded in 909 by William, Duke of Aquitaine,
and declared independent by Pope John XI., who in 932 confirmed
the duke's charter. Its rapid development and growth in power is
sufficiently explained by the social and political circumstances of
its origin. At the beginning of the tenth century Norman invasions
and feudal excesses had destroyed the work of Charlemagne. Western
Christendom seemed to lapse into barbarism after the havoc made by
the Saracens and Northern pirates among towns and monasteries. Civil
society and religious institutions had alike fallen into the decay
born of a conflict of rights and a contempt of all authority.

Cluny rapidly became a centre round which all the intelligence which
had escaped submersion in the chaos of the ninth century grouped
itself. Its school soon attained a distinction equal to that which
marked the first great seats of learning at the beginning of the
Middle Ages. Thanks to the _Rule_ of St. Benedict, on which the
Benedictines of Cluny had grounded their community, the abbey
developed greatly in extent and wealth. Throughout the eleventh and
twelfth centuries it seems to have been the prolific nursery-ground
whence Europe drew not only teachers for other monastic schools,
but specialists in every branch of science and of letters, notably
architects, who aided in the expansion of Cluny and its dependencies,
and further practically contributed to the construction of the
numerous abbeys founded by the Benedictines throughout Western Europe,
and even in the East, the cradle of Christianity.

While this struggle of intelligence against ignorance was in progress,
a social revolution had accomplished itself by the enfranchisement of
the communes, a development of the utmost importance in its relation
to science, art, and material existence, in a word, to the whole
social system.

Architecture, that faithful expression of the social state which had
its origin in Pagan civilisation, became Christianised by its culture
in the abbeys, and in its new development rose to that pre-eminence
the marvels of which we have already studied in the first part of this
work. But though the successes achieved by the architecture of this
period were rapid and dazzling, its decadence was profound, for it was
induced by too radical an emancipation from antique principles, the
superiority of which had been established in the first centuries of
the Middle Ages.

The Abbey of Cluny soon became too small for the increasing number of
monks. St. Hugh undertook its reconstruction in the closing years of
the eleventh century, and the monk Gauzon of Cluny began the works in
1089 on a much more extensive plan, indeed on a scale so magnificent
that the church of the new abbey was esteemed the first in importance
among Western buildings of the kind.

The plan (Fig. 134) shows the arrangement of the abbey at the close
of the eleventh century, when the monastic buildings had been
reconstructed some time previously. The ancient church was intact; the
choir had been begun in the time of St. Hugh, but the building had not
been consecrated till 1131. The chapel which precedes it on the west
was completed so late as 1228 by Roland I., twentieth abbot of Cluny.

  [Illustration: 134. ABBEY OF CLUNY. PLAN]

At A on the plan stood the entrance, the Gallo-Roman gateway which
still exists. At B, in front of the church, a flight of steps led
up to a square platform, from which rose a stone cross; a flight of
broad steps gave access to the chapel entrance at C, an open space
between two square towers. The northern tower was built to receive the
archives; that on the south was known as the Tower of Justice. The
ante-church or narthex at D seems to have been set apart for strangers
and penitents, who were not allowed to enter the main building. Their
place of worship was distinct from the abbey church, just as their
lodging was separated from the buildings reserved for the brotherhood,
who were permitted no intercourse with the outer world. At E was the
door of the abbey church, which was only opened to admit some great
personage whose exceptional privilege it was to enter the sanctuary.

At Cluny, as at Vézelay, one of the dependencies of Cluny, the
Galilee, which is found in all Benedictine abbeys, was built
with aisles and towers on the same scale as an ordinary church.
It communicated with the buildings set apart for guests over the
storehouses of the abbey to the west of the cloister at F on the
plan. From the Galilee access to the abbey church was obtained at
E, by means of a single doorway, which from descriptions seems to
have resembled the great door of the monastery church at Moissac in
arrangement and decoration.


The special characteristic of the Abbey Church of Cluny is its double
transept, an arrangement we shall find reproduced in the great abbey
churches of England, notably at Lincoln. According to a description
written in the last century, the Abbey Church of Cluny was 410 feet
long. It was built in the form of an archiepiscopal cross, and had
two transepts: the first nearly 200 feet long by 30 feet wide; the
second, 110 feet long and wider than the first. The basilica, 110
feet in width, was divided into five aisles, with semi-circular
vaults supported on sixty-eight piers. Over three hundred narrow
round-headed windows, high up the wall, transmitted the dim light that
favours meditation. The high altar was placed immediately beyond the
second transept at G, and the retro-choir and altar at H. The choir,
which had two rood screens, occupied about a third of the nave. It
contained two hundred and twenty-five stalls for the monks, and in
the fifteenth century was hung with magnificent tapestries. A number
of altars dedicated to various saints were placed against the screens
and the piers of nave and side aisles. At a later period chapels were
constructed along the aisles and on the eastern sides of the two

Above the principal transept rose three towers roofed with slate; the
central, or lantern tower was known as the lamp tower, because from
the vaults of the crossing below it were suspended lamps, or coronas
of lights which were kept burning day and night over the high altar.

To the south of the abbey, at F on the plan, was a great enclosure,
surrounded by a cloister, some vestiges of which still remain. K and
L mark the site of the abbatial buildings which were restored in the
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; M and N the structures raised last
century over the primitive foundations. To the east lay the gardens
and the great fish-ponds which still exist, with portions of their
enclosures. Another surviving fragment is a building of the thirteenth
century, said to be the bakery, and marked O on the plan.

The abbots who succeeded St. Hugh were unable to preserve the
primitive conditions of the foundation. The excessive luxury resulting
from over-prosperity brought about demoralisation, and by the end of
the eleventh century discord was rife at Cluny.

Peter the Venerable, who was elected abbot in 1112, restored order
for a time, and established a chapter general, consisting of two
hundred priors and over twelve hundred other monks. In 1158, at the
time of Peter's death, these numbers had increased by more than four
hundred, and the order had founded monasteries in the Holy Land and at

_The Abbey of Citeaux._--The reform of the Benedictine orders became
a pressing necessity, and St. Robert, Abbot of Solesmes, entered upon
the task about 1098. St. Bernard continued it, after having quitted
his abbey, with twenty-one monks of the order, to take refuge in
the forest of Citeaux, given him by Don Reynard, Vicomte of Beaune.
His main achievement was reorganisation of such a nature as to deal
effectually with the decay of primitive simplicity throughout the
order, which had completely lost touch with monastic sentiment.

"Frequent intercourse with the outside world had demoralised the
monks, who attracted within their cloister walls crowds of sightseers,
guests, and pilgrims. The monasteries which, down to the eleventh
century, were either built in the towns, or had become centres of
population in consequence of the Norman and Saracen invasions,
retained their character of religious seclusion only for a certain
number of monks, who devoted themselves to intellectual labours.
Besides which, the brethren had become feudal lords, holding
jurisdiction side by side with the bishops, and St. Germain-des-Près,
St. Denis, St. Martin, Vendôme, and Moissac owned no over-lordships
but that of the Pope. Hence arose temporal cares, disputes, and even
armed conflicts, among them. The greed and vanity of the abbots at
least, if not of their monks, made itself felt even in religious
worship, and in the buildings consecrated thereto."[46]

[46] Anthyme St. Paul, _Histoire Monumentale de la France_.

St. Bernard, in an address to the monks of his day, reproves their
degeneracy, and censures the exaggerated dimensions of the abbey
churches, the splendour of their ornamentation, and the luxury of
the abbots. O vanity of vanities! he exclaims, and folly great as
vanity! The Church is bedecked in her walls, but naked in her poor!
She overlays her stones with gold, and leaves her children without
raiment! The curious are given distractions, and the miserable lack
bread! It was to suppress such abuses that the Cistercian order was
founded by St. Robert and St. Bernard, and also to put an end to
the disputes arising from ecclesiastical jurisdiction by making the
new abbeys dependencies of the bishoprics. They were to be built in
solitary places, "and to nourish their inmates by agriculture. It
was forbidden to found them over the tombs of saints, for fear of
attracting pilgrims, who would bring worldly distractions in their
train. The buildings themselves were to be solid, and built of good
freestone, but without any sort of extraneous ornament; the only
towers allowed were small belfries, sometimes of stone, but more
usually of wood."[47]

[47] _Ibid._

The Cistercian order was founded in 1119, and St. Robert imposed
the _Rule_ of St. Benedict in its primitive severity. To mark his
separation from the degenerate Benedictines, whose dress was black, he
gave his monks a brown habit. After determining their religious duties
he gave minute instructions as to the arrangement of the buildings.
The condition chiefly insisted upon was that the site of the monastery
should be of such extent and so ordered that the necessaries of life
could be provided within its precincts. Thus all causes of distraction
through communication with the outside world were removed. The
monasteries, whenever possible, were to be built beside a stream or
river; they were to contain, independently of the claustral buildings,
the church and the abbot's dwelling, which was outside the principal
enclosure, a mill, a bakehouse, and workshops for the manufacture of
all things requisite to the community, besides gardens for the use and
pleasure of the monks.

The Abbey of Clairvaux was an embodiment of the reforms brought about
by St. Robert, and later by St. Bernard. The general arrangement and
the details of service were almost identical with those of Citeaux,
just as Citeaux itself had been modelled upon Cluny in all respects,
save that a severe observance of the primitive Benedictine rule
was insisted upon in the disposition of the later foundation. All
superfluities were proscribed, and the rules which enjoined absolute
seclusion as a means towards moral perfection were sternly enforced.

The result is undoubtedly interesting as a religious revival; but we
may be permitted to regret that the intellectual impetus given to art
progress by the great Benedictine lords spiritual of Cluny should have
been checked by the frigid utilitarianism to which architecture--then
an epitome of all the arts--was reduced by the purists of Citeaux in
its application to the monasteries of the reform.

The Cistercian monuments are not, however, wanting in interest.

Of Clairvaux and Citeaux little remains but fragments embedded in
a mass of modern buildings, for the most part restorations of the
last century. As records these are less to be relied upon than the
historical and archæological documents which guided Viollet-le-Duc
in his graphic reconstruction of famous Cistercian abbeys, an essay
not to be bettered as a piece of lucid demonstration (see his
_Dictionary_, vol. i. pp. 263-271).

                             CHAPTER III


In the eleventh century a large number of monasteries had been built
throughout Western Europe by monks of various orders, in imitation
of the great monastic schools of Lérins, Ireland, and Monte Casino.
Among the famous abbeys of this period may be mentioned "Vézelay and
Fécamp, sometime convents for women, afterwards converted into abbeys
for men; St. Nicaise, at Rheims; Nogent-sous-Coucy, in Picardy; Anchin
and Annouain, in Artois; St. Étienne, at Caen; St. Pierre-sur-Dives,
Le Bec, Conches, Cerisy-la-Forêt,[48] and Lessay, in Normandy; La
Trinité, at Vendôme; Beaulieu, near Loches; Montierneuf, at Poitiers,

[48] _L'Architecture Romane_, by Ed. Corroyer, chap. iii. part ii.

[49] Anthyme St. Paul, _Histoire Monumentale de la France_.

The Abbeys of Fulda, in Hesse, and of Corvey, in Westphalia, the
latter founded by Benedictine monks from the Abbey of Corbie, in
Picardy, were in their day the chief centres of learning in Germany.

In England St. Alban's Abbey, in Hertfordshire, was built in 1077 by a
disciple of Lanfranc, the illustrious abbot of the famous Abbey of Le
Bec, in Normandy. A large number of monasteries were founded later
on by various orders, notably the Benedictines--Croyland, Malmesbury,
Bury St. Edmund's, Peterborough, Salisbury, Wimborne, Wearmouth,
Westminster, etc., not to mention the abbeys and priories which had
existed in Ireland from the sixth century.

  [Illustration: 136. ABBEY OF ST. ÉTIENNE AT CAEN. FAÇADE]

The mother abbey of Citeaux gave birth to four daughters--Clairvaux,
Pontigny, Morimond, and La Ferté.

The importance of Clairvaux was much increased in the first years
of the twelfth century by the fame of her abbot, St. Bernard, that
most brilliant embodiment of mediæval monasticism. His influence was
immense, not alone in his character of reformer and founder of an
important order, but as a statesman whom fortune persistently favoured
in all enterprises tending to the increase of his great reputation.

St. Bernard distinguished himself in the theological controversies
of his century at the Council of Sens in 1140, and in successful
polemical disputations with Abélard, the famous advocate of free will,
and other heterodox philosophers who heralded the Reformation of the
sixteenth century. Somewhat later he took an active part in promoting
the hapless second Crusade under Louis VII., and in 1147, a few years
before his death, he entered vigorously into the Manichæan controversy
as a strenuous opponent of the heresy which was then agitating the
public mind and preparing the way for the schism which, at the
beginning of the thirteenth century, brought about the terrible war of
the Albigenses, and steeped Southern France in blood.

The monastic fame of St. Bernard was established not only by the
searching reforms he instituted at Clairvaux among the seceding monks
of Cluny and Solesmes, but by the success of the Cistercian colonies
he planted in Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Denmark, to the number of
seventy-two, according to his historians.

  [Illustration: 137. ST. ALBAN'S ABBEY (ENGLAND)]


During his lifetime the poor hermitage of the _Vallée d'Absinthe_
(which name he changed to Claire-Vallée, Clairvaux) had become a vast
feudal settlement of many farms and holdings, rich enough to support
more than seven hundred monks. The monastery was surrounded by walls
more than half a league in extent, and the abbot's domicile had become
a seignorial mansion. As the fount of the order, and mother of all
the auxiliary houses, Clairvaux was supreme over a hundred and sixty
monasteries in France and abroad. Fifty years after the death of St.
Bernard the importance of the order had become colossal. During
the thirteenth century, and from that time onwards, the Cistercian
or Bernardine monks built immense abbeys, and decorated them with
royal magnificence. Their establishments contained churches equal in
dimension to the largest cathedrals of the period, abbatial dwellings
adorned with paintings, and boasting oratories which, as at Chaâlis,
were _Stes. Chapelles_ as splendid as that of St. Louis in Paris. The
very cellars held works of art in the shape of huge casks elaborately


Thus, by a strange recurrence of conditions, the settlements founded
on a basis of the most rigorous austerity by the ascetics who had
fled from the splendours of Solesmes and Cluny to the forest, became
in their turn vaster, richer, and more sumptuous than those the
magnificence of which they existed to rebuke. With this difference,
however: the ruin brought about by the luxury of the Cistercian
establishment was so complete that nothing of their innumerable
monasteries was spared by social revolution but a few archæologic
fragments and historic memories.


The influence of the Cistercian foundation extended to various
countries of Europe. It was manifested in Spain, at the great Abbey of
Alcobaco, in Estramadura, said to have been built by monkish envoys
of St. Bernard; in Sicily, in the rich architectural detail of the
Abbey of Monreale; and in Germany, in the foundation of such abbeys
as those of Altenberg in Westphalia, and Maulbronn in Wurtemberg. In
1133 Everard, Count of Berg, invited monks of Citeaux to settle in
his dominions, and in 1145 they founded a magnificent abbey on the
banks of the Dheen, which was held by the Cistercian order down to the
period of the Revolution, when it shared the fate of other religious

The Cistercian Abbey of Maulbronn is the best preserved of those
which owed their origin to St. Bernard throughout the twelfth and
thirteenth centuries. The abbey church, the cloister, the refectory,
the chapter-house, the cellars, the storerooms, the barns, and the
abbot's lodging, the latter united to the other buildings by a covered
gallery, still exist in their original condition. More manifestly
even than Altenberg does the Abbey of Maulbronn prove that simplicity
marked the proceedings of the Benedictines during the first years
of the twelfth century, under the rule or influence of St. Bernard.
From this period onward Cistercian brotherhoods multiplied with great
rapidity in the provinces which were to form modern France.

In the Ile-de-France the ruins of Ourscamp, near Noyon, of Chaâlis,
near Senlis, of Longpont and of Vaux-de-Cernay, near Paris, bear
witness to the monumental grandeur of once famous and important
abbeys. The monasteries and priories of the twelfth century are
numerous in Provence; we may name Sénanque, Silvacane, Thoronet, and
Montmajour, near Arles, at the extremity of the valley of Les Baux.
Among the abbeys founded in the thirteenth century were Royaumont,
in the Ile-de-France; Vaucelles, near Cambrai; Preuilly-en-Brie;
La Trappe, in Le Perche; Breuil-Benoît, Mortemer, and Bonport, in
Normandy; Boschaud, in Périgord; l'Escale-Dieu, in Bigorre; Les
Feuillants, Nizors, and Bonnefont, in Comminges; Granselve and
Baulbonne, near Toulouse; Floran, Valmagne, and Fontfroide, in
Languedoc; Fontenay, in Burgundy, etc.


Towards the close of the eleventh and the beginning of the twelfth
century other fraternities had been formed in the same spirit as
that of Citeaux; "in the first rank of these was the Order of the
Premonstrants, so named from the mother abbey founded in 1119 by St.
Norbert at Prémontré, near Coucy."[50]

[50] Anthyme St. Paul, _Histoire Monumentale de la France_.

To this order the monastery of St. Martin at Laon, and others in
Champagne, Artois, Brittany, and Normandy owed their origin.

  [Illustration: 142. ABBEY OF FONTEVRAULT. KITCHEN]


In the early part of the twelfth century Robert d'Arbrisselles founded
several double monasteries for men and women, on the model of those
built in Spain in the ninth century; that of Fontevrault was not
more successful as a monastic experiment than the rest, but it gave
rise to a number of superb buildings. The abbey itself contributed
in no slight degree to the progress of architecture, which developed
in Anjou at the dawn of the twelfth century, and manifested itself
principally at Angers in works the supreme importance of which we have
dwelt upon in the early part of this volume.

The episcopal churches also owned claustral buildings for the
accommodation of the cathedral clergy who lived together in
communities according to the ancient usage which obtained down to the
fifteenth century. The Cathedrals of Aix, Arles, and Cavaillon, in
Provence, of Elne, in Roussillon, of Puy, in Velay, of St. Bertrand,
in Comminges, still preserve their cloisters of the twelfth century.

The Abbey of La Chaise Dieu, in Auvergne, founded in the eleventh
century, was one of the monastic schools which rose to great
importance, mainly through the talents of its monkish architect and
sculptor, Guinamaud, who established its reputation as an art centre.
By the close of the twelfth century La Chaise Dieu was turning out
proficients in sculpture, painting, and goldsmith's work.

The buildings of La Chaise Dieu were reconstructed in the thirteenth
and fourteenth centuries.

The order of preaching friars, founded by St. Dominic in the early
part of the thirteenth century, is noted rather for its intellectual
than for its architectural achievements; the fame of the Dominicans
rests upon their preaching and writings, not upon the number or
magnificence of their monasteries.

About the same period St. Francis of Assisi founded the order of minor
friars, who professed absolute poverty--a profession which, however,
did not prevent their becoming richer at last than their forerunners.
These two orders--preaching and mendicant friars, apparently formed
in protest against the supremacy of the Benedictines--were strongly
supported by St. Louis, who also protected other orders, such as the
Augustinians and Carmelites, by way of balancing the power of the
Clunisians and Cistercians.


To the preaching friars St. Louis granted the site of the Church of
St. Jacques, in the Rue St. Jacques, Paris--whence the name _Jacobin_
as applied to monks of the Dominican order,--and here they built in
1221 the Jacobin monastery, the church of which, like those of Agen
and Toulouse, has the double nave peculiar to the churches of the
preaching friars.

From the thirteenth century onwards the arrangement of the abbeys
diverges more and more from the Benedictine system in the direction
of secular models. The daily life of the abbots had come to
differ but little from that of the laymen of their time, and as a
natural consequence, monastic architecture lost its distinguishing

The Rule of the Carthusian Order, founded towards the close of the
eleventh century by St. Bruno, was of such extreme austerity, and
was so persistently adhered to down to the fifteenth century, at
least, that we need not wonder to find no vestiges of buildings
erected by this community contemporaneously with those of other great
foundations. The Carthusians clung longer than any of their brethren
to the vows of poverty and humility which obliged them to live like
anchorites, though dwelling under one roof. Far from living in common,
on the cenobitic method, after the manner of the Benedictines and
Cistercians, they maintained the cellular system in all its severity.
Absolute silence further aggravated the complete isolation which
encouraged them to scorn all that might alleviate or modify the
rigours of their religious duties.

In time, however, the Carthusians relaxed something of this extreme
asceticism in their monastic buildings, if not in their religious
observances. Towards the fifteenth century they did homage to art by
the construction of monasteries which, though falling short of the
Cistercian monuments in magnificence, are of much interest from their
peculiarities of arrangement.

The ordinary buildings comprised the gate-house, giving access by a
single door to the courtyard of the monastery, where stood the church,
the prior's lodging, the hostelry for guests and pilgrims, the
laundry, the bakehouse, the cattle sheds, storerooms, and dovecote.
The church communicated with an interior cloister, giving access to
the chapter-house and refectory, which latter were only open to the
monks at certain annual festivals. The typical feature of St. Bruno's
more characteristic monasteries is the great cloister, on the true
Carthusian model--that is to say, rectangular in form, and surrounded
by an arcade, on which the cells of the monks open. Each of these
cells was a little self-contained habitation, and had its own garden.
The door of each cell was provided with a wicket, through which a lay
brother passed the slender meal of the Carthusian who was forbidden to
communicate with his fellows.

The Rule of St. Bruno, as is commonly known, enjoins the life of an
anchorite; the Carthusian must work, eat, and drink in solitude;
speech is interdicted; on meeting, the brethren are commanded to
salute each other in silence; they assemble only in church for certain
services prescribed by the Rule, and their meals, none too numerous at
any time, were only taken in common on certain days in the year.

The severity of these conditions explains the extreme austerity of
Carthusian architecture. It had, as we have already said, no real
development until the fifteenth century, and then only as regards
certain portions of the monastery, such as the church and its
cloister, which were in strong contrast with the compulsory bareness
of the great cloister of the monks.

The ancient _Chartreuse_ of Villefranche de Rouergue, either built
or reconstructed in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, still
preserves some remarkable features. The plan, and the bird's-eye view
(Figs. 145 and 146) from _L'Encyclopédie de l'Architecture et de la
Construction_, gives an exact idea of the monastery. Some of the cells
are still intact, also the refectory, and certain other portions of
the primitive structure.


In spite of the rigidity of the _Rule_ of St. Bruno certain
foundations of his order became famous, notably the monastery
established by the Carthusians on the invitation of St. Louis in the
celebrated castle of Vauvert, beyond the walls of Paris, near the
_Route d'Issy_. The castle was regarded with terror by the Parisians,
who declared it to be haunted by the devil, whence the popular
expression: _aller au diable Vauvert_, which later was corrupted
into _aller au diable au vert_. The Carthusians, nevertheless, took
up their quarters in the stronghold, and enriched it with a splendid
church built by Pierre de Montereau, the foundation stone of which
was laid by St. Louis in 1260. The _Chartreuse_ of Vauvert developed
greatly, and became one of the most famous of the order. It was in
the lesser cloister of this monastery that the artist Eustache Le
Sueur painted his famous frescoes from the life of St. Bruno in the
beginning of the seventeenth century.



The most famous Carthusian monasteries of Italy are those of Florence,
which dates from the middle of the fourteenth century, and is
attributed in part to Orcagna, and of Pavia, founded at the close of
the fourteenth century by Giovanni Galeazzo Visconti.


The French Carthusian monasteries of greatest interest after Vauvert,
which had the special advantage of royal protection, are those of
Clermont, in Auvergne, Villefranche de Rouergue (Figs. 145 and 146),
Villeneuve-lez-Avignon, and Montrieux, in Var. The _Chartreuse_ of
Dijon is one of the most ancient, not only as to its buildings, which
are the work of the Duke of Burgundy's architects, but in respect of
its famous sculptures of the tomb of Philip the Bold, and his wife,
Margaret of Flanders, and those of the _Well of Moses_, carved by the
Burgundian brothers, Claux Suter, who flourished at the close of the
fourteenth century, and had much to do with the revival of art at that

[51] See Part I., "Sculpture."

But the most imposing of all, and the most famous, if not the most
beautiful, is that in the mountains near Grenoble, universally known
as _La Grande Chartreuse_.

The original monastery is said to have been founded by St. Bruno. It
consisted merely of a humble chapel and a few isolated cells, which
are supposed to have occupied the site in the _Desert_, on which the
Chapels of St. Bruno and St. Mary now stand. The existing buildings
were reconstructed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in the
manner of the day, of which the arcades of the great cloister are good
examples. The present church, which is extremely simple in design, has
preserved nothing of its sixteenth-century decoration but the choir
stalls. The great cloister consists of an arcaded gallery, on which
the sixty cells of the monks open. It is arranged in strict accordance
with the Rule of St. Bruno as regards its connection with the main
buildings, the chief features of which we have already pointed out.

                              CHAPTER IV

                           FORTIFIED ABBEYS

The monasteries built throughout the twelfth century were provided
with outer walls, by means of which the claustral buildings, offices,
workshops, and even farms of the community were enclosed. Thus all
the necessaries of life were produced within the precincts, and all
communication with the outside world was avoided.

But by the end of the century the great abbeys had become feudal
castles; and fortified walls were raised around them, often embracing
the town which had grown up under their protection and shared their
fortunes. This was the case at Cluny, and the town acknowledged its
obligations to the monks by the payment of tithes.

In the reign of Philip Augustus and St. Louis the abbots were not
only the heads of their monasteries but feudal chieftains, vassals
of the royal power, and as such obliged to furnish the sovereign
with men-at-arms in time of war, and to maintain a garrison when

[52] See Part III., "Military Architecture," Abbey of Mont St. Michel.

The Abbey of Tournus was, like Cluny, surrounded by walls connected
with the city ramparts.

The Abbey of St. Allyre, in Auvergne, near Clermont, was defended
by walls and towers, which seem to have been added to the original
structure of the ninth century at some period during the thirteenth,
when such fortification of religious houses became necessary.


In many other monasteries a system of defence more or less elaborate
was adopted; but the most famous of all the abbeys built by the
Benedictines was unquestionably Mont St. Michel, which, for boldness
and grandeur of design, is unique among military and monastic
monuments from the eleventh to the close of the fifteenth century.


   _Key to Plan._--A. Tower known as the _Tour Claudine_. Ramparts.
   B. Barbican. Entrance to the abbey. B´. Ruin of the stairway
   known as the _Grand Degré_. C. Gate-house. D. Guard-room known
   as _Bellechaise_. E. Tower known as the _Tour Perrine_. F.
   Steward's lodging and Bailey. G. Abbot's lodging. G´. Abbatial
   buildings. G´´. Chapel of St. Catherine. H. Courtyard of the
   church, great stairway. I. Courtyard of the _Merveille_. J,
   K. Almonry, cellar (of the _Merveille_). L. Formerly the
   abbatial buildings. M. Gallery or crypt known as the _Galerie
   de l'Aquilon_ (of the North Wind). N. Hostelry (Robert de
   Thorigni). O. Passages connecting the abbey with the hostelry.
   P, P´. Prison and dungeon. R, S. Staircase. T. Modern wall of
   abutment. U. Garden, terraces, and covered way. V. Body of rock.]

  HALL.--_For Key to Plan see opposite page._

   _Key to Plan._--A. Lower church. B, B´. Chapels beneath the
   transepts. C. Substructure of Romanesque nave. C, C´, and C´´.
   Charnel-house or burying-place of the monks, and substructure
   of south platform. D. Formerly the cistern. E. Formerly the
   claustral buildings. Refectory. F. Formerly the cloister or
   ambulatory. G. Passage communicating with the hostelry. H,
   I. Hostelry and offices (Robert de Thorigni). J. Chapel of
   hostelry (St. Étienne). K, K´, L, M. Refectory. Tower known
   as the _Tour des Corbins_ (Tower of Crows). Chapter-house, or
   hall of the knights, Galilee or narthex (_Merveille_). N. Hall
   of the military executive, or hall of the officers. O. Tower
   known as the _Tour Perrine_. P. Battlements of the gate-house.
   Q. Courtyard of the _Merveille_. R, S. Staircase and terrace
   of the apse. T. Courtyard of the church. U. Fortified bridge
   connecting the lower church with the abbey buildings. V, X.
   Abbot's lodging. Accommodation for guests. Y, Y´. Cisterns of
   the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Z. Body of rock.]

The Abbey of Mont St. Michel was founded in 708 by St. Aubert,
according to tradition. At the close of the tenth century it was
restored by Richard Sans Peur, third Duke of Normandy, with the help
of the Benedictine monks from Monte Casino, whom he had installed at
St. Michel in 966. It increased greatly in wealth and extent in the
eleventh century, and by the end of the twelfth was in the full tide
of its prosperity. Its buildings, however had not yet that importance
to which they attained in the following century.[53] In the twelfth
century they consisted of the church, which was built between 1020
and 1135[54] and the monastic buildings proper (_lieux réguliers_),
with lodgings for servants and guests to the north of the nave, at
G, G´, and F on the plan, Fig. 152. To these, which were restored
or reconstructed in a great measure by the Abbot Roger II. at the
beginning of the twelfth century, additions were made on the south and
south-east by Robert de Thorigni from 1154 to 1186.

The monastery was not then fortified.

[53] _Description de l'Abbaye du Mont St. Michel_, by Ed. Corroyer;
Paris, 1877. This work was crowned by the Institute in 1879, at the
_Concours des Antiquités Nationales_.

[54] See _L'Architecture Romane_, by Ed. Corroyer; Paris, Maison
Quantin, 1888.


     _Key to Plan._--A, A´, A.´´ Church, choir, and transepts. B,
     B´, B´´. Three first bays of nave, destroyed in 1776. C, C´,
     C´´. Towers and porch (Robert de Thorigni). D. Tomb of Robert
     de Thorigni. E. Formerly the terrace in front of the church.
     F. Formerly the chapter-house. G, G´. Formerly the claustral
     buildings. Dormitory. H. Platform at the southern entrance
     of the church. I. Ruin of the hostelry (Robert de Thorigni).
     J. Infirmary. K. Dormitories of the thirteenth century
     (_Merveille_). K´. Tower, known as the _Tour des Corbins_
     (thirteenth century, _Merveille_). L, L´. Cloister and archives
     (thirteenth century, _Merveille_). M. Vestry (thirteenth
     century, _Merveille_). N. Abbot's lodging. O. Accommodation for
     guests. P. Courtyard of the _Merveille_. P´. Terrace of the
     apse. Q. Courtyard of the church and great staircase.]

Built on the summit of a rock, the impregnable steepness of which
provided a natural rampart north and west, it depended solely upon
the advantages of its position for defence. Its situation in the
midst of a treacherous sandy plain--a position which gave rise to the
mediæval name, _Le Mont St. Michel au Péril de la Mer_--secured it
against attempts at investiture, and even to a great extent against
sudden assaults. Enclosures of stone or wooden fences surrounded it at
those points on the east where the less rugged nature of the surface
rendered access comparatively easy, and where stood the entrance,
with the various habitations which had grouped themselves round it.
The so-called _town_ had been founded in the tenth century by a few
families decimated by the Normans, in their raids upon Avranches and
its neighbourhood after the death of Charlemagne. In the thirteenth
century it consisted of a small number of houses which, by way of
security against the vagaries of the sea, were built upon the highest
point of the rock to the east.

In 1203 the greater part of the abbey, the church excepted, was
destroyed during the wars between Philip Augustus, King of France, and
John, King of England.

Historic records prove conclusively that the abbey had no defensive
works properly so-called in the twelfth and early part of the
thirteenth century.

From this period onwards abbeys, more especially those of the
Benedictine orders, were transformed into regular fortresses capable
of sustaining a siege. The abbots, in their character of feudal lords,
fortified their monasteries to ensure them against disasters such as
had marked the early years of the thirteenth century. Mont St. Michel
is one of the most curious examples of such fortification.

The original architects of the abbey seem to have been unwilling to
diminish the height of the mount by levelling. Resolving to detract in
no degree from the majesty of so splendid a base for their church,
they set about their work on the same principle as the pyramid
builders. Our illustrations show how the buildings were raised partly
on plateaux circumscribing the apex of the mount, partly on that apex
itself. The result is that the monastery, as we see it, has a core of
rock rising at its highest point to the very floor of the church. The
ring of lower stories rests upon walls of great thickness, and upon
piers united by vaults, the whole forming a substructure of perfect

The section made through the transept (Fig. 153) gives an exact idea
of the portion which dates from the eleventh and twelfth centuries,
and of the buildings which gradually grouped themselves round this
nucleus, such as the so-called _Merveille_ (Marvel) to the north, and
the abbot's lodging to the south.


[55] _Description de l'Abbaye du Mont St. Michel et de ses Abords_, by
Ed. Corroyer; Paris, 1877.


The longitudinal section (Fig. 154) shows the crypt, or lower church.
This was not, as has been frequently asserted, actually hollowed
out of the rock; it was, however, very ingeniously contrived in the
fifteenth century over the ruins of the Romanesque church in the
space between the declivity of the mount and the artificial plateau
of the earlier architects. The substructures of the Romanesque church
which were enlarged by Robert de Thorigni in the thirteenth century
are indicated in this diagram. They are of gigantic proportions,
especially towards the west.

Fig. 155 shows the so-called _Galerie de l'Aquilon_ (Gallery of the
North Wind), one of the upper stories of the claustral buildings to
the north of the church constructed by Roger II., eleventh abbot




After the fire of 1203, when the abbey had become a feof of the royal
domain, the Abbot Jourdain and his successors rebuilt it almost
entirely, with the exception of the church.

As the peculiarities of the site made it impossible to adhere strictly
to the Benedictine system of direct communication between the main
buildings and the church, the _lieux réguliers_, or accommodation
reserved for the monks, were disposed above the magnificent building
to the north of the church, which, from the time of its foundation,
was known as _La Merveille_ (the Marvel).



This vast structure fairly takes rank as the grandest example of
combined religious and military architecture of the finest mediæval

The _Merveille_ consists of three stories, two of which are vaulted.
The lowest contains the almonry and cellar; the intermediate story
the refectory and the knights' hall; the third the dormitory and
cloister. The building consists of two wings running east and west;
the apartments are superposed as follows:--In the east wing the
almonry, the refectory, and the dormitory; in the west the cellar, the
knights' hall, and the cloister.[56]

[56] _Description de l'Abbaye du Mont St. Michel et de ses Abords_, by
Ed. Corroyer; Paris, 1877.

This splendid structure is built entirely of granite. It was carried
out by one continuous effort, under the inspiration of an incomparably
bold and learned design of the Abbé Jourdain, to which his successors
religiously adhered.

The undertaking was entered upon in 1203 and finished in 1228, the
final achievement being the cloister, the architects or sculptors of
which are commemorated by an inscription in the spandril of one of the
arcades in the south walk.

  [Illustration: 160. ABBEY OF MONT ST. MICHEL. REFECTORY]


To fully appreciate this stupendous monument, we must realise the
extraordinary energy which enabled its architects to complete it in
the comparatively short space of twenty-five years. We must take
into account the conditions of its growth, its situation on the very
summit of a rugged cliff, cut off from the mainland at times by
the sea, at other times by an expanse of treacherous quicksand. We
must consider the enormous difficulties of transporting materials,
seeing that all the granite used was quarried by the monks from the
neighbouring coast. It is true that an unimportant quota of the stone
was dug from the base of the rock itself. But though the passage
across the sands was by this means avoided, the difficulties of
raising great masses of stone to the foot of the _Merveille_, the
foundations of which are over 160 feet above the sea-level, had still
to be met. It seems certain that the east and west buildings of which
the _Merveille_ consists were built at the same time, for though
certain differences are perceptible in the form of the exterior
buttresses, they evidently result from the interior formation of the
various apartments. A study of the plans, sections, and façades of the
buildings is convincing on this head, and the general arrangements,
notably that of the staircase, all point to the same conclusion. This
staircase is a spiral in the thickness of the buttress which, with its
crowning octagonal turret, forms the point of junction between the two
buildings. It winds from the almonry of the eastern ground-floor to
the knights' hall on the west, passing through the dormitory of the
eastern block to terminate in the northern embattlement above.

  [Illustration: 162. ST. MICHAEL'S MOUNT, CORNWALL]

The eastern and northern façades of the _Merveille_ are models of
severe and virile beauty; a massive grandeur characterises them,
especially striking and impressive in the northern front as viewed
from the sea. The vast walls of granite (the material used throughout,
save in the inner walk of the cloister) are pierced with windows
varying in shape according to the character of the rooms they light.
Those of the dormitory are very remarkable. They are long and narrow,
and affect the aspect of loopholes, deeply splayed outwards; the
peculiar form of the honeycombed window-heads suggests a reminiscence
of Arab types seen by the French Crusaders in Palestine. The
thrusts of the interior vaulting are met on the exterior by massive
buttresses, the vigorous profiles of which contribute greatly to the
nobility of the general effect.

These formidable façades were practically fortifications, but the
_Merveille_ was further defended to the north by an embattled wall,
flanked by a tower which served as a post for watchmen, to which the
covered ways running round the base of the western buildings converged.

In the middle, on a level with the north-west angle of the
_Merveille_, a _châtelet_, or miniature keep, now destroyed, guarded
the rugged passage between embattled walls which led to the Fountain
of St. Aubert, and was known as the _Passage du Degré_ (passage of the

The various buildings of the abbey which were added in the fourteenth
century, after the construction of the _Merveille_, are: the abbot's
lodging, with its offices on the south, and certain military works
which completed the defensive system. In the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries these were gradually extended to the walls of the town, as
we shall see in Part III., "Military Architecture."

                               PART III

                        MILITARY ARCHITECTURE

                              CHAPTER I

                       CIRCUMVALLATION OF TOWNS

The distinctive character of military architecture in the Middle Ages
must be sought in defensive fortification. In all other respects
its constructive methods were identical with those employed in
architectural works generally. The few ornamental features of military
buildings, as, for instance, the interior vaults and the profiles of
consoles and cornices, diverge but slightly from the accepted types of
such features in the churches, monasteries, and domestic structures of
the period.

The Latin, Roman, Gallo-Roman, Romanesque, and Gothic architects
were versed in every department of the art they practised. The same
architect was called upon to construct the church and the fortress,
the abbey, and the ramparts which were often its necessary complement,
the donjon, and castle, the town hall, the hospital, the rural
barn, and the urban dwelling. He was responsible not only for the
inception of every class and form of building, but for its successful
elaboration; on him alone the responsibility of its execution rested;
no scientific specialist checked his conclusions and verified his
calculations as in our own time. The system by which the architect and
the engineer have each their separate functions and responsibilities
in the construction of the same building was unknown. The builder, or
mason, as some would have him called, was an architect in the fullest
sense; he himself traced the diagrams of his conceptions, and directed
the execution of every detail, careful alike of stability and beauty.

  [Illustration: 163. ABBEY OF MONT ST. MICHEL. GATE-HOUSE]

It is a curious and disheartening phenomenon that such a direct
contravention of the principles of mediæval art as the modern
system of divided responsibility implies, should obtain only
among the French, the very people to whom Western Europe owes its
initiation into those principles. In England, in Belgium, in Holland,
Switzerland, and Germany the architect is also the engineer; the
science and the art of his craft are inseparable. "This intimate
union of qualities gives an individuality to certain productions of
these nations which we might well lay to heart and make the subject
of serious comparative study. We must needs admit to begin with that
we ourselves have become disciples rather than pioneers in a great

[57] "L'Art à l'Exposition," _L'Architecture_, by Ed. Corroyer; Paris.
_L'Illustration_, for 25th May 1889.

The one preoccupation of the modern engineer seems to be the
satisfaction of imperious necessity. He is inclined to neglect all
that mathematics cannot give him. And yet he has brought about a very
sensible progress by his mathematical application of modern science.
He has unquestionably excelled in industrial masterpieces perfectly
adapted to the needs of the moment, if wanting in the qualities
that make for immortality. We accept with qualified admiration
his marvellous bridges and kindred works in metal--marvellous yet
ephemeral; but we accept them merely as a temporary substitute for the
more solid if less showy stone bridges of our early architects.

We would not have the servant of yesterday the master of to-morrow.
We protest against the degradation of the architect from his high
and noble estate to the rank of a mere decorator, however skilful.
We would not witness the extinction of the ancient French traditions
which inspired so many masterpieces, and to which we look as the
source of many yet to come.

It appears, moreover, that the general acceptation of the word
_ingénieur_ (engineer) is a totally mistaken one. It is derived from
the mediæval term _engigneur_, which was very differently applied.

The architect and the engineer of our own day are both _constructors_,
but with a difference. The architect loves and cultivates his art; the
engineer, with few exceptions, despises, or affects to despise, his.

In the Middle Ages their functions were perfectly distinct. The
architect constructed what the _engigneur_ used his utmost cunning
to destroy. The architect built ramparts and strengthened them with
towers; the _engigneur_ undermined them if attacking, or countermined
them if defending. It was his business to invent or direct the use of
engines of war, such as rams, mangonels, arblasts, and machines for
the slinging of enormous projectiles, or grenades. He constructed the
portable wooden towers which the besieging party brought up against
the walls for an escalade, directed the sappers who undermined them,
and, in fact, superintended the manufacture of all such offensive
engines as were necessary in the conduct of a siege, a process
which, before the invention of firearms, necessitated preparations
as prolonged and tedious as they were complicated and uncertain.
In short, the architect was the constructor of fortifications, the
_engigneur_ their assailant or defender. It was not until the time
of Vauban that military engineers were called upon to exercise
functions so much more extensive. At an earlier period there were,
however, specialists in construction who undertook such works as the
circumvallation of Aigues-Mortes, but their labours had little in
common with those of modern engineers.


Before the feudal period the fortifications of camps consisted
either of earthworks, of walls built of mud and logs, or of
palisades surrounded by ditches, in imitation of the Roman methods
of castrametation. The _enceintes_ of towns fortified by the Romans
were walls defended by round or square towers. These walls were built
double; a space of several yards intervened, which was filled up with
the earth dug from the moat or ditch, mixed with rubble. The mass was
levelled at the top and paved to form what is technically known as a
covered way, or terrace protected by an embattled wall rising from the
outer curtain.

That portion of the _enceinte_ of Carcassonne which was built by the
Visigoths in the sixth century is thus constructed on the Roman model.
"The ground on which the town is built rises considerably above that
beyond the walls, and is almost on a level with the rampart. The
curtains[58] are of great thickness; they are composed of two facings
of dressed stones cut into small cubes, which alternate with courses
of bricks; the intervening space is filled not with earth, but with
a concrete formed of rubble and lime."[59] The flanking towers which
rise considerably above the curtains were so disposed that it was
possible to isolate them from the walls by raising drawbridges. Thus
each tower formed an independent stronghold against assailants.

[58] The wall space between the towers.

[59] Viollet-le-Duc, _La Cité de Carcassonne_.

Fig. 165 shows a portion of the north-west ramparts of the city of
Carcassonne, with the first round tower; to the left of the drawing is
the Romano-Visigothic tower, flanking right and left the curtains of
the same period.


In accordance with the Roman tradition the _enceinte_ of a town,
formed, as we have seen, of ramparts strengthened by towers, were
further defended by a citadel or keep, of which we shall have more to
say in the following chapter. This keep commanded the whole place,
which was usually situated on the slope of a hill above the bank of
a river. The bridge which communicated with the opposite bank was
fortified by a gate-house or _tête de pont_, to guard the passage.

The circumvallation of towns often consisted of a double enclosure,
divided by a moat. By the close of the twelfth century architects had
caught the inspiration of the great military works of the Crusaders in
the East, and military architecture had progressed on the same lines
as religious and monastic architecture.

The territories, conquered by the Crusaders in the course of
establishing the Christian supremacy in the East, had been divided
into feofs as early as the twelfth century. These soon boasted
castles, churches, and monastic foundations, of the Cistercian and
Premonstrant orders among others.

According to G. Rey, the following abbeys and priories were built in
the neighbourhood of Jerusalem at this period:--The monasteries of
Mount Sion, Mount Olivet, Jehoshaphat, St. Habakkuk, and St. Samuel,
etc., and in Galilee, those of Mount Tabor and Palmarée. The military
organisation was regulated by the _Assises de la haute Cour_ (Assizes
of the Supreme Court), which determined the number of knights to be
furnished by each feof for the defence of the kingdom, and in like
manner, the number of men-at-arms required from each church and each
community of citizens.... The middle of the twelfth century was the
period at which the Christian colonies of the Holy Land were most
flourishing. Undeterred by the wars of which Syria was the theatre,
the Franks had promptly assimilated the Greek and Roman tradition as
manifested in Byzantine types of military architecture. The double
enclosure flanked by towers, one of the main features of Syrian
fortresses built by the Crusaders, was borrowed from the Greeks.
Many of their strongholds, notably Morgat, the so-called _Krak_ of
the knights, and Tortosa, were of colossal proportions. They may be
divided into two classes. In the first, the buildings are of the
Frankish type, and seem to be modelled on the French castles of the
eleventh and twelfth centuries. The flanking towers are nearly always
round; they contain a defensive story, while their summits and those
of the intervening curtains are crowned with battlements in the French
fashion. Other features subsequently introduced were: the double
_enceinte_, borrowed from the Byzantines, the inner line of which
commanded the outer, and was sufficiently near to allow its defenders
to engage, should assailants have carried the first barrier;
secondly, stone machicolations in place of the wooden _hourds_ or
timber scaffoldings which were retained in France till the close of
the thirteenth century; and finally, the talus, a device by which
the thickness of the walls was tripled at the base, thus affording
increased security against the arts of the sapper and the earthquake
shocks so frequent in the East.



The buildings of the second class belong to the school of the Knights
Templars. Their characteristic features are the towers, invariably
square or oblong in shape, and projecting but slightly from the
curtains. The fortress of Kalaat-el-Hosn,[60] or _Krak_ of the
knights, commanded the pass through which ran the roads from Homs
and Hamah to Tripoli and Tortosa, and was a military station of
the first importance. Together with the castles of Akkar, Arcos, La
Colée, Chastel-Blanc, Areynieh, Yammour, Tortosa, and Markab, and the
various auxiliary towers and posts, it constituted a system of defence
designed to protect Tripoli from the incursions of the Mahometans,
who retained their hold on the greater part of Syria.... The _Krak_,
which was built under the direction of the Knights Hospitallers, has a
double _enceinte_, separated by a wide ditch partly filled with water.
The inner wall forms a reduct, and rising above the outer enclosure
commands its defences. It also encompasses the various dependencies of
the castle, the great hall, chapel, domestic buildings, and magazines.
A long vaulted passage, easy of defence, was the only entrance to the
place. To the north and west the outer line consisted of a curtain
flanked by rounded turrets, and crowned by machicolations, which
formed a continuous scaffolding of stone along the greater part of the

[60] _Étude sur les Monuments de l'Architecture Militaire des croisés
en Syrie_, by G. Rey; Paris, 1871.


The action of the East upon the West was manifested in the thirteenth
and fourteenth centuries by the application to the fortification of
Carcassonne and Aigues-Mortes of methods in use among the Crusaders in

This oriental influence is apparent at Carcassonne in the double
_enceinte_ borrowed from Syrian fortresses.

The city of Carcassonne stands upon a plateau commanding the valley
of the Aude, the site of an ancient Roman _castellum_. In the sixth
century it fell into the hands of the Visigoths, who fortified it.
It increased considerably in extent during the tenth, eleventh, and
twelfth centuries, but in the time of Simon de Montfort (1209) and of
Raymon de Trancavel (1240) the _enceinte_ was not nearly so important
as it became under St. Louis. By the middle of the thirteenth century
the king had begun the construction of defensive works on a vast
scale, and built the outer _enceinte_, which still exists, as may
be seen on the plan (Fig. 167) taken from Viollet-le-Duc's _Cité de


The primary object of the _enceinte_ was to secure the place against
a sudden attack during the completion or enlargement of its interior
defences. The additions of St. Louis, which were carried on by Philip
the Bold, rendered Carcassonne impregnable in the general estimation.
"As a fact, it was never invested, and did not open its gates to
Edward the Black Prince till 1355, when all Languedoc had submitted to

[61] Viollet-le-Duc, _La Cité de Carcassonne_.


Oriental influences are equally evident at Aigues-Mortes. The Genoese
Guglielmo Boccanera, who constructed the _enceinte_, was apparently
familiar with the system of fortification adopted by the Crusaders in
Syria. The machicolations which here make their first appearance in
Languedoc (in the reign of Philip the Bold), proclaim the filiation
of Aigues-Mortes to the Syrian fortresses. Italian influences are
also perceptible in the square plan of the flanking towers. French
architects had always preferred the round tower, as more solid in
itself, and less open to attack from sappers, who, in advancing
against a building of this form, were fully exposed to the missiles of
the defenders from the curtains adjoining; while, on the other hand,
the angles of the square tower gave a certain protection to assailants
advancing against its front.


The ramparts of Avignon, which date from the fourteenth century, seem
to have been constructed on Italian methods. The curtains are flanked
by square towers, open towards the town, and surmounted by embattled
parapets corbelled out from the walls, and machicolated so as to
command their bases.

In the thirteenth century walls and towers were provided with movable
wooden scaffoldings, as shown at A in the figure. Spaces were left
in the masonry of the walls for the insertion of wooden beams, which,
projecting from the curtain, supported an overhanging gallery. This,
being pierced with traps or apertures in the flooring, commanded
the base of the wall, and was an important element in defensive
operations. But as it was found that these timber galleries were
easily set on fire by assailants, they were replaced in the fourteenth
century by stone machicolations, as shown at B, consisting of corbels,
supporting an embattled parapet. Between the inner face of the parapet
and the outer face of the curtain the supporting corbels alternated
with openings for the defence of the base, as already described. This
arrangement, among the earliest examples of which are the square
towers of Avignon, was soon generally adopted by architects in the
construction of city ramparts.

  [Illustration: 170A. MACHICOLATIONS]

"The art of fortification, which had made great advances at the
beginning of the thirteenth century, remained almost stationary to
the end of it. During the Hundred Years' War, however, it received a
fresh impetus. When order had been restored in the kingdom, Charles
VII. set about the restoration or reconstruction of many fortresses
recaptured from the English. In the defensive works of such towns
and castles, and in various new undertakings of a like nature,
we recognise the method and regularity proper to an art based on
well-defined principles, and far advanced towards mastery."[62]

[62] Viollet-le-Duc, _Dictionnaire_, vol. i.

In the Abbey of Mont St. Michel the successive modifications applied
to military _enceintes_ from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century,
are illustrated in the fullest and most interesting manner.


Of the fourteenth century fortifications, which surrounded the
original town at the summit of the rock, connecting the ramparts with
the _Merveille_ on the north, and the abbey buildings on the south,
some fragments still remain. The tower on the north is intact. The
walls are crowned with machicolations, in accordance with the then
novel system of massing the defences at the top of the ramparts.
The gate of the _enceinte_ was to the south-east, judging from the
miniatures in the _livre d'heures_ of Pierre II., Duke of Brittany,
which show the arrangement of the original _enceinte_ at the close of
the fourteenth century.

The abbey was at this time governed by Pierre Le Roy, one of its
ablest abbots and most famous constructors. He rebuilt the summit of
the _Tour des Corbins_ (_merveille_), restored, and re-roofed the
abbey buildings to the south of the church, which, begun by Richard
Justin in 1260, were carried on at intervals by his successors till
they were partially destroyed by the fire of 1374. He completed the
eastern defences by the addition of the square tower at O on the plan
(Fig. 151), in which he built several rooms for the accommodation of
his soldiers. The tower is known as the _Tour Perrine_, in memory of
its author. We have seen that the abbots gradually became great feudal
chieftains; the Abbot of Mont St. Michel was further commandant of the
place for the king; and he was empowered to bestow feofs on the nobles
of the province, who bound themselves in return to keep guard over the
mount in certain contingencies, enumerated in the following rendering
of a Latin text:--[63]

[63] Ed. Corroyer, _Description de l'Abbaye du Mont St. Michel et de
ses Abords_.

"The tenure of these vavassories was by faith and fealty, and their
holders were bound to furnish relief and thirteen knights, each
of whom was to come in person to guard the gate of the abbey when
necessary--that is to say, in time of war; each to keep guard for
the space of the ebb and flow of the sea--that is to say, during
the rising and falling of the tide; and each to be provided with
gambeson, casque, gauntlets, shield, lance, and all requisite arms;
and further to present themselves thus armed yearly at the feast of
St. Michael in September."

In the early years of the fifteenth century he built the gate-house
and crenellated curtain which connects it with the _Merveille_, to
the north of the guard-room, _Bellechaise_ (see Fig. 163, beginning
of this chapter). The gate-house was placed in front of the northern
façade of _Bellechaise_ (D, Fig. 150); an open space between this and
the south wall of the new structure formed a wide _machicoulis_ for
the protection of the north gate (that of _Bellechaise_), which, by
the erection of the new building, had been transformed into a second
interior entrance. The gate-house or _châtelet_ is a square structure,
flanked at the angles of the north front by two turrets, corbelled out
upon buttresses. In general appearance they resemble a pair of huge
mortars standing on their breeches. Between the pedestals of these
turrets was the doorway and the inclined vault over the staircase
leading to the guard-room. This entrance was defended by a portcullis
worked from within on the first story, and by three _machicoulis_
at the top of the curtain, between the battlements of the turrets.
For the further protection of the gate-house Pierre Le Roy built the
barbican which covers it to the east and north, and also commands
the great staircase (_Grand Degré_) on the north. He modified the
ramparts by the addition of the tower known as the _Tour Claudine_ at
the north-east angle of the _Merveille_. In the lower story of this
tower he constructed a guard-room, the postern of which communicated
with the _Grand Degré_, and by a series of ingenious and unique
combinations was so contrived as to command all the approaches.[64]

[64] Ed. Corroyer, _Description de l'Abbaye du Mont St. Michel_, etc.;
Paris, 1877.

  [Illustration: 172. MONT ST. MICHEL. SOUTH FRONT (AS IT WAS IN 1875)]

In 1411 the Abbot Robert Jolivet was nominated lord of the abbey by
Pope John XXIII. After his election by the monks he was made captain
of the garrison by the king, but continued to live in Paris. In
1416, however, he hastened to his abbey, which was threatened by the
English, who had possessed themselves of Lower Normandy after the
battle of Agincourt in 1415. Whilst the English were busy fortifying
Tombelaine, Robert Jolivet completed his walls and certain towers
round about the town, which still exist. To meet the expenses of
his undertaking the abbot obtained a grant from the king of fifteen
hundred _livres_ from the revenues of the Viscounty of Avranches,
besides a subsidy from the Master of the Mint at St. Lô.


At the time when Robert Jolivet was building the new ramparts, from
about 1415 to 1420, the town had greatly increased towards the south,
and even setting aside the dangerous proximity of the English at
Tombelaine, some more extensive system of defence than that afforded
by the fortifications of the fourteenth century was imperatively
needed to secure the place against attack. Robert Jolivet incorporated
his new walls on the east with those of the preceding century, which,
following the escarpments of the cliff, descend to the beach, and
are protected by the northern tower. These walls he flanked with an
additional tower projecting considerably from the surface, which was
destined to command the adjoining curtains and protect the main line
of his defences. He then carried his walls round to the south of the
rock and strengthened them by five other towers. The last of these,
known as the _Tour du Roi_, forms the south-eastern projection of the
place, and commands the western gate of the town.

The walls and their sloping bases are defended by stone machicolations
above, the consoles of which support open crenellated parapets.
Several of the towers were roofed, and afforded shelter for the
defenders of the ramparts. After leaving the _Tour du Roi_ the
walls turn off at a right angle and unite themselves to the abrupt
declivities of the rock by means of a series of steps and covered
ways, commanded by a fortified guard-room. Even the inaccessible peaks
of the rock itself are fortified and connected with the defences of
the abbey on the south.

At the beginning of the fifteenth century, and still more notably
towards its close, firearms had been successfully used in various
sieges, and had made such rapid progress that the whole system of
attack and defence was transformed. Towers gave way to bastions, the
terraces of which became batteries, while the battlements of the
earlier mode were replaced by epaulments. Machicolations which were
now merely a traditional decoration at last disappeared altogether,
and military science gradually took the place of architecture, for
which there was henceforth little scope in this particular field.

                              CHAPTER II

                    CASTLES AND KEEPS, OR DONJONS

The first French castles of the mediæval period seem to have been
built for the purpose of arresting invasion and affording shelter to
communities decimated by the raids of the Normans. They consisted of
simple intrenchments more or less extensive. Surrounded by a _fossé_
or ditch formed of earthworks, the scarp of which was defended by
a palisade, they had much in common with the camps of the ancient
Romans. In the centre of the enclosure rose the _motte_ (mote or
mound), a conical elevation, either natural to the ground, or
artificially formed on the model of the Roman _prætorium_. This was
surmounted by a building, generally of wood, which served as a post of
observation and a retreat less accessible than the _enceinte_ itself.

In these rudimentary dispositions we recognise the germ of those
feudal keeps and castles which were such important features of
mediæval architecture, notably during the Gothic period.

  [Illustration: 174. CASTLE OF ANGERS]

Defensive works of this nature sprang up at various points of the
royal domain which were exposed to the incursions of the Scandinavian
pirates; but the temporary concessions of Charles the Bald were
claimed as definitive by those to whom they had been made. "When,
therefore, that feeble monarch proclaimed the heredity of the feofs
at Quierzy-sur-Oise in 877, he did but sanction that which was
already an accomplished fact.... When the feudal system was firmly
established, the nobles turned their attention to the maintenance
of their usurpations alike against the kings of France, strangers,
and neighbours. To this end they carefully chose the best strategic
positions in their territories, and fortified them in the most durable
fashion at their command. The imposts they levied were considerable,
and their serfs were subject to endless exactions."[65] Stone castles
were accordingly built which, in general arrangement, adhered to
primitive models. In 980 Frotaire had raised no less than five around
Périgueux, his episcopal town.

[65] Anthyme St. Paul, _Histoire Monumentale de la France_.

In 991 Thibault File-Étoupe built a fortress on the hill of Montlhéry,
near the royal residences of Paris and Étampes, which was very
formidable to the first five kings of the house of Capet. Later, when
it became a royal possession, it was one of the chief bulwarks of the

  ANGLE. (SEE PLAN, FIG. 167)]

In the Middle Ages the castle bore the same relation to the fortified
town as did the keep to the feudal castle, and the history of one is
bound up in that of the other.

In a fortified town the castle was the lodging of the leader and his
soldiers. It was connected with the ramparts of the place, and had one
or more special outlets; it was further provided with defences on the
side of the town itself, so that upon occasion it became an isolated

The Castle of Carcassonne is a famous example of such offensive and
defensive fortification. It was built in the first years of the
twelfth century, and is composed of various lodgings for the chief and
his garrison, defended east and north, on the side towards the city,
by towers and curtains (Fig. 175). At the south-west angle independent
reducts and towers guard the courtyards and approaches. The west front
overlooks the open country, and here was placed the gate, which was
defended by a series of formidable devices so ingenious as to preclude
all possibility of surprise.

  [Illustration: 176. LOCHES CASTLE. KEEP]

During the Romanesque and Gothic periods the castle was a miniature
town, with its own fortified _enceinte_, composed of walls reinforced
by towers which served as refuges at various points of the
circumference, and formed so many reducts for the arrest of assailants.

The keep was the citadel of this miniature town, the temporary
lodging of the lord whose vassals lived in the internal offices, and
whose soldiers occupied the gate-house buildings and the towers of
the ramparts. The noble sought to give his special habitation the
most formidable aspect possible, and thereby to strike terror to the
beholder, a very necessary device in those days of conflict when the
friend of night was often the implacable foe of morning. "In times of
peace the keep was the receptacle for the treasure, arms, and archives
of the family; but the lord did not lodge there; he only took up his
quarters in the keep with his wife and children in time of war. As
it was not possible for him to defend the place alone, he surrounded
himself with a band of the most devoted of his followers who shared
his dwelling. From thence he exercised a scrupulous surveillance over
the garrison and its approaches, for the keep was always placed at
the most vulnerable point of the fortress, and he and his bodyguard
held the horde of vassals and retainers in due subservience; as they
were able to pass in and out at all hours by secret and well-guarded
passages, the garrison was kept in ignorance of the exact means of
defence, the lord, as was natural, doing all in his power to make them
appear formidable."[66]

[66] Viollet-le-Duc, _Dictionnaire_, vol. v.

Castles and keeps of stone were generally built upon the natural scarp
of some spur commanding two valleys and near the banks of a river; the
primitive mounds of the feudal fortresses were abandoned; as we have
already remarked, these were in many cases artificial, and would have
been quite inadequate to the support of the huge masses of masonry of
the new architecture.

"By the close of the tenth century and the opening years of the
eleventh, Foulques Nerra was raising castles throughout his own
territories in Anjou, and on every available point of vantage he could
wrest from his neighbour, the Count of Blois and Tours; the latter
built fortresses to resist the aggressor and complete the network of
strongholds begun by his father, Thibault the Trickster, one of the
most turbulent nobles of his day."[67]

[67] Anthyme St. Paul, _Histoire Monumentale de la France_.

The keep of Langeais, on a precipitous hill overlooking the Loire,
was founded by Foulques Nerra at the close of the tenth century;
the walls, which are still standing on three sides, show traces of
Gallo-Roman methods of construction; the dressed stones are of small
size, and brick and stone are used conjointly for the voussoirs of the
window arches.

A large number of castles and keeps were built in the eleventh and
twelfth centuries, among others those of Plessy, Grimoult, Le Pin,
and La Pommeraye, the last on a mound surrounded by deep moats
which separate three lines of circumvallation from each other;
Beaugency-sur-Loire, the vast keep of which was four stories high;
and Loches, which is ascribed to Foulques Nerra, but which seems
to belong rather to the twelfth century, at which period military
architecture had made a great advance. The keep of Loches is perhaps
the finest of all such structures in France; in height it is nearly
100 feet; the ramparts seem to date from the thirteenth century; the
form of the towers on plan is a pointed arch, a shape adopted as
offering greater resistance at the part most frequently attacked by
the sapper.

  [Illustration: 177. FALAISE CASTLE. KEEP]

At Falaise, where the castle like that of Domfront is built on
a rugged promontory, the ramparts are later than the keep, the
architectural details of which point to the twelfth century. This
hypothesis is supported by a passage in the Chronicle of Robert du
Mont, quoted by M. de Caumont. In 1123 Henry II. rebuilt the keep and
ramparts of Arques, and carried out similar restorations at Gisors,
Falaise, Argentan, Exmes, Domfront, Amboise, and Vernon.

  [Illustration: 178. LAVARDIN CASTLE. KEEP]


Other keeps of equal interest in point of situation, plan, or details
of construction are:--Ste. Suzanne, Nogent-le-Rotrou, Broue, L'Islot,
Tonnay-Boutonne, Pons, Chamboy, Montbazon, Lavardin, Montrichard,
and Huriet in the Bourbonnais. All these, in common with those first
described, are square or rectangular on plan. From the end of the
twelfth century onwards the cylindrical form predominates in the plan
of keeps and towers. On the whole, it offered the best resistance to
the mediæval assailant. The convex surface was of equal strength all
round, and as we have seen in the preceding chapter, the circular
trace for towers gave the garrison the best chance of defending their
bases from the curtain, and of opposing the work of sappers and miners.

  [Illustration: 180. PROVINS CASTLE. KEEP]

The great advance made in architecture by the general adoption
of an expedient so simple and easy of execution as the vault on
intersecting arches manifested itself very strongly in military
structures. The heavy wooden floors of the earlier keeps, which were
so apt to catch fire, were replaced by less ponderous vaults, binding
the circular walls firmly together, and forming a flooring for the
various stories less unsteady and infinitely more durable than the
huge beams and joists of earlier days.

A further improvement was the pointed roof, round on plan, now
generally adopted as better calculated to withstand projectiles or
combustibles which shattered the angles of the roof in the old square
towers, and set fire to the timbers.

The form of keeps, however, varied considerably throughout the
twelfth century. At Houdan the keep is a great tower strengthened by
four turrets; at Étampes it is composed of four clustered towers,
forming a quatrefoil on plan; the vaulted stories are marked by many
curious features, among others a deep well, the opening of which is
in the second floor. Some historians date this building from the
eleventh century; there are indications, however, in the details of
the architecture and sculptures, which point to the early part of the
reign of Philip Augustus.

The keep of Provins, which belongs to the twelfth century, has certain
very original features. It rises from a solid mound of masonry, and
has a circular _enceinte_. The base of the keep itself is square, and
is flanked at each angle by a turret. An octagonal tower surmounts
the square base, and is connected with the flanking turrets by flying
buttresses. The keep of Gisors is also octagonal in form, one of its
octagons being at a tangent to the circular _enceinte_ which crowns
the feudal _motte_ or mound. It was built in the twelfth century, and
was considerably augmented by the line of walls and square towers
which Philip Augustus drew round the mound.

The _Château Gaillard_, built at the close of the twelfth century
on an eminence commanding the Seine at Les Andelys, has several
peculiarities of arrangement. The round keep is first enclosed by a
circular _enceinte_, or rather by a square, the angles of which have
been rounded. This in its turn is surrounded by an elliptic enclosure
connected with the defences of the castle, and consisting of a series
of segmental towers united by very narrow curtains. In this massive
structure the art of the architect manifests itself only in the
robust solidity of the masonry. It is the keep in its purely military
character. No trace of decoration mitigates its austerity.

  [Illustration: 181. CASTLE OF CHINON. SOUTH FRONT]

Philip Augustus, having possessed himself of the Château Gaillard,
fortified Gisors on the same formidable scale, and proceeded to build
the castle of Dourdan as well as his own palace fortress of the
Louvre, in Paris. Upon the death of the king, Enguerrand III. began
to build a fortress at Coucy, which he completed in less than ten
years (1223-1230). Its grandiose proportions and formidable system of
defence surpassed everything that had gone before. Coucy was, in fact,
the architectural manifestation of that haughty ambition to which
Enguerrand is said to have given free expression during the minority
of his sovereign.

  [Illustration: 182. CASTLE OF CLISSON. KEEP]

Next in importance to the castles and keeps of the thirteenth century,
already enumerated, are the following:--The White Tower of Issoudun;
the Tower of Blandy; the octagonal keep of Châtillon-sur-Loing,
Semur; the royal fortresses of Angers, built by St. Louis;
Montargis, Boulogne, Chinon, and Saumur; the _Tour Constance_ or
keep of Aigues-Mortes, ascribed to St. Louis; the castle of Najac,
built by his brother, Alphonse of Poitiers; the castles of Bourbon
l'Archambault and Chalusset, and the castle of Clisson, rebuilt or
begun by Olivier I., Lord of Clisson, after his return from the Holy
Land, etc.


In the fourteenth century military architecture developed chiefly
on reconstructive lines. Ancient fortresses were reorganised in
accordance with the new methods of attack and (consequently) of
defence, and the weak points brought to light by recent sieges
were dealt with. The same process was applied to the construction
of towers which had hitherto been furnished with several rows of
loopholes, an excellent expedient for the defence of curtains and
approaches, but subject to this drawback, that it directed attention
to the most vulnerable points. The first effect of the use of cannon
in warfare was to increase the thickness of the walls; subsequently,
such structural modifications were adopted as were required by the
novel method of massing all the defences at the summit of machicolated
walls. The principal castles of this period were Vincennes, near
Paris, built by Philip of Valois and Charles V., and the vast
fortified palace at Avignon, constructed by the Popes Benedict XII.,
Clement VI., Innocent VI., and Urban V., of which we shall have more
to say in Part IV. Gaston Phœbus, Count of Foix and Béarn, built
square keeps in the _Bastide_ of Béarn, at Montaner, and at Mauvezin,
besides circular keeps at Lourdes and at Foix.

  [Illustration: 184. CASTLE OF TARASCON]

Among keeps and castles completed or entirely built in the fourteenth
century, Anthyme St. Paul enumerates those of Roquetaillade,
Bourdeilles, Polignac, Briquebec, Hardelot, Rambures, Lavardin (the
foundations of which were laid in the twelfth century), Montrond,
Turenne, Billy, Murat, and Hérisson, the curious keep of Montbard, the
keeps of Romefort, Pouzauges, Noirmoutier, and many others.

At the end of the fourteenth and beginning of the fifteenth century
Louis of Orleans, son of Charles V., took advantage of the madness
of his brother Charles VI. to fortify various positions on which he
relied for the furtherance of his ambitious schemes. In 1393 and the
years immediately following he acquired various estates in Valois:
Montépilloy, Pierrefonds, and La Ferté-Milon, the castle of which he
rebuilt entirely. He also bought the domain of Coucy in 1400, after
the death of the last male descendant of Enguerrand III.

Coucy, Pierrefonds, and La Ferté-Milon have been so exhaustively
described in special works, notably those of Viollet-le-Duc, that we
need not reproduce them here. We have cited them as characteristic
types of those colossal fortresses and keeps, admirable alike in
grandiose proportion and refinement of detail which are the supreme
expression of feudal power.

  [Illustration: 185. VITRÉ CASTLE]

Several other castles were built in Albigeois, Auvergne, Limousin,
Guyenne, La Vendée, and Provence, notably at Tarascon. The keeps of
Trèves in Anjou also date from this period.

Important castles sprang up all over Brittany in the fifteenth
century. Such were Combourg, Fougères, Montauban, St. Malo, Vitré,
Elven, Sucinio, Dinan, Tonquédec, etc.

Many of these buildings which date from the close of the century
were remarkable for their ingenuity of arrangement and richness of
decoration. But though worthy of all attention from the artistic point
of view, they do not come within the scope of our present study--that
of _military_ architecture in the Gothic period.

                             CHAPTER III

                          GATES AND BRIDGES

Though confining ourselves to a brief historical abstract of the
so-called Gothic period in architecture, without reference to Roman
examples, we have said enough in the foregoing studies on castles
and keeps, and the circumvallation of towns, to give some idea of
the importance attached by architects to the gates which secured the
_enceintes_, and the bridges which afforded an approach.

_Gates._--Following the example of those Frankish architects whose
works in Syria after the first Crusade seem to have exercised such
far-reaching influence, French builders of the reigns of Philip
Augustus and St. Louis reduced the entrances of fortresses and
fortified _enceintes_ to the smallest number practicable. Their
construction was based upon a system calculated to repulse any
ordinary attempt to carry the place by direct attack; as a rule,
fortresses were taken rather by ruse, surprise, or treason than by
regular siege.


During the twelfth, and more especially the thirteenth century, the
gates were the points most strongly fortified. They were approached
over a bridge, by raising a movable portion of which, however,
entrance might be barred on the very threshold. The narrow gateway
passage was defended by two projecting towers pierced with loopholes,
and connected by a curtain. The whole structure formed a fortified
gate-house, known as a _châtelet_, which had to be carried before an
assailant could penetrate to the fortress beyond. The passage was
further defended by a single or double portcullis, a grated timber
framework like a harrow, cased with iron, the uprights of which were
spiked at the bottom. The passage was also defended by machicolations
or holes in the roof, through which the garrison could hurl down
missiles on the heads of their enemies, should the latter have forced
the gate.

The castle-gate of Carcassonne which was built about 1120 still
exists, and is a good example of such arrangements.

The minute precautions adopted by architects to guard against surprise
are very manifest in this example. A sudden attempt was often
successful, especially if favoured by traitors among the defenders

The difficulties of passage were increased by the multiplication of
portcullises, the windlasses of which were worked from different
stories of the tower, so as to prevent collusion between different
parties of the garrison, which was often composed largely of
mercenaries. In the gate-house of Carcassonne the first portcullis
was raised or lowered by means of chains and counter-weights worked
from a windlass on the second floor; the second portcullis was worked
in like manner from the first floor, in a place entirely cut off from
communication with that above, to which access could only be obtained
by a wooden staircase in the castle courtyard.

In the thirteenth century military architects further provided
against surprises by defensive outworks. The gate of Laon, at Coucy,
so admirably described by Viollet-le-Duc, is a famous example. These
outworks, which were called barbicans, were designed to protect the
great gate and its approaches.


Around the walls of the city of Carcassonne a second line of ramparts
had been drawn by St. Louis, in which only a single opening gave
access to the _lists_ (Fig. 187)--that is to say, the space between
the inner and outer enclosures. He afterwards built a huge tower,
known as the _Barbican_, to the west of the castle, with which it
was connected by crenellated walls, and by inner cross-walls, so
arranged in a kind of echelon that the open spaces on one side were
masked by the projections on the other (see plan, Fig. 167). The
tower was destined to cover sorties from the garrison, and to keep
open communication by the bridge across the Aude. It was rather an
outwork than a barbican such as Philip the Bold built before the
_Porte Narbonaise_, on the east of the city, towards the close of the
thirteenth century.


The _Porte Narbonaise_ bears a general resemblance to the main
gate of the castle, subject, however, to the great advance made in
military architecture in the course of a century. The gateway towers
are provided with spurs, an invention directed against the attack of
miners, which had the further advantage of interfering with the action
of a battering-ram, by exposing those who worked it to missiles from
the adjacent parts of the curtain. The gate opened immediately upon
the lists; it was defended by the crenellated semi-circular barbican,
which was united on either side to the embattled parapet of the lists.
Access to the barbican was obtained only by a narrow passage preceded
by a bridge, the latter easily defended by a redan which adjoined the
postern of the barbican.

The gate itself was provided with two portcullises like those of the
castle gate; behind the first were massive folding-doors, and over it
a wide machicolation.

The constructive methods employed in the building of fortified gates
were modified as military architecture progressed on lines already
considered by us in the first chapter of this section, when dealing
with defensive methods generally, which, in the fourteenth century,
seem to have been in advance of those of attack. A steady improvement
in details went on until the invention of gunpowder came in to
profoundly modify the conditions alike of defence and assault.


The gateways of fortified _enceintes_ were modified in the
fourteenth century not only by alterations in the plan of towers,
the substitution of stone machicolations for the wooden _hourds_ or
scaffoldings of parapets, the addition of portcullises, folding-doors,
and the _machicoulis_ of the vaulted passage, but further by the
invention of the drawbridge. A drawbridge, it may be hardly necessary
to say, consisted of a wooden platform suspended by chains to
cross-beams poised on uprights on the principle of a see-saw; when
lowered, the bridge afforded a passage across the moat. It was raised
by depressing the inner ends of the lever-beams which pivoted upon a
fulcrum, and thus brought the platform up vertically against the front
of the building, where it formed an outer door which an attacking
party had either to batter in or to bring down by cutting the chains.


It will be readily perceived that such a bridge was infinitely more
effectual and more to be depended upon than the portable bridge
mentioned in our description of the castle gate of Carcassonne.
The latter had to be raised piece by piece, a prolonged operation
impossible of execution in case of a sudden surprise.

Aigues-Mortes seems to have been one of the first fortresses to
which the new methods were applied. The gates east, west, and south
are constructed on the twelfth-century system, as exemplified at
Carcassonne. But the northern gate, known as the _Porte de la
Gardette_, which was either made or altered in the fourteenth century,
still shows the grooves for the beams of the drawbridge, and the
pointed arch of the doorway is enframed by a square rebate destined
for the platform when raised.

The use of drawbridges became very general in the fourteenth century,
and gave rise to various ingenious combinations. The gate at Dinan,
known as the _Porte de Jerzual_, which probably dates from the close
of the century, is a curious example. It is not placed between
two towers in the manner then usual, but is pierced through the
actual face of a tower. In this case, the inner prolongation of the
lever-beams formed a solid panel like the platform of the bridge
itself. It was worked through a hole in the roof of the entrance
archway, being raised with the help of a chain, and falling through
its own preponderant weight. The horizontal pivot on which it turned
rested on the brackets shown in Fig. 190; the external sections of the
lever-beams sank in the usual manner into the vertical grooves above
the arch, and when the bridge was up, the solid panel joining the
inner ends of the levers doubled the protection it gave. In case of
alarm, the chain had simply to be let go, and the panel falling by its
own weight, the bridge rose, and the barricade was complete.

  [Illustration: 191. VITRÉ CASTLE. GATE-HOUSE]

By the fifteenth century drawbridges were in universal use; an
interesting development was the result. This was the introduction of a
smaller gate or postern in the curtain between the towers, by the side
of the great gateway. Each of the two apertures was furnished with its
own drawbridge. That of the centre, which was reserved for horsemen
and vehicles, was worked by two beams or arms, as we have seen, while
the smaller footbridge of the postern was raised by means of a single
beam, the chain of which was attached to a forked upright.


The castle of Vitré, which was built, or at least completed at the
close of the fourteenth or beginning of the fifteenth century,
illustrates the system in the gateway of its _châtelet_.

The gate-house, known as the _Porte St. Michel_, at Guérande, which
was built together with the _enceinte_ by John V., Duke of Brittany,
in 1431, still preserves the lateral grooves which indicate the shape
and arrangement of the postern drawbridge.

When raised, the two drawbridges closed the apertures of gateway and
postern, while the open gulf of the great ditch, either empty, or full
of water, cut off the approach to the entrance.

The Abbey of Mont St. Michel, which we have already studied under
various aspects, has further information to give us with regard to the
construction of fortified gateways. In accordance with contemporary
usage, the Abbot Pierre Le Roy built a gate-house or _bastille_
(Fig. 163), the entrance of which was guarded by a portcullis and a
wide _machicoulis_; he masked this gate-house by a barbican, which
was connected north and south with the great stairway leading to
the abbey. The northern staircase is rendered specially interesting
by the ingenious arrangement of its gates, which opened within
the barbican. The apertures were filled by a panel which worked
horizontally, on a system necessitated by the exceptional situation of
the abbey, where the military, as well as the domestic buildings, were
superposed, communicating with each other only by an elaborate series
of staircases and inclines. The doors pivoted upon horizontal axes.
Resting upon salient jambs in the embrasures of the doorways, they
opened in a direction parallel with the slope of the steps, and could
be shut at the least alarm, being carried into place by their own
weight. They were kept fastened by lateral bolts, the slots of which
still exist in the jambs.[68]

[68] Ed. Corroyer, _Description de l'Abbaye du Mont St. Michel et de
ses Abords_; Paris, 1877.


The main gate of the ramparts, which was built between 1415 and 1420,
is to the west of the place, in the curtain flanked by the tower
known as the _Tour du Roi_. This gate and the lateral postern gave
access to the town, their drawbridges forming a passage across the
moat when lowered, and when raised, an initial barrier to assailants.
Above the gates was the warder's lodging, beneath which the vaulted
passage and the postern communicated directly with an outer guard-room
in the ground-floor of the _Tour du Roi_. In addition to the first
barrier, formed by the raised platform of the drawbridge, the main
entrance was secured by double doors, and by an iron portcullis, which
still remains in its lateral grooves. The great arch is crowned by a
tympanum, on which the united arms of the king, the abbey, and the
town were carved.

The works designed for the defence of rivers flowing through fortified
towns, or of the inlets of harbours, are closely allied to the
military architecture of gates. At Troyes the river arches in the
town ramparts were guarded by gratings or portcullises of iron. At
Paris the passage of the Seine was barred by chains stretched across
the river from wall to wall, and upheld in the middle of the stream
by piles or firmly anchored boats. At Angers the walls of the town
abutted on two towers known as the _Haute Chaîne_ and the _Basse
Chaîne_ (the Higher and Lower Chains), containing windlasses for the
chains, which at night were stretched across the Maine at its passage
through the _enceinte_.

Seaports were defended at the mouth by towers on either shore,
between which chains, worked from within, could be stretched to bar
the passage. The harbour of La Rochelle is thus protected. According
to some archæologists of authority, the tower known as the _Tour
de la Chaîne_ (to the left of the drawing) is older than that of
St. Nicholas (on the right), which is supposed by them to have been
built in the sixteenth century on the foundations of an earlier tower
contemporary with that on the other side of the Channel. The piles
upon which these towers stand seem to have given way in part, and to
have caused a perceptible inclination of the Tower of St. Nicholas.


The suggestion made in a very fanciful modern design, that the two
towers were once united by a great arch, is wholly without foundation.
Such a useless structure would have entailed defensive works equally
useless, seeing that a chain stretched from tower to tower at high
tide--at low tide the harbour was inaccessible--would have been
perfectly effectual against any vessels of that period attempting to
force a passage.

_Bridges._--As is the case with all other architectural buildings,
the origin of bridges dates back to the Romans, by whom they were
often decorated with triumphal arches. The bridge of St. Chamas in
Provence, known as the _Pont Flavien_ (Flavian Bridge), is an example
which seems to date from the first centuries of the Christian era.

The triumphal arches were in later times replaced by fortifications;
they became _têtes de pont_, _bastilles_, or crenellated gate-houses,
the function of which was not, like that of the arches, the decoration
of the structure or the glorification of its founder, but the defence
of the passage across the river, and the protection of the fortress
with which it communicated.


Among the bridges constructed by mediæval architects, that of St.
Bénézet, the Bridge of Avignon, seems to be the most ancient. This
bridge, which was begun about 1180, and completed some ten years
later, is equally remarkable for its architectural details, and the
structural problems solved by its builders. It crosses, or rather
used to cross, the Rhone--for though the arm towards the _Rocher des
Doms_ is the narrower, it is the deeper--on nineteen arches, extending
from the foot of the Doms, on the Avignonese bank, to the Tower of
Villeneuve, on the right bank, after a slight deflection southward.

The gate-house on the left bank, some fragments of which still remain,
is said to have been built by the Popes in the fourteenth century, for
the purpose of levying tolls, a perquisite shared by them with the
King of France.

The Bridge of Avignon seems to have been one of the first constructed
by the fraternity of the _Hospitaliers pontifs_, which was founded
in the twelfth century for the double object of building bridges
and succouring travellers. The head of the order at the time of the
building of the Rhone bridge was St. Bénézet. It must have numbered
architects of ability among its members, for the construction of the
Bridge of Avignon is very remarkable. Each of the elliptical arches
is composed of four independent arches in simple juxtaposition one
with another. This device ensures elasticity, and as a consequence
stability. The solidarity of the whole is rendered complete by the
masonry of the spandrils, which recall the architectural portions of
the aqueduct, known as the _Pont du Gard_; its width is about 16 feet.
The arches spring from piers furnished on either face with acute spurs
designed to break the force of the stream and the impact of floating
ice in the winter.

The spandril above each pier is pierced with a round arch, to
give free passage to the water during those floods which at times
completely submerge the piers.

The bridge in its present ruined condition has only four arches. On
the pier nearest to the left bank the ancient chapel, dedicated to
St. Nicholas, is still standing. Access to it is obtained by means
of a flight of corbelled steps rising from the foundation to the
entrance, and by an overhanging landing-stage, resting at one end
against the pier, at the other against the flank of the arch.


The old bridge at Carcassonne seems to be contemporary with that of
Avignon, but its arches are semi-circular, their keystones are bound
into the intrados, and their piers are spurred to the level of the
platform, where they form recesses or refuges, which the narrowness of
the bridge rendered very necessary.

Among bridges of the thirteenth century we may mention that at
Béziers, where the arches, both pointed and semi-circular, resemble
those of Carcassonne in construction; but here the piers only rise
above the summers of the arches by the height of two or three courses,
and their spandrils are pierced to give free passage to the current
during floods.

The bridge which spanned the Rhone at St. Savournin du Port, known as
the _Pont St. Esprit_, was the work of a Clunisian abbot about 1265.
It resembled the Bridge of Avignon in the construction of the piers
with their pierced spandrils; the arches, however, were semi-circular.
The platform, which is some 16 feet across, was barred at either end
by toll-gates; that nearest to the little town was connected with
the _tête de pont_, which, in after times, was incorporated with the
fortress commanding the course of the Rhone above the bridge.


The question of tolls was an important one in those days, and gave
rise to frequent disputes. The towers and gate-houses of bridges were
toll-bars as well as defensive outworks.

The bridge at Montauban, known as the _Pont des Consuls_, which was
begun at the close of the thirteenth century, remained unfinished
till the beginning of the fourteenth, when Philip the Fair gave such
help as was needed for its completion, on condition that he should
be allowed to raise three towers on the bridge, with a view to the
appropriation of the tolls.

The Bridge of Montauban is built entirely of brick. It consists of
seven pointed arches, resting on spurred piers, which are pierced
with arches, also pointed, and rising to the same height as the main
arches, to provide for the frequent floods of the Tarn.

The Bridge of Cahors is one of the most beautiful of
fourteenth-century examples. It is still of great interest in spite of
the various restorations it has undergone, chiefly of late years.

  [Illustration: 198. BRIDGE OF ORTHEZ]

This bridge, which is known as the _Pont de Valentré_, was begun in
1308 by Raymond Panchelli, Bishop of Cahors from 1300-1312, and cannot
have been finished before 1355. It consists of six slightly pointed
arches; the piers, which rise to the level of the parapet, forming
lateral refuges, are triangular above bridge and square below. At each
end the bridge was commanded by a crenellated structure, forming a
gate-house or _tête de pont_ on either bank. In the middle rose a
lofty tower with gates, by means of which passage might be barred and
assailants checked in the event of a surprise of either gate-house.


The Bridge of Orthez has strong affinities with that of Cahors. It
must date from about the same period, and there is every reason to
suppose it was defended, not only by the central tower, but by _têtes
de pont_, one of which at least must have been destroyed to make way
for the railroad from Bayonne to Pau.

Bridges were of great importance in the Middle Ages, both as public
highways and military outworks. At certain points, notably at the
confluence of two rivers, they were strongly reinforced by very
considerable defences, as at Sens, Montereau, etc.

At Paris, Orleans, Rouen, Nantes, and a large number of other towns
traversed by rivers, bridges were not only important as military
defences, but of great interest as architecture.

Mont St. Michel shall furnish us with our last example, a bridge
of the fifteenth century. Though it spans no stream, it is none
the less remarkable. In the details of this bridge--its embattled
platform uniting the lower church to the abbey, its machicolated
parapet guarding the inner passages--we recognise an art consummate as
that which stirs our enthusiasm in the vast proportions and perfect
execution of the splendid choir, the whole proclaiming the versatile
genius of those great builders who welded into one noble monument a
triad of masterpieces--religious, monastic, and military.

                               PART IV

                          CIVIL ARCHITECTURE

                              CHAPTER I


Civil architecture could boast no special characteristics before
the close of the thirteenth century. Its earlier buildings bore the
impress of religious and monastic types, as was natural at a period
when architecture was practised almost exclusively by monks and by the
lay disciples trained in their schools.

It was not until the following century that domestic architecture
threw off the trammels of religious tradition, and took on the
character appropriate to its various functions. Artists began to seek
decorative motives in the scenes and objects of daily life, no longer
borrowing exclusively from sacred themes, and convention in form and
detail was abandoned in some degree for the study of nature.

_Barns._--Throughout the Romanesque and Gothic periods, barns,
hospitals, and houses were constructed in the prevailing style. We
propose, of course, to deal only with buildings possessing real
architectural features.


The barns or granaries of mediæval times were rural dependencies of
the abbeys, but were built outside the enclosure of the monastery
proper, and formed part of the _priory_ or farm. The entrance of the
barn was a large door, opening upon the yard in the centre of the
front gable end; access was also obtained by means of smaller doors
in the side walls, and often a postern was constructed beside the
main entrance for ordinary use. The great central doors were then
only thrown open for the passage of carts, which, entering at the
front, passed out through a similar door in the opposite gable end, as
at the barn of Perrières, which, though situated in Normandy, was a
dependency of the Abbey of Marmoutier, near Tours.


Such barns were generally large three-aisled buildings, the central
aisle divided from those on either side by an arcade, or pillars of
wood or stone, which supported the pointed timber roof covering the

  [Illustration: 201A. BARN AT PERRIÈRES. SECTION]

In some of these barns it was the practice to pile wheat, barley, or
rye in the centre and in one of the side aisles; in others the central
aisle was kept free for passage, and the grain was stored in the sides.

The façades differ only in unimportant details. They consist of vast
gable ends, following the lines of the roof, and strengthened by
pilasters. A large doorway, with a small postern to the side of it,
occupies the centre of the base, and the apex is pierced with narrow
openings to light, or rather to ventilate, the interior.

  [Illustration: 201B. BARN AT PERRIÈRES. PLAN]

Tithe-barns were very generally constructed on this plan. When large
and important they had two stories, as at Provins.

These were not as a rule vaulted, but the granaries, or _greniers
d'abondance_, were often built with three stories, that of the
ground-floor, and even the one above it, being vaulted. The granary of
the Abbey of Vauclair, in the department of Aisne, built towards the
close of the twelfth century, is a very interesting example of such

  [Illustration: 202. TITHE-BARN AT PROVINS]


Some idea of the importance of religious establishments at this period
may be gathered from the foregoing details. The great abbeys were
miniature towns, and their dependencies, the priories, consisted of
vast farms, round which large villages soon grew up. The cultivators
of these great holdings combined agricultural labours with their
religious exercises, and the priors in especial were not only priests,
but perhaps even in a greater degree stewards or bailiffs, whose duty
it was to collect payments in kind, such as tithes or other revenues,
to store these, together with the crops of their own raising, and
finally to administer the wealth of every description--lands, woods,
rivers, and ponds--belonging to the abbey.

_Hospitals._--A large number of charitable institutions, called in
the Middle Ages _maisons dieu_, _hôtels dieu_, hospices, hospitals,
and lazar-houses, were founded in the eleventh century, and greatly
developed in the twelfth and thirteenth.

A hospital was attached to most of the large abbeys or their
dependencies. The cities also owned hospitals founded or served by

Lazar-houses had multiplied throughout Western Europe by the end of
the twelfth century, from Denmark to Spain, from England to Bohemia
and Hungary; but these buildings gave little scope to the architect.
They consisted merely of an enclosure surrounding a few isolated
cells, and a chapel, attached to which were the lodgings of the monks
who tended the lepers.


But many of the hospices or hospitals built from the end of the
twelfth to the fourteenth century are magnificent buildings, in
general arrangement much resembling the great halls of the abbeys.

It must be borne in mind that hospitality in the Middle Ages
was obligatory; each monastery, therefore, had its eleemosynary
organisation, which included special buildings for the accommodation
of monks whose business it was to tend the sick and to distribute alms
to them and other travellers and pilgrims.


We learn from Viollet-le-Duc that so early as the Carlovingian
period taxes were levied in aid of the poor, the sick, and pilgrims.
Charlemagne had enjoined hospitality in his ordinances and
capitularies, and it was forbidden to refuse shelter, fire, and water
to any suppliant.


The communes vied with kings, nobles, abbots, and citizens in the
discharge of such duties. Hospices and hospitals were founded on
every hand, either in deserted buildings, or in specially constructed

Refuges were also built on roads much frequented by pilgrims to
shelter belated travellers, and hospices were constructed outside the
walls and close to the city gates.

Pilgrimages were much in vogue in the Middle Ages, especially
throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The sanctuaries
of St. Michael in Normandy, and of St. James of Compostella in Spain,
were the most frequented. At the beginning of the thirteenth century
a hospice was founded outside Paris, near the Porte St. Denis, which
was dedicated to St. James. This hospice, with its chapel, was served
by the confraternity of _St. Jacques aux Pèlerins_ (St. James of
Pilgrims), and offered gratuitous shelter each night to pilgrims bound
for Paris. Its buildings covered two acres; they included a great hall
of stone, vaulted on intersecting arches, and measuring some 132 feet
by 36, for the accommodation of the sick.

In a file of accounts of the fifteenth century, concluding with
an appeal for funds, it is stated that, for the convenience of
pilgrims--_y a lieu pour ce faire XVIIJ liz qui depuis le premier jour
d'aoust MCCCLXVIIJ jusques au jour de Mons. S. Jacques et Christofle
ensuivant on estés logés et hebergés en l'hospital de céans_ XV^m VI^c
IIII^{xx}X _pèlerins qui aloient et venoient au Mont Saint Michel et
austres pèlerins. Et encore sont logés continuellement chascune nuict
de XXXVI à XL povres pèlerins et austres povres, pourquoy le povre
hospital est moult chargé et en grant nécessité de liz, de couvertures
et de draps._[69]

In the first years of the fourteenth century several hundreds of
_hôtels dieu_, hospitals, and lazar-houses received help from the
King of France. St. Louis founded the _Hospice des Quinze-Vingts_ for
the blind, and in many towns hospitals were erected for the insane,
the old, and the infirm, in addition to the usual lazar-houses.
Special hospitals had already been established for women in labour,
and a chapel was founded for their benefit in the crypt of the _Ste.
Chapelle_ of Paris, dedicated to Our Lady of Travail, of Tombelaine,
in Normandy.[70]

[69] "Eighteen beds have been in use, and from the first day of
August 1368 to the feast of SS. James and Christopher following (July
25, 1369) this hospital has lodged and sheltered 16,690 pilgrims
journeying to or from St. Michael's Mount, besides others. And it
has further given shelter each night to some thirty-six to forty
poor pilgrims and other needy persons, whereby the poor hospital is
heavily burdened and in sore straits for lack of beds, sheets, and
blankets."--Ed. Corroyer, _Description de l'Abbaye du Mont St. Michel
et de ses Abords_; Paris, 1877.

[70] _Idem._


Several hospitals of the Gothic period still exist. That of St. John
at Angers is one of the most remarkable. It comprises a great hall,
divided into three aisles, and vaulted on intersecting arches, and
a chapel dating from the close of the twelfth or beginning of the
thirteenth century. The fine barn at Angers is of the same period;
the plan and details of construction are very curious, and resemble
those of the barns and granaries already described.

The _Hôtel Dieu_ of Chartres dates from about the same period.

The hospital of Ourscamps, near Noyon, is very similar as to the
scheme of construction which seems to have been one generally adopted
by the religious architects of the twelfth, and more notably of the
thirteenth century. The grandiose proportions of the vast building
recall the great vaulted halls of contemporary abbeys, such as those
of St. Jean des Vignes at Soissons, and of the _merveille_ at Mont
St. Michel. Certain individual features characterise it as a hospice
specially designed for the sick, the poor, and pilgrims.

The Hospice of Tonnerre appears to have been rebuilt in the fourteenth
century. The vast design is very impressively carried out. The great
hall, over 60 feet wide by some 300 long, is covered with an open
timber roof, boarded in so as to form a semi-circular vault, which is
singularly effective.

The internal arrangements are very ingenious. A wooden gallery in the
half-story commanded a view into each unceiled cubicle, by means of
which it was possible to keep constant watch over the patients without
disturbing them.

The hospital of Beaune has been so often described as to call for
little comment. The painted timber vault of the great hall seems to
have been imitated from that of Tonnerre. Its distinctive character
has unfortunately been destroyed by the construction of a ceiling,
the joists of which rest on the tie-beams of the original skeleton.
But the inner court is intact, with the arcade and well and wash-house
so familiar from descriptions and illustrations. Another picturesque
and often described feature is the great roof on the south side, with
its double row of dormer windows surmounted by a rich ornamentation of
hammered lead.

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the practice of vaulting the
great halls of hospitals with stone was abandoned. It became usual in
France and in Flanders to cover the vast aisles with timber roofs, the
boarded vaults of which were either pointed or barrel-shaped.

The term _maladrerie_ was applied to the small lazar-houses, numbers
of which were built in France in the neighbourhood of abbeys or of
priories remote from towns and great religious centres.

The _Maladrerie du Tortoir_, not far from Laon, on the _Route de la
Fère_, is a type of such rural hospitals. Both in plan and in the
details of construction it recalls the hospital of Tonnerre, more
especially in the ingenious arrangement of the interior.

In the planning of these charitable institutions mediæval architects
exhibited the same skill and ingenuity which distinguished their
treatment of religious monuments. Viollet-le-Duc has pointed out
the strange illogicality of such a theory as that which would make
artists who showed extraordinary subtlety in religious buildings
responsible for so much coarseness in civil structures. We must not
hold them accountable for the destruction of their well-planned
hospitals from the sixteenth century onwards, and the substitution of
buildings, the main preoccupation of whose architects was to provide
accommodation for as many patients as possible. Louis XIV. endowed the
hospitals built in his reign with the revenues of the lazar-houses
and _maladreries_, for which there was no further occasion, leprosy
having disappeared from his dominions. But his hospitals leave much to
be desired from the hygienic point of view; the mediæval hospitals,
on the other hand, have a monumental simplicity of appearance, and
offer a liberal supply of light, air, and space to their patients. We
do not assert the superiority of the cellular system commonly adopted
in hospitals from the twelfth to the fifteenth century, over that of
the open wards of our own times, but we may be permitted to point out
its great moral advantages. And, as our learned authority remarks, the
system owed its adoption to a noble delicacy of charitable feeling in
the mediæval founders and builders of our _maisons dieu_.

_Houses and Hôtels, or Town-Houses of the Nobility._--The history
of human habitations is a subject of such interest that to treat it
adequately a special work would be necessary. Such an undertaking has,
moreover, been admirably carried out by a famous architect.[71]

[71] Ch. Garnier, Member of the Institute, whose picturesque
embodiment of research, in his reconstruction of human habitations
from the lacustrine period to our own times, attracted so much
attention at the Exhibition of 1889.

We must refrain from discussion of prehistoric or Merovingian
dwellings, or of those rural hovels, the typical variations of
which, in different countries and climates, offers so wide a field
for study. To keep within the limits assigned us by the arbitrary
term Gothic Architecture, we must confine our rapid sketch to the
architectural period which dates from the middle of the twelfth to the
close of the fifteenth century.

  [Illustration: 208. HOUSE AT CLUNY (TWELFTH CENTURY)]

Nothing remains of habitations constructed in France before the
twelfth century, save the vague and scanty records of ancient texts,
manuscripts, and bas-reliefs. But we may reasonably infer that the
houses of the period were built of wood, as was natural in a country
containing great tracts of forest. We know that most of the important
buildings were timber structures, which explains the fact that numbers
of twelfth-century churches were founded on the sites of earlier
buildings destroyed by fire.

Roman, Gallo-Roman, and Merovingian houses were arranged to suit the
habits of the times; they were lighted by windows opening upon an
inner courtyard, in accordance with the ancient custom of separating
the women's apartments from the rest of the habitation.

  [Illustration: 208A. HOUSE AT CLUNY (TWELFTH CENTURY)]

But by the end of the twelfth century the urban dwelling was adapted
to the needs of a family. The doors and windows of the house were made
to overlook the street. The building consisted generally of a hall
or shop, in which a handicraft was carried on, or manufactured goods
were offered for sale. It was lighted by a wide arcade of round or
pointed arches, and was either on a level with the street, or raised
above it by the height of some few steps. A back room, opening upon
a courtyard, served for kitchen and dining-room. To the left of the
façade a little door gave access to a staircase which led to the
first floor, where was a large _solar_ or living-room and an apartment
overlooking the courtyard. Above these were the chambers occupied by
the inmates of the house.

  [Illustration: 209, 210. HOUSES AT VITTEAUX (CÔTE D'OR), AND AT ST.

The architecture of such houses varies according to the climate,
the materials of the country, and the customs of the inhabitants.
The houses had no special individuality as long as the windows were
treated merely as apertures for the admission of light; but directly
these began to take on a certain elaboration, and such features as
mouldings or sculptures were introduced in the façades, a system of
decoration was borrowed from the neighbouring churches or abbeys of
monkish architects, a consequence either of the far-reaching influence
of monastic schools, or of the spirit of imitation and force of habit.

Certain houses at Cluny, which date from the twelfth century,
exemplify the style. They are built almost entirely of stone. The
arcading recalls various details of monastic buildings which the
constructors very naturally took as models.




The same may be said of the other houses, of which we give drawings
as illustrating the urban type of the thirteenth and fifteenth
centuries. It is easy to trace the successive developments of
religious and monastic architecture in the domestic buildings of the

It is not until the close of the fourteenth century, and more notably
in the fifteenth, that such influences gradually die out, and change,
if not progress, becomes evident in the altered form of the arcades,
which no longer resemble those of cloisters or churches, but have
elliptic or square apertures. These, in the windows, are no longer
subdivided by a stone tracery of ornamental cusps and foliations, but
merely by plain mullions and transoms, forming square compartments
which it was possible to fill with movable glazed sashes of the
simplest construction.

The façades are generally of durable materials, such as stone or
brick, and the use of wood is restricted to the floors and the roofs.

Houses of the fifteenth century in the Northern departments, where
stone is scarce, were built mainly of wood, the more solid material
being used only on the ground-floor. The overhanging upper stories
were of timbers, the interstices being filled in with brick. The
principal members, such as corbel tables, beams, ledges, and
window-frames, were decorated with mouldings and sculptures. The
façade usually terminated in a gable, the projecting pointed arch of
which followed the lines of the timber roof. In other cases it was
crowned by richly decorated dormer windows. In rainy districts the
roof was covered with slates or shingles.




It was usual in the North to detach each house at the upper story,
even when it was not practicable to allow a narrow passage or space
between. This was not merely a concession to the vanity of the
citizen, to his desire to make his independent gable a feature of
the street. It was also a precautionary measure against fires, which
were frequent and disastrous in cities built mainly of wood, and
possessing but very rudimentary appliances wherewith to meet such a


The fifteenth and notably the sixteenth centuries were marked by
the building of a new class of dwellings, the _maisons nobles_,
or town-houses of the nobles, who, down to this period, had lived
entirely in their fortified castles. These great seignorial mansions
differ essentially from the houses of the citizens. The _hôtel_
occupied a considerable space, in which a courtyard and even gardens
were included. The house of the citizen or merchant was built flush
with the street, whereas the _hôtel_ was placed in an inner court,
often richly decorated, and the street-front was devoted to stables,
coach-houses, servants' lodgings, and the great entrance which gave
access to the court and the main building.


The names at least of some famous Parisian _hôtels_ of the fourteenth
and fifteenth centuries have survived, such as the _hôtels_ des
Tournelles, de St. Pol, de Sens, de Nevers, and de la Trémoille, the
last destroyed in 1840. The Hôtel de Cluny, which dates from 1485, is
a very curious example, and of remarkable interest, as having been
preserved almost intact.

Several great houses of the same period still exist at Bourges. Among
others, the Hôtel Lallemand, built towards the close of the fifteenth
century, the inner court of which is especially noteworthy, and the
still more famous _hôtel_ or _château_ of Jacques Coeur.

This beautiful structure dates from the second half of the fifteenth
century, and is built in part on the ramparts of the town. It is so
well known that it will be unnecessary to describe or illustrate the
famous portals and inner court. But the façade on the Place Berry,
though less sumptuous, is hardly less interesting. Here we have the
two great towers of the fortified _enceinte_, with their Gallo-Roman
bases, and between them the _corps de logis_ or main buildings of the
mansion, which retain many features of the feudal castle, and bear
witness to the wealth and power of Charles VII.'s ill-used favourite,
the famous banker, whose splendid fortunes suffered such undeserved

                              CHAPTER II

                    TOWN-HALLS, BELFRIES, PALACES

The social evolution which resulted in the enfranchisement of
the communes had its origin in the eleventh century, though the
consummation of this great political change was of much later date.

Down to the fourteenth century the efforts of the communes to exercise
the rights conferred on them in charters wrung from their feudal lords
received incessant checks. The opposition they encountered is hardly
to be wondered at, seeing that every concession in their favour tended
to diminish the despotic authority of those from whom it had been won.
No sooner, therefore, was a charter rescinded and a commune abolished
than the instant demolition of the town-hall and belfry was demanded.
Hence very few town-halls of earlier date than the fourteenth century
have survived.

_Town-halls._--A few of the great Southern cities owned town-halls so
early as the twelfth century, among them Bordeaux, where the building
was of the Roman type, and Toulouse, whose town-hall was practically a


But by far the greater number of the infant communes were sunk in
poverty, and so overwhelmed with dues and taxes that they had no
margin for communal buildings.

In the fourteenth century even the commune of Paris could boast only
the most modest of town-halls. In 1357 Étienne Marcel, provost of
the merchants, bought from the collector of the salt-tax a small
two-gabled building which adjoined several private dwellings. We may,
therefore, conclude that down to this period the town-hall was in
nowise distinguished from an ordinary habitation.

At the close of the century Caen possessed a town-hall of four stories.

During the thirteenth century many new towns and communes had been
founded by the Crown, the nobles, and the clergy, the depositaries of
power in the Middle Ages.

In the North, Villeneuve le Roi, Villeneuve le Comte, and Villeneuve
l'Archevêque owed their existence, material and communal, to these
powers respectively.

In the South the war of the Albigenses had devastated and even
destroyed many cities. The authorities recognised the necessity of
repeopling the districts so cruelly decimated. The great nobles,
spiritual and temporal, reconcentrated the scattered population by
grants of lands for the building of new towns, and sought to establish
them permanently by apparently liberal concessions in the form of
communal franchises.

According to Caumont and Anthyme St. Paul, these new towns or
_bastides_ may be identified by their names, or by their regularity of
plan, or by both combined.

Certain names indicate a royal foundation or dependency, as Réalville
or Monréal; others point to privileges conferred on the town, as
Bonneville, La Sauvetat, Sauveterre, Villefranche, or even La Bastide,
and Villeneuve.


A third class borrow the names of French and occasionally of foreign
provinces or towns. Anthyme St. Paul gives a list of such in the
_Annuaire de l'archéologie française_,--Barcelone or Barcelonnette,
Beauvais, Boulogne, Bruges, Cadix, Cordes (for Cordova), Fleurance
(for Florence), Bretagne, Cologne, Valence, Miélan (for Milan), La
Française and Francescas, Grenade, Libourne (for Leghorn), Modène,
Pampelonne (for Pampeluna), etc.

A new town or _bastide_ is usually rectangular in plan, and measures
some 750 by 580 feet. Sauveterre d'Aveyron is an example. In the
centre is a square, into which a street debouches on each side,
thus dividing the town into four parts. The square is surrounded by
galleries or cloisters, of round or pointed arches, covered with a
timber roof or vault, with or without transverse arches, whence the
term _Place des Couverts_, still common in some Southern towns.

In the centre of the square stood the town-hall, the ground-floor
of which was used as a public market. Montréjeau is one of the
towns in which this regularity of construction is observed, also
Montpazier, the streets of which are lined with wide arcades of
pointed arches. Other examples are to be found at Eymet, Domme, and
Beaumont, Libourne, Ste. Foy, and Sauveterre de Guyenne, Damazan,
and Montflanquin, Rabastens, Mirande, Grenade, Isle d'Albi, and
Réalmont, etc. Several _bastides_ in Guyenne were founded by the
English. Finally, the lower town of Carcassonne, founded in 1247, and
Aigues-Mortes, founded in 1248, also belong to the class of _bastides_
or new towns.[72]

[72] See Part III., "Military Architecture."

"The series of Southern _bastides_, inaugurated in 1222 by the
foundation of Cordes-Albigeois, was brought to a close in 1344 by
a petition of the town-councillors of Toulouse, in answer to which
the king forbade any further settlements. Two hundred at least of
the _bastides_ still exist in Guyenne, Gascony, Languedoc, and the
neighbouring districts. Several of these were unprosperous, and are
still small villages. In some cases their close proximity tended
greatly to their mutual disadvantage."[73]

[73] Anthyme St. Paul, _Histoire Monumentale de la France_.


  [Illustration: 222. TOWN-HALL OF BRUGES (BELGIUM)]

It is worthy of remark that civil architecture had so greatly
developed by the fifteenth century as to react in its turn upon
the religious art to which it owed its birth. It gave to religious
architecture certain new forms, such as the elliptic arch, adopted at
the close of the fifteenth and throughout the following century, at
which period civil architecture reached its apogee.

The Southern communes preserved their franchises till the sixteenth
century, that disastrous era of religious warfare which involved the
destruction of innumerable buildings.

The town-hall of St. Antonin (Tarn et Garonne) is perhaps the only
surviving one of the period. With the exception of the belfry, it
is an almost perfect type of the architecture of this class in the
thirteenth century, to which date it may probably be assigned (Fig.

The little town of St. Antonin, which had obtained its communal
charter in 1136, suffered much for its fidelity to Raymond VI., Count
of Toulouse. During the war of the Albigenses it was twice taken by
Simon de Montfort, whose son, Guy de Montfort, sold it to St. Louis in
1226. It was at this period, no doubt, that the present building was
erected. It has the characteristic feature of the civic monument, the
_belfry_, which, in the Middle Ages, was the architectural expression
of municipal authority and jurisdiction.

The building is a simple rectangular structure, over which the square
tower rises to the right. The ground-floor is a market, communicating
with an adjoining market-place, and with the narrow street which
passes under the belfry. The _grande salle_ or municipal hall
occupies the first story, together with a smaller apartment in the
tower. The second story is divided in the same manner.

  [Illustration: 223. TOWN-HALL AT LOUVAIN (BELGIUM)]

We have already called attention to the far-reaching influence of
French art as manifested in religious architecture so early as the
close of the twelfth century. Such influences were no less paramount
in developments of civil architecture, and we find municipal
buildings of the fourteenth century in Italy--at Pienza and other
towns--in which not only analogies but points of identity with the
thirteenth-century example of St. Antonin are distinctly traceable.

The municipal buildings of the North, the most perfect types of which
are those of Germany and Belgium, are nearly uniform in plan. A belfry
rises from the centre of the façade, flanked right and left on the
first story by the great civic halls. The ground-floor is a market for
the sale of merchandise.

The cloth-hall of Ypres (so named since the construction of a new
town-hall in the seventeenth century) is one of the most beautiful of
such examples. The building was begun in 1202, but was not completed
till 1304. The façade measures 440 feet in length, and has a double
row of pointed windows. It terminates at each angle in a very graceful
pinnacle, and the centre is marked by a noble square belfry of vast
size, the oldest portion of the building, the foundation-stone of
which was laid by Baldwin IX. of Flanders in 1200.

The belfry of Bruges, which was begun at the close of the thirteenth
century, and completed some hundred years later, is another most
interesting example of the civic buildings of its period.

The structure consists of a market and the usual municipal halls,
crowned by the lofty belfry, the original height of which was 350 feet.

  [Illustration: 224. BELFRY OF TOURNAI (BELGIUM)]

  [Illustration: 225. BELFRY OF GHENT (BELGIUM)]

The _hôtel de ville_ or town-hall of Bruges, which replaced an
earlier municipal building in the _Place du Bourg_, dates from
between 1376 to 1387. Its architectural character differs entirely
from that of the belfry. Its elegant design and the richness of its
ornamentation give it the appearance rather of a sumptuously decorated
chapel than of a civic building.

We may close the list of Belgian town-halls of the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries with that of Louvain. The design and general
scheme of elaborate decoration are akin to those of the hall of
Bruges, and it bears the same ecclesiastical impress.

It was built between 1448 and 1463 by _Mathieu de Layens, master
mason of the town and its outskirts_, and is a rectangular building
of three stories. The gable ends are pierced with three rows of
pointed windows, and adorned with a rich profusion of mouldings,
statues, and sculptured ornament. The steep roof has four tiers of
dormer-windows. The angles are flanked by graceful openwork turrets,
with delicate pinnacles, and similar turrets receive the ridge of the
roof at either end. The lateral façades are adorned with three rows of
statues and allegorical sculptures, covering the whole with a wealth
of exquisite tracery. Its lace-like delicacy has suffered considerably
from the action of weather, and it was found necessary to renovate a
considerable portion of the ornament in 1840.

_Belfries._--In the early days of the enfranchisement of the communes,
it became customary to call the community together by means of bells,
which at that period were confined to the church towers, and which it
was unlawful to ring without the consent of the clergy. It may easily
be conceived to what incessant broils the new order gave rise, the
clergy as a body being strongly opposed to the separatist tendency
of measures which attacked their feudal rights. The municipalities
finally put an end to internecine warfare in this connection by
hanging bells of their own over the town-gates, a custom which was
superseded towards the close of the twelfth and beginning of the
thirteenth century by the erection of towers for the civic bells. Such
was the origin of the _belfry_, the earliest material expression of
communal independence.

The structure usually formed part of the town-hall, but was sometimes
an isolated building. The isolated belfry was a great square tower of
several stories, crowned by a timber roof protected either by slates
or lead. The great bells hung in one story, and above them the little
bells of the carillon.

A lodging, opening upon a surrounding gallery, was constructed in the
upper story for the accommodation of the watchman, whose duty it was
to warn the inhabitants of approaching danger and to give notice of
fires. The bells rang at sunrise and curfew.

The chimes (_carillon_) marked the hours and their subdivisions, and
at festival seasons mingled their joyous notes with the deep and
solemn voice of the great bell.

The custom of tolling the great bell to give notice of a fire still
obtains in many villages of the North, the greater number of which
have preserved their belfries in spite of the modifications they have
undergone at different periods.

The belfry tower usually contained a prison, a hall for the
town-councillors, a muniment room, and a magazine for arms. It was
long the only town-hall of a commune.

  [Illustration: 226. BELFRY AT CALAIS (FRANCE)]

We shall find examples of these early municipal buildings among the
isolated belfries of Belgium, such as that at Tournai, founded in
1187, and rebuilt in part at the close of the fourteenth century, and
that of Ghent, the square tower of which dates from the end of the
twelfth century. Its spire is a modern addition.

A few buildings of this particular class still exist in France.
Such is the belfry of Calais, the square tower of which was built
during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It is crowned by an
octagonal superstructure, begun at the close of the fifteenth century,
and completed in the early years of the seventeenth. The belfry of
Béthune, which dates from the fourteenth century, is another. It
consists of a square tower reinforced at three of its angles by a
hexagonal turret, corbelled out from the wall. The fourth turret is
of the same shape, but here the projection is carried up from the
ground-floor, and contains the spiral staircase which communicates
with the various stories of the tower, and terminates on the embattled
parapet above. The building is completed by a pyramidal spire of great
elegance, crowned by the watchman's tower. The plan and details of
this superstructure proclaim it the source whence the gable turrets
of Louvain were derived. The great bells hang in the uppermost story,
the smaller ones of the carillon in the story below. On each façade at
the summit of the tower a great dial marks the hours, as was customary
from the fourteenth century onwards, when town-clocks first came into
general use.

The towns of Auxerre, Beaune, Amiens, Évreux, and Avignon still
possess their belfries.

To the belfry of Amiens, which dates from the thirteenth century, a
square dome was added some hundred years ago. But the great bell of
the fourteenth century has been preserved.

  [Illustration: 227. BELFRY OF BETHUNE (FRANCE)]

  [Illustration: 228. BELFRY OF ÉVREUX]

The belfry of Évreux retains its fifteenth-century character almost
in its entirety. That of Avignon, a monument of the close of the
fifteenth century, was happily spared when the town-hall was replaced
by a modern structure.

  [Illustration: 229. BELFRY OF AVIGNON]

The gate-house of the _hôtel de ville_ at Bordeaux, known as the
_grosse cloche_, is an example of the more ancient usage. Here we
find the bell hung over the gateway, as already described. The belfry
of Bordeaux, which appears to date from the fifteenth century, is
very remarkable. It consists of two towers connected by a curtain
through which is an arched passage. A second arch protects the great
bell in the upper story, and the whole is surmounted by a central
roof, flanked right and left by the conical crowns of the lateral


Markets, warehouses, and exchanges were often annexes of the
town-halls. A few examples of such buildings have been preserved, but
those of the third class are extremely rare. A specimen, remarkable
both for construction and decoration, which recall the Spanish
architecture of the fourteenth century, still exists at Perpignan. It
is a house known as _La Loge_, built in 1396, which originally served
as exchange to the cloth merchants of French Catalonia and Roussillon.

_Palaces._--In the Middle Ages the name palace was given to the
dwelling of the sovereign. Its chief feature was the basilica or

The great nobles followed the royal example and constructed palaces in
the capitals of their feofs, as at Dijon, Troyes, and Poitiers, which
are the most important of such examples.

The town-houses of archbishops and bishops were also called palaces.

The courts, parliaments, and tribunals of the executive were held
in the palace of the suzerain or the bishop, where certain of the
buildings were open to the public. The important feature, the great
hall (_grand salle_), occupied a vast covered space in which the
plenary courts were held, the vassals assembled, and banquets were
given. It communicated with galleries or ambulatories. A chapel was
always included in the plan of the palace, which consisted of the
lodging of the lord and his followers; offices, often of great extent;
rooms for the storing of archives; magazines, prisons, and innumerable
auxiliary buildings, divided by courtyards, and in some cases by


In Paris the palace proper, which was in the Île de la Cité, consisted
of buildings constructed from the time of St. Louis to the reign of
Philip the Fair. From the reign of Charles V. it was specially devoted
to the administration of justice.

The only remains of the buildings of St. Louis are the _Ste.
Chapelle_, the two great towers with their intervening curtain on the
_Quai de l'Horloge_, and the square clock tower at the angle of the

The best examples of seignorial castles are: Troyes, which was built
by the Counts of Champagne, and inhabited by them till they removed
to Provins in the thirteenth century; and the palace of the Counts of
Poitiers at Poitiers, one of the most interesting of such buildings;
it was burnt by the English in 1346, and repaired or rebuilt at the
close of the fourteenth century by the brother of Charles V., Jean,
Duke of Berry, to whom we owe, among other architectural works, the
curious fireplace of the great vestibule, called the _Salle des Pas
Perdus_, in the _Palais de Justice_.

  [Illustration: 232. BISHOP'S PALACE AT LAON]

The bishops' palaces were differently planned. They usually adjoined
the cathedrals, with which they communicated either on the north
or the south, according to the facilities afforded by the site.
The characteristic symbol of episcopal power which, in the earlier
centuries of the Middle Ages, claimed jurisdiction both in spiritual
and temporal matters, was the great hall, in later days the synod
house and the council chamber of the executive. The bishop's palace in
Paris, rebuilt by Maurice de Sully in 1160, preserved this mediæval
feature, which is even more conspicuous at Sens, in the magnificent
annexe known as the _salle synodale_ (synod house).

  [Illustration: 233. ARCHBISHOP'S PALACE AT ALBI. PLAN]

The canons' lodgings were also in close proximity to the cathedral,
but on the side opposite to the bishop's palace. They were surrounded
by an enclosure, the gates of which were fastened at night. It was
the duty of the canons to aid the bishop in his ministrations. They
lived together in annexes which communicated with the cathedral by
means of galleries and cloisters.[74]

[74] See Part II., "Monastic Architecture," the cloisters of
Puy-en-Velay and Elne in Roussillon.

The bishops' palaces were often remarkable for their elaborate
construction. Fragments of the primitive buildings are still preserved
in the palaces of Beauvais, Angers, Bayeux, and Auxerre.


The ancient episcopal palace of Laon[75] marks a development in
thirteenth-century architecture. It is a good example of that system
of construction by which the palace was connected with the city
ramparts and formed a secondary line of defence.

[75] The episcopate was transferred to Soissons in 1809.

This system was also adopted at Narbonne. At the close of the
thirteenth and during the fourteenth century the palace was
transformed into a fortress, the importance of which bore witness
to the power of its bishops. After Avignon, it is perhaps the most
imposing of episcopal dwellings.

From this time onward the bishops' palaces increased greatly in size,
their dimensions extending proportionately with those of the great
cathedrals of the period. The importance of the episcopal buildings
and their dependencies was on a par with the wealth and power of
their owners. Some idea of their magnificence may be gathered from
the private chapel of the archbishop at Rheims, which dates from the
middle of the thirteenth century.


The archbishop's palace at Albi has all the character of a feudal
castle. Its buildings are protected by a keep, and encircled by walls
and towers connected both with the ramparts of the city, and with
that more important fortalice, the cathedral itself, the tower of
which is, in fact, a formidable keep.[76]

[76] See Part I., Cathedral of Albi, Figs. 70-73.

The transformation of church and palace into fortresses by an
elaborate system of defence was necessitated by the wars which ravaged
the district, and from which Albi suffered more cruelly than any other

The palace of the popes at Avignon which Pope Benedict XII. began to
build in the fourteenth century, and the bishop's palace at Narbonne,
are among the finest specimens of ecclesiastical fortification in the
Middle Ages.[77]

[77] For the Palace of the Popes, see Albert Lenoir and Viollet-le-Duc.

The Popes, having established themselves at Avignon in the fourteenth
century, built a huge mansion on the rock known as the _Rocher des
Doms_, which overlooks the Rhone. In 1336 Benedict XII., having
destroyed his predecessor's palace, laid the foundations of the
immense fortified pile now in existence. The plans were the work of
the French architect, Pierre Obrier. The building was added to by
the successors of Benedict XII., Popes Clement VI., Innocent VI.,
and Urban V., and was completed, or at any rate made efficient for
defence, by 1398, when Pedro de Luna, who became pope under the title
of Benedict XIII., sustained a memorable siege therein.

The whole building, which covers a very considerable area, was
completed in less than sixty years. Its formidable mass was further
strengthened by the fortified _enceinte_ of the town, some three
miles in circumference.

In general conception, in the architectural skill of its construction,
and in its tasteful decoration, the Palace of the Popes at Avignon
bears away the palm from all contemporary buildings in Germany and
Italy, where French influences were paramount.


This noble monument is absolutely and entirely French. No finer
combination of religious, monastic, military, and civil types could
be desired in illustration of the art we have agreed to term _Gothic
Architecture_, but which might be more truly entitled: _Our National
Architecture in the Middle Ages_.

Justice indeed demands this tardy homage. Our vast churches, our
superb cathedrals, our mighty castles and palace fortresses, the
masterpieces that fill our museums--manifestations of artistic
power which should move us, not to servile imitation but to fruitful
study,--all were the creations of _native_ architects.

That expansive force which made our national art the great civilising
medium of the Middle Ages was derived from our own early architects,
civil and religious. The principles and practice of monumental art
were carried by French architects into all countries, though the
results of their teaching are more conspicuous in Italy and Germany
than elsewhere. Native builders and artists established the supremacy
of French art throughout Western Europe, and even in the East. And
though the foreign evolution, which marked the sixteenth century, did
indeed exercise a transient influence in France, it must be remembered
that the way had been prepared for this apparently novel movement by
those French artists who have carried the fame of our beloved country
throughout the civilised world.

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