This series of monographs has been planned to supply visitors to the great English Cathedrals with accurate and well illustrated guide-books at a popular price. The aim of each writer has been to produce a work compiled with sufficient knowledge and scholarship to be of value to the student of Archæology and History, and yet not too technical in language for the use of an ordinary visitor or tourist.
To specify all the authorities which have been made use of in each case would be difficult and tedious in this place. But amongst the general sources of information which have been almost invariably found useful are:—(1) the great county histories, the value of which, especially in questions of genealogy and local records, is generally recognised; (2) the numerous papers by experts which appear from time to time in the Transactions of the Antiquarian and Archæological Societies; (3) the important documents made accessible in the series issued by the Master of the Rolls; (4) the well-known works of Britton and Willis on the English Cathedrals; and (5) the very excellent series of Handbooks to the Cathedrals originated by the late Mr John Murray; to which the reader may in most cases be referred for fuller detail, especially in reference to the histories of the respective sees.
Editors of the Series.
It would be useless to attempt to record all the sources of information to which it has been necessary to have recourse in preparing this short account of Winchester Cathedral and its history; but I should like to acknowledge the main portion of the debt. "The Proceedings of the Archæological Institute of Great Britain in 1845" must, of course, take the first place, for to Willis's paper every one must go who wishes to know the cathedral well. Britton's "Cathedrals," Browne Willis's "Survey of the Cathedrals," and Woodward's "History of Hampshire," with the more recent Diocesan History of Winchester by Canon Benham, and the "Winchester Cathedral Records" of various dates, have been of great service. An article in the Builder of October 1, 1892, and one on St Cross in Architecture for November 1896, must also be mentioned. Above all, I am glad to be able to express my gratitude to one of the editors of this series, Mr Gleeson White, without whose assistance this account would never have been commenced. The engraving of the iron grill-work is reproduced from Mr Starkie Gardiner's "Iron-work," Vol. I., by permission of the Science and Art Department, South Kensington.
Philip Walsingham Sergeant.
|Chapter I.—History of the Cathedral||3|
|Chapter II.—The Cathedral Building and Close||16|
|The West Front||20|
|The North and South Sides||26|
|The Central Tower||27|
|The East End||28|
|Chapter III.—The Interior||33|
|The Minstrels' Gallery||40|
|The Norman Font||44|
|The Tomb of "William Rufus"||52|
|The Holy Hole||72|
|Gardiner's and Fox's Chantries||74|
|The Mortuary Chests||76|
|The Retro-choir and its Chantries||79|
|The Lady Chapel||84|
|The Guardian Angels and Langton Chapels||90|
|The Stained Glass||94|
|Chapter IV.—History of the See||96|
|Chapter V.—The Bishops of Winchester||101|
|Chapter VI.—Other Institutions connected with the Cathedral||118|
|The Cathedral from the North-West||Frontispiece|
|Old View of the North Side of the Cathedral||11|
|Monument to Bishop Ethelmar||15|
|The Cathedral from the Deanery Gardens||19|
|The West Front||21|
|Nave, showing Screen before Restoration||31|
|Transformation of the Nave||35|
|The Nave, looking East||37|
|The Nave, looking West||39|
|The Grill-work from S. Swithun's Shrine||41|
|The Norman Font||45|
|William of Wykeham's Chantry||47|
|The Choir, looking East||51|
|The Choir Stalls||53|
|The Altar and Reredos||57|
|The North Transept||59|
|View in North Transept||63|
|Door to Henry de Blois' Treasury||66|
|Bishop Wilberforce's Monument||67|
|South Aisle, from Transept||69|
|Back of Feretory, with Bishop Gardiner's Chantry||73|
|Bishop Fox's Chantry and Details||75, 76|
|South Aisle of Retro-choir||77|
|Cardinal Beaufort's Chantry||81|
|The Lady Chapel||85|
|Details of Lady Chapel||85|
|Bishop Langton's Chapel and Details||89, 90|
|Queen Mary's Chair||91|
|Mortuary Chest in Choir||95|
|Carving on Choir Stalls||111|
|Details of Font||117|
|Winchester College: "School"||119|
|Winchester College: The Outer Gateway||120|
|Winchester College: Chantry Chapel||121|
|Winchester College: Inscription and The Trusty Servant||122, 123|
|St Cross from the South||124|
|St Cross from the Quadrangle||125|
|St Cross: East End from Nave||126|
|County Hall with Round Table||127|
|The City Cross||129|
|Tombstone in Churchyard||131|
|The West Gate||132|
|PLANS OF THE CATHEDRAL AND CRYPTS||134, 135|
3 Unlike many of our cathedral cities, "Royal" Winchester has a secular history of the greatest importance, which not only is almost inextricably interwoven with the ecclesiastical annals down to a comparatively recent date, but should at times occupy the foremost position in the records of the place. To attempt, however, to trace the story of the city as well as that of the cathedral would be to recapitulate the most important facts of the history of England during those centuries when Winchester was its capital town. Its civic importance, indeed, was not dependent upon the cathedral alone, for before the introduction of Christianity into the island Winchester was undoubtedly the principal place in the south of England. The Roman occupation, though it seems a mere incident in its record, lasted over three centuries, about as long as from the reign of Henry VIII. to that of Queen Victoria. Richard Warner (1795) sums up the various names of Winchester when he speaks of "the metropolis of the British Belgæ, called by Ptolemy and Antoninus Venta Belgarum; by the Welch or modern Britons, Caer Gwent; and by the old Saxons, Wintancester; by the Latin writers, Wintonia" ("Collections for the History of Hampshire").
Even, therefore, when we read the account of the legendary king of the Britons, Lucius, founding a great church at Winchester in A.D. 164, we do not touch the source of its fame, nor have we discovered the record of the first building devoted to religious worship on the site of the present cathedral. How far certain references to early pagan temples may be trusted does not here concern us; but at Christchurch Priory, some 4thirty-five miles to the south-west in the same diocese, bones "supposed to be those of sacrificial birds" have been exhumed on the site of its church. There was, however, a relapse into paganism after the first dedication of the Christian building, so that there can be no certainty about the date of such discoveries.
On the authority of Vigilantius' "De Basilica Petri" (i.e. at Wynton or Winchester), quoted by Rudborne in "Anglia Sacra," John of Exeter, and other writers, we have it that a great church was rebuilt from its foundations at Caergwent by Lucius after his conversion in A.D. 164; and that he erected also smaller buildings with an oratory, refectory, and dormitory for the temporary abode of the monks until the monastery itself should be completed. Quotations from another lost author, Moracius, provide us with the dimensions of this edifice, the length being variously given as 209 and 200 passus, the breadth as 80 and 130, while the tower was 92 passus in height. This church, it was said, was dedicated to S. Saviour in November 169, and endowed with property formerly held by the pagan priests. "The site of the monastery to the east of the church was 100 passus in length toward the old temple of Concord and 40 in breadth to the new temple of Apollo. The north position was 160 in length and 98 in breadth. To the west of the church it was 90 in length and 100 in breadth, to the south 405 in length and 580 in breadth." Willis, from whom the above dimensions are quoted, does not attempt to reconcile the figures except in so far as he suggests pedes for passus, substituting one foot for five. During the persecution of the Christians by Diocletian in A.D. 266 the buildings were destroyed; and the new church, dedicated to "S. Amphibalus," who was said to be one of the martyrs in that persecution, was not so large as its predecessor. In writers of the period we find occasional references to the "Vetus C[oe]nobium" or old monastery at Winchester. The new building was not destined to remain long undisturbed in the service for which it was intended, for when Cerdic, King of the West Saxons, was crowned at Winchester and the pagans once more gained the ascendancy, the monks were slaughtered and the church, devoted to other rites, remained a temple of "Dagon" from 516 to 635. In the latter year S. Birinus, in pursuance of his mission from Honorius to "scatter the seeds of the holy faith 5in those farthest inland territories of the English which no teacher had yet visited," converted King Cynegils to Christianity. This king intended to erect a great new church, and, with that end in view, destroyed the desecrated building and granted the law for seven miles round to the monks whom he destined to take possession of the new building. He died, however, within six years of his conversion, and was buried before the altar of the partly-erected church. His son Cenwalh therefore completed the building, which S. Birinus dedicated to Christ in honour of the Holy and Indivisible Trinity. Birinus was followed by Aegelberht, afterwards Bishop of Paris, who resigned in 662; Wina, who died as Bishop of London, ejected in 666; and Eleutherius, who died in 676.
So far the see was not at Winchester, but was temporarily placed at Dorchester in Oxfordshire. Under Hedda, the fourth successor of S. Birinus, the seat was at last moved to Winchester, in accordance with the intention of the royal founder, and at the same time the body of the saint, which had hitherto rested at Dorchester, was removed to the cathedral city. King Cenwalh himself also on his death was buried in the building which he had completed.
Practically nothing is known of the actual Saxon building, and the very legends are scanty. We learn that the city was ravaged by the Danes two years after the death of S. Swithun, but the cathedral itself appears fortunately to have escaped damage.
The bishopric of Athelwold, commencing with his consecration by Dunstan on November 29, A.D. 963, has more importance in the history of the cathedral than that of his immediate predecessors. He was chosen by King Edgar to undertake the work of a new monastery in which the king took such pleasure that he is said to have measured the foundations himself. This work carried out at Winchester by Athelwold is described at great length in a Latin poem by Wolstan. No doubt the florid eulogy of the poem is open to grave suspicion where it concerns the details of the building, but, even when we make full allowance for poetic exaggeration, the church appears certainly to have been a large and important one. The poem in its first form is reproduced in Mabillon's version of Wolstan's "Life of S. Athelwold," but in its entirety it 6consists of an epistle of over 300 lines to Bishop Elphege Athelwold's successor. Some passages deserve quotation. "He built," says Wolstan, "all these dwelling places with strong walls. He covered them with roofs and clothed them with beauty. He repaired the courts of the old temple with lofty walls and new roofs and strengthened it at the north and south sides with solid aisles and various arches. He added also many chapels, with sacred altars which distract attention from the threshold of the church, so that the stranger walking in the courts is at a loss where to turn, seeing on all sides doors open to him, without a certain path. He stands with wondering eyes until some experienced guide conducts him to the portals of the farthest vestibule. Here marvelling he crosses himself and knows not how to quit, so dazzling is the construction and so brilliant the variety of the fabric that sustains this ancient church, which that devout father himself strengthened, roofed, endowed, and dedicated." Later Wolstan speaks of Athelwold's addition of "secret crypts," of "such organs that the like were never seen," of a sparkling tower reflecting from heaven the sun's first rays, "with at its top a rod with golden balls and a mighty golden cock which as it turns boldly sets its face to every wind that blows." More might be quoted, but it is sufficient here to refer those interested in the matter either to the chronicle itself or to Willis in the "Proceedings of the Architectural Institute" for 1845. Though Wolstan thus describes Athelwold's undertaking at great length, it does not appear that the bishop actually did more than commence the restoration of the original buildings, for his successor is exhorted in the letter to carry out Athelwold's design. The chronicler Rudborne makes mention only of the dedication of a minster in honour of the Apostles Peter and Paul, in the presence of King Aethelred, Archbishop Dunstan and eight other bishops, on October 20, 980 A.D. John of Exeter ascribes to Athelwold the entire rebuilding of the cathedral, but the Winchester annalist does not mention Athelwold's great works.
From Athelwold's death to the succession of Walkelin the history of the cathedral is little more than a record of its bishops; but with Walkelin we reach a very important epoch in its existence. In 1079, the Winchester Annals relate, this 7bishop began to rebuild the cathedral from its very foundations, as was commonly done by the Norman ecclesiastics of the time. According to this account, it was in 1086 that the king granted Walkelin, for the completion of his new building, as much wood from the forest of Hempage (three miles distant from the city on the Alresford road) as he could cut in four days and nights. Walkelin collected all the men he could, and within the given time removed the whole forest. The king, passing its site, cried: "Am I bewitched? or have I taken leave of my senses?" But the bishop, when he heard of his anger, pleaded to be allowed to resign the see if he might but keep the chaplaincy and the king's favour. At this William relented, saying: "I was as much too liberal in my grant as you were too greedy in availing yourself of it" (Willis). In 1093 the new church was formally consecrated, and on April 8, "in the presence of almost all the bishops and abbots of England, the monks came with the highest exultation and glory from the old minster to the new one: on the Feast of S. Swithun they went in procession from the new minster to the old one and brought thence S. Swithun's shrine and placed it with honour in the new buildings; and on the following day Bishop Walkelin's men first began to pull down the old minster, and before the end of the year they demolished the whole of it, with the exception of one apse and the high altar." When the old high altar was pulled down, we are told, "the relics of many saints were found." The cathedral, as Walkelin designed it, was for the most part so strong that its core and much of its actual work remains to this day; but the central tower lacked the stability of the rest, for on October 7, 1107, during the vacancy which occurred after Walkelin's death, it fell. The monkish chroniclers attributed the fall to the fact that William Rufus, "who all his life had been profane and sensual and had expired without the Christian viaticum" (Rudborne), was interred beneath it in 1100. William of Malmesbury, however, with a degree of incredulity rare in his days, says it may have been that it would have fallen in any case "through imperfect construction." He describes the burial thus:—"A few countrymen conveyed the body, placed on a cart, to the cathedral of Winchester, the blood dripping from it all the way. Here it was committed to the ground within the tower, 8attended by many of the nobility, but lamented by few. The next year the tower fell; though I forbear to mention the different opinions on this subject, lest I should seem to assent too readily to unsupported trifles."
After Walkelin's death the history of the building is lost sight of for some time, owing to the continual disturbances which all England was undergoing. With De Lucy's accession, however, in 1189, considerable additions were made to the cathedral, in the form of the Early English retro-choir, of which the details are given later in this volume. De Lucy's work, it has been pointed out, was carried out in such a way as to leave the Norman building undisturbed as long as it was practicable to do so, the circular apse being left in situ until the new external walls had been erected, while the presbytery itself was not touched until the Decorated Period set in. De Lucy would doubtless have made further alterations but for his death in 1204. As it was, two years before that event he instituted a confraternity to carry on his work for the space of five years, and to this body is due some of the work which is attributed loosely to him.
It was during De Lucy's tenure of Winchester that Richard was re-crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury after his return from captivity. He passed the night before at S. Swithun's Priory, and was brought thence in the morning to the Cathedral "clothed in his royal robes, with the crown upon his head, holding in his right hand a royal sceptre which terminated in a cross, and in his left hand a golden wand with a figure of a dove at the top of it, ... being conducted on the right hand by his chancellor, the Bishop of Ely, and on the left by the Bishop of London" (Roger de Hoveden). The Bishop of Winchester himself does not seem to have been present, probably on account of a dispute with the king.
Another period of disturbance follows the comparatively quiet rule of Bishop De Lucy, and it is not until we reach 1346 that we come to a fresh outburst of architectural zeal on the part of the incumbents of Winchester. But Edingdon, and still more his successor Wykeham, left very lasting monuments of their occupancy at Winchester. It must not be forgotten that, while to Wykeham is due the credit of most of the actual transformation of the building, Edingdon must have first conceived, however vaguely, the design. Edingdon's 9attachment to Winchester is well illustrated by his quaint reason for refusing the offer of Canterbury: "if Canterbury is the higher rack, Winchester is the better manger." He is, indeed, charged with having left a considerable debt on the building, since his successor seems to have recovered a large sum from his executors, who had also to compensate Wykeham for large numbers of cattle which had "disappeared from the various farms of the bishopric." Yet it appears from Edingdon's own will that he began rebuilding the nave and left money for the continuation of the work.
Wykeham, as we shall see, had already a reputation for architectural skill when first introduced to Edward III., and this reputation stood him in good stead in the matter of preferment. When he was elected to Winchester he found the bishop's palaces of Farnham, Wolvesey, Waltham, and Southwark in a very dilapidated condition, and he set these in order before he turned his attention to anything else. New College, Oxford, and Winchester College practically occupied him up to 1393; whilst his work in the cathedral was really the last great undertaking of his life, inasmuch as it was not finished at the time of his death. The actual method of Wykeham's transformation of the interior is described more fully elsewhere, and we will not therefore do more than quote a few words from Willis on the work done. "The old Norman cathedral was cast nearly throughout its length and breadth into a new form; the double tier of arches in its peristyle was turned into one, by the removal of the lower arch, and clothed with Caen casings in the Perpendicular style. The old wooden ceilings were replaced with stone vaultings, enriched with elegant carvings and cognizances. Scarcely less than a total rebuilding is involved in this hazardous and expensive operation, carried on during ten years with a systematic order worthy of remark and imitation.... Judging from the provision of his will of the expenditure for the last year and a half, the cost of this great work to the bishop in present money cannot be estimated at less than £200,000."
Wykeham's successor, Beaufort, was far less a bishop of Winchester than an English statesman. His contributions to the architecture of his see are very small. He did indeed so add to the hospital of St Cross as to make it almost a new 10foundation; but in the cathedral he only left one monument, though this Milner styles the "most elegant and finished chantry in the kingdom," lying on the south side of the retro-choir. Waynflete, who followed him, left another fine chantry in a corresponding position to the north. Under Bishops Peter Courtenay and Thomas Langton, the latter of whom has his chapel at the east end, next the Lady Chapel, considerable additions were made to the architecture of the cathedral, though most of the credit is due to the priors Hunton and Silkstede, who seem to have been chiefly responsible for the new work. This included a prolongation of De Lucy's Lady Chapel, carried out in all probability between the years 1470 and 1524; and the erection of the present side aisles of the presbytery, in place of the original Norman aisles. In the latter year (1524) the side screens of the presbytery were added by Bishop Fox, whose motto can be read on them. The work of Fox, whose chapel is behind the reredos to the south, began in 1510, and was carried out under early Renaissance influence. He found the choir and presbytery converted, to a great extent, to the Decorated style, though the Norman aisles remained. He completed the transformation, adding the above-mentioned screens, together with a wooden vaulting. He would probably have also replaced with his own work De Lucy's additions at the east end and the Norman transepts, had he but had the time. This, however, he did not live long enough to do, for he died in 1528. Roughly speaking, his work lies between the transepts and the Early English east end.11
The Reformation Period did not benefit much to the architectural features of Winchester Cathedral, while it most certainly did them harm. "The bones of S. Swithun," says Woodward, "were doubtless lost at the Reformation, when his costly shrine was taken from the feretory, where it stood so long, and destroyed." The period was now at hand when many seem to have considered it a religious duty to destroy monuments, or at least deface them; and Winchester, though it suffered less than many churches, by no means escaped damage. Under Stephen Gardiner, however, no great evil befell the building. Gardiner's own chantry behind the reredos commemorates his connection with the cathedral, and distinctly illustrates the inferior taste of his day, when compared with the earlier tombs about him; though it might easily have 13been far worse. The Puritans maltreated it on other grounds than those of taste, it is to be feared. It was during Bishop Gardiner's tenure of the see that Philip of Spain and Mary were married at Winchester. Contemporary records by a Spaniard in Philip's suite, and by an English observer of the same date, recently revealed to us by Mr Martin A.S. Hume, set forth the story of the marriage most vividly. The king arrived from Southampton in a storm of rain, and "donned a black velvet surcoat covered with gold bugles and a suit of white velvet trimmed in the same way, and thus he entered, passing the usual red-clothed kneeling aldermen with gold keys on cushions, and then to the grand cathedral, which impressed the Spaniards with wonder, and above all to find that 'Mass was as solemnly sung there as at Toledo.' A little crowd of mitred bishops stood at the great west door, crosses raised and censers swinging, and in solemn procession to the high altar, under a velvet canopy, they led the man whom they looked upon as God's chosen instrument to permanently restore their faith in England." Two days after the wedding took place. Great attention is paid to the clothes by both English and Spanish narrators, and the ceremony and dresses were very magnificent; the Queen's ladies "looked more like celestial angels than mortal creatures." The Queen, we are told, blazed with jewels to such an extent that the eye was blinded as it looked upon her; her dress was of black velvet flashing with gems, and a splendid mantle of cloth of gold fell from her shoulders; but through the Mass that followed the marriage service she never took her eyes off the crucifix upon which they were devoutly fixed. The marriage took place in the July of 1554, and the chair used by Queen Mary is now standing in Bishop Langton's chapel.
Some stormy years at the end of Gardiner's interrupted episcopacy and during the rule of his immediate successors did not much affect Winchester externally; but under Robert Horne the whole diocese suffered terribly through the "Puritanical" views of its bishop. The Norman chapter-house was pulled down, part of the lead on the cathedral roof was stripped off, and stained glass, architectural decorations, etc., throughout the neighbourhood were ruthlessly destroyed. However, after a short period of comparative peace, far worse had yet to come. Under James I. and during the early part of the reign of 14Charles I., little happened to the building beyond the institution of Curle's passage through the buttress at the southern end of the cathedral, with its quaint inscription on the western wall. The Great Rebellion, as was only to be expected, brought Winchester into the utmost peril. The important situation of the town in the south of England caused it to become the centre of much hard fighting. Sir William Waller, whom Winchester has no cause to remember with affection, came very near to destroying the interior of the cathedral entirely. His troops marched right up the nave in full war equipment, some even being mounted. Tombs were defaced, relics scattered, statues mutilated, stained glass smashed, and the more portable objects carried out into the streets. It is difficult to estimate with any exactitude what was the whole extent of the damage done; but we have sufficient testimony in the broken figures, empty niches, etc., to see that it was great. One highly creditable incident in the midst of the general disgrace has been recorded—namely, the preservation from insult of Wykeham's chantry. This was the work of a Colonel Fiennes, who had been educated at Wykeham's College at Winchester. The protests of the inhabitants seem to have finally induced Waller to call off his fanatical troops from their work of destruction and violation. What might have happened to the cathedral, had this not been done, it is quite impossible to imagine. "Of the brass torn from the violated monuments" in 1644 "might have been built a house as strong as the brazen towers of old romances" (Ryves's "Mercurius Rusticus" quoted by Milner).
Here the architectural history of Winchester Cathedral practically ends. We find tombs and memorial brasses of all dates, but until the modern restorations nothing of importance affected the actual appearance of the church. Among the few examples of Jacobean work to be seen within, the nave pulpit can hardly be classed, since it was brought from New College Chapel at Oxford as late as 1884. The two statues of James I. and Charles I. by the west door are the work of Hubert le Sueur, who came to England in 1628. The urns which were supposed in the last century to decorate the reredos have long ago been removed, as has also the gilt Jacobean canopy which formerly disfigured the 15centre of this screen; but Benjamin West's "Raising of Lazarus" still remains above the altar.
This century's work in the cathedral is not very formidable in its extent. All of it is mentioned elsewhere in this book, and it is sufficient here to say that the erection of Sir G. Scott's choir-screen and the restoration of the reredos are the most noticeable "modern" features, though the latter was carried out on the old lines as nearly as was thought advisable. Sir G. Scott's additions to Winchester have by no means given universal satisfaction, severe language having been applied to them by more than one expert. The most recent alterations have consisted chiefly of a very necessary, though costly, strengthening of the nave roof. This work is, of course, invisible from the ground level, but can be reached from the stair in the south transept. A repair of the organ has also been provided for, and new glass has been inserted in the large south window of the Lady Chapel, in memory of Bishop Thorold.
16Before any detailed consideration of the architecture of the cathedral, it is well to be clear as to the various dates of the chief parts. But it must here be remembered that practically in every instance the now existing portions replaced still earlier structures on the same site. Mention has been made already of the changes from the original building to the one commenced in the eleventh century. In 1079 Bishop Walkelin laid the foundations of a great Norman church, of which the transepts, the outer face of the south nave wall, the core of the nave itself, the crypts, and a portion of the base of the west front are still existing. Walkelin's work was completed in fourteen years, just before the end of 1093. The tower fell in 1107, but was rebuilt soon afterwards in the form which we now see it. Bishop de Lucy's work, which came next in date (1189-1204), includes the Chapel of the Guardian Angels, flanking the Lady Chapel, at the north-east end of the cathedral, and the corresponding chapel on the south-east, which afterwards became the chantry of Bishop Langton. The piers of the presbytery probably date from about 1320. The west front was rebuilt in Edingdon's time (1345-1366), and a small part of the reconstruction of the nave, the first two bays of the north aisle, and a bay of the south are generally attributed to him. The great re-modelling of the nave, the outer walls of the presbytery, and the continuation of the Lady Chapel range in date of completion from the end of the fourteenth to the sixteenth century. So much, however, of each period has been altered, and often modified almost beyond recognition by later additions, that it is impossible to make more than a rough guess at the age of the various portions. The work of Wykeham and his successors is so important that it must be left until we reach it in its proper place.
17The ground covered by the actual building is one and a half acres in extent. The close is fine and extensive, and is surrounded by a high and stout wall which marks the limits of the old Benedictine monastery. The houses within the close are of widely different dates, from the Early English period to recent years. They comprise the official residences of the dean and the canons, together with some private houses. The changes made from time to time in the distribution of the ground have involved the disappearance of the old priory buildings, and it is not possible to trace with certainty their original form. The laying out of the close has concealed the ground plan of the cloisters which once adjoined the cathedral. What is now called by the name is the passage between the south transept and the former chapter-house, which was pulled down in 1570 by the destructive Bishop Horne, in order, it is said, that the lead in the roof might be sold. Five extremely fine Early Norman arches which were once part of the chapter-house still remain, and may be seen in a line with the end of the slype, beyond the south transept. Some traces of small arches on what is now the extreme outer wall of the transept mark where arcading once ran along the inner wall of the chapter-house. No vestige of the roof remains. The "slype" is a passage which was cut through the southern buttress by Bishop Curle, to put a stop to the constant use of the nave and south aisle as a thoroughfare by the townspeople. The anagrams on the walls commemorate the purpose of the passage; the first, on the western arch, reading:—
and that over the eastern arch:—
18In the angle of an old extension of the chapter-house south wall are traces of the dormitory and infirmary which formerly stood there. The Early English doorway with Purbeck marble shafts seems to have led to this dormitory. To the south of this is the deanery or prior's hall, the acute external arches, which date from the reign of Henry III., forming a vestibule with a southern aspect, while above are some narrow lancet-windows. Although the original portion of this hall dates from the fifteenth century, it was considerably altered in the seventeenth, during the second Charles's reign. This king himself sometimes stayed at the deanery, where Philip of Spain lodged for one night before his marriage. Over a wooden building, which now serves as the dean's stables, is an ornamental timber roof of late thirteenth-century work, which was once part of the old pilgrims' or strangers' hall originally standing in this part of the close for the benefit of pilgrims to the shrine of S. Swithun.
In the south wall of the cathedral, close to the west front, there is a doorway which is reported to have led to the chapel and charnel-house mentioned by Leland. "S. Swithin, now called Trinity," he says, "stands on the south side of the town, and there is a chapelle with a carnarie at the west end of it." S. Swithin is, of course, the cathedral itself. Leland's other carnary, which must not be confused with this, was attached to a chapel "on the north side of S. Mary Abbey church at Winchester, in an area thereby, on which men entre by a certen steppes. One Inkepenne, a gentilman that berith in his shield a scheker sylver and sables, was founder of it. There be three tumbes of marble of prestes custodes of the chapelle."
Among the old houses which have vanished from the close is one in which Charles II. in vain requested Bishop Ken to allow Nell Gwynne to lodge; and one which was erected for her and not pulled down until this century. The cathedral precincts, however, still contain on the southern side several buildings well worthy of notice. A picturesque house yet standing is that which was known by the name of Cheyney Court. It now serves as a porter's lodge, and stands by the wooden-doored gateway which opens into Kingsgate Street. The doors are supposed to have come down to us from the thirteenth century. Previously this lodge was the 19courthouse of the Soke of Winchester, and the centre of the episcopal jurisdiction here. The old timbered front, with its barge-boards, was in 1886 concealed behind a rough-cast cement coating, but in that year this was fortunately stripped away, and the present charming aspect revealed to the eye.
The Exterior.—It would be difficult to deny that the exterior of Winchester Cathedral is disappointing, and few are likely to echo the opinion of an over-zealous admirer of the building who said that the longer one looks at it the more one feels the low central tower to be the only kind that would suit the huge proportions of the building. On the contrary, it may be said that it is impossible to look at Winchester without a feeling of regret that the superb mass of the great fabric, the largest mediæval church in England since the destruction of old S. Paul's, is not crowned by a loftier central tower. There is a legend to the effect that there were seven towers in the original design—the central one, two at the west end, and one at each 20angle of the transepts; and this seems to be supported by the solid character of some of the piers in the transepts. Yet, despite the rather ungraceful outline of the whole building, when its mere size is realised, it gradually asserts its importance and incontrovertibly proves its right to be considered one of the very finest structures in England.
It will not be out of place to quote a short criticism which sums up the external qualities of the cathedral in a concise way:—"With the exception of portions of the late work in the presbytery, the exterior of Winchester is severe in treatment, and plain wall-space plays an important part in the design. Plain parapets and simply treated pinnacles characterise the work of the nave. The Norman transepts are externally but little altered, except by the insertion of Decorated windows to give more light to the altars in their eastern aisles; and De Lucy's work eastwards is, compared with some work of its date, simple in the extreme. Rather more elaboration was bestowed on the design of the new eastern bay of the Lady Chapel by Prior Silkstede and Bishop Courtenay; but, taken as a whole, Winchester has one of the simplest exteriors for its size and importance in the country" ("Winchester Cathedral" in The Builder for October 1892).
The ground-plan of Winchester Cathedral is in the form of a plain Latin cross, hardly broken in its outline save by the Perpendicular prolongation of the Lady Chapel at the east end. But, simple as is the plan, "the great length of the church" (to use the words of Fergusson) "is pleasingly broken ... by the bold projection of its transepts, which here extend, as usual in England, three bays beyond the aisles, their section being the same width as that of the nave." The width of the nave with the aisles is 88 feet, while the transepts measure, from east to west, 81 feet. The total length has already been given as 556, and the width from north to south across the transepts is 230 feet. The altitude of the walls is 75 feet, which is a foot less than at Peterborough, though three more than at Ely.21
The West Front, the work of Bishop Edingdon, has been roughly handled by its critics, though Britton calls it a fine specimen of Perpendicular architecture. The original Norman work demolished by Edingdon was, as excavations have proved, forty feet in advance of the present façade. To judge by 23accounts of the destroyed portions, the west front in its earlier state must have been far more imposing than it is at present, for not only is it now commonplace in mass, but even the detail has no particular charm to atone for the change. The whole of this work appears so thoroughly Perpendicular in character that it has been questioned whether at such an early date as that to which it is assigned the style can have been so far developed. Woodward, indeed, though attributing to Edingdon the walls and the principal part of the west end, declares the tracery, the fronts of the porches, and much of the panelling to be later; but a comparison of Winchester with another church undoubtedly built by this bishop, at his native town of Edingdon, in Wiltshire, supports the tradition which credits him with its erection. Besides this evidence, we have additional proof in the fact that he left by his will certain property to be devoted to the completion of the nave. Late though his work may appear at first sight, yet when it is closely examined and compared with Wykeham's work the difference is very apparent.
The whole western façade with its three bays is wanting in greatness, and its effect may be said to be that of a large parish church rather than a cathedral. Not only do we miss the western towers which are so often the most striking feature of an English west front, but the screen which masks the lower storey lacks the richness which distinguishes a somewhat similar feature at Exeter. The curiously poor appearance, notwithstanding its huge size, of the great west window is perhaps chiefly responsible for the want of dignity in the whole; nor is there, to redeem this, any delicate fancy in the tracery. The "merest stone grating" Willis terms the window, and though from so warm a panegyrist of the church this seems a severe criticism, no one can traverse his opinion.
By way of further proof that the west front was Edingdon's work, Willis points out that, while in Wykeham's panels the masonry itself is carefully finished, and the same stones used for the ground of the panel and its mouldings, in Edingdon's work the monials and tracery alone exhibit good masonry, the panels being filled with rough ashlar. By other tests, too technical to quote here, the same critic makes it clear that the west front, with two compartments of the nave on the north and one to the south, must be attributed to Edingdon, though he probably did not finish the gable and turrets, which seem to 24be the work of Wykeham. The present state shows a gable rising in the centre, flanked by octagonal pinnacle turrets. On the apex of this gable is a canopied finial containing a niche wherein now stands a figure of William of Wykeham, the original statue, which was supposed to represent S. Swithun, having been removed to the feretory when the west front was restored in 1860 at a cost of £3000. The triangle of the gable is filled with tracery, the lower part of the central panels in which serve as a smaller square-headed six-light window above the parapet which crosses at the head of the great nine-light window. Buttresses assist in supporting the two towers, and lesser ones project to hide the sides of the porch, which, pierced by three doorways and crowned by a parapet, extends along the whole lower storey, across the nave and both aisles. Above the screen the pitched roofs of aisles may be seen. The bays containing the side windows, of four lights each, accord in style with the large central one, having also wall tracery in panels over the comparatively small surface of unpierced wall. The screen itself has three deeply-recessed portals with pointed arches, and a large canopied empty niche on each side of the main entrance.
The central doorway is divided by a clustered shaft, where from spring two cinquefoil arches. The recessed portal has a groined roof, with an arcade of cusped arches on the main west wall, broken by the doorways which give admission to the nave. A pierced balcony of simple design crowns the whole of the screen and forms a gallery which is said to have been used for bestowing episcopal benedictions to the people outside the cathedral on festival days.
The excavations which brought to light the old foundations of the original west front showed "a wall of 128 feet from north to south, and 12 feet thick, with returns at each end of the same thickness 60 feet in length. At their eastern ends the walls again turn in at right angles and meet the present side aisles at 17 feet from each corner. Within the parallelogram thus partially traced two other walls run from east to west at a distance of 36 feet from each other." In a garden adjoining the west end of the cathedral at the time when these observations were made, part of the south-west angle of the walls still remained. Indications of the western towers were apparent; and Willis suggests that they were probably either unfinished, or in a threatening condition, so that Edingdon demolished them; even as at Gloucester the western towers of the cathedral were removed, and the façade was replaced by a perpendicular west front at the beginning of the fifteenth century.25
26The original west front may very probably have been similar to that of Lincoln Cathedral, "unornamental," says a writer in Architecture, "save for some interlacing arches and dwarf blind arcades, and with no windows to reflect the setting sun, or to light the cavernous interior."
The two westernmost bays of the North side are due to Edingdon, and we get here well contrasted the work of Edingdon and of Wykeham. In Willis's plan the difference can be clearly seen. The two windows to the right are heavier, lower, and broader, and display much deeper exterior mouldings, with "a most cavernous and gloomy appearance," while the window on the left hand is much narrower and lighter. The left-hand buttress is like the others on the north side of the church, whereas the other three are different from it and from one another, that on the extreme right, together with its pinnacle, being apparently just as Edingdon left it. The pinnacles and upper set-off of the two centre buttresses in the figure were added by Wykeham to Edingdon's underwork. The mouldings of Wykeham's windows are more elaborate than those of Edingdon's, where the tracery is similar to that of the west window. Of the bays on the north side the nine next to Edingdon's two, together with the three beyond the northern transept, are Wykeham's work, as are the three bays beyond the transept on the southern side and the extension of the Lady Chapel. Edingdon claims, beside what has been already mentioned, one bay on the south, next the west front. De Lucy's work consists of the three easterly bays on either side, and part of the Lady Chapel exterior. The rest of the bays are Norman, and the prevailing note is simplicity, not to say rudeness. The South side of the nave is almost devoid of decoration, the bays being merely divided by flat buttresses which do not reach below the bottoms of the aisle windows. The eleven windows in the clerestory above are all alike, divided only by flat buttresses. Aisle and clerestory both show a plain parapet and corbels. The bold buttresses on the north side, with their panelled and crocketted pinnacles, save it from 27the monotony of the south side, which, however, was once greatly concealed by cloisters and convent buildings, and is even now far more enclosed than the northern side.
The low Central Tower, the coping of which is only 35 feet above the ridge of the transept roof, is Norman, though, as explained before, of later date than the transepts. It is of a simple square form, 150 feet high by 50 wide, and is divided by a string course into two storeys, the lower of which is plain with small round-headed windows; the larger upper storey has on each side three narrow round-headed windows, which form a kind of arcade round the upper part of the tower, surmounted by a zig-zag string course. At the angles are engaged shafts. The massive manner in which the tower was rebuilt in the eleventh century can be better appreciated from within, when we come to the piers which support it. The building has been said to prove that the Normans of the period were "still bad masons and imperfectly acquainted with the principles of construction," the masses of masonry employed showing an enormous waste of both labour and materials. But the architects at any rate gained their end, since the tower has stood to the present day. The strength of the original Norman work, indeed, is so great that for all the 250 feet of nave no flying-buttresses were required to support the later vaulting.
The gables of the Transepts are not so high as those of the nave, but the clerestory parapets are on the same level. The side aisles are much lower than those in the nave or the presbytery. The parapets are plain, over a series of small arches supported by corbels; except that in the eastern aisle of the south transept the parapet rests on plain corbels, and above the western clerestory of the other transept is a cornice with Perpendicular bosses. In this clerestory, again, the buttresses are Perpendicular, whereas otherwise throughout the transepts they are flat Norman. Over the eastern aisle of the north there is no cornice or corbel; "the parapet," says Woodward, "with no more than a water-table under it, is carried across the gable of the north transept, so as to form an alura above the buttress, in front of the circular window there." The Perpendicular rose-window in the northern gable cannot now be seen from the interior, being hidden by the transept ceiling, but in the illustration from Britton, on page 59, it is visible. The corresponding gable on the south shows panelling with interlacing 28Norman arches, but there are only two narrow lights. Many symptoms show that square towers were to have been erected flanking the transept gables. There is an unfinished turret at the north-east corner of the north transept, while the springing of an arcade and the generally incomplete appearance prove that a side tower was intended. The other three extreme angles of the transepts also bear out this view. The width from east to west of the transepts is enormous as compared with the height of the central tower above. It rather looks from the presence (barely perceptible from outside) of the westernmost windows of the presbytery aisles as if those who carried on Wykeham's work had meant to reduce this great width, and give more importance to the presbytery and retro-choir externally. It is certain, at any rate, that the Norman transepts narrowly escaped a complete transformation. That on the north side of the cathedral shows very considerable alterations, in the majority of its windows, from the old Norman pattern. A built-up doorway may be noticed under the first window from the west of this transept.
The exterior of the Presbytery has only three compartments on each side, but in each there are four lights in aisle and clerestory alike. The windows are of the Wykeham pattern, though probably a little later in date than his work. The buttresses, which rise above the aisle roof, culminate in square panelled pinnacles, surmounted by crocketted ogee canopies. From these buttresses spring graceful flying-buttresses, with pierced spandrels running to the clerestory walls. On the northern side the plain parapet has over it a pierced battlement.
The East End, as it now stands, is some 110 feet beyond the original Norman termination, and presents a square face, projecting with a flat parapet beyond the high gable over the actual east window. The Norman apse was demolished about 1320 in all probability, and the present polygonal end substituted for it. It seems that originally the aisles of the Norman presbytery continued round this apse, which was flanked by two small towers. The eastern chapel may have been dedicated to the Holy Trinity as at Canterbury, and probably extended as far as the western arch of the present Lady Chapel. The central gable of the old termination, rather acute in form, is richly decorated with panels and crocketting, and is crowned by a tabernacle wherein Bishop 29Fox is represented leaning on the pelican. "Three of the panels in the centre are pierced and glazed, forming a small square-headed window; and under it is a door opening upon an alura, behind a crenelated, panelled, and pierced parapet, over a cornice with bosses, at the base of the gable, and just above the east window" (Woodward). The Perpendicular east window has seven lights, and resembles, in the form of its head, Wykeham's windows. A portrait bust of Fox has been discovered on the north corbel of the hood-mould of this window, and the flying-buttresses (which, as Willis pointed out, the jointing of the masonry proves to be later insertions into the clerestory walls) have the pelican carved on them. The whole gable is flanked by richly canopied octagonal turrets, on which the flying-buttresses abut. The lower part of the east window cannot be seen from below, being lost behind the roof of the chantry aisles.
The whole of the eastern arm of the cathedral is curiously 30mixed in style, furnishing examples of Early English, Decorated, and Perpendicular architecture. Beyond the main east gable just described projects a low Early English structure of three nearly equally high aisles, of which the central or Lady Chapel has received a further Perpendicular addition. There has been apparently a slight subsidence of the Early English walls, which has caused the irregular look of the arches in the interior of the southern retro-choir aisle (see page 69). Above the plain string-course of the retro-choir there is in each compartment, under a level parapet, an arcade of narrow pointed arches, four in number, the central couple of each set being pierced and glazed, so as to form pairs of lancet windows. The Langton and Guardian Angels' chapels, which project not quite half as far as the Lady Chapel from the old eastern limit of the church, show a triple series of arcades, diminishing in size as they mount. The central arcade is much cut into on the eastern face by the large three-light windows of the lateral chapels. There is no parapet above the arcades. At the angles between these chapels and the retro-choir aisles are staircases enclosed in small octagonal turrets rising slightly above the adjoining parts with merely a plain parapet at the top.
The Lady Chapel has at the end and at each side a fine seven-light Perpendicular window, the heads of the lights below the transom being cinquefoiled, while above each window is a cornice supported by small arches resting on corbels; over all is a pierced battlement, which is also crenelated at the actual east end. Below the east window of the Lady Chapel, between the two great buttresses with mutilated canopies on the two lower of their three divisions, there is some blank panelling, consisting of four shallow-arched recesses with a pilaster down the centre, each arch uniting two minor ones with cinquefoil cusps at the head and crowned by a quatrefoil with a rosette in the middle. There were originally four heads at the ends of the corbels under these quatrefoils, but the southernmost is broken away. A similar arcade runs along the southern wall of the Lady Chapel, but there is none on the north side. The two main corbel-tables at the east end show the arms of England and France and the bishop's device of three "torteaux." Under these, at a short distance from the ground, are two smaller windows, which give light to the Lady Chapel crypt. The panelling dates from about 1490, and is due to Bishop Peter Courtenay.31
33The very first glimpse of the nave, as one enters by the west door, reveals the superb proportions of the interior. In spite of all statistics of its size, the outward appearance of the building hardly impresses the spectator with the fact that Winchester is the largest cathedral in Northern Europe, and it is not until one is within the walls that the great length of the cathedral begins to become real and its majesty is properly appreciated. The total span, from end to end, of 556 feet, compared with the 537 feet of Ely, the 525 of York, the 524 of Lincoln, and the 516 of Canterbury, would not alone produce the effect of almost infinite vastness, and is certainly not realised either in a distant prospect from the hills or in a nearer view from the cathedral precincts. But when once the nave is entered, owing partly to the open and comparatively low choir-screen, the magnificent vault of nearly 400 feet may easily be understood to have few rivals in the world. Certainly neither of the two buildings in England which are practically equal in size to Winchester Cathedral give the peculiarly overwhelming sense of length produced here. The old epithet of "Royal" may be said to apply as fitly to the cathedral as to the town, and it certainly is a worthy shelter for the bones of half-forgotten dynasties, and as fine a monument of an earlier England as Westminster is of later periods in the development of the country.
Of course, as in all English cathedrals, a lack of colour and a sense of coldness and emptiness modifies any unqualified admiration which one might at first feel. But Winchester could well afford to admit far more than the most captious critic could utter against it, and yet claim to be the most stately nave that England can show. Despite the late recasting, 34the proportions are Norman, and the very core of the pillars is still the original Norman stonework. Notwithstanding the changes wrought by Edingdon and Wykeham, all the more petty detail of the Decorated period is lavished on a colossal structure planned with the simple magnificence of those that "builded better than they knew."
Perhaps it is not quite fair to the later architects to attribute all the excellence of the work to the earlier builders, for the graceful columns of the nave's eleven bays which rise unbroken to where the roof-groining springs from their capitals are made by Wykeham to fulfil a new duty which entirely alters their whole aspect. The general effect has been said to be as if a Norman architect had expressed himself in the more refined idiom of the early fifteenth century. Yet the work of Edingdon and Wykeham was ruthless in its way. The original Norman nave of Walkelin consisted of the normal three storeys, of equal height in this case—the main arches, triforium, and clerestory. At the present day the main arches are fully half as high again as they were in the Norman cathedral, while the base of the clerestory has been brought down to meet them, so that the triforium appears to have vanished or rather to exist merely as a balcony over each arch. As a matter of fact, however, it was the old clerestory which was entirely removed and replaced by the present upper storey. On p. 35 we see on the one hand typical Norman work, of the character still existing at Romsey Abbey and Christchurch Priory—to mention only the two large churches nearest to Winchester. During the conversion of the nave the bases and capitals of the grouped shafts of the main arches were removed, together with all the masonry above them. This is not mere conjecture, for the Norman shafts and capitals which still remain on the north side of the nave, in the second bay from the crossing, where they were covered by the ancient rood-screen, show that the pier-arches of the nave sprang from the same height as those of the transepts; the Norman main arch of the triforium still exists in every compartment over the vault of the side aisles to prove that the triforium of the nave was practically on the same level as that of the transepts, and the tops of the Norman shafts yet remaining above the nave-vaulting are additional evidence that the nave was to all intents and purposes uniform with the transepts in its general arrangement. In the south aisle, moreover, there is to be seen the lower extremity of a Norman shaft, once covered by some votive altar or shrine which was removed during the destructive period of the Reformation. "It may be readily noted," says the writer of a recent article on Winchester Cathedral, "how the new ashlar was brought down to the level of this vanished altar, and how Wykeham's vaulting-shaft has been made to end in foliation where it once rose in receipt of prayers and wax-candles vowed in return for mercies vouchsafed." In the seven westerly piers of the south aisle, the Norman stonework has merely received new mouldings; while flat Norman buttresses can be seen outside between the clerestory windows, also on the south side.35
36On the division into two, in place of the usual three, storeys, it may, perhaps, be of interest to quote some remarks of Willis in the "Proceedings of the Archæological Institute." "The compartment of Wykeham's nave," he says, "is divided into two parts vertically instead of three; for although it has a triforium gallery, yet this is so completely subordinated to the clerestory window that it cannot be held as a separate division of the composition, as in the Norman work where the triforium compartment is of all importance and similar in decoration to the other two, although not exactly like them. In Wykeham's work, on the contrary, we find above the lofty pier-arch what at first sight appears to be a clerestory window divided at mid-height by a transom, and recessed under a deeply-pointed archway. But it is above the transom only that the real window is formed by glazing the spaces between the monials. Below the transom these spaces are filled with panels, and two narrow openings cut through the latter give access from the roof to a kind of balcony which projects over the pier-arches. In each compartment this balcony exists, but there is no free passage from one to the other. This mode of uniting the triforium and clerestory by the employment of a transom dividing the stone panels of the former from the glazed lights of the latter is common enough at the period of Wykeham's work and before it, but the balcony is unusual."37
It is needless to add any further explanation, since the diagram fully explains both the present state of the nave and the manner in which the transformation from the original Norman design was brought about; but it may be worth while 38to quote an architect's verdict on the general effect of Wykeham's work in the nave. "If we cannot admire all the details," says this writer, "we can but bear tribute to the conception of the whole. Its lofty arcades give no space for triforium, and the proportion between the clerestory and the arcade is somewhat unsatisfactory. If we except the vaulted roof, and the chantry of the great Wykeham himself, and his predecessor Edingdon, this portion of the church may, with reason, be considered simple in its character, and bears distinct evidence of having been grafted on earlier work. The Norman columns still remain in one or two places towards the east end of the nave arcade, but with the exception of these and of the Norman masonry existing in the piers on the south, and perhaps portions of the aisle walls, all is transformed to Perpendicular detail" (The Builder, October 1892).
Altogether there are, between the western doors and the piers supporting the tower, twelve arches on each side, one of each series being included in the choir. Hooks and brackets may be seen in the face of the piers at about three-quarters of their height; these were formerly used for the suspension of arras on occasions of great festivity.
It has been practically established that the sculpture at least of the nave and its vault was not finished for nearly half-a-century after Wykeham's death. We find Cardinal Beaufort's arms and bust, and his device, a white hart chained, as well as Waynflete's lily, intermingled with the arms and bust of Wykeham. Under the triforium gallery is a cornice, in each compartment of which are to be found seven large sculptured bosses, representing a cardinal's hat, a lily, roses, etc. Of the compartments of the clerestory in the nave we have said that they have the appearance of a very fine Perpendicular window. All, however, except the upper part of the centre of these seeming windows is really panel-work. The old Norman main arch of the triforium may be seen behind this panelling, under the present clerestory windows.39
Until recently the mass above pressed very heavily on the nave-vaulting, but during the last and preceding years (1896-7) the strain has been relieved by the insertion of new supplementary timbers above the original Hempage Forest beams, which can still be seen by those who wish. The cost of this work of repairing the roof and vault has been about £9000, 40and so far has not at all exceeded the original estimate. In August 1897 a large amount still remained to be subscribed. As seen from below each division of the vault is "bounded by two vaulting-shafts, which rise to the level of the clerestory window-sill and send out from above the capital nine diverging ribs to the ridge-rib, by which the whole vault is divided into a series of bisected and interlacing lozenges, as the basis for all the groining" (Woodward).
The general effect of the nave can be gathered from the illustrations, which bring out well the appearance of height which is bound to impress the spectator standing near the central western door. In the nave aisles also a fine view may be obtained, the comparative narrowness counteracting the lessened height. As one looks down the church towards the west, it will be noticed that the western interior wall is practically entirely filled by the great window, for not only does this stretch across the whole width, but the mullions also are carried right down to the floor-level, a double series of panels occupying the space below the sill of the window. The glass in the window proper is, for the most part, very old, and, as is pointed out elsewhere (see p. 94), is arranged in patterns after the fashion of a kaleidoscope. This arises from the fact that the fragments of which it is composed are entirely disjointed, and probably incapable of being pieced together.
The monuments and objects of interest in the nave are numerous, but chief perhaps are, on the north side, the Minstrels' Gallery, the old grill-work, and the font; and, on the south side, the chantries of Bishops Wykeham and Edingdon. But, first of all, though not on account of pre-eminent merit, should be mentioned the bronze statues of James I. and Charles I. to the north and south of the main west door, against the interior wall. They were executed by Le Sueur, the artist who executed the fine equestrian figure of Charles I. at Charing Cross. A note on the sculptor's payment for these bronzes may be seen in the "Record of Exchequer," from which it appears that he received £340 for the two, with a further £40 for "carrying and erecting them" at Winchester.41
In the north-west corner stands the Minstrels' Gallery or Tribune, the work of Edingdon. It is supported by two flattened arches springing from the pier shafts, and is panelled 43on its face and spandrels The panelling is decorated with flowered cusps, and the central bosses bear the arms of Wykeham. This gallery appears to have been intended for use on State occasions; now, however, it is merely used as a room in which the episcopal registers may be stored. In height it extends half-way up the neighbouring piers.
Near this, at the western end of the north aisle, is a door made up of four pieces of iron Grill-work, which originally stood at the top of the steps leading up from the south transepts to the retro-choir. The place where it used to be is still pointed out, and indeed marks are visible in the piers to which it was secured. A paper read to the Society of Arts by Mr J. Starkie Gardiner, describes the door as being, from its style, "the oldest piece of grill-work in England. The design is composed of sprays formed of two rolls of scrolls, welded to a central stem, like a much-curled ostrich feather, with lesser scrolls in the interstices and the major scrolls, each terminating in an open-work trefoil, or quinquefoil. The large scrolls are 5½ in. in diameter and rather stout, the grill possessing great resisting powers, though it would not be hard to climb.... There is, unfortunately, no means of fixing the date, since no other grill resembles it; but, from the position indicated in the cathedral, it may well have been made as long ago as the eleventh or twelfth century." It was originally intended to keep the miscellaneous crowd of pilgrims to the shrine of S. Swithun from penetrating farther into the church by way of the south transept. They were obliged to enter and depart by the Norman doorway in the north transept.
It will not be necessary to record all the monuments and the brasses which so abundantly cover the walls, but those of the greatest interest will be alluded to. In the fifth bay of the north aisle are two memorials of very different dates, those of the "Two Brothers of Avington" (1662), and of the novelist, Jane Austen, the youngest daughter of the rector of Steventon in Hampshire. Her monumental brass is affixed to the wall below the other, which records how the two brothers were "both of Oxford, both of the Temple, both Officers to Queen Elizabeth and our noble King James. Both Justices of the Peace, both agree in arms, the one a Knight, the other a Captain."
In the next bay, opposite the Norman Font, is an inscription 44relating to Mrs Montagu, the founder of the "Blue Stocking" Club. It is to this effect:—"Here lies the body of Elizabeth Montagu, daughter of Matthew Robinson, Esq., of West Layton, in the County of York, who, possessing the united advantages of beauty, wit, judgment, reputation, and riches, and employing her talents most uniformly for the benefit of mankind, might be justly deemed an ornament to her sex and country. She died on the 25th August, 1800, aged 81."
The Norman Font, which Milner called crux antiquariorum, is situated on the north side of the nave between the fifth and sixth pillars from the west front. It is one of a group of seven found in England; of which four are in Hampshire, at East Meon, S. Michael's (Southampton), S. Mary Bourne, and Winchester; two in Lincolnshire, in the cathedral and at Thornton Curtis; and one at S. Peter's, Ipswich. Of four similar fonts on the Continent, that at Zedelghem, near Bruges, is most like the Winchester example, and also illustrates the same legend. The material of which these fonts are made is a bluish-black calcareous marble, such as is still worked at Tournai in Hainault. The font before us is a nearly square block of marble supported on a solid central column ornamented with horizontal mouldings, with four disengaged pillars of lesser diameter, with "cable" mouldings, at each corner. The spandrels of the top are decorated with carved symbolic subjects, leaves and flowers on two sides, and on the other two doves drinking from vases out of which issue crosses, typifying baptism, it is said. It is rather curious that the artist has disregarded the usual symmetry, and filled his spaces without reference to the corresponding ones. On the north and east faces of the font are three circular medallions with symbolic doves and salamanders. On the south and west are scenes from the life of S. Nicholas of Myra, as was fully demonstrated by Milner; the north side showing the saint dowering the three daughters of a poor nobleman, while on the west he restores to life a drowned person, probably the king's son in one of the stories of his life, and rescues from death by the axe three young men who are about to be slain either by the executioner or by a wicked innkeeper, for there are two versions. Some authorities would find four scenes represented on the west side; but on what grounds it is difficult to see. There only appear 45to be two figures of the saint, and the two scenes are divided by what looks like a short vertical bar indicating a difference of subject (see p. 117). The cult of S. Nicholas of Myra grew rapidly in the twelfth century, being popularised by the crusaders. In this century it is known that the carved work at Tournai, whence it is probable that the black marble came, was remarkable for its symbolism. The font has been thought to be older, on account of its archaic figures, but, as the Dean of Winchester pointed out in a paper read before the Archæological Association in 1893 (to which we are indebted for much of this account), the mitre which S. Nicholas is represented as wearing was not recognised as part of a bishop's official dress until the very end of the eleventh century; in fact, the particular form of mitre depicted appears to have been late twelfth century. The conclusion naturally arrived at is that the font is of Belgian origin, carved at Tournai between 1150-1200, and its presence at Winchester may well be due either to Henry of Blois or to Toclive.
46On the north side of the steps leading up to the choir is a brass tablet on a pillar, recording the merits of the "renowned martialist," Colonel Richard Boles, who fought on the king's side at Edgehill, and died bravely in a small action at Alton, Southampton, in 1641, his party of sixty being surprised by a large force of the rebels. "His gracious sovereign hearing of his Death gave him high Commendation, in that passionate expression,—Bring me a Moorning scarf, I have lost one of the best Commanders in the Kingdome." Between the ninth and tenth pillars on this side is the tomb of Bishop Morley, with an epitaph written by himself at eighty years of age. By the next pillar is the monument of Bishop Hoadley, with a good medallion-portrait of him on it.47
On the south side of the nave we find two remarkable tombs, of which the first is the Chantry of William of Wykeham, called by Timbs "one of the best remaining specimens of a fourteenth century monument." It stands, where Wykeham erected it, "in that part of the cross (formed by the church) which corresponds to the Saviour's pierced side," and occupies the space between the piers which enclose the fifth bay from the west end. The site is said to have been previously occupied by an altar dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, Wykeham's patroness. He left directions, moreover, that three monks should celebrate masses thrice daily in his chantry, receiving for this one penny a day, while the boys who were to sing there nightly were assigned 6s. 8d. a year. Needless to say, his wishes are not now carried out. The stone-screen which surrounds the chantry is of beautiful and elaborate workmanship, the effect of which has been compared to lace, while above graceful shafts support a canopy, of which the pinnacles rise to the level of the triforium gallery. At the east end are traces of an altar and credence table, and close by is a piscina. Above are two rows of canopied niches, which, however they were originally occupied, have for long been untenanted until quite recently. During the early part of 1897 the pedestals have been filled with ten statues 49of modern worksmanship2 A row of five empty niches runs along the western wall. The vault of the chantry is richly groined with lierne work; it is tinted a vivid blue on the back-ground, and the bosses on the groins are gilt. The ironwork in this chantry is also noticeable. The tomb within has fortunately suffered but little from time, and, thanks to the courage of one of the pupils in Wykeham's foundation at Winchester, Colonel Nathaniel Fiennes, the Parliamentarians left both this monument and the college buildings untouched. On the tomb itself lies the figure of Wykeham with his hands folded across his breast, habited in Episcopal robes and mitre, his crozier on his shoulder. Three small figures of monks praying kneel at his feet, while his head is slightly raised up by supporting angels. A little arcade runs all round the tomb, with a series of shields in the spaces, containing his arms and motto "Manners Makyth Man" and the arms of the see of Winchester. His epitaph, on a slip of red enamelled brass in a chamfer round the edge of the tomb, has been thus translated:—
|Here, overthrown by death, lies William, surnamed Wykeham.|
He was Bishop of this Church, which he repaired.
He was unbounded in hospitality, as the rich and poor alike can prove.
He was also an able politician, and a counsellor of the State.
By the colleges which he founded his piety is made known;
The first of which is at Oxford and the second at Winchester.
You, who behold this tomb, cease not to pray
That, for such great merits, he may enjoy everlasting life.
As one proceeds along the nave toward the east, the choir is reached by two flights of four steps each with a landing between, over which formerly there extended a rood-loft from 50pillar to pillar, bearing on it Stigand's great cross. To the south of these choir steps and adjoining the intermediate landing is the Chantry of Bishop Edingdon, the earliest in date of the chapel-tombs at Winchester. The chantry is very plain in comparison with the others in the cathedral, and apart from the tomb there is only a slightly raised platform at the east end, without an altar. A shaft of the large pillars runs down the centre of the east and west interior walls. On the tomb lies the figure of the Bishop in pontificalibus, his stole bearing the symbolic and much-disputed "Fylfot" cross, which has been interpreted as a sign of submission. Edingdon's curious Latin epitaph, given on page 107, is on a blue enamelled strip of brass on the edge of the tomb.
Close to Edingdon's chantry is the Nave Pulpit, which is in itself a good piece of Jacobean work, though not happily situated in the nave of Winchester. It stood formerly in the chapel at New College, Oxford, and did not appear at Winchester until 1884, when it was presented by members of the Mayo family. If one stands facing east in the aisle to the right of this pulpit, one of the most picturesque views in the cathedral lies before one, through part of the south transept and up the southern ambulatory of the retro-choir to the bright colours of Langton's chapel window at the end. It will readily be noticed how out of the perpendicular are the piers of this ambulatory as one approaches the east end of the church. This seems to have arisen through a slight subsidence of the ground here.
The original rood-screen exists no longer, and in its place we have but a modern copy, by Sir Gilbert Scott, of the work in the Decorated choir stall canopies. This oak Choir Screen, which is all that breaks the view between west porch and reredos, has not met with much approval, and the pallor of its wood does not contrast agreeably with the rich colour of the old choir stalls. This, however, cannot with justice be made a ground for complaint against the architect, who modelled his work as far as possible on the original.
As one enters the Choir, which is raised above the level of the nave by the two sets of four steps, the stalls above-mentioned will be found to reach on either side from the eastern piers of the central tower to the first piers of the nave. They are of carved oak and are possibly the best existing 51examples of their date in England. The style is Early Decorated, and Willis points out the similarity between their canopies and gables and those of Edward Crouchback's chapel in Westminster Abbey. The details are varied and graceful, with the design of each pair coupled under a pointed arch with a cinquefoil in its head, which is again surmounted by a high crocketted gable. The oak has turned a superb hue with age, very different from the colour of the modern screen which is banked by the reveals of the old bishop's throne. The misereres below are much earlier in date than the canopies, but do not go quite so far back as those at Exeter, which may be assigned to about 1230. The desks and stools of the upper tier show the date 1540 and bear also the initials of Henry VIII., Bishop Gardiner, and Dean Kingsmill. The pulpit on the north side of the choir was given by Prior Silkstede, whose name it bears, and is also of finely carved work. Above the choir stalls on the northern side is the organ, which was repaired this year.
52Toward the east end of the choir stalls, in the centre of the pavement, lies the much-disputed Tomb of William Rufus. It is a plain coped tomb, constructed of Purbeck marble. Since it was known that William was buried originally beneath the tower, this tomb was assumed to be his, and in Cromwell's time it was violated, when, as Milner relates, there was found therein, "besides the dust, some pieces of cloth embroidered with gold, a large gold ring, and a small silver chalice." The very fact of these discoveries, however, tend to prove that the grave was not that of Rufus. It is now frequently held that it is that of Henry of Blois, who is known to have been buried "with much honour before the high altar"; Rudborne records that he was sepultus in ecclesia sua coram summo altari. Yet others suppose that he still lies in the space before the altar. The ring found in Cromwell's time, set with a sapphire which denotes a bishop, may be seen in the cathedral library. When the contents of the tomb were last examined, on August 27, 1868, the remains, though much disturbed by the previous violation, indicated a man of about 5 feet 8 inches, and fragments of red cloth with gold embroidery were to be seen. It was also gathered that the body had been wrapped in lead, as Henry of Blois was said to have been.53
The vaulting of the presbytery, which is of timber carved to imitate stone, is remarkable for its very fine and brilliantly coloured bosses, forming a quite unique collection of designs. Milner mentions as the chief among these, "the arms and badges of the families of Lancaster and Tudor, the arms of Castile, of Cardinal Beaufort, and even of the very sees held 55successively by Bishop Fox. The part of the vaulting from the altar to the east window bears none but pious ornaments: the several instruments of the Saviour's Passion, including S. Peter's denial, and the betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane, the faces of Pilate and his wife, of the Jewish high priest, Judas kissing Jesus, Judas' money-bag, the Veronica"—this is immediately above the place of the cross on the reredos—"the Saviour's coat, with the Cross, crown of thorns, nails, hammer, pillar, scourges, reed, sponge, lance, sword with the ear of Malchus upon it, lanthorn, ladder, cock, dice, etc." Under the tower the vaulting is of wood, dating from 1634. Before this year the choir-lantern was visible from below, with its striking late Norman stonework divided into two tiers. It has been proposed to re-open the lantern, but this would necessitate the removal of the bells from the tower, a matter of considerable expense. It would also be a pity to take down the vaulting with its various devices, including the arms, etc., of Charles I., his queen, and the Prince of Wales, a medallion of the two former, the Scotch and Irish arms, and those of Archbishop Laud, Bishop Curie, and Dean Young. The central emblem is that of the Trinity, with a "chronogram" indicating the year 1634 thus:—sInt DoMUs hUjUs pII reges nUtrItII regInae nUtrICes pIae. The larger letters, picked out in red, serve as Roman figures which added together make up the required number.
From the commencement of the choir to the high altar are eleven steps, making nineteen in all from the level of the nave. This elevation, of course, much enhances the imposing effect of the altar and reredos as seen from the lower plane. It is due to the existence of the Norman crypt beneath, and can be paralleled both at Canterbury and at Rochester. The raised platform includes the presbytery with its aisles and the retro-choir, and extends under the central tower to the second pillar beyond. The nave and transepts are thus on a lower level. Before the altar are rails which date from the reign of Charles I., while the Altar Books were presented to the cathedral by Charles II.
The great Reredos, which separates the presbytery from the feretory and the eastern end of the church, is, to judge from its style, late fifteenth-century work. It has been attributed to Cardinal Beaufort, and to Bishop Fox and Prior Silkstede, 56but no inscription or armorial details can be discovered to confirm either of these suppositions. It is similar in character to the altar-screens of Christchurch Priory, Hants, and S. Mary Overy (S. Saviour's, Southwark); but, less fortunate than the former, it was despoiled of all the statues which once filled its niches, while it has not "the exquisite grace of detail which marks the choir of angels at Southwark." The reredos at S. Albans, in the same style, though not so large, was erected between 1476 and 1484; and, as at Winchester before 1899, shows a cross-shaped space where, according to legend, a huge silver crucifix was placed. Now once more, as in the sixteenth century, there is a figure on the great cross. It is curious to note an attempt, during the rage for pseudo-classic architecture in the last century, to beautify the reredos by placing sham funeral urns in its niches. These were fortunately removed in 1820, and in recent years they have been replaced by a series of statues intended to reproduce as far as possible the original effect. In the Builder for October 10, 1892, a large reproduction was given of a very interesting drawing by the late Mr J.W. Sedding, showing the whole screen completely restored; but this scheme was unfortunately not used. A large oil-painting, "The Raising of Lazarus," by Benjamin West, purchased in 1782 by Dean Ogle, till 1899 hung immediately over the altar. Before 1818 a huge wooden canopy in Jacobean style, freely enriched with gold, covered all the central portion of the screen. This was due to Bishop Curie.
The reredos is so large that it occupies the whole of the space between the choir piers, and, being constructed of a very white stone, is the prominent feature of the choir. The work is very elaborate, the whole screen being arranged in three tiers with canopied niches containing eighteen large statues, while smaller figures—kings, saints, angels, etc.—occupy the splays between. The pinnacles are pierced and crocketted, and there is a central projecting canopy over the place of the original crucifix. On either side of the high altar is a door leading to the feretory at the back of the reredos, and these have in their four spandrels interesting groups of fifteenth-century sculpture, representing various scenes in the life of the Virgin, the Annunciation, and the Visitation of S. Elizabeth, still showing traces of colour. The fact that these carvings have escaped destruction, just as the lower tier at Christchurch 57escaped, is only to be explained on the assumption that they were hidden behind some panelling since removed, for of all images which provoked iconoclastic fury those representing the Virgin were the most certain to be attacked. The whole is crowned by a triple frieze of leaves, Tudor roses, and quatrefoils, at a height little short of the corbels which support the arches of the roof.
58The eighteen larger statues were, and are now, since the restoration of the reredos, arranged in the following order. In the uppermost tier, to the left and right of the head of cross, were S. Peter and S. Paul, who were the patron saints of the church. Two on either side of these were the four Latin Doctors, SS. Augustine, Gregory, Jerome, and Ambrose. "Below these, on the middle tier, we had two great local bishops, S. Birinus, first occupant of the see, standing beside the figure of the Virgin, and on the other side S. Swithun, the benevolent bishop, patron-saint of the church: beyond them, over the two doors, were SS. Benedict and Giles, the one founder of the Order to which the Priory belonged, the other the Hermit Saint, who always pitched his tabernacle just outside the walls of medieval cities; he is here set in honour to commemorate S. Giles' Hill, and especially S. Giles' Fair, from which the Convent reaped great benefit" (Dean Kitchin: "Great Screen of Winchester Cathedral"). Outermost on this tier stand the statues of the two deacons, SS. Stephen and Lawrence. In the lowest tier, on either side of the altar, stand SS. Hedda and Ethelwolf, two of the most famous Anglo-Saxon bishops of the see of Winchester. Next these saints there is the doorway on either side and beyond these doors are statues of King Edward the Confessor, and S. Edmund the King. Between the figures of SS. Swithun and Birinus, stand statues of the Virgin and S. John, while above the arms of the Cross are the four Archangels, Uriel, Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael. In all there are now fifty-six statues on the screen, the smaller figures including famous kings, bishops, women, and a representation of Izaak Walton. 59
Above the altar it is said that there was once "a table of images of silver and gilt garnished with stones." These 61images are conjectured to have represented Christ and his disciples, possibly at the Last Supper; but no traces remain of them. From 1782 till 1899 West's picture, "The Raising of Lazarus," now in the South Transept, hung here. The place is now more happily occupied by a representation of the Incarnation.
The most recent feature of the screen is the great central figure of Christ Crucified, the gift of Canon Valpy and the work of Messrs Farmer and Brindley. The final restoration of the screen by the filling of the space left vacant for three centuries was commemorated by a solemn dedication service, held at the Cathedral on March 24, 1899.
On the reredos as a whole, one authority has said that "no description could do justice to the beauty and effect of the whole work." But another has declared that "a huge screen of this uncompromising squareness of outline is a flagrantly artless device which in previous periods (to the latter half of the fifteenth century) would have been impossible." Milner again describes its "exquisite workmanship" as being "as magnificent as this or any other nation can exhibit." Doctors most certainly differ here.
It will perhaps be most convenient to deal at this point with the Transepts, of which the western walls are almost level with the choir-screen. Having been but little injured by the fall of the tower in 1107, they still remain to a great extent what they were when originally built by Walkelin. We therefore get the massive and rugged early Norman walls still divided into the three nearly equal storeys which in the nave have given place to two. Where the fall of the central tower necessitated a partial rebuilding, the difference between the Early and the Late masonry is very evident. That of the transepts generally is coarse and very thick, as is the case with all Early Norman stonework. The new masonry, on the other hand, recalls what William of Malmesbury says of the Later Norman masonry at Salisbury, when he speaks of "the courses of stone so correctly laid that the joint deceives the eye, and leads it to imagine that the whole wall is composed of a single block." The juncture of the two works at Winchester can be easily traced. Of the general style of the transepts, Willis says: "The architecture is of the plainest description. The compartment of the triforium is very nearly 62of the same height as that of the pier-arches, and the clerestory is also nearly the same height.... Each pier-arch is formed of two orders or courses of voussoirs, the edges of which are left square, wholly undecorated by mouldings. This is the case with the pier-arches of Ely transept, but in the arches of the triforium at Ely, and in every other Norman part of that cathedral, the edges of the voussoirs are richly moulded. In Winchester transept, on the contrary, the arches of the triforium and clerestory are square-edged like those of the pier below and hence arises the peculiarly simple and massive effect of this part of the church." Between the tower-piers and the terminal walls of each transept there are three piers, making four compartments, the farther two of which from the nave and choir open into the terminal aisles. The arches were all originally plain, semi-circular, and square-edged, and are supported by shafts with the cushioned capitals so characteristic of the ruder Norman style, and the bases are simple with a chamfer and quarter-round, very different from the ornamental Late Norman bases, such as may be seen at S. Cross, Winchester, for example. Where the Later Norman work has taken the place of the original, we find stronger piers. The vault above is groined, but there are no ribs. Nothing, however, can now be seen of the vaulting above the level of the side-walls, since a flat wooden ceiling, painted in "Early Tudor" style was put up in 1818, by which, among other things, the rose-window in the gable of the north transept was hidden, though in Britton's view, which we give on page 59, we have the transept previous to the timbering. Each transept has an eastern and a western aisle, while at the extreme ends there are aisles rising to pier-arch level, consisting of two arches, which a triple bearing-shaft supports in the centre. A kind of gallery is formed at the terminations of the north and south transepts, over and beyond which may be seen the triforium and clerestory windows. This can best be appreciated by a reference to the illustration, Plate XV. Possibly this platform or gallery was not originally so bare as it appears at the present day, but there is no doubt that it was built in order that processions might pass round on the triforium level.
It has been mentioned that when the tower was rebuilt the columns nearest it in the transepts were strengthened. They now, indeed, present a singularly massive outline to the eye, and contrast strongly even with the remaining Norman pillars in the transepts. The arches also are changed. All were once semi-circular, but the rebuilding necessitated a change of the first and second from the actual tower-pier into the stilted or "horse-shoe" form. They are doubly recessed (except those supporting the end platform, which have but one soffit), and present quite plain and unadorned square edges.63
65In each transept there is at the eastern angle a spiral staircase leading up to the roof.
If we take first the North Transept, there will be found at the southern end, against the side wall of the choir, and between the two great tower-piers, the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre, a small compartment which contains some interesting and still distinct mural paintings on the roof and walls, representing scenes of the Passion, etc. The most striking is a large head and bust of Christ on the easternmost division of the vaulting. One hand holds the Gospels, with the inscription Salus Populi Ego Sum. On the wall beneath are the Descent from the Cross and the Entombment. The Nativity and Annunciation also appear on the roof, while on the walls are the Entry into Jerusalem, the Raising of Lazarus, the Descent into Hell, and the Appearance to Mary Magdalene in the Garden.
Two of the Norman piers on the eastern side of this transept have received very elaborate canopies of the Decorated period, under which it is probable that there were at one time altars. Some Early English work may be seen in the heads carved on some of the larger shafts and the caps of the subsidiary pillars, a noticeable figure being "a monk crouched in a caryatidal attitude and holding a chess-board."
The modern entry to the crypts is in the south-east interior wall of this transept, the old means of entrance, through the "Holy Hole," having been blocked up.
The large tomb in the north transept is that of Prebendary Iremonger. On the western wall, at the end of the transept, are very faint traces of mural paintings, representing S. Christopher carrying Christ, etc., and it is probable the transepts were once thus decorated throughout.66
The South Transept has received far more additions to its interior decorations than has the north. In the back of the choir-wall is recessed Sir Isaac Townsend's memorial, not a very noteworthy object. Just under it there now stands the old oak settle which was once used by the Norman monks. In the central space of the transept itself is a large monument to Bishop Wilberforce, showing beneath a canopy a life-sized figure, with mitre, cope, and staff, on a slab borne by six kneeling angels. A Latin inscription records his birth on 1st September 1805, and his death on 19th July 1873. The monument is the work of Sir Gilbert Scott, and has met with 68some severe attacks. It certainly is out of place in its Norman surroundings. The aisles of the south transept are divided up into six chambers, of which the larger of the two westernmost is used as a chapter-room, and does not betray its age by its present appearance; the one next the body of the church, Milner's "ancient sacristy," but now known as Henry of Blois' treasury, serves as a boys' vestry. The Norman work over the door must not be overlooked. The chamber to the extreme south is the entrance lobby to the south door, which leads into the "slype" or passage running between the church and the old chapter-house. Leading out of it is the ancient "calefactory," where the fire for the censers and thuribles was preserved. Panelled oak screens enclose this room on both sides. Next it comes Silkstede's chapel, the central of the three easterly divisions of the transept aisles. The prior's rebus, in the form of a skein of silk, is evident among the carvings, and his Christian name Thomas may be seen on the cornice with the MA, the monogram of the Virgin, standing out distinctly. The screen in this chapel is worthy of remark, and is divided into four compartments, the upper part of each being open-work and arched with pierced quatrefoils in the spandrels. In this chapel traces of painting were discovered in 1848, beneath the whitewash on the eastern wall, the subject apparently being Christ upon the water, calling to him S. Peter, who, in an attitude of hesitation, holds the prow of the boat. Fine canopy-work surmounts the whole. Originally there were eight canopies enclosing figures, but little except the canopies remain, the distemper-painting having almost vanished. On the floor of the chapel may be found a black marble slab, the tomb of Isaak Walton, with Bishop Ken's often-quoted inscription, which, however, it is perhaps pardonable to quote again:—
|"Alas! Hee's gone before,|
Gone, to returne noe more;
Our panting hearts aspire
After their aged Sire,
Whose well-spent life did last
Full ninety years, and past.
But now he hath begun
That which will nere be done:
Crown'd with eternal Blisse,
We wish our souls with his."
71Next to Prior Silkstede's chapel comes the "Venerable" chapel, which serves as a vestry for the minor canons of the cathedral. The screen of this fills the whole archway, the six canopies extending beyond the sweep of the arch. Down each side are untenanted niches, and the openings of the tracery show some beautiful and elaborate iron-work, dating from the Renaissance. A similar screen, though without canopies, divides the Venerable Chapel from Silkstede's.
The Library is approached from an old wooden staircase in the south aisle of this transept. It is a "long, low room, with oaken presses curiously carved and ornamented with gilded knobs, after the fashion of the latter half of the seventeenth century." It contains three or four thousand books, most of which are the gift of Bishop Morley, and there are many fine MSS.; but its chief treasure is a Vulgate of the twelfth century, in three folio volumes on vellum. The gorgeously illuminated manuscript is the best work extant of the Winchester school, and the fact that it was never finished renders it only the more interesting, since thereby the whole process from the first outline to the final touch of colour is evident. A legend concerning Hugh of Avalon, afterwards Bishop of Lincoln (associated with this book), is worthy of mention. Henry II., who founded the Carthusian Monastery of Witham, in Somerset, had appointed Hugh prior in 1175 or 1176, and finding that his monks needed MSS. to copy, and in particular a complete copy of the Bible, promised to give them one. To avoid expense, he borrowed this superb Vulgate from Winchester and sent it to Witham. A chance visit long afterwards of a Winchester monk revealed what had happened, and on the matter becoming known to Hugh, he returned the volume without the king's knowledge. Among other important MSS. in the Library are an eleventh century copy of Bede's "Ecclesiastical History"; a twelfth century "Life of Edward the Confessor," by S. Aelred, Cistercian Abbot of Riévaulx about 1160, containing a portrait of the king within one of its initial letters; a copy of the "Promptorium Parvulorum"; a charter of Æthelwulf, King of Wessex, dated 854 and bearing the signatures of the king, his young son Alfred, and S. Swithun. There are also the chapter-books for 1553-1600; the cathedral statutes, with the 72signatures of Charles I. and Bishop Laud; the original charter of Henry VIII. to the cathedral, on the dissolution of the priory; and many interesting documents and printed books, some with the original chains which were fastened to their covers. Here also are kept the great seal of Henry V., the pastoral staff from Bishop Fox's tomb, his ring, those of Bishops Gardiner and Woodlock, and the one, set with a sapphire, which comes from the tomb of "William Rufus"—probably, as we have said, belonging to Henry of Blois. The library was built in 1668 A.D.
We may now return to the body of the cathedral and pass to the surroundings of the choir.
The Feretory, where the feretra or shrines of the saints were placed, lies behind the high altar and reredos, and the two doors in the latter give access to it. At one time, before the erection of the reredos, the feretory must have been visible from the choir. Behind the doors is a raised platform, seven feet in breadth, extending right across. The upper surface of this is now only three feet above the ground level, but originally it must have been far higher. Four steps give access to it. Before it is a hollow space with stumps of piers, demonstrating the ancient presence of an arcade in front of the platform. The feretory is without internal decoration, but the exterior of the east wall is adorned with nine rich Decorated tabernacles, with the yet legible names of saints and king who once occupied the eighteen pedestals within them. This inscription is to be found here:—
|Corpora sanctorum sunt hic in pace sepulta,|
Ex meritis quorum fulgent miracula multa.
The floor beneath the platform is supported by a small vault, "the entrance to which (to quote Willis) is by a low arch in the eastern face of the wall under the range of tabernacles." This vault is that which was designated as the Sanctum Sanctorum or Holy Hole. The feretory is used as a receptacle for the carved work found at various dates about the cathedral, including portions of statuary once belonging to the great screen. Here lies a really marvellous lid of a reliquary chest, presented in 1309 by Sir William de Lilburn, with events in the life of our Lord and various saints vividly portrayed in colours, and 73decorated with the donor's armorial bearings. The "Holy Hole" has been used as a receptacle for fragments of various kinds since the end of the fifteenth century, before which it was visible from the choir, for no reredos intercepted the view. Milner states that in 1789 the whole passage and vault was so choked with rubbish that the attempt to enter it had to be abandoned. A more recent observer records that there appears to be no space for a crypt or receptacle for relics within the "Holy Hole," the chest of bones, etc., being placed on the platform over the arcade. The fragments now in the feretory are often very fine, but are most of them sadly mutilated.
74The north and south sides of the feretory are flanked by the chantries of Bishops Gardiner and Fox, into which it opens. Gardiner's Chantry, in the Renaissance style, was much damaged by the Reformers, the head being knocked off the figure lying in a long niche on the outside of the chantry, and other indignities committed. Of the tomb nothing now remains, but there is an altar with figures at the back, after Italian models, representing, according to one tradition, Justice and Mercy, while others say the Law and the Gospel. At the east end is a small vestry used as a repository for fragments. The details and the mouldings of Gardiner's chantry are of the Renaissance style, and Britton has described the chapel as "bad Italian and bad English." This is true of the eastern end of the compartment, but there are redeeming features amid the curious mixture of styles. Below the floor-level of this chantry may be seen the base of one of the Norman apse piers, the sole remaining feature of the Norman east end except the crypt.
Bishop Fox's Chantry is a far finer piece of work and is certainly the most elaborate chantry in the cathedral. It displays no fewer than fifty-five richly-groined niches, all different in pattern; only two of them are tenanted, and these by very recent figures, on either side of the door. There is a great amount of wonderful undercutting to be seen in the spandrels to the arches, and the upper part of the erection shows open tracery with niches and canopies, under a cornice of running foliage and Tudor flowers, surmounted by panelled pinnacles. Fox's "pelican in her piety" alternates on the pinnacles with small octagonal turrets. At one time, moreover, all the arches, etc., contained stained glass, but this has now vanished. Within there is no tomb, but, as in Gardiner's chantry, there is, in an arched recess at the side, the ghastly carved figure of a corpse so frequently introduced in monuments of the period. The altar is surmounted by a small reredos in a sunk panel, now unoccupied, crowned by a band of angels bearing emblems of the Passion. Over the altar is this inscription in Latin:—
O sacrum convivium in quo Christus sumitur.
75There is here, as was the case with Gardiner's chantry, a small room at the eastern end. In this are chests in which relics were kept.
The interior part of the choir aisles have received "Wykeham" windows, four on each side, though from the exterior only three can be seen. The westernmost on the north side has two lights partly looking into the open, while two are unglazed and the top of one looks into the northern transept. On the south side all are glazed, but only three get any light from outside. These can be seen from the close at the junction of transept and retro-choir. All these windows have blank panelling or arcading below. It looks as if Wykeham 76or his successors meant to reduce the width of the Norman transepts, so as to bring them into better proportion with the eastern arm of the church.
Between the presbytery and the side aisles, extending from pier to pier, are screens of pierced stonework, erected by Bishop Fox, whose motto frequently occurs on them, together with his initials and Cardinal Beaufort's. On the top of the screens are six painted chests (see p. 95), in which are collected the bones of saints and kings of the Saxon period; the original collection being made by Henry of Blois. These Mortuary Chests were desecrated by the Cromwellian ruffians when they broke into the cathedral, and the bones were hurled through the stained glass of the west and other windows. Afterwards they were collected once more and replaced in the chests where they now lie. Among the relics are the bones of Edred, Edmund, Canute, William Rufus, Emma, Bishops Wina, Alwyn, Egbert, Cenwulf or Kenulf, Cynegils, and Ethelwulf, and there are the old inscriptions to indicate whose remains were originally enclosed within the boxes, though there is now no warrant that the bones within correspond at all to the names without.
Among those who have been buried in the presbytery aisles is Bishop de Pontissara, of whom Rudborne says that he was buried ex aquilonari plaga majoris altaris. Accordingly we find his monument on the north side. Close by him, and still nearer the altar, was laid Hardicanute, the last Danish king, who was brought hither from Lambeth for interment. His death was attributed to "excessive drinking." In the southern aisle are Richard, the Conqueror's younger 79son; Edward, eldest born of Alfred the Great; and Bishop Nicholas de Ely's heart.
Eastward of the feretory the building is known by the name of the Retro-choir, and presents a very old and pure example of Early English work from the hands of Bishop de Lucy. The aisles are said to have been used as a model in the building of Salisbury Cathedral. Similar processional aisles may be seen also at Hereford on a minor scale. This part of the cathedral is lower and consequently appears broader than the more westerly portion. There is a considerable amount of wall-space, only interrupted by the numerous imposing chantries erected on the floor. The lower part of the walls is remarkable for some fine, though simple, blank arcading, dating also from De Lucy's time; while light is given by pairs of lancet windows, the rear arches being borne on groups of detached shafts. Many of the original chased tiles of the pavement remain to this day, and, in fact, there has been little interference with De Lucy's work. Unfortunately, however, as has been remarked, much of it has settled considerably, throwing the south-eastern angle altogether out of the perpendicular, one vaulting-shaft having in this manner been bent back and cracked in half. The effects of the subsidence can easily be seen in the photograph of the south aisle of the retro-choir looking toward the east.
As one passes beyond the feretory through the retro-choir, the Chantry of William Waynflete stands to the north of the central alley. The canopy is very elaborate and beautiful, and plentiful traces of the original colour still can be seen, especially on the groining. On each side are three flat-headed arches, those at the east end being closed, while on each side of the piers adjoining the west end there are narrow open arches. Corniced and battlemented screens fill these arches to mid-height. The figure on the tomb is a modern restoration, very elaborately clad in full pontificals, while the hands are clasped about a heart, representing the sursum corda, or lifting up of the heart. The chantry is kept in repair by Magdalen College, Oxford, which Waynflete founded. Its situation, like that of the companion tomb of Cardinal Beaufort, makes it very impressive. There is no altar now. At the east end is a blank wall surmounted by three empty canopied niches, while at the other are two open gratings.
80In the corresponding position to the south is the Chantry of Cardinal Beaufort, now kept in repair by the Dukes of Beaufort. In Britton's time, as he tells us, there had fallen a "horse-load of the pinnacles in the canopy of Cardinal Beaufort's chantry." Owing, however, to the extreme elaboration, the effect is hardly impaired by this loss. The plan of the tomb is two groups of four clustered piers at each end, supporting a mass of canopies, niches, and pinnacles, which "bewilder the sight and senses by their number and complexity," as Britton quaintly says. The screen at the west end is closed, that at the east end open. The vault displays some elaborate fan-tracery. The body of the cardinal is presented in his scarlet official robes and the tasselled and corded hat, and the serenity of his face suggests very little the traditional portrait of him, as represented, for example, in Shakespeare's "Henry V." His death-bed moments, it is well known, have been much misrepresented. The inscription originally on his tomb has been destroyed, but Godwin quotes one sentence of it thus:—Tribularer si nescirem misericordias tuas.81
Against the north wall, not far from Waynflete's chantry, is an unknown tomb with part of an effigy, to the east of which is the grave of one William Symonds, "Gentleman, of Winchester twice Maior and Alderman," as his epitaph of 1616 relates. The last four lines of the inscription run as follows:—
His Merrit doth Enherit Life and Fame,|
For whilst this City stands Symonds his name
In alle men's harts shall never be forgotten,
For poores prayers rise when flesh lyes rotten.
Between the same chantry and the wall lies the tomb of Bishop de Rupibus, while in the space between the chantries of Beaufort and Waynflete lies the only ancient military effigy in the cathedral, a genuine relic of the fourteenth century. It is commonly known as William de Foix, and represents, in a slightly mutilated form, a knight in surcoat and complete ringed armour of the thirteenth century. His legs are crossed and the feet rest on a crouching lion, while the head is supported on two cushions which were formerly held up by angels. The right hand grasps the sword hilt, and the pointed 83shield, one of the earliest examples of a quartered shield, bears "quarterly, in the first and fourth, the arms of Bearn, two cows passant, gorged with collars and bells; in the second and third, three garbs; over all a cross." On the front edge of the slab Mr F.J. Baigent discovered the name Petrus Gavston or Gauston twice encised, but to this "scribbling" Mr Weston S. Walford, who has a note on this tomb in the fifteenth volume of the Archeological Journal, does not attach much importance, for it may merely record the engraver's conjecture as to the person here buried. The body of Edward II.'s favourite, Piers, was moved from Oxford to King's Langley in Hertfordshire two years after his execution, and buried there on January 2, 1314, in the presence of the king. It is not known to have been moved since. It seems probable that the effigy here is that of the father of the Piers known to us, a Sir Arnold de Gavaston, a record of whose interment at Winchester in May 1302 we possess, with the additional fact that Edward I. sent money and two pieces of cloth of gold to the funeral. Such respect would naturally be paid to the father of Edward II.'s foster-brother. Mr Walford suggests that the garbs on the shield are a canting allusion to the name Gabaston or Gavaston, for the spelling varies very much—Gaveston, Gaverston, and Gaberston being also found. The date of the tomb Mr Walford places between the death of Arnold in 1302 and the murder of his son in 1312. The tomb itself is adorned with five Decorated arches with the Gavaston arms on the shield, together with those of England, of France, and of Castile and Leon.
West of this are the tombs of Bishop Sumner and Prior Silkstede. The latter's grave, according to Woodward, was found, when opened, to contain the complete remains of a body robed in black serge, with the "funeral boots" yet on the bones of the feet. The body seems to have been removed hither from Silkstede's chapel in the south transept.
Next the western end of Beaufort's chantry is the tomb of William de Basynge, prior of this church (quondam Prior istius ecclesiæ), as his inscription states, promising 145 days' indulgence to whoever prays for his soul three years. He died in 1295.
On the south wall facing the same chantry is a marble monument of the Royalist, Sir John Clobery; and near this is a large 84slab in the floor, in memory of Baptist Levinz, Bishop of Sodor and Man, and prebendary of Winchester, who died in 1692.
On the end wall of the ambulatory, to the left of the entrance to the Chapel of the Guardian Angels, is a fine monument, somewhat mutilated, to Ethelmar or Aymer de Valence, half-brother of Henry III., who was so unpopular a bishop at Winchester. Only his heart is in the cathedral, having been conveyed hither from Paris, where his body was buried. The facts are commemorated by the following inscription on the presbytery wall:—
Cuius Cor Nunc Tenet
Istud Saxum Parisiis
Morte Datur Tumulo
Obiit A.D. 1261.
When Winchester was attacked by the so-called religious zeal of the Puritans, Ethelmar's heart was disturbed, as is recorded by a writer of the period, who says that "when the steps of the altar were levelling with the rest of the ground one of the workmen accidentally struck his mattock on this stone and broke it; underneath which was an urn wherein the heart of this Ethelmar was, being enclosed in a golden cup, which thing ... being conveyed to the ears of the committee-men they took the cup for their own use, and ordered him to bury the heart in the north isle, which he accordingly did." The heart, he goes on to say, was "so entire and uncorrupt" that it was "as fresh as if it had just been taken from the body, and issued forth fresh drops of blood upon his hand. This I had from the mouth of the workman himself, whom I believe." The slab which once covered the heart shows, within the symbolic vesica, "in a trefoil canopy the half-length figure of the Bishop, mitred and in his episcopal robes, his uplifted hands holding a heart, his pastoral staff represented as resting on his left arm." Below are his arms and the inscription in Lombardic letters, + Ethelmarus. Tibi Cor Meum Dne.85
The Lady Chapel, due in part to De Lucy and in part to Priors Hunton and Silkstede, is of rectangular shape, the easternmost portions being added about 1524. It should be noticed that in De Lucy's work the central aisle is but little higher than the laterals, which still have their eastern walls, 87whereas the actual material of the Lady Chapel east wall was erected by Hunton. The north and south walls exhibit De Lucy's Early English arcades and lancets, while they become Perpendicular at the eastern end, and the east window is of the same period. This large seven-light window shows "transom and tracery of a peculiar kind of subordination, or rather inter-penetration of patterns, well worth a careful study" (Willis). The stone work of the interior is quite plain, but a large portion of the wall space is concealed by some richly-carved wooden panelling added by Bishop Fox. Seats, desks, and screen are also of fine workmanship. Where the walls are not hidden by wood-work are the very faint remains of some curious old mural paintings of the miracles of the Virgin, executed under the direction of Prior Silkstede in 1489. These frescoes are decidedly archaic, but they are extremely interesting. Starting from the south side the nineteen pictures represent:—
1. Miracle of an image of the Virgin bending its finger to prevent a young man taking off a ring which he had placed on the image that it might not be lost or injured while he played at ball. By this the young man was won to monastic life.
2. Protection and honour conferred by the Virgin on an ignorant priest, who knew and could sing only one mass, which was in honour of her.
3. Prior Silkstede kneeling before Virgin, saying: "Benedicta tu in mulieribus." Beneath is the following:—"Prior Silkstede also caused 88these polished stones, O Mary, to be ornamented at his expense."
4. Jewish boy, after receiving the Eucharist, thrown into a furnace by his father, but delivered from the flames by the Virgin.
5. Famous portrait of the Virgin, carried in procession by Pope Gregory to allay a fearful pestilence. During the procession the destroying angel is seen sheathing his sword.
6. A widow receives back her son who had been kidnapped, and thereupon restores the silver image of the child Jesus, which she had taken from the image of the Virgin on losing her son.
7. Virgin assisting woman taken ill on pilgrimage.
8. Virgin enables boys, with ease, to raise that which strong men could not.
9. Nun brought to life to confess a sin not confessed before death.
10. Virgin saves a monk from drowning, and from two evil spirits, with instruments of torture, one who had lived an immoral life.
11. Two Brabançons seized by devils and killed for throwing stones at an image of the Virgin.
12. Deliverance at sea effected by the Virgin.
13. Mass of the Virgin celebrated by Christ himself, with saints and angels, on an occasion when the priest was unable to do so.
14. S. John's (of Damascus) arm restored; thereby establishing his innocence of having corresponded with unbelievers.
15. Virgin delivering from the gallows a thief who had always venerated her.
16. Virgin commanding the burial of a clerk of irreligious life in consecrated ground, because he had been her votary.
17. Virgin assisting a painter to paint the devil "as ugly as he knew him to be," in spite of all the devil could do to prevent him from completing it.
18. The Annunciation—over door, which formerly led to a particular sacristy.
19. How, by praying to the Virgin, a robber-knight was delivered from the clutches of the devil.
The altar is flanked on the north by a memorial of Bishop Brownlow North, representing him kneeling in adoration. The vault above, though not so elaborate as that of Langton's chapel on the right hand, is a fine example of lierne work, and the shafts 89are noticeable for their capitals and bases. Among the devices are T and the syllable HUN, followed by the figure of a tun; and T and the syllable SILK, followed by the figure of a horse; signifying Thomas Hunton and Thomas Silkstede respectively.
90The southern window of the Lady Chapel has recently been filled with a memorial window to the late Bishop Thorold, whose tomb lies in the cathedral precincts just below the new window. In pre-Reformation times this window, like those on the north and east, was glazed with fine painted glass, of which a few fragments still remain in the tracery. The remaining portions of the old work have been worked in with the new by Mr C.E. Kempe, the designer and executor. The memorial glass presents scenes in the life of Christ, while above appear S. Birinus, Pope Honorius, S. Swithun, S. Alphege, and other saints. The dedication ceremony took place on August 7, 1897, two years after the burial of Bishop Thorold at Winchester.
Of the two chapels which flank the Lady Chapel, that to the north is the Chapel of the Guardian Angels, once the chantry of Bishop Adam de Orlton, of whom no memorial here exists, though he is buried in the chapel. This compartment is sometimes called the Portland chapel, owing to the fact that it contains on the south side the tomb of Richard Weston, Earl of Portland, who was treasurer to Charles I. A recumbent bronze statue by Le Sueur adorns the tomb, while in the wall above are four tabernacles, three of which contain mutilated busts, probably representing members of his family. A mural monument of Bishop Peter Mews, who is also interred here, is marked by a crozier and mitre. On the north side, too, there is in the wall an aumbry with a shelf, having91
a curious square head within a trefoil. The early vaulting of this chapel has, between the ribs, figures of seraphim, which are very fresh in colour.93
The corresponding chapel to the south is Bishop Langton's Chantry, though the work is partly De Lucy's, including the walls and the early vaulting shafts. The defaced front-screen and the oak-panelling all round are very rich examples of late Gothic, and the stone vaulting has been compared in point of elaboration with that in the chapel of Henry VII. at Westminster. On the groining, at the junction of the ribs, is carved Bishop Langton's rebus, consisting of the musical sign for a "long" upon a tun, while his motto Laus tibi Christe also occurs. It is supposed that the magnificent carved vine on the upper part of the oak-panelling which runs round the chapel originally formed the rebus of Langton's see, the tun from which it sprang being now lost. The woodwork, which is certainly one of the most striking things in the cathedral, is unfortunately mutilated, as is also part of the heraldic work on the entrance door. At the east end of the chapel above the former altar there is a row of seven tabernacles, under which is a cornice which was originally gilt and painted. The statues which once occupied the tabernacles are no longer extant. The central tomb here is that of Bishop Langton himself. Queen Mary's chair now stands in this chapel; it is in a wonderful state of preservation for its age, and the woodwork is still sound.
The entrance to the Crypts is in the north transept, as was noted above. They are three in number, the main division stretching from the eastern tower-piers to the first piers of the retro-choir. It consists of a central room divided by a row of five columns in the middle, with an apsidal eastern termination, and is flanked by two aisles with square eastern ends. The well here is said to be considerably older than the building above it. From this opens out a narrower crypt, which also has five columns down the centre, while its apse reaches to the eastern end of the retro-choir. These crypts cannot, as some have supposed (and the tradition still survives), form part of the old Saxon church, since it has been fairly established that the site of this was not that of the present building. The plan of the chambers is in perfect accord, as Willis says, with that of Norman churches in general. The main crypt shows by its circular apse what was the form of the east end in the old 94Norman church. The actual work is strikingly like that of the transepts, the peculiar thin square abacus, combined with a round capital, being a noteworthy point in both these portions of the building. The third crypt, which is narrow like the second, is rectangular in shape, and its vaulting rests on columns. It is Early English in architecture, and is contemporary with De Lucy's work in the upper part of the church. In 1886 the crypts were to a great extent cleared out to their original level, a vast quantity of rubbish being removed. Many fragments of early work still remain, though in too mutilated a form to indicate where they originally stood.
The stained glass at Winchester can, perhaps, best be treated separately from the windows which it occupies. Most of the information may be found summed up in a paper addressed to the Archæological Association in September 1845, by Mr C. Winston. Two circles of Early Decorated glass are to be seen in the west window, but they are merely composed of coloured pieces arranged in geometrical patterns. The general arrangement of the great window is, as has been already said, kaleidoscopic, the fragments which compose it being too scattered to admit of being put together again in their original form. The effect, however, is striking, particularly at some distance from the west end. There are remains of the original glass in the west windows of the aisles and in the first window from the west in the south aisle, but the Edingdon windows in the north aisle have lost their glass. The glass in the above windows consists of the heads of canopies, though in the west window some of the original figures are still to be seen. This is the earliest Perpendicular glass in the cathedral, and may date from Edingdon's time. Next in date is the glass in the other windows of the nave aisles and clerestory windows, a little later than that in the west window, and of the same character as that at New College, Oxford, in the north, south, and west windows. Of this glass, apparently four figures and part of their canopies have been removed to the first window from the east in the choir clerestory. The heads of the three westerly windows, to the north of the choir clerestory, showing canopy-work and cherubim, come next in date, with eight canopied figures in the upper tier of the two easterly windows on the south of this clerestory. The latter seem to have come originally from some 95other window, being too short for their present situation. Their date may be about the end of the reign of Henry VI. The east window of the choir may be a little earlier than 1525, and has introduced in it Bishop Fox's arms and motto, Est deo gracia. This window has been much disturbed, the top central light being filled with glass of Wykeham's period, while little of Fox's glass seems to be in its original position. To Fox also may be attributed part of the aisle windows north and south of the choir, and some canopies in the side windows of the choir clerestory. Some late glass, much mutilated, may be seen in the east window of the Lady Chapel. Warner says of the two large windows, that "the great east window is remarkable for the beauty of its painted glass, which contains the portraits of saints, and of some bishops of this see; it is whole and entire, the west window is magnificent, but much inferior to this."
96The West Saxon kingdom, of which S. Birinus became the first bishop, included the counties of Surrey, Berkshire, Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset, Devon, and Somerset. When Birinus was consecrated by the Bishop of Milan, he was not assigned any exact territorial jurisdiction, as was only natural, seeing that he was a missionary to a little-known land. He met, however, with a rapid success, and in 635 performed the baptism of Cynegils, king of the West Saxons, on the day of his marriage to the daughter of the Northumbrian king. The town of Dorchester on the borders of Mercia was immediately assigned to Birinus as a bishop's seat. But when Aegelberht had succeeded him, the next king, Cenwalh, made a division of the kingdom into two distinct dioceses of Dorchester and Winchester, the new creation being assigned in 661 to Wina; who, however, succeeded to the whole of the original diocese, as Aegelberht appears to have left England in disgust. Eleutherius, Wina's successor, continued to hold the still united offices at Dorchester, and it was not until Hedda became bishop, about 679 A.D., that Winchester was really made the seat of a diocese. Even Hedda continued to rule all from Winchester, and not before his death was a permanent division of sees carried out. Winchester retained Surrey, Sussex, and the Southampton district; while the other counties were assigned to Sherborne—Dorchester, which belonged more properly to Mercia, having been taken away, as there was no longer the same need of an inland centre to the see, with four bishops now in Mercia. Sussex was also taken from the Winchester diocese during the episcopacy of Daniel, Hedda's successor, and by way of compensation he was only able to add the Isle of Wight, hitherto unattached to any see. When the West Saxon kingdom became, in the ninth century, practically the kingdom 97of England, Winchester, of course, assumed a very important position. S. Swithun, who was chosen as bishop in 852, had great influence with King Ethelwulf, and his cathedral correspondingly became an object of veneration. The see suffered, however, from the Danish raids which occurred during the next two reigns; but with Bishop Athelwold its prestige was quite restored. To him is due the establishment of a Benedictine monastery at Winchester, the previous convent having been one of secular (and non-celibate) canons. With the supremacy of the Danes, we find Cnut both elected king and subsequently buried at Winchester. Edward the Confessor, moreover, was crowned in the cathedral on Easter Day, 1043, so that Winchester maintained its position well up to this date. Further invasions of the Northmen then very much wasted the south coast, and gradually Winchester began to yield its pride of place to Westminster.
However, the town remained a place of considerable importance, for, as Mr H. Hall says in his "Antiquities of the Exchequer," "although Westminster possessed an irresistible attraction to a pious sovereign through the vicinity of a favoured church, Norman kings, engrossed in the pleasure of the chase and constantly embroiled in Continental wars, found the ancient capital of Winchester better adapted for the pursuit of sport, as well as for the maintenance of their foreign communications through the proximity of the great mediæval seaport, Southampton." This traffic between London and the two Hampshire towns passed through Southwark, which always had a close connection with Winchester, remaining even to this day in a modified degree. The Norman bishops, if they found Winchester no longer the chief town of England, certainly added to the glory of the church by the erection and beautifying of a new cathedral. Immediately after the death of Walkelin, the first bishop of the conquering race, there was a vacancy in the see which lasted for nine years, owing to the vexed question of investiture. When Giffard was finally installed, he displayed considerable activity. Among his other works, he built the town residence of the bishops of Winchester at Southwark. Bishop's Waltham remained the principal residence until its destruction by Waller in 1644, after which Farnham Castle took its place.
Rumour says that there was a suggestion made of raising 98the see of Winchester to the rank of an archbishopric during its tenure by that foremost of fighting churchmen, Henry de Blois, who certainly desired the elevation. At any rate, Fuller says of Henry that he "outshined Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury." The Pope's consent, however, was not secured. Henry paid considerable attention to the temporal affairs of his see, rebuilding the castles at Farnham and Wolvesey, and founding the Hospital of St Cross. He translated also the bodies of the old kings and bishops from the site of the Saxon crypt, the remains without inscriptions being placed in leaden sarcophagi, mixed in hopeless confusion. After Henry's death there occurred another vacancy in the see, ended at last by the admittance of Toclive in 1174 A.D.
With De Lucy's accession in 1189 we reach another epoch of building activity, for not only was this bishop busy himself, but also under his guidance there was instituted in 1202, as the Winchester annalist records, a confraternity, to last for five years, for repairing the cathedral. De Lucy's work at the eastern end of the building is described elsewhere. We should not omit to notice, when considering the position of Winchester, that Richard, on his return from captivity in 1194, was re-crowned here on the octave of Easter Day.
Bishop de Rupibus, De Lucy's successor, introduced preaching friars into England, and set up at Winchester in 1225 a Dominican establishment, while a few years later the Franciscans were also established here. Both institutions have since vanished.
The middle of the thirteenth century was marked at Winchester by continual struggles between king, monks, and Pope, as to the right of electing the bishop of Winchester. Some record of these struggles will be found in the list of bishops of the see. The contest about the election of De Raleigh lasted five years, and the king only finally accepted the monks' choice after the Pope and the king of France had also lent their influence on his behalf. In 1264-7 the town rose up against the prior and convent, burning and murdering under pretext of assisting the king, the bishop being a partisan of De Montfort. After the battle of Evesham the cathedral was laid under an interdict by the Papal legate, Ottoboni, and this was not removed until August 1267.
With Wykeham's importance in the story of Winchester 99we have dealt elsewhere. His successor, Beaufort, greatly enlarged the foundation of St Cross, adding to it his "Almshouse of Noble Poverty." It is a remarkable fact that these two bishops and Waynflete, the founder of Magdalen College, Oxford, between them occupied the see for no less than 120 years. The history of this period, as far as the cathedral is concerned, is mainly architectural and therefore uneventful in comparison with that of the earlier times. The intervals whose history is less stirring, however, fortunately leave far better marks on the actual buildings than do the more eventful epochs; and the fact that Cardinal Wolsey once was Bishop of Winchester could not be gathered from the cathedral itself. Indeed, he never visited the town at all during the course of his episcopate—a circumstance which is, perhaps, hardly to be regretted.
In 1500 Pope Alexander issued a Bull separating the Channel Islands from their former see of Coutances, which was now no longer English territory, and attaching them to the see of Salisbury. "This was afterwards altered to Winchester," says Canon Benham, "but from some cause which does not appear, the transfer was never made until 1568, after the Reformed Liturgy has been established in the islands." The cathedral itself received architectural additions during this period from Bishops Courtenay and Langton, their priors, and Bishop Fox. When in Henry VIII.'s reign the former town of Southwark had either been conveyed to the city or had become the king's property (the latter being such parts as had previously been the holding of Canterbury), the "Clink," or the Bishop of Winchester's Liberty, was not interfered with. The result of this was that the Clink became the home of the early play-houses—the Globe, Hope, Rose, and Swan—since within the city bounds actors were not allowed to carry on their profession. In Mr T. Fairman Ordish's "Early London Theatres" the extent to which the first theatres flourished in the Winchester Liberty may be clearly seen.
The early Reformation period at Winchester led to a great impoverishment of the see: so much so that the second William of Wickham (1594-5) ventured, in a sermon preached before the queen, to say that, should the see continue to suffer such rapine as it had already undergone in her reign, there would soon be no means to keep the roof on the cathedral100 building. We do not know that this remonstrance produced much effect, for the cathedral and its revenues underwent many losses after this. The ravages of the Parliamentarians, however, which were the most serious, have been alluded to elsewhere.
It appears from "the old Valor printed 1685," which was quoted by Browne Willis in his "Survey of the Cathedrals" of 1742, that some dioceses about Calais used once to belong to Winchester. We learn also from Browne Willis that in his time the see of Winchester contained "the whole County of Southampton, with the Isle of Wight, and one parish in Wiltshire, viz. Wiltesbury: It has also all Surrey, except 11 churches in Croyden Deanry which are peculiars of the See of Canterbury. Here are two Archdeacons, viz. 1. Winchester, valued at 61l. 15s. 2d. for First-Fruits, which has all the Deanries in the County of Southampton and the Isle of Wight. 2. Surrey, which has all the Deanries in the County of Surrey, the corps of which is the Rectory of Farnham; and it is rated for First-Fruits at 91l. 3s. 6d."
The subsequent history of the see is mainly bound up with political and theological questions which need not be touched on here. It may, however, be mentioned that the Ecclesiastical Commission of 1836-7 re-adjusted the boundaries of the diocese; while in 1846 there were transferred to London the following districts:—Battersea, Bermondsey, Camberwell, Clapham, Graveney, Lambeth, Merton, Rotherhithe, Southwark, Streatham, Tooting, and Wandsworth. This re-arrangement still left Winchester the largest rural diocese in England.
101Winchester boasts a very long list of bishops as compared with many of our English cathedrals, but the details about a great number of them are most scanty. The exact year from which the history of the diocese should be dated is not certain, but it is to be placed somewhere during the reign of Ine over the West Saxons. Under Bishop Eleutherius, to whom Hedda succeeded, the kingdom of Wessex was still but a single diocese. The removal of the see from Dorchester to Winchester was rendered necessary by the extension of the Mercian rule, which made the former town unsuitable for a West Saxon see. The date of the change, simultaneous with the moving of the bones of S. Birinus, is fixed by Rudborne at 683, but, according to recent authorities, it would appear to be earlier.
Hedda (? 679-705) was, at any rate, the first bishop of Winchester, properly speaking; though he was the fourth successor to S. Birinus. As his most recent biographer says, Hedda "was a man of much personal holiness and was zealous in the discharge of his episcopal duties.... He is reckoned a saint, his day being 30 July. Many miracles were worked at his tomb." He figures on the reredos as restored in accordance with the original design.
Daniel (705-744) had the misfortune to see his diocese considerably docked in order to form the see of Sherbourne. He resigned, by reason of loss of eyesight, in 744. According to some accounts, Ethelwulf, afterwards king of Wessex, and father of Alfred, succeeded him; but this story certainly lacks proof, though Ethelwulf seems to have been educated at Winchester.
Hunferth or Humfredus (744-754), like most of the immediately succeeding bishops, has his place of interment at Winchester recorded by John of Exeter.
Cyneheard became Bishop of Winchester in 754. His 102successors during the next century were Aethelheard, Ecbald (circ. 790); Dudda (793); Cyneberht (circ. 799); Almund or Ealhmund (circ. 803); Wigthegen (circ. 824); Hereferth (? 829-833); Edmund (833); and Helmstan. Of none of these do we know much, and their dates cannot be assigned with any certainty.
With S. Swithun (852-862), who was first prior and afterwards bishop, we come upon one of the names especially connected with the history of the church. It is, however, to be feared that it is not so much because of his fame in church-building and his acts of humanity that he will be remembered as for the popular superstition which asserts that the weather for forty days after his feast-day on July 15 is dry or rainy according to its state on that day. The legend is said to be based on the fact that the removal of his body from "a vile and unworthy place where his grave might be trampled upon by every passenger and received the droppings from the eaves" to the golden shrine in the cathedral was delayed by a long continuance of wet weather. Similar legends to explain a wet summer are found elsewhere in Europe. "The saint was translated," says Rudborne, "in the 110th year of his rest. And for his glory, so great was the concourse of people and so numerous and frequent the miracles that the like was never witnessed in England." A figure representing S. Swithun seems once to have stood in a niche at the apex of the gable of the west front.
He was succeeded by Alhferth or Ealhfrith (863-871), translated to Canterbury; Tunbriht or Dunbert, whose name was Latinised as Tunbertus (871-879); Denewulf (879-909), whom a singularly incredible legend asserts to have been the swineherd in whose cottage Alfred allowed his hostess's cakes to burn; Frithstan (909-931); Byrnstan (931-934); Aelfheah or Elphege (934-951); Aelfsige (951-958), who was nominated to Canterbury, but died in the snow while crossing the Alps on his way to Rome for his pall—the only fact which is really known about him; and Brithelm (958-963).
Next came "the holy Athelwold, a great builder of churches and of various other works, both when he was abbot and after when he became bishop of Winchester" (Wolstan). He seems to have moved the bodies of Swithun and other 103saints to a more suitable resting-place than they had hitherto enjoyed. Of Athelwold's building operations at Winchester Wolstan's account is quoted on page 6. He held the see of Winchester for twenty-one years (963-984), and he was by birth a native of the town. It was said of him that he was "terrible as a lion" to the rebellious, but "gentler than a dove" to the meek.
Elphege or Aelfheah (984-1005), his successor, to whom Wolstan's account of Athelwold is addressed, was martyred in 1012 by the Danes while Archbishop of Canterbury, where his tomb subsequently received great honours. Aelfheah's great work was spent in the conversion of the "Northmen," or Danish invaders of England.
Cenwulf or Kenulf (1005-1006) is allowed three years by Rudborne, but apparently wrongly; another Athelwold or Ethelwold (1006-1015), and Aelfsige (1015-1032) are not of great importance.
Aelfwine or Alwyn (1032-1037), called by Anglo-Saxon chroniclers "the king's priest," seems to have been a monk of S. Swithun's monastery and also chaplain to Cnut before he was elevated to Winchester. The legend which makes him the lover of Emma, widow of Aethelred and Cnut, and mother of Edward the Confessor, has been declared unhistorical; but, at any rate, the story of her ordeal, when she walked blindfold and barefoot over nine red-hot plough-shares, was once celebrated. It is a curious coincidence that the bones of queen and bishop were deposited by Bishop Fox in the same chest, Aelfwine's remains being exhumed from his grave to the south of the high altar to be placed in a leaden sarcophagus above the crypt-door.
Stigand (1047-1069) was chiefly remarkable, it appears, for his avarice, especially shown in his retention of Winchester after his election to Canterbury. He received the pall in 1058 from the "anti-Pope" Benedict X., so that he was never regarded as the rightful possessor of the dignities he enjoyed, the Normans refusing to recognise him except as bishop of Winchester. His wealth attracted the attention of William the Conqueror, and by a Council held at Winchester after Easter 1070, Stigand was deposed. Some reports state that he was cast into prison, where he died of voluntary starvation; and that on his body was found a key of a casket containing the clue to great hidden104 treasures, which the king appropriated, giving from them, says Rudborne, a great silver cross with two images; but the cross is generally called Stigand's. He was buried in a leaden sarcophagus to the south of the high altar.
Walkelin (1070-1098) was related by blood to the Conqueror, and was brother of Simeon, prior of Winchester and afterwards abbot of Ely. He was the first of the Norman bishops, and signalised his incumbency by rebuilding the cathedral from its very foundations, as the Norman ecclesiastics frequently did. He figures more largely in the architectural history of the cathedral than in its historical records, and his work has been described elsewhere. Walkelin was buried in the nave before the rood-loft, where stood the great silver cross.
William Giffard (1100-1129) succeeded after an interregnum such as occurred in many sees during the reign of William Rufus. He founded S. Mary Overy, now S. Saviour's, Southwark, as well as the bishop's residence in the same district. Before his death he became a monk.
Henry de Blois (1129-1171) was grandson of the Conqueror and younger brother of Stephen, afterwards King of England. Although an ecclesiastic from his youth, he was by no means a man of peace or a mere scholar and theologian; Vir animosus et audax, says Giraldus. During his prelacy he influenced greatly the secular history of his time. In the quarrel between Matilda and Stephen, Henry at first recognised Matilda, but subsequently, as the foremost power in the church and a strong partisan of his brother, he lent his weight against the Empress, and, with the aid of Roger of Salisbury and other bishops, gained the crown for Stephen. On Whitsunday 1162 Henry de Blois consecrated Thomas à Becket as archbishop, and it is said that when King Henry visited him just before his death he was reproved by the bishop for his murder of Becket. Henry de Blois was certainly a militant churchman; but in an age not conspicuous for such virtues, we are told, his private life was pure, and he laboured steadfastly for the good of his diocese. The Winchester annalist says of him, "Never was man more chaste and prudent, more compassionate, or more earnest in transacting ecclesiastical matters, or in beautifying churches." His great foundation was the still existing hospital of St Cross.105
Richard Toclive (1174-1188) was elected by the monks after the see had been vacant three years. He was strongly against Becket, having even been excommunicated by him; yet after the archbishop was murdered and canonised he dedicated to him several new churches at Portsmouth, Newport, and elsewhere. He founded a small hospital at Winchester dedicated to S. Mary Magdalene, which by the time of Charles II. had become a ruin, and was pulled down in 1788. Its Norman doorway may be seen in the Roman Catholic chapel in S. Peter's Street.
Godfrey de Lucy (1189-1204) was son of Richard de Lucy, Grand Justiciary of England, and a great benefactor to the Priory of Lesnes in Kent, founded by his father. De Lucy's work at Winchester is a fine specimen of Early English architecture, and consists of what is known as the retro-choir, where he was buried in accordance with the practice of interring a founder amid his work. The large slab of grey marble without inscription which marks his grave was, Willis tells us, "by a slight confusion of tradition" pointed out by former vergers as the tomb of King Lucius.
Peter de la Roche or de Rupibus (1204-1238) sprang from a knightly family in Poitou, and was consecrated bishop of Winton at Rome in 1205. He was a hot and unscrupulous partisan of King John, in spite of the latter's scornful treatment of the church, and in 1214, when John had submitted to Innocent III., Peter was made Grand Justiciary of England, much against the wish of the English nobles. He became guardian of the young Henry III., coming often into conflict with Henry de Burgh. Peter was in many ways a type of the Norman ecclesiastic so hated by the people, but, according to Matthew Paris, he fought bravely in the Holy Land, whither he led a body of Crusaders in 1226. He founded the Domus Dei at Portsmouth, some portions of which still exist in the "Garrison Chapel"; and also the monastery at Selborne, described by Gilbert White. He died at Farnham Castle in June 1238.
William de Raleigh (1244-1249) came from the see of Norwich to that of Winchester. He was elected by the monks in 1238, but, as explained elsewhere, it was six years before he gained possession, though confirmed in his office by the Pope. He retired to France, then under the rule of Louis IX., until Henry at length gave way. Raleigh, however, did not live 106to enjoy his honours long, dying during a stay at Tours in 1249.
Ethelmar or Aymer de Valence (1250-1261), who succeeded him, was half-brother of Henry III., being son of the Count of La Marche, who married John's widow. As a native of Poitou, his appointment was as unpopular as that of de Roches, and, moreover, he is said to have been only an acolyte when Henry forced the monks to accept him as their bishop. At first he was only styled "bishop-elect" of Winchester, and he was not consecrated until Ascension Day 1260. Even before his appointment we are told that his revenues exceeded those of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and he was permitted to retain them. His tyranny and greed provoked the Oxford Parliament in 1258 to expel him from the kingdom and he fled to France, dying three years later in Paris while on his return from Rome to England; for he had induced the Pope to espouse his cause and consecrate him.
John Of Exeter or John Gervase (1265-1268) was appointed by the Pope on the death of Aymer, in preference to two rivals whose election was disputed. He is accused of having purchased his elevation. He assisted the barons in the Civil War, and after Simon de Montfort's failure was suspended and cited to appear at Rome, where he died.
Nicholas of Ely (1268-1280) had been lord chancellor and high treasurer before he obtained Winchester. On his death he was buried at Waverley Abbey, but an inscription on the wall of the south choir aisle marks where his heart was interred in his cathedral.
John de Pontissara, Pontoise, or Sawbridge (1282-1304), nominated by the Pope against the will of Edward I., at length made his peace by paying a fine of 2000 marks and giving his manor of Swainstone, Isle of Wight, to the king. He built a college of S. Elizabeth of Hungary at Winchester. He had been Chancellor of Oxford University, though at the time of his election he was Professor of Civil Law at Modena.
Henry Woodlock (1305-1316), former prior of S. Swithun's monastery, who performed the coronation of Edward II.; John Sandale (1316-1319); Reginald Asser (1320-1323); John Stratford (1323-1333), whose election was opposed by the king, but who in the next reign was translated to Canterbury—are not particularly noticeable.107
Adam Orleton or de Orlton (1333-1345) was translated hither from Worcester by the Pope against the king's wishes. He has the most unenviable notoriety of having been the bishop of Hereford who instigated the brutal murder of Edward II. on September 21, 1327. He had been accused of high treason and deprived of Hereford, but was restored thereto by the barons. Edward III. apparently at length received him into favour; but Orleton went blind some years before his death. He is buried in the Chapel of the Guardian Angels.
William Edingdon (1346-1366), though chiefly notable for his architectural work at Winchester, was treasurer of England in 1350 and chancellor seven years later. He might, had he wished it, have become Archbishop of Canterbury, but preferred Winchester. He began the great remodelling of the nave, and, dying before much of the work was done, left certain property, as appears from his will, for carrying on the work; though it is also said that a claim was made against his executors with regard to the dilapidations of the see. His general reputation was, as a biographer says, "that he loved the king's advantage more than that of the community." He founded a convent of "Bonhommes" at his native village of Edingdon, in Wiltshire, where the church building, or rather rebuilding, is due chiefly to him. He was buried in his own chantry in the cathedral. His "monkish epitaph," as Warner calls it, runs thus:
|Edyndon natus Wilhelmus hic est tumulatus|
Praesul praegratus, in Wintonia cathedratus.
Qui pertransitis, ejus memorare velitis.
Providus et mitis ausit cum mille peritis.
Pervigil Anglorum fuit adjutor populorum.
Dulcis egenorum pater et protector eorum.
MC tribus junctum post L.X.V. sit I punctum
Octava Sanctum notat hunc Octobris inunctum.
William of Wykeham (1367-1404), whose name has become so identified with Winchester Cathedral and College, was probably a native of the village of Wykeham, near Litchfield. Born in 1324, after education at Winchester and Oxford he was in 1346 presented to the king, Edward III., at the age of twenty-three, "with no other advantages than his skill in architecture" and "the courtly attribute of a courtly person." In the course of the next twenty-one years he rose rapidly, filling 108various offices until he became Bishop of Winchester and Lord High Chancellor of England. His first recorded appointment is to the clerkship of all the king's works near Windsor, and in the same year he was surveyor of the new buildings there, including the round tower and the eastern ward of the Castle and a College to the west for the Order of the Garter, occupying the site of the ancient Domus Regis, close to the present S. George's Chapel. On one of the towers the inscription This made Wykeham may or may not be meant to convey a double meaning, but it is certainly true that his architectural successes furthered his fortunes. In 1357 he received the tonsure, and in 1360 was made Dean of S. Martin's Le Grand, Archdeacon of Lincoln, Northampton, and Buckingham, and Provost of Wells. In 1361 he commenced Queenborough Castle on the island of Sheppey; this important edifice, covering over three acres of ground, was demolished about 1650. The castles of Winchester, Porchester, Wolvesey, Ledes, and Dover, with many others, are believed to have been either entirely rebuilt, or at least enlarged, by him. He was only ordained priest five years before his elevation to Winchester. In 1394 he undertook the great reformation of the cathedral which is dealt with in another part of this book. New College (Sainte Mary of Wynchestre), Oxford, opened by Wykeham on April 14, 1386, effected almost as great a revolution in university education as his famous college at Winchester did for the training of boys. As Dr Ingram has pointed out, the very title of "New" College which has clung to it shows how completely a new collegiate system was established by its foundation, which served as a model for future endowments. His well-known motto—chosen when his growing dignity made it necessary for him to possess armorial bearings—"Manners Makyth Man" has generally been taken to mean that virtue alone is true nobility; Lord Campbell, however, would have us rather interpret "manners" as the studied etiquette of courts and the polished courtesy which Lord Chesterfield held so important a factor in success. Willis styles it "a somewhat radical sentiment at the time." In his own day the secular arts Wykeham practised did not meet with universal approval, for Wiclif alludes to him when he observes, "They wullen not present a clerk able of God's word and holy ensample, but a kitchen clerk, or a penny clerk, or one wise in building castles and other worldly doings." But 109despite this objection, the whole of Wykeham's biographers, contemporary or posthumous, agree in praising him as highly as Fuller, who says that his "benefaction to learning is not to be paralleled by any English subject in all particulars," and his great innovation, whereby elementary education was taken from the hands of the monks and, as in his own college, established upon an entirely different plan, would alone stamp him as one whose foresight was far beyond his own times. He influenced the nation in a way not easy to over-estimate, inasmuch as he originated, or at least carried into execution, the idea of the great public school, as Englishmen understand it, and, by the building of Winchester College, founded the institution he had long meditated in a way worthy of his design. Previously to the actual construction of the college, he had maintained in temporary shelters numbers of poor students. On the death of the Black Prince, whose fortunes he had vigorously espoused, and the assumption of power by John of Gaunt, Wykeham was impeached on the charge of embezzling the royal revenues, accepting bribes, and the like; and the king laid hands on the temporalities of his see. But almost the last act of Edward III. was to restore what he had seized to the bishop, under certain conditions which show the great wealth of the latter. Milman, in his "Latin Christianity," does full justice to the "splendid, munificent prelate, blameless in character," who devoted his vast riches to the promotion of learning, and says that, though his endeavour to maintain the hierarchical power over humanity was bitterly opposed by Wiclif, "the religious of England may well be proud of both." Wykeham was eighty years of age when he died, and his body lies in the chantry erected by his orders on the south side of the nave.
Henry of Beaufort (1405-1447), who followed Wykeham in the bishopric, was the second son of John of Gaunt, by Catharine Swynford, and uncle of Henry V. In 1398, at the early age of twenty-one, he was made bishop of Lincoln, and in 1404 was translated to Winchester. During the reign of Henry V. he thrice filled the office of chancellor. In 1417, when ostensibly on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he was present at the Council of Constance which was then considering the affairs of the church. At this time he was offered the cardinal's hat by Martin V. and appointed papal legate, but 110the bestowal of this dignity on him was resented by the English monarch, who commanded him to surrender his office at Winchester, which he declared was forfeited by his becoming a cardinal. The dispute, however, was arranged, and "the haughty cardinal, more like a soldier than a man of the church," formally received his hat at Calais in 1426. In the following year he led a crusade against the followers of Huss in Bohemia, where, during the retreat of the great army from Mies, he alone at the head of a band of English crusaders endeavoured, but in vain, to arrest the utter rout. The death of Henry V. brought about a fierce rivalry between the two great uncles, Humphrey Duke of Gloucester and the cardinal bishop of Winchester, lasting until the death of the former, which only occurred six weeks before that of Beaufort himself. During the half-century of his rule at Winchester he rebuilt St Cross and founded the "Almshouse of Noble Poverty." Shakespeare has made Beaufort a prominent figure in Parts I. and II. of "Henry VI.," but, for dramatic reasons, perhaps, he is painted very much blacker than he deserved. That he was a militant ecclesiastic, scheming and unscrupulous, is no doubt true; but he was a statesman and possessed firmness of purpose, fertility of resource, and confidence in those whom he selected to carry out his designs. His wealth was very great, for he was able to lend his nephew the king £20,000, besides spending an enormous amount in charities, including £400,000 devoted to the inmates of London prisons.
William of Waynfleete (1447-1486), a student in Wykeham's colleges at Winchester and Oxford, was first master of Winchester College, then made provost of Eton in 1443, and in 1447 succeeded Beaufort in the bishopric of Winchester. From 1449 to 1459, like his predecessor, he held the chancellor's seal, and during the Wars of the Roses was a firm adherent of Henry VI. His death took place in 1486. He founded Magdalen College, Oxford, and possibly influenced Henry in his endowment of King's College, Cambridge, and Eton. Waynfleete appears to have been a man of great piety and learning, and, as Milman observes, his actions, in advancing non-monastic institutions, reveal a sagacious fore-knowledge of the coming changes in the temporal power of the church, and were planned to maintain its supremacy in ways better adapted to the new spirit which soon after his death caused the 111downfall of the religious houses. The effigy of this bishop, in his chantry in the retro-choir, has been restored.
Peter Courtenay (1486-1492) was translated from Exeter to Winchester, but at neither see has he left any mark on the history, the architectural work of his period being due chiefly to his priors.
Thomas Langton (1493-1500), translated hither from Salisbury, where he was active against the adherents of Wiclif, was chosen in 1500 to occupy the see of Canterbury, but he died of the plague before his translation, and was buried in his chantry to the south of the Lady Chapel. He seems to have been enthusiastic in the cause of education, since he is said to have himself superintended the teaching of boys in his town.
Richard Fox (1500-1528) was bishop successively of Exeter, Bath and Wells, and Durham before he was appointed to Winchester. Great confidence was reposed in him by Henry VII., who chose him as godfather of the future Henry VIII. To Fox is attributed the introduction of Wolsey to the king. Yet this appears to have failed to win him the cardinal's gratitude, for, according to Fuller: "All thought Bishop Fox to die too soon, only one excepted who conceived him to live too long, Thomas Wolsey, who gaped for his bishopric." With Hugh Oldham, bishop of Exeter, Fox was joint-founder of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, the pelican in her piety, which appears on the college arms, being borne by the bishop. His fine chantry and the reconstruction of the choir aisles bear witness to his interest in the fabric of his cathedral, and he is otherwise noted for the assistance he gave to various foundations.112
Thomas Wolsey (1529-1530) at length gained the coveted see, which he held in commendam with the archbishopric of York, but only for one year.
Stephen Gardiner (1531-1555), another of the more famous prelates who have held this see, is said to have been the illegitimate son of Bishop Lionel Woodville of Salisbury, brother-in-law of Edward IV. Fuller, in one of his favourite conceits, says that Gardiner retained in his wit and quick apprehension the sharpness of the air at his birthplace of Bury St Edmunds. In 1529 he became archdeacon of Norwich, and, owing to his services to Cardinal Wolsey and Henry VIII., was appointed to Winchester. On the whole, he managed to keep on good terms with the king; but his famous six articles in support of the Real Presence sent so many to the stake that the title of "the bloody statute" has clung to them. During the reign of Edward VI. he was kept prisoner in the Tower, and in 1550 was deprived of his bishopric, which was restored to him on the accession of Mary, whom he crowned at Westminster. He performed also the marriage service of Mary and Philip of Spain, mentioned on page 13. "His malice," says Fuller, "was like what is commonly said of white powder which surely discharged the bullet yet made no report, being secret in all his acts of cruelty. This made him often chide Bonner, calling him 'ass,' though not so much for killing poor people as for not doing it more cunningly." Cruel and vengeful as he was, it is yet possible that he has been rather unjustly accused of personal delight in his victims' sufferings; but, while the persecutions under Mary continue to be the worst chapter of English church history, the "hammer of heretics," as he was called, will always continue to be execrated. On his death-bed at Westminster in 1555 he is reported to have said: "I have sinned with Peter, but I have not wept with him." It has indeed been held that in his latter days he was half a Protestant at heart, though this is difficult to establish. There is preserved a rather amusing appeal of Gardiner to the Privy Council, dating from 1547. He had intended to hold in Southwark a solemn dirge and mass in memory of Henry VIII., and writes to complain that the players who flourished in the neighbourhood say that they will also have "a solemne playe to trye who shal have most resorte, they in game, or I in earnest." During Gardiner's 113imprisonment by Edward VI., John Poynet, once Cranmer's chaplain, held his see. As the author of "On Politique Power" (1558), where he pleads that "it is lawful to kill a tyrant," and uses some very immoderate language, Poynet may be remembered, but as an ecclesiastic he has left only a discreditable record in his short term of office. He died in 1556 in Germany, whither he had retired on the Roman Catholic revival.
John White (1556-1559), who succeeded Gardiner, was deposed by Queen Elizabeth. He was born at Farnham, and educated at Winchester. Though personally he appears to have been pious, during his tenure of the see four burnings of religious opponents took place in the diocese.
Richard Horne (1560-1580) was a very vigorous supporter of the reformed religion, and suffered consequently under Mary. He appears to have been very fanatical against the use of vestments, pictures, and ornaments of all kinds. He may have pulled down the monastic buildings at Winchester, less from a mistaken zeal than from motives of economy; but his reputation in this respect is very bad.
John Watson (1580-1583), formerly a Doctor of Medicine, only held the see for three years.
Thomas Cooper (1583-1594) was ordained on the accession of Elizabeth, his Protestancy hindering him from taking holy orders under Mary. His preaching abilities rapidly secured his promotion to the see of Lincoln in 1570, and Winchester thirteen years later. He was buried in the choir, but his monument has disappeared. He engaged in controversies both with the "recusants" and with the Puritans.
William Wickham (1594-1595), who also came from Lincoln to Winchester, only held the see for ten weeks.
William Day (1595-1596), brother-in-law of the preceding, was provost of Eton for no less than thirty-four years, but he died eight months after his elevation to Winchester.
Thomas Bilson (1597-1616), though called by Anthony à Wood "as reverend and learned a prelate as England ever afforded," and the author of several theological works, has left little behind him at Winchester.
James Montagu (1616-1618) may also be briefly dismissed. Bilson's "On the Perpetual Government of Christ's Church" and Montagu's Latin translation of the writings 114of James I. can hardly be said to have made them famous. Montagu's tomb is in Bath Abbey.
Lancelot Andrewes (1619-1626) is the most celebrated of the post-Reformation bishops who have held the see. He was made Bishop of Chichester in 1605, Bishop of Ely in 1609, and moved to Winchester nine years later. As a pious and austere man, a powerful preacher (an "angel in the pulpit," he was called), a scholar versed in patristic literature, and a polemical writer, he is well known. Milton's elegy suffices to prove the great respect and admiration which he inspired in his contemporaries, and he held a considerable influence over James I.; but his "Manual of Devotion" is the only volume of all his writings that can fairly be said to have become a classic in any sense of the word. Andrewes died at Winchester House, Southwark, on September 11, 1626; and his tomb is at S. Saviour's, Southwark, in the Lady Chapel, whither it was moved on the destruction of the chapel to the east of the building, where it was originally placed.
Richard Neile (1627-1631), son of a tallow-chandler, though of good descent, became Bishop of Rochester 1608, Lichfield and Coventry 1610, Durham 1617, Winchester 1627, and Archbishop of York 1631. He was censured by the House of Commons, together with Archbishop Laud, as "inclined to Arminianism and favouring Popish doctrines and ceremonies."
Walter Curle (1632-1650), who came next, was deprived of his see during the Civil War. Like Neile, he was a follower of Laud. He is best remembered in the Winchester of to-day for his cutting of the passage known as the "slype."
Brian Duppa (1660-1662), chaplain to Charles I. and tutor to his sons, was appointed to Chichester in 1638, having previously been dean at Oxford. In 1641 he was translated to Salisbury, but during the Commonwealth he retired to Richmond, where he lived in solitude until the Restoration, when he obtained the see of Winchester. An allusion to him during his first year here may be found in Pepys, who, in his diary for October 4, 1660, says: "I and Lieut. Lambert to Westminster, where we saw Dr Frewen translated to the Archbishoprick of York. Here I saw the Bishops of Winchester, Bangor, Rochester, Bath and Wells, and Salisbury, all in their habits, in King Henry VII.'s chapel. But, Lord! at their going out 115how people did most of them look upon them as strange creatures, and few with any kind of love or respect." Duppa was, however, we are informed, "a man of such exemplary piety, lively conversation, and excess of good nature, that when Charles I. was in prison at Carisbrooke Castle he thought himself happy in the company of so good a man." He died in 1662 at Richmond (where an almshouse, founded by him, bears over its gate the inscription: I will pay my vow which I made to God in my trouble) and was buried at Westminster Abbey in Abbot Islip's chapel, where a tablet records his adherence to his two kings.
George Morley (1662-1684), a constant supporter of Charles I., was much favoured by him until his death on the scaffold. From this point he lived in exile until the Restoration, when he was created Bishop of Worcester in 1660, and was chosen to be one of the revisers of the liturgy. In 1662 he succeeded Duppa at Winchester. He restored Farnham Castle, the palace of the bishops, at a cost of £8000; obtained Winchester House, Chelsea, for the see; and founded the "College for Widows of the Clergy" near the close at Winchester. He died at Farnham Castle in 1684. Bishop Morley was an acquaintance of Isaak Walton the angler, whose guest he was after Parliament had expelled him from his see. The cathedral library owes its being to a bequest from Morley to "the dean and chapter and their successors."
Peter Mews (1684-1706), bishop of Bath and Wells in 1672, took part personally in the Civil War, attaining the rank of captain, and followed Charles II. to Flanders in 1648. Even long after his ordination he retained his martial spirit, for as bishop of Winchester he personally took part in the battle of Sedgmoor against the followers of Monmouth and received a wound. He died in 1706, and was buried in the cathedral.
Jonathan Trelawney, Baronet (1707-1721), was one of the famous seven bishops who underwent trial in the reign of James II. He was before his occupancy of the see of Winchester, bishop of Bristol and of Exeter. During his episcopacy, the cathedral received some questionable adornments, including the "Grecian" urns in the niches of the reredos, now fortunately removed.
Charles Trimnell (1721-1723) was a very energetic Whig 116and a strong opponent of the once famous Sacheverell. He only spent two years at Winchester, his term being cut short by death.
Richard Willis (1723-1734) was bishop successively of Gloucester, Salisbury, and Winchester, but he has left little by which he may be remembered.
Benjamin Hoadley (1734-1761) was "a zealous partisan of religious liberty," and a strenuous Low Churchman. He occupied in turn the bishoprics of Bangor, Hereford, Salisbury, and Winchester. During his tenure of the first-named see he started the famous Bangorian Controversy by the publication of a tract and a sermon in which he denied the existence of a visible Church of Christ in which "any one more than another has authority either to make new laws for Christ's subjects, or to impose a sense upon the old ones, or to judge, censure, or punish the servants of another master in matters relating purely to conscience or salvation." As a result of the heated discussion of the matter in Convocation, that body was virtually suspended for a century and a half. Pope ridicules Hoadley for his verbose eloquence, speaking of "Hoadley with his periods of a mile." He was, however, a great favourite of George I., whose private chaplain he became on that king's accession; and it was under royal protection that he published the works which gave rise to the great controversy.
John Thomas (1761-1781) was tutor to George III. He was called by his successor "a man of most amiable character and a polite scholar"; and it is difficult to say much more about him.
Hon. Brownlow North (1781-1826) was half-brother of Lord North, to whom he owed a rapid preferment. In 1771, when he was thirty years of age, he was made bishop of Coventry and Lichfield; in 1774, bishop of Worcester. At Winchester he spent over £6000 on Farnham Castle, and during his time £40,000 was devoted to the restoration of the cathedral, but the result cannot be commended.
George Pretyman Tomline, Baronet (1820-1827), had a distinguished university career and was the author of several theological works.
Charles Sumner (1827-1869) came to Winchester after a year at Llandaff. He was a vigorous supporter of the Evangelical 117party. During his term of office the boundaries of his see were re-adjusted and contracted.
Samuel Wilberforce (1869-1873), third son of the celebrated abolitionist, William Wilberforce, was translated to Winchester from Oxford, where for twenty-five years he was bishop. His record at Winchester is neither so long nor so important as at Oxford, where he successfully passed through the troubles of the Tractarian movement. His death was occasioned by a fall when he was out riding with Lord Granville.
Since the death of Bishop Wilberforce the see has been occupied by three bishops whose names alone need be given here, for their records will be fresh in the memories of all:—
Edward Harold Brown (1873-1890), who came from Ely to Winchester;
Antony Wilson Thorold (1890-1895), whose tomb lies outside the cathedral, close to the new memorial south window of the Lady Chapel;
Randall Thomas Davidson (1895), the present occupant of the see.
118It is hardly possible to conclude an account of Winchester Cathedral without briefly alluding to several places in the immediate neighbourhood which are more or less intimately connected with the church and its benefactors. Only four buildings, however, call for any detailed description—Wolvesey Castle, the College, Hyde Abbey, and St Cross.
Wolvesey, which is said to mean Wolf's Island, is quite close to the east end of the cathedral. It contained at one time a regular residence of the bishops of Winchester, the greater part of which was erected by Henry de Blois. The remains of this castle are very ruinous, though the outer walls and the exterior of the keep are in good condition still. Woodward pointed out traces of a refectory with a Norman arch and window. The building more than once underwent attacks, the earliest being during the struggle between Stephen and Matilda, in which Henry de Blois took a vigorous part. Finally, in 1646, Cromwell practically destroyed it, after it had held out against him in the Royalist cause. It served as the residence of many well-known characters in history, and among its bishops Cardinal Beaufort died there. Mary slept at Wolvesey Castle in 1554, before her marriage at Winchester. Bishop Morley commenced building a modern house close by the old site, and subsequent bishops completed it. Only the middle portion of this, with the Tudor chapel, now remains, the southern end having been pulled down by Bishop Brownlow North. The ruins of the castle can be seen from the top of the cathedral tower.
On Wykeham's charter for the incorporation of his new foundation, "Seinte Marie College of Wynchestre," is the date October 20, 1382; but it seems that long before this date and up to the actual completion of the College buildings, the bishop superintended the education of the boys for whom his 119institution was founded, housing them in temporary structures in the meantime—possibly in S. John's parish, on S. Giles' Hill, it has been suggested. Before Wykeham's time, and indeed before the Conquest, it appears that the monks of S. Swithun's institution had a school at Winchester, at which no less celebrated a pupil than Alfred the Great was brought up. We have already touched on the subject of Wykeham's ideas on education, and the change which he brought about by his colleges at Winchester and Oxford, and it is not necessary to go into the subject again. The College buildings lie beyond the southern limits of the cathedral close, on the south side of the narrow College Street, being entered by a gateway with an ancient statue of the Virgin in the niche over it. This door leads into the quadrangle, about which are ranged various parts of the college. A further arch under the tower in this court leads to a larger quadrangle, in which are the Chapel and the refectory or Hall, a room 63 feet by 30, 120
with a groined oak roof and a dais at one end for the Warden and Fellows; while at the other is the audit room, which has some fifteenth-century tapestry and an iron-bound chest once belonging to William of Wykeham. Beneath the Hall is "Seventh Chamber," an early schoolroom. Beyond are cloisters and more buildings, and then the meadows which run down to the Itchen. The niches over the second gateway contain figures of the Virgin, the Angel Gabriel, and William of Wykeham; while the room below them is known as the election chamber, where the annual election of scholars took place. In the inner quadrangle the carvings over the windows should be noticed. "Over the hall and kitchen entrance are the psaltery and bagpipe; over kitchen window, Excess, a head vomiting; opposite a Bursar as Frugality, with his iron-bound money-chest; over the Masters' windows are the Pedagogue, the Listless Scholar, etc." In the Chapel, which is 93 feet long by 30 wide and 57 high, the Perpendicular windows should be noticed, and in particular, the large east window. The 121 glass is declared by Mr Winston to be, with the exception of a few pieces, modern, dating from 1824, while the "Jesse" window is "a very good copy of the old design." In the vault Wykeham's wooden fan-tracery remains, but there has been much change in the fittings of the chapel. The old screen has gone, and the reredos is a restoration; the original stalls were removed as early as 1681. The tower had to be rebuilt in 1863, though the old stonework of 1470 was used where possible. At the north-east end are the sacristy and muniment room, in which the college charters, etc., 122
are kept. Among the MSS., etc., kept here are certain Anglo-Saxon documents and charters of Privileges from Richard II. to Charles II.; a table of Wykeham's domestic expenses; a thirteenth century Vulgate in manuscript; a "Briefe description of the Newe Founde Lande of Virginia," by Sir Walter Raleigh; and a pedigree of Henry VI., tracing his descent from Adam. The chief relic of Wykeham is a gold ring with a large sapphire in it. The Cloisters are 132 feet in length on each side, and the stone roofing is supported by rafters of Irish oak. The ground enclosed by the Cloisters was once used for the burial of the Fellows. Among the names cut in the walls may be seen the name of "Thos. Ken, 1646." In the square formed by the cloisters is the Chantry Chapel, built in 1420, converted into the library after Edward VI. had forbidden its use as a chapel, and now used once more as a chapel for the junior scholars. A portrait of Wykeham (the oldest on record) is shown in the east window, the glass of which dates from 1470, and comes from Warden Thurbern's chantry in the larger chapel. Behind the hall is "School," a detached building erected in 1687 by the Warden, Nicholas. It is now used for glee-club concerts and like events. The western wall has on it the often-quoted inscription: Aut Disce Aut Discede Manet Sors Tertia Cædi. Modern additions to the college buildings include a library in memory of Bishop Moberly, formerly head-master; a gymnasium, fives courts and a racquet court, and a new infirmary. One of the most curious properties of the College is the old painting (probably sixteenth century) of the "Trusty Servant," the words being ascribed to Johnson, the head-master in 1560-1571.
|THE TRUSTY SERVANT|
A trusty servant's portrait would you see,|
This emblematic figure well survey;
The porker's snout—not nice in diet shows;
The padlock shut—no secrets he'll disclose;
Patient the ass—his master's wrath to bear;
Swiftness in errand—the stag's feet declare;
Loaded his left hand—apt to labour saith;
The vest—his neatness; open hand—his faith;
Girt with his sword, his shield upon his arm—
Himself and master he'll protect from harm.
The remains of Hyde Abbey lie considerably to the north of the cathedral, outside the old North Gate of the city, where it was erected during the bishopric of William Giffard by Henry I. The buildings were occupied in 1110 A.D. by the monks who were forced to leave Alfred's "New Minster," pulled down because of its too close neighbourhood to the cathedral. Though the foundations of the abbey still exist, little is left of the upper part except an arched gateway with hood-mouldings and two royal corbel-heads. This gateway is in some walls that apparently were once part of the out-buildings of the abbey. The body of Alfred the Great was brought hither in 1110, and must still be here, though all traces of the tomb have now vanished utterly. The institution, which was a very wealthy one, was not always on good terms with the cathedral authorities, of whom it was, of course, independent. A record is kept of a dispute between Cardinal Beaufort and the Abbot of Hyde. In the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII. it was impossible that the riches of Hyde Abbey could escape, and in 1538 pillage and violation overtook it. The Royal Commissioners wrote that they intended "to sweep away all the rotten bones that be called relices, which we may not omit, lest 125it should be thought that we came more for the treasure than for avoiding the abominations of idolatry." Probably Thomas Cromwell, to whom they wrote, understood how far the two motives influenced them and the king. The monastic buildings did not altogether disappear until close on the end of last century, when the materials were devoted to other purposes.
The #Hospital of St Cross#, the oldest almshouse in England, lies one mile to the south of the town on the Southampton Road, and may be reached from Winchester across the fields for part of the way. Situated in the hamlet of Sparkford, it was founded originally by Bishop Henry de Blois in 1136, on the site of a small monastery destroyed by the Danes. The founder's wish was to give refuge to "thirteen poor men, feeble and so reduced in strength that they can hardly or with difficulty support themselves with another's aid"; while a meal was daily to be provided for another hundred poor men. The Knights Hospitallers, in the person of their Master, Raymund, were in 1151 A.D. put in charge of the foundation. They agreed so ill, 126however, with the bishops of the neighbouring cathedral that, about 1200, the Pope appointed a commission which transferred to the bishops the right of choosing the master. The new arrangement did not work well, for a little more than a century and a half afterwards the master was found to be robbing his charge to such an extent that the scandal was intolerable. William of Wykeham turning his attention to the matter, a Papal Bull was procured ordering the use of the revenues for the benefit of the poor. The next bishop, Cardinal Beaufort, added to the buildings by the foundation of the "Almshouse of Noble Poverty," for the maintenance of two priests, thirty-five brethren, and three sisters. The master of the hospital was to be at its head, otherwise the institutions were to be distinct; but by the middle of the sixteenth century the hospital had practically absorbed the almshouse. At the end of the next century, in 1696, the master and brethren of the hospital made a public repudiation of their duties, and commenced either to destroy the buildings or to convert them to other than their original uses; and shortly after the southern side of Beaufort's quadrangle was pulled down. The abuses were rectified in the middle of the present century, and now a body of trustees, under the control of the Charity Commissioners, has the management of the two institutions. All the endowments of the hospital are still intact.
128After one has passed through the remains of an outer court, the entrance to the buildings is by a gatehouse known by the name of the "Beaufort Tower." Over the groined vault of the doorway is the founder's chamber, surmounted by an octagonal turret. Three niches exist above the exterior or northern window, one of which has a kneeling figure of Beaufort, while the representation of the Holy Cross, formerly in the centre, and the figure of Henry de Blois have vanished. The niche on the inner side used to be occupied by a statue of the Virgin, which, after surviving the Civil War, fell about a hundred years ago. At the Porter's Lodge in the gateway the time-honoured "dole" of beer and bread is given to visitors. The square quadrangle on which the gate opens has the brethren's rooms on the west (the right hand as one enters), the ambulatory or cloister on the east, the church of St Cross at the south-east corner, and to the right of the church a view of meadows where the buildings were pulled down in 1789. In the centre of the grass is a sundial. Next the Beaufort Tower at the south side is the refectory, and beyond that the master's house. The refectory has three two-light Perpendicular windows, a high-pitched wooden roof, and a minstrels' gallery at the west end. It is now only used as a dining-hall on great occasions. The master's house is thought to be the old "Hundred Mennes Hall," but is now furnished with modern windows. The cloister on the east side is of sixteenth-century work, paved with large red tiles; "the roof is red-tiled," says a recent observer, "the long blank wall faced with rough-cast of a warm yellowish tinge, and supported on a range of broad and low timber arcading, which is, in its turn, supported by a dwarf wall some three feet in height." The main feature of the cloister is a red-brick oriel window; "reared upon two brick arches, supported midway by an octangular pillar of the same material, and flanked by splayed buttresses with stone quoins, the window-opening occupies a comparatively small space, and is filled with stone mullions and tracery of a Tudor character; 130the whole design proclaimed by a stone tablet, let into the brickwork, to be the work of Bishop Compton." Above the cloister is the infirmary, which opens into the church so as to allow the sick to hear the service. The church, though considered by many the finest existing example of Late and Transitional Norman, also exhibits architecture of all periods down to Late Decorated. Commenced by Bishop de Blois in 1171, it was not completed until the end of the thirteenth century. From east to west it measures 125 feet, its ordinary breadth is 54 feet, while at the transepts it is 115. Woodward thinks from the appearance of the exterior that the body of the church was widened at some period after its first erection. The windows are various in style. In the nave they are Transition Norman and Early English, and in the clerestory Decorated; in the choir aisles Late Norman. The western doorway is Early English with dogtooth ornament, while the large window above with its geometrical tracery is "fully developed Decorated." The most striking feature of the exterior, however, is at the south-east exterior angle of the south transept, a fine triple arch with chevron and billet moulding, which was probably once a doorway into a cloister no longer existing. Within the three-bay nave one is in the midst of Early English and Transition Norman work. The bases and caps of the Norman pillars are very rich, and, as has been pointed out, furnish a great contrast to such Norman work as is seen on the transept pillars at Winchester itself. The south walls are very plain, and were probably connected with De Blois' buildings originally. In the choir above the pier-arches is a triforium of intersecting arches (to which Milner attributed the origin of the Pointed style), and there is a second passage beneath the clerestory windows. The floor-brass of John de Camden (1382) lies in the choir. When the church was restored by Butterfield the choir was painted in imitation of the old colouring. It cannot be said that the effect is at all pleasing. The new floor tiles bear the letters Z.O. to commemorate the anonymous donor of the money for this restoration. The old encaustic tiles bear the motto "Have Mynde." In the chancel the Renaissance carving dates from about Henry VII., while the Henry VIII. stalls have been removed to the morning chapel in the south aisle. The transepts are a good example of the transition to Early English 131style. In the northern arm can be seen the window opening out of the infirmary, already mentioned above.
Of other points of interest in or near Winchester it would be out of place to speak here at any length, but among the various objects that are worth seeing in the town itself mention may be made of the City Cross, erected by the Fraternity of the Holy Cross during the reign of Henry VI. The chief figures represent William of Wykeham, Florence de Anne, Mayor of Winchester, Alfred the Great, and S. Laurence, the latter being the only old figure. Britton, in 1807, said: "The present building is called the Butter Cross, because the retail dealers in that article usually assemble round it." He complained of the injury done to it by "boys and childish men." S. Laurence was the only figure in his day, and it was then "generally said to be an effigy of S. John the Evangelist." In the County Hall, which includes the remains of the ancient castle of William the Conqueror's days, is "King Arthur's Round Table." This is mentioned as being here by the chronicler John Harding (1378-1465), so that its antiquity is undoubted. Its present painted design, however, can not be earlier than the beginning of the sixteenth century, but since Henry VIII.'s time the same design has been adhered 132to. The illustration which appears here comes from an old print of the County Hall. Milner, in his "History and Survey of Winchester" in the last century, remarked that the Round Table "was evidently an eating table for the knights who used to meet here to perform feats of chivalry, which kind of meetings, from this circumstance, was anciently called The Round Table. These, however, were not so much as known in England, until the reign of King Stephen, 600 years after the reign of Arthur. There is great reason to believe that the said Stephen was the real author of the present table. The figures and characters now painted on it were certainly first executed in the reign of Henry VIII."
The last illustration represents the oldest of the city gates at Winchester, parts of it being ascribed to the reign of Stephen. The town now, of course, extends considerably beyond its original bounds.
|Length of Nave||(internal)||262||"|
|Width of Nave||"||83||"|
|Width of Choir||"||88||"|
|Length of Transept||"||209||"|
|Height of Vault||78||"|
|TOTAL AREA||53,480 sq. feet.|
1 Illac precator, hac viator ambula (That way thou that prayest, this way thou that passest by, walk); Sacra sit illa choro, serva sit ista foro (That way is sacred to the Choir, that for use to the market-place).
2 "One method of commemorating the Quincentenary of Winchester College (1893) was the insertion of statues into the niches of the Founder's Chantry in the Cathedral. The work was done by Mr Frampton, A.R.A., under the direction of Mr Micklethwaite. The subjects are the Virgin and Child, with Angels; William of Wykeham, presenting a scholar of Winchester; and a Warden of New College, presenting a scholar of that college (the artist worked with a photograph of the present Warden before him); the Pastor Bonus with SS. James and John; SS. Peter and Paul. The altar and fittings were presented by Colonel Shaw Hellier; the cross being inscribed with the chronogram;—nVnC gLorIa In eXCeLsIs Deo et In terra paX hoMInIbVS bonae VoLVntatIs" (The Church Times, Aug. 20, 1897).
3 The charter of William Rufus which gave permission Giles' Fair still exists, and may be found, with a commentary by Dean Kitchin, in the "Winchester Cathedral Records." The Fair was granted for three days (August 31, September 1 and 2) on the "eastern hill," known as S. Giles' Hill. The object of the Fair "was evidently," says Dean Kitchin, "to help the Bishop in completing his great Norman Church.... Parts of the proceeds of the Fair were at a later time assigned to Hyde Abbey, to S. Swithun's Priory, and to the Hospital of S. Mary Magdalen."
4 It is now, however, on record that the book was bequeathed by Bishop Nicholas of Ely in 1282.
5 "Such figures as lie crosslegged are those who were in the wars of the Holy Land, or vowed to go and were prevented" (Sir William Dugdale).