THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF GLOUCESTER
A DESCRIPTION OF ITS FABRIC AND A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE EPISCOPAL SEE
BY H. J. L. J. MASSE, M.A.
AUTHOR OF "TEWKESBURY ABBEY" AND "DEERHURST PRIORY," ETC.
WITH FORTY-NINE ILLUSTRATIONS
LONDON GEORGE BELL & SONS 1905
First Published January 1899 Second Edition August 1900 Reprinted January 1905
The Riverside Press Limited, Edinburgh
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 Archaeology 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 Archaeological 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.
GLEESON WHITE, E. F. STRANGE, Editors of the Series.
I wish to express my great obligations to Mr F. S. Waller (the Cathedral Architect) for his courtesy and kindness in allowing me to make the fullest use of his "Notes and Sketches" of the Cathedral, a book which is now, unfortunately, out of print; to Mr W. H. St. John Hope, F.S.A., for permission to quote from his "Notes on the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter at Gloucester," published in the Records of Gloucester Cathedral; also to the Records of Gloucester Cathedral.
To Mr E. J. Burrow I owe special thanks for permission to use blocks made from his black-and-white drawings, one of which has not been published before; to the Very Rev. the Dean for much useful information and assistance; and lastly to the Sub-Sacrist, Mr T. W. G. Cooke, whose help has been at all times ungrudging and invaluable.
H. J. L. J. M.
PAGE CHAPTER I.—History of the Building 3
CHAPTER II.—The Exterior of the Cathedral 14 The West Front 20 The South Front and Porch 20 The South Transept 21 The Tower and the Bells 22 The Lady Chapel 26
CHAPTER III.—The Interior 28 The Nave 32 The West End and South Aisle 36 The West Windows and the Font 40 The North Aisle 41 The Choir Screen 44 The Organ 46 The Choir 47 The Reredos 56 The South Transept 65 Chapel of St. Andrew and 'Prentice Bracket 67 The Crypt 68 South Ambulatory of Choir 72 Triforium of the Choir 73 The Whispering Gallery 77 The Lady Chapel 79 Abbot Boteler's Chapel 85 The North Transept 89
CHAPTER IV.—The Precincts and Monastic Buildings 94 The Vineyard, the Dorter, the Refectory 95 The Little Cloisters 96 The Library 98 The Chapter-House 101 The Cloisters 104 The Monks' Lavatory 108 The Slype 111 The Deanery 112
CHAPTER V.—List of Abbots and Bishops of Gloucester 117 The City 122 Other Churches and Monastic Foundations 124 Remains of Old Gloucester 128 Notes Architectural and Chronological 133
PAGE The Cathedral from St. John's Tower Frontispiece The Tower from the East 2 Bird's-eye view of Norman Work 15 The Cathedral from the South-West 17 The Cathedral from North-West corner of the Cloisters 19 The Tower from the Palace Yard 21 View of the Cathedral in 1727 23 South Porch since the Restoration 25 Piscina in the Triforium 27 The Nave, looking East 29 The Nave and North Aisle 33 South Aisle of the Nave 37 Plan of the Original Choir Screen 44 The Choir, looking East 49 Plan of the Triforium of the Choir 50 Plan of the Original High Altar 51 Sketch of Old Norman Choir 52 The Choir, looking West 53 The Choir in 1806 57 Tomb of Edward II 61 South-East Chapel in the Crypt 69 Plan of the Crypt 71 South-East View of Cathedral 75 Triforium of the Choir, looking East 76 South Ambulatory of the Choir 78 The Lady Chapel 81 West End of Lady Chapel 83 Tomb of Robert Curthose 87 North Ambulatory of the Choir, looking East 90 North Ambulatory of the Choir, looking West 91 Door from North Transept into North Ambulatory of the Choir 92 St. Mary's and King Edward's Gates 96 College and Palace Yard Gateways 97 Remains of Infirmary 98 Mediaeval House 99 Chapter-House (Plan) 102 Plan of Abbey Precincts 103 Cloister Garth from North-West 107 The Monks' Lavatory 109 Plan of Old Tank in the Cloister Garth 111 The Cloister, showing the Carrels of the Monks 113 South Aisle of Nave 116 Monument to Mrs Morley 121 The Old Judge's House 125 The House of Robert Raikes 127 The New Inn 129 Carving at New Inn Lane 130 Remains of Roman Wall 131
Plan of Cathedral (with Dimensions) 134, 135
HISTORY OF THE BUILDING
It is neither possible, nor desirable, within the limits of a book of this size and scope, to go fully into the question, interesting though it be, of the relative claims of Aldred and Serlo to the honour of the first building of the Abbey of Gloucester. Professor Willis, in his lecture addressed to the meeting of the Archaeological Institute, held at Gloucester in 1860, after giving various reasons for believing that the crypt dates back no further than 1089, when the foundation-stone was laid by Abbot Serlo, goes on to state that he was "clearly of opinion that when the foundations of the cathedral were laid, the crypt was planned to receive the existing superstructure and no other."
Professor Freeman, in his lecture published in the "Records of Gloucester Cathedral," says: "The first thing we do know for certain is, that in the year 1089, thirty-one years only after the dedication of Ealdred's church, Serlo, the first Norman Abbot, began the building of a new church, which was itself dedicated in 1100."
From the record quoted by Mr W. H. Hart ("Chartulary," i. 3), the first mention of the abbey is in 681, when it was founded by Osric, viceroy of King Ethelred. It was dedicated to St. Peter, and Kyneburga (the sister of Osric) was the first Abbess of a double foundation for monks and nuns. She died in 710.
Osric himself was buried in his church in 729 (Hart, i. 5), and his sister was buried near him, in front of the altar of St. Petronilla, which was on the north side of the then existing church.
The second Abbess was also a lady of royal descent, and widow of Wulphere, King of the Mercians. She died in 735, and with Eve or Eva, or Gaffa, her successor, who died in 769, the monastery came to an end.
In 823 a new regime began—viz. that of secular priests, introduced by Beornwulf, King of Mercia, and the Monasticon Anglicanum (Caley, i. 563) says that he found the monastery "spoliatum et ruinosum" and therefore rebuilt it. He also changed its constitution, by introducing secular priests, of whom many were married to lawful wives, and who were very little different in their way of living to other secular Christians. This state of things went on till 1022, when Cnut, as Leland says, "for ill lyvynge expellyd secular clerks, and by the counsell of Wolstane (Wulfstan), Bysshope of Wurcestar, bringethe in monkes." The monks introduced by Cnut were of the Benedictine rule, or Black monks, as Parker calls them in his "Rhythmical History of the Abbey."
This change was effected about the same time in many other places in England, but was not generally popular, and certainly was not so in Gloucester. Abbot Parker, in his rhyming account of the founding of the abbey, says that in 1030
"A lord of great puissance, named Ulfine Le Rewe, Was enjoyned by (the Pope) for ever to finde Satisfying for the seaven priests that he slew, 7 monkes for them to pray world without minde."
Mr Hope, in his "Notes on the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter at Gloucester," 1897, p. 2, says: "The Benedictines thus introduced by Cnut do not seem to have been a success, and after an existence of thirty-seven years under a weak Abbot, whose long rule was marked by great decay of discipline, the 'Memoriale' (Dugdale, i. 564) says: 'God permitted them to be extirpated, and the monastery in which they were established to be devoured by the fiercest flames, and the very foundations and buildings to be rent asunder, razed to the ground, and utterly destroyed.'"
"The monastery was next taken in hand by Aldred, Bishop of Worcester, who in 1058 re-established the monks. He also began to build a new church from the foundations, and dedicated it in honour of St. Peter."
"Until now the monastery seems to have occupied the same site throughout its chequered history; but the 'Memoriale' states that Aldred began the new church 'a little further from the place where it had first stood, and nearer to the side of the city.'"
The language of these authorities is quite plain, but the interpretation thereof is not so evident. As Professor Freeman said: "By the time when the oldest church, of which we have any part remaining, came into being, the Roman Wall, or at least this corner of it, must have pretty well passed away." It seems clear that the "side of the city" cannot refer to the Roman Wall. To quote Professor Freeman again: "The existing church is something more than near to the Roman Wall. It actually stands over its north-west corner."
"Even under Aldred's auspices the monastery did not altogether flourish. But this time it was through the fault of Aldred himself, for, on his translation to York in 1060, he retained very many of the possessions of the abbey that had been pledged to him on account of his expenses in repairing and re-edifying the church."
In 1072, Wilstan (Wulstan), the Abbot consecrated by Aldred in 1058, died, and was succeeded by Serlo, who found the convent reduced to two monks and eight novices. Through his energy the monastery increased to such an extent that in about fifteen years' time it became necessary to rebuild the monastery.
This rebuilding was begun exactly thirty-one years after Aldred had built his church, de nova and a fundamentis. Why was this necessary? Professor Freeman says: "The reason is not very far to seek for any one who has really mastered the history of architecture during the eleventh century.... The simple fact is that the Norman prelates pulled down and rebuilt the English churches, mainly because they thought them too small." Further on he says: "This proves that, of the two types of church which were in use side by side in the days of the Confessor, Aldred had followed the older type. He had not conformed to the new Norman fashions, vast size among them, which were coming in after the example of the king's own church at Westminster.... His church was built in the Primitive Romanesque style, the style common to England, with Germany, Italy, and Burgundy, not in the newly-developed style of Northern Gaul. Therefore, neither its scale nor its style suited the ideas of Abbot Serlo. It was condemned, and the minster that now stands was begun."
In the MS. Lives of the Abbots in Queen's College Library, Oxford, it is stated that "in A.D. 1089, on the day of the festival of the Apostles Peter and Paul, in this year were laid the foundations of the church (ecclesia) of Gloucester, the venerable man Robert, Bishop of Hereford, laying the first stone, Serlo the Abbot being in charge of the work." (So, too, Hart, i. 11.)
In August 1089 there was an earthquake, which did serious damage to the then existing building. Eleven years after this (1100), in the last year of the reign of William Rufus, "the church," as Florence of Worcester wrote, "which Abbot Serlo, of revered memory, had built from the foundations at Gloucester, was dedicated (on Sunday, July 15th) with great pomp by Samson, Bishop of Worcester; Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester; Gerard, Bishop of Hereford; and Herveas, Bishop of Bangor." This dedication under Serlo's regime is the last authentic record for some years.
Nothing is known exactly as to how much of the building was completed by 1100. Professor Freeman points out that eleven years was quite long enough for its building, and that there is no hint in the local chronicle of any additions being made to the building dedicated in 1100. Probably part of the church was finished for the dedication, such as the presbytery, choir, the transepts, the Abbot's cloister, the chapter-house, and the greater part, at any rate, of the nave.
The nave, though so different in scale as compared with the original choir, must have been built very early in the twelfth century, and, like the rest of the building, originally had a wooden roof.
In 1101 or 1102 damage was done to the building by fire, notably the chapter-house, and again in 1122. Possibly in this latter fire the nave roof was destroyed, and of this fire the piers in the nave show traces. Of the same date must be much of the strengthening masonry in the crypt, the Prior's lodging, the chapel, and the slype beneath it.
The whole of the Abbey buildings were surrounded by Abbot Peter with a stone wall, and the necessary gates—viz. the great gatehouse on the west, another on the south, and a third more to the east. All these can be identified from the small plan of the monastic buildings, reproduced (p. 103), by permission of Mr F. S. Waller. The Saxon Chronicle tells us that in 1122, while the monks were singing mass, fire burst out from the upper part of the steeple, and burnt the whole monastery. Some time between 1164 and 1179 one of the western towers, probably the south-west tower, fell down. Fire in 1190 is said to have destroyed the greater part of the city, as well as almost all the buildings in the outer court. Helias, the sacrist, also made new stalls for the monks in the choir. Of these Early English stalls, a fragment has been thoughtfully and carefully preserved behind the seat of the Canon in residence.
In 1222 we learn from Hart, i. 25, that the great eastern tower was built under the direction of Helias of Hereford, the sacrist. Of this tower no traces now remain. Helias built his superstructure on the Norman work that we see in the nave.
The Early English Lady Chapel was said to have been built between the years 1224-1227 by Ralph of Wylington, and Olympias his wife, and endowed with lands.
The church was dedicated again in 1239, in Abbot Foliot's time, by Walter of Cantelupe, "the patriot prelate who, six-and-twenty years later, stood by Earl Simon on the day of martyrdom at Evesham."
Three years after the dedication in 1242 alterations in the triforium of the nave were made, and the stone vaulting was done by the monks themselves. It was a very laudable object, but they effectually spoiled the nave. The same year saw the beginning of the rebuilding of the south-west tower, and it was finished before 1246. If this was the tower that collapsed in 1170, the monks would seem to have somewhat neglected their duty to the fabric. The Norman refectory or "frater" was demolished in 1246, and the new one begun. This building stood to the north of the cloisters, and was pulled down at the Dissolution. Of the Early English infirmary or "farmery" traces remain near the Bishop's Palace.
In this place we may refer incidentally to Gloucester Hall, Oxford, which college was founded in 1283 as a residence for thirteen monks, to be chosen out of the brotherhood at Gloucester, and sent to study at Oxford. The hall was empowered later on to receive students from other Benedictine foundations, and the buildings were enlarged for this purpose in 1298.
Fire again ravaged the Abbey and its precincts in 1300, on the feast of the Epiphany. "It began in a timbered house in the great court, from which it spread to the small bell-tower, the great camera, and the cloister" (Hope, 36). Mr Hope thinks this bell-tower was either a single western tower, as formerly there was at Hereford, or else a Norman north-west tower, and that the great camera was part of the Abbot's house, now the Deanery. Professor Freeman thinks that the small bell-tower or parvum campanile was so called as being less in height than the south-west tower rebuilt in 1245-6.
In this same fire the Norman dorter or dormitory suffered considerable damage. It was pulled down three years later, and a new one, which took ten years to build, was opened for use in 1313, after being blessed and sprinkled with holy water by the Bishop of St. David's. 1318 is a date of importance in the history of the Abbey. John Thokey, Abbot from 1307-1329, made many changes. He reconstructed the south aisle of the nave to save the south side from collapse. The windows on the outside have been restored, but the buttresses have been very little touched. Most of the tracery in the windows of the aisles and chapels of the choir, and the triforium of the choir, date back to his time.
Thokey, between 1316-1329 built the new camera of the Abbot, beside the infirmary garden (Hart, i. 55).
Thokey's successor, Wygmore, carried out the works planned previously, and in 1331-1337 the south transept was recased, and vaulted practically as we see it to-day, in the style now known as Perpendicular. Part of the front of the Deanery is presumably of the same date, though many later alterations have been made in it. Wygmore also built the double screen (vide p. 44) which separated the nave from the choir. "Parts of it," says Mr Hope, "are worked up in the present screen," and he quotes Hart, i. 47, to show that Wygmore was buried in 1337, "before the Salutation of the Blessed Mary in the entry of the quire on the south side, which he himself constructed with the pulpitum (or loft) in the same place."
The transformation of the Norman minster had thus begun. In the days of Adam de Staunton (1337-1357) the great vault of the choir was made at a great expense, together with the stalls on the Priors' side—i.e. the north side.
The oblations at the tomb of Edward II. rendered much of his extensive work practicable, as the funds of the Abbey were becoming exhausted.
Thomas Horton (1351-1377) finished the work, comprising the high altar, with the presbytery, the stalls on the Abbot's side, or south side of the choir. (Hart, i. 49.)
He also caused to be made the images and tabernacle work at the entrance of the choir on the north side, and in the six years, ending with 1374, he completed the casing of the north transept, defraying the greater part of the cost himself (L444, 0s. 2d. out of a total sum of L781, 0s. 2d.).
Horton also built "the Abbot's chapel near the garden of the infirmary, the covered camera of the monks' hostelry, and the great hall in the court, where the king afterwards held his Parliament in 1378." (Hart, i. 48, 50.)
The present cloister, as far as the door of the chapter-house, is also his work.
This important work was for many years unfinished, but was completed by Froucester in the years 1381-1407. As Leland says, "he made the cloyster a right goodly and sumptuous piece of worke."
In the one hundred and thirty years that elapsed between the finishing of the cloisters and the Dissolution many further important changes took place, both in the interior and in the exterior of the fabric.
John Morwent (1421-1437), utterly destroyed the west front, with its two towers, which, in the opinion of many, may have been counterparts of those at Tewkesbury. To him also is credited, mainly on Leland's authority, the insertion of the south porch.
Abbot Seabroke (1450-1457) took down the tower as far as the Norman piers, and built the present beautiful structure. He died before it was finished, and Robert Tully, one of the monks of the monastery, carried out the work, as the inscription on the wall in the interior (vide p. 63) testifies.
Before the tower was complete, the present Lady Chapel (which was finished before 1500) was begun by Abbot Hanley, and finished by Abbot Farley.
John the Baptist's Chapel is usually ascribed to Abbot John Browne (or Newton), from the similarity of his initials to those of the saint.
The eastern bay of the chapter-house dates back to Abbot Hanley's time—i.e. between 1457-1472.
In 1540 Henry VIII. sent his commissioners, and they demanded the surrender of the Abbey to the king. This cannot have been a surprise to any of the monks who were in the Abbey at the time. As far back as 1534 they had all been compelled to take the oath by which they acknowledged the king as supreme head of the Church of England, and denied that any foreign bishop had any authority in these realms.
The monks, too, had seen the smaller monasteries in Gloucester dissolved two years before, and the more thoughtful of them must have foreseen that it was a mere question of time for the greedy king to absorb the larger monasteries as well.
Abbot Parker's tomb, and also that of King Osric, practically date themselves, and of the same period are presumably the gateway into Palace Yard, and part of the Abbot's lodging on the site of the present Bishop's Palace. From Leland we learn that the south gate—i.e. King Edward's gate—is of the same date, having been rebuilt by Osborne the cellarer.
The library, and the set of rooms beneath it, now used as vestry and practice-room for the choir, are perhaps the latest additions to the buildings.
At the Dissolution the Abbey which had "existed for more than eight centuries under different forms, in poverty and in wealth, in meanness and in magnificence, in misfortune and success, finally succumbed to the royal will. The day came, and that a drear winter day, when its last mass was sung, its last censer waved, its last congregation bent in rapt and lowly adoration before the altar there; and, doubtless, as the last tones of that day's evensong died away in the vaulted roof, there were not wanting those who lingered in the solemn stillness of the old massive pile, and who, as the lights disappeared one by one, felt that there was a void which could never be filled, because their old abbey, with its beautiful services, its frequent means of grace, its hospitality to strangers, and its loving care for God's poor, had passed away like a morning dream, and was gone for ever." (Hart, iii. 49.)
The charter of Henry VIII. founding the see is too long to quote in extenso, but it stated that "Whereas the great convent or monastery, which, whilst still in being, was called the monastery of St. Peter of Gloucester, ... and all and singular its manors, ... and possessions, for certain special and urgent causes were, by Gabriel Moreton, Prior of the said abbey or monastery and the convent thereof, lately given and granted to us and our heirs for ever.... We, being influenced by divine goodness, and desiring above all things, that true religion, and the true worship of God may not only not be abolished, but entirely restored to the primitive and genuine rule of simplicity; and that all those enormities may be corrected into which the lives and profession of the monks for a long time had deplorably lapsed, have, as far as human frailty will permit, endeavoured to the utmost that for the future the pure word of God may be taught in that place, good discipline preserved...."
The charter goes on to say that, "considering the site of the said late monastery in which many famous monuments of our renowned ancestors, Kings of England, are erected, is a very fit and proper place ... we have decreed that the site of the said monastery be an episcopal see.... We also will and ordain that the said Dean and Prebendaries, and their successors, shall for ever hereafter be called the Dean and Chapter of the Holy and Individed Trinity of Gloucester." Henry also assigned to the Bishop all the premises formerly occupied by the Abbot.
In 1576 the fabric seems to have been in want of considerable repair, and in 1616, when Dr Laud was Dean, it was said of it that "there was scarcely a church in England so much in decay." The Dean procured an Act of the Chapter, by which the sum of L60 per annum was to be allowed for repairs.
In the time of the civil war it suffered less than might have been expected. It was subsequently in danger of total destruction from the machinations of some persons, who are said "to have agreed amongst themselves for their several proportions of the plunder expected out of it." The little cloisters and the Lady Chapel were begun to be pulled down, and "instruments and tackle provided for to take down the tower," but in 1657 the church was made over by grant to the mayor and burgesses at their request, and from this it is to be assumed that they wished to prevent it from possible ruin. Mr Dorney, speaking in 1653, recommends to the officers of the city then elected, "that they would, together with others, join their shoulders to hold up the stately fabric of the College Church, the great ornament of this city, which some do say is now in danger of falling."
In 1679 we find an insensate prebendary securing an order from the Chapter for destroying some of the old glass in the west window of the choir. Bishop Benson (1734-1752) spent vast sums of money on the building, and to him are due the paving of the nave, and pinnacles to the Lady Chapel, which were removed at a recent restoration. A stone screen (removed in 1820) was erected at the entrance to the choir by this energetic Bishop, and his architect, Kent, in whose hands he was, suggested the fluting of the pillars of the nave.
Fifty years ago, in 1847, under the energetic administration of Dr Jeune, the Treasurer, extensive repairs and improvements were begun by Mr F. S. Waller. The crypt was drained, concreted, and later on glazed. The grounds round the cathedral have been lowered, enlarged, and laid out, and the drainage has been properly done. Of the restorations during the last fifty years mention has been made in detail in the description of the various parts of the building that have been restored, and there is no need to repeat.
Restoration is a cause of much strife, and in the hands of many architects it means destruction of the original features of the building. Gloucester has suffered somewhat at the hands of Sir Gilbert Scott, but probably not a tithe of what would have been inflicted upon it had Wyatt been turned loose with an absolutely free hand. Mr Waller, writing in 1890, said: "Forty years ago everything not 'Gothic' (the fashion of the day) was destroyed; but were it possible now to reinstate the Chapter-House book-cases, the Renaissance Reredos of the Choir, Wygmore's pulpit, the aisle screens, the remains of the Rood Loft, and the Choir fittings, and to put them all back—odd mixture as they would be—to the positions they occupied in 1727, few would be found to object, even though the replacement of the monuments on the columns of the nave became one of the conditions."—Truly "Tempora mutantur," and fortunately nos et mutamur in illis.
Dedication.—The building of Osric was dedicated to St Peter by Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Bosel, Bishop of Worcester. When Bishop Wulfstan ejected the secular canons, and brought in his Benedictine monks, he reconsecrated it to St. Peter and St. Paul.
Bishop Aldred after building de novo re-dedicated the church to St. Peter, as the chief of the apostles. Abbot Serlo seems to have remembered the earlier dedication to St. Peter and St. Paul, for he caused the foundation-stone to be laid in 1089 on the festival of those two apostles in June, but his dedication in 1100 was to St. Peter. Both St. Peter and St. Paul are now represented among the statues on the front of the south porch. After the dissolution of the monastery Henry VIII. ascribed the Cathedral Church to the Holy and Individed Trinity.
The Cathedral is traditionally by many called "St. Peter's," and by some "The Abbey Church," but this, of course, is quite inaccurate.
Apropos of the question of the dedication, the arms of the see may be briefly considered.
The original arms were Azure, two keys in saltire, or.
By the fifteenth century the sword for St. Paul had become incorporated with the crossed keys, and it is found upon the bells and also on the east side of the organ case. At the Dissolution the arms were Gules, two keys in saltire surmounted by a sword in pale, argent. Brown Willis, in 1727, wrote that "the old arms of this see as used 100 years ago, were three chevronels, the middle one charged with a mitre, but the bishops now give Azure, two keys in saltire, or."
 So says the MS. Lives of the Abbots in the Library of Queen's College, Oxford.
 Formerly a canon of the Church of Avranches, and afterwards a monk in the Church of Mont St. Michel.
Of the building as originally constructed, practically the whole, as far as the outline is concerned, may be said to remain as it was at the beginning of the twelfth century. The massive Norman nave, the slype or covered passage that is between the Deanery and the north-west wall of the cathedral, the two transepts with their turrets, the choir with its various chapels and aisles, the chapter-house, and the Abbot's cloister, are all parts of the original building, although later additions have partly concealed them.
In Mr Waller's "Notes and Sketches of Gloucester Cathedral" a very interesting view is given of the cathedral stripped of every addition of a later date than the original structure, and by his permission it is here reproduced.
With reference to this sketch Mr Waller says:
"This sketch is given to shew what is left of the old Abbey Church of the twelfth century, and looking to the fact that it was not too reliable a structure to begin with, as regards foundation and settlements (not forgetting the "earthquake"), it certainly is wonderful what extraordinary liberties have been taken with the old fabric, and what really great risks have been incurred. Look at and consider this sketch with reference to the building as it now stands, and excepting in the aisles of the Choir, the north aisle of the Nave, and part of the Chapter-Room, where the original vaulting remains, it will be seen that it is a mere shell, the walls have been pulled about in the most reckless manner, and in all directions, and in the Choir they have actually been pared down and an outer casing has been entirely removed—large pieces have been cut out of the piers for the introduction of monuments (mediaeval, not modern!), window heads have been removed to make way for the more recent works, and nearly the whole of the Cathedral has been covered with a sort of applique work of mullions and tracery, erected chiefly in the fourteenth century (see sketch on plate 4). The large central Tower (forty feet square on the leads) has been built on the old Norman walls; new walls, new vaulting, and new roofs have been erected on old foundations; and, strange to say, scarcely a settlement of any kind can be seen in any of the building operations which have been undertaken since 1200! It is not too much to say that a man of the present day who would even suggest such works as have been here successfully accomplished, would be most severely condemned; but in those days the Abbots had only themselves to please, there were no well-educated reporters and writers to discuss their doings in morning papers: they felt, therefore, quite at their ease, hoping for the best, and in this instance succeeding admirably, not only as regards their own wishes and intentions, but in leaving for posterity a splendid architectural history in stone."
"The plan of the building is cruciform, and consists of a Nave and Choir, with Aisles on the north and south sides of each; North and South Transepts, at the intersection of which with the Choir rises the Tower; and at intervals round the Choir Aisles are four small apsidal Chapels. At the east end is the Lady-Chapel, prior to the erection of which, a fifth Chapel, similar in form and dimensions to the other four, existed at the east end; as may be seen in the plan of the Crypt."
The whole building, according to Professor Willis, is full of peculiar fancies, which all appear to be characteristic of a school of masons who were extremely skilful, and glad of an opportunity of showing their skill. The mediaeval masons, he thinks, were "perfectly practical and most ingenious men; they worked experimentally: if their buildings were strong enough, there they stood; if they were too strong, they also stood; but if they were too weak they gave way, and they put props and built the next stronger." That was their science—and very good practical science it was—but in many cases they imperilled their work, and gave trouble to future restorers.
The arrangement of the buildings differs in one very essential point from almost every other in the kingdom. The cloisters and the claustral buildings were, as a rule, on the south side of the church, for the sake of shelter, and also of sunshine. At Gloucester they are on the north side of the church, the reason being (according to Mr Fosbroke) that when Aldred laid the new foundations farther south, the cloisters found themselves on the north side.
Dallaway has said very truly that "Few churches in England exhibit so complete a school of Gothic in all its gradations from the time of the Conquest as the Cathedral of Gloucester." This is true with the exception that of "Decorated" architecture there are but few examples, and it is probable that very little new work was done in connection with this cathedral until the monastery became vastly enriched by Abbot Thokey's policy in causing the body of Edward II. to be brought from Berkeley Castle for interment in his abbey. It is said that the amount of offerings made at the tomb during the reign of Edward III. was enough to have entirely rebuilt the abbey. In consequence of this the Cathedral is full of some of the finest examples of the styles known as "Transition from Decorated to Perpendicular" (anticipative Perpendicular) and pure "Perpendicular"—a style which, in Professor Willis's opinion, originated at Gloucester. From every side there is something to interest the careful observer.
As a rule, visitors see it first from the south side, and the south-west general view is one of the best, equalled, but not surpassed, by that from the north-west. The north view from the Great Western Railway, with the school playing-fields in the foreground, makes a striking picture, but it is more sombre than the picture formed by the south front. Viewed from the north-west corner of the cloister-garth, the pile is seen perhaps at its best. From this point it is easy to study so much of the varied architecture of the whole, and with little effort to transport the mind back for a space of four hundred years. The eye first rests upon the turf of the garth, now tastefully laid out after many years of comparative neglect. Flanking the garth on every side are the exquisite windows of the Cloister—a cloister which no other can surpass. Above the Cloister will be seen on the eastern side the sober, impressive Norman work of the Chapter-House in which so much of our English history has been made. To the south of this is the Library, built close against the walls of the north transept, which tower above, and lead the eye upward to the great tower which, "in the middest of the church," crowns the whole.
Looking for a moment at the Norman windows in the north aisle, one sees how they have been altered in their details since they were built, though their bold outline remains the same. The windows in the clerestory tell the tale of a later time, probably that of Abbot Morwent.
The West Front.—Compared with many others of our cathedral fronts, this front may seem to be of less interest, but it has the great beauty of simplicity, which prevents it, when viewed in the foreground, from killing the rest of the picture. The buttresses of the great window are ingeniously pierced, so as not to cut off the light; and the parapets, also of pierced or open work, should be carefully noted.
Plain transoms cross the lights, whereas in the inside the tracery and cusping is elaborate. This will be noted also in the east window of the choir and elsewhere.
Of the western towers which formerly existed no traces now remain. The north-west tower, owing to badly-made foundations, collapsed in the latter half of the twelfth century between 1163-1179.
A south-west tower was begun in 1242 by Walter de St. John, Prior at the time, and subsequently Abbot for a few weeks, and it was finished by his successor, John de la Feld.
When Abbot Morwent altered the west end and front, the western towers disappeared altogether. This front was restored carefully, where necessary, in 1874.
The South Porch.—This portion of the building is the work of Morwent, who was Abbot from 1421-1437. The rich front of what Bonner called "Saracenic work," was formerly disfigured by an uninteresting dial with the motto Pereunt et imputantur. This was removed at the Restoration, when the canopies were restored, and niches filled with statues by Redfern. Over the doorway in the centre, stand St. Peter and St. Paul, and the four Evangelists. Below are King Osric and Abbot Serlo, the two founders of the Abbey Church. The four figures in the niches of the buttresses represent St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, and St. Gregory. The windows of the porch have been formed by piercing the internal tracery. This has a very curious effect when viewed from the inside. From the outside the windows do not seem unusual.
The Porch was in such a very ruinous state, that it was scarcely possible to use any of the old stone on the outside. Within, the old work can be seen, and the bosses are worthy of attention. Over the porch is an unfinished parvise. The doors are very good specimens of fifteenth-century work.
The South Transept (or St. Andrew's Aisle), as far as the walls are concerned, is thought by some to have been built by Serlo, but there have been so many alterations in the exterior that it is difficult to say anything with certainty. Fosbroke, writing at the end of last century, noted that there was an inscription on the outside wall making mention of one William Pipard, who was sheriff of the county about sixty years after Serlo's time. The windows have been enlarged and much altered, and later tracery has been inserted.
In spite of the many alterations and some restoration, the south front of this transept contains much interesting Norman work, which has been re-used in a very clever way. The square flanking towers, with their later spires, the arcading over the head of the window, and the graceful curve in the battlement are all worthy of attention, and will serve to confuse visitors before they realise that the Norman architecture is concealed under a later casing, and that there is a great deal of old work re-used in the new.
There is a curious buttress, too, which goes across the west window of this transept to strengthen the south-west corner of the great tower. In fact, the south side of the church is the only side that, as builders say, has "settled" at all.
In 1867 a Roman tesselated pavement was discovered near the south front of this transept.
The Tower.—Of all the exterior beauties, the most striking is the beautiful and graceful tower. Placed where it is, almost in the centre of the long line of the nave, continued in the choir and Lady Chapel, at the point where the transept line intersects it, it is the chief feature of the massive pile. All else seems to be grouped with a view to the enhancing of the effect of the central position of the tower. The other members of the building seem merely to be steps, by means of which approach can be made to it. It is the grandest and most impressive feature of the outside. No matter from whence one looks at it, the charm is there. Seen from the gardens in the side streets close by when the pear-trees are in bloom, or in the full blaze of a hot summer day, or again later in the autumn when the leaves are beginning to turn, or, better still, in snow time, it is always full of beauty. On a bright hot day the pinnacles seem so far off in the haze as to suggest a dream of fairyland. On a wet day, after a shower, the tower has the appearance of being so close at hand that it almost seems to speak. Viewed by moonlight, the tower has an unearthly look, which cannot well be described. The tower is 225 feet high to the top of the pinnacles, and the effect of it is extremely fine. From the main cornice upwards, the whole of the stonework is open, and composed of what at a distance appears to be delicate tracery, and mullions, and crocketed pinnacles.
It is, in all probability, the third tower that has been built since Aldred's time. There are piers still remaining of the Norman tower erected by Serlo in the years that elapsed between 1089 and 1100; and, as we are told in the "Saxon Chronicle," that in 1122 a fire which originated in the upper part of the steeple burnt the whole monastery, it must be inferred that the superstructure was of wood. A hundred years later it is known that the great eastern tower was built with the help of Helias of Hereford. This tower was in great part taken down by the monk Tully, and rebuilt in the Perpendicular style in the time of Abbot Seabroke (1450-1457).
The Bells at Gloucester are peculiarly interesting from the fact of their age, and from the fact that they escaped the clutches of the despoilers at the time of the Dissolution. The truth of the matter seems to be that all the "Churche goods, money, juells, plate, vestments, ornaments, and bells" had been inventoried and handed over to the king's commissioners in Bishop Hooper's time. The commissioners returned to the Dean and Chapter "to and for the use and behouf of the seid Churche, one chalys being silver and whole gilte without a paten waying xi oz. and also one grete bell whereuppon the cloke strykithe, and eight other grete bells whereupon the chyme goethe hangynge in the towre there within the seid church save and surely to be kept untill the King's Majesty's pleasure shall be therein further knowen." This was dated May 27th, 1553, and as the king died within three months his pleasure in the matter was never "further knowen," and Gloucester rejoices still in its bells.
The chimes play four tunes, which are changed every other day. The first tune was composed by Dr Jefferies in 1791; the second by Dr Hayes, who died 1777; the third by Dr Malchair, 1760-1770; and the fourth by Dr Stevens. The composers of the second and fourth tunes were both natives of Gloucester, and at one time choristers in the cathedral.
"The shape of the east end of the old Church, as will be seen by a reference to the ground plan and plan of the Crypt, is partly round and partly polygonal; round as regards the outer wall of the main building and the inside and outside of the small Chapels in the Crypt, but polygonal in the interior walls of the main building in the Crypt; whereas on the ground-floor the main building and the Chapels are all polygonal. An examination of the remains of the Eastern Arches, as seen above the last Norman piers eastward of the Choir, shows the direction of the lines distinctly, following as they do the lines of the Crypt below, but with less heavy construction. The whole of the edifice, with the exception of the Lady Chapel and the Cloisters, remains, as regards general outline, as it stood in the early part of the twelfth century. (See illustration, p. 15.) The Nave with its large circular columns, the slype adjoining the Deanery (probably indicating the extent westwards of the Norman Towers prior to the erection of the present west end), the North and South Transepts, with their Turrets at the west and east angles, the Choir and its Aisles and Chapels, the Chapter-House and Abbot's Cloister, although more or less masked by later additions, are all parts of the original building."
The method of joining the Lady Chapel to the choir is best noticed from the outside. It is a piece of exceedingly clever and graceful construction, and there is the minimum of obstruction to the light passing through to the east window, and the maximum of support to the elliptical east window.
Another interesting feature in this part of the exterior is the construction of the two passages—chiefly of re-used Norman work—which make up the greater part of the so-called Whispering Gallery—i.e. the passage connecting the north and the south triforium of the choir.
One of the distinguishing features of the exterior of the building is the variety and arrangement of the battlements and pinnacles. Bishop Benson did his best to spoil the effect of those on the Lady Chapel by removing the upper part of the parapet and by substituting other pinnacles. These have been restored, but the east-end pinnacles do not seem quite in keeping with Gloucester. Viewing the Lady Chapel from the north side, the play of light through the windows on the south side has a very grand effect. Under the east end of the Lady Chapel is a passage which has given rise to much speculation in bygone times.
The Lady Chapel at the time of its erection was carried out to the farthest limit of the land possessed by the Abbey, shown on the plan at F.F. As the east wall of the chapel was actually on the western boundary wall the passage was made to give access from the north to the south of the grounds, without the need of going right round the precincts by the west front.
Modern improvements have increased the facilities for studying and admiring the building. In 1847-8 the garden was laid out, and from it the outside can easily be carefully examined.
 This is now out of print.
 They have lately been undergoing repair, and will soon be in working order again.
 James Fergusson, writing to Mr. Waller on the above subject, says: "It is curious that polygonal forms should be used in this country in the eleventh century, whilst at Caen and on the Continent generally circular forms prevailed well into the twelfth century."
"The most-detailed description of architectural works must fail to convey to the mind so clear and correct an impression, as the graphic representation of the objects themselves does to the eye; and the more laboured the attempt to describe in words the position, the arrangement, the form and magnitude of the several parts, the more the picture becomes confused, and the less likely to answer the purpose" (Quart. Rev., No. 37, 179).
How far the above statement is of universal application is not a matter to be here discussed, but it will be appreciated to the full by anyone who attempts to describe, within definite and narrow limits, the many beauties of one of our finest cathedrals, such as Gloucester undoubtedly is.
To fully appreciate the beauty of the cathedral, it must be studied under different aspects and at different times. Much will depend upon the mood of the visitor, much, too, upon the time of day. The Lady Chapel at 7 A.M. is quite a different thing from the Lady Chapel at 10:30 or 12 noon, though always beautiful. The same holds good with the choir and the nave. A slanting light through the south clerestory playing fitfully upon the lace-work of the north side of the choir, or the sturdy pillars of the ever-impressive nave, gives a charm that cannot be described.
How grand a sight, too, it is when the nave is almost in darkness—save for eight or ten small jets of light overhead—to see the choir lighted up, with the organ standing out in strong relief against the blaze of light below and behind it, and now and then a gleam of light showing through as the door under the screen is opened.
Then, again, note and study the marvellous effects of sound in the building. Listen, if possible, from the Lady Chapel, to an anthem by some old composer; listen to Bach's G minor fugue from the triforium of the choir, and hear the echoes rolling from pier to pier; listen to the Hallelujah Chorus sung on some great festival service in the nave, or some simple well-known hymn sung by close upon 3000 people, and the listener will have some idea of the effect that mere sound, taken as such, can produce.
The sound of Stainer's Gregorian Miserere, sung entirely unaccompanied, as heard from the great west door, is grand in the extreme. It needs but little imagination to take oneself back, say, four hundred years, and picture the monks singing the very same Psalm.
The tiles in an ancient building are always of interest, and Gloucester contains many that are worth inspection. There are some in the choir and its chapels, and there are some in the Lady Chapel; others may be found near Raikes' monument, exposed to view in the south aisle. There are also some in the south-east chapel of the triforium of the choir. The chapter-house tiles are modern (Minton), but were made after the tiles that were in existence there.
The nave was originally tiled, and specimens have been found when excavations have been made. In the days that are to come, possibly, the Georgian flooring may be taken up, and the tiles now hidden from view will be revealed in places where they have not been broken up, where graves have been dug in the nave and aisles.
Perhaps the weakest point in the cathedral is the modern glass. There is much that shows careful work and thought, but there has been no systematic controlling spirit at work to suggest, to guide, or to check. The chief blots, too, are the so-called memorial windows, and the reason is not hard to find. It is well put by Mr Ruskin, who, in his "Seven Lamps of Architecture," says: "The peculiar manner of selfish and impious ostentation, provoked by the glassmakers for a stimulus to trade, of putting up painted windows to be records of private affection, instead of universal religion, is one of the worst, because most plausible and proud, hypocrisies of our day."
Just imagine the difference in the south aisle, for instance, if there had been a scheme carefully planned beforehand for the windows, instead of the threefold, but haphazard, process of a window offered, a window accepted, a window put up, and no questions asked as to designer or artist. Imagine what the effect might, or would, have been, had the windows, as a set, been designed by Burne-Jones and executed by William Morris, or by other competent artists. Now, unfortunately, these two great artists are dead, and Gloucester has not a single specimen of their work.
The Nave as it is (174 feet by 34 1/4 feet long, 67 feet 7 inches high) is quite unique, and differs considerably from other Norman naves, such as are to be found in the cathedrals at Ely, Norwich, or Peterborough, and in the neighbouring abbey churches at Tewkesbury, and Great Malvern.
The unique features here are the great height of the massive circular columns, fourteen in number, and the consequently dwarfed triforium or gallery running over the main arches. There are traces to be seen of the original Norman clerestory under the Perpendicular windows, and, judging from this, the height of the clerestory, as originally constructed, must have been but little less than that of the piers in the nave.
This Norman clerestory was altered at the same time that the roof of the nave was vaulted—viz. in 1242, in the time of Henry Foliot. This work was done by the monks themselves, who thought, as Professor Willis suggests, that they could do it better than common workmen. Their work is made of a light and porous kind of stone, treated with plaster on the under-side, and it was rendered necessary by the previous roof, which was of wood, having been destroyed by fire in 1190. Of this fire the piers certainly show the traces to this day, all having become reddened and slightly calcined. To make the new clerestory the whole of the original Norman work over the arcade of the triforium was removed, with the exception of the jambs of the side-lights (which extended beyond the arches of the triforium) and the wall between them.
Mr. Gambier Parry has also truly said that this work "was not an artistic success. They cut and maimed the features of the fine old Norman clerestory, and placed their thin weak work too low, destroying all the original grandeur of effect.... Here in this first pointed vaulting was a grievous and irreparable injury, destroying all sense of proportion throughout the building."
The vaulting shafts and the abaci are of Purbeck marble, and the capitals are of stone, as are also the corbels, bases, mouldings, and bosses. All the stonework was formerly painted. Mr Waller, who carried out the repairs to the nave, had excellent opportunities of seeing what was left of the painting underneath the many coats of whitewash; he wrote in 1856: "The painting may be thus generally described. The hollow of the abacus of the capitals was red, the lower member of the same, green; the whole of the bell red, the leaves alternately green and yellow, with the stalks, running down, of the same colours, into the red bell of the capital. The vertical mouldings between the marble shafts were red and blue alternately; the lower shafts green and blue, with red in the hollows, and the foliage on these also is green and yellow. Some of the horizontal mouldings are partly coloured also. The bosses in the groining are yellow and green, as in the capitals. All the colouring, which was very rich, was effected with water colours; in one instance only has any gold been discerned, and that was upon one of the bosses in the roof."
The fourteen piers are 30 feet 7 inches in height, or about twice the height of those at Norwich.
The Norman piers have round or cushioned capitals. Their arches have zig-zag work in the outer moulding, and a double cable in the soffit. A cable moulding runs along just above the arches. The grotesque heads on the arches in the nave are said to represent the various mummeries of the Anglo-Saxon gleemen. A frieze of such may be seen at Kilpeck Church, in Herefordshire. It will be noticed how the cable moulding above the arches passes round some of the western vaulting shafts, and is cut away for those at the eastmost end of the nave.
Martin in his "Natural History of England" says: "The only blemish on the church is the enormous size of the pillars in the body of it, which are much too large in proportion to their height, and would have been reduced to a proper size, chiefly at the cost of the late Bishop (Benson), had it not been thought that it would have weakened them too much."
Bishop Benson's architect (Mr. Kent), proposed to "flute" the columns, but, finding that the pillars consisted of a stone casing filled with rubble, he changed his plans.
The West End of the nave, as also the corresponding portions of the two aisles, was pulled down and reconstructed by Abbot Morewent (1421-1437) in the style known as Perpendicular. It is uncertain whether Morwent's work was built on the same foundation line as the previously existing Norman work. Some have thought that he lengthened the original nave to the extent of one bay. Mr. Hope considers that he curtailed it somewhat, and that the present Deanery building was similarly shortened. Anyone who will take the trouble to space out with a compass the distance between the centres of the piers in the nave on the plan will be inclined to fall in with this suggestion.
Abbot Morwent, according to Leland, intended, "if he had lived, to have made the whole body of the church of like worke." It is a matter for rejoicing that he was not spared to carry out his intentions. His work, though it has been censured, is, as Mr Waller points out, exceedingly good of its kind. Morwent may have found the west end in danger of falling, just as the towers that flanked the Norman west front had collapsed in the twelfth century.
How Morwent would have made the whole body of the church "of like worke" is another matter for speculation. Would he have kept the Norman piers in their present position, and revaulted the roof after the model of his vaulting in the second bay from the west end, or would he have diminished the number of piers so as to give a distance between them equal to the space between the west wall and the first pier he erected? It is difficult to realise how such a herculean task would have been carried out with safety to the fabric.
As to the work demolished by Morwent to make room for his own, it is only possible to hazard the conjecture that the original west front of Gloucester was something like that of the abbey at Tewkesbury, but with the additional finish of two larger western towers. As the two churches were being built almost at the same time, this conjecture seems reasonable.
The South Aisle of the nave was originally of Norman work, similar in style to that of the north aisle; but was remodelled and rebuilt to such an extent by Abbot Thokey, in or about the year 1318, that the piers and portions of the south wall are all that remain of the Norman work. He desired probably to preserve the Norman vaulting (similar to that yet existing in the north aisle of the nave), and as the south wall had inclined outwards, and the whole fabric of the aisle was from this cause in danger, he erected large buttresses to prevent further settlement; but failing in this design, he was compelled to take down the Norman vaulting, and he then substituted vaulting of the same style of architecture as the buttresses he had just erected. Such great care could scarcely have been taken in those days to preserve the Norman piers only; the first object must have been to retain, for economical reasons, as much as could possibly be retained of the old aisle. It may be remarked also that the Norman piers incline in some cases as much as one foot towards the south, and the buttresses of Abbot Thokey also incline in the same direction from three to four inches in their whole height. The Abbot's buttresses, therefore, must have gone out of the perpendicular after their first erection, or else the present vaulting would show settlements, which it certainly does not.
The tracery of the windows is unusual in design, and is similar to that in a window of the chapel at Merton College, Oxford. Ball-flower mouldings adorn the aisle windows inside and out between the south door and the steps leading up to the south transept, and the same ornament is repeated in the vaulting of three of the bays and in the triforium of the choir.
Abbot Morwent's work at the west end of this aisle is similar to that in the north aisle.
The Monuments in this aisle are not numerous, but are of modern historic interest. Near the west end of the nave is a statue by Silvier to Dr Jenner, who introduced the practice of vaccination. Under the west window of this aisle is an interesting wall-tablet in a canopy to John Jones, who was registrar to eight bishops of the diocese. The background is formed of files of documents, with their seals and dates exposed to view. There is taste in the colouring, and the design is effective. John Jones was M.P. for Gloucester at the exciting time of the Gunpowder Plot. He is said to have had the monument put up in his lifetime, and to have died soon after it was completed.
After passing the south door, a marble sarcophagus, with a bust upon it, will be noticed. This is to the memory of Sir G. Onesiphorus Paul, Baronet, (by Sievier). His name is well-known in connection with prison reforms. Close by is a wall tablet to the widow of Sir Wm. Strachan (1770). The carving, which is very delicate and beautiful, is by Thomas Ricketts, a Gloucester sculptor of considerable skill.
There is also a monument to Rev. Thomas Stock, who, with Robert Raikes, was instrumental in opening Sunday schools.
The great West Window contains nine lights which were glazed by Wailes of Newcastle, to the memory of Dr J. H. Monk, Bishop of Gloucester from 1830 to 1856.
The Font is situated in the westernmost bay of the south aisle, on the site of the old Consistory Court, formerly railed off from the rest of the nave. The font being of red Aberdeen granite clashes rather with the prevailing grey stone of the building, is very heavy in appearance, and, in spite of the workmanship spent upon it, quite uninteresting. The north side contains a representation of the two prophets, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, separated by the ark; the west side has figures of St. Matthew and Daniel; the south side has figures of St. Mark and St. Luke, and the baptism of Christ in the Jordan, and the east contains the emblems of the Trinity and of baptism.
The Windows in this south aisle are the least interesting in the cathedral, and would seem to have been made without much consideration of the fact that they were to go where a south light would come upon them.
The five-light west window of the aisle is in memory of Dr Jenner and his friend Dr Baron. The subjects, appropriately enough, refer to miracles of healing, or restoring to life.
The first south window is to John Elliott, a solicitor, and the subjects are more or less legal. The glass is by Hardman.
The second window (three lights) is in memory of Miss Evans, and was put up in 1861 by Bell of Bristol. The colouring must be seen to be appreciated at its proper worth.
The third window is a memorial to Sir W. G. Davy, K.C.B., who died in 1856, and is buried in the cloister. The glass is by Warrington.
The fourth window, to the memory of Sir W. Guise, Bart., is rather kaleidoscopic in effect, owing to its being mainly an armorial window, and, secondarily, historical. The historical portion represents the Coronation of Henry III. in Gloucester Cathedral in 1216, by Gualo (the Papal legate) and Peter de Rupibus, or des Roches, Bishop of Winchester. In the left centre light is Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent, and in the right is Joceline, Bishop of Bath.
The glass is by Clayton & Bell.
The fifth window is a memorial window to Mrs. Evans. In colour it resembles the third window, and is by the same artist.
The sixth window is a memorial to Mrs Ellis. It is historical, but bristles with anachronisms.
The seventh window is a memorial (executed by Warrington) to Jeremiah Nettleton Balme.
The eighth window is in memory of Lieut.-Col. Sir Harry Francis Colville Darell, who died in 1853.
North Aisle.—This aisle retains its original Norman vaulting. The Norman piers, which correspond to the piers in the nave, are divided into several members, and their capitals are in some cases richly carved. In each bay the jambs and heads are of old work, filled in with Perpendicular tracing. A stone bench along the wall is also Perpendicular.
The door into the cloister at the west end of the aisle contains some very fine work. The wall is panelled on either side, and the panels are said to have formerly had paintings of the twelve apostles. The side niches and the canopy work over the door should be examined.
The door at the eastern end of the aisle by which access is gained to the cloisters and the chapter-house is also of Perpendicular work. Both of these doors have fan-vaulted recesses, like the great west door of the nave. They are so contrived that the doors may open into them and occupy the minimum of space.
Over the east door in the cloisters there were blazoned some years back the arms of the See, the Bishop, the Dean, the Canons, the Darell and Nightingall families.
The west end of the aisle is the work of Abbot Morwent, and is of the same date as his reconstructed west end of the nave—viz. 1421-1437.
The west window in this aisle was filled with glass by Hardman. It is a memorial to Wm. Viner Ellis of Minsterworth. Subject: Events in the life of King Lucius, who is said to have been the first Christian king in this land, and to have been buried in the Church of St. Mary de Lode.
The scrolls contain the monkish lines—
Es merito Celebris ex quo baptisma subisti. Lucius in tenebris prius idola qui coluisti.
The four figures represent Robert, Duke of Normandy; Thomas of Woodstock, 1397; Humphrey, 1447; William Frederick, 1534; all three of them Dukes of Gloucester.
The first window (or over the west door into cloisters), of which only two lights are open, is a memorial window to Thomas Churchus (1870). The window, which is by Clayton & Bell, is very pleasing in colour.
The second window is to the memory of Mr Price, who died in 1860. The glass is by Ward & Hughes.
The third window contains some old glass in the upper half, restored by Hardman. Much of the lower half is new.
The fourth window is a memorial window to Dr Hall, Master of Pembroke College, Oxford; died in 1843. The glass is by Clayton & Bell.
The fifth window, like the third, contains some old glass, restored by Hardman.
The sixth window is in memory of Bp. Hooper, second Bishop of this diocese, and the only bishop of the united sees of Gloucester and Worcester. The glass is by Clayton & Bell.
The seventh window is to the memory of Thomas Turner. The glass is by Clayton & Bell.
The eighth window is a memorial to members of the Darell family, as explained in the inscription in the base.
In the windows of the clerestory are to be seen some fragments of old glass. The windows, which are of three lights, contain portions of ornamental borders with quarry glazing, and some medallions, stars in the foliations, and borders of crowns. Mr Waller thinks it was "probable that all these windows were originally filled with glass of this kind, which is similar in general design to that in the upper tiers of the clerestory windows in the choir."
The tracery of the windows in the clerestory is ascribed to Abbot Morwent, who rebuilt the west front.
The Monuments in the north aisle are of no special interest. That to Bishop Warburton at the west end contains an epitaph that is worth reading. Next to it is an ungainly tomb, filling up an enormous wall space, with a depressing effect. Farther eastwards is the tomb by Flaxman to the memory of Mrs Morley, who died at sea in 1784 (p. 121).
The tomb to Alderman Machen, his wife, and family is interesting (1615), and is one of the few tombs that has not been removed from its original position.
The nave is lighted by rows of gas jets along the triforium or gallery, extending over the arches of the nave. The effect is good when the building requires to be lighted by artificial light, but the fumes and smoke from the gas have sadly discoloured the small columns and the arches in the triforium, and no doubt in time to come more serious mischief to the stonework will be developed. The fumes of the gas will also be fatal to the decorative pipes of the organ, and, with the assistance of the fumes from the radiators, will ruin any memorial brass that may be erected in the building.
Wires have been stretched across the nave to prevent the excessive echo from marring the effect of the music, but many curious echoes are to be heard. The mocking sounds that follow upon the sounds of the voice of a preacher, especially when the attendance is small, are very weird. They may be heard best from the last few rows of seats near the west end.
There are still to be found enthusiasts who would like to remove the screens from our cathedrals on the ground that they interfere with the utility and the beauty of the nave and the choir. But these well-meaning people quite overlook the fact that the beauty of the interior would be entirely marred by such a change. Firstly, the organ would have to be chopped into two and stowed away in the triforium, unless these enthusiasts would prefer to revert to an organ-gallery blocking up one of the transepts. Secondly, the stalls would have to be mutilated and rearranged. Certainly, the cathedral would resemble a parish church in some respects, but at a tremendous cost. There would be a vista, too, but the effect of the lofty choir would be lost entirely without the presence of the screen and the organ, and the nave would look more dwarfed in height. There is one more point, too, always forgotten by these enthusiasts—viz. this, that the building was not designed by Henry VIII. at the Dissolution as a parish church. He laid down quite clear and simple rules for the regulation of the cathedral foundation, and he intended the choir to serve, as it had served for the monks before, as the private chapel of those on his new foundation.
The Choir Screen was erected in 1820 by Dr Griffiths, to whose memory a tablet has been inserted in the north-west tower pier. Though this screen has its defects, it superseded one by Kent, erected in Bishop Benson's time (1741), of which Bonner, who seems to have appreciated the stucco front applied by the same good bishop to the reredos in the Lady Chapel, says in his "Itinerary" (1796) that it combined the characteristics of the various orders of architecture without any of their good points.
To give an idea of the original screen arrangement, Mr Hope's description is here quoted:—
"The quire proper is under the Tower, a not unusual Benedictine arrangement. The original screens at the west end have unfortunately been destroyed, but from plans made by Browne Willis (vide supra, where Mr Waller's drawing of Browne Willis' plan, made in 1727, is given) and Carter, while some remains of them existed, the arrangement can be approximately recovered. I have advisedly used the plural word 'screens' because they were two in number. The first consisted of two stone walls—the one at the west end of the quire, against which the stalls were returned; the other west of it between the first pair of pillars. There was a central door, which was called the quire door. The western wall was broader than the other, and had in the thickness of its southern half an ascending stair to a loft or gallery above, which extended over the whole area between the two walls. This loft was called in Latin the pulpitum, and it must not, as it often has been, be confounded with the pulpit to preach from. It sometimes contained an altar, as apparently here at Gloucester, and on it stood a pair of organs. From it also on the principal feasts the Epistle was read and the Gospel solemnly sung at a great eagle desk. On either side of the pulpitum door was probably an altar.
"The double screen I have just described was built by Abbot Wigmore, who is recorded to have been buried in 1337, 'before the Salutation of the Blessed Mary in the entry of the quire on the south side,' which he himself constructed with the pulpitum on the same place ut nunc cernitur says the 'Chronicle,' and parts of it are worked up in the present screen. The north side of the quire entry, or perhaps the north quire door, was ornamented with images with tabernacles by Abbot Horton."
"The second screen, all traces of which have long disappeared, stood between the second pair of piers—i.e. a bay west of the pulpitum. It was a lofty stone wall, against which stood the altar of the holy cross, or rood-altar, as it was more commonly called, and upon it was a gallery called the rood-loft, from its containing the great rood and its attendant images. The rood usually stood on the parapet or front rail of the loft, but sometimes on a rood-beam crossing the church at some height above the loft. Such an arrangement seems to have existed at Gloucester, for in the sixth course from the top a new stone has been inserted in both pillars exactly on the line where the ends of the rood beam would be fitted into, or rested on corbels, in the pillars."
On either side of the rood altar the screen was pierced by a doorway for processions, and the altar itself was protected by a fence-screen a little farther west.
After showing how the counterpart of these arrangements existed at Durham (vide Arch. Journ. liv. pp. 77-119), and describing the Durham nave altar and rood, Mr Hope points out that at Gloucester, as at Durham, "the eastern of the two doorways between the nave and the cloister was shut off by the screen and reredos of a chapel adjoining it on the west. The monks could therefore freely pass through the cloister door without being interrupted by strangers. This eastern door was not only the ordinary entrance from the cloister, but through it passed the Sunday and other processions that included the circuit of the cloister and buildings opening out of it. The procession always returned into the church by the western cloister door, and, after making a station before the great rood, passed through the rood doors in single files, and entered the quire through the pulpitum or quire door."
In the chapel, on the north side (which was perhaps dedicated to St. Thomas the Martyr), was formerly, as shown in the plan by Brown Willis, the Blackleech monument, now in the south transept.
When the Benson screen was put up three Abbots were found interred in their robes, and another coffin with two skulls in it. This fact gave a possible clue to the identity of one of the Abbots. One probably was Abbot Gamage, and the two skulls probably belonged to his brother, Sir Nicholas Gamage, and his wife, who were buried near the Abbot.
The present Organ was built originally during 1663-1665 by Thomas Harris, the father of the celebrated Renatus or Rene Harris, and the cost was defrayed by public subscription, to which, however, the inhabitants of Gloucester contributed but little. The contract was for the sum of L400, exclusive of the sum for the building of the organ-loft, and the decoration of the pipes and the case. The gilding and painting was entrusted to Mr Campion in November 1664, and the work was finished in December 1666. This artist was celebrated as a painter of heraldic subjects, and the work done by him, chiefly on the large pipes of the Great, is particularly beautiful.
The shield, which has been removed from the west front of the case, was undoubtedly that of Charles II., and two of the large pipes facing the nave bear the letters C.R., with a crown over them. Other arms represented are those of James, Duke of York (king in 1685), and his first wife, Anne Hyde.
The organ was repaired by Bernhard Schmidt before 1683. It was formerly in the gallery of the south transept, over the stalls, but was placed on its present screen in 1820 by Dr Griffiths.
It was improved by Willis in 1847, and again in 1888-89, and further additions are contemplated. The case is of oak, and is a fine piece of Renaissance work. A good view of it can be obtained from the triforium, looking across from south-east to north-west.
The following is a specification (kindly sent by Mr A. H. Brewer, the organist of the cathedral), from which it will be seen that the instrument is worthy of the cathedral:
GREAT ORGAN. CC to A, 58 Notes.
1. Double Open Diapason 16ft. 2. Open Diapason, No. 1 8ft. 3. Open Diapason, No. 2* 8ft. 4. Claribel Flute 8ft. 5. Flute Harmonique 4ft. 6. Principal 4ft. 7. Twelfth 3ft. 8. Fifteenth 2ft. 9. Mixture 10. Trombone 16ft. 11. Trumpet 8ft. 12. Clarion 4ft.
SWELL ORGAN.+ CC to A, 58 Notes.
13. Double Open Diapason 16ft. 14. Open Diapason* 8ft. 15. Vox Angelica 8ft. 16. Salcional 8ft. 17. Lieblich Gedact 8ft. 18. Gemshorn 4ft. 19. Fifteenth 2ft. 20. Mixture 21. Contra Posaune+ 16ft. 22. Hautboy 8ft. 23. Clarionet 8ft. 24. Cornopean 8ft. 25. Clarion 4ft.
CHOIR ORGAN. CC to A, 58 Notes.
26. Stopped Diapason 8ft. 27. Dulciana 8ft. 28. Flute 4ft. 29. Clarionet 8ft. 30. Cor Anglais+ 8ft.
SOLO ORGAN.$ CC to A, 58 Notes.
31. Flute 8ft. 32. Clarionet 8ft. 33. Oboe Orchestral 8ft. 34. Tuba Mirabilis 8ft.
PEDAL ORGAN.@ CCC to F, 30 Notes.
35. Open Diapason 16ft. 36. Bourdon 16ft. 37. Ophicleide+ 16ft. 38. Octave+ 8ft.
39. Choir to Pedals. 40. Great to Pedals. 41. Swell to Pedals. 42. Solo to Pedals.+ 43. Choir to Great. 44. Swell to Great. 45. Solo to Great.+
* Stops so marked are by Harris, 1660. + The swell organ was added by Willis in 1847. + Stops so marked were added in 1898. $ The whole of the solo organ was added by Willis in 1898. @ Up to within the last fifteen years there was but one stop on the pedal organ.
The Choir, of the beauty of which but little idea can be obtained from the nave, is entered by visitors, as a rule, from the north aisle of the choir. Its dimensions are—Length, 140 feet; breadth, 33 feet 7 inches; height, 86 feet; east window, 38 feet wide and 72 feet in height.
It dates back to the years 1337-1377—that is, the abbacies of Adam de Staunton and Thomas Horton, in whose time so much was done to alter the character of the building.
Looking upwards the visitor will note the beauty of the vaulting and the bosses placed at the intersection of the ribs. These bosses at the east end of the choir chiefly represent a choir of angels playing on various kinds of musical instruments, and a figure of Our Lord in the attitude of blessing. All the roof was originally probably painted and decorated, but the existing colour and gilding is recent work, having been done by Clayton & Bell. At first sight the groining of the roof looks most complicated, but, if analysed and dotted down on paper, it will be seen to be in reality a simple geometrical pattern. The bosses will repay careful examination with a glass.
Viewed from the door in the screen, the choir looks in very truth a piece of Perpendicular work, as the Norman substructure is then for the most part concealed. A closer examination, however, will prove that the Norman work is all there—that it has been veiled over with tracery from the floor level to the vaulting with open screen-work, fixed on to the Norman masonry, which was pared down to receive it. (Vide page 52.)
Professor Willis points out that "in all cathedrals ... a screen, about the height of the present altar-screen, separated the choir from the side-aisles and transepts; but in this cathedral the screen is carried to the roof, and the result is a beautiful, if not unique choir. This screen of tracery, which formed the sides, was, below the clerestory, merely plastered on to the Norman wall; or the original Norman columns had been chipped down till they harmonised with the general design."
Professor Freeman, in writing of this casing work, said, "Paid for by the offerings at Edward II. shrine, ... to that abnormal worship the abbey of Gloucester owed its present form. I am half inclined to put it the other way, and to make it a new count in the articles of deposition against the unworthy king that this misguided devotion has cost us the minster of Serlo in its perfect form, and hinders us from studying the contrast which we should otherwise have been able to mark between its eastern and its western limb."
We, however, have nothing to do with the question of the merits or demerits of Edward II. The beauty of the casing work compels our admiration. If we want to get an idea of what the choir would have been without the Perpendicular casing we must go to Norwich, and inspect the uncased work in the choir that is there, or else to Tewkesbury.
There is nothing left to prove the original height of the choir, though much of the old stonework has been re-used in the clerestory windows, a practice, as before stated, common throughout the cathedral, the Norman piers and arch-mouldings having in many cases been turned into four-centred arches, and Norman capitals into bases. The casing of the old Norman work with the new by Staunton and Horton is very ingeniously managed, and attention should be given to a feature resulting from the treatment of the ribs of the vaulting, which are very cleverly provided for in the centre of the tower arches. The ribs are apparently supported by a light arch thrown across the lower arches. Something of this sort was necessary, as the only alternative would have been to alter the springing of the vaulting-ribs. These light arches are very graceful and are best seen from the transepts or else from the triforium of the choir. Another feature worth noticing in the tower arches is the way that the two Norman columns are run into one capital at about the level of the arch.
Turning eastwards we next are struck by the loveliness of the East Window of the choir. It has a curious architectural effect, for it is actually 5 feet wider than the walls which seem to be its two boundaries. The architect took down the Norman east end, raised the roof, and has given us a window with lace-like tracery. Though it has suffered much mutilation, it has suffered but little from eager restorers, and it is possible to get some idea of its original splendour. It is larger than the East Window at York Minster, being 72 by 38 feet; York being but 78 by 33. Both are beautiful, and one wishes that windows of such beauty could be got now at the original price paid—L138—a large sum for those days, but a sum which; making allowance for the changed value of money, would represent about L2000 of our money.
In 1862 the stonework of the window was in a very unsafe condition, and about L1400 was spent on restoring it. At the same time, acting on Mr Winston's advice, the Dean and Chapter had the glass thoroughly cleaned and releaded.
Owing to Mr Winston's supervision the glass was not restored.
The window, which corresponds admirably with the casing of the choir and the clerestory windows, consists of fourteen lights altogether, six forming the centre, with four on either side. "It is worthy of remark that the tracery, heads, and cusps, as seen from the inside of this window, are not repeated on the outside, a plain transom only crossing the lights. This peculiarity is repeated also in the great west window, and in many other windows in the cathedral." (F. S. W.)
The window represents the coronation of the Virgin Mary, together with Christ, the Apostles, and various saints and kings. All the canopies, and nearly all the figures are composed of white glass enriched with yellow.
Mr Winston's description of the window will be found in the Archaeological Journal, vol. xx.
The heraldic shields give a clue to the date of the window, and Mr Winston thinks that it may have been erected by Thomas, Lord Bradeston, to the memory of Sir Maurice Berkeley, who was killed at the siege of Calais, and to commemorate the glories of the campaign in France, which culminated with the Battle of Crecy. The date, therefore, of the original glass would be between 1347 and 1350.
Mr Winston further says that "It would be impossible to meet with white glass that could be more solid and silvery in effect. The red is beautifully varied, and is most luminous, even in its deepest parts, and the tone of the blue can hardly be surpassed." Of the general design, he says that although, "through the size and simplicity of its parts, it is calculated to produce a good effect at a distance; the figures are ill-drawn, ungraceful, and insipid. The shading, though sufficient, both in depth and quantity, if handled with skill, to have produced a due effect of relief—an effect which obviously has been aimed at—is so inartificially employed as to be useful only so far as it serves to impart tone and richness to the composition, and by contrast to increase its brilliancy."
The effect of the choir as a whole, when glazed with its original painted glass, must have been superb. We may be certain that the glass was the best that could be obtained, for the abbey was wealthy, and glass-painting was then a living art. Glass was made at Gloucester, as is shown by the glaziers being numbered among the trade companies and guilds of Gloucester, but there is nothing definite to be said as to the place of origin of the old glass in the cathedral.
Below is the Reredos, designed by Sir G. G. Scott, presented by the Treasurer of the Province. It consists of three principal compartments, in which are groups of figures (sculptured by Redfern) intended to represent the Birth, Burial, and Ascension of Christ. The smaller figures in the niches are Moses and David and St. Peter and St. Paul. Above are nine angels, bearing the various emblems of our Lord's Passion. This reredos was unveiled with much pomp and ceremony in 1873, and recently has been profusely gilded.
The commonplace and heavy-topped gas standards mar the effect, such as it is, of the ornate work of the reredos.
Of Abbot Horton's reredos, which was destroyed at the Reformation, only fragments remain. They have been very carefully preserved in the triforium, where an enclosure has been made by placing an old oak screen across one of the Chapels. In this museum most valuable remains have been stored, under Mr Waller's keeping, for many years.
Dean Chetwood, in 1710, erected a wooden reredos containing much good carving. Portions of this remain in the south-east chapel in the triforium of the choir, having been brought back from the parish church at Cheltenham, whither they had been removed in 1807.
Sir Robert Smirke in 1807 put up work which consisted chiefly of panelling, which was affixed to the easternmost wall of the feretory. This was removed in 1873.
When the present reredos was erected "the foundations of Abbot Horton's reredos were discovered, and an accurate plan was taken of the remains (vide illustration, p. 51). Provision had evidently been made by him for keeping relics or treasures here, and, in his time, the back screen, as we now see it, and the reredos, were united together at the top, and covered with heavy stone slabs, so as to make a perfectly secure feretory. Great care was taken during the progress of the present new work to preserve these remains, which can be still seen exactly as they were when first discovered. The foundations of the Norman piers removed by Horton were at the same time temporarily exposed to view." (F. S. W.)
The original "High Altar occupied the same site as the present one, and had behind its reredos a narrow space containing cupboards for the principal jewels, and, beneath the altar, two large recesses for the keeping of relics." (W. H. St. J. Hope.)
The Stalls (sixty in number), with all their graceful carving, and the misereres, with their grotesque ornamentation underneath, have in part had to be restored, while the sub-stalls are new, dating from Sir Gilbert Scott's restoration, which was finished in 1873.
An engraving (reproduced from Wild) will show what the choir was like formerly. The woodwork here shown has been utilised in making stalls and seats in the east end of the nave for the services that are held there on Sundays during a portion of the year.
In the Presbytery, or space between the reredos and the choir, there are some very splendid old tiles; many of them fragments only, but enough to indicate the original beauty of the pavement. From the evidence of the tiles themselves, they were laid down by Thomas Seabroke, R. Brygg (Brydges), J. Applebi, W. Farlei, Joh. Graft(on?). Others dating back to the thirteenth century are also to be found—e.g. those to Richard the King of the Romans, who died in 1271.
Many tiles were transferred here from other parts of the cathedral early in the century by Mr Lysons, and this accounts for the presence of tiles of William Malvern, the last Abbot, and some others. The arms of the Brydges family: Arg. on a cross sable, a leopard's face, or, differenced by a fir-cone gules, should be noticed, as they seem clearly the same as those on the armour of the unknown knight in the South Transept.
Beautiful tiles, bearing the arms of Edward the Confessor and the Abbey, and many a crowned M. (for Maria) will be found. These latter will be seen in plenty in Great Malvern Priory, where they have been rescued from the pavement, and inserted in the outside wall of the back of the reredos.
One more tile should be noticed near the sedilia. The words impressed in its surface are "Croys Crist me spe de +," followed by A ME or A MARIA.
These tiles had a narrow escape in the last century, about the time when the nave was paved, when an offer was made to pave the presbytery with marble.
As part of the restoration programme, the re-paving of the choir was undertaken. New tiles, ostensibly copied from the old ones, but of a different size, with an excessive glaze, and very stiff in design and execution have been put down. It is hard to judge what the effect of the tiles would have been, as it has been quite killed by the white marble which has been mixed with them. The glaring white marble in the floor of the presbytery has been inlaid with biblical scenes filled in with black cement. It is possible from the triforium to get a general idea of the crudity and tastelessness of the pavement, which is so composed and arranged that time—the softener of all things—can never make it look appreciably better.
On the south side of the high altar are four Sedilia. These have been very much restored, and the niches and canopies filled with figures, by Redfern, representing Abbot Edric, Bishop Wulstan, also Abbots Aldred, Serlo, Foliot, Thokey, Wygmore, Horton, Froucester, Morwent, Seabroke, and Hanley. The general effect is good, but marred by the hideous gas standards.
Over the canopies are three angels playing on a tambour and trumpets. The rod and entwined ribbon with T. O. are supposed to refer to Thomas Osborne, Sheriff of Gloucester 1512-1522, and Mayor in 1526.
Monuments in the Choir.—On the north side of the presbytery, near the steps to the high altar, is a monument—long supposed to be a cenotaph—to King Osric. The tomb was opened to satisfy inquisitive desecrators some few years ago, and it was conclusively proved that someone had been buried inside.
On the wall is the inscription: Osricus Rex (primus fundator) hui (Monasterii 681). From Leland, to whom is due the part of the inscription in brackets, we learn that "Osric, Founder of Gloucester Abbey, first laye in St. Petronell's Chappell, thence removed with our Lady Chappell, and thence removed of late dayes, and layd under a fayre tombe of stone on the north syde of the high aulter. At the foote of the tombe is thus written in a wall"—ut supra.