Records show that the Minster possessed two bells in Four bells were installed in , three of which having been recast and are still used in the Minster; the chimes for each quarter are rung on the 10 bells in the north-west tower and the melody was composed by organist John Camidge. There have been two major overhauls of the bells, one in and the other in by Taylor of Loughborough. Features of the interior include shafts of Purbeck Marble , stiff-leaf carving and the tomb of Lady Eleanor Percy, dating from around and covered with a richly decorated canopy, regarded by F.
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Crossley as one of the best surviving examples of Gothic art. The misericords were probably carved by the so-called 'Ripon school' of carvers and bear a strong family resemblance to those at Manchester Cathedral and Ripon Cathedral. The church contains one of the few remaining Frith Stools also known as Frid Stools, meaning "peace chairs" in England. Anyone wanting to claim sanctuary from the law would sit in the chair; the chair dates from Saxon times before In the central tower is a massive treadwheel crane which was used to lift building materials to the roof space, it is of medieval origin but has been largely reconstructed.
The organ is mounted above a richly carved wooden screen dating from —, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott , and carved by James Elwell of Beverley. There is a staircase in the north aisle which was used in collegiate times to gain access to the chapter house, since demolished.
Improvements to the choir were made during the 16th and 18th centuries, and medieval glass, which was shattered by a storm in , was meticulously collected and installed in the east window in ; the Thornton family, great craftsmen of the early 18th century, were responsible for the font cover and the west door, and also for saving the church from being completely ruined by the fall of the north wall of the north transept between and Another notable feature is the series of carvings of musicians which adorn the nave, which date to the second quarter of the 14th century.
There is a large, chestnut-coloured organ with bright golden pipes, designed by Dr Arthur Hill in , it houses an original manual from the organ built by John Snetzler in , which has been increased to 4 manuals since. Flying buttress The flying buttress is a specific form of buttress composed of an arch that extends from the upper portion of a wall to a pier of great mass, in order to convey to the ground the lateral forces that push a wall outwards, which are forces that arise from vaulted ceilings of stone and from wind-loading on roofs.
The defining, functional characteristic of a flying buttress is that it is not in contact with the wall it supports, like a traditional buttress, so transmits the lateral forces across the span of intervening space between the wall and the pier.
To provide lateral support, flying-buttress systems are composed of two parts: a massive pier, a vertical block of masonry situated away from the building wall, an arch that bridges the span between the pier and the wall — either a segmental arch or a quadrant arch — the flyer of the flying buttress; as a lateral-support system, the flying buttress was developed during late antiquity and flourished during the Gothic period of architecture. Ancient examples of the flying buttress can be found on the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna and on the Rotunda of Galerius in Thessaloniki.
The architectural-element precursors of the medieval flying buttress derive from Byzantine architecture and Romanesque architecture, in the design of churches, such as Durham Cathedral , where arches transmit the lateral thrust of the stone vault over the aisles. Instead, the wall surface could be reduced, because the vertical mass is concentrated onto external buttresses; the design of early flying buttresses tended to be heavier than required for the static loads to be borne, e.
Architects progressively refined the design of the flying buttress, narrowed the flyers, some of which were constructed with one thickness of voussoir with a capping stone atop, e. The architectural design of Late Gothic buildings featured flying buttresses, some of which featured flyers decorated with crockets and sculpted figures set in aedicules recessed into the buttresses.
In the event, the architecture of the Renaissance eschewed the lateral support of the flying buttress in favour of thick-wall construction. Despite its disuse for function and style in construction and architecture, in the early 20th century, the flying-buttress design was revived by Canadian engineer William P. Anderson to build lighthouses. Given that most of the weight-load is transmitted from the ceiling through the upper part of the walls, the flying buttress is a two-part composite support that features a semi-arch that extends to a massive pier far from the wall, so provides most of the load-bearing capacity of a traditional buttress, engaged with the wall from top to bottom.
By relieving the load-bearing walls of excess weight and thickness, in the way of a smaller area of contact, using flying buttresses enables installing windows in a greater wall surface area. This feature and a desire to let in more light, led to flying buttresses becoming one of the defining factors of medieval Gothic architecture and a feature used extensively in the design of churches from and onwards. In the design of Gothic churches, two arched flyers were applied, one above the other, in which the lower flyer resists the lateral-thrust forces of the vault, whilst the upper flyer resists the forces of wind-loading on the roof; the vertical buttresses at the outer end of the flyers were capped with a pinnacle ornamented with crockets, to provide additional vertical-load support with which to resist the lateral thrust conveyed by the flyer.
To build the flying buttress , it was first necessary to construct temporary wooden frames, which are called centring; the centering would support the weight of the stones and help maintain the shape of the arch until the mortar was cured. The centering was first built by the carpenters. Once, done, they would be hoisted into place and fastened to the piers at the end of one buttress and at the other; these acted. Remedial support applicationAnother application of the flying-buttress support system is the reinforcement of a leaning wall in danger of collapsing a load-bearing wall; the desire to build large cathedrals that could house many followers along multiple aisles arose, from this desire the Gothic style developed.
The flying buttress was the solution to these massive stone buildings that needed a lot of support but wanted to be expansive in size. Although the flying buttress served a str. Triforium A triforium is a shallow arched gallery within the thickness of an inner wall, above the nave of a church or cathedral.
It may occur at the level of the clerestory windows, or it may be located as a separate level below the clerestory, it may itself have an outer wall of glass rather than stone. Triforia are sometimes referred to, erroneously, as tribunes. A derivation from Latin tres and foris, entrance, might be possible as in this passage the thoroughfares and doors were in triangle shape as can be imagined from the triangular shape of this area, although the Lewis and Short Latin dictionary does not quote these words in combination, only separately; the triangle shape comes from the sloping roof, as can be seen in the picture on the right between the two arrows.
The earliest examples of triforia are those in the pagan basilicas, where a triforium constituted an upper gallery for conversation and business. In Romanesque and Gothic buildings it is either a spacious gallery over the side aisles or is reduced to a simple passage in the thickness of the walls. In consequence of its lesser height its bay was divided into two arches, which were again subdivided into two smaller arches and these subdivisions increased the apparent scale of the aisle below and the clerestory above.
On account of the richness of its mouldings and carved ornament in the sculpture introduced in the spandrels , it became the most decorated feature of the interior, the triforium at Lincoln being one of the most beautiful compositions of English Gothic architecture; when reduced to a simple passage it was always a enriched feature. In the 15th-century churches in England , when the roof over the aisles was comparatively flat, more height being required for the clerestory windows, the triforium was dispensed with altogether. In the great cathedrals and abbeys the triforium was occupied by persons who came to witness various ceremonies, in early days was utilised by the monks and clergy for work connected with the church.
The triforium sometimes served structural functions, as under its roof are arches and vaults which carry thrust from the nave to the outer wall; when the flying buttress was frankly adopted by the Gothic architect and emphasized by its architectural design as an important feature, other cross arches were introduced under the roof to strengthen it. Cathedral architecture of the Western World This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. Cambridge University Press. He was his first wife, Ecgwynn. Modern historians regard him as one of the greatest Anglo-Saxon kings, he never had no children.
In he conquered the last remaining Viking kingdom, making him the first Anglo-Saxon ruler of the whole of England. After his death in the Vikings seized back control of York, it was not reconquered until These meetings were attended by rulers from outside his territory Welsh kings, who thus acknowledged his overlordship. More legal texts survive from his reign than from any other 10th-century English king, they show his concern about widespread robberies, the threat they posed to social order. His legal reforms built on those of Alfred the Great. His household was the centre of English learning during his reign, it laid the foundation for the Benedictine monastic reform in the century.
By the ninth century the many kingdoms of the early Anglo-Saxon period had been consolidated into four: Wessex, Mercia and East Anglia. In the middle of the century, England came under increasing attack from Viking raids, culminating in invasion by the Great Heathen Army in Alfred and the Viking leader Guthrum agreed on a division that gave Alfred western Mercia, while eastern Mercia was incorporated into Viking East Anglia.
Alfred was succeeded by Edward. Little is known of warfare between the English and the Danes over the next few years, but in , Edward sent a West Saxon and Mercian army to ravage Northumbria. The following year the Northumbrian Danes attacked Mercia, but suffered a decisive defeat at the Battle of Tettenhall. When Edward died in , he controlled all of England south of the Humber ; the Viking king Sihtric ruled the Kingdom of York in southern Northumbria, but Ealdred maintained Anglo-Saxon rule in at least part of the former kingdom of Bernicia from his base in Bamburgh in northern Northumbria.
Wales was divided into a number of small kingdoms, including Deheubarth in the southwest, Gwent in the southeast, Brycheiniog north of Gwent, Gwynedd in the north. He was the oldest son of Edward the Elder and the tallest. He was Edward's only son by Ecgwynn. Little is known about Ecgwynn, she is not named in any pre-Conquest source. Medieval chroniclers gave varying descriptions of her rank: one described her as an ignoble consort of inferior birth, while others described her birth as noble. Modern historians disagree about her status. William of Malmesbury wrote that Alfred the Great honoured his young grandson with a ceremony in which he gave him a scarlet cloak, a belt set with gems, a sword with a gilded scabbard.
Medieval Latin scholar Michael Lapid. Crossing architecture A crossing, in ecclesiastical architecture, is the junction of the four arms of a cruciform church. In a oriented church, the crossing gives access to the nave on the west, the transept arms on the north and south, the choir, as the first part of the chancel , on the east; the crossing is sometimes surmounted by a dome. A large crossing tower is common on English Gothic cathedrals. With the Renaissance , building a dome above the crossing became popular; because the crossing is open on four sides, the weight of the tower or dome rests on the corners.
In centuries past, it was not uncommon for overambitious crossing towers to collapse. Sacrist Alan of Walsingham's octagon , built between and after the collapse of Ely's nave crossing on 22 February , is the " A tower over the crossing may be called a lantern tower if it has openings through which light from outside can shine down to the crossing. In Early Medieval churches, the crossing square was used as a module, or a unit of measurement.
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The nave and transept would have lengths that were a certain multiple of the length of the crossing square; the term is occasionally used for secular buildings of a cruciform plan, for instance The Crystal Palace in London. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric , although the monarch is the supreme governor; the Church of England is the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the third century, to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury ; the English church renounced papal authority when Henry VIII failed to secure an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon in The English Reformation accelerated under Edward VI's regents, before a brief restoration of papal authority under Queen Mary I and King Philip; the Act of Supremacy renewed the breach, the Elizabethan Settlement charted a course enabling the English church to describe itself as both catholic and reformed: catholic in that it views itself as a part of the universal church of Jesus Christ in unbroken continuity with the early apostolic church.
This is expressed in its emphasis on the teachings of the early Church Fathers , as formalised in the Apostles ', Athanasian creeds. Reformed in that it has been shaped by some of the doctrinal principles of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation , in particular in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion and the Book of Common Prayer.
In the earlier phase of the English Reformation there were both Catholic martyrs and radical Protestant martyrs; the phases saw the Penal Laws punish Roman Catholic and nonconforming Protestants. In the 17th century, the Puritan and Presbyterian factions continued to challenge the leadership of the Church which under the Stuarts veered towards a more catholic interpretation of the Elizabethan Settlement under Archbishop Laud and the rise of the concept of Anglicanism as the via media.
After the victory of the Parliamentarians the Prayer Book was abolished and the Presbyterian and Independent factions dominated; the Episcopacy was abolished. Papal recognition of George III in led to greater religious tolerance. Since the English Reformation, the Church of England has used a liturgy in English; the church contains several doctrinal strands, the main three known as Anglo-Catholic and Broad Church.
Tensions between theological conservatives and progressives find expression in debates over the ordination of women and homosexuality ; the church includes both liberal and conservative members. The governing structure of the church is based on dioceses, each presided over by a bishop. Within each diocese are local parishes; the General Synod of the Church of England is the legislative body for the church and comprises bishops, other clergy and laity.
Its measures must be approved by both Houses of Parliament. According to tradition, Christianity arrived in Britain in the 1st or 2nd century, during which time southern Britain became part of the Roman Empire ; the earliest historical evidence of Christianity among the native Britons is found in the writings of such early Christian Fathers as Tertullian and Origen in the first years of the 3rd century. Three Romano-British bishops, including Restitutus , are known to have been present at the Council of Arles in Others attended the Council of Serdica in and that of Ariminum in , a number of references to the church in Roman Britain are found in the writings of 4th century Christian fathers.
Britain was the home of Pelagius. While Christianity was long established as the religion of the Britons at the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasion, Christian Britons made little progress in converting the newcomers from their native paganism. In , Pope Gregory I sent the prior of the Abbey of St Andrew's from Rome to evangelise the Angles; this event is known as the Gregorian mission and is the date the Church of England marks as the beginning of its formal history.
With the help of Christians residing in Kent, Augustine established his church at Canterbury , the capital of the Kingdom of Kent , became the first in the series of Archbishops of Canterbury in A archbishop, the Greek Theodore of Tarsus contributed to the organisation of Christianity in England. The Church of England has been in continuous existence since the days of St Augustine , with the Archbishop of Canterbury as its episcopal head.
Despite the various disruptions of the Reformation and the English Civil War , the Church of England considers itself to be the same church, more formally organised by Augustine. While some Celtic Christian practices were changed at the Synod of Whitby , the Christian in the British Isles was under papal authority from earliest times.
Queen Bertha of Kent was among the Christians in England who recognised papal authority before Augustine arrived, Celtic Christians were carrying out missionary work with papal approval long before the Synod of Whitby; the Synod of Whitby established the Roman date for Easter and the Roman style of monastic tonsure in England. This meeting of the ecclesiastics with Roman customs with local bishops was summoned in at Saint Hilda's double monastery of Streonshalh called Whitby Abbey , it was presided over by King Oswiu , who made the final ruling.
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For the present purpose it will not be necessary to separate them, except so far as the plan of the work does it automatically. Saxon churches were probably first built by Roman workmen, whose erections would teach sufficient to enable Saxons to afterward build for themselves. Imported talent, however, is likely to have been constantly employed. Edward the Confessor brought back with him from France new French designs for the rebuilding of Westminster Abbey, and doubtless he brought French masons also.
Anglo-Norman is strongly Byzantine in character, and though the channels through which it passed may be various, there is little doubt that its origin was the great Empire of the East. Again, the great workshop of Europe, where Eastern ideas were gathered together and digested, and which supplied cathedrals and cathedral builders at command, was Flanders; and there is little doubt that during some five centuries after the Norman Conquest, Flemings were employed, in a greater or less degree, on English work.
Italians were largely employed. The Angel Choir of Lincoln is one distinct witness to that. The workmen who [Pg 10] executed the finely-carved woodwork of St. He was a fellow-pupil of Michael Angelo, and is best known by the dastardly blow he dealt him with a mallet, disfiguring him for life. The resentment of Lorenzo de Medici at this caused Torregiano to leave Florence. He came to England in Many other architects of English buildings were Englishmen, probably the majority, and doubtless a large proportion of the workmen also,  but it would be idle to deny that imported art speaks loudly from work of all the styles.
The carved detail may be relied upon to tell us something, and it speaks of an original reliance upon the East, which was never outgrown. The carvings found in England are not marked by anything at all approaching a national spirit, even in the limited degree that was possible. Except for a few carvings of armorial designs, and still fewer with slight local reference, there are none in wood or stone which would not be equally in place in any Romance country in Europe. The carvings, also, in the Continental [Pg 11] churches present familiar aspects to the student of English ornament.
Our first carver hails from Lincolnshire. In , when the Church of St. Nicholas, Lynn, was restored, the misericordes were taken out and not replaced, but passed as articles [Pg 12] of commerce eventually to the Architectural Museum, Tufton Street, London. There are three apprentices in the background working at benches; there are at the back some incised panels, and a piece of open screen-work.
Perhaps we may suppose the weather to be cold, for the carver has on an exceedingly comfortable cloak or surcoat.
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At his feet reposes his dog. There is an interesting peculiarity about these Lynn carvings; the sides of the misericordes are designs in the fashion of monograms, or rebuses. The sides supporting the carver are his initials, pierced with his carving tools, a saw and a chisel. The difficulty is the same in all of the set; the meaning of the monograms is not to be lightly determined.
In this case it may be U. The next carvers belong to the following century. Here also we see the principal figures in the midst of work. In this case, however, there has arrived an interruption. Either [Pg 13] one of the workers is about to commit mock assault and battery upon another with a mallet, or a brilliant idea for a grotesque has just struck him, and he hastens to impart it. From the expression of the faces, and the attitudes for which two other workmen have stood as models, at the sides, the latter may be the more likely.
This aproned, noisy, jocular crew are very different from the dignified artist [Pg 14] we have just left, but doubtless they turned out good work of the humorous class. The next carver is a figure at Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. This is locally known as the Wellingborough shoemaker, but nearly all local designations of such things are wrong, and this is no exception.
Elsewhere in speaking of this sedate figure, I have conjectured he may be cutting something out of leather, and not making shoes. He is fashioning not a leather rosette, but a Tudor rose in oak, to be afterwards pinned with an oak pin in some spandrel. Some masons would be attached to a cathedral, and be lent or sent here and there by arrangement. Others would be ever wandering, seeking church work. Others might come from abroad for particular work, and return with the harvest of English money when the work was done. It is an acknowledged fact that the black basalt fonts of Norman times were imported from Flanders.
There are occasionally met other things of this material with the same class of design, evidently from the same source, such as the sculptured coffin-lid at Bridlington Priory, given on a following page. From the stereotyped conventionality of the altar-tomb effigies, they also may be judged to be the productions of workshops doing little but this work, and probably foreign. We shall probably find both English and foreign carvers. There is little or no doubt that the carvers of our grotesques were members of the mysterious society which has developed into the modern body of Freemasons.
It would be interesting—if it were not so apparently impossible—to trace in the records of early Freemasonry, not only the names and nationalities of the masons and carvers, but the details of that fine organization which enabled them to develope ideas and improvements simultaneously throughout Europe; and which would tell us, moreover, something of the master minds which conceived and directed the changes of style.
But the masonic history of our carvers is much enveloped in error to the outside world. Thus we are told that in the minority of Henry VI. No such MS. If it did, its diction and spelling which is all on pretended record in certain books probably repudiated by the masonic body proper would instantly condemn it as a forgery. Certainly an Act was passed, 3 Henry VI. It is a brief enactment that the yearly meetings of the masons, being contrary to the Statute of Labourers of 25 Edward III.
The Commons did not quite know what to style the meetings, using in this short Act the following terms for them: Chapters, Assemblies, Congregations, and Confederacies. But important though this proves the masons to have been, there is no account of the statute being repealed until the 5 Elizabeth, when another took its place equally intolerant to the spirit of Freemasonry, and Freemasonry really only became legal by the Act of 6 George IV.
But the prohibition of was not abolition.
If the masons were debarred from being allowed to exercise their advanced notions of remuneration, or to have any legal recognition whatever, it scarcely seems to have affected their action. For if they had refrained from exercising their freedom, and submitted to being put down by statute, it is probable we should have met them in the form of more ordinary gilds as instituted by other craftsmen. But we do not meet them thus, and the inference is that they went on in their own way, at their own time, and at their own price.
It may be presumed that the more or less migratory habits of the masons made the Act impossible to be rigidly enforced. Coming down towards the end of Gothic times, we find, at any rate, there was one place where images might be [Pg 18] ordered. It will have been noticed that the portraits of the carvers are Late. The grotesque has been pronounced a false taste, and not desirable to be perpetuated.
Reflection upon the causes and meanings of Gothic grotesque will shew that perpetuation is to be regretted for other than artistic reasons. If the taste be false yet the work is valuable on historic grounds, for what it teaches of its own time and much more for what it hints of earlier periods of which there is meagre record anywhere. Therefore it would be well not to confuse the student of the future with our clever variations of imperfectly understood ideas.
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Practically the grotesque and emblematic period ended at the Reformation; and it was well. But while leaving the falseness of the taste for grotesques an open question, there is something to be said for them without straining fact. For it is certain that there is underlying Gothic grotesque ornament a unique and, if not understood, an uncopiable beauty, be the subject never so [Pg 20] ugly.
The fascinating element appear to be, first, the completeness of the genius which was exercised upon it. It not only conveys the travestying idea, but also sufficiently conveys the original thought travestied. What is it at which we laugh? It shall be a figure which is of a kind generally dignified, now with no dignity; generally to be respected, but now commanding no respect; capable of being feared, but now inspiring no fear; usually lovable, but now provoking no love.
It shall be a figure of which the preconceived idea was either worthy or dreadful—which suddenly we have presented to us shorn of its superior attributes. Ideals are unconsciously enshrined in the mind, and when images proclaiming themselves the same ideals appear in sharp degraded contrast—we laugh.
Thus we affirm the correctness of the original judgments both as to the great and the contemptible imitating it, for laughter is the effect of appreciation of incongruity. Custom overrides nearly all, and blunts contrast of ideas, yet wit, darting here and there among men, ever finds fresh contrasts and fresh laughter. Further counts for something the excellence of the artistic management, which in the treatment of the most unpromising subjects filled the composition with beautiful lines.
This applies to their work in general, but he also mentions their frequent addition of some [Pg 21] curved object connected with the subject, as though it were a kind of key to the artistic composition. Doubtless the root of this pleasure is the gratification of the mind at having secretly detected itself responding to the call of art to exercise itself in appreciative discrimination. This may be unconsciously done; and in a great measure the qualities which give the pleasure would be bestowed upon the work in similar happy unconsciousness of the exact why and wherefore.
Thus we see that there are combinations of two kinds of contrast which make Gothic grotesques agreeable, the artistic contrasts among the mere lines of the carvings, and the [Pg 23] significatory contrasts evolved by the meanings of the carvings. As far back as the twelfth century, a critic of church grotesques recognized their combination of contrasts. This was St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who, speaking of the ecclesiastical decoration of his time, paid the grotesques of church art the exact tribute they so often merit; probably the greater portion of what he saw has given place to succeeding carvings, though of precisely the same characteristics.
Reflection will not lead us to believe carvings to have been placed in churches with direct intent to teach or preach. Many writers have coincided in producing a general opinion that the churches, as containing these carvings, were practically the picture or sculpture galleries and illustrated papers for the illiterate of the past.
This supposition will not bear examination. It would mean that in the days when humble men rarely travelled from home, and then mostly by compulsion, to fight for lord or king, or against him, the inhabitant of a village or town had for the say forty years sojourn in his spot of Merrie England, a small collection of composite animals, monsters, mermaids, impossible flowers, etc.
Sometimes his church would contain not half-a-dozen forms, and mostly not one he could understand or cared to interpret. Misericordes, the secondary seats or shelves allowed as a relaxation during the ancient long standing services, are invariably carved, and episode is more likely to be found there than anywhere else in the church.
Hence, misericordes [Pg 25] have been specially selected for this erroneous consideration of ornament to be the story-book of the Middle Ages. This is unfortunate for the theory, for they were placed only in churches having connection with a monastic or collegiate establishment. They are in the chancels, where the feet of laymen rarely trod, and, moreover, there would be few hours out of the twenty-four when the stalls would not be occupied by the performers of the daily offices or celebrations.
The fact appears to be that the carvings were the outcome of causes far different from an intention to produce genre pictures. It is patent that anything which kept within its proper mechanical and architectural outline, was admitted. What was offered depended upon a multitude of considerations, but chiefly upon the traditions of mason-craft. The Rev.
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They worked under the impulse of motives altogether devoid of the historical element. They were influenced by the traditions of their art, by their own feelings, and were directed by their own knowledge, experience, and observation, and also by the associations of their every-day lives. In brief, the sculptor had a stock-in-trade of designs, which he varied or supplemented, according to his ability and originality. That the stock-in-trade, or traditions of the art, handed [Pg 26] down from master to apprentice, generation after generation, persistently retained an immense amount of intellectualia thus derived from a remote antiquity, is but an item of this subject, but the most important of which this work has cognizance.
We at this day may be excused for not participating in the good St. For many of them are the embodiments of ideas which the masons had perpetuated from a period centuries before his time, and which could in no other way have been handed down to us. There are many reasons why books were unlikely media for early times; for later, the serious import of the origin of the designs would be likely to be doubted; and for the most part the special function of the designs has been the adornment of edifices of religion. They were, in fact, religious symbols which in various ages of the world have been used with varying degrees of purity.
One of the Rabbis, Maimonides, has an instructive passage on the rise of symbolic images. So in process of time the glorious and fearful name was forgotten out of the mouth of all living The Sabean idolatry was the worship of the stars, to which belongs much of the earlier image carving, for the household gods of the ancient Hebrews, the Teraphim as the images of Laban stolen by Rachel , were probably in the human form as representing planets, even in varying astronomical aspects of the same planet. They are said to have been of metal. The ancient Germans had similar household gods of wood, carved out of the root of the mandragora plant, or alraun as they called it, from the superstition kindred to that of the East, that the images would answer questions from raunen to whisper in the ear.
A large number of the forms met in architectural ornament, it may be fittingly reiterated, have a more or less [Pg 29] close connection with the worships which existed in times long prior to Christianity. The retention of these fragments of superseded paganism does not always appear to have been of deliberate or willing intention. The early days of the Church even after its firm establishment, were much occupied in combating every form of paganism.
The converts were constantly lapsing into their old beliefs, and the thunders of the early ecclesiastical councils were as constantly being directed against the ancient superstitions. Sufficient remains on record to shew how hard the gods died. To near the end of the fourth century the chief intelligence of Rome publicly professed the Olympic faith.
With the next century, however, commenced a more or less determined programme of persecutory repression. Thus, councils held at Arles about ruled that a bishop was guilty of sacrilege who neglected to extirpate the custom of adoring fountains, trees, and stones. At that of Orleans in Catholics were to be excommunicated who [Pg 30] returned to the worship of idols or ate flesh offered to idols. At Tours in several pagan superstitions were forbidden, and at Narborne in ; freemen who transgressed were to have penance, but slaves to be beaten.
At Nicea in image worship was allowed of Christ. To the orders was attached the renunciation, in German, of the worship of Odin by the Saxons, and a list of the pagan superstitions of the Germans. The Council of Frankfort in ordered the sacred woods to be destroyed. Constantinople had apparently already not only become a channel for the conveyance of oriental paganism in astro-symbolic images, but was also evidently nearer to the lower idolatry of heathenism than the Church of the West.
Thus we find the bishops of Gaul, Germany, and Italy in council at Frankfort, rejecting with anathema, and as idolatrous, the doctrines of the Council of Constantinople upon the worship of images. While all this repression was going on, the Church was [Pg 31] making itself acceptable, just as the Mosaic system had done in its day, by assimilating the symbols of the forbidden faiths. Itself instituted without formularies or ceremonial, both were needed when it became a step-ladder of ambition and the expedient displacer of the corrupt idolatries into which sun-worship had disintegrated.
If men did not burn what they had adored, they in effect adored that which they had burned. The carvings which point back to forgotten myths have their parallels in curious superstitions and odd customs which are not less venerable. There were many compromises made on account of the ineradicable attachment of the people to religious customs into which they were born.
Christian festivals were erected on the dates of heathen observances. In the sixth century, Pope Gregory sent word to Augustine, then in England, that the idolatrous temples of the English need not be destroyed, though the idols should, and that the cattle sacrificed to the heathen deities should be killed on the anniversary of dedication [Pg 32] or on the nativities of the saints whose relics were within the church. It is said that it was, later, usual to bring a fat buck into St.
This custom was made the condition of a feudal tenure. The story of Prosperine, another form of Diana, was the subject of heathen plays, and down to the sixteenth century the character appears in religious mystery plays as the recipient of much abuse. Ancient mythology points in one chief direction. The ancient poets called the sun at one time symbolically of a First Great Cause, at another absolutely the Leader, the Moderator, the Depository of Light, the Ordainer of human things; each of his virtues was styled a different god, and given its distinct name.
The moon also, and the stars were made the symbols of deities. These symbols put before the people as vehicles for abstract ideas, were quickly adopted as gods, the symbolism being disregarded, and the end was practically the same as that narrated by the ancient rabbi just quoted. But it may be doubted whether the pantheism of the classic nations was ever entirely gross. The great festivals of the gods were accompanied by the initiation of carefully selected persons into certain mysteries of which no description is extant.
For the purpose of this study, however, the theory of independence is not accepted absolutely; it is premised that though there were in numerous parts of the old world early native systems of worship of much similarity, yet that such relics of them as are met in architecture came from the East. The mythic ideas at the root of Gothic decoration were probably early disseminated through Europe in vague and varying ways, whose chief impress is in folk-lore; but the concrete forms themselves appear to have been introduced later, after being brought, as it were, to a focus, being selected and assimilated at some great mental centre.
Alexandria was the place where Eastern and Western culture impinged on each other, and resulted in a conglomerate of ideas. These ideas, however, were not essentially different in their nature, though each school, Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek, and Hebrew, had diverged widely if they came from an unknown common source. But if Alexandria was the furnace [Pg 35] in which the material was fused, Byzantium appears to have been the great workshop where the results were utilized, and from whence they were issued to Europe.
Sculptured ornament is not alone in the fact of its being a direct legacy from remotely ancient forms, though, on comparing that with any of the other arts hitherto recognized as of Eastern origin, it will be found that none bears such distinct marks of its parentage, or shews such continuity of form. Thus examination of European glazed pottery, which comes perhaps the nearest to our subject, shews that the ornamenting devices occasionally betray an acquaintance with the old symbolic patterns, but there is less recognition of meaning, scarcely any intention to perpetuate idea, and no continuity of design.
The first Christian sculptors would be masons brought up in pagan gilds, and the gild instincts and traditions had undoubtedly as strong an effect upon their work, on the whole, as any religious beliefs they might possess. The symbolism of the animals of the church in the late points of view of the Bestiaries and of the expository writers of the Middle Ages, is not here to be made the subject of special attention. Evans, which yet remains to be equalled. It is to be noted, however, that the early [Pg 36] Christians, seeing the animals and their compounds so integral a portion of pagan imagery, endeavoured to twist every meaning to one sufficiently Christian: but what is chiefly worthy of note is the unconscious resistance of the sculptors to the treatment.
Although a multitude of figures can be traced as used symbolically in accordance with the Christian dicta, there are at least as many which shew stronger affinity to pagan myth. There is evidence that this was early recognized by the propogandists. The Council of Nice in , in enjoining upon the faithful the due regard of images, ordered that the works of art were not to be drawn from the imagination of the painters, but to be only such as were approved by the rules and traditions of the Catholic Church.
So also ordained the Council of Milan in The Artists, however, did not invent the images so much as use old material, and, the injunctions of the Council notwithstanding, the ancient symbols apparently held their ground. The protests of St. Nilus, in the fifth century, against animal figures in the sanctuary, were echoed by the repudiations of St. Bernard in the twelfth and Gautier de Coinsi in the thirteenth, a final condemnation being made at the Council of Milan in , all equally in vain.
Though the force of the myth symbols has passed away, they have left another legacy than the grotesques of church art. The art works of the Greeks arose from the same materials, the glorious statues and epics being the highest embodiment of the symbolic, so loftily overtopping all other forms by the force of supreme physical beauty as to almost justify and certainly purify the [Pg 37] religion of which they were the outcome; so, later, the same ideas clothed with the moral beauty of supreme unselfishness enabled Christianity to take hold of the nations.
By the diatribes of Bernard we can see what materials were extant in the twelfth century for a study of worship-symbols and of the grotesque, though he ignores any possible meaning they may have. In another place appears an animal, the fore half of which represents a horse, and the hinder portion a goat. It has now to be observed how far the symbolic fancies of ancient beliefs have left their impress on the grotesque art of our churches. A common representation of the great sun-myth was that of two eagles, or dragons, watching one at each side of an altar.
These were the powers of darkness, one at each limit of the day, waiting to destroy the light. This poetic idea has come down to us in many forms. In the above block from Lincoln Minster, the altar is well preserved. In the next block, which is from a carving connected with the preceding one, the idea is more distantly hinted at. Examples of this could be multiplied very readily. Man has an almost universal passion for the oral transmission of the fruits of his mental activity. In the particular instances of many lingual compositions this passion has become an inveterate race habit, and the rhymes or reasons have been transmitted verbally to posterity long after their original meaning has been lost or obscured.
It is no new thing that a nursery rhyme has been found to be the relic of an archaic poem long misunderstood or perverted. The full verse is, as it stands, a curious jumble of disconnected sentences. I am not aware that any attempt has yet been made to explain this extraordinary verse. Examination seemingly shews that it was originally a satire in derision of the worship of Diana.
The moon-goddess had a three-fold existence. On [Pg 41] the earth she was Diana. Among the Egyptians we find her as Isis, and her chief symbol was the cat. Apuleius calls her the mother of the gods. In the worship of Isis was used a musical instrument, the sistrum, which had four metal bars loosely inserted in a frame so as to be shaken; on the apex of this frame, which was shaped not unlike a horse-shoe, was carved the figure of a cat, as emblematic of the moon.
The four bars are said by Plutarch to represent the elements, but it is more likely they were certain notes of the diapason. The worship of Isis passed to Italy, though the Greeks had previously connected the cat with the moon. The fiddle, as an instrument played with a bow, was not known to classic times, but the word for fiddle— fides —was applied to a lyre. It is equivalent to a Greek word for gut-string.
Images of Isis were crowned with crescent horns; she was believed to be personified in the cow, as Osiris was in the bull, and her symbol, a crescent moon, is met in sculpture over the back of the animal. This apparently suggested the second line. The third personality of the goddess was Hecate, which was the name by which she was known in the infernal regions,—which means of course, in nature, when she was below the horizon.
Now another name by which she was known was Prosperine Roman , and Persephone Greek , [Pg 42] and her carrying down into Hades by Pluto Roman , or Dis Greek , was the fable wrought out of the simple phenomenon of moon-set. I suggest that the last line of the verse is a grotesque rendering of the statement that—. Why the little dog laughed to see such sport is not easy to explain. It may be an allusion to one of the heads of Hecate, that of a dog, to indicate the watchfulness of the moon.
There is another Hecate a bad, as the above-mentioned was considered a beneficient deity , but which was originally no doubt the same, whose attributes were two black dogs, i. Or it may be an allusion to the fact that the dog was associated with Dis, being considered the impersonation of Sirius the Dog-star. In various representations of the rape of Prosperine, Dis is accompanied by a dog, e.
The origin of this has yet to be discovered; it may be nothing more than the account of an etymological change, produced by a transcript of dialect. Whether the Beverley artist knew that the cat was a moon-symbol may be doubted. The fiddle has four strings, as the sistrum had four bars. As well as the elements and the four seasons of the year, the four may mean the four weeks.
It will be observed that as the Hours are said to dance by the side of the chariot of the sun, so here four weeks dance to the music of the moon-sphere; the word moon means the measurer, and the cat is playing a dance measure! The cat is not a very frequent subject.
At Sherborne she is shewn hanged by mice, one of the retributive pieces which point to a confidence in the existence of something called justice, not always self-evident in the olden-time. Rats and mice are the emblem of St. The dog had a higher place in ancient estimation than his mention in literature would warrant; the fact that among the Romans he was the emblem of the Lares, the household gods, is a weighty testimonial to that effect, while the Egyptians had a city named after and devoted to the dog.
Among the pre-existing symbols seized by the Christians, the Egyptian Cross and Druidical Tau must not be [Pg 44] overlooked. It is found on the capitals of pillars at Canterbury and other places; the example given in the initial on page 34 is perhaps the latest example in English Gothic. The sinuous course of the sun among the constellations is mentioned in literature as far back as Euripides as an explanation of the presence of the dragon in archaic systems of mythology.
This may have been the origin of the figure. Yet in addition to that there always seems to have been the recognition of an evil principle, of which by a change of meaning, the dragonic or serpentine star-path of the sun was made the personification or symbol. It might not be impossible to collect several hundreds of names by which the deistic character of the sun has been expressed by various peoples; and the same applies, though in a less degree, to the Darkness, Storm, Cold, and Wet, which are taken as his antithesis.
One of the oldest of these Dragon-names is Typhon, which is met in Egyptian mythology. Typhon is said to be the Chinese Tai-fun , the hot wind, and, if this be so, doubtless the adverse principle was taken to be the spirit of the desert which ever seeks to embrace Egypt in its arid arms. The symbol of Typhon was the crocodile, and doubtless the dragon form thus largely rose. The constellation called by the Japanese the crocodile is that known to us as the dragon.
But the myth has ever one ending; the power of the evil one is destroyed for a time by the coming of the sun-god, though eventually the evil triumphs, that is dearth recurs. Thus was Odin the sun; and his companions, the other Asir, were more or less sun attributes. In the case of Egypt the god is Horus the sun-light , the youthful son of Osiris and Isis, who drives back Typhon to the deserts; for that country the rising of the Nile is the happy crisis. Horus is sometimes called Nilus. Whether the above derivation of the word Typhon be correct or not, which may be doubtful,  that of Horus from the root Hur light, connected with the Sanscrit Ush to burn whence also Aurora, etc.
When the great myth became translated to different climates, the evil principle took on different forms of dread. Water, the [Pg 46] rainy season in some countries, the darkness and cold of winter in others, were the Dragon which the Hero-god, the Sun, had to overcome—out of which conflict arose myths innumerable, yet one and the same in essence.
Apollo slew the Python, the sunbeams drying up the waters being his arrows; Perseus slew the Dragon, by turning him to stone, which perhaps means that the spring sun dried up the mud of the particular locality where the fable rose. Later, Sigurd slew the Dragon Fafnir. When the Christians found themselves by expediency committed to adopt the form, and to a certain degree the spirit, of heathen beliefs, the Sun versus Darkness, or the Spring versus Winter myth was a difficulty in very many places. At first the idea was kept up of a material victory over the adverse forces of nature, and we find honourable mention of various bishops and saints, who—by means of which there is little detail, but which may be supposed to be that great monastic beneficence, intelligent drainage—conquered the dragons of flood and fen.
Thus St. Romain of Rouen slew there the Dragon Gargouille, which is but the name of a draining-gutter after all, and hence the grotesque waterspouts of our churches are mostly dragons. Martha slew the Dragon Tarasque at Aix-la-chapelle, but that name is derived from tarir , to drain. Keyne slew the Cornish Dragon, and, to be brief, at least twelve other worthies slew dragons, and doubtless for their respective [Pg 47] districts supplied the place of the older myth. Among these, St. George is noteworthy. He is said to have been born at Lydda, in Syria, where his legend awaited the Crusaders, who took him as their patron, bringing him to the west, as the last Christian adoption of a sun-myth idea, to become the patron saint of England.
A figure of St. George was a private badge of English kings till the time of the Stuarts. On the old English angel the combat is between St. Michael and the Dragon, and though St. George is generally shewn mounted, as was also sometimes Horus, the Egyptian deity, he is sometimes represented on foot, like St. The Dragon is generally the same in the two cases, being the Wyvern or two-legged variety.
Another form of dragon is drake. Certain forms of cannon were called both dragons and drakes. Sometimes the dragon is found termed the Linden-worm, or Lind-drake, in places as widely sundered as Scotland and Germany. It is said this is on account of the dragon dwelling under the linden, a sacred tree, but this is probably only, as yet, half explained. Perhaps through all time the sun-myth was accompanied by a constant feeling that good and evil were symbolised by the alternation of season.
It is to be expected that the feeling would increase and solidify upon the advent of Christianity, for the periodic dragon of heathendom was become the permanent enemy of man, the Devil. The frequent combats between men and other animals and the dragons, met among church grotesques, though their models, far remote in [Pg 48] antiquity, were representations of sun-myths, would be carved and read as the ever-continuing fight between good and evil. That, however, it is reasonable to see in these Dragon sculptures direct representatives of the ancient cult, we know from a fact of date.
The festival of Horus, the Egyptian deity, was the 23rd of April. That is the date of St. Less than the foregoing would scarcely be sufficient to explain the frequency and significance of the Dragon forms which crowd our subject. During the three Rogation days, which took the place of the Roman processional festivals of the Ambarvalia and Cerealia, the Dragon was carried as a symbol both in England and on the continent.
The Rogation Dragon in France was borne, during the first two days of the three, before the cross, with a great tail stuffed with chaff, but on the third day it was carried behind the cross, with the tail emptied of its contents. This signified, it is said, the undisturbed dominion of Satan over the world during the two days that Christ was in Hell, and his complete humiliation on the third day. In some countries the figure of the Dragon, or another of the Devil, after the procession, was placed on the altar, then drawn up to the roof, and being allowed to fall was broken into pieces.
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