CHAPTER IV -Part II

Structural History and Description of the Great Church.

Editor's notes: I had to realign illustration from west to east.
                     Colors in text corrospond to those in illustration. -JV

The fragment of the south side aisle wall of the choir, which is still standing, is shewn in elevation, fig. 2, and its plan in fig. i from X to F(combined in frame below-JV). In the elevation the numerals correspond to those in the plan. These drawings shew that the aisle included eight severies(ie-bays- JV) from the tower pier A at the west end to the east wall at G. The first severy (1, 2) reckoning from the west, contains a pier arch opening to the transept chapels H, I , which were possibly employed as vestries on this side of the church. The second contains a window, which is skewed aside to avoid the chapel on the south of it, as the plan shews.

The next four severies, which extend to A have a window each. The last two from D to F are separated from the former by two respond piers at D, very near together (7, B in the elevation), indicating that opposite to them was a thick terminating east wall Ee, the gable of the choir. Such a pair, for example, occur at Sherborne in the same position.

The last two severies like the others are provided with windows, but the wall is thinner, and manifestly' belongs to a later style. Yet the windows themselves are exactly the same as those of the earlier wall CX. Turning, to the elevation we find that the responds 7, 8, 9 differ from the earlier ones 1 to 5. All of them consist of a triple group of shafts, but the earlier shafts are plain cylinders, the three later have a sharp vertical edge orkeel upon them and their bases have high cylindrical plinths with the same keel. But the earlier shafts,

1 to 5 have their bases set upon thin semi-octagon plinths which rest on the bench table, like those of the side aisle wall of the nave and Norman chapel.The later bases are found along the east wall Ff. The capitals of the responds from  1 to 7 have the semi-octagon abacus with foliage forming one bushy capital common to the three shafts of the triple group below it, although the neck mold follows the plan of the shafts.

But the capitals of 8, 9 have the abacus composed of separate portions appropriated to the three shafts, so that the foliage and abacus combine with the neck mold in representing a group of three united capitals. The moldings of the abacus are also much later in style.

The wall from 2 to 6 has a bench table, upon which the bases of the responds stand, but this table extends only eight or nine feet beyond 6 and is then cut off.

Now these appearances are quite consistent with the written history, which tells us that Abbot Monington elongated the choir. The choir "had four high windows at first," and, consequently, four pier arches below, which (vide plan) extended from A to A Bb is therefore the place of the original high east gable of the choir.

But as the original side-aisle wall extends two severies farther to D, it is plain that this old choir, like those of all the great churches of this period, had the side aisle continued behind the eastern gable, so as to connect the north and south aisles into a procession path, and that there were chapels projecting from this procession patheastward. The procession aisle extended from C to c, and the line Dd is the position of the east wall of the chapels, so that the last severy (6, 7) of the side wall was the side of the south chapel.

When Monington added two arches (B to E,) on each side to the length of the choir his new easterngable was placed at Ee, and the old side aisle and chapel wall CD served the purpose of a side- aisle wall to his new pier arches.

But beyond these he erected a new procession path and chapels in the space DdfF, apparently exactly on the same  plan as those he had pulled down to make room for the extension of the presbytery.

It must be observed ..., that the capitals of all the responds from I to 5 are at the same level, and that those from 6 to 9 (and of course , which has disappeared in ruin) are three feet higher. The change of elevation is made at 5. The capital of every one of the responds receives on its abacus three separate vault ribs of the side aisle vaults; namely, one transverse rib in the centre and one diagonal rib on each side of it. The wall ribs of the vaults of Glastonbury pass down from the apex of the wall continuously, until they reach the string mold under the windows, and there the wall rib mitres like a picture frame and runs horizontally above it.

At the change of elevation on the abacus of 5 a small shaft is provided on the east side of the transverse rib, with. a small capital which receives the diagonal rib of the compartment 5, 6. The molding of this little shaft is of the same section as the rib 1.

According to the explanation I have given, the wall from 1 to 5 was opposite to the oldest pier arches. The severy 5, 6 was the south end of the procession path, and .6, 7 part of the side wall of a chapel. It must be supposed therefore that this increase of elevation in the shafts was intended to give greater loftiness. In the compartment x, 2, the wall rib after descending, like the others to the level of the window sill, again rises to pass over the pier arch, as the drawing shews.

of character to the chapels, and to the procession path which led to and extended in front of them.

No change takes place in the height of the arches, the apexes are exactly at the same level from one end to the other of the series in the elevation .... Consequently the ridges of the side aisle vaults were of the same elevation throughout the side aisles.