sive appearance, the whole design of the edifice being at once opened to the view of the spectator, with its lofty roof, beautifully disposed lights, and long arcades of columns. These pillars terminate towards the east in a sweep, thereby enclosing the chapel of Edward the Confessor in a kind of semicircle, and excluding all the rest. On the arches of the pillars are galleries of double columns, fifteen feet wide, covering the side aisles, and lighted by a

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

SOUTH AISLE OF THE NAVE. middle range of windows, over which there is an upper range of larger windows; by these and the under range, with the four capital windows, the whole fabric is so admirably lighted, that the spectator is never incommoded by darkness, nor dazzled by glare.

In 1735, the great west window was filled with stained glass, representing Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Moses and Aaron, and the twelve patriarchs; the arms of King Sebert, King Edward the Confessor, Queen Elizabeth, King George, II. and Dean Wilcocks, Bishop of Rochester. To the left, in a smaller window, is a painting of one of our kings (supposed of Edward the Confessor); but the colours being of a water blue, no particular face can be distinguished. In the window on the other side is a figure represetning Edward the Black Prince. The three windows at the east end contain each two figures. In the left window, the first figure represents our Saviour, the second the Virgin Mary, the third Edward the Confessor, the fourth St. John the Baptist, the fifth St. Augustine, and the sixth Melitus, Bishop of London, in the right-hand window. The north, or rose window, was put up in the year 1722, and represents our Saviour, the twelve apostles, and four evangelists; the latter, with their emblems, lay down, two on each side. In 1847, the gorgeous south, or marigold window, was filled with stained glass from designs by Messrs Ward and Nixon. In the centre is the word “JEHOVAH,” surrounded by angels; and in the circle of surrounding light are thirtytwo subjects illustrative of the principal incidents, miracles, and events in the life and sufferings of the Redeemer. In the twelve lower lights are subjects from Old Testament history. The window of stained glass, in Henry V.'s chantry, was filled at Dean Ireland's expense; the arms are those of Edward the Confessor, Henry III., Henry V., the arms of Queens of England, and at the very top of the window, those of the Dean.

The Choir is fitted up with oak stalls, in the style of architecture of the time of Edward III., from designs by Mr. Blore, the Abbey architect, admirably executed by Mr. Ruddle, of Peterborough.

At the altar in the choir, just under the centre of the four great pillars under the lantern, the ceremony of the coronation is performed : under the seat of the throne is the “ Stone of Fate," on which the kings of Scotland were enthroned, which was brought as a trophy to England in the wars of the Plantagenets. According to tradition, it was the stone on which Jacob laid his head when he had the vision in Bethel.

The names of the several chapels, beginning from the south cross, and so passing round to the north cross, are in order as follows:-1. St. Benedict; 2. St. Edmund; 3. St. Nicholas; 4. Henry VII.; 5. St. Paul; 6. St. Edward the Confessor ; 7. St. Erasmus; 8. Abbot Inslip's Chapel, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist; 9. Št. John, St. Michael, and St. Andrew. The three last are now laid together. The Chapel of Edward the Confessor stands, as it were, in the centre, and is enclosed in the body of the church.

The length of this church from east to west, is three hundred and seventy-five feet, measuring from the steps of Henry VII.'s chapel; from north to south, the breadth is two hundred feet: the width of the nave and sideaisles is seventy-five feet: the height from the pavement of the nave to the inner roof is one hundred and one feet: from the choir pavement to the roof of the lantern is about one hundred and forty feet high.

HENRY VII.'S CHAPEL This magnificent chapel, which adjoins to the east end of the Abbey church, and communicates with the ambulatory by a flight of several steps, was erected by the monarch whose name it bears, as the place of sepulchre for himself and the royal blood of England. It was commenced in 1503, and completed in 1512; and is one

of the most exquisite specimens of florid Gothic in the world. Its cost is said to have been £15,000, equal to £200,000 of our present money. During a period of eleven years (from 1809 to 1822) the exterior of this superb chapel underwent a complete restoration, under the superintendence of the late James Wyatt, Esq., at a cost of about £40,000.

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]

The ascent to the interior of Henry VII.'s Chapel is from the ambulatory, by steps of black marble, under a stately portico, which leads to the gates opening to the body, or nave of the chapel. On each side of the entrance there is a door opening into the side-aisles. The gates are of brass, most curiously wrought, in the manner of

frame-work, having in every other panel a rose and porto cullis alternately. Having entered, the eye will naturally be directed to the lofty ceiling, which is in stone, wronght with such astonishing variety of figures, as no description can reach. The stalls are of brown wainscot,

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]

with Gothic canopies, most beautifully carved, as are the seats, with strange devices, which nothing on wood is now equal to. The pavement is of black and white marble, done at the charge of Dr. Killigrew, once

« ElőzőTovább »