Monday, February 2, 2009

Choir and Presbytery

The Choir and Presbytery are very similar to the nave in the main features of their design. The piers show a different plan, which provides for eight shafts of Purbeck marble to each. The inner mouldings of the arches exhibit the "dog-tooth" ornamentation of their period. The triforium and clerestory differ slightly from the corresponding parts of the nave. In each of the last two bays of the presbytery the triforium has five small cinquefoil arches. At the east wall of the choir above the reredos is an arcade of five simply-pointed arches, below a triplet window in the gable, which is filled with stained glass, given by the Earl of Radnor in 1781, and representing "The Brazen Serpent," after a design by Mortimer.

The choir still bears traces of Wyatt's destruction. He removed the original reredos behind the high altar and the screen before the Lady Chapel, so that both, with the low eastern aisle, were thrown into the choir. He shifted the high altar from the choir to the extreme east end of the Lady Chapel, sacrificing several chantries and tombs to do so. Views of the cathedral after his reign of terror fail to show any gain to compensate for so much loss; the extreme length is not apparently an advantage, while the bare look of the interior seems decidedly intensified by the increased vista that he was so delighted to obtain, and for which with a light heart he effaced the silent records of dead centuries.

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