Monday, February 2, 2009

The Choir

In the second bay from the east, on the north side of the choir, stands the chantry of Bishop Audley, who died in 1524. This excellent example of late Perpendicular work was built by the bishop himself in 1520. Its style is not unlike the chantry of Bishop Fox at Winchester with octagonal shafts, (similar to those of the Salisbury Chapel at Christchurch,) which impart a semi-Oriental touch that is so characteristic of this final development of Gothic art. The images it once enshrined are lost, but the original rich colouring is still distinguishable on the fan tracery of the roof. The arms and initials of its founder are borne on the shields of the cornice. In the corresponding bay on the south side is the chantry founded by Walter Lord Hungerford, in 1429, and removed from the nave in 1778 by his descendant, the Earl of Radnor, who converted it into a family pew. It has been re-decorated, and new emblazonments added. The arms of its founder and his two wives appear on the base. The superstructure is of iron, and a fine example of its class, which includes among the few still extant the chantry of Edward IV. (died 1483) at Windsor, and that of Henry VII. at Westminster Abbey (died 1509). The Audley and Hungerford chantries are the most important left in a cathedral once rich in their kind, as the report of the alienation of their endowments proves.

Of modern fittings, the Brass Lectern was given by members of the late Dean Lear's family. A brass eagle is mentioned by Price, and said to have been given in 1714 at a cost of £160. The pulpit is modern, with carved medallions on its sides.

The bishop's throne, a lofty modern structure, made by Earp of Lambeth, was presented by those clergymen who had been ordained in the cathedral. It replaced one given in 1763.

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