Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Salisbury Cathedral: East Transept

The East (or Choir) Transept, which on the north side, screened as it is from the aisle, is used and known also as the Morning Chapel, has on its west wall a portion of a very beautiful screen of Early English work. Of this John Carter, from whose pages the accompanying sketch of a portion is reproduced, says that it was moved during Wyatt's restoration, as he naïvely puts it, "during the late dilapidatious innovations, and modern fanciful introductions so fatal to our study of antiquities." Other authorities consider its original position uncertain. Yet since its architecture is obviously coeval with that of the building, and the arches inserted by Bishop Beauchamp show proof of having been planned to rest on something at the base of the tower piers, there can be little doubt that when Wyatt removed the screen to re-erect a medley of his own composing made of fragments of the demolished chantries, he disturbed one more of the original features of the cathedral.

A curious double aumbry in the north wall of this chapel is unusual, not merely in the pitch of its arches, which are triangular gables, but also in the solid stone shelves dividing its space into six compartments; other aumbries in this church show similar features, but this alone retains its original wooden doors. The superb brass of Bishop Wyville is in the pavement of this transept. It is illustrated in almost every work on monumental brasses as a notable example. A canopied lavatory of beautiful design is upon the east wall to the right, the altar being not in the centre, but almost in the corner on the left-hand side.

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