The vaulting of the quire is in quadripartite ribbed bays, a ridge-rib, which is very crookedly worked, being added at the crown of the vault. The ribs, each of which has three rolls, the soffit roll being filleted, spring from triple clusters of shafts corbelled out on the wall above each pier of the main arcade. These shafts rest upon foliated corbels, close above the meeting of the hood-moulds of the arches; the triforium string-course is continued as a band round them; and the foliated capitals of the shafts, which bear the springers of the ribs, are set very low, at a point considerably beneath the level of the springing of the small inner arches of the triforium. The springers are so planned that the outer moulding of each diagonal rib is merged, before reaching the capital, in the thin wall-rib of the vaulting. As is usual in English vaults of this period, a considerable thickness of wall is left to form the abutment of each group of ribs. The low-ness of the points of springing allowed the outward pressure of the vault to be concentrated at a point where the wall is solid. The builders thus dispensed with flying buttresses, and those which we now see, one on the north and two on the south of the quire, are additions of the 14th century, added when there was probably some apprehension as to the security of the clerestory walls.1

The two aisleless bays of the quire, forming the eastern chapel, were built with an upper and lower stage of window-openings, and are adapted to the uniform design of the rest of the new building. The eastern bay is narrower than the western, and has single lancets in each stage of the side walls, but there are two lancets in each stage of the western bay. In the upper stage, where the absence of aisles removes all need for a triforium passage at the back, the sills of the pairs of clerestory windows are brought down to the level of the triforium string. The passage, however, between the outer and inner planes of wall is kept. In the lower stage of the east wall are four widely splayed lancets, the moulded rear-arches of which are carried by single shafts. In the upper stage are two pairs of tall lancets, corresponding in height to the lancets in the side walls. Against the narrow strip of wall which divides the pairs is a dwarf shaft, resting on the string-course at the sill level. This carries a rib which, resting vertically on the capital, is arched at the level of the springing of the window arches, to meet the ridge-rib. The vault of the eastern bay is thus quinquepartite.2 The diagonals in the eastern part of this bay spring from shafts in the angles of the building, corbelled out at the point where the jambs of the lower lancets interfere with their descent, but the vaulting shafts which divide the bays of the side walls are continued as low as the string beneath the lower stage of windows, and are corbelled out just above that string.

The details of the corbels and capitals of the vaulting shafts throughout the whole building is of extraordinary beauty and variety, and is fully as worthy of close examination as the more famous carving in the chapter-house. It belongs to an age when foliage in stone was still treated by the sculptor with a respect for the conventions by which his art was governed; his imitative skill was checked by the material in which he worked, and the period had not yet set in when he was ready to sacrifice vigour of imagination to mere deftness of touch. The bosses at the crowns of the transverse and diagonal arches are also carved with conventional foliage. The broad ridge-rib of the vault has a line of small dog-tooth ornament on each side of its central moulding.

The aisles have two lancet windows in each bay, in harmony with the double treatment of the openings in the upper stage of the quire. The construction of the walls is plain and solid, and there is no wall arcade. The compartments of the vault are divided by transverse arches and built upon diagonal ribs. These spring from corbels—moulded capitals, each with a row of nail-head, on the face of the wall, and their pressure is met on the outside by slender buttresses of considerable projection, chamfered at the outer angles, and capped by gabled pinnacles which overhang them in a rather unusual way. The vaulting of both aisles is provided with a ridge-rib; and this is met in the eastern bay by a rib springing from a small shaft between the two lancets of the east wall, and reproducing the similar design in the eastern bay of the high vault. Also, between each pair of lancets in the side walls, a shaft, resting on the sill, carries an extra rib, which meets the point of junction of the diagonals, and makes the vaulting of each bay quinquepartite.3 That of the bays next the transeptal chapels and the chapter-house passage is necessarily quadripartite; and in the eastern bay of each aisle, as already shown, the extra rib springs from between the two lancets at the end, not at the sides. The western bay of each aisle also receives special treatment. Owing to the abutment necessarily left in the new work for the central tower, these, if treated as single bays, would be very oblong in shape. They are therefore divided into a broad eastern and narrow western bay. The vaults of the narrow bays in both aisles are quinquepartite, with the extra ribs dividing their western compartments, and springing from corbels above the 12th century arches which separate the quire aisles from the transepts. On the north side, where the outer wall is unpierced, being next the chapels east of the north transept, the extra rib of the broad bay springs from the side wall, but from a corbel, not, as in the other bays, a shaft. The corresponding bay in the south aisle has a quadripartite vault, the side wall being pierced by a single wide lancet. Thus, while the quire, west of the aisleless portion, is divided into six bays, the aisles are divided into seven.

Each of the transeptal chapels has two lancets in each of the three outer walls: the design followed in the walls of the aisles is thus symmetrically reproduced, and the extra shafts between the lancets carry ribs which, with the diagonals springing from the angles of the chapel, divide the vault into seven compartments. There is no extra rib, of course, on the side of the aisle. The carving of the capitals and corbels of the shafts is treated with rather more elaboration than in the aisles, and the sculptured foliage is of great beauty. In the west wall of each chapel is a small arcade of pointed arches with a bench below. The piscinae and almeries of both chapels remain: the piscinae are double, and the arches have mouldings of great delicacy, while the deep cup-shaped drain-holes are very perfect. In the south wall of the south chapel is a tomb recess with a rounded head, which contains an effigy, apparently of a canon of the church. This effigy may have come from the canopied tomb on the north side of the quire, of which Dickinson's History of Southwell gives a picture.4 In the north-west angle of the south chapel is the entrance to a vice which leads to the roof : the semi-circular turret in which this is contained is of considerable size, and forms a noticeable feature of the exterior of this part of the church.

The piscinae, almeries, and sedilia of the chapels at the east end of the aisles remain. The piscina in the south aisle has a recess on the east side to hold cruets.

The general uniformity of design, which is a marked feature of the interior of the building, is equally noticeable in its external elevation. The string-courses which surround this part of the church are continuous. The buttresses are slender, but of considerable projection, and are capped with acutely gabled pinnacles; their design suggests familiarity with the contemporary work of Lincoln, to which Southwell, as also Beverley, was much indebted. It was found necessary in the 14th century, when the flying buttresses were added to weak points in the side walls, to weight the tall double buttresses at the angles of the east wall, with heavy octangular pinnacles. Above the clerestory, the original parapet, with its two rows of dog-tooth ornament and its corbel table, remains; but the outer roof was lowered to a flat pitch in the 15th century, and the gable of the east wall is lighted by a poor five-light window with a four-centred arch. Originally the transeptal chapels and the immediately adjoining bay of each aisle were covered with high pitched roofs at right angles to the lean-to roofs of the aisles. These have been removed: the roofs of the chapels are now flat, and those of the aisles continuous. The line of these roofs can be seen against the clerestory wall on either side; and in these bays there are no clerestory windows, as the presence of the roofs at this point made them unnecessary. It may be noted that the original absence of flying buttresses, and the desire, which can be noted everywhere in this building, to minimise the outward thrust of the vaulting, are features which indicate the influence of western design, which we have already noted in the upper part of the church.5

The two most important additions made to the quire after its completion are the great pulpitum and the sedilia. These belong to the second quarter of the 14th century. The completion of the pulpitum may be assigned to a date a little earlier than or close to 1325: the mouldings and cusping of the three open arches on its western face may fairly be assigned to a period when the influence of geometrical tracery had not wholly died out. At the same time, the detail of its eastern wall is without any trace of this earlier character. The graceful ogee arch of the inner entrance, with its solid sculptured cusping, the lower ogees of the three stone stall-canopies on either side, the flowing tracery beneath square pediments in the upper stage, and, above all, the profuse carving of arches, jambs, and pinnacles, not with conventional foliage of the older type, but with minute foliage full of compound curves and aiming at an effect of mass rather than of light and shade, are all characteristics of an advanced type of 14th century art. The design of the east side has features in common with the west face of the pulpitum at Lincoln, which may safely be ascribed to a date near the year 1320,6 and the diaper-work at the back of the archbishop's stall, south of the inner entrance at Southwell, is found in great profusion at Lincoln. Lincoln also has the skeleton ribbed vaulting, which is seen in the roof of the pulpitum at Southwell, and is also found at St. Davids, where the pulpitum was probably built between 1330 and 1340.7 The pulpita of Lincoln and Southwell have been called sister designs.8 The likeness is limited to certain details. In general plan the two owe little to one another. The whole western part of the screen at Southwell forms a vaulted vestibule, and the three beautiful cusped arches by which it is entered from the nave are thus relieved against a background of deep shadow. At either end of this vestibule is a tomb recess, the wall above which is filled with flowing tracery. The thick eastern wall of the screen is pierced by a central passage, on each side of which straight stairs mount to the loft above. As a matter of fact, the whole design of a loft borne upon a vaulted ground-story, with three open arches in advance of the main screen-wall, very closely corresponds to the design of the altar-screen, with the loft for the shrine above, at Beverley.

The inner walls at Beverley have large panels of flowing tracery, which is not much more advanced in date than the tracery of the end walls at Southwell. The Beverley altar-screen has much diaper-work in the spandrils of the arches, and the cresting at Beverley, Lincoln, and Southwell is very similar in design. The altar-screen at Beverley was in course of construction in the year 1334.9 It is evidently nearly contemporary with the famous Percy tomb, the sculpture of which is of the same character and school as the elegant sculpture of the inner screen-wall at Southwell.10 It seems probable that the design at Southwell is the earliest in date of the three designs of screens alluded to, and that it supplied the suggestion for the design of the altar-screen at Beverley; for nothing is more probable than that one of the mother churches of the diocese of York should supply another with such hints. It may also be noted that William of Melton, who became archbishop of York in 1317, was previously provost and canon of Beverley and canon of Southwell; and, although this did not imply much residence at either place, he would certainly be familiar with the work done at both churches, and, as archbishop, would further its progress.11 The screen at Southwell may have been arrested in its progress, but it was apparently completed about 1325, and in the meantime the design of the stall canopies in the east wall was probably influenced by the niches of the pulpitum at Lincoln. The delicate carving may not have been finished till later: it is of a character closely allied to the famous sculptures of the chancel at Hawton,12 and is the logical outcome of an attempt to refine still further upon the naturalistic sculpture of the Southwell chapter-house. The art of the Southwell sculptors may be shown to be derived directly from the workshops of York at the end of the 13th century, and its influence may be traced through the churches of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, and South Lincolnshire, and as far to the south-east at Ely, while the connection with York and Beverley was steadily maintained.13

The pulpitum, as has been shown, was not the rood-screen, which stood across the western arch of the tower, and probably had an organ in its loft. The loft of the pulpitum was kept clear for ritual purposes. Thus, according to York usage, which was naturally followed here, the pulpitum would take a prominent place in the services of great festivals, such as Christmas. If Christmas eve fell on a Sunday, the epistle and gospel of the high mass were read from the loft, two of the quire boys singing the gradual after the epistle, and the two rulers of the quire chanting the Alleluia. At the cock-crow and dawn masses of Christmas, the epistle was read from the loft, but the gospel from the altar. At high mass, when all in quire wore silken copes, and the archbishop, if he were keeping Christmas at Southwell, would be celebrant, the epistle and gospel were read from the loft, and the gradual was sung there, at a nod from the sub-chanter, by three of the vicars-choral.14 Nothing is known of the object for which the tomb recesses beneath the loft were prepared. There are three tombs beneath the loft at St. Davids, the southernmost being that of bishop Gower, in whose time the pulpitum was built. At St. Davids there was one altar, against the north part of the western face of the screen. At Southwell the arrangement was more symmetrical. An altar was probably placed against the inner wall, on each side of the entrance to the quire; and the tombs may be those of canons who endowed masses at these altars.15

The sedilia—Southwell.
The sedilia—Southwell.

The five sedilia and the piscina in the panel to the east are somewhat later than the latest work of the pulpitum, and appear to have been executed at the end of archbishop Melton's pontificate, between 1330 and 1340. They are very closely allied to the work of the sedilia and piscina at Hawton, Heckington, and Navenby, and the less well-known examples at Carcolston, the date of all which can be fixed approximately to a period shortly before or after 1330.16 The figure sculptures of the spandrils show, where they are original, a slight coarseness of execution; but, like the sculptures of the pulpitum, they were restored in plaster by Bernasconi, who also executed plaster screens for the back of the quire-stalls, the removal of which was, one might venture to think, a mistaken measure. The screens are now in the Castle Museum at Nottingham. But the sedilia and piscina themselves, although they have been fitted in very cleverly to their present place, are not in their original or even in a natural position. If they belonged to the eastern chapel they would have been inserted in the eastern bay, south of the altar. It cannot be doubted that they stood originally within the second bay of the south arcade, upon the south side of the high altar; and it is likely that they formed part of a design which included a stone screen at the back of the altar, and a screen, in which was a tomb or permanent recess for the Easter sepulchre on the north side. The present arrangement seems to have been made at the time of the fire in 1711; it is probable that the effigy, now in a recess of the south chapel, was on the north of the altar, and is that of the canon who made this benefaction to the church. We have already noted that a canopied tomb, in the 18th century, still occupied one of the arches on the north side of the quire.17 After the completion of the new eastern arm the additions made to the fabric of the church, with the exception of the chapter-house, were few, and the later alterations, made with the view of lightening the dark interior of the nave, have been briefly described. The foundation of new chantries in the church, west of the quire, led to two structural additions, one of the middle of the 13th, the other of the end of the 15th century. Soon after the quire was finished, the apsidal chapel of the north transept was taken down, and a rectangular building of two stories took its place. This building abuts upon the north aisle of the quire; and a stair in the aisle-wall leads to its upper room, now the library. Its north wall and bold angle buttresses, similar to those of the quire, but with variations of design which indicate a later date, project beyond the transept. The upper stage was probably the treasury of the church.18 On its west side is the 12th century archway which led from the triforium passage of the north transept into the roof of the original chapel. The lower stage formed an eastern aisle to the transept, and contained two altars, of which the piscinae remain. Owing to the thick wall next the quire-aisle, through which the stair to the treasury mounts, the east wall of the transept was pierced in two unequal divisions, with a broad pointed arch to the south and a narrow arch on the north.19 Additional internal breadth was given to the northern bay by its projection beyond the north face of the transept. The chapels are covered with two bays of quadripartite vaulting, the direction of the wall-ribs being altered a little above their springing to follow the outer curves of the window jambs. The windows, however, are traceried insertions made within the old jambs in the early part of the 14th century, when the chapels must have been darkened by the erection of the chapter-house, and the completion of its passage and larger windows were consequently made; their date appears to be about 1320.20 The chapels themselves, with the treasury above, were probably built between 1250 and 1260.21

The 15th century chapel added upon the south side of the nave has already been referred to. It no longer exists, and the discussion of it is reserved for the account of the Southwell chantries, which follows this present article.

(1) The view from the north-east in Dickinson's History of Southwell shows two flying buttresses on the north side of the church. The crocketed pinnacles of the flying buttresses have been much renewed.
(2) This rib is sometimes represented as a mere continuation of the ridge-rib, the irregular line of which it prolongs down the upper part of the east wall. It is, however, one of the structural ribs of the eastern bay of the vault, and is distinct in its functions from the ridge-rib, which serves to stiffen the crown of the vaulting and to cover the joints of the masonry of the webs.
(3) This addition of a rib may have been suggested by the vaulting of the aisles at Lincoln, where this intermediate rib is found in each of the bays of the aisles of St. Hugh's quire, of the great transepts, and of the nave, which is next the outer wall of the church. Two differences are noticeable at Southwell: (1) the ridge-rib is introduced throughout the aisles, while at Lincoln it is not found in the aisles of quire or transepts, and occurs only in the central portion of each bay in the nave aisles, where it is required to support the leaning ribs added to the surface of the vault; (2) the extra ribs of the end bays, in a line with the ridge-rib, are peculiar to Southwell. At Lincoln, on the other hand, the introduction of leaning ribs in the nave aisles (as in the high vault) finds no parallel at Southwell. Probably the vaults of the nave aisles at Lincoln, and those of Southwell, are independent derivatives from the same origin—the vaults of the Lincoln quire aisles.
(4) Dickinson, op. cit. p. 60.
(5) It may be noted that the buttresses and walls of the sonth aisle of the quire, between the transeptal chapel and the main transept, show marks of buildings erected against them. The reason of this is not clear, and there seems to be no record of such buildings. It is possible that in the 18th century, when galleries were built in the aisles, outer stairs may have been made to them against the walls, and one or more of the aisle windows converted for the time being into doorways.
(6) This, at any rate, is the date which commends itself as most probable to the present writer, after a long familiarity with the details of the pulpitum in question. It is the date also favoured by Dr. Mansel Sympson, who has made a most careful study of the Lincoln pulpitum (Memorials of old Lincolnshire, 1911, p. 221).
(7) Bishop Henry Gower, whose tomb is beneath the south end of the pulpitum at St. Davids, was consecrated 12 June, 1328, and died in 1347. (Stubbs, Registrum Sacrum, 2d ed. p. 73.) The vestibule to the Berkeley chapel in Bristol cathedral is another example of this "skeleton" vaulting: it is probably the work of abbot Knowle (1306-32).
(8) F. Bond, Screens and Galleries, 1908, p. 155.
(9) J. Bilson in Architectural Review, iii., 251.
(10) The sculpture of the pulpitum at Southwell was considerably restored in plaster work by the skilful hand of Bernasconi, who was also responsible for the restoration of the finials of archbishop Gray's tomb at York. Mr. Bilson notes (u.s. p. 257) that the heraldry of the Percy tomb at Beverley shows that it cannot have been completed before 1340.
(11) The evidence for the date of the altar screen at Beverley is from an order issued by Melton to his receiver at Beverley. Melton had collation of the prebend of St. Michael's altar at Beverley, 3 May, 1309 (Beverley Chapter Act Book [Surt. Soc] i., 237-8), having been admitted provost on 22 October preceding (ibid, i., 228). He held the provostry and canonry until his consecration as archbishop, 25 September, 1317 (Stubbs, op. cit., p. 73). He had collation of the prebend of Norwell Palishall in Southwell, 30 July, 1309. This he also seems to have kept till his consecration (Le Neve, Fasti, iii., 440).
(12) The reputed builder of the chancel at Hawton is known to have died in 1330. The main fabric of the chancel and his tomb-recess were probably completed a little before his death.
(13) The present writer has noted this fact, as shown in the widespread prevalence of a special type of chancel, in The Historical Growth of the English Parish Church, 1911, pp. 80-5, and in Memorials of Old Yorkshire, 1909, pp. 142-5.
(14) See the directions for the Christmas services in Dr. Henderson's edition of the York Missal, vol. i. (Surt. Soc, vol. 59). The Christmas use is taken here merely as a specimen ; the Missal contains many instances of the use of the pulpitum at other feasts.
(15) Archbishop Thomas of Corbridge died at Laneham, 22 Sept., 1303, and was buried at Southwell (Hist. Ch. York, ii., 412). His tomb was marked by a large blue stone in the floor of the quire, with a brass. In Dickinson's time (op. cit. p. 277) the pulpit stood on part of the stone, but the inscription on the brass was still legible.
(16) The date at Hawton has been noted above. The rector of Heckington, who was responsible for the chancel, was presented by the Crown in 1309-10, and died about 1345. The chancel was certainly completed before his death, and the main fabric was probably finished about 1328, when the founder had licence to found a chantry, most probably at the new high altar. There is no definite record of date at Navenby or Carcolston.
(17) The fine alabaster monument of archbishop Sandys (died 10 July, 1588), now against the north wall of the north transept, was originally placed upon the north side of the eastern chapel of the church, in which the high altar now stands.
(18) It possibly, for this purpose, took the place of the chamber above the north porch, while the sacrist's sleeping place was probably transferred at the same time. The treasury is lighted by a three-light window inserted in the north wall during the 14th century. The 13th century window remains in the gable.
(19) The wall next the quire was probably made so solidly in order to afford extra abutment on this side to the tower and to the adjoining 12th century masonry which had been left on the east side of the crossing. The division of the east wall of the transept into a broad and narrow bay may have been dictated by the existence of the 12th century gallery, the indications of which have been noticed, at the north end of the transept. Its breadth may be indicated by the narrow bay; while the wider arch corresponds to the arch of the earlier chapel, the fellow to which may be seen in the opposite transept.
(20) They may be rather later; their tracery is of a type which can be proved by documentary evidence to have been used in this neighbourhood as late as 1340-50
(21) See articles on chantries below.