Thursday, 10 June 2021

Lincoln Cathedral - The Interior Part IV

The canopy of the monument to Bishop Wordsworth

After having a quick look at the transepts and the choir screen, during my exploration of the interior of Lincoln Cathedral, I entered St. Hugh’s Choir. It is best known for its carved woodwork, which I didn't stop to look at on this occasion, but it also has elaborate Decorated Gothic details to its arcades and a fine vaulted ceiling.
The vaulted ceiling in St. Hugh's Choir

As seen in the rest of the cathedral, edge bedded green/blue Purbeck marble shafts are used in abundance and this continues into the Angel Choir, with the massive clustered piers – which are composed of normally bedded drums – alternating with those made of Lincoln stone.
Clustered piers in the north choir aisle

Having wandered round a large part of the cathedral, where the repetitive architectural elements are generally the dominant features, the Angel Choir came as a bit of a surprise because it contains a large number of often very ornate tombs, which I was unable to properly investigate due to the limited time available to me.
A detail of the effigy of William Butler

The chest tomb and effigy of William Butler, the Dean of Lincoln from 1885 to 1894, is a good example of the use of English alabaster, which was mined from Triassic evaporite deposits in Staffordshire and Nottinghamshire and was in great demand from the C14 to the C17.
The tomb of William Butler

The moulded slab upon which the effigy is laid and the plinth to the base, which appears to have lost some of its polish, are not alabaster but a variety of Early Cretaceous limestone from northern Italy known as Rosso Verona.
The Gardiner table tombs

The Gardiner table tombs, from the first half of the C18 are made with mottled white marble slabs and legs of dark grey veined marble, which are probably both from Italy, but I didn’t look close enough to get an idea of their provenance.
Ledgers in the floor of the Angel Choir

Looking down at the floor, I saw several more of the Carboniferous limestone tomb slabs that I had seen earlier in the south choir aisle, which I now know to be a variety of monument that are described as ledgers - a style that developed in the mid C17.
The tomb of Bishop Henry Burghersh

The tombs of Bishop Henry Burghersh and his father, Robert, date back to c.1340 and the effigy of the former, which was damaged in the Cromwellian era, is carved in a limestone that I did not examine, but which does not look like the yellowish Lincoln stone in the photographs that I took.
A detail of the effigy of Bishop Fleming

The effigy of Bishop Richard Fleming, dated 1425 and an early example of a cadaver tomb, is made of a similar pale coloured limestone, with later repairs to the small angels and damaged sections also lacking the yellowish colour. Also, the shrouded cadaver in the lower part of the tomb contrasts with moulded sections of the surrounding masonry.
The shrouded cadaver at the Bishop Fleming tomb

Although a detailed examination would be needed, it is quite possible that these could be pale coloured Permian dolomitic limestone from the Tadcaster quarries near to the River Aire – especially since Lincoln’s waterway connections enabled vast quantities of Purbeck marble to be brought from Dorset - or maybe even Portland limestone.
The monument to Bishop Wordsworth

The Victorian Gothic monument to Bishop Christopher Wordsworth - 1885 by Bodley and Garner - is cited by G H Varah in “Lincoln Cathedral Stone” as being built in Portland limestone, which I again didn’t examine at the time but is consistent with my photographs.
A detail of the monument to Bishop Wordsworth

With less than 15 minutes before the cathedral closed, I was unable to take a good look at a few further examples of other fine canopied monuments and just took a couple of photos of the bronze effigy of Eleanor of Castile, which replaced the original stone one that was destroyed during the Commonwealth of England.
A detail of the bronze effigy of Eleanor of Castile

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