Friday, 11 June 2021

Lincoln Cathedral - The Interior Part V

A view of the Chapter House from the Cloister

During my day out in Lincoln, in September 2020, I ended my very quick exploration of the interior of Lincoln Cathedral at the Cloister, where I had intended to take a quick look inside the Chapter House and the Weldon stone used in the stairway to the library.
Label stops in the Slype Corridor

At the end of the Slype Corridor, I stopped to take a few photographs of a couple of weathered label stops and the wooden vaulted ceiling, which is an unusual feature of the Cloister, and carried on towards the C13 Chapter House, but found it closed and the north cloister roped off.
A view along the east cloister

With an attendant having just announced that the cathedral would be closing very shortly, I just took a few general record photos of the principal architectural elements of the Cloister. These were originally completed c.1295, with work in the C19 by John Loughborough Pearson, an architect who was often criticised by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings for his ‘restorations’.
The entrance to the Chapter House
Three sides of the Cloister have arcades that have unglazed Geometric style tracery, which incorporate trefoils and quatrefoils with very crisp mouldings - suggesting that they are part of the restoration and not original.
The arcade to the east cloister

The shafts to the blind arcade in the wall of the east cloister and the entrance of the Chapter House have further examples of blue/grey Purbeck marble, which is used extensively throughout the interior of the cathedral.
A cluster of Purbeck marble shafts
A close inspection of the shafts reveals that, although sheltered from the rain - and therefore less susceptible to the freeze-thaw and salt crystallisation processes that accelerate decay – the stone has deteriorated considerably and a small piece broke off when I was examining it.
A detail of a Purbeck marble shaft

Inside the cathedral, although the shafts are several hundred years old, I didn’t expect to see the extent of the loss of polish and their deterioration; however, Purbeck marble is particularly susceptible to decay when there are high levels of moisture, with its relatively high content of smectite – a clay mineral that swells when absorbing water – and pyrite being contributory factors.
A piece of Pubeck marble from a decayed shaft

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