Page images



two feet in 1886, and that of the chancel one foot. six inches in 1873. There is now one step at the chancel gates, one at the altar rails, and two at the footpace to the altar.

During the 1886 alterations, various broken. sepulchral slabs, with floriated crosses, were found, not in their original positions, in the floor of the nave when it was taken up, but they were too much broken to be relaid.

The general appearance of the south elevation of the structure is thoroughly picturesque. There is a long and low and substantial look about it, and much variety of outline and detail.

The parapet to the nave gutters is a deep one, and the chancel parapet is richly and fully moulded. There are no clerestory windows except the one lighting the chancel arch, mentioned below.

Both the aisle and chancel walls have double bases, the former being chamfered and the latter moulded. They are skilfully made to range with one another, the chancel base being carried round the east wall of the south aisle, and the junction made at the western side of the easternmost buttress of the aisle.

The south aisle had been previously rebuilt in 1751, on ancient foundations, which are still visible two or three feet above the ground. A stone, recording this fact, bearing the names of the rector (John Stanley) and wardens, and the date, built into the south wall of the aisle, was lost during the 1886 restoration. In 1873 the chancel was carefully restored, and a loftily - placed south clerestorial window of the nave opened out. window adjoins the chancel arch, and was, we may assume, introduced to throw a flood of light on the mystery plays performed on the platform of the Rood screen, and on the fresco painting of the Doom" on the wall over the chancel arch.


Modern church architects might well learn a lesson in artistic effect in the placing of windows from this instance: not merely because the high light is so much pleasanter to the eyes, but because mediæval architects designed the mouldings of the arches and capitals of the columns so as to look their best when the light comes from above, rather than from below. Every fillet and curve, indeed, is carefully designed with this object; and it is as absurd to light a church by low aisle windows only as it is to put players on the stage with the necessary footlights without painting portions of their faces. Many other minor alterations and improvements were also made in 1886.


The tower itself, to the top of the parapet, is about sixty-three feet high, and the spire as much again, making a total of one hundred and twentysix feet. The spire is octagonal, as is the belfry stage of the tower, the lower part of which is strengthened by well-proportioned buttresses. In the cusped gable of one of these buttresses, facing the sea, a niche has been cut, and a table mould inserted, possibly for a statue of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors, to whom a chantry in the church is dedicated. Below the niche are gurgoyles: to the north, an owl with ears and open mouth; to the south, a winged creature with bird's beak and human head. Surmounting the tower is a plain parapet, with a gutter behind it, the water from which is discharged through the mouths of four gurgoyles, facing the four cardinal points of the compass. On the south is the winged bull, or ox; on the east an eagle, whose beak is not very sharp or hooked; on the west a fierce-looking and wellcarved lion; and on the north is a somewhat ugly

angel holding a scroll. Above the lion is a stone inscribed :

[blocks in formation]

The following inscription is cut on stones in the south side of the tower, below the belfry stage :







In the lower portion of the tower is a two-light western window; and the arch between the tower and the nave, about twenty-seven feet high, is of dignified proportions.

In the rebuilding of the spire, which somewhat resembled a pear in shape, says Canon Blundell, the old design was not very strictly followed. The original structure is said to have been much like that of the neighbouring church of Aughton.


The gurgoyles and hood-mould terminations to the parapets, windows and turrets of the chancel are numerous, and of a varied and spirited character. On the north side they are as follows:Turret staircase: Winged bull and winged angel. Three pinnacled buttresses (beginning from the west): Coupled figures with heads close together, that to the west clad in long habit and hood, as if a monk; that to the east a fiend with huge head, partly broken away, bat's ears and cloven foot, embracing the monk. Single figure, straddling, in a long habit, with head turned to northeast, fingers in corners of mouth, opening it

« PreviousContinue »