We have not a fragment remaining to shew the extent of the first Norman church, and may therefore dismiss it altogether, conjecturing only that part of its nave was possibly roofed in and fitted up for the use of the monks during the construction of the new church2, which, of course, was commenced at the east end and carried on westward, and, as we have seen, was not dedicated till after 1303, 119 years after its commencement. As the plan shews, it was a cruciform. church, square ended, the nave contained ten severies (bays-JV), the eastern arm of the cross four severies, at first, augmented to six in the latter half of the fourteenth century. The transepts had three severies each, two of which had chapels projecting eastward, and the third opened to the aisle of the choir as usual. But these chapels have the peculiarity, that they consist of two compartments each, or in other words, as the plan will shew, that the transept has an eastern. aisle and chapels of one compartment beyond that.
Click here for larger version
It may be remarked that the mother church of Wells, set out after the above was commenced, has the same number of severies in the nave and transepts. But the eastern arm had but three, augmented to six, in the first half of the fourteenth century, which, perhaps, induced the Glastonians to enlarge their own choir about the same time. Wells, however, has western aisles to the transepts, but no chapels projecting from their eastern aisles.
Floor-Plan of Wells. Click here for larger version
There is no evidence to shew whether or no this church had western towers. It is not probable that these members were omitted. Worcester mentions an entrance porch of large dimensions 3, which I imagine was placed in a similar position to that of Wells, on the north side of the nave, and therefore opposite to the principal gate of the abbey, which Hollar places on the north of the cemetery of the laity, and at the end of a short lane opening from the great street at a point facing the parish church of St. John. A small chapel through which was the passage to the "gazophylacium" or almery, is mentioned as the place where the remains of King Arthur were deposited at first.
Only two severies remain to shew us a specimen of the design of the central parts of this great church. These are on the east side of the transepts, both in similar but opposite positions, and each including one of the tower piers.
Click here for larger version
Not one of the ordinary piers remains either in nave or choir. But the general plan of the latter piers can be obtained by inference from the great tower pier and from the north-west respond of the nave. The transept severy has in its lower story the pier arch which gives entrance to the end of the side aisle. Above is a triforium and a clerestory; the clerestory has one large window, and in front of it the usual triple arcade, consisting of a high, wide, stilted pointed arch, with a low narrow pointed one on each side. The gallery passage passes between the window and arcade as usual. But the shafts which commonly support this arcade are not employed. The arch moldings here are continuous.
here to continue.