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same effect were forwarded by the Archaeological Institute, the Cambrian Archaeological Association, and the Oxford Architectural Society. All lovers of antiquity will rejoice to hear that the result has been that the Guardians, in a liberal and enlightened spirit which does them the greatest honour, have passed a resolution by whose terms these most valuable remains will be permanently preserved for the purposes of antiquarian study, or, as they do our own body the honour to express it, "for the purposes of the Cambrian Archaeological Association."
I will now proceed to describe the actual results of our investigations. All the conjectures on which I formerly ventured have been confirmed by the recent excavations. The whole of the south transept and of the presbytery has been traced out, and the surrounding aisle and chapels of the latter, as far as their foundations existed. Owing to the nature of the ground, the north transept has not yet been touched, and it will probably be found impracticable to extend the excavations to that portion of the building.
The shape of the church must have been somewhat irregular, the four limbs not being of the same width; and more than this, the choir and presbytery, which are narrower than the nave, are put on askew, their centres not coinciding.2 I had once thought that the central tower was actually narrower from east to west than from north to south, as at Bath Abbey, and Leonard Stanley in Gloucestershire, and had not merely the transept arches narrower, as at Malmsbury and elsewhere. But, on farther examination, I find the state of the case rather to have been as follows.
It will be remembered that the evidence existing previous to the excavation supplied us with the fact that a south transept existed, and that the western and southern arches of the central tower had rectangular piers of several
2 I put forward this view in the Gentleman's Magazine for March, orders, but, as the inner wall of the presbytery only ranges with the inner member of the south-western pier, we must suppose that the eastern arch of the lantern sprang from corbels. There must therefore, from this source alone, have arisen a considerable amount of singularity, not to say awkwardness, in the internal treatment of the tower. It differs, for instance, from the case of St. Bartholomew's in London, where the eastern and western arches spring from corbels, while the narrower ones to the north and south have piers; for there the nave and presbytery are of the same width, and the arches answering to each other are similar. Here at Leominster, the eastern and western arches must have been most conspicuously dissimilar. But, besides this, as the space below the central tower, (forming of course the choir,) and the eastern limb, (forming the presbytery,) were both narrower than the nave, and as the southern walls of the two are nearly in a line, it follows that a still greater difference must have existed on the north side, and that the western arch of the lantern must have stood quite on one side as regards the nave. It is much to be regretted that, as this arch was completely destroyed (and not, as usual, merely filled up) at the dissolution, we have only conjectural evidence as to the manner in which it was treated, but it is clear that the northern arch of the tower could never have had the usual abutment to the west.
If any one should infer from all this that no central tower ever existed, I ought in fairness to help him to the fact that no foundation could be discovered running north and south at the point where the eastern arch would have sprung, and to remind him of the instance of St. Mary's Shrewsbury, where the nave and two transepts have three arches exactly like those of a lantern, but where the fourth arch to the east is wanting, and apparently can never have existed. But I have the authority of Mr. Scott and Mr. Penson for the statement that constructive necessity does not absolutely require such foundations,3 and that instances occur both ways. And from the general analogy of Norman buildings one can hardly imagine a cruciform church in that style not designed for a central tower. Probably the Priory Church—"the small thing" of Leland—was commenced on a small scale, which was exchanged for a larger during the process of building, to which extension we owe the increased size of the nave and the second tower at the west end. For this suggestion I have to thank Mr. Basil Jones.
This "Priory Church" must have been indeed "a small thing" as the ground plan will show, yet its design was in some respects an ambitious one, as we shall presently see. The space under the tower, forming the choir, must have been unusually confined; while the presbytery, or eastern limb, is itself so short that the stalls can hardly have run east of the tower. This may be perhaps explained by remembering that Leominster was not an independent priory, but merely a cell to Reading, and, consequently, the number of monks present at any one time would probably always be small. As the high altar doubtless stood on the chord of the apse, it will be seen that the eastern limb, as well as the space under the tower, was of very confined dimensions.
Yet this little presbytery had adjuncts of greater comparative extent than those of St. Georges de Bocherville or the Abbaye aux Dames. I have incidentally mentioned that it had an apse, but more than this, the apse was surrounded by an aisle, like the Conqueror's Chapel and St. Bartholomew's Priory; and yet again the aisle had diverging chapels like Westminster or Tewkesbury. Very great difficulty was found in the excavation of this portion, and very many conjectures were offered during its progress; the final result has been the dis
3 No such existed under the eastern towers of Llandaff, whose existence, or at least intention, I think I have demonstrated. (Llandaff Cathedral, p. 66.) I may add, whatever value may attach to the testimony, that an ancient seal of Llandaff in the thirteenth century exhibits a church with four towers.
ARCH. CAMB., NEW SERIES, VOL. IV. 2 B
covery of a most important example of a Norman apse, with a circumambient aisle and radiating chapels. The foundations have been discovered of an aisle running round the presbytery, with an apse diverging to the northeast and south-east, and, finally, a projecting chapel has been discovered at the extreme east end, which has not been excavated all round, because the foundations of its eastern portion have been wholly removed. From the length of this chapel I cannot help suspecting that it is a later addition, but, if so, it most probably supplanted a mere apse at the extreme end, like the other two. The discovery of these chapels has been made since my last visit to Leominster.
The best preserved portion is to be found in the south aisle, where the foundations rise so high that part of the plinth of the external basement exists. The outer walls of the aisle have a double range of flat pilasters—a marked characteristic of the church throughout—the inner ones acting as vaulting shafts, the external of course as buttresses. We could not make out the form of the piers, except that there seemed signs of projections towards the aisle matching those in its own walls. We may therefore conclude that the aisles were vaulted, and consequently the triforium differently treated from that of the nave. The basement on which the arcades stood exists for a considerable extent on the south side, and we could make out the height of the pavement, portions of whose tiling remained in situ, which I wish Mr. Franks or some other person competent in that branch could find time to proceed to Leominster and examine.
The south transept has been entirely exhumed. It had no eastern aisle, but one of the eastern apses so usually found in that position. A Decorated sepulchral arch at its extreme south was found to be of remarkable height, and exhibited clear signs of mediaeval whitewash.4 A Norman string above it, evidently in situ, which existed
* Compare the instance I have mentioned, Llandaff Cathedral, p. 52.
at the visit of the Association, had been destroyed before the excavations commenced—so easily may important evidence on such points be lost. Whether the transepts had western aisles is still uncertain; the fact that the eastern bay of the north aisle was destroyed with them looks as if they had; there are also some signs of jambs at the east end of the great southern addition; but it is not yet clear whether they are those of an original arcade, or of mere doorways between that addition and the south transept.
The whole of the foundations discovered seem, with the exception of the extreme eastern chapel, to be of the untouched Norman work; so that any later alterations must have been entirely confined to insertions in the superstructure. It is easy to imagine the general effect of the building, which with the varied grouping of the two towers and of the numerous apses, must have been one of the most picturesque of its kind. The choir and presbytery especially, as an example of a very complicated arrangement on a very small scale, seem especially valuable.
The work is not yet so complete but that fresh discoveries may be expected, and, as I before said, some very important points have been made out since my last visit. I trust I may some day see Leominster again; in any case, should I either see or hear anything else worthy of note respecting the church I will not fail to communicate it.
Edward A. Freeman. Oaklands, Dursley, March 16,1853.
P.S.—I may add another question with regard to Leominster Church. I argued that the Early English addition included the site of the present Decorated south aisle, on the ground that the piscina and both the doorways of the porch are of the former style. The idea has been suggested to me by Mr. Jewitt, which had also occurred to me independently, that it is more probable that the Decorated aisle was a farther addition, and that these por