The remarks which have been made so far have been confined to the fabrics of the churches of Spain. It would be easy to add largely to them by reference to the furniture which still so often adorns them, unaltered even if uncared for; to the monuments of the mighty dead; to the sculpture which frequently adorns the doorways and screens; and to the cloisters, chapter-houses and other dependent buildings, which add so much charm in every way to them. Besides this, there are very numerous castles, often planned on the grandest scale, and some, if not very many, interesting remains of domestic houses and palaces; and most of these, being to some extent flavoured by the neighbourhood of Moorish architects, have more character of their own than has been accorded to the churches. Finally, there are considerable tracts of country in which brick was the only material used; and it is curious that this is almost always more or less Moorish in the character of its detail. The Moors were great brickmakers. Their elaborate reticulated enrichments were easily executed in it, and the example set by them was, of course, more likely to be followed by Spaniards than that of the nearest French brick building district in the region of Toulouse. The brick towers are often very picturesque; several are to be seen at Toledo, others at Saragossa, and, perhaps the most graceful of all, in the old city of Tarazona in Aragon, where the proportions are extremely lofty, the face of the walls everywhere adorned with sunk panels, arcading, or ornamental brickwork, and at the base there is a bold battered slope which gives a great air of strength and stability to the whole. On the whole, it must be concluded that the medieval architecture of Spain from the 12th century is of less interest than that of most other countries, because its development was hardly ever a national one. The architects were imported at one time from France, at another from the Low Countries, and they brought with them all their own local fashions, and carried them into execution in the strictest manner; and it was not till the end of the 14th century, and even then only in Catalonia, that any buildings which could be called really Spanish in their character were erected.
(R. P. S.)
Romanesque and Gothic Architecture in England
Pre-Conquest.—The history of English architecture before the Norman Conquest is still only imperfectly known. Its parentage is triple: Roman, Celtic and Teutonic. To the first belongs the general building tradition of the Romanized West, and the influence of the mission of Augustine at the end of the 6th century, and of such men as Wilfrid in the 7th. The Celtic element is due to the Scottish (Irish) church, which never gained much hold on the south of England, while the Teutonic influence shows itself in the later developments, which are allied to the early buildings of kindred peoples in Germany. Fragments of existing early churches have been attributed to the time of the Roman occupation, but all are doubtful, with the exception of the remains of what is believed to have been a Christian church excavated at Silchester in 1892. This was a basilica of ordinary form, comprising an apse with western orientation, nave and aisles, transepts of slight projection, and narthex. Augustine’s cathedral church of Canterbury, which he had learned was originally constructed by the labours of Roman believers (Bede), was also a basilica with western apse; its eastern apse and confessio beneath were probably a later addition. Remains of early churches are found on several sites where churches are recorded to have been built during the missionary period. Of these, Reculver (c. 670) and Brixworth (c. 680) have aisled naves and eastern apses. At Brixworth a square bay intervenes between the apse and the nave. St Pancras, Canterbury, of the time of Augustine, Rochester (604), and Lyminge (founded 633), show unaisled naves of relatively wide proportion, with eastern apses of stilted curve. In some of these churches there was a triple arcade in front of the sanctuary, in place of the usual “triumphal arch.” The technique shows Roman influence, and Roman materials are largely used. The existing crypts of Hexham and Ripon were built by Wilfrid, c. 675. The description of Wilfrid’s church at Hexham gives the impression of an elaborate structure (columnis variis et porticibus multis suffultam). Wilfrid also built at Hexham a church of central plan, with projections (porticus) on the four sides, a type of which no example has survived in England. Escomb (Durham) and parts of Monkwearmouth and Jarrow, which are attributed to the same period, have plans of an entirely different type—a relatively long and narrow nave, with small square-ended chancel—a plan, usually attributed to Celtic influence, which is most extensively represented in churches recognized as Saxon.
The evolution of the characteristic features of pre-Conquest architecture was slow, and was doubtless greatly hindered by the invasions of the Northmen from the end of the 8th century onward, but germs of the fully developed style are to be found in the earliest buildings. The western tower, usually of tall and slender proportion, was developed from the western porch found at St Pancras, Canterbury, and Monkwearmouth; sometimes, as in the latter church, actually raised over the older porch. The lateral chapels of St Pancras, which existed also in the Saxon cathedral of Canterbury, were developed into a transept, culminating in the cruciform plan with central tower. The characteristic “long-and-short” work, which consists of tall upright stones alternating with stones bedded flat bonding into the rubble work of the wall, has its prototype in the western arch of the porch of Monkwearmouth, and in the jambs of the chancel arch at Escomb. Sometimes the flat stones are cut back on the face, so that the plaster which covered the rubble extended up to the line of the upright stones, thus giving the quoin the appearance of a narrow pilaster. The repetition of these pilasters on the face of the walling constitutes rib-work, and these ribs are frequently connected by semicircular or so-called “triangular” arches, forming a land of rude arcading (Earls Barton, Barton-on-Humber.) Windows in the earliest Saxon work are generally wide in proportion, and splayed on the inside only; in the later work they commonly have splays both on the inside and outside. Doorways have square jambs, without splay or rebate; sometimes the jambs of doorways and windows are inclined, as in early buildings in Ireland. Imposts to doorways, tower arches or chancel arches are often square projecting blocks, sometimes chamfered on the lower edge. The mid-wall shaft is a characteristic feature in the belfry openings of Saxon towers; it supports an impost or through-stone, of the full thickness of the wall, which receives the semicircular arches over the openings. The method is analogous to that commonly found in northern Italy and the Rhineland. Sometimes the mid-wall shaft is a baluster, turned in a lathe. In some of the later belfry openings, a capital intervenes between the mid-wall shaft and the impost. The dating of buildings of this style is at present a matter of considerable difficulty, but certain points, such as the development of the cruciform plan, are useful for comparison. A fully developed cross church was built at Romsey in 969, having also a single axial western tower, and this seems to have been the normal type of a large church in the later years of the style. Cruciform plans, not yet fully developed, are found at Deerhurst, Breamore and St Mary in the castle at Dover, and fully developed at Norton (Durham) and Stow (Lincolnshire). The most advanced detail which occurs in pre-Conquest buildings is the recessing of arches in orders. But for the Conquest, English architecture might have developed somewhat on the lines of contemporary work in Germany. It must be remembered, however, that, although the Norman Conquest marks the beginning of a new epoch in English architecture, the Norman manner had already been introduced into England under Edward the Confessor, as is proved by the considerable remains of that king’s work at Westminster Abbey.
The succeeding periods of English architecture have been divided into so-called “styles” or “periods,” though it should be recognized that all such hard and fast divisions are purely artificial, and that, apart from the objection that they exaggerate the importance of mere details, they tend to obscure the fact that the history of Gothic architecture is a history of continuous development. The following classifications, those of Thomas Rickman and Edmund Sharpe, are in most general use for the present by such students as are not content with a nomenclature based on simple chronology:—
|1189-1307 Early English.
Norman Conquest to c. 1150.—At the time of the Conquest of England, the Norman school was already one of the most advanced Romanesque schools of western Europe. Its marked individuality and logical character are clearly expressed in the abbey churches of Jumièges and St Étienne and Sainte-Trinité at Caen, and it quickly supplanted the less advanced Romanesque