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have conventional foliage only, the southern one being the richer of the two, but unfortunately its proximity to the south door has caused it to be considerably weathered away by the action of the draught from the open door. The design consists of trefoil-shaped leaves arranged in groups of fours all round the bells of the capitals, and underneath and between the leaves clusters of fruit. The opposite pillar has a much more boldly-designed capital, having two sprays of leaves to each cap instead of five in the other case. The two eastern capitals are still more elaborate, and contain birds and human heads and busts amongst the foliage. The plates illustrate the north-east capital, and show two opposite sides of it when viewed diagonally. The two laughing faces are on the south-western and look into the nave. The other view towards the aisle shows two dragons in combat, each bites the body of the other. On the north-western face are beautiful clusters of foliage and fruit and a bird pecking the leaves. The opposite capital to the south-eastern pillar has lacertine bird and animal forms devouring each other, amidst foliage a little more advanced towards natural forms than the others.
The other details of the original church that remain are soon enumerated. The old south doorway has wholly disappeared. It was no doubt of ornate character, but has been replaced by a perfectly plain one of later date. It is certain that there was no clerestory, and the only remaining window is one recently opened to the west of the south porch ; this is a plain lancet. Opposite to it in the north aisle and close to the west end is the eastern jamb of another lancet of richer character, as it has a roll moulding and two quirks on the inner angle, which is all that can be seen of it. The north doorway still remains, though blocked up. It is of small size, with a roll moulding in the jambs and a chamfered inner order, moulded imposts and a segmental pointed arch into which the nail-head ornament is introduced.
That there was a tower of some kind at the west end of the original church is, I think, indicated by the fact that the lower part of the newel stair is of thirteenth century work. It was certainly of smaller dimensions than its successor and seems to have stood further to the west, clear of the line of the old west wall of the north aisle shown on the plan. Of the original chancel all that can be said is that it was of smaller dimensions than the present one.
We have now to consider the changes that were made in the plan of the church as time went on. The first of these was the addition of transepts, and the question naturally arises why were transepts wanted at all? They were not looked upon in the middle ages, as they are now, merely affording accommodation for a few dozen extra chairs and added to churches simply as architectural adjuncts without either rhyme or reason. They were there to supply a want which had arisen in the development of religion. A medieval catholic church was used in a very different manner from the modern protestant church in which services are only occasionally held and the church left vacant at other times. In the medieval church there were two kinds of worship, that by the priests and people together, which may be called the service for the living, and that by the priests alone in offering prayers and saying masses for the departed, which may be called the service for the dead. As places increased in wealth and importance and families of position become more firmly established the custom of founding chantries in churches became general. Although there were cases where more than one chantry was attached to an altar, it was usual on the foundation of a new chantry to provide an altar for it, and this necessitated space somewhere in the church for the accommodation of the altar. In a transeptless church the places for chantry altars were few. The high, or parish altar, was in the chancel; an altar could be placed at the east end of each aisle, and sometimes one was placed on either side of the rood screen door on the west side of the screen, and therefore within the nave. More than four altars could not easily be placed unless the aisles were taken up and screened off to form separate chapels. In a nave of only three bays in length this could not be done without great inconvenience, as one bay was required for the passage across the church between the north and south doors, and the east bay was taken up by the altars at the ends of the aisles. The only course was to throw out transepts, which could be divided from the nave by parclose screens, and subdivided into separate chapels, into which no one entered except the priests and the members of the family who had founded the chantry, and who often contributed the money expended on the fabric needed to accommodate the altar.
The prosperity of the town of Sedgefield in the thirteenth century is therefore indicated in the necessity which arose for extending the
parish church for the further accommodation of chantry altars. This was done by taking down the chancel arch and rebuilding it further east, transforming the eastern responds of the nave into compound piers with three attached, or detached shafts, as the case might be, carrying arches from these piers to the rebuilt chancel arch, and others at right angles to them, across the aisles to the junction of the west wall of the transepts with the aisle walls. The detail of this work shows that it was done about the year 1290, or about forty years after the church had been built. No windows of the time of the alteration remain, but the mouldings of the capitals, arches, and bands are of a very elaborate nature, and are good examples of mouldings of the geometrical period. There is no carving, the capitals being decorated with mouldings only. The arches spanning the east ends of the aisles and opening into the transepts are low segmental arches of somewhat ungainly form, and have chamfered inner orders, but have moulded outer orders and hoods towards the transepts. The transepts have late decorated windows. Each wing has two, of three lights each, in its eastern wall; there is a similar three-light window on the west side of the north transept, but none in the corresponding part of the south transept. The windows at either end are of the same design of five lights each. The date of these windows must be placed between the years 1340 and 1360 as the extreme limits. They cannot therefore have been executed when the transept arches were built. This is the chief difficulty in reading the architectural history of the church. A possible solution of it is that the transepts, as at first erected, were not so long as now, or, what seems more probabe, that all the windows have been renewed since the walls were built. This is by no means hard to believe when we consider the very friable nature of the stone used in the earlier work, quite unfitted as it is for window tracery and mullions, which might well require renewal in a very few years. There may, however, be some other explanation of the difficulty, but without a search for old foundations beneath the floors it is one that cannot be satisfactorily solved. In the east wall of the south transept are two piscinae and an aumbry. There were formerly also two image brackets. These were cut away, and the piscinae and aumbries filled up and plastered over by order of the late rector of Sedgefield to make all smooth. The recesses have been reopened, but the image brackets cannot of course be recovered. A verbal description of them given to me seems to show that they were of the date of the transept arches. The corresponding wall of the north transept is hidden by panelling but one aumbry can be seen. In the south wall under the window are two sepulchral recesses, 14 these contain effigies, one a male the other a female. The fomer is so mutilated and decayed that its details are unrecognisable. That of the lady is in good condition. It shows the costume of the figure is of about the date of the windows. The head rests on two cushions crossed, it is wimpled and veiled, there is a loosely fitting robe and a cloak over the shoulders fastened in front by tasselled cords.
In front of this effigy is a brass with no inscription. It represents a kneeling female figure of diminutive size between two shields.15
We now come to the chancel. It is entered through a lofty arch of the date of the nave arcades, but taken down and reset when the transept arches were built. It is now of one order only, with a moulding of the same section as the outer order of the nave arches, and, like them, a hood with the dentelle ornament. The arch dies out into the jambs, which are quite plain and form a square angle with the east wall of the transept. It is clear, then, the chancel arch has lost its inner order. The condition of the soffit shows this dis- . tinctly. It seems that it was taken out when the seventeenth century screen was erected. It is not likely that it would be taken out when the arch was reset at the end of the thirteenth century, and as the screen completely fills the arch it could not stand under it if the inner order were in its place. This inner order was no doubt carried on detached shafts against the jambs, with carved capitals, like those to the responds in the nave. Over the arch are two large corbels which once supported the rood beam. What the original chancel was like we cannot know. The present one seems to be contemporary with the transept arches and part of the same extension. It is plastered and panelled inside, and the outside walls are also plastered over, the buttresses only showing their ashlar. It is therefore somewhat difficult to say what changes it has undergone. It is divided into three bays by two buttresses on each side. It has two angle buttresses at the eastern angles and a half buttress, cut off with a
14 The arches are, unfortunately, new, and the details of the piscina and aumbry are so slight and damaged that it is unsafe to infer much from them, but they seem to belong to the c. 1290 work, which goes to show that the transepts were not extended c. 1350, but only the windows renewed.
15 See Arch. Ael. vol. xv. p. 88.
sloping head, in the centre of the east wall under the window. The two pairs of angle buttresses have gabled heads, with a ridge moulding of trefoil section; the flanking buttresses have sloped heads with a plain roll moulding where they meet the walls. These details and the section of the string-course under the windows indicate a date corresponding with that of the transept arches. In the east bay on the south side is a small priest's door with plain chamfered jambs and heads. The side windows are of two lights and have bastard tracery; they date from the last century.
The east window is a fine one of five lights with flowing tracery, designed on somewhat the same lines as the great west window of the nave of Durham cathedral, which was inserted under prior Fossour, c. 1350, and the east window at Houghton-le-Spring, though not so elaborate as either. It is clearly an insertion in an older wall, and is no doubt of the same date as the transept windows.
The next change made was at the west end. This was the building of a new tower on a grand scale. The older arrangements at the west end have already been alluded to, and it will be seen from the plan that the builders of the new tower destroyed the old west end and shortened the nave to the extent of seven and a half feet, and built the new west wall close up to the springing of the arches, by doing away with the long responds, which had been provided to take the thrust of the arcades. The great mass of the new tower provided sufficient abutment and rendered these unnecessary. We cannot help, however, regretting that this was done, as we have thereby lost all the details of the old west end.
The tower has been described as being 'by far the best and stateliest in the county.'16 It is of great size and height with thick walls and heavy diagonal buttresses. It rises in three stages, the walls being thinned at each stage by means of external set-offs. The lower stage is open to the church by a lofty pointed arch of two orders with hollow chamfers. The outer order dies into the jambs, the inner one is carried to the floor with no imposts or capitals to break the lines. In this stage is one window in the west wall which is a modern insertion, and is said not to resemble very closely the original one. The middle stage has small square-headed lights in each face.17 The third
16 Rev. J. F. Hodgson.