Prenorman Architecture

Prenorman Architecture In a large class of English ecclesiastical structures reared anterior to the Norman invasion the style is so peculiar that it should be classified as distinctively Prenorman. The walls are of rag or rubble, frequently of herring-bone work, and unbuttressed; the quoins present long and short work; strips of stone or pilasters bisect or relieve the towers; the imposts of the shafts are rude, massive, and ornamented either with classical moldings or rude carvings; the arches are round or angled, and sometimes constructed of bricks; and baluster-like pillars are introduced in the windows, which are often deeply splayed within and without. Two pillars from Reculver Basilica are standing in the Green Court of Canterbury. The churches of Lyminge, Barnack, Bosham, Bradford (Wilts), Brixworth (the oldest remaining church in England, and possessing a basilican type), Stanton Lacy, Dover Castle, Brytford, Corhampton, Dunham Magna, Caversfield, and part of the crypt of York, those of Ripon and Hexham, the towers of Deerhurst, Barton, St. Benet's (Cambridge and Lincoln), Cholsey, St. Mary (York), Bolam, Brigstock, Earl's Barton, and the steeples of Bosham and Sompting, and portions of many other churches, exhibit some or other of these peculiarities. The base story of the tower of Barnack formed a judicial and council chamber, with an angle-headed sedile on the west, with stone benches for the assessors on either side. They were erected either by the English, or possibly by the Danes under Canute, as that king ordered churches of stone and lime to be built in all places where the minsters had been burned by his countrymen, and out of the hundred, which is the number of these buildings, two thirds are in the eastern counties and Lincolnshire, where the compatriots of the French Normans settled before the latter arrived. Ill the first half of the 1lthi century churches so rapidly multiplied in France and Italy that a chronicler says the world seemed to be putting on a new white robe. Westminster Abbey was built by the Confessor in the Norman style; while in Lincolnshire the Prenorman mode was preserved late in the 11th century, just as the Perpendicular lingered in Somerset in the time of Elizabeth, and produced Wadham College chapel by the aid of west country masons.

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