APPENDIX TO INTRODUCTION.
Certain details of interest not specifically mentioned in the Introduction are:—
Altars: In Henry VII's chapel are remains of the marble work of the former
altar and canopy by Torrigiani. There is a mediaeval altar-slab in St. Michael's
chapel and in the chapel of the pyx the altar has a round sinking for a "sigillum."
Bells: The Abbey possesses two mediaeval bells, one in the N. W. tower is of
early 14th-century date, and is probably by Richard Wymbish; the other bell, referred
to on p. 12, is of flat saucer shape, and was probably the frater bell which hung in
the cloister. If so, it is probably the only one now surviving in this country.
Brasses: The earliest brasses are the two of c. 1270–80, with remains of plain
crosses in the Confessor's chapel: one is decorated with Cosmatesque mosaic. Three
late 14th-century brasses have canopies: the figures are those of Robert Waldeby,
Archbishop of York, 1397; John of Waltham, Bishop of Salisbury, 1395; and of
Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester, 1399. Later brasses include armed figures of Sir
John Harpeden, 1457; Sir Thomas Vaughan, 1483; and Sir Humphrey Stanley,
1505; a fine brass of Abbot John Estney, 1498, in pontificalibus and under a rich
canopy; and Dr. William Bill, 1561, the fourth dean.
The only indents of particular interest are those of Thomas of Woodstock,
Duke of Gloucester, 1397, in the Confessor's chapel; of Edmund Kirton, Abbot,
1466; and of William Dudley, Bishop of Durham, 1483.
Chests: In the muniment room are a number of interesting early chests: two
of these date from the end of the 12th, one from the 13th, one from the 14th, and
two from the 15th century. There are other early chests in the pyx chapel, the
triforium and the undercroft. In the triforium is a quadrant-shaped cope-chest.
Consecration-crosses: Nine painted consecration-crosses remain on the walls of
Henry VII's chapel.
Monuments: A recapitulation, in order of date, of what has been said in the
Introduction, may be given here with a brief note on later monuments. The much
defaced figures of Abbots Gilbert, 1121, and Laurence, 1176, in the cloister are among
the earliest effigies in the country. The next in point of date are the Cosmatesque
monuments of Edward the Confessor, Henry III, and of the children of Henry and
Edward I. Henry's effigy of gilt bronze is also the first of the series of royal effigies
in that material which include those of Eleanor of Castile, 1290; Edward III, 1377;
Richard II, 1399, and his wife, Anne of Bohemia; Margaret, Countess of Richmond,
1509; and Henry VII, 1509, and his wife, Elizabeth of York. The oak effigy of
William de Valence, 1296, is unique in this country in still being covered with copper
plates enriched with remains of gilt and Limoges enamel; another oak effigy, that of
Henry V, has lost its plating, which appears to have been of silver. To the end of
the 13th and the beginning of the 14th century belong the three magnificent memorials
of Edmund Crouchback, 1296; Aymer de Valence, 1324; and Aveline of Lancaster,
1273, in the presbytery; these monuments are probably the finest examples of their
dates in the country (with the possible exception of the Percy tomb at Beverley)
and their value is enhanced by the very considerable remains of the original colour
and gesso decoration.
The earliest alabaster effigy and monument is that of John of Eltham, 1337,
which has unfortunately lost its canopy: the series is continued by the memorials
of William and Blanche, children of Edward III, 1340; of Philippa of Hainault,
1369 (of white marble); Cardinal Simon Langham, 1376; and of Giles, Lord Daubeney,
1507, and his wife.
Fifteenth and early 16th-century monuments include the interesting memorial
of Lewis Robessart, Lord Bourchier, 1431, and a series of ecclesiastical monuments
to bishops and abbots—William of Colchester, Abbot, 1420; William Dudley, Bishop
of Durham, 1483; George Fascet, Abbot, 1500; and Thomas Ruthall, Bishop of
The monument of Margaret, Countess of Richmond, 1509, is an Italian work by
Pietro Torrigiani, the first Renaissance monument in the Abbey; it was followed by
the monument to Henry VII and his queen by the same artist; in both cases the
enclosure is English work in the Gothic style. Small remains also exist of the early
Renaissance monument of John Islip, Abbot, 1532, in the lower chapel of his chantry.
The Abbey contains in all twenty-six mediaeval effigies, of which two are of
wood and eight of bronze.
The post-reformation monuments at the Abbey are as representative as,
and far more numerous than, those of the mediaeval period. The majority of
these are of the ordinary type and it will only be necessary to particularise a few
that for one reason or another are especially remarkable. The series of royal monuments is carried on by the elaborate memorials erected by James I to Queen Elizabeth
and Mary Queen of Scots. The tombs of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham,
1628; and Lewis Stuart, Duke of Lennox, 1624, have gilt bronze effigies and enrichments. There are seven or eight examples of the art of the sculptor, Nicholas
Stone, of which the finest are the tombs of George Villiers (d. 1605) and of Dudley
Carleton, Lord Dorchester, 1632. The tablet to Sir Thomas Richardson, 1635, with
a bronze bust, is by Hubert le Sueur. There is also a poor monument in the nave
by Grinling Gibbons.
Of other monuments, by unknown sculptors, the finest are those of Sir Francis
Vere, 1609; and Lord Norris, 1601.
Niches: The finest niche in the Abbey is that over the entrance to the chapel of
Our Lady of the Pew. It is of alabaster and the extremely delicate carving of the
tabernacle work is practically intact: from the painted inscription and the shape
of the niche it probably contained a representation of the martyrdom of St. Erasmus.
Other niches that deserve mention are those on the altar-screen, of Henry V's chantry
and the series that decorate almost every part of Henry VII's chapel. In the chapel
of St. Dunstan are the mutilated remains of a large niche of c. 1500.
Plate: The earlier plate belonging to the church was concealed during the civil
war and has not since been recovered. The finest pieces of the existing plate are
the late 17th-century flagons, cup, dishes and candlesticks, all with repoussée
ornament. The cup and paten of 1571 are recent acquisitions.
Pulpits: Of the two old pulpits in the Abbey, one is of early 16th-century date
and is now in Henry VII's chapel. The second dates from the first half of the 17th
century and stands in the nave.
Screens: With the exception of the 15th-century screen at the back of the high
altar the screen-work is of no great interest: there are stone screens of poor detail
to the chapels of St. John the Evangelist, St. Paul, and St. Nicholas, and under
the S. W. tower, and an oak screen to the chapel of St. Edmund; the two stone screens
in Henry VII's chapel are much damaged.
Tapestries: The tapestries in the Jerusalem Chamber include portions of two
large panels from the designs of Bernard van Orley, executed at Brussels by
W. Pennemaker about 1540–50; a further portion of the same work hangs in St.
Faith's Chapel. The subject of the series is the life of Abraham, and the design and
work corresponds with that of the three famous sets by the same maker at Hampton
Court, Vienna and Madrid. The two other large panels in the Jerusalem Chamber
are of later date (17th-century), and of much inferior merit. In various parts of the
Abbey Buildings are preserved four 16th-century panels or parts of panels of the
'vase and arcade' type. These appear to belong to a set of which a number of
panels still remain at Holyrood Palace; some of the latter bear the Brussels mark,
which may be taken to prove the provenance of the Westminster examples.