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ON THE SOUTH-WESTERN RAILWAY.
[From the Railway Chronicle.]
The whole day is requisite for this Excursion, so that it is necessary to start by one of the earliest trains.
Genial weather and holidays make us pilgrims, taking a morning's ride to get a slice of bread and a horn of beer, given gratis to every one who knocks at the portal of the Hospital of St. Cross, near Winchester. This charitable gift is a sort of lone thing in all England—a remnant of
Hospital of St. Cross. ancient times and manners, so rare that we are actually journeying some 66 miles to have evidence of it. Let it be noted that the distance is less than a three hours' journey. Many a three hours' journey must have been undertaken in the twelfth century to obtain the bread and beer, but then the pilgrim could only have trudged the 10 miles from Romsey Abbey, or at most the dozen miles from Netley. We now come from London to affect the vagrancy-and a pleasant day's employment it is.
The earliest train arrives at Winchester in time to enable you to attend the morning service at the cathedral—and our advice is to attend the service. The fresh purity, devotional solemnity, and impressiveness of the tones of the boys' soprani, which are heard only in cathedrals, are always most attractive, even if higher motives do not lead the visitor thither.
Winchester, like our Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's, has not yet imitated the good example of Norwich and Durham Cathedrals, and thrown open its doors to those who may desire to meditate within its walls, and the ordinary visitor is attended by a verger; but we under
artists and others desirous of studying the building. The visitors of a single day are not among these classes, and must therefore be patient under the guidance of a verger. For this class—rather than the architectural student-we shall point out a few of those features for which Winchester stands remarkable among English cathedrals, such as may be examined in the hasty glance which the presence of a verger obviously imposes. The following is the Ground Plan :
As at York, Westminster Abbey, Canterbury, and almost every other ecclesiastical foundation of any magnitude, so here, the first Christian king, Lucius, is traditionally said to have been the founder of the cathedral. Indeed, authorities are quoted which give the actual height, breadth and depth of the structure, which was dedicated by him to “ the Holy Saviour;” and a flat grey marble monument, rising slightly above the ground before the entrance of the Lady Chapel, is shown as King Lucius's tomb. Milner, however, says that Bishop Geoffry de Lucy, who actually built this part about 1200, was buried here, and has been converted into King Lucius! King Lucius's church was thrown down by Diocletian, but again rebuilt, and then turned into a pagan temple by the victorious Cerdic, who was crowned here King of the West
Saxons in 519. It became a Christian church again on the conversion of Kinegils, and was rebuilt by him and his son Kenewalch in 548. This structure is said to have remained until the Danish conquest, when falling into decay, it was again restored by St. Ethelwold in 980. It is the (mistaken) opinion of Warton that a portion of St. Ethelwold's structure is still remaining at the east end of the church, near the tombs of Waynflete and Cardinal Beaufort; but Dr. Milner, a somewhat better authority, though often erroneous, is of opinion that “all that remains visible of the works of St. Ethelwold are the crypts themselves, or the chapel under the part that we have been speaking of, the walls, pillars and groining of which remain in much the same state as he left them.” These crypts are not generally to be seen. The building, however, which has been preserved to present times is substantially the work of the Norman prelate, Walkelin, which he completed between the years 1079 and 1093; for though William of Wykeham and others transformed the massive Norman masonry into a lighter and more florid work, still the low and heavy proportions of the whole fabric are really those of an early Norman period. Walkelin's architecture is left essentially untouched in the tower and the transepts. It is of a character as though it were to last till the end of the world, and will stand as a type of its age, when all the flimsy conceits of present times—fit representatives, too, of its unstable and transition character—will have mingled again with their original dust. Looking at these wonderful, huge masses of masonry, we may understand how their author, as the chroniclers tell us, according to his Titanesque notions of building, actually cut down a whole forest to supply the necessary timber; and we may understand, too, how William of Wykeham found it a much easier task to pare down the huge pillars into other forms, than to remove them and construct new ones, when he saw fit to modernize the old Norman masonry. The comparatively light and more modern perpendicular work seems stumpy and disproportionate; even in the absence of technical knowledge, any eye is able to trace a singular resemblance between the proportions of the circular columns and romanesque arches of the transepts, and the clustered shafts and pointed arches of the nave. Wykeham's work here seems like an involuntary cross between two opposite styles, and for this reason is to be eschewed as a model.
It must be confessed, too, that Winchester, both outside and inside, in its general features is monotonous and heavy,
South side of Winchester Cathedral. and will not bear comparison with Westminster Abbey, or York, or Canterbury, for variety or picturesque beauty ; its exterior especially is bald, wanting those nescrubbing off the coats of whitewash gives the masonry a freshness which is at variance with the general associations suggested by the building. This is not only the case here, but in most cathedrals in this age of restoration. Happily Westminster Abbey has escaped all wash, excepting the leaden wash of Chantrey in the south transept, and has thus retained a'venerable charm and beauty in its colouring, and in the effects of its lights and shadows, which, in this respect, place it on the highest pinnacle of picturesqueness. Still there are parts of Winchester of unrivalled beauty. The chantries of Beaufort, Wayneflete, and Fox are all consummate specimens of intricate elegance, and each one worthy of minute study; but the full effect of them is wanting, so long as they are deficient in colour. The visitor, when near to Fox's chantry, will not pass without observation the uncouth medley of Grecian and Gothic forms, displayed in the chantry of Bishop Gardiner. The chapels in the east of the cathedral abound in rebuses, of which an amusing collection might be made. Thus, to commemorate Bishop Langton, there is the long musical note inserted in a tun : and a vine growing out of a tun, represents his see of Winton. Prior Hentun is represented by a hen on a tun, and Prior Silksted by a skein of silk and a steed. Winchester is rich, too, beyond most cathedrals, in the remnants of its encaustic tiles : “Some call them caustic, sir, and some the tessellated mosaic,” as the verger told us. And here we may record the great learning these functionaries seem to be imbibing, which is a sign of the growth of public interest and knowledge in such objects. Our friend seemed quite aware that a painting on a stone wall was not a fresco; and at St. Cross we found the brother porter studying Bloxam's Architecture, and ready for an argument on the peculiarities of Norman ornaments. Winchester was a chosen place of sepulchre for the Saxon kings; and the visitor will see the mortuary chests, containing the bones of the Saxon monarchs, which Bishop Fox collected together, and placed above the screens, by which he separated the sanctuary from the aisles. The highly-decorated altar, covered with canopies, but stripped of images, will call to mind that at St. Alban's Abbey, to which it has a strong general resemblance; and the tameness of West's altar painting of the · Raising of Lazarus,' and its inaptness to its present locality, will not be passed unheeded. The apse, or eastern termination, of this cathedral is not imposing, and is far outstripped by that of Westminster Abbey.
The eastern extremity of the church consists of three chapels, each of which has some peculiarity worth notice. The southernmost for its florid oak pannelling, in which the motto of “Laus tibi, Christe," repeated endlessly, is mixed in rich confusion with grapes, vines, armorial bearings, &c. Abbot Langton's altar tomb has been stripped of its brass effigies, of which species of monument Winchester, like Canterbury and Ely, does not possess a solitary specimen. The centre chapel is called the Ladye Chapel, partly built by Geoffry De Lucy, of the thirteenth century, and completed by Prior Silksted, of the sixteenth. The remains of honest Isaak Walton (prince of anglers), who died at Winchester, rest in this chapel. Remnants of numerous paintings on the walls may still be traced around this chapel; they have been called • Frescoes,' but even the verger knows better than that now-a-days. The colouring does not appear to have been very bright at any time, jects, which are given in Carter's specimens of ancient scuplture and painting, allude to miracles wrought by the interposition of the Virgin, and are fully set out in Dr. Milner's historical account of the cathedral, with which the visitor should provide himself. Considering that this work was written at the end of the last century, it is remarkable for the general soundness of its architectural criticism and the apprehension of correct principles in art. A handsome old chair covered with velvet remains in this chapel, and is said to have been Queen Mary's seat at her marriage with Philip of Spain, which was solemnized here. There is a miserable painted Grecian altar-piece in this chapel-the removal of which would be a good deed—and but one modern monument, a kneeling figure to the memory of Dr. Brownlow North, executed by Chantrey, less sculpturesque than picturesque, and said to be a capital likeness. In the adjoining chapel, on the north, which is said by Milner to have been dedicated to the guardian angels, the paintings on the vaultings, being medallions encircling angels and blue stars, are very perfect. The colours are still quite bright, and it would seem to have furnished a general model for the recent decorations on the ceiling at the Temple Church. But the most interesting of all the ancient paintings in Winchester are those in a gloomy chapel below the organ stairs in the north transept. They seem more like genuine frescoes than any we have yet found in any ecclesiastical building. They are indisputably on a thick coat of plaster, laid upon the masonry, and the colours do not appear to be easily removable from the mortar. The shortness of our visit, and want of sufficient light, prevented us from detecting any junctions in the mortar, the existence of which would decide the question of their being fresco; but having called attention to this point, some one enjoying the means of full examination will perhaps determine it. These paintings appear to be the oldest existing in the church; they are, without doubt, on one of the oldest parts. The subjects represent the Descent of Christ from the Cross;' the 'Laying the body in the Sepulchre ;' • Christ's appearance to Mary Magdalen,' &c.; and hence the chapel is called that of the Holy Sepulchre. Fragments of other paintings may be traced on the walls of the north transept.
Winchester Cathedral has not suffered much (though it has not altogether escaped) by the erection of impertinent modern monuments. Among the best, rather happily located, is Mr. Richard Westmacott's monument to Bishop Tomline, in the nave. The remains of stained glass are few, and are limited to the east and west windows; in the former they are not of very early date, and are sufficiently perfect to show their depth of colouring and brilliancy; whilst the latter exhibits a sort of patchwork of fragments culled from all parts, and mingled with the same incongruity as old ladies affect in making counterpanes.
As the visitor passes into the nave from seeing the eastern part, he must not neglect to examine Wykeham's Chantry, which, though it has been despoiled of many of its images and ornaments and colouring, is yet a model of symmetrical beauty. Wykeham's marble effigy rests upon an altar tomb in full episcopal costume, with mitre, crosier, tunic, alb, &c., his head supported by two angels, and the figures of three monks are at his feet. Another object deserving of note in the nave is the ancient font, of which the Society of Antiquaries has engraved two plates. Milner calls this font the Crux Antiquariorum,' or Puzzle