Astoft

Hospital of St Cross,  Winchester,  Hampshire

The Church - Interior
12th-13th Century

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This is one of three pages for the Hospital of St Cross.
The others are Church Exterior and Almshouse Buildings.
For the story of the architecture, it is recommended
that the page on the exterior be visited first.

Click on photos to enlarge.
Notes in italics from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight by Nikolaus Pevsner and David Lloyd (1967)
Yale University Press, New Haven and London.



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The story of the interior is much more intricate (than of the exterior). Beginning in the chancel, the first problem is what Butterfield did in 1864-5. Evidently the detail on the N and S sides is all his, but were the arcades of two bays e.g. always pointed? That would mean that pointing starts inside much earlier than outside. And how early can we go with pointed arches? In the E wall the lowest windows are Norman with much zigzag all at r. angles to the wall, a decidedly Late Norman motif. 



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Above is the oddest triforium, low, with very depressed intersecting arches, again a Norman motif. The intersections cause pointed arches, and they are the ones originally open into the aisle roofs and now appearing like real pointed arches in the external picture. The details of the triforium are bizarre, with odd compound shafts, and zigzag towards us, but also keeling of shafts. The capitals have enriched leaf and also waterleaf.



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Round-headed clerestory windows.  And then the vault. It is a rib-vault done in a competent French manner ... Also the vaulting-shafts start from the ground in the corners (with detached Purbeck shafts) but are cruelly corbelled off in the middle of the N and S aisles (middle picture). That must be Butterfield's work. The vaulting ribs have partly zigzag. The chancel aisles (last two pictures), built and vaulted of course before the upper parts of the chancel itself could be continued, are overloaded with zigzag in windows and ribs.

The problem so far is this. When can the chancel have been designed? Detached Purbeck shafts do not seem to appear before the 1170s, nor can such competent vaulting be assumed before 1175 at the very earliest (Canterbury choir). Similarly waterleaf and this kind of zigzag towards us is more likely in the 1170s than earlier. So probably the VCH's c.1160 is too early. As for development within the work, the overdone zigzag stands at the beginning, the French vaulting, being at top level, at the end.  



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Crossing tower North transept, east South transept, east North transept, NE North transept, west

In the crossing the arches are simply stepped, but the grouped shafts in the diagonals have shaft-rings. The transepts differ much one from the other. The openings to the chancel aisles are the same, both pointed, and that from the N transept is gratifyingly unrestored in the capitals. ...
The N transept, as we have already seen outside, continues the zigzag on the ground floor and goes pointed on the upper floor in the form of a bleak stepped walled-passage. ...



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South transept, east South transept, east South transept, west North transept vault South transept vault

In the S transept S of the arch to the chancel aisle is a curious blank arch with a Greek-key motif and a joggled lintel under. Then follows a C13 recess.
The rib-vaulting of the transepts starts from short vaulting-shafts, longer in the south than in the north. The ribs in the north transept have zigzag but not in the south.



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Even the nave, as far as it was built at one go with the E parts - for the sake of the stability of the crossing tower - is essentially Norman. ... The first piers are round and fat, about 5 ft in diameter, and have many-fluted capitals. The arches from the transepts into the aisles again have fluted or scalloped capitals (see N and S transept west walls further up the page).
Then, however, exactly as externally, all changes at last from transition to E.E.
(Early English). The second pair of piers, though still fat and round, have moulded capitals.
The piers all have spurs on the bases, and the E.E. ones are of a monstrous size but uniquely dramatic. The aisle vaults now stand on totally different wall-shafts and have ribs without zigzag (last two pictures).


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Nave, west and north.
Finally the W responds have stiff-leaf. The stage of the N porch is reached.
The nave was vaulted much later. The bosses have the arms of William of Wykeham and Cardinal Beaufort. The latter, as we shall see, rebuilt the hospital.


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