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south transept. From this point, also, by the aid of Mr. Littler's plan, the extent of the monastic part of the church and of the domestic buildings can be best appreciated, and the approach to the only remaining fragment on this side can be made, and the Abbey gate and “Harold's-bridge” visited. Both the north and south flanks follow on the lines of what is seen of them in the interior. The north doorway is simple in its design, but that on the south side is of fine dimensions and of elaborate treatment.
We have now reviewed, as briefly as the subject would allow, and only in a general way, what is known as Waltham Abbey church; and it may well be asked (notwithstanding the loss of so much) whether the abiding feeling which should remain with us should not be a sense of gratitude that this town possesses so much of the noble architecture of the Norman builders, and that, at a difficult crisis, the talent of the late Mr. Burges was employed in the preservation of the ancient remains, and in its restoration for the decency of Divine Worship according to current ideas.
Finally, and, let it be said, briefly, we come to the vexed question of dates; and first of all let us try distinctly to understand what are the actual differences in opinion with respect to dates. All who have written on the subject are agreed that the remaining early church is of Norman design. Mr. Arthur Ashpitel, a learned and respected member of this Association, in an early volume of its Transactions, expresses a sort of wish that (though of Norman design) it should have been built by Harold, our last Saxon monarch.
The late Professor Freeman writes, in the Transactions of the Essex Archæological Society : “A large portion of the original interior remains untouched ; an interior deserving attentive study as one of the noblest specimens of northern Romanesque.” And again : “Is the existing building really the work of Harold ?” (10411066). And further—“ After most carefully weighing all the evidence, I have come—though not without doubt and hesitation – to the conclusion that the balance of evidence inclines to the opinion that the Romanesque
portions of the present church are really portions of the original church built by King Harold.
.. The consecration of Harold's church is fixed at the latest at 1060."
Harold's erection might have been replaced by another. The time when we most naturally look for such a change would be when Henry II (1177) entirely remodelled the foundation, substituting monks for secular canons established by Harold.”
But if the architecture looks too much advanced for 1066, it does not look advanced enough for 1177.” “By whomsoever built, Waltham Abbey is undoubtedly a Norman building.” This, in Mr. Freeman's nomenclature, does not necessarily mean a post-Conquest building.
In 1861, the late Mr. Burges published a statement of the dates and other matters relating to the church, in which the nave is included, as of the time of Harold.
At a later date, Mr. Edward H. Buckler published a book entitled “Historical and Architectural Notes on Waltham Abbey, in which he expresses his opinion as follows:-" The
progress of our knowledge of early Norman architecture has been so considerable of late years as to justify our belief that there is no sign of any very early work at Waltham Abbey.” Again:-“We have evidence that the work has been built from the east, westwards, thus following the system of which there are so goodly a number of examples.”
As late as the year 1890, Mr. J. Arthur Reeve read a paper, at a meeting of St. Paul's Ecclesiological Society in the Abbey, which contains the following expressions of opinion :
“ The theory which, as I believe, accounts for all the phenomena which we find here, is simply this: that from the west wall, up to and including the second pier from the east end, on both sides of the nave, we have Harold's work-perfect on the south side, and perfect on the north side up to the stringcourse below the clerestory; that the two eastern bays, together with the western arch of the original central tower, and the remains of the soutlı transept, were erected by Henry I during the lifetime of his first wife (1100-1117), and that the clerestory in the western bays on the north side of the church was probably reconstructed by him after his second marriage (1117-1135).”