The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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34                    THE SUSSEX COAST
ready though a vigorous structure that the Church built on the Empire's ruins ; the accurate measure­ments of the Parthenon were as far away as the steam engine; our fathers were in a hurry to see their great church rise, and could not be bothered to measure the site again and again. So they roughly set out their design and they built. Ancient English architecture is as rambling and as full of surprises as ancient English law.
But meanwhile, in addition to a number of mediaeval monuments, the Cathedral had been acquiring fittings contemporary with parts of its fabric. The beautiful canopied quire stalls with misereres (contrivances to ensure that worshippers did not sleep by requiring them to sit on the up-tilted edges of hinged seats in doubtfully stable equilibrium) date partly from the early fourteenth century, but considerable portions are modern. Bishop Arundel (1459-1478) erected a beautiful stone screen in the east bay of the nave against the tower piers; on the west were three moulded arches without capitals, twenty-two canopied niches above; the interior was most elaborately vaulted with ribs and bosses, two ribs being curved to cover slight miscalculations, rather reminding us of the "fictions" so familiar in English law. A single arch in the centre opened to the quire. After long lying about in fragments it has been re-erected in the bell tower.
By that extremely interesting Tudor prelate, Bishop Sherburne * (1508-1536), were provided paint­ings on wood by Bernardi, representing former Bishops of Selsey and Chichester in circles (all
* A very good account of this bishop is given in Dean Stephens's South Saxon See (p. 75).
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