The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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SHOEEHAM                            165
central arches rest on responds, whose shafts have some variety of caps ; it is remarkable that the transept arches are more ornate than that of the chancel, and that the nave arch is much higher and more striking than any of the rest. The nave is in ruin save for one bay without its aisles, which forms a sort of vestibule, a state of affairs for, which we are probably indebted to one of the numerous raids of the French. We dare not characterise their action as we might wish, seeing that in this case the tu quoque retort would have far more than usual force. The original low tower with double openings under round arches was given an upper stage with triple openings, round-topped and divided like those below by shafts, but under lancet arches, during the same century in which the church was built. Towards the end of that period, say about 1180, was begun a new chancel with aisles, extending for five bays, a magnificent piece of work that would seem to have taken longer than the Temple to build and to have had its plan continually changed. Unlike any other part of the church it is vaulted through­out, and it is indeed remarkable for variety. On the north the pillars are alternately octagonal and round, their caps and arches having stiff foliage as well as deep-cut mouldings ; the clustered vaulting-shafts rise from corbels round whose abaci the string-course under the triforium bends. On the south are complicated clustered pillars with foliage caps and deep-moulded arches, and vaulting-shafts rising from the ground. The triforium is treated in several different ways on the north, with a varied use of shafts and the hook corbels for which the whole work is remarkable; on the south there are single arches. The clearstory each side
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