As to the purpose of this screen, it should be explained that it was not, as is commonly supposed, a "rood-screen" at all - that is, it did not carry the rood. That was placed - viz., a crucifix, of large size - with the addition probably in the 15 th century (Walcott s.v.) of figures of B. V. M. and St. John, - on a separate beam or bar of iron, high above the screen; as at Nuremberg, Lanfranc's Church at Canterbury, Worcester, and elsewhere. Here the beam was of iron, erected in 1324; after the screen was finished (63). The rest of it, cut out of the narrow arches on either side, were brought to view recently. As to the screen, it was really and primarily an ambon or high place for reading the epistle and gospel from, "In Belgium, at the close of the thirteenth century," says the learned Mr. Mackenzie Walcott (s. v. Rood loft), "and in France in the fourteenth, and generally in the fifteenth, the rood screen was adopted to furnish the accommodation for the epistoler and gospeller hitherto given by the ambons." This statement, as regards the mention of France, is the key to the peculiar nomenclature always used in the Rolls in speaking of this screen. It is manifestly, from first to last, a French idea, newly imported from France, and carried out in the main by French workmen. It is always "la pulpy toe," the vaulting under it is "voutura" not "voltura:" and when a statuary is sent for "from London," to make some additional statues, "by the desire of the Treasurer" (who had perhaps quarrelled with the Frenchmen - certainly there is no record of his giving them anything ex curialitate), special mention is made of the fact, as something extraordinary. "The loft," says the same writer, "was used for reading the gospel and epistle, certain lections, letters of communion, pastorals of bishops, etc.: from it the episcopal benediction was pronounced. At a later date the organ and singers were placed in it." It was then, for the bishop at any rate, really a pulpit. And this variety of application of it will fully account for the existence, here and elsewhere, of two flights of stairs, without resorting to the supposition that they were for the gospeller and epistoler respectively. Our screen was furnished with an eagle desk; for there is a charge in 1330 for iron work about it. Beyond this we know of no other furniture as having been placed in it. Yet its great size, and its having been paved with costly tiles, suggests some further use for it.
And the probability is, to say the least, that the "organs" were placed here from the first, and that these were accompanied at times by other instruments. Certainly "the organs " (the word was always plural of old) existed long before this date, here and elsewhere - though probably of no great size. One of the earliest entries in our Rolls is for mending (claudewda, i.e., closing) the organs in 1280. The next mention of them is in 1429: but then it is a charge for making new organs, proving that others existed already. These, again, were replaced by others in 1513. (64) And this time it is expressly said, "new organs in the pulpit." So that it is a mistake to imagine that this position was invented for "the organ " after the Reformation. And it is so difficult to conceive where else the "organs" can have been placed all along, that we may safely consider that they took up their position there in Stapledon's days. Before that, when the Choir extended across the transepts, they may have been in the north transept, as at Winchester, or the south as at Canterbury before 1174; where, Mr. Walcott informs us, they stood on a "vaulted" structure, as with us (above, note 61), and as at Burgos, Sherborne, and Armagh.
The Choir, with all its furniture, was now at length completed. But the Choir, after all, was only a part of a much larger whole: and Stapledon, true to his role as the finisher and decorator of the works of others rather than the originator of anything of his own, was evidently bent on not withdrawing his hand until he had done complete justice to the solid labours of his predecessors. Quivil and Bitton between them had carried (as may be seen in the coloured plan) the work of transformation right through the Cathedral to a certain point. From the Lady Chapel to the first bay of the Nave inclusive, all was now converted into the Decorated style; all the pillars were marble, all the walling shafted and corbelled, all the vaulting richly and deeply ribbed and lavishly bossed and coloured, all the windows traceried. But of the sixty or more large windows (66) distributed throughout the restored portion of the building, not twenty, that we know of, besides the great east window, (eight in the clerestory and ten in the aisles) were filled with stained glass at the time of Stapeldon's accession. All the nine chapels; one half the Choir, above and below the Transepts; and the only bay of the Nave which could as yet boast of traceried windows, - were either glazed with common glass, or not glazed at all. How persistently and successfully, from 1308 to 1319, Stapeldon carried out the work of filling them, or nearly all of them, with' stained glass, the Fabric Bolls testify (67). We are enabled to verify almost every window, the cost of it, and the proportion of coloured to grisaille glass, generally one fourth. The only windows about which there is some doubt are the great ones in the transepts, but they are probably to be included.