On the other hand there are one or two splendid exceptions, and those, too, covering a great deal of ground, to this lack of documentary evidence: and to those I proceed to direct the reader's attention.
Bishop Grandisson's first care seems to have been to pay off arrears outstanding to the marble mason. In 1328 we have a payment of œ92 3d. for marble to William Canon of Corfe. The first payment of any consequence (69) after this, is for work "about the new-font;" and again about the clock: the earliest mention of that useful piece of ecclesiastical furniture. (69) Both font and clock, however, were evidently provided already, probably by Stapledon. But these were minor matters. The vast enterprise of re-casting the Nave had to be faced and dealt with. And Stapledon, in the year of his ill-fated visit to London (1325), had evidently girded up his loins for the work. Unused hitherto, for the most part as we have seen, to other than decorative works, we now find him investing largely in building gear and materials. We read of "15 great poplar trees bought for scaffolds, and 100 alder trees:" besides much timber from Torre Abbey (via Topsham), from Norton and Sidbury, and from London; and much stone from Beer, Burlescombe, and Salcombe. (70) The funds were also well in hand by Grandisson's second year (1330). In 1321 the expenditure had exceeded the receipts. But each following year exhibits a balance, varying fromœ43 toœ419 (1330), the total being nearly œ800, or from œ16,000 to œ25,000 of our money. This was made up in part by a final donation of Stapledon's of 1,000 marks (œ666 13s. 4d.), and of œ60 from Grandisson.
Thus armed, then, with materials and money, the Bishop, with the Dean and Chapter, set to work in good earnest, as we shall see presently. But before taking up the great work of transformation at the point where their predecessors had left it, they paid some degree of attention to the west front of the Cathedral. What that front was then like, we should much like to have more distinct information than we possess. That it presented a very different appearance from its present one is certain; and the analogy of all other Norman Cathedrals would lead us to the conclusion that it had two towers, though far smaller, doubtless, than the transeptal ones. They would seem to have carried a low pointed capping, and to have had between them a porch or Galilee of some pretensions, as at Ely, Chichester, and elsewhere. Such a porch (porchia), - described as being "between the gables or gabled towers (pignones, Fr. pignon, a gable) at the western part" of the Church, - was largely repaired in 1328-30. (71) In the same year "the great west door " is furnished with J 00 ornamental nails, and the porch door is mended: and there is mention of windows for the "new chapel near the font," which can be no other than St. Radegund's in the western wall, on the south part of it; since one of the windows is said to be "in the south gable " (or turret). (72) The interest of these details lies chiefly in the light they throw, however small, upon the original structure of the west end of the Cathedral, about which we shall find other hints further on. But we also gather from them the reason of the attention thus paid in the first instance - contrary to the usual law of progress - to the west end. Grandisson's first object evidently was, after the religious fashion of those times (see above in the text, and Note 16), to provide for himself a place of burial, by restoring the ancient chapel of St. Radegunde, (78) as Bronescombe had restored the Gabriel Chapel, and Oldham, long afterwards (1519), restored the St. Saviour's Chapel with the same object. And here accordingly, after completing the Nave most magnificently, and after an episcopate of 42 years, he was buried at last (1369).
These details also shew the absurdity of Dr. Oliver's supposition, that the Cathedral, at Grandisson's accession, terminated at the north porch; "so that Grandis-son extended the original length westward by four other arches " (p. 216).
The new campaign of restoration opens with one of those entries which I have spoken of, as redeeming the period from utter documentary barrenness. It is, in fact, not an ordinary entry, but a post-entry or memorandum extraordinary, attached to the Fabric Roll of 1332, and itself bearing date two years later, viz., 1334. As it is a document of so much value, both on general and local grounds, and as the exact purpose of it has not hitherto been thoroughly investigated, I shall make no apology for translating it at length. The original will be found in the Notes (74): -
"Memorandum. - That on Saturday next after the Feast of St. Vincent [Jan. 23] a.d. 1332, William Canon of Corfe reckoned with Messrs. the Dean and Chapter of Exeter concerning marble found as well by himself as by his father for the fabric of the Nave of the Church of St. Peter at Exeter. Namely for eleven and a half great columns, the price of a column œ10 10s. total œ124 4s. Also 60 pairs (or clusters) of columns for (leg. with) bases and capitals for the triforia ,(lit. galleries) œ15; the price of each base, with capitals and columns, 5s.; also for 29 columns for the cloister, 21s. 9d.; total of the aforesaid sums, œ140 5s. 9d. Whereof the said William received by three tallies (payments) from Messrs. Shireford and Peter de Castro, wardens of the Church aforesaid, œ132 17 5d. And so there is due to the said William œ7 8s. 4d, which he received on account by the hands of Master Peter de Castro, warden of the work. And he is bound to repair the whole of the aforesaid marble, and to make good the defects of the same at the time of its placing in the work, on reasonable previous notice. To the doing of which he bound himself by his letters which remain with Master P. de Castro the warden of the work of the Church at Exeter. And if the said William shall have faithfully and well kept his covenant in the premises, as concerns the repairing and making good of the said marble, the said Dean and Chapter gave him hopes that they will satisfy him concerning 54s. for a quarter column, over and above their undertaking aforesaid. Afterwards the said William caused the colums and other defects to be sufficiently repaired, and therefore the said Dean and Chapter did satisfy the said William concerning 54s. for a quarter of a column; and so all was made smooth between the parties aforesaid. These last matters were done in the treasury of St. Peter's Church on Friday, the morrow of the Nativity of the B. V. M. (Sept. 9) a.d. 1334."