These details, - which to some readers may seem to require an apology, - are not without their ecclesio-logical interest, as adding to our exact information about the proceedings of Church builders five centuries and a half ago; and they continue to verify and confirm the views above set forth, as to the date and authorship of the various portions of our choir. The number of clerestory windows for which provision is made in Stapledon's first years, (after the insertion of glass left ready for him), is exactly that which Bitton left unglazed, viz., three pairs (Notes 38-40). Master Walter le Verrouer is still pursuing his useful labours; and is not undeserving of the grateful recollection, - he and his "two boys," - of an Exeter posterity, at any rate; as having, apparently glazed the whole choir, above and below, side chapels and all, with his own hands. And his prices continue to be fabulously reasonable: e.g., for a fortnight's work, for himself and two boys, about one pair of clerestory windows, 6s.
The ornamentation of the choir was now finished.
For the colouring of the vault had, as has been already-said, been among Stapledon's earliest cares. I will only add here that the Rolls supply us with brief but curious details of that process, (41) The total expense for oil and colours (nothing is said about the gold) was œ1 9s. 7|d.; of which all the particulars are given. There was first the "priming of the bosses" to be done, i.e., the preparation of them to receive the gold: which was used in the greatest profusion, as may be seen in the exact restoration now made for them. The quantity of oil and colour provided for the bosses strikes us as very small; being no more than l 1/2lb. of red lead, 311bs of white lead, l1b. loz. of vermilion ("cinople" or cinnabar), 7 1/4 gallons of oil, 3 1/2lbs, of varnish. But the colours correspond accurately with those found upon the bosses; and I am informed by our decorators that the quantities named are not inadequate, the largest portion of the bosses being gilt. The colouring of the ribs, and of the intermediate stone work, was another matter; being done in distemper, i.e., with size instead of oil. This coarser operation seems to have been committed to the care of "one daubeouer," i.e., dauber, or plasterer, whose wages run on for many weeks in Stapledon's first year. Altogether, we cannot complain of the amount of information which we possess as to the colouring of the choir-vault, - the crowning work of that wonderfully graceful edifice. Some of the original red colour may still be seen tinting the wall above the screen-bay on the north side; proving that that bay, with its pillars, was finished by 1308. And the rib, which divides the "presbytery " from the "chorus cantorum," retains nearly all its original colouring still; having apparently been more strongly coloured than the rest, with a view to marking the line of separation.
There was a minor piece of transformation which it fell to Stapledon to carry out, before he went on to his great and characteristic life's-work of providing the High Altar, and all other appurtenances of the Choir, in the most costly and magnificent form that money could command.
Dr. Andrew Kilkenny, Dean of Exeter, had left by his will in 1302 (Roll, in Oliver, p. 380) the sum of œ6 13s. 4d. to the restoration fund. And that this was intended specially for St. Andrew's Chapel appears from hence, that in 1303, three years after the bequest, Bishop Bitton gave orders concerning Chantry services in that Chapel, in commemoration of Dean Kilkenny and certain of his relatives (Oliver, p. 203). The work of restoration was, however, necessarily deferred until the choir aisles, from which the chapel stands out, were completed. But in Stapledon's second and third years we find various entries (1309-11) for work done in certain "new chapels," including "marble columns, and metal rings for the same; bars for the windows, and iron work for the two upper windows; priming of the bosses, etc." (42) Now all these features are found in the transeptal chapels of the choir, and leave no reason to doubt that they are intended.
And it may be well to say something here of the history and purpose of these quasi-transepts as a whole. It has been conjectured by Dr. Oliver, that these projections were real transepts to the original choir. And though, of course, they cannot be coeval (as he supposed) with the Norman Cathedral, they belong, I think, in their main structure, to Marshall's completion of that Cathedral, c. 1200. This appears from the architectural character of the buttresses without, and from that of the windows of the chambers above the chapels. Mr. Hewett has further suggested, with some plausibility, that "the corbels which, in the chamber above, support the vaulting, seem, by their size, to intimate that they were to be viewed from beneath." If so, then their whole idea of having chambers over the chapels was an afterthought. This, however, seems to be-absolutely disproved by the existence of the spiral staircases, as a feature of the original structure. These cannot have answered any other purpose than that of giving access to chambers. Nor, indeed, are these quasi-transepts of sufficient height, or of a suitable character, to have ever served as actual transepts. There were, then, no doubt, chambers and chapels originally: and we may conjecture that Marshall substituted these for apsidal chapels belonging to the Norman choir, which would necessarily be destroyed when the apse was done away with. Then Bronescombe, it should seem, towards the end of his time, began to transform the Chapels into their present state, - just as he had, a little before, (see above, p. 14), almost reconstructed the Gabriel and Magdalene Chapels. For the very first entry in our Fabric Rolls is "for three windows for St. James's Chapel," i.e. the southern one, "8s. 9d.; for glass, 16s:" and this is on "the morrow of St. Michael, (Sept. 30), 1279;" Bronescombe's last year (43) The putting in of the windows implies, as elsewhere, a forward state of the works. It is most probable that the St. Andrew's Chapel was in part transformed at the same time, but left unfinished. For Stapledon's task, when he resumed the work thirty years later (1309-11), was confined, as we have seen, to providing marble shafts, apparently for one Chapel only, as the number (eight) indicates; with stained glass, window bars, and painting for the bosses. The detached shafts (for such they are) are not, at first sight, what we should look for: since this feature belongs rather to the days of Bronescombe or Quivil than to Stapledon's, and ceases to occur elsewhere after Quivil's time. But it would seem that Stapledon in this instance imitated, for harmony's sake, the earlier work of Bronescombe in the Southern Chapel; thus initiating the practice, which has so largely influenced the structure of our Cathedral as we have it, of following, as closely as might be, in the steps of predecessors. It is worthy of note that these Chapels are called in the Rolls "the new Chapels," - a nomenclature peculiar to them, and confirming the supposition that they were very thoroughly reconstructed at this period.