The day on which these memorable things were done is not named; but it is a permissible conjecture that it was on the "Feast of St. Peter in cathedra." This derives some countenance from the fact that according to some, the installation took place in 1049: to which year that day (Jan. 18) may by one mode of reckoning be assigned. If so, we see a further reason why that particular one among St. Peter's festivals should have been (apparently) selected both by Quivil and Grandisson for the inauguration of their work.
There would thus be exactly three hundred years from the first to the last dedication of Exeter Cathedral.
The interest of this document, for the purposes of an Architectural History of the Cathedral, lies in its significant recognition of the duty of restoring sacred edifices when ruined. We gather assuredly from hence that Leofric's Church had a real architectural continuity with that of the monastery, to whose privileges it succeeded; that it was in fact the self-same Church, that was rebuilt by Canute (c. 1020), Sweyn having reduced it to ruins in 1003. And this may carry us back still, and probably does, to the Abbey Church founded by Athelstan, c. 932 (Oliver, p. 173).
Happily too, we are not altogether ignorant of the outward appearance of the building which thus, for fully seventy years (1050 - c. 1120), was the Cathedral of Exeter. Attached to more than one document of the period is the seal of the Bishop and Chapter, representing undoubtedly (as was the universal practice) the then Church. This seal is engraved by Dr. Oliver at the end of his Lives of the Bishops (No. 14, 15): but under the mistaken supposition that it represents the then Chapter House (Ibid. p. 189). The drawing is of course rude; but it exhibits two western towers, the one square, the other round (the latter probably preserved from the yet older structure); and a central fleche or spire. The reverse exhibits St. Peter in a boat. The position of this Church probably decided that of the present Cathedral. For it is difficult to assign any other reason for the latter having been built on ground sloping sharply from N. to S. (and, in a less degree, from W. to E. also), than that the builders proposed in due time to absorb the older building into the newer, and with this view built their towers on either side of its prolonged axis; though the southern one was by this means made to stand ten feet lower than the northern. The older Church may have reached no further than the apse of the new (occupying the site of the present Lady Chapel and Presbytery), and have been re-absorbed by Marshall in 1200.
Our second photograph exhibits the most characteristic feature of the Cathedral, viz., the magnificent perspective of fluted columns and richly ribbed roof. This is probably unrivalled in any country.
The coloured plan is an attempt, necessarily imperfect, (yet more perfect perhaps than there are data for constructing for any other Cathedral) to assign to every portion of the building its date and author. It will be seen that the Norman work is represented by blue; the Transition and Early English by three shades of yellow; the Decorated transformation works by four of red; and the Perpendicular additions by three of green. The dates assigned to the windows are those of the tracery, not of the stained glass.
Lastly, the exterior of this volume carries the arms of Peter Quivil; and 1 trust that it will be felt that what we now know of his work justifies the selection. He is, in truth, the man who gave us our Cathedral. He must, we may almost say, have left the plans for it; and the reverence in which his memory was held secured the carrying them into effect, with the least possible variation, by Bishop after Bishop, for a period of sixty years after his decease: - a rare case indeed in Cathedral history. The most perfect exemplification of this is to be found in the great west window, which adheres faithfully to the type of the transept windows with only an increased grandeur of scale, and the substitution of a mazy centre for the straight-spoked wheel of Quivil's design. Yet there must have been fully sixty years between the two. But indeed the windows throughout are to a marvellous degree his. Those of the Choir clerestory follow the type initiated by him in the Lady Chapel; those in the Choir aisles, the different type, also his, of the chapels adjoining it. But in the Nave a peculiarity appears which may, I conceive, without any stretch of the imagination, be traced to the arms adopted by Quivil. He had not, it would seem (from his adopting Bronescombe's motto), any hereditary arms. But his English birth (he was a native of Exeter), combined probably with a French descent - his mother's name was Heloisa, the name of the Conqueror's mother - led him to combine in his arms, as Bishop, the white roses of England (not yet publicly adopted as a royal cognizance), with the golden lilies of France. His coat, it will be seen, is "Azure, a cross argent, between two roses in chief and two fleur-de-lys in base or." But there was probably a further and deeper meaning in his assumption of this cognizance. The Rose is by ancient usage the symbol of our Lord's Divine Royalty, the Lily of His Human Nature: so that the coat, uniting these to an azure field and pure white cross, is largely symbolical of the mystery of our salvation. And the aim of Quivil's life, it may well seem, was to carry out this beautiful symbolism in the goodly Church over which he was set to preside. He it was who first imparted to its interior the cruciform shape: and who provided that each arm of the cross should be enriched with the most lovely window tracery, exhibiting, almost to the exclusion of every other form, those of the lily and the rose. The pattern in each case is of a large rose, set around with lilies or roses or both, and resting as it were on "two heaps of lilies," one on either side. This for the extremities of the cross: while throughout the whole Church with the rarest exceptions, every window-light head is a trefoil or fleur-de-lis: the Nave windows below (except the two western bays) are of the lily pattern throughout; while in the Nave clerestory there is a regular alternation in the heads, of circles or roses with curved-triangle or lily forms. And all through the Church the triforium arcade, with the balustrade resting upon it, exhibits once more, in boundless profusion, the golden lilies below, the argent roses above.