A kindred work to the restoration of the Sedilia is that of the Episcopal Throne. Buried in brown paint and varnish and in other respects impaired, this magnificent structure had long concealed the fulness of its beauty. Only the natural surface can ever rightly exhibit the peculiar merits of artistic work in carved oak, and consequently so stately an example as the Throne could not fail to gain vastly from a plunge into the necessary bath. And it came forth thence in so fine a condition that all idea of reviving the colouring of which traces were found was well rejected. Early paintings about the base representing Bishops Warelwast, Quivil, Stapledon, and Grandisson have been cleverly resuscitated, but the five pedestals among the upper tabernacle work are as yet without statues. A glance at the newly designed stalls which surround the chorus cantorum is sufficient to show that the canopies have been very fittingly made to reflect the Throne as their prototype. Being set against an open screen which replaces a dense wall, they have also a character of lightness and proportional altitude which further sustains the correspondence. In the niches formed among the shafts of the leading stalls, statues are introduced representing certain of the building Bishops. The original Early English misereres of Bishop Bruere's time are of course duly installed beneath the seats. Though born to some obscurity themselves they have done noble service in furnishing an inspiration for the profusion of carved work which characterises the entire range of new fittings below the stalls on either side. The restored Cathedral presents no more successful developement than in the richly wrought succession of figures of angels and saints, of men of divers races, of beasts and birds, flowers and foliage that are scattered here with a free hand. Other fittings in wood, such as Litany faldstool, and Credence; in lacquered metal, such as the Candelabra, Altar-rails and 'Golden gates' - well befitting the city once 'Clara metallis'; and in stone, as the Pulpit of marble and alabaster with its sculptured scenes in the lives of Our Lord, St. Peter, and St. Paul, are in due harmony with the rest. The parclose screens on either side are restored, and the beautiful brattishing along the top, which had been removed and set up elsewhere, is put back in its place. The extension of screens of equal lightness behind the stalls opens the Choir to its aisles from end to end, adding greatly to the impression of its breadth and also to some extent rendering the aisles available for congregation. The Organ has been largely added to and improved, and its case of classical design happily retained, with slight modifications, in spite of some incongruity of style. Historically it is not without a melancholy grandeur in being the solitary dignified addition to the Cathedral during a dreary space of three centuries and a half. It has an interest too as a memorial both of the era of the Restoration (of the Monarchy), and of the then restoration of the Cathedral.
The Nave and Transepts, though requiring much patient labour, naturally presented far less scope for decorative elaboration than the Choir, and consequently call for less remark. Here as elsewhere the careful removal of all-pervading colour wash was no unimportant part of the process. The Purbeck columns throughout the Cathedral had suffered so much from decay and mutilation as to require extensive superficial renewal in which several hundred tons of marble were employed. And it is characteristic of the scrupulous care bestowed on details that the marble for these repairs was expressly procured from the identical beds that supplied it in the 14th Century. Previous repairs of these pillars had been executed in a mixture of tar and chalk. The vaulted roof in this part of the Church is left in the native tint of the stone, which though not uniform is not unpleasing, that its plainer treatment may mark the due relation of Nave to Choir. Looking for features of the Nave as it was in its prime the eye misses the effect of the stained glass which formerly filled its windows, the unfortunate character of that in the west window serving rather to emphasise the want. Some steps, however, have been taken to correct the deficiency, notably in the great Transeptal windows. Here, on the southern side, has been inserted in Quivil's beautiful tracery a commemorative window illustrating the Administration of justice as exemplified by characters in sacred and secular history, a subject not unworthy of a Cathedral Church, and specially befitting the Tower from whence the bells four times a year ring out the city's welcome to the Judges of Assize. The glazing of the corresponding window in the North Transept, inserted as the offering of many women, is occupied with subjects bearing on the office of women in sacred History and Christian life. Other glass in the easternmost window of the south aisle recalls the time when the shrine of St. Agatha, the burial place of Hugh Courtenay, Earl of Devon, stood over against it. Here are commemorated divers Bishops of that family, to one of whom who held the see 1478 to 1487 the Cathedral owes the majestic bell 'Great Peter.' The window at the westward extremity of this aisle felicitously restores the name and memory of Bishop Grandisson to the presence of his stately work.
Perhaps the boldest step in a restoration by no means timidly conceived was the piercing of the screen between Nave and Choir. Solid originally, and since the seventeenth Century surmounted by the Organ, it effectually bisected the Church into two separate areas for all practical uses. But it is obvious that previous to the erection upon it of the Organ, it must have offered far less substantial interference with the longitudinal unity of Nave and Choir which the vaulting of the roof, unbroken from West to East, imparts. Consequently, the retention of the Organ being deemed essential, an endeavour to lighten the obstruction by opening the screen below was amply justified, even though it involved considerable alteration of the original structure. Without pretending to open up a striking vista the piercing of the screen has extended the range of the eye at its natural level beyond the limits of the Nave to the Choir, and in a measure to the Lady Chapel itself, thus giving the length of the building its full effect. Moreover, a prevailing purpose with the restorers was, wherever possible, to advance the utility of the Cathedral for worship. It was felt that intercommunication between Nave and Choir enabling worshippers to take part in the Choir services from positions to the westward of the screen would be a useful modification: - an anticipation which is abundantly borne out by the result.