Such is the curious confirmation which this document, joined to architectural considerations, supplies of the views advocated in this volume as to our Cathedral's history. It will also be perceived that this revelation, at once, and beyond all questioning, stamps Quivil as the originator of the entire design of the Cathedral as it is. Not only was the Lady Chapel his own, but all that we have seen done in the Choir, all that we have, yet to see done in the Nave, - pillars, vaulting, bosses, corbels, triforium, windows, buttresses, - all was a mere and faithful carrying out of a design, the motif of which was his, and his only.
But does this document throw any light forward on the probable terminus ad quern, or period of completion, of the Nave? It would seem that it does provided that we know how to interpret aright a subsequent entry of a very marked character. "In the first week after Trinity, May 20th, 1353," says the Roll of that year, " was the beginning of the new work of the Church of the Blessed Peter in front (coram) of the great cross (or rood), the expenses of which were altogether œ46 0s. ll1/2d." This note of time has been eagerly caught at by our historians as proving that the entire work of the Nave was begun on the day here specified. "The Nave from the roodloft," says Oliver, "was commenced 20th May, 1353." Whereas the "reckoning " in 1334, twenty years before, manifestly implies that the pillars, at any rate, were then in their places. And that the rest of the work should have stood still for twenty years is simply incredible: and in truth the last clause of the entry disposes of this idea altogether. Cathedral Naves were not built for œ46, even in those days. We are driven then to seek another interpretation altogether. Now there was in those days, here as elsewhere, a " great rood" or crucifix, not only in the roodloft, but also in the Nave. And we learn from an entry in 1407 (Oliver, p. 388) that it stood in the south aisle. "Mending one door near the great cross in the aisle on the south part!9 This is distinguished in the same entry from "the little cross in the Choir;" proving that it was itself in the Nave. Now if we suppose it to have stood in the third bay of the Nave from the east, facing northward (a very likely position, because of its facing the north door, and so being seen immediately on entering the Church), we are enabled at once to put a very reasonable interpretation on the entry of 1353. The "new work" will then be no other than the far-famed and unrivalled Minstrels' Gallery, "in front of the great rood." The expense may well have been œ46: for we are now in times when money's worth has diminished, as compared with the early part of the century. And it would not be more than œ460.
The conjecture that the "Minstrel's Gallery" is meant, is countenanced by the historical events of the period in their connexion with the city of Exeter. Exeter had of late begun to have closer relations with royal personages than heretofore; and it was mainly for the reception of such personages, by means of musicians, that " Minstrels' Galleries," here and elsewhere (e.g. at Winchester) were provided. Richard of Cornwall, King of the Romans, brother of Henry III., created Earl of Cornwall in 1225, had probably been a benefactor to the Cathedral, as had also his son Edmund; and their arms may still be seen on the tiles of St. Paul's Chapel, built by Quivil in Earl Edmund's days (Oliver, p. 187). The earldom had now become extinct: but Edw. III. " made a dutchy of it in 1336, and gave the same to his eldest son, Prince Edward (surnamed the Black Prince, from his dreadful acts), and withal made this city a parcel of the said dutchy, as formerly it was of the earldom: this city being now held of the said duke, as parcel of the dutchy, by the fee farm rent of twenty pounds per. ann." (Izacke, p. 49); which is punctually paid to the Prince of Wales, as Duke of Cornwall, to this day. To this connexion we may with much probability trace the erection of the Ministrels' Gallery. For in those days duchies were territorial realities, and it would be likely enough that the Prince would pay an occasional visit to his feudal dependency to look after his rights. He had a contest for them in the King's Bench at Westminster in 1349, when it was ruled that all the profits arising from the "passage, lastage (ship's burdens) and quay of Exmouth were and are parcel of the fee farm of this city, holden of the Duke of Cornwall as a member of the Mannor of Lydford under the yearly rent of 2d." (Izacke, p. 53) And certain it is that the "Minstrels' Gallery" had not long to wait, before a very fit occasion arose for its use in 1357, three years after its erection, when "Prince Edward brought over into England John, the French king, and sundry of his noblemen, all as prisoners, who landed at Plymouth, and came thence to this city, where they were honourably received " (Izacke, ann. 1357), at the Cathedral (we may presume,) no less than by the civic authorities. The gallery may thus be viewed as calling to memory, by the probable first occasion of its being used, the conquering days of Poictiers.
The Black Prince was here again in 1371. Later on, viz., the 6th of July, 1451, Henry VI. was received by the Clergy and Choir at the Broadgate, and "followed them on foot into the Cathedral Church up to the high altar, and there paid his oblations " (Izacke, p. 81.) Edward IV. and Henry VII. also visited the city, and, we cannot doubt, the Cathedral. It is worthy of remark that the niches on either side of the Gallery, supported by the heads of Edward 111. and Philippa, originally contained statuettes of St. Mary and St. Peter (Oliver p. 217). Now this is the original dedication of the Church, retained with little variation at the recent consecration in 1328 (see Note 68). And the arrangement interprets for us the true position and significance of such "Minstrels' Galleries," and such royal receptions. Sovereigns or Princes could not look up to that gallery, vocal in honour of them as vicegerents of God, without being significantly reminded, that one of their loftiest duties was to uphold the estate and due preservation of sanctuaries dedicated with such unsparing outlay of cost, of art, and of feeling to the glory of God, in the thankful remembrance of the true Princes and Benefactors of the human race.