The bearing of this erection of the gallery (supposing it correctly dated,) upon the date of the Nave at large, is this, that it was evidently an afterthought. In Canon's agreement the whole of the triforium arcading was agreed for: and it was no doubt executed by him, on a uniform plan: the corbels throughout being floral, and falling easily into the arch-curves. But the Gallery, it is clear, has replaced one whole set of arcade columns; substituting for corbels heads which trench visibly upon the original curve of the arch. And indeed the original balustrade still survives within it. No doubt, then, the Nave was completed before 1353; and probably some little time before: so that this gallery could be called "the new work in St. Peter's Church;" a term applied, in the great transforming days, to the enterprise at large.
Thus furnished, then, as it should seem with a date, before which the Nave was completed, (viz., 1353), we are in some degree guided to the interpretation of the Fabric Boll entries before and after that date. Now they include in 1332-3, (i.e., while Canon was carrying out his contract) immense quantities of building stone from Silverton, Wonford, Whipton, Raddon, i.e., Thorverton, Barley, Branscombe, Salcombe, and Beer, in Devonshire; Hameldon in Somersetshire; and Caen (Oliver, p. 179). These quarries include almost every kind of stone found to exist in Nave and Choir, from foundation to vaulting: as the coarser red sandstones of Wonford and Whipton for the sub-bases under the pillars; the delicate and creamy tinted variety from Salcombe and Branscombe (midway locally and geologically, between our reds and whites), for the interior walls; the semi-volcanic or trap of Silverton and Thorverton for outward facings, or for the "infillings" of the vault; the slabs of Hamhill for steps, like those of our altar; and the Pocombe from Barley, good for paving, and used with happy effect, alternately with Ipplepen and other marbles, in the restored Lady Chapel; finally, the soft grained products of Beer and Caen, for every kind of sculpture. So truly does our Cathedral gather into it and epitomize the choice 'rocks" of the Diocese, and (including the superb Purbeck) the marbles of her own and more distant regions.
The Bolls of the next seven years (1334-1341) are lost. But by 1338, oak timber, probably for the roof, was granted by the Bishop at the request of the Dean and Chapter; as is recorded, in quaint old French, in his Register (75). This indicates, of course, great progress in the works. Yet, still, there was much stone work to be carried out. In 1341, when the Bolls reappear, a large portion of the expenditure is still for stones and the carriage of them. This, however, is the last year of such expenses: and the next is the last of any very great expenditure at all. During the great building years of the Choir (1301-1324,) the annual outlay ranged from œ100 to œ247: with two exceptional years (1309 and 1310), when the disbursements were no less than œ336 19s. 11 1/4d., i.e., no doubt, œ337, a farthing per œ100 being thrown back to the Treasurer (see above); and again œ383, (Oliver, pp., 380, 381). And in like-manner, in those which seem to be the great building years of the Nave (1325-1342), the expenses range from œ100 to œ194, rising in one exceptional year, (1325 Stapledon's last) to œ365. At the end of the period they fall at once to œ35 and œ50, and never rise again in all the days of Grandisson.
The great design then, we may fairly conclude, was completed in the course of the fifth decade of the century: perhaps in the actual year 1350. The first half of that decade might well be employed in using the materials so largely accumulated. And there were minor operations yet to be carried out. An extension of the Cloister, (heretofore confined, no doubt, to the East side, as a necessary communication between the Chapter House and the great South door in the Nave,) had been in contemplation in Stapledon's time. In 1323, eight heads had been carved " for the vaulting of the Cloister," i.e. probably, for the bosses for each of the seven compartments, and one at the end of the ambulatory attached to the South wall of the Nave. But we hear nothing further of it until we come to Canon's contract which included 29 marble shafts for it; 4 for each of the 7 compartments. The hollows for most of these still remain. The roof and gates were finished in 1331-2: but as late as 1342, 28 heads are carved, probably corbels left in block hitherto.. (76), and it was only now, it should seem (1342), completed as to the northern side.
A more important and interesting work in its bearing upon the question of the date and authorship of the Western front, was reserved for the latter half of this decade. The work about the "porches," begun by anticipation by Grandisson, at his accession (see above) is resumed in 1346: an indication that the West front had now been reached. A special entry records "further expenses about the porches:" and among them "wages of Luke and Alfred, for preparing 14 pieces of stone for the 'tablature' (flat screen work) at Wells, for one week, 2s. 8d., carriage of three pieces more, 3d; and wages of R. Crock for carving stones of the same tablature 8d."(77) As the "porches" are still spoken of as separate, we must not refer this to the great Western "screen" as it now is, but confine it to the tablature or relievo inside the entrances to the Church. The South entrance, then "a porch," is peculiarly rich in interior sculpture: and this and the central one might well engage Grandisson's especial attention, as being on either side of his destined mortuary chapel of St. Radegunde. The northern entrance contains Perpendicular fan-tracery in the vaulting, and was evidently finished by a later hand. The work of the porches was still in hand two years later (1348), when Grandisson subscribed œ10 towards (78). And in 1349, a special and final effort was made, as it should seem, to interest the faithful of the Diocese in the completion of the work: a curious entry recording the "hiring of a writer, at 8s. to write out 800 indulgences for the fabric of the Church" (79).