This fragment evidently formed a part of the panelling over a mantel, but it is doubtful if the rest of the room was on a similarly elaborate scale. The carving is of fine quality, well designed, under strong influence from Burgundian sources. It may have been the work of some of the Walloon craftsmen who settled in Essex and Suffolk at this period. That the panelling was made in England is almost certain; the wood is a quartered English oak, and the constructional details are not foreign.
Fig. 304. Lyme Park, Disley, Cheshire. Sir Piers Legh's Entrance In Leoni's House. - Capt. the Hon. Richard Legh.
At Holywells, Ipswich, Mr. John D. Cobbold has gathered together a very fine collection of elaborate panellings and woodwork, taken from Ipswich inns and houses which have been demolished during recent years. From the Neptune Inn, in 1913, came the rich linenfold panelling shown here in Fig. 283. It has been restored and added to, and the capping-rail is modern. One of the original sections illustrated here measures 9 ft. 4 3/4 ins. in width and 5 ft. 6 1/2 ins. in height. The addition, which can be seen on the extreme left hand, in the photograph, has been frankly made, without any attempt at concealment. These linen panels, with their Italian frieze, date from about 1540. Fig. 284 shows a portion to a larger scale. It will be noticed here, as in the Beckingham panelling, that the panel mouldings are truly mitred, instead of the mitres being worked in the solid, in the stonemason's manner.
Fig. 305. Lyme Park, Cheshire. Leoni's Central Courtyard.
Examples of carved Renaissance panels from the Study at Holywells, removed from the Tankard Inn, are illustrated in Figs. 285 to 291. The framings have been altered and adapted to tit the room, but the integrity of the panels has been preserved. Some of these are exceedingly quaint. Thus in the lower panel on the right of Fig. 285 is a representation of the tempting of Christ by the Devil. The one on the left of this has a shield, with a coat of arms, the same being repeated on the left-hand side of the door. The device below this second coat appears to suggest an original owner's initial. It is obviously improbable that this rich panelling was made for an inn (in fact, it is known that much, if not all, came from the house of Sir Thomas Wingfield in Ipswich, whose device, a double wing, appears on the lower panel on the left of the door in Fig. 285) We have seen, however, that Mistress Quickly refers to tapestries in the dining-rooms of her tavern, but these, as Falstaff suggests, were probably old, " fly-bitten " and. worthless. The panel mouldings of Fig. 286 are modern; those of Fig. 287 show the original sections, Fig. 288 has the initials "N.A."1 in Gothic letters, suspended from a knotted rope,2 elaborately intertwined in the branches of a tree, beneath which are two figures, which may represent Adam and Eve. Below, the device of Sir Thomas Wingfield appears again. The panel mouldings and framings here, also, are modern.
1 Or "H.A."
2A festooned cord (although not of the same interlacing as in this panel) was the device of Anne of Brittany, the consort of two French Kings. Charles VIII (who met his death, so tradition says, by knocking his head "against the lintel of a low door in a terrace wall at Amboise), and his cousin and successor, Louis XII. This festooned cord, alternating with the ermine, may be seen in the exquisite little oratory built as an addition to Loches, in Touraine, by Charles VIII, and which bears the name of his Queen.
Fig. 306. Lyme Park, Cheshire. The Entrance Front Of The Old House. - Detail.
That these carved panels were made for the one room, in the original instance, is highly probable; they are, in no sense, pieces from several sources collected together. That rich panellings of this kind were not made at one period, but were added to, from time to time, frequently over a considerable space of years, there is considerable evidence to show. At Great Fulford, as we have seen, many of the panels are dated, and in Fig. 289, above the door, the escutcheon, as in Fig. 285, is here impaled with another, probably to indicate a marriage, in which case the added coat would be that of the husband. There is, possibly, a good deal of significance in the designing of this panel, but without an authenticated history of the woodwork, the meaning of the devices, such as the knotted rope, repeated again here, must remain obscure.
The turned balusters which support the canopy of the mantel, Fig. 290, are original to the shelf-line. The central panel represents quaint scenes, probably from mythological history, among others, the Judgment of Paris. Escutcheons are shown again in the lower panels of Fig. 291, the coat on the sinister side of the overdoor, Fig. 289, here impaled with another, probably to commemorate a second marriage alliance.
The Vicars' Hall, or to give it its full title, the Hall of the Vicars Choral, is now a mere fragment of a building in South Street, Exeter. Above the door is the legend "Aula Collegii Vicariorum de Choro," which conveys to the Latinist an idea of the purpose for which it was built. It formed part of the property, if not of the Cathedral Church, - which is now reached through the later archway at the side, - certainly of the Vicars who officiated at the services. It was customary, in the Middle Ages, for a number of Priests and Singing Men, or choristers, to be retained for the services, and the Vicars' Hall was their "Common Room" for meals and recreation hours. On the other side of the archway, before referred to, once united to the main building, were the living chambers, kitchens, buttery and domestic offices, but these have long since been absorbed into business premises. The Vicars appear to have possessed considerable property during their history, and Bishop Grandisson, 1338-70, was their great benefactor. At this period the Priests and Choristers numbered twenty-four. Bishop Oldham, 1507-1522, appears to have made some additions to the " Common Room," and the linenlold panelling, which is illustrated here in Figs. 292 and 293, probably dates from his time. The stone mantel in the Hall is certainly earlier, and may be the work of Bishop Brantingham, 1370-1394. There are indications that the mantel has been taken apart and rebuilt, probably when Hugh Oldham's alterations took place. Above Bishop Oldham's linenfold panelling is an elaborate tier of arcaded and carved woodwork, with the royal arms placed in the middle of the flank facing the gallery, and on two cartouches the date, 1629, is carved. There are many evidences of later and very ignorant restorations in the Hall. This is especially noticeable in the case of the exceptionally rich bulbous-leg table which stands at this end of the room. Reference will be made to this again, in a later chapter dealing with the development of tables. There are also indications that the cutting through of the archway has shorn the Hall of some of its former proportions, and the gallery has been brought forward into the Hall and doors of later date adapted. The panelling is very interesting, and exceptional in being a literal representation of the folding of soft linen, as compared with other examples which we have considered, where the effect is that of starched or stiff material. The upper series of arcaded panels are true to their period, that of the first years of the reign of Charles I. That the Hall originally possessed a gallery is highly probable, but if so, the original panelled or balustraded front has disappeared. The present Stuart panelling has been cut and adapted on more than one occasion; at the time when the new gallery was formed, and also at a late date. The stone chimney-piece is of early-fifteenth-century character, similar in type, but not so rich in detail as those at Tattershall (see Fig. 298).