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they unite the principal part with the ground in which union the beauty of composition in a good measure depends. But here they were thought rough and unsightly, and fell a sacrifice to neatness. Even the Court of Justice was not spared, though a fragment probably as beautiful as it was curious.
“ In the room of these detached parts, which were the proper and picturesque embellishments of the scene, a gaudy temple is erected, and other trumpery wholly foreign to it.
“But not only the scene is defaced, and the outworks of the ruin violently torn away; the main body of the ruin itself is at this very time under the alarming hand of decoration.
“When the present proprietor made his purchase, he found the whole mass of ruin-the Cloisters, the Abbey Church, and the Hall3—choked with rubbish. The first work therefore, was to clear and open. And something in this way might have been done with propriety, for we see ruins sometimes so choked that no view of them can be obtained ............. “But the restoration of parts is not enough: ornaments must be added, and such incongruous ornament, as disgrace the scene are disgracing also the monastery. The monks' garden is4 turned into a trim parterre and planted with flowering shrubs; a view is opened through the great window to some ridiculous I know not what (Anne Bolein I think they call it) that is planted in the valley; and in the central part of the abbey, a circular pedestal is raised out of the fragments of the old pavement, on which is erected a mutilated heathen statue !”6
From these remarks, which are corroborated by several other accounts, that I have heard, and partially by existing appear
(1) I think that Mr. Gilpin was mistaken in his appropriation of this building; for what has been immemorially styled, and bears all the internal evidences of, the Court Room, still remains in substantial condition-a fine vaulted apartment, 42ft. 7in, by 22ft.-over the Kitchen. It had an ample staircase leading from the Cloister-court, but it is now choked with rubbish.
(2) It appears from the plan published by Dr. Burton, in his Monasticon Eboracense, that before Mr. Aislabie obtained possession, the portion of the Cloisters north of the entrance to the Quadrangular Court, was divided into three apartments, having separate communications with two walled courts in front, of which no apparent vestiges remain,
(3) The Refectory is perhaps intended by this name. The bases of the four columns that divided this noble apartment (109ft. by 464ft.), and are indicated in Burton's plan, have disappeared.
(4) The Cloister Court, 125 feet square, whence a considerable, and the only remaining, portion of the arcade that supported the penthouse, was swept away. The present is not the original level; and several monumental stones are, I believe, concealed under the grass plot.
(5) A mutilated stone, now laid in one of the northern side chapels of the choir.
(6) I presume that this was one of the stray Arundelian marbles. Mr. Aislabie sometime inhabited one of the newly built houses in Arundel-street, the site where they were once deposited, and is said to have found the torso of a statue in his cellar, which he removed to Studley. All recollection of it is now lost; but when the members of the Institute visited Fountains on the 24th of July last. I drew their attention to the mutilated fragments, of which I apprehend it was com. posed.
ances, it seems that Mr. Aislabie not only removed the ruins of the groining and top courses of the walls that had fallen into the interior; but in his anxiety for a level surface removed, from the choir at least, many interesting fragments that should have been retained in their original and proper position. Thus, among operations that cannot be distinctly ascertained, it is specifically stated in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1820, that a part of the pillars of the arcade of the choir were pulled down, the superincumbent clerestory having fallen long before. It is all but certain, too, that he removed the greatest part of the reredos of the high altar, as a great portion of it was wrought up in an unmeaning gallery which he erected under the great eastern window. One of the greatest misfortunes, however, consequent on these operations, was not that he did so much, but that, in the main direction, he did not do sufficient. For, in the indiscriminate clearing of the floor of the abbey church, having removed the larger masses of loose groining and fixed masonry, he found it the readiest method of obtaining what he required, to bring the rest of the rubbish and fragmentary relics to a common level, and cover all with one oblivious sward. This process, which was likewise adopted in other parts of the abbey, occasioned the present specific cause of appeal, and one that is almost daily regretted by persons of education and cultivated taste, who visit the building from all parts of the kingdom. Whether then, it is considered with reference to the picturesque appearance of the building ; or the proper development of the unrivalled architectural effect of the abbey church, this accumulation is, indeed, exceedingly to be lamented. Not only are the bases of the choir pillars—the only remnants of the inner structure of the choirentirely buried, and many objects of interest—such as tesselated pavements, sepulchral slabs, indications of chantry chapels, and other internal arrangements-mouldering uselessly in the earth; but the principal constituent members of the fabric are robbed of their most graceful proportions and lofty elevation, and we are constrained to view them, and the general effect which they pervade, from a false and artificial level. The truth of this will be most evident on viewing the Semi-Norman nave, of which I annex a sketch, for the informatian of those who do not remember it, together with one of the appearance it might assume by the simple operation of removing the superfluous earth. The middle aisle of the nave, it will be observed, is formed by two arcades, each originally of eleven massive pillars, the bases of which, like examples now remaining in the Nave of Durham Cathedral, are square, and consequently extremely powerful and effective features in breaking the long drawn perspective of the gloomy superstructure. Now as these bases are entirely buried, we lose not only their essential contribution to the general architectural and picturesque aspect of the fabric, but the effect of each individual column is degraded into a truncated, clumsy, and baseless mass; the proportion of the circumference of the shaft to the height of the pillar is utterly lost; and the meeting of the vertical lines with the horizontal sward creates angles offensive even to an eye unversed in geometrical propriety, and untutored by the rules and principles of art. The same observations may apply, in substance, to the Lady Chapel, where the effect of the unrivalled Early English columns that cross it in prolongation of the clerestory of the choir, and exhibit a triumph of art that captivates every beholder on his entrance to the building, is very grievously diminished, by the total concealment of their massy cylindrical bases beneath the sward. I might indeed, if it was necessary, point out the effect of this accumulation with reference to several other portions of the church; but when I say that, on an average, it prevails to a depth of two feet throughout the Conventual Church, which is 350 feet long, and of a dignity corresponding with our principal cathedrals, I trust the knowledge of that fact alone will be a sufficient vindication of the truth of my position, and of necessity of the present appeal..
And while these benefits might be assuredly conferred on the many thousand visitors that seek the abbey (either to gratify their minds by the perception of the beautiful, or to improve them by the study of the principles developed in its design and construction) by the employment of the spare time of a few labourers, in their most vacant portion of the year—there does not exist, in my humble opinion, any shadow of a reason that can be alleged, why such an operation would militate, in any wise, against the security or proper conservation of the building. The support that can be afforded, even to a declining foundation, by the pressure of a few feet of earth, would, of course, bé entirely unavailing, if it was required. The indissoluble grout work, which is the very core and existence of the massy superstructure, is not dependant, surely, on the few bushels of earth that are accumulated at its base. Indeed, by the removal of the earth from the interior of the church, and that superfluity of it that has been carried out, and thrown under its external walls, the drainage of the moisture, that must militate most radically against the security of the structure, would be promoted ; and,
an additional stability be gained, for that which we cannot devise too many expedients to maintain.
It is, indeed, a matter of great congratulation, that, since the decease of Mr. Aislabie, a most vigilant and generous attention has been bestowed on the abbey, by those who have had the honour to succeed to its possession. Beside incidental and judicious repairs, and the abolition of the chief extravagancies that Mr. Aislabie had committed, Mrs. Allanson, his eldest daughter and coheir, caused in 1790 and 1791, the splendid Chapter-house to be cleared of the mass of rubbish with which it was encumbered, on the representation of Mr. John Martin, of Ripon ; who justly inferred, from the records briefly abstracted in Dr. Burton's Monasticon, that the tombs of several of the abbots might thus be discovered. The long and most worthy possession of her niece, Mrs. Lawrence, was distinguished by her attention to every means and circumstances that could promote the security of the structure. Among other works which the antiquary and architect must remember with especial and grateful satisfaction, was the substantial and judicious repair of the great tower from the top to the bottom; the reconstruction of a great portion of the groining of the Cloisters that fell suddenly in the year 1822; and the application of an impervious cement to the floor of the roofless dormitory, by which the arcade of the western cloisters —300 feet in length, waş rendered secure against the percolation of the rain water, that ultimately threatened its destruction.
It was not, however, until the autumn of 1840, when the groining ribs, or rather arches of the nave aisles, were reset, that it become generally understood that the present sward does not correspond, in level, with the original floor of the abbey church. In clearing away, at that time, the mounds of rubbish that had accumulated in the southern aisle, the great square base of one of the columns of the nave was accidentally exposed; and on following it down to the floor, a singular and early geometrical painted pavement, apparently the floor of a chapel, was observed near the door leading to the Cloister Court. A few more openings were afterwards made, almost at random, in different parts of the church. The bases and moulded fragments of some of the pillars of the choir, of which no trace remains above ground, were observed, together with the foundations of the screen at each end of the choir. That behind the high altar had been little more than deeply recessed trefoil arches, supported by grey marble columns, similar in character and design to the arcade that runs round the choir and Lady Chapel. Of the western screen little was seen. It had been torn down nearly to the floor, and the earth was not sufficiently cleared away to enable me to observe whether the fragments were removed or not. The first step of its geometrical staircase remained, in situ, on the north side; and immediately in the centre of the floor of the porch, was a huge slab of black marble, about 9ft. 6in. long, 4ft. 8in. wide, and 7in. thick, but broken in several places. It had been richly inlaid with a brass of a mitred figure, holding a crosier or "crutch,” with two shields above his head, and a circumscription, with corner pieces intended probably for the evangelistic symbols. The annexed sketch, made from a verbal description, will afford some idea of the appearance of the slab; which we may suppose covered the remains of the abbot, John de Ripon, who died at the Abbey Grange at Thorpe Underwood, 12th March, 1435, and is said in one of the records of the abbey, called the “ President Book,” to have been buried before the entrance to the choir. The perfect skeleton of a very tall man was found, resting on a paved bed immediately below the stone; but no trace of a ring, chalice, paten, or any other relic or substance whatever was observed. In the Lady Chapel, a part of the floor was discovered to be paved with square tiles, chiefly red and black, and black, and about six inches square ; and the bases of the tall octagonal pillars were found to be cylindrical and massy. In the middle of the chapel, between the high altar and the east window, was the sepulchre of a person whose head had been severed from his body and placed on his breast; and a few feet below, apparently, the groining of the crypt, which I have several reasons for supposing exists under this portion of the church.
It is only necessary, I trust, to add to these remarks, that, on the decease of Mrs. Lawrence in July, 1845, the site of the Abbey of Fountains, with many invaluable adjacent possessions, became by the provisions of her will, the property of the Right Hon, the Earl de Grey ; whose thorongh and critical acquaintance with architectural science, and just appreciation of the treasures of ancient art, must render assurance unnecessaryindependent of his high position as President of the Institute of British Architects—that on a proper representation of the circumstances I have recited, and many of which have not been presented to his notice, the result cannot but be satisfactory to that numerous and daily increasing class of the community, who feel interested in the conservation of our inestimable national antiquities.
J. R. WALBRAN. Fall Croft, Ripon, October 6th, 1846.