Masterclass in Early English Sculpture

Today was the day we went to see two of the most incredible pieces of sculpture. The day started with going to Southwell Minster Cathedral.


In this Cathedral, you can see a full textbook on architectural styles from Anglo-Norman to Decorated Gothic. In the 10th C. the curch was founded, but nothing remains of the early church and the earliest part of this church is the nave that dates to the Norman period and Romanesque building style. As you move further into the church, the newer the church becomes with Early English Gothic used for the choir and chancel and Decorated Gotic used for the chapter house. Southwelll is a daughter church of York. This means that it was a center outside of York for administration of the Diocese and had the high ranking officials in the church in attendance. There is much to be said about the history and the various parts, but it is best to show it.


The Chapter House built in the Decorated Gothic style.


Chancel built in the Early English Gothic style


Side view of Chancel


Doorway on the north side with Norman Romanesque ornamentation.


West entrance in the Norman style with a Perpendicular Gothic window.

But while the outside is impressive, the inside can make you forget your name. You enter into the Norman nave with the massive arcade.

DSC01388In this image you can see the separation at the crossing with the organ situated on top. It can also be seen that it is in the later gothic styles and not the Norman style. Lets take a closer look.


Once through the doorway, you enter into the Gothhic section of the cathedral.


Different from the other part of the church, isn’t it? But even this is not the most beautiful part of the Cathedral. Up next are the leaves of Southwell. Ready?

And some more…

Don’t forget about the roof…


Now that that is over with, that was the Chapter house. The space was used for meetings between all the clergy and bishops. Southwell is a place that never gets old, both in time, and you could visit it every day for a year and see something new. The carvings are so intricate and thin. Space has been carved around the leaves and figures that it looks like plaster casts of real leaves. We spent about 4 hours looking around and taking pictures of the building while learning all about it’s history and the details that are hidden inside it. It was a hard place to leave, but we were told that we were going to another church with another incredible piece of sculpture that it made leaving bearable.

Where we went was to Hawton All Saints. A very non-descript parish church in the countryside.


From the outisde you can tell that the inside could be worth looking at, but would you believe that this was inside?


Hawton All Saints was built in the 13th C. and later in the early 14th C. it recieved a wealthy patron that added onto the church. Part of the additions was this stonework in the chancel. The two different panels take up about a 14ft x 14ft section of the side walls. On one side is represented the ressurection of Jesus, and on the otherside are saints carved with how they were martyred. To see this in this setting is not something one would expect. You can expect the level of detail to some degree in Southwell, but driving by Hawton, you could not predict this. But what made this stop even better was when we got inside the church they had just put some tea on. So here we are drinking tea, served in Coronet cups and saucers, looking at a spectacular 14th C. stone carving, with a slight drizzle outside.

England, what more can you say.


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