ARCHITECT, English
(active 1270s in Lincoln)

Interior view

1270s
Photo
Cathedral, Lincoln

In 1185 part of the Romanesque cathedral collapsed, and the present church was created in a series of campaigns. It now comprises the east (Angel) choir of five bays and the west (St Hugh's) choir of four bays, separated by an eastern transept.

Although it had to match the smaller dimensions of St Hugh's choir, the Angel choir is the architectural climax of the cathedral. It is a rectangular five-bay extension of the main body of the church. All the decorative resources of the nave are present, if anything concentrated by the reduced scale. In addition there are the carved angels in the spandrels of the triforium, from which the choir derives its name, and the geometric bar tracery, which not only fills the windows but is repeated as a free-standing screen on the inner plane of the clerestory wall. This culminates in the huge eight-light composition occupying the whole east wall, the earliest and largest surviving window of its type in England. On the west front there is the frame of an earlier window, which this was no doubt intended to surpass. For pilgrims to the shrine there was a special entrance on the south side, the Judgement portal, and a discreet exit opposite. The design of the Angel choir managed to reconcile with effortless ease every type of ornament currently available. It represents the end of a tradition as well as its high point.

In 1280, when the Angel choir was consecrated, the cathedral was substantially complete, and the pace of building work slackened. Many of the subsequent additions did not materially alter the building's character.

The photo shows the vault of the Angel Choir.

View the ground plan of Lincoln Cathedral.




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