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.

The purpose of St Hugh's choir plan was to provide a spacious choir for the canons and to include a large chapel at the east end, which should have been intended for a reliquary. In due course St Hugh himself came to be buried in this part of the cathedral; but in 1192 Hugh was still only a bishop, and presumably he and the Chapter had someone else in mind. However, within 60 years the cult of St Hugh had reached such a pitch that the apse was swept away and replaced by the Angel choir. The imaginative touch, borrowed from actual reliquaries, of evoking busts of angels out of the double arcading along the choir aisle walls, is a reminder that the reliquary function was there from the start. Although St Hugh’s choir was in many ways an experimental structure, it admirably fulfilled its primary function of providing a grand setting for cult and liturgy. Shafts of ornamental marble were lavishly used to enhance the opulence. The choir makes a sharp contrast with the Romanesque nave; and even the main transept, which was laid out at the same time with a two-storey Galilee porch off the south arm, was built in a distinctly different style.

The photo shows the interior of St Hugh's Choir.

View the ground plan of Lincoln Cathedral.




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