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(With an Engraving.) This charch is deserving of particular notice, no less on account of its age and venerable appearance, than for several peculiarities in its architecture. Its form, says Gilpin, dates its antiquity, being of the heaviest and earliest species of Saxon architecture. Doctor Stukeley, however, was of opinion, that the eastern tower, and most part of the church, were built soon after the Conquest." Many parts are apparently of the Saxon age, particularly the semicircular arches on the eastern tower, the false windows in the south transept, and several others. - This edifice is built in the form of a cross, with two quadrangular towers; one of thumn standing in the middle of the roof, and the other at the west end. The former, was anciently adorned with a spire, said to have been of an extraordinary height. The whole building is divided in the manner of a cathedral; and consists of a chancel, nave, choir, and side aisles, a transept, or cross aisle, and three porches. Its length, from east to west, is one hundred and eighty feet. The ascent to the chancel is by a flight of twelve steps, in two divisions ; six to the stalls, and six to the chancel; which give it a
very noble appearance.
Both chancel and choir are supported by eight pillars, over which are five windows on the north, and three on the south, side, but all much smaller than those of the nave. The choir has seven stalls on each side, besides two at the upper end; the whole covered with canopies of carved oak. On the south side of the altar are four large niches, or stalls; one of which has a holy-water bason on a pillar; and at the west end is a handsome organ. The length of the choir and chancel is upwards of twenty-one feet. The nave is supported on each side by six massy pillars, of an irregular form ; above which are pointed arches, with zig-zag mouldings; the whole enlightened by a similar number of windows, apparently of a much later date.
In this church numerous royal and noble personages have been buried, most of whom were anciently honoured by suitable monuments. Of these many are destroyed by time, and more by the hand of violence: en agh remains, however, to gratify, in a considerable degree, the inquisitive mind. The tomb which is first in
consequence, and the most visited, is that of King Ethelred, situated on the north side of the altar. It bears a brass plate, on which is engraved the effigies of a King, three-quarters length, in royal robes, with a crown on his head, and a sceptre in his hand, and the following inscription underneath:
S. ETHELREDI REGIS WEST SAXONUM MARTYRIS, QUI ANNO DOMINI DCCCLXXII., XXIII. APRILIS, PER MANUS DANORUM PAGANORUM
OCCUBUIT.* This excellent Prince (brother to Alfred the Great) engaged in his early. youth in the toils and perplexities of government. The times were adverse.
His country was overrun by the Danes. He encountered them in battle, and was mortally wounded. Gilpin observes, that the effigies of Ethelred, though but of miserable workmanship, is better than we can suppose the times of
Saint Ethelred the Martyr, King of the West Saxons, who, in the year of our Lord 872, on the 23d of April, was killed by the hands of the Pagan Daues.
Alfred could produce, and must, no doubt, have been frequently repaired, if of that date; but Leland puts this matter beyond a doubt, by expressly mentioning, that King Ethelred's " tumbe was lately repaired, and a marble stone there layid with an image of a King in a plate of brasse : to this notice he subjoins the inscription just mentioned. Mr. Gough proves that Roman capitals were not adopted till nearly the period of the Reformation. We may therefore conclude the present monument to be of no very remote antiquity.
The remains of the Duke and Duchess of Somerset (the parents of Margaret, Countess of Richmond, mother of Henry the Seventh) lie nearly opposite, on the north side of the choir, under an arch. Their effigies are curiously carved in alabaster. The inscription is supposed to have been torn off in the civil wars, when this monument, as well as many others, and the church itself, were much damaged.
On the opposite side is an altar-tomb of grey marble, erected to the remory of Gertrude, Marchioness of Exeter, mother of the accomplished but unfortunate Edward Courtenay, the last Earl of Devonshire. This lady's tomb was opened a few years since, when the body was found wrapped up in cere-cloth. Through an idle attempt to place it in an erect posture, the body was broken to pieces. By this wanton intrusion upon the repose of the dead, the tomb itself received considerable damage.
The following epitaph is placed in this church by Mrs.