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Archaeologia Cantiana Vol. 14 -1882  pages 148
                           
ST RADEGUND’S PRAEMONSTRATENSIAN ABBEY. By W. H. St John Hope B.A.  Continued

between the last four severies, is to be seen a mass of masonry of extraordinary solidity.* These masses mark the position of six flying buttresses built, as at Rievaulx, to carry the thrust of the roof.
   The aisles to the presbytery, the north transept, and transeptal chapels, do not present any remarkable features. The south transept, on the other hand, exhibits a most singular and, so far as I know, unique arrangement. It will be seen that the west wall has two doors, both communicating with the cloister. The northern one occurs at Torre, Bayham, Shap, and DalePræmonstratensian abbeysand in most houses of Regular Canons; † the southern one, however, is not found elsewhere, and must therefore have been for some special purpose. Now it was generally considered necessary that the dormitory, when in its normal position over the eastern range of buildings, should be provided with two staircases; one leading directly into the church, to enable the canons to descend for the nocturnal offices; the other for ordinary use in the day-time, communicating with the cloister. In the south wall of the transept, at the level of the first floor, is an irregular opening which has been formed by tearing out the ashlar jambs of 

a doorway; and at the same floor line, extending along the wall the width of the transepts, is a row of holes in which have rested the ends of wooden joists; but upon what did the opposite ends rest? In the west wall, 7ft. 6in. from the south-west angle, is one of the iron hooks from which a door has been hung, and in the south-east angle are the remains of an ample circular staircase, or vice, which was carried up to the roof of the transept, but has no doors opening out of its south side. From these data we are able to learn what the peculiar arrangement was, and what purpose it served. Across the south end of the transept was a screen or partition which carried a gallery. This gallery was reached by the circular stair, through upper and lower
  * Only shewn in outline on the plan.
   † This door is invariably found in monastic churches which are destitute of an aisle on the side of the nave adjoining the cloister, and was probably used to enable processions to pass down the cloister alley, through the western cloister door, and up the nave in the usual way. Other instances than those named above are Dorchester, Brinkburn, Bolton, and Newstead—all houses of Austin Canons, who frequently built churches with but one, or no aisles.

Page  148   (This page was prepared for the website by Aaron Meyer)      

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