« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
towards the west, no regularity was observable, and very few were lying true to that point. There was no evidence of their graves having ever been disturbed, and with one exception there was no suspicion of the bodies being buried in coffins. Around one skeleton was a dark, crumbling material, which the workmen declared had been wood; but nothing in the shape of lead or stone coffins was discovered. As I stood by the side of the trench, I saw a workman uncover two skeletons lying side by side, with the feet towards the north-east, and so closely together--the skulls actually touched each other—as to suggest burial in one winding-sheet. I examined many of the bones, and they all appeared to be portions of people of middle age and fine stature. I did not recognise any of very aged, or very young persons. The teeth in many of the heads were very fine, generally in full complement and sound.
At the end of the 37 yds. of cemetery, i.e., about two-thirds up the street from the Quay, and opposite Mr. Durrant's door, the nature of the soil changed. No more bones appeared, but from the next ten yards of excavation much broken building rubbish was thrown out. Many wrought stones, some with ornamental work on them, and others which proved to be portions of broken images, were here brought to the surface. Among them were the remains of three small statues. It will be seen from the accompanying illustration how finely they are chiselled. Remains of colour and gilding may be recognised in places on them even now.
At the end of these 10 yds. of church debris the trench struck another wall. This was also of rubble, but only 2 ft. 3 ins. thick, and ran down deeper than it was necessary to excavate. Upon removing the soil on the east side, its face was found smooth, and by extending the width of the trench, the workmen uncovered
a massive jamb attached to the east side of the wall, with the springer stone still at the top whence groining arches had once sprung in different directions. In point of fact we were into the crypt, and amongst the debris thrown out were many pieces of the ribs and groins that had supported the pavement above. By carefully examining the contour of the curved wrought stones and continuing it, we found the stones were portions of arching that would span about 12 ft. We could not ascertain the depth of the crypt, for although the workmen were desirous of entirely removing the foundations of the wall, and went down 9 ft. for the purpose, neither the floor of the crypt nor the base of the wall were reached.
In continuing the trench eastward another wall of rubble was encountered at a distance of 25 ft. from the last one, and this was evidently the east wall of the crypt and chancel. It was very massive, being 3 ft. 6 in. thick, which was exactly the thickness of the west wall of the church we examined at the west end of the street. On its smooth internal surface it had a shafting or jamb to support the groining similar to that found attached to the opposite wall of the crypt which I have already described. Arches springing inward from each of these walls, and spanning 12 ft. each, would meet and dip midway across. A pillar undoubtedly at this point would support the internal ends of the arches, and if we allow a foot for the width of the springer stone on the top of the pillar, we thus cover the distance of 25 ft. But in addition to the arches or groining running across the crypt, others would run at right angles to them and be of similar span. If this were so, and I verily believe it was, one pillar in the centre of the crypt would support four main arches or groins, each bridging to the middle of the wall opposite. This would seem to tell us that the crypt was a square apartment, 25 ft. long and 25 ft. broad. Inasmuch as the walls forming three sides of the crypt, viz., the north, east, and south, would be continued up as the walls of the chancel, I think we may reasonably assume the chancel was 25 ft. wide. It is worthy of notice that this measurement is just the width of the east end of Queen Street from house to house, and I should not be surprised to find the front walls of these houses built upon the side walls of the chancel."
Three feet eastward of the crypt wall, and quite in a line with the east wall of the house at the north-east corner of Queen Street, the workmen uncovered another rubble wall, which was 2 ft. 6 in. thick, and ran down lower than the trench, so its entire depth was not ascertained. This was the east boundary wall of the monastery, and corresponded with the first wallencountered at the west end of the street.
Having thus dug through the church of the Greyfriars we will now return over the ground, applying the measurements we have noted, and possibly get an idea of the size and magnificence of this once beautiful edifice. It would seem three-fifths of the length of Queen Street is in point of fact the site of the chancel and nave. Their united length, inside the end walls, made 179 ft. 3 in., and they had a uniform width of 25 ft. For outside measurement add 7 ft., the thickness of the end walls, to the length just given, and we get 186 ft. 3 in. It is curious to note that the length
1 But Mr. Olley doubts this, as he obtained a springer stone from the south-west corner of the crypt, and noticed the south wall of the same standing some feet in advance of the fronts of the houses on the south side of the street. The accompanying plan shows the crypt as extending partially under the house on the north side, but the south wall of the cellar of this house, which bears its south front, is of rubble and great thickness, and quite corresponds to the walls which were cut through in the street.
of St. Margaret's Church at Lowestoft is 182 ft. 8 in., and there is a crypt under the high altar there very similar to that we discovered in Queen Street. Another coincidence is in the length of the naves and chancels. I mentioned that after breaking through the west wall of the church for the first 10 ft. nothing remarkable was thrown up, then we passed through about 37 yds. of cemetery, after which no more skeletons were found. This distance, to be exact, was 122 ft. 6 in., and ended opposite Mr. Durrant's door. This, I believe, was the nave, as all the ground, eastward of this point, had been ransacked and filled up with church debris. St. Margaret's nave is 126 ft. in length. To my mind it is quite plain that the graves of the notables (and there were several buried at the GreyfriarsChurch), were under the floor of the chancel, and these the Vandals violated, for the sake of the lead coffins, but they did not trouble to quarry the nave, as there was nothing there to repay them. So, assuming—and I think may fairly do so that Mr. Durrant's door marks the chancel steps, I find the length of the chancel was 56 ft. 9 in. St. Margaret's chancel is 56 ft. 6 in.
The Greyfriars Church might not have had transepts, but I rather suspect it had, although very short ones, as the cloisters behind Messrs. Bottle and Olley's office run up to within 30 ft. of Queen Street. I am inclined to think the nave had aisles, but possibly only narrow ones, for we see nothing in the fronts of the houses of the remnants of church walls. It was no uncommon thing, when the religious houses were converted to secular uses, to utilise an existing monastic wall, if it happened to stand handy, and the sides of the chancel and nave of this church, I believe, marked out the new street; but whether by arcading or walls I cannot say. Nevertheless, whichever they were, it is more than likely their foun