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thers, in their churches. The body of the church extended to a great length, from east to west, confifting of its nave, and fide aifles, and the tranfept croffed it at right angles from fouth to north. As this tranfept was generally of the fame height and width with the nave, it followed, that no light could be thrown from above into the large central fquare, had it been finished off at the fame height with the other parts of the nave. This would have thrown a kind of gloom upon the centre, instead of making it the moft cheerful part of the building, as its confpicuous pofition rendered, in fome meafure, neceffary. There alfo was wanting an abutment to the long row of arches on each fide of the nave, which could not have been well effected by the large pointed central arch of the tranfept alone; fome contrivance must be therefore adopted for providing here an abutment for the purpose wanted, that fhould not incommode the church. The device the architect adopted here, is like all the others we have had occafion to develope, beautifully fimple and efficacious, and has been fo managed, as to answer feveral other beneficial purposes, befides thofe which, of neceffity, gave rife to the object' in queftion.
To form the abutment wanted, it became neceffary to load each of the four central corner pillars with fuch a weight as fhould become a counterpoise to all the range of arches that abutted upon them. This was effected by rearing up a wall upon the top of the central arches, exactly upon the fame principle as that on which were reared the walls above the pillars of the naves; but as the preffure here was great, the weight wanted was much more confiderable than in the other cafe; and therefore it became neceffary to rear these walls to a much greater height. Here then we fee the origin and primary ufe of thofe central towers that conftitute a peculiar and ftriking characteristic of that Tpecies of Gothic ftructures now treated of.
In rearing these towers, the fkilful architects faw how eafy it was to introduce the light that was wanted, to the central part of the building. It was only to put into each fide of the fquare, which conftituted the bafe of the tower, a large window, on the fame principles with the other windows made in these buildings, which, by thus affuming the fhape of a common lantern, has obtained the name of the lantern of the tower.
But as it would have had a difagreeable effect to have made the infide roof of these lanterns as high as would have been neceffary for the walls, and would have been in certain mechanical refpects attended with difficulties, they commonly threw cross arches over that tower as ufual, making them all meet at the centre, and forming a roof at no great height above the top of the windows. Thefe higher arches required in their turn abutments, which was effected by elevating the walls of the tower still higher: And as bells were wanted for the church, a place was made in the tower, above the lantern, for receiving the bells. Where the tower was not to be reared to a great height, these were fometimes roofed in with a wooden roof. Sometimes, however, a stone arch was thrown over the divifion for the bells alfo, which, if as flat as ufual, required, that the walls of the tower should be carried to a greater height ftill, to ferve as abutments. Thefe walls were of course, in these cases, cut off fquare over at top, being fometimes ornamented with some kind of railing or battlements, with small turrets at the corners for ornament. Such, then, is the origin and uses of those maffy central towers, and fuch is the reason why fo many of them have been finished fquare off at top, as, they are fo commonly to be seen in England.
Sometimes, however, it was thought, that a high central pointed roof to these towers would be ornamental; and where that was wanted, it alfo was effected. This was done by making the fpire for the most part Voz III. +
of wood, on account of its lightness. To render the preffure upon the abutment the lefs, thefe fpires were made very high and pointed, and their bafe was receiv ed into the square tower confiderably below the battlements. Of this kind was the ancient fpire of old St. Pauls London, and that of Lincoln cathedral, at this day, and many others. Sometimes fpires of tone formed the top of pretty high towers, as on the two well towers of the Church of old Aberdeen. Sometimes this was done even over the central towers; but as the great weight of this load muft have been too much for the counterpoife wanted, if thefe central towers had been carried up square to a confiderable height, they found it neceffary, where a ftone fpire was intend ed, to make the arch extremely pointed indeed, and to cause it be begun as low down as poffible; fo that the weight, which, in the other cafe, was put into the perpendicular walls, was here thrown chiefly into the cone. Sometimes, however, they proceeded to exhibit a yet higher exertion of their mechanical powers, by crowning thefe central towers with open arched ribs of stone, fupporting pinnacles of confiderable altitude. As this is perhaps the climax of mechanical invention that has been attained by thefe artifts, I fhall think myself par donable for endeavouring to develope, with all poffible brevity, the principles on which towers of this kind have been conftructed.
I have seen three towers crowned in this manner: Thofe of St. Nicolas church in Newcastle; the college church at old Aberdeen; and the central tower of St. Giles's church Edinburgh. As this laft is more under my eye than the others, and as it is generally esteemed a most beautiful tower, my defcription fhall chiefly apply to it,
The problem here propofed to the architect, feems to have been fomewhat of this nature: "To rear up
a certain number of open ribs of stone work, on the "principles of an arch, above the top of a wall of the
tower, and to give to the whole fuch a form as "would make it an elegat finishing to the tower :" And the architect, after having fettled in his own mind. what was the form of arch that the circumstances rendered practicable, and the adjuncts required to give it the neceffary ftability, feems to have felected the papal crown as the object it would be most easy and proper for him here to attempt to imitate, by giving arbitrary forms to the parts that could not be difpenfed with, that should accord with the general figure of the tiara.
With these ideas he proceeded, being happy to find that the high conical form of the tiara accorded very well with the great elevation and ftreightness of the rib, that was neceffary to make it fupport itself with fo fmall a load upon its outfide as the circumstances of the cafe required. By this means, he was enabled to make the ribs much more flender, and of courfe lighter to the eye, than otherwife could have been practicable. By this means too, he was enabled to make the pinnacles at the bottom much fmaller than would have otherwife been neceffary*, as well as to rear upon the top a higher and more elegant pinnacle than would otherwife have been practicable.
Still, however, had the ribs been left totally bare, and of the lender ftructure our architect judged neceffary to produce the light effect he intended, notwithstanding its height, the preffure at the top would have been too great not to have endangered the flying outwards of the arch towards the middle. To counterbalance this preffure, therefore, he contrived to load each of the ribs with two pinnacles of proportional fizes,
• Still farther, however, to diminish the fize of these bottom pinnacles, which would have otherwife been difproportioned to the others for the defign in view, the cautious architect has made the ribs themselves deeper at the bafe than the top It would form a pleafing object of research for a perfon of fkil, to compare the various devices tha: ha been adopted by thefe artifts for effecting the fam: purpofe in different ci cumftances.
June Fi each of which standing in a particular direction, the whole, including the pinnacles at the bafe, when viewed together, resembled not unaptly the triple row of ornaments on the bands of the Popish crown. Thefe, when viewed from below, form a congeries of pinnacles, projecting from, and interfecting the ribs of the arches in fuch a manner as to be thought by most per fons who have viewed it, to afford a beautiful affemblage, that appears at the fame time rich without confufion, and light without meannefs. It is only when feen at a diftance, that the form of the tiara becomes confpicuous.
It has been already remarked, that Sir Criftopher Wren has found it neceffary to adopt the fame general ftructure of an arch, as the above, for fupporting the lantern he has thought proper Cro place on the top of the dome of St. Paul's London. But in this laft cafe, the cone, instead of being only a few narrow open ribs, confifts of a folid circle all round; and inftead of making all the parts of the arch be fupported by its own weight, as our Gothic artifts have done, Sir Criftopher has adopted the aukward contrivance of binding it all round, at no less than fix different places, with strong chains of iront. I wish not in general to draw comparifons; but it is not poffible on this occafion to avoid taking notice of the fingular elegance and propriety of the one of thefe mechanical contrivances beyond the other. Shall we ftill continue to call the inventors of thefe arts rude and illiterate Barbarians?
ON GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE.
Without proceeding farther at prefent, though the fubject is not nearly exhaufted, what has been faid will, I hope, be deemed fufficient to fhew, that our Gothic
+ Thofe who wish to fee this contrivance developed, may have recourse to a very fine fection of St. Paul's, engraved by Rooker.
In the one cafe, the materials are all of the fame nature, and must ftand or fall altogether. In the other cafe, they are not. The iron chains may ruft and fall to picces long before the other materials give way.