I knew the story of the old holy man, blind of one eye.............
It's a classic returning hero trope.
It's a good story- and maybe it's true. It seems the document that records it is remarkably circumstantial.
Do you know Kipling's story, The Tree of Justice, which riffs on the legend?
That is a spectacular church; the interior looks like a full-on cathedral - except the size of the people reveal the smaller scale. Also, I really DO love a vaulted nave, but it's nice that some old churches retain their original flat ceilings; it changes the entire sound and experience of being in a church space.
The original church- as built by the Normans- was on the scale of a small cathedral. I think it was bigger than- say- Rochester. What's left is only a fragment of the whole.
Sometimes a fragment can be more special than the whole. There's more room for imagination - and after all, we've all seen huge cathedrals, so perhaps that's why I'm so excited about your pictures of smaller churches.
I do wonder how tall that ceiling is. I'd guesstimate it at around 15 metres/45ft, which is obviously not very high for such a grand church building - but then, it seems to be a transitional building with Romanesque features but a decidedly Gothic structure with arcade, gallery and clerestory.
Wikipedia tells me that the Norman church- which is essentially what still stands- was built between 1090 and 1150. That I suppose covers the period when the Gothic style was beginning to emerge.
When you look at the structure of the "walls" between the nave and the aisles, you see the same structural pattern as in Chartres or Amiens, except of course that the gallery level is not a gallery as the aisles aren't vaulted but follow the roof line.
In fact, the more I look at the pictures, the more fascinated am I by the way Norman architecture fits into the change from Romanesque to Gothic... In Denmark the change was different, as our greatest cathedrals were built in brick and most smaller churches were built in field stones - so columns and elaborate carvings are rare here.
Gothic grows out of Anglo-Norman. Durham cathedral- which is wholly of the Romanesque period- had pointed arches several decades before any building in France.
I think we're too rigid in our definitions of architectural style. After all Romanesque and Gothic are terms that didn't appear until centuries after these buildings went up.
All styles are just contemporary until they grow old-fashioned. Then we name them...
And while I do think the pointed arches are a feature of Gothic architecture, it really seems to me that the structure - the perforation of walls and the change from "shaping space" to "shaping stones" - is the key to Gothic architecture. Convex building elements replacing concave elements. Columns, pilasters, ribs, haut reliefs...
Oh dear, oh dear... That east end... is flamboyant. And belongs in another church. One somewhere in France.
Lovely, lovely Romanesque interior, though.
Burges doesn't attempt to blend in. He's saying, "We moderns can stand up to the medievals and trade them punch for punch." In some ways it's an admirable stance- and Burges was a genius of sorts- but I could wish he'd not adopted it here.
Suspect there's not much of Harold left there either.
I understand the church official responsible for giving the archaeologists permission to dig turned their application down on the grounds that they were unlikely to find anything and if they did it would be impossible to prove it had anything to do with Harold.