Chancel capitals, N 1

Image of the feature "IV. Interior Features: 5. Interior Decoration: c. Miscellaneous: The arcade linking the nine windows." at Farnham.

by John McElheran.

Inside, the nine windows are linked by an arcade which is formed of their second order arch and a base, column and capital shared with the adjacent window(s). As with the string course, the bases have been restored; they resemble those of the S doorway. The shafts are also new.

First order: plain and splayed to the glass.

Second order, renewed bases, detached column and original capital, arch chamfered and plain, finishing flush with the wall.

The ten individual capitals are numbered from L to R on each wall; with NE and SE capitals in the corners.

The condition of the capitals varies, the best surviving one is S1. All the capitals retain some patchy plaster and most have suffered abrasion or actual breakage. Consequently, detail is often obscure or even missing. Unusual for truly Romanesque work is the unity of form throughout the series. The model as in S1 seems to have been used for all the capitals with the exception of N2. There may be some slight difference in handling or proportion as of individual workmen, but this series is remarkably uninventive for Romanesque work. On the other hand, the waterleaf design used is more elaborate than many.

All capitals appear to have integral ring, capital and impost. The ring is rounded, of a squarish section except for the suggestion of a hollow in the vertical part. The impost is of a slightly hollow chamfer, then a one-sided groove near the bottom of the plain upright.

N1 is in poor condition, abraded and masked by plaster. It is probably the standard design, but at present looks more like a softer version of waterleaf, perhaps without the ornament in the centre of each face.

N2 . This capital is distinct from all the others, being formed simply as a deep hollow chamfer. Not a circular profile, but parabolic. 

All other capitals follow the pattern of S2. This is a waterleaf capital, the corner leaves having flat and smallish volutes, a central v-shaped groove as mid-rib on the angle. In the centre of each face, the leaf edge is concave, narrowing towards the ring and leaving an arched space in the middle of each face. This space again shows an incised midrib, which belongs to a small narrow leaf which raises its tip above the waterleaves. There is a horizontal ledge running all round the capital between the volutes and above all the leaves: at Selby Abbey (for example) a similar form is used, but it appears as separate tongues on each face, not as a continuous disc. There is a space between this feature and the vertical face of the impost: this hollow chamfer sets off the leaves. 

Dimensions

ht. from floor at N doorway to springing approx. 3.8m
ht from sill to springing of 2nd order approx. 2.42m
ht. from sill to tiled pavement approx. 1.41m
w. of splay of a window: 1.53m