Tower arch. S capitals from NE

Image of the feature "IV. Interior Features: 1. Arches: b. Tower/Transept arches: Tower arch" at Felkirk.

by Rita Wood.

The jambs, and the later vertical parts above the capitals, are coursed with the small extent of the W wall of the nave but not with the tower walls. There is some renewal of the impost, on the N and S ends, and on the angles, but it seems originally to have extended to the wall N and S.

The arch to nave and tower is of two orders. The bases on the S side are worn but better preserved on the N side. A large plinth,  plain and chamfered, supports all orders.

The first order is common to the nave and tower. The plinth to first order is plain and square, and the round bases of the double column extend to the edge of this plinth, with tongue-shaped lugs at the angles. The profile of the base is convex, concave with two plain neckings before the column itself. The pair of columns show more than half their circumference and are coursed. The N double capital has a cable necking, and on each face, a pair of double scallops, with sunk semicircles in the shields and ornamented with single varied symmetrical foliage patterns, one on each cone, except on the SE angle (towards the nave) where there is a bearded man’s head - he seems to be smiling. Above the scallops, the capital has a band of chip-carved star pattern. The impost is chamfered and upright, and on the chamfer a row of small arches, sunk in the bays. On the sides of the capital to the W and E these bays are empty, but on the S face there are nine bays each with a man’s head, placed sideways and looking down. On the upright of the impost, on the main face is a foliage pattern based on a wavy stem with ‘periwinkle flowers’; at the W side more of the arcade, and on the E side more of the foliage. The S double capital is similar in many ways including a cable necking and double scallops. There are symmetrical foliage patterns on the cones as before, but the ornament on the SW angle is not understood. Between each cone is a cabled dart, and in the two central shields on the main face, a triquetra and a cross pattern are incised within circles. On the upright above the shields is a second foliage pattern based on a wavy stem from which sprouts stems with small pointed and rounded leaves; this is on all three faces of the capital. On the impost, the chamfer has a pattern of intersecting arches; in the upright a foliage trail with ‘periwinkles’, except on the W side where it has been repaired and has an arcade.

Second order, on the nave side. The N capital has a cable necking and is double scalloped as before, but in much flatter in proportion. On the N face sunken shields are incised with a triquetra and an interlace cross pattern; on the upright of the capital, on both faces, is a length of the second foliage pattern. The impost is of two patterns, the second foliage pattern and blank arcades, both with repaired sections. The S capital is similar to the N capital, but has no incised motifs. The upper part of the capital bears the second foliage pattern. The impost is renewed in the upright section; it has intersecting arches on the chamfer, and, on the upright, blank arcades. On the L the second stone of the impost, running to the wall, is renewed.

Second order, on the tower side. On the N side, the base has a trefoil ornament formed of a rounded moulding. The  capital has a cable necking and is double scalloped, with flat proportions. There is no additional motif. Above the shields runs the second foliage pattern. The impost, renewed, has a blank arcade on both chamfer and upright. The S capital has a cable necking, as before, but this slim capital does not have scallops and cones, merely a slight taper. It has three pairs of spiral volutes, or perhaps three plants with spiralling foliage, and a leafy stem to the L. On the upright of the capital, is a band of the second foliage pattern. Most of the impost is renewed (perhaps incorrectly); the pattern of the older part is intersecting arcade on the chamfer and blank arcade on the upright.

Dimensions: width of base stone in which the lugs are carved:  0.7- 0.71m.