Prior's doorway, R side, corbel and upper jamb.

Image of the feature "Doorways: Prior's doorway from cloister N walk into S nave aisle, bay 8." at Ely.

by Ron Baxter.

Round headed, three orders with tympanum.

In place of a capital, between the top of the jamb and the impost on the W side, is an exhibitionist lion, its head projecting and its body arched so that its rump and genitals project from the wall above it. A real lion would have to twist its body as well to achieve the pose, but there is no sign of this. In the corresponding position on the E jamb there are signs that something is lost. A similar lion is shown in Bentham's 1768 engraving, but this is clearly an attempted reconstruction. Lysons's view of 1808 shows the loss much as it is at present. The impost is shared with the second order, and the arch above is flat and carved with a series of palmettes in low relief. There are losses at upper L and upper R of this archivolt, which occurred before 1808.

On the inside the masons have had to cope with the thickness of the wall and the difference in levels between the nave aisle and the cloister walk. The result is a single order doorway with a deeply recessed tympanum covering the back of the tympanum described above. The arch has an angle roll and face hollow, and is supported on nookshafts with cushion capitals and hollow chamfered imposts with a roll towards the bottom of the face. The shaft bases, of double-roll profile, stand on square plinths on the projecting course at the bottom of the aisle wall. A high step is provided to descend from the aisle to the cloister walk.


h of lintel 0.225 m
h of opening 2.525 m
h of tympanum + lintel 1.11 m
thickness of lintel 0.23 m
w of opening 1.45 m
w of tympanum 1.68 m