Brief Tour of the Inside

Previous page: The Deanery

Entering the abbey by the great west door:

The nave and choir burst at once upon our sight, and as we gaze upon the long rows of light and lofty clustered columns dividing them from the side aisles, spanned by pointed arches and surmounted by the triforium with its clere story windows, we are at first unable to bring down our attention to details; but as we walk reverently towards the choir we note how the pillars at the eastern end melt away in a semicircular form to enclose the chapel of Edward the Confessor, round whose ashes, within the costly shrine erected by Henry III., have gathered those of his successors, Edward I., Henry III., Henry V., and Edward VI.

The choir, with its groined vaulting, is a beautiful specimen of Early English architecture, and though the decorations are comparatively modern, they are all of the style which prevailed in the time of Edward III.

The pavement in front of the altar is old, having been laid down by Henry III. (1268), but the mosaic reredos above the high altar representing the Last Supper is of our own day, and was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott and executed by Clayton and Bell.

In the upper windows at the east end of the choir are six figures on ancient stained glass, supposed to represent Christ, the Virgin, Edward the Confessor, St. John the Evangelist, St. Augustine, and St. Melitus, Bishop of London.

The eight windows in the central Tower, or Lantern, above the choir, are modern, and their designs illustrate the Te Deum.

The choir contains, in addition to several historic monuments of interest, the supposed tomb of the King Sebert, already mentioned, above which has been placed a retabulum, dating from the thirteenth century, found in the Islip Chapel by Blore.

Next page: Coronations