National Archives, MH34.
The Builder, 1873, p. 184.
Saint, A., Richard Norman Shaw (Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1977), p. 45.
though generally in fair preservation was partially decayed and the whole building was gone through carefully & Conservatively - replacing only such stones as were irrecoverably perished.He examined the limestone quarries about ten miles west of Salisbury, at Chilmark where the original stone for the cathedral had been quarried, to find an appropriate stone for his repairs. There he discovered a most suitable strata, which although ‘superior in strength & durability to any of the others’, had been neglected by the medieval masons as it formed the roof to their quarrying. He reinforced and protected the foundations by laying a layer of concrete all around the building but, as with so many of his restorations, it was the central tower that gave him the greatest structural problems. Not unexpectedly he discovered that the tower was in a dangerous state.
It is perforated in its thickness by a triforium Gallery leaving a wall externally of little more than 2 feet thick while the interior consists of a light arcade with purbeck marble shafts. The corner turrets have each a staircase being rendering of them a mere shell. On this frail structure the 14th. century builders carried up the vast tower some 80 ft high with walls of nearly 6ft thick and a spire rising from it 180 feet more. It need not then be wondered that the older storey so unduly loaded should have become severely shattered. Subsequent builders kept bolstering it up by flying buttresses & every form of prop they could invent … Still however the crushing went on and when I examined it, it had proceeded to very alarming lengths … The chapter, for further satisfaction called in the aid of an Engineer eminent for Iron construction Mr Shields whose opinion very much coincided with my own …With Francis Webb Shields, who also helped Scott on the Albert Memorial, they produced joint reports in 1865 entitled, Salisbury Cathedral: Reports on the tower & its sustaining piers. As Scott says, ‘To him was confided the arrangement and construction of the Ironwork - which were admirably carried out under his direction by Mess. James of London’, Hutchins as superindent. Scott was then able to ‘proceed with the reparation of the stonework’. The work on the tower and spire ‘spread over many months till at last every crushed stone was replaced by one stronger than the old one had ever been’ and Scott had the dizzy experience of inspecting the works ‘up to the very Vane’. As for the crossing piers, which had been bulging since the fifteenth century Scott, as his predecessors had done, decided to do nothing! In 1866, Scott started to restore the west front. Only eight old statues remained and these were repaired by James Frank Redfern who also made sixty new figures for the vacant niches before his untimely death. He must have had amazing energy and skill to be able to produce such a large quantity of larger than life figures in such a short time. Scott thought that Redfern was a successful man, but after his death discovered that he had been badly in debt and harried by ‘cruel usurers’, dying in poverty. He then described Philip, Stevens, Phyffers and Redfern as ‘four sculptors whom I had known to have died in Poverty within about two years’.
The choir screen was given by Mrs. – Lear as a memorial to her husband – but was very sadly stinted – while she assumed from her very partial Gift a power of tyranizing only second to that assumed by Lord B. I designed what I view as a magnificent screen but it was treated with the no Great respect by Mrs. Lear whose while it assumed to herself the honour of being the donor of the most conspicuous feature in the church not only required considerable outlay from the restoration fund to eke it out but I fear put the person wh[o] executed it Mr Skidmore to loss … Mr Skidmore has here done his very utmost.The screen, which was erected in 1877, reflected the design of the reredos, with a central pointed arch within a gable surmounted by a cross and flanked by an arcade of two and a half arches.
Crook, J. M. (ed.), The Strange Genius of William Burges, ‘Art Architect’, 1827-1881 (National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, 1981), p. 181.
Cocke, T., and Kidson, P., Salisbury Cathedral: Perspectives on the Architectural History (HMSO, London, 1993) pp. 7, 29-31, 33, 69.
Scott, G., Sir, Lectures on the Rise and Development of Medieval Architecture delivered at the Royal Academy (John Murray, London, 1879), vol. I, p. 18.
Scott’s Recollections, II 339, III 305, 307, IV 82-4, 87-91, 94-6, 103-4, 108, 110.
RIBA list (Molesworth Roberts), p. 80.
Cobb, G., English Cathedrals, The Forgotten Centuries, Restoration and Change from 1530 to the Present Day (Thames and Hudson, London, 1980), pp. 113-14.
Fisher, G., Stamp, G. and Heseltine, J., (eds), The Scott Family, Catalogue of the Drawings Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Avebury Publishing, Amersham, 1981), 70 [b].
A Clerical Directory (Crockford, London, 1864). http://www.crockford.org.uk/
Colvin, H., A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840 (Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1995), p. 228.
Pevsner, N., and Newan, J., Dorset, Buildings of England (Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1972), p. 416.
Cole, D., The Work of Sir Gilbert Scott (The Architectural Press, London, 1980), p. 89.
RIBA Drawings Collection, Ledger of Scott’s Office, 1875-1914, pp. 10, 24.
Cattell, J., and Falconer, K., Swindon: The Legacy of a Railway Town (H.M.S.O., London, 1995), pp.19, 52, 61.