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The nave is in the Norman, or Romanesque, architectural style.It is delineated by simple rounded – Roman – stone arches springing from heavy round stone columns.
Entrance, Southwell Minster chapter house (photo: Necrothesp) Because the Southwell Chapter House is relatively small, it does not require a center column to support the roof as a larger area would.
The octagonal room is topped by a vault carried not only on ribs that reach to the center, but also on cross ribs that span between the main ribs.
The original east end of Southwell, and of many other medieval cathedrals, was found to be too small once the building was completed, so the old east end was pulled down and replaced with a larger extension in the latest fashion.
Although the new east end was built within roughly one hundred years of the original building, architecture had moved on quickly.
This commanding style represented effective propaganda for William the Conqueror, who had invaded Britain in 1066 and imposed strong organizational systems in both the Church and government.
Pulpitum and choir of Southwell Minster (photo: Necrothesp) The transepts are also in the Norman style, severe and blunt.Foliate carvings at Southwell Minster (photo: Mattana) The Chapter House, begun circa 1300, is accessible from the north transept, and was the meeting hall of the original (a clergy member drawing a stipend from Anglican church revenues) associated with the minster.Each prebend, who would have held certain responsibilities for his area of the diocese, had a stone seat on the wall of the chapter house.The ceiling of Southwell Minster is a wooden barrel vault.The arches, column capitals, window surrounds, and portals are decorated with carved patterns that are geometric and straightforward.Southwell Minster in Nottinghamshire, England, is not as famous as some of Britain’s other great medieval churches, and neither is it as large.However, it presents superb examples of both Romanesque or Norman and Gothic architecture in a building that suffered little damage during the turbulent years of the British Reformation, Civil War, and World War II.But as you move further east and enter the quire, the uncomplicated architecture and decoration gives way to pointed arches and curlicue embellishments.The sense of moving to a different building and place are somewhat confusing at first, until you are fully inside the east end and find yourself enveloped in the Gothic style.Each seat alcove is topped with decorated trefoil arches and a variety of leaves.The “Leaves of Southwell” have been documented as some of the best medieval stone carvings in England, and represent oak, ivy, hawthorn, grape, hops, and other flora.