As has long been recognized, the transepts of Winchester cathedral show evidence of several changes in design during the first forty years of their existence. Soon after building began, a decision was made to add towers at the corners of each transept, and modifications were carried out so that the original structure would be made strong enough to support the towers. There is some evidence for the design of the corner towers, and several features related to this question have not previously been noted. The tower project was eventually abandoned, but the discontinuation of the transept towers imposed on the builders a compromise design for the clerestory fenestration. The result was a syncopated treatment of the interior arcade openings, a type of double-bay system which binds the two adjoining terminal bays on the clerestory level as they exist today. The collapse of the central tower in 1107 was followed by the rebuilding of the two adjacent transept bays and the introduction of more advanced detailing: rib vaulting and scalloped capitals, some with acanthus foliage. These archaeological details permit a refinement of the chronology of the transept construction.
- Copyright 1991 The Society of Architectural Historians