Canterbury Cathedral III

By William Morris

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings has heard with regret that it is the intention of the Dean & Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral, to remove from the Choir the ancient stalls which form such an interesting feature of the building. The Society feels it its duty to protest against such a course of action, which it considers injurious to the history, & art of the country. The Society begs to point out that this woodwork is remarkable for its intrinsic beauty, and although of comparatively late date, is a noble example of the art of its period, & in no way interferes with but rather adds to the Architectural Effect of the building. It is stated that these stalls conceal portions of more ancient work, part of the fittings of Prior Eastry, but as the work of that eminent architect is left in a very fragmentary condition, & any restoration must be, on the whole, conjectural as to design, and modern, as to workmanship, the Society feels that it would be a loss rather than a gain, to remove for the purpose of such restoration, a beautiful & untouched work of a formerage.

The Society takes this opportunity of deprecating any attempt at imitating the supposed condition of the choir at any past period of its history, being convinced that however lamentable former destruction of ancient fittings & decorations may have been, the restoration of them is impossible, & can only lead to a condition of things still more grievous to all lovers of art, & still more destructive of the history and dignity of the Cathedral.

Letter to Athenaeum, 7 July 1877.

The reference to this piece of work in the Chronology