The CANON GATE, or gatehouse to Canon Lane,
on the west side of South Street, adjoining the Vicars'
Close, is built of flints with stone dressings and is of
two stories. Walcott gives the date of its erection
as temp. Richard III, but as it bears the arms of
Archdeacon Edward More it is probable that it is not
earlier than the 16th century. It was used later
for the Pye Poudre Court in connection with
the Sloe Fair. (fn. 1) It afterwards fell into disrepair and
for a time the space between the smaller arches was
used as a stable. In 1894 it was restored by Mr. Ewan
Christian and the upper story reconstructed. (fn. 2)
The gateway has large archways in the east and
west elevations, with chamfered jambs and threecentred arches, the eastern rebated for gates. The
western archway has its inner order carried on corbels
in the reveals, which are carved as demi-angels holding
shields of arms that are much weather-worn. The
northern shield is charged with a fesse dancetty
between three molets (?) (More), and the southern
with the arms of William of Wykeham or Winchester
College. Both arches have moulded labels with
defaced head-stops. South of them are the narrower
arches for the footway, both entirely modern.
The upper story has in each face a niche between
two windows. The windows are modern and have
trefoiled heads and square labels, but the niches are
ancient, and more or less weather-worn. Both have
brackets carved as demi-angels holding shields,
apparently bearing the sacred monogram I H S. The
east niche is empty, but the west niche is filled by a
rectangular tablet and shield of arms of William of
Wykeham. The niches have ribbed soffits under
ogee canopy-heads which are flanked by pinnacles.
The parapets project on hollow-chamfered stringcourses and have been restored except for two decayed
gargoyles on each face. The ceiling of the gateway
has modern wood beams and the roof is flat.
The detached BELL TOWER, north of the west
end of the nave, was built late in the 14th or early in
the 15th century. (fn. 3) The walls are of large courses of
sandstone ashlar and are divided by string-courses into
three stages. The tower has a moulded plinth and
an embattled parapet, the string of which is enriched
with paterae. In the lowest stage are many putlog
holes. At the angles are square buttresses of four
stages reaching nearly to the parapet. Their two
stop stages coincide with those of the main walls. In
the south-west angle is a stair-turret lighted by loops.
In the west face, cutting through the plinth, is a
moulded pointed doorway with a hood-mould, all
rather weather-worn; above it is a relieving arch. It
leads to a basement story, but its head rises above the
level of the ground floor. On either side in the plinth
is a trefoiled square-headed window to light the basement, and in the south wall are two similar windows
each of two lights.
The ground floor is approximately level with the
top of the plinth, and it is entered by a doorway in the
south wall, with steps leading up to it. The doorway
has moulded jambs and two-centred arch in a square
head with a label; on the spandrels are perished shields.
The internal splays have a projecting edge-mould
which is continued in the four-centred rear-arch.
Above the doorway is a window of two cinquefoiled lights and a sub-cusped quatrefoil in a twocentred head with a hood-mould. There is a similar
window in the west wall. The rear arches are
chamfered. Both windows have been partly restored,
but the old stonework is rather weather-worn.
The second story has no piercings. Inside, the
lowest story is open right up to the third stage. The
stair-vice in the south-west angle is entered by a doorway with a straight-sided four-centred head, and there
is a blocked doorway to the former first floor.
The third stage—the ringing chamber—is lighted
in each wall by a window of two cinquefoiled lights
and vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a hoodmould. The ceiling has two heavy oak beams
running north and south which are supported on wall
posts and curved braces, carried on plain corbels.
The door from the stair-turret has hollow-chamfered
jambs and a three-centred arch.
Above the tower is an octagonal lantern carried
inside the tower on arched squinches of three chamfered orders.
In each side is a window of two trefoiled lights
under a four-centred head; the parapet has a moulded
string-course carved with paterae, and is embattled;
the merlons are pierced by the trefoiled arches.
From the four corners of the tower are octagonal
pinnacles from which are carried short flying buttresses to support the lantern, two from each pinnacle.
Inside the tower is a board recording that the
tower was restored in 1902–8 at a cost of £2,300,
when the stone facing was chemically treated, and
the two west pinnacles were wholly rebuilt and the
two eastern partly. The stone used for the purpose
came from Philpots Quarry, near East Grinstead.
The Pulpitum or Screen constructed by John
Arundel (bishop, 1459–1478) stands in the bell
tower, where it was placed by Dean Hannah in 1905
for preservation. It stands against the north wall
with its former west front facing south. It is of
three bays, the middle one, which was the passage
way, being narrower than the other two, which
formed the chantry chapels of the Holy Cross and
St. Augustine (north side) and St. Mary (south side).
The front has an arcade with moulded responds
and piers and two-centred arches under a moulded
cornice which is carved with various designs, including beast-heads, lions' masks, human heads,
flowers, etc. The spandrels are traceried. Above is
a gallery-front with a range of twenty-two niches;
these are semi-octagonal in plan with panelled sides
and ribbed canopies under cinquefoiled ogee heads
and labels with crockets and finials. The spandrels
between the finials have also deep trefoiled panels.
Each niche has a moulded bracket for an image.
The three bays of the soffit of the screen are liernevaulted, the moulded ribs being carried on engaged
shafts with moulded capitals and bases, and moulded
capitals on the back wall. All the intersections of the
ribs have carved bosses, mostly of foliage, but one has
a man's cowled head, another a human head spouting
leaves from its mouth, and another a lion's mask.
There is a curious deflection in the main diagonal
ribs of the east bay (formerly the south bay) as though
there had been an error by the original masons in the
setting-out and the rib had to be bent (so to speak)
to reach the capitals.
There are many other carved and moulded stones
lying loose in the tower.
In tee ringing-chamber is a faceless clock given in
memory of Dean Hook (1859–1875); it uses the
Cambridge chimes at the quarters and hours.
There are eight bells in the lantern which include
two by R. Phelps (treble and second) of 1729, the
third is of 1583 by I. W. (probably John Wallis of
Salisbury), the fourth 1674 by William Eldridge, the
fifth is dated 1665, the sixth, also 1665, by W. P.
(probably William Purdue), the seventh 1587, by
I. W., and the tenor of 1706, by Richard Phelps of
London. (fn. 4)