Page:A tour through the northern counties of England, and the borders of Scotland - Volume I.djvu/299

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pride of the palatinate bishops equalled their power, is exalted far above the prebendaries and canons below; the centre has a chair of state, canopied with a tabernacle roof richly embossed with golden ornaments. A skreen of most beautiful pattern and the lightest workmanship divides the choir from the sanctuary, made of alabaster in the year 1380. In the latter member of the fabric (by far the most sacred of the whole) formerly stood the shrine of St. Cuthbert, on an elevated piece of stone masonry thirty-sevenfeet in length, and twenty-six in breadth. In the centre of this, a black marble slab marked the spot where the dust of the saint is deposited. No vestige now remains of the splendour which surrounded the shrine, and the riches offered at its sanctuary; but the number of its votaries whilst the reign of superstition continued, may be calculated from the hollow impressions made in the hard stones surrounding the monument by the feet of the pilgrims who performed here their prostrations, genuflexions, and obeisances. From hence we descend by several steps to the last member of the church, the eastern transept, or nine altars, as it is called, from the circumstance of its having formerly been adorned with that number, dedicated to as many saints; the pilasters, mouldings, columns, and roof, all of the same beautiful architecture which distin--