Opposite was a musicians' gallery of paneled oak, supported by corbels of stone placed about eight feet above the floor. A dais was built at the other end of the building from the entrance, for the master's table, and from this a smaller door opened into a stone passageway leading to the castle, while near it another door, leading to the kitchens, was placed.
The corbels are quite in Archbishop Roger's manner, and indicate that these strengthening arches, and therefore the blocking walls from which they spring, are of his period. This string is interrupted by a rather inexplicable round arch in the west wall, and has also been broken by the obtrusion of the Perpendicular tower-pier, and by the blocked doorway which once opened from the Rood Screen.
The choir is, as would be expected, richer in detail as well as more elaborate in design; and it would be difficult to find in England anything to surpass the tracery of the clerestory windows and triforium arches, the beautiful cusped inner arches of the clerestory range, the open parapets at the base of the two stages, or the long corbels, covered with foliage, that support the vaulting shafts.
The capitals of the pillars in the church, the vaulting of the roof and the shafts of the arches which supported the tower are full of singular grace and beauty, even now when the abbey is roofless and in part destroyed, while the corbels and mouldings round the lancet-shaped windows are full of luxuriant fancy and charm.
There is a good vault springing from corbels, but the clerestory windows have been replaced by large semicircles. All the body of the church of Santa Maria da Marvilla at Santarem is built in the style of Dom João III., that is, the nave arcade has tall Ionic columns and round arches.
In that transept the old wooden roof still remains. The nave is Perpendicular, solid and plain; the roof quite modern, though the corbels that supported the old one, carved with representations of angels singing and playing, were not disturbed. The sedilia in the chancel and the aumbry in the north transept should be seen.
The architrave is unadorned, the frieze has corbels set in pairs, and between the pairs curious shields and strapwork, and the cornice is enriched with dentils, egg and tongue and modillions. Most elaborate of all is the barrel vault, where each coffer is filled with round or square panels surrounded with strapwork.
With most peoples the first stage consisted probably in those corbels or off-sets by which the width of the space to be covered was reduced course by course, till a junction was effected at the top; and sometimes this early stage may have been dispensed with.
Indeed, from the various corbels and shafts in this storey it would seem that the level of the ceiling had been altered, possibly more than once, and perhaps that it was destined to be altered again when the remodelling should be complete. The present ceiling, flat and painted with good effect, was put up by Sir Gilbert Scott.
on corbels; the frieze of the cornice is carved much after the manner of the window panel in the dormitory corridor at Thomar, and with long masks where it projects over the shafts. Below, the carved cornice and architrave are carried across the opening as they are round the whole octagon, but the frieze is open and filled with balusters.