In the centre a doubly cusped circle is surrounded by twelve radiating openings, whose trefoiled heads abut against twelve other broad trefoils, which are rather curiously run into the mouldings of the containing circle. Over the west porch is a curious eight-light window.
Above the gable comes another English feature, a very large three-light window running up to the very vault; at the top the mullions of each light are carried up so as to intersect, with cusped circles filling in each space, while the whole window to the top is filled with a veil of small reticulated tracery.
First a small rose window, recently renewed, of the same date and type as that in the presbytery gable, was inserted under the earlier narrow window close to the gable point; then the original east window was removed, and a larger one was put in, having three lights and a traceried head with cusped work of late fourteenth-or early fifteenth-century work.
Many dated examples belonging to later years in the century, which seem to indicate a steady growth from the simplest pointed lancets to the elaborately cusped arches which were themselves the prelude to the Geometric period, are adduced as evidence of the improbability of the Early English style having, so to say, grown suddenly to perfection at Ely.
The hair and drapery bad; the face expressive, but blunt in cutting; the small upper heads, necessarily little more than blocked out, on the small scale; but not suggestive of grace in completion: the minor detail worked with great mechanical precision, but little feeling; the lion's head, with leaves in its ears, is quite ugly; and by comparing the work of the small cusped arch at the bottom with Giotto's soft handling of the mouldings of his, in 5, you may for ever know common mason's work from fine Gothic.
In general design and in size it is entirely French: on either side six large statues stand on corbels and under elaborate many-sided canopies, while on the arches themselves is the usual French arrangement of different canopied figures: the tympanum is upheld by a richly cusped segmental arch, and has on it a curiously archaistic carving of Our Lord under a canopy surrounded by the four Evangelists.
The bays are marked by plain aisle buttresses, terminating in three-cornered caps, with a battlement of cusped stonework ornamented with finials behind them. The buttresses of the nave are plain narrow bands of stone topped with small pinnacles.
Beneath round arches smaller cusped round arches with shafts and caps are grouped in threes, the head having two circles within it, sometimes pierced as quatrefoils, sometimes with an interlacing pattern with Oriental suggestion, and reminding one of the patterns in a similar situation in the cloister at Tarragona.
Above them in the middle the apostles watch the Assumption of the Virgin; saints stand in the other divisions, one in each, and over their heads are immense canopies rising across a richly cusped background right up to the vaulting of the arch.
Observe, however, and this may perhaps give us some definite hint for clearing the question, a picture-frame would be less precise in making, and later in style, properly, than cusped arches to be put under the feet of the inventor of all musical sound by breath of man.