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the Bishop's Palace: Great Hall Porch

Great Hall Porch

The great hall porch, a grand ceremonial entrance designed to impress visitors and screen the steps and doorway into the great hall. As the first part of the palace to be seen when entering the courtyard, this was naturally the most highly decorated feature of the palace.

It appears that the grand facade of the porch was smoothed over and painted red. Above, the walls were crowned with the most elaborate form of the arcaded parapet, with figure corbels at two levels and carved tablet flowers on the arches. Above that, the spandrels over the arches and the now lost parapet were adorned with a checkerboard pattern in yellow and purple stone.

The arch above the doorway is of a wide depressed ogee (S-shaped) form, with lines of very eroded leaves and carved vine ornament running around the complex molding profile. Seaweed foliage covers the two capitals, and also the central finial.

Above the arch are two gabled and crocketted statue niches. Stone ribs are carved in the heads of the niches. All that remains of the statues are the lower parts of two seated and draped figures. These are traditionally identified as King Edward III (1327-77) and Queen Philippa (d.1369), though this is by no means certain.

Bishop's Palace (13th-14th centuries) in St Davids, Wales.

Credit: Holly Hayes