(especially as the edifice in question is dedicated to St. Mary), I am inclined to hazard the conjecture, that the
first compartment, nearest Wakefield, may have contained a representation of the Annunciation ; and that the
last, nearest Sandal, by some thought to represent two kings seated upon two thrones, is intended to personify
the Father and the Son—the latter seated at the right hand of God. Such attempts, though unquestionably
bordering on profaneness, have frequently been made both in painting and sculpture.
Admitting, then, this conjecture to be not wholly groundless, the sculptured designs in the five compartments would seem to form a consecutive history of Christ, commencing with the Annunciation, proceeding with
the Nativity, Resurrection, and Ascension of our Lord, and terminating with his glorious Exaltation to the right
hand of the Majesty on high. Be this, however, as it may, the testimony of an eye-witness, of an architect who
made a careful sketch of the chapel and its various embellishments, and who, at the time, experienced no
difficulty whatever in deciphering three out of the five basso-relievos, must, I think, be deemed satisfactory as
far as it goes. The wish, therefore, expressed by Dr. Whitaker, in his " Loidis and Elmete," viz. S€ that the
perishing sculptures on the front could be discovered to throw any light upon the subject," is so far realised as
to leave little doubt in the mind of the antiquarian, that the chapel owes its erection to circumstances wholly
independent of the battle of Wakefield. Indeed, all difficulty upon this subject is removed by a charter of
Edward III., dated at Wakefield, in the 31st year of his reign, anno 1357,* by which instrument he grants " to
William Kaye and William Bull, chaplains, and their successors for ever, the annual sum of 10/., to perform
divine service daily in the chapel of St. Mary, then newly erected on Wakefield Bridge."—I had written thus
much when the " Improved Essay on this and other Ancient Bridge-Chantries," by Norrisson Scatchard, Esq.,
fell into my hands; and I feel gratified in bearing my feeble testimony to a work which contains much valuable
information and original remark : indeed, no one can carefully peruse the essay in question without feeling the
force of the argument, and recognising in the evidence adduced very strong proof of the fact for which the
author contends, viz. that " the edifice on Wakefield Bridge, commonly, but erroneously, called the Chapel of
Edward IV.," was erected about a century earlier, even at a period when the ornamental Gothic, with its rich
and elaborate tracery, is known to have attained its highest excellence.
But to enter into any lengthened discussion on a subject which, after all, may remain matter of controversy, would not consist with the design of these brief notices. Let me, therefore, congratulate the admirers of
our ancient ecclesiastical edifices and the friends of religion, that vigorous efforts are now being made, not only
to restore this interesting relic of a former age to its pristine beauty, but to dedicate it to the worship of
Almighty God in conformity with the doctrine and discipline of the Established Church.
* Vide Hopkinson's Collections.