In the suburb of Vaucelles, the church of St. Michael contains some architectural features of great curiosity. The circular-headed arches in the short square tower, and in a small round turret that is attached to it, are unquestionably early Norman, and are remarkable for their proportions, being as long and as narrow as the lancet windows of the following aera. It would not be equally safe to pronounce upon the date of the stone-roofed pyramid which covers this tower. The north porch is entered by a pointed arch, which, though much less ornamented, approaches in style to the southern porch of St. Ouen, and, like that, has its inner archivolt fringed with pendant trefoils. The wall above the arch rises into a triangular gable, entirely covered with waving tracery, the only instance of the kind which I have seen at Caen.
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[Footnote 71: Huet, Origines de Caen, p. 12.]
[Footnote 72: Upon this subject, Huet has an extraordinary observation, (Origines de Caen, p. 186.) “that, in the early times of Christianity, it was customary for all churches to front the east or north, or some intermediate point of the compass.”—So learned and careful a writer would scarcely have made such a remark without some plausible grounds; but I am at a loss where to find them. Bingham, in his Origines Eccleslasticae, I. p. 288, says, “that churches were so placed, that the front, or chief entrances, were towards the west, and the sanctuary or altar placed towards the east;” and though he adduces instances of a different position, as in the church of Antioch, which faced the east, and that of St. Patrick, at Sabul, near Down in Ulster, which stood from north to south, he cites them only as deviations from an established practice.]
[Footnote 73: Cotman’s Architectural Antiquities of Normandy, t. 20.]
[Footnote 74: Antiquities of Ireland, p. 151.]
[Footnote 75: See Cotman’s Architectural Antiquities of Normandy, t. 18, 19.]