More Of The Same

While we're on the subject here's the pillar at Bloxham I mentioned in the last post. Bloxham is just down the road from Adderbury.

Where the iconography at Adderbury is quite straightforward- four knights, four ladies- here it's complex- The figures are knight, lady, king and peasant- and there's lots of stuff going on around them- some of it hard to read. The knight, visible in both these images, has a shield and lance with pennon, both marked with a cross. Does this make him a crusader?

Finally, here's one of the capitals from Hanwell- where, as at Adderbury, the sexes are segregated...

The characters at Bloxham and the knights at Adderbury have their arms linked (the Adderbury ladies don't have arms). At Hanwell all the people lean forwards, arms braced- as if pushing themselves out through a window- a little aggressively, as if they had a point to make...

A North Oxfordshire Speciality

St Mary, Adderbury has two highly decorated pillars, one on the south side of the building, at the transition from aisle to transept and the other in a similar position to the north. The southern one has a capital showing four knights with their arms linked, so...

and the one to the north has ladies...

This style of capital is a north Oxfordshire speciality. There's a single example at Bloxham, while Hanwell has a complete set- with every column in the arcades displaying one. There may be others but, if so, I haven't come across them yet- and I don't think they occur anywhere else in the country. Presumably we're looking at the work of a single local mason or group of masons. Pity we can't put a name to them. Pity the idea didn't catch on....

Thanks, Atiyah!

The thing that went bang in the night was the front gate falling over. Matthew was driving over first thing this morning with yet another load of his mother's books and he found it- and he and I had to drag it out of the way before he could carry on down the drive. Of course he'll be getting the contract to put up a new one. The thing that snapped was the gatepost- which is a great thick thing- and the break occurred about six inches below ground level.

The Irish meteorological office got to name the storm that did the damage because it hit them first. They called it Atiyah.

St Mary, Adderbury 2

Back to Adderbury.

The corbel tables at the west end of the church are a compendium of the weird and wonderful.

Comical bird, bagpiper, winged lion, archer

Peasant, double-headed man/youth and age, mermaid

Zither player, long haired monster

Viol player, monster (human-headed flea?)

As I've noted before, Hieronymus Bosch wasn't the only late medieval artist with a vivid imagination.

On And On And On

We did a lot of driving yesterday- and not in the best of conditions.

We went to bed and we were still driving. I don't know exactly what Ailz was seeing behind her closed eyelids but I was seeing twilit country roads- and then forests- by which time I was no longer in a car but disembodied- and then the dry beds of mountain torrents that plunged down and down, getting progressively steeper. I knew I wasn't in any danger so I let the movie roll. It was quite pleasant really...

A Sunset Rainbow

We were driving south in pelting rain and as the setting sun- a fuzzy orange ball- slipped into the space between the overcast and the horizon a rainbow duly appeared in the dimness over to the east. It was a fairly drab rainbow- because there wasn't much light to power it- but it stuck around and must have been visible, coming and going, for about a quarter of an hour.

A sunset rainbow is something I can't think I've ever seen before.

St Mary, Adderbury 1

The Oxfordshire Historical Churches Trust thinks St Mary the Virgin, Adderbury is probably the finest parish church in the county- and they should know.

Where to begin? The glory of the building is that it is encrusted, inside and out, with splendid medieval carving- most of it 14th century. I think I'll be filling several posts with images.

OK, lets start with a couple of extras from the Muppet Show gargoyles...

St Michael, Aynho

Neoclassical churches are a rarity in the English countryside- for obvious reasons. By the time neoclassicism was all the rage most towns and villages already had a medieval church- and why be at the expense of making a new one? The Cartwrights at Aynho (it had to have been the Cartwrights; their monuments are all over the shop) thought otherwise. They demolished the old church (only they kept the tower) and had Edward Wing build them a new one in the preferred style. If they'd have had this inspiration a century later (that is if they'd been Victorians) I'd have been griping at them, but Wing's St Michael, Aynho is magnificent. I can't deplore it.

The interior is plain to the point of bleakness- just a big rectangular room, but I liked this little side chapel/mausoleum.

The mausoleum contains this real oddity; it's French and 17th century and the plaque at the base says it was presented to a convent chapel by Louis XIII. I assume some Cartwright picked it up in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars when continental junk shops were overflowing with remnants of the old regime. I suppose the flanking figures are meant to be the Virgin and St John but I've never seen them looking so Greek.

These tombstones predate the church (they date from c 1700). The high relief carving is characteristic of the Northants- North Oxfordshire region.

Political Capital

But if you attack the PM for making political capital out of the London Bridge attack aren't you guilty of doing exactly the same thing?

That's a genuine question. I'm not sure of the answer.

Is it a sufficient defence to say, "Well, he started it"?


Lucid dreams aren't necessarily any more cogent than ordinary ones- it's just that (a) you know you're dreaming and (b) everything is clearer than usual. Last night I was drifting- flying actually- through a random landscape, having random encounters. There was a bookshop, there was a church, there were grassy hills coated in transparent ice- and the last thing I saw was a woman in a long black dress standing on the ridge tiles of a distant roof. I was sorry it ended. Lucid dreams are fun. I wish I had them every night.