Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Dunstable Priory

In 1975 (or thereabouts) I did a week's course in Industrial Chaplaincy. I remember going round the Vauxhall works in Luton and our guide telling us to engage with a production line worker and how I singled out the prettiest girl within range and found myself asking her foolish, patronising questions, all the while thinking, "I know I'm coming across as a complete dick but please like me anyway." Was it the single most embarrassing experience of my life? I can't think of a worse. I also remember turning up for some sort of meeting or function in Dunstable and being mightily impressed by the west front of the Priory Church.

Dunstable Priory took a terrible hammering. Only the church remains. Its towers collapsed through natural causes, the chancel and most of the fancy work fell to the reformers and iconoclasts, a mid-nineteenth century "restoration" was needlessly destructive - but the west front- though terribly mutilated- is still magnificent.

I looked hard for something the protestants might have overlooked and found this capital tucked away in a corner. It show some poor sinner being hanhandled by a couple of demons. The one on the left has a boar's head and the one on the right has the head of a fish. We think of Hieronymus Bosch as being pretty weird and far-out, but actually he was mainstream.


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