|The Culpepper Chapel, Hollingbourne
||[Aug. 24th, 2019|08:18 am]
The Culpepper chapel is tacked onto the north side of the chancel of Hollingbourne church. It was built in 1638 by Sir Thomas Culpeper, not only as a monument to his wife Elizabeth- "best of women, best of wives, best of mothers"- but as a family cenotaph. Elizabeth's tomb- the work of the distinguished sculptor Edward Marshall, later to be appointed master mason to the crown- occupies the centre of the building, while round the walls are stone shields designed to be filled with the coats of arms of the succeeding generations of Culpeppers. As it was, the family quit the area shortly after the chapel was built and most the shields are blank.|
Elizabeth was a Cheney- and her sturdy, square-toed shoes rest against the flank of her family's heraldic animal- a very rare spotty beast called a theow- which- with its canine head and body, hooves and long, tasselled tail- is as close as the medieval mind came to realising a hyena.
That is wonderful! I'd never come across a Theow before - how extraordinary!
I'd never come across one either.
That is a fantastic tomb and I don't believe I've ever seen a theow though perhaps I have but didn't know what I was looking at.
I suspect I've seen theows before and dismissed them as generic grotesques.
I am always amazed at talented sculptors being able to make sheer fabric and drapes actually look delicate, even though it's stone they are working with.
It's a remarkable skill.
Marshall isn't a famous name- not even moderately famous- but he was good.
That's a remarkable piece of work. I love the theow!
The theow is wonderful.
But why would anyone chose it as their power animal/heraldic beast?
Good question. I don't understand it, but then there's a lot I don't understand about the norms of that period.