?

Log in

No account? Create an account
The Font At Winterbourne Monkton - Eroticdreambattle — LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Tony Grist

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

The Font At Winterbourne Monkton [Jul. 23rd, 2008|10:46 am]
Tony Grist
The font is Saxon and the carving Norman (that's what my sources say, anyway) 



The zig-zag meander suggests water, and the curving shapes underneath look like horns of plenty.

And then there's this extraordinary figure.



A big-bellied woman, legs splayed, with a leafy sprig coming out of her vulva. In her right hand she holds a sickle. Her face is blank. Her headdress has little points suggesting either horns or a crown. The meander begins at the tip of her sickle and terminates in her cupped left hand. 

That's what I think we're seeing anyway. The carving is so rough there may be other interpretations. Traces of paint remain. 

Who is she- A river goddess? A fertility goddess? St Mary Magdalene? I really don't know. 
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: aellia
2008-07-23 11:22 am (UTC)
Fascinating
This caught my interest.I Googled,you atr top of the list!
t looks to me as though it was put in under disguise.
And imagine those traces of paint! So many years since the hane that brushed them on fell still
x
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-23 11:40 am (UTC)
Michael Dames has a story about visiting the church in the 70s and pointing the figure out to two ladies who'd worshipped there all their lives and how they were very surprised because they'd never noticed it before.

I'm top of the list? Wow!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: daisytells
2008-07-23 11:58 am (UTC)
That's a nice picture of Ailz.
By the way, your churches make ours look like the often pale imitations that they are. It's true that there are a few outstanding examples of church architecture in America, but none can compare to the truly ancient ones in the UK.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-23 12:08 pm (UTC)
I once spent the summer providing holiday relief for the rector of an 18th century church in Philadelphia. That was a very attractive building.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2008-07-23 06:53 pm (UTC)
We rode by it a few months ago. I'll take its picture next time.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-23 07:20 pm (UTC)
I'd love to see it again.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2008-07-23 08:39 pm (UTC)
They have a website, and they're hiring. I think I know the consultant they retained to guide them through the discernment process. See the "profile" pdf.

http://www.rahmweb.com/stjames/
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jnanacandra
2008-07-23 04:01 pm (UTC)
She reminds me of Baubo, but I don't know of a comparable figure in Norse mythology. Fascinating.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-23 04:56 pm (UTC)
She's unique. I don't know of anything like her in Britain or elswhere.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: sovay
2008-07-23 05:02 pm (UTC)
These are really a wonderful set of photographs. It's like being walked through layers of time.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-23 05:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks.

Avebury's like that. Layer upon layer- and many of the levels utterly mysterious.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2008-07-23 06:56 pm (UTC)
She's probably a Shelagh-na-gig. [there are multiple spellings of it]

http://www.sheelanagig.org/
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-23 07:20 pm (UTC)
She resembles a Sheela, but....

Sheelas aren't depicted giving birth. And I can't think of one that has anything in her hands. No, I believe there's something a little different going on here.


(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2008-07-23 11:14 pm (UTC)
The font figure would be another example of a Sheela na Gig, wouldn't it?
I found some references to this font by googling and you are indeed at the top of the list today.
:)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-24 09:05 am (UTC)
Sheelas are "exhibitionist female figures". They display their sex and that's all they do. This one appears to be giving birth and is doing expressive things with her hands, so I don't think she really fits the category.

Going out on a limb (guided by Michael Dames) I think she's a river Goddess- the personification of the Winterbourne/Kennet.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2008-07-24 01:06 pm (UTC)
That's a lovely serene portrait of Ailz.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2008-07-24 01:07 pm (UTC)
On second look, I'm interested in the post that is smack in the middle of the pews--looks like a tree!--to Ailz's left.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-24 07:38 pm (UTC)
Ah yes, well spotted! There are two of them and they're there to support the tower. They seem old- 17th century perhaps.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2008-07-24 01:10 pm (UTC)
What I love: the shiny red fire extinguisher next to the ancient font. How amazed and baffled the stonecarver would have been to see it there! And what an odd place for a fire extinguisher, just next to a water basin!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-07-24 07:39 pm (UTC)
Ah, but there isn't any water in the font. I wonder if they still use it for baptisms.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)