Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Pen Selwood, Somerset

These carvings are in the porch of St Michael's church.

Carved Norman lintel from Pen Selwood church
The Norman lintel has a lamb of god in the centre. A canine-like creature stands on its right, and a long-clawed lion-like(?) creature sticks its tongue out on the left.

Norman carving of a king? as left door capital of Pen Selwood church
A king's(?) head forms the left hand capital of the door.

A bearded king? with wide eyes is carved on the right hand of the door.
A wide-eyed king(?) with curly beard and hair forms the right hand capital.

The Penselwood community website notes the tradition that the heads portray King Alfred and King Guthrum. They had a series of bust-ups in this region in the 9th century, because Guthrum wanted Alfred's Wessex, but  after various aggravations they finally agreed on some boundaries. The Viking Guthrum turned Christian and changed his name to Æthelstan. Perhaps this was a ploy to gain the trust of the people he ruled. And maybe the stories really did later inspire the carvers at this church. I do know that the pair look very similar to the ones at Ditteridge.

 Images © Rhiannon 2014

No comments:

Post a Comment