Saturday, 14 March 2015

Hankerton, Wiltshire

Norman dragon doorstop at Hankerton church Wiltshire

Drawn image copyright Rhiannon 2015

Spring seems to have arrived at last, and so feeling Springy it felt time to get out around the county again. Although B and I rarely saw a soul on our travels last year, everywhere was very busy. A friendly churchgoer chatted to me as we walked along the path to the porch where the dragon doorstops are. He did kindly invite me in for the church's coffee morning. But I didn't feel it would be polite to join the people chatting inside when they were there for a different reason. It did feel rather rude not to, when I was gratuitously enjoying their dragons. But I wanted to spend time drawing not chatting. Such is the dilemma of the heathen artist.

He pointed out to me that similar dragons can be seen at Malmesbury. And in fact B and I have seen them elsewhere too, like Leonard Stanley and Elkstone. And I have to say it, the ones there are actually better. The pair at Hankerton seemed a little bit half-hearted in comparison. Maybe they're weatherworn - maybe that porch hasn't always been there, maybe the carvings have lost some depth. Even so, I'm not sure they're as detailed as the LS / Elkstone ones, nor as exuberant.

The drawing above is of the right hand dragon, and the photo below of the left hand. The lines are simple and the (short) ears and eyes are not decorated. But the teeth are done quite deeply and carefully. They could probably take your finger off should the dragon came to life.

Norman / Romanesque dragon doorstop at Hankerton church, Wiltshire

For those that like gargoyles there were lots around the tower, and they looked large and excellent. But far too modern for me :) I was intrigued by the thing below though, which was in the churchyard. Has it got the look of a font base or a stoup? Surely too huge for a column base. And is it resting on the lid of a table tomb? I don't know. It was curious though.

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  1. The dragons are great - they do look fierce! How strange that you have started meeting people wherever you go... maybe they too were out and about because of the springtime?

  2. Hi Rhiannon, Moss here ;). I love dragons, there are a couple of painted ones here in Yorkshire, and also in Essex of course. Dragons are like gargoyles they don't exist and yet appear for the sole function of scaring the congregation witless. Here in Whitby we are surrounded by churches, all to do with Hilda up at the abbey. Three churches down the road are those hideous 19th churches 'donated' by the town's 'fat cats' I suppose but the detail is extraordinary. But I just love churches and like you find it embarrassing as an atheist when caught in a church by someone who 'believes'.....

  3. Two comments, good grief, thank you both. I'm reassured it's not just me that suffers embarrassment. I'm glad we all agree also on the hideous nature of Victorian architecture! I hope you enjoy your new haunts up in Yorkshire, Thelma. I vaguely know the area from a couple of visits and Pickering seemed nice. Plus you will have a river nearby which is always nice.