Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Iron Acton, South Gloucestershire

Drawing of the Saxon carving at Iron Acton church, South Gloucestershire

After getting a bit lost in Yate (I got the impression I was deliberately being taken round a very long way by obeying the signposts), the housing estates and industrial sites suddenly disappeared and I found myself in a quaint rural village. It was quite strange.

Mr Pevsner had promised some Saxon carving built into the door jamb. And there it is, up above your head just as you enter the church. Only a fragment though, a mere brick's-worth. There are two clear things that say "ooh Saxon carving" about it - the lines down the centre of the ribbons, and the claspy double bit on the left. (I say this, but now I look I can't find a double-clasped example. I must have the idea from somewhere? ed. I've thought of it now - Avening) I can't see anything about it on the internet, nor any pictures, so it's nice to be able to offer the version above.

There were also two huge 'column swallowers' at the tops of the big columns separating the nave from the tower. I haven't found any information about these either, only the short mention of 'quaintly grotesque heads' in the ancient rust-stained leaflet. The motif is certainly a Norman thing - but can these be so old? The leaflet goes on '..although the architecture belongs to the Perpendicular'. If they're real they're utterly cool and surely deserve wider recognition. I know churches are places for Christians to worship, but sometimes I do wish they'd leave more information lying around about architecture :)

column swallower norman sculpture at iron acton, south gloucestershirecolumn swallower norman sculpture at iron acton, south gloucestershire

Is the right hand one smothering two other creatures with his hands? And the left hand one has a leg sticking out? It's difficult to see and they were very high up.
Images copyright Rhiannon 2015.

1 comment:

  1. The column swallowers are very unusual! What a good find.
    I can only think of a double clasp on something which looked like it had raspberries, in a porch - not saxon though?