Tuesday, 28 June 2016
By now our sixth sense navigating skills were in the ascendant. Considering the amount of Anglo-Saxon awesomeness here, we should have homed straight in on it. Painted scenes in the high porch, long and short quoin stones outside, a big central tower, and inside, a superb time-travel-portal style doorway with writing over it. An Anglo Saxon inscription - how unusual is that? Very unusual, I can tell you.
The arch is in the lovely green stone that we've seen further north around Salisbury. And the imposts have big chunky twisty rope carving, like a delicious barleysugar, in a softly coloured honeyish stone. It's very nice.
Behind the arch were two long velvety red curtains which picked out the paint in the lettering. This was also rather good.
The writing is said to say 'Here the covenant is manifested to thee'. So listen up and stop staring at the stonework.
Here's the rood in the porch. It's been grievously hacked about, no doubt during the Reformation, when religious nuttery got in the way of aesthetic and cultural appreciation. But look at those bright colours, they're scarcely believable, especially the vivid light blue.
Now the trouble is, those arms are in a very particular, arched, formation. And of course looking at this we were instantly reminded of the rood at Langford in the Cotswolds. There I'd been so certain that the arms had been put back wrong when the rood was moved to the front of the porch, because Jesus's thumbs were on wrong. But here we have the same position as the one I considered 'wrong'. So I really don't know what to think now.
On the sides within the porch are more paintings. Here's what's believably Judas hanging from a tree. You can see his feet dangling for sure. And you can see the roots of the tree. So I guess that bright blue colour was once green. But there's not much else to be discerned other than his coat.
The interesting Painted Church website says that this painting is probably 15th century. And mentions, interestingly, that Judas doesn't hang himself in the bible. In modern internet talk, it's not canon. The way Judas goes in the bible actually seems more ripe for gorey illustrations. It's Acts 1 v18: "Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out." Gross.
I also have to show you the Breamore Lamb of God. Or is it a Dachshund of God. Sadly also hacked? Which seems a bit unfair and extreme.