Tuesday, 14 October 2008
The Amazing Medieval Mind
Although pre-history is my real archaeological interest, I am attracted to many later periods too. The workings of the Medieval Mind are quite mind-boggling. In my tidy-up the other day, I found boxes of postcards and this one came to hand so I have scanned it to share now. It is the most amazing Medieval doorway at St Saviour's Church, Dartmouth. If you look closely you will see that two "extended" lions have been pierced by what is probably the Tree of Life. I just LOVE the expressions on their faces, but since it was made by a skilled Medieval blacksmith, I should imagine that the only way to get eyes, nose and mouth from a full frontal expression was by blobs of molten metal. I fully intend to go and see it next time we are in Devon though that won't be until next year now. On our overnight "holiday" recently, we stopped in Dunster and I bought a lovely old book in The Face of Britain - West Country by my old friend C Henry Warren. He speaks of Dartmouth (and the door) thus:
"But the best thing Dartmouth has to show is St Saviour's Church in the centre of the town. The old sanctuary door of the south porch, with its elaborate ironwork showing two grotesque and elongated lions impaled on a tree that is complete even to the untidily sprouting roots, would alone be sufficient to draw the visitor from afar; but inside there are still rarer things to see. These include a richly worked stone pulpit, whose recesses are filled with the Tudor rose and portcullis, strawberry leaves, thistle, harp and fleur-de-lys; an altar-table, supported on carved and painted figures of the four Evangelists, and an early fifteenth-century rood-screen, with especially noteworthy cornices carved with vine-leaves and fruit."