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the patron saint of England until after the synod of Oxford in 1220, his effigy was carved on Norman tympana long prior to that meeting. “His
“His popularity ... during the Middle Ages is well attested by a hundred and sixty-two churches being named in his honour alone" (Cal. of Angl. Ch., P. 65), as well as being selected for so many public-house signs. Excepting in the example already noted, where the equestrian figure of this saint is represented as fighting the Pagans, he is almost invariably the subject of his legendary fight with the dragon. It appears to be frequently difficult to decide whether the figure is intended for St. Michael or for St. George : the presence of wings is a sufficient proof of the former, but their absence, in the opinion of some authorities, does not prove the latter. Mr. Allen remarks : “Sometimes the figure armed with sword and spear fighting the dragon, has no wings, so that it is doubtful whether he is intended for St. Michael or for St. George, but I think probably for the former, as St. George is generally on horseback” (pp. 273-t). This opinion is of interest with reference to the lintel at Hault Hucknall, which, according to Mr. Allen, is intended to delineate St. Michael, but in this the present writer ventures to differ, and for these reasons : 1. St. George is frequently represented on foot, as on a Normal capital at Bury St. Edmunds (Journal, of the Association, vol. i, p. 244), and another at St. Bees, Cumberland (Reliquary, New Ser., vol. vi, 1900, p. 130); on the chancel arch at Steetley, in this county (Dr. Cox, vol. i, p. 401); on a sepulchral monument at Coningsborough, Yorkshire (Allen, p. 270); and on the following fonts: Pitsford, Northants. (Bloxam, v. 8, p. 88); Alphington, Devon (Paley's Baptismal Fonts); Thorpe Arnold, Leicester (Simpson's Baptismal Fonts, where it is designated St. Michael and the Dragon); 2. the absence of wings; 3. the figure wearing a helmet; 4. the presence of a cross between the combatants, not being found in any of the scenes with St. Michael.
The Hault Hucknall tympanum exhibits a nondescript animal on the right side (the only Derbyshire example); and on the left a female centaur, apparently the only one yet recorded, the male being frequently sculptured by the Normans, and in several instances is labelled “Sagittarius” (Allen, pp. 234, 255, 332, 362-7).
When we endeavour to attach any explanation to the various sculptures, many difficulties present themselves in the greater proportion of them. It is true that some bear their own interpretation, such as the figures of saints to whom the church is dedicated; crosses of dedication ; typical emblems of the Saviour, either as seated in Glory, or under the form of the Agnus Dei ; types of evil like the “harrowing of hell,” etc. Also certain scenes from Scripture history, of which Daniel in the lions' den and the Crucifixion are the most frequent; and some generally accepted legends, as St. Michael and the Dragon, St. George and the Dragon, the Crowning of the Virgin, etc.
An attempt to give a Scriptural interpretation to the Ashford typanum was made by a former Vicar who, when it occupied a position on the exterior of the south wall, had a tablet fixed immediately below it, containing this inscription : “The Boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild Beast of the field doth devour it” (Ps. lxxx, v. 13). Akin to this was the suggestion of Major H. Rooke, that the one at Hault Hucknall probably referred to “some passage in Scripture” (Gentleman's Magazine, June, 1799, p. 449).
When discussing some of the Derbyshire examples, Dr. Cox essayed to cut the Gordian knot with the suggestion : “If these figures are intended to have any allegorical or other meaning, beyond the fact of being, perhaps, emblematical of the power of the cross, we must confess that we are completely puzzled. But comparing it with sculptured stones of a similar date, and in similar positions, which we have elsewhere seen, we imagine that the subjects merely arose in the caprice of the artist and the capabilities of the stone” (vol. i, p. 243). A less decided opinion was entertained by Mr. Keyser, when remarking that the symbolism of these Norman carvings “still remains a great puzzle to archæologists, from the absence of all evidence which could tend to explain the many curious subjects represented” (Arch., xlvii, pp. 162-3).
Where such eminent antiquaries have failed to explain
the hidden mysteries of these stones, it might appear a hopeless task to pursue the subject further ; we, however, cannot resist the feeling that the object of the Normans cannot have been a meaningless one, although the rendering may not be apparent at the present day. In this Mr. Allen appears to coincide when stating : “ All these uncouth creatures which the Norman sculpture delighted to portray have a sacred meaning, if we only knew what it was” (Illust. Arch., vol. ii, 1894, p. 14).
Restricting our remarks to the tympana of this county, one cannot fail to notice the preponderance of ordinary animals compared with those of the fabulous kind represented elsewhere; a fact thus emphasised by Mr. Allen : “The best group of animals with which I am acquainted are on the tympana at Hognaston and Parwich, Derbyshire, and on the font at Melbury Bubb, Dorsetshire (374). Local circumstances and local legends may have contributed to this end; and it is reasonable to believe that, situated as were so many of the churches within or on the borders of the great Midland forest of early times, which were occupied by beasts of the chase, like the wild boar and the wolf, animals much feared by the sparse inhabitants of the district for their ferocity, they were represented over the church doors, either as types of evil, or as showing by their adoration the power of
In both cases they would appeal to the eyes of the ordinary worshippers, from the originals being well known and feared by them.
Two other explanations by modern writers cannot be passed over; thus Mrs. Jameson remarks, “When other wild beasts, as wolves and bears, are placed at the feet of a saint atttired as abbot or bishop, it signifies that he cleared waste land, cut down forests, and substituted Christian culture and civilisation for paganism and the lawless hunter's life : such is the significance in pictures of St. Magnus, St. Florentius, and St. Germain of Auxerre (Sacred and Legendary Art, p. 28). This is equally applicable to tympana as to sepulchral monuments.
Again, the Rev. S. Baring-Gould records of St. Piran -the patron saint of the lost church' of Perranzabuloe
--that he “established a monastery at Saighir, in the extreme north of Munster. The legend is that his first disciples were a boar, a fox, a badger, a wolf, and a doe. And in this we have an instance of the manner in which simple facts assume a fabulous character in the hands of late writers. The district was that of the clan of Hy Sinnach, i.e., the foxes; an adjoining tribe was that of the Hy Broc, or the badgers ; an Ossorian disciple was regarded as Os, i.e., a doe, and his wolf was no other than one of the Hy Faeladh, which has a double meaning of hospitable' or ' wolfish;' another disciple was S. Torc, and the name means “boar'" (Book of the West, 1899, vol. ii, pp. 220-1).
Of these four different attempts to explain a single subject represented in the sculptures, one may be applicable to one place, and another to another. In any case, they will serve to show how much the whole subject is worthy the earnest consideration of antiquaries; and, though in the present state of our knowledge conjecture holds a chief place, yet probably many of the sculptured riddles of the Norman artificers may ultimately be unravelled. As leading to this accomplishment, there should be an investigation of all local legends, more especially of any relating to those saints to whom the church was originally dedicated; of legends and tales associated with the early history of the monastic orders; of the emblems of saints; and especially by following up the comparative examination of the older bestiaries, already pointed out by Mr. Allen in his admirable work on Christian Symbolism; who, in another place, has forcibly remarked, “the eternal conflict between the good and evil principle underlies a great deal of the symbolism of the Middle Ages” (II. Arch., vol. ii, p. 15).
1 See pp. 100, 101, for Dr. Birch's remarks on the significance of the Signs of the Zodiac on the tympanum of the Church of Stoke-subHamdon, Somerset
Proceedings of the Congress.
(Continued from p. 196.)
FRIDAY, JULY 21st, 1899.
The members and visitors started about ten o'clock, in dull and hazy weather, for a long drive of thirteen miles to Castleton, which was reached about 11.45. In clear weather, the view across Hope Dale must be magnificent ; but to-day there was much mist, and the head of old Mam Tor, the “shivering mountain," was wreathed in cloud.
. A stiff climb up the zigzag path brought the visitors to the top of the precipitous hill on which the Castle of the Peak is situated. Here, in the Castle yard, Mr. Blashill took his stand, and told the history of the Castle, and described its remains. The Castle is very simple in plan, and the little that is known of it has been gathered from various
Mr. St. John Hope has recently discovered information not known to Mr. Hartshorne when he described it. The earliest record of a castle- here is in Domesday, but before that date the manor belonged to two Saxons, Gundeburn and Hundine. William the Conqueror conferred the manor, with about sixty miles of surrounding country, including Peak Forest, upon his favourite and natural son, William Peverel, who possessed in Derbyshire fifty-five lordships, called “the Honour of Peverel.” There may have been some kind of building on this site before the Conquest, as "herring-bone” work may be noticed in several places in the surrounding walls, and built up in the walls of the present keep are fragments of mouldings from an earlier building, but of this there is no documentary evidence. The present castle is of the late Norman period, temp. Henry II. In the Expense Rolls, the building of the keep is mentioned under date 1176-7-above £49 was expended. The castle does not appear to have been much inhabited by the Peverels. In the Pipe Rolls is mentioned the payment, annually for many years, of £4 108. for two watchmen and a porter. With the rest of his vast possessions