Wednesday, 20 March 2019

West Chiltington

Having had a full day over in Hampshire on Saturday with friends we opted for a quick local flit out on Sunday to West Chiltington. I'd seen the church wall paintings with my friend H years ago...when I say "saw" that's a bit of an overstatement....a quick glance was all we got on that occasion with our two then very lively and rather impatient naughty little boys in tow. They are now 20 and 21!

This time I had time to look properly. It stops me in my tracks that in an intervening period of 800 years the artist is still able to convey the message that the figures he painted are brutish and not ones you'd want to meet down a dark alley. Look at those noses!



These horrible pieces of work are beating Jesus...as if he isn't already in enough pain nailed to the cross in between them! Actually this artist seems to have had rather a thing about big conks....the angel is not exactly lacking in the snout department either!


Thankfully Jesus looks a tad jollier in this picture. Here he is standing on a cartwheel with various tools painted in around him. Apparently this was intended as a stark warning to those who may have been contemplating doing a spot of paid work on a Sunday.


This is a hagioscope and is one of the longest ones in the country. I'd always known them as lepers squint, but this is wrong so I now find as they are inside and lepers were not allowed within the church. It was so the server could keep an eye on proceedings at the altar and ring the bell at an appropriate juncture.


A tad more nosing turned up a few more treasures. I didn't stick around to introduce myself to the big, hungry hound nor did I naughtily post anything with money or jewellery in the box.



The gate made me curious though. It was part of a long high wall and I will have to imagine what might have been on the other side. Perhaps I might have met the local witch Old Dame Jackson, who according to my book, could cure earache, toothache, bellyache and rheumatism with adder oil. She would pay a penny for every adder she was given!


There didn't seem to be much to write about when I started this post, but it seemed to have rather mushroomed!

Arilx

1 comment:

  1. The hagioscope that was the "treasure" in one of the Suffolk churches I visited was said to have been used by important Catholics who could then say they had been to church to avoid being fined but didn't have to take part in the service.

    That gate looks so old and interesting

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