Sunday, April 16, 2017

Elmley Castle, Worcestershire


Easter offering

I’ll not rabbit on about this. It’s a small carving, crudely but vigorously done, set into the wall of the north porch of the church at Elmley Castle. Its date is not, I think, known, but the context is a wall of the 15th or 16th century, in which several older fragments, some of them identifiably Norman, are set. When I saw it, it made me smile. Looking at buildings we ask for many qualities, from utility to sublimity. Charm has its place too.

3 comments:

Joseph Biddulph (Publisher) said...

We seem to be short-changed with a very short text this time! Is it in fact (given the shape of the tail) not a rabbit but a hare? But according Brewer's Phrase and Fable, the hare was considered a melancholic animal that ate wild succory in the hope of curing itself. But this one looks quite cheerful.

Philip Wilkinson said...

I did wonder about the tail - but also felt that there was something cuniculine about the body. There was also an association of the hare with the Virgin Mary, on the grounds that hares were supposed to be hermaphroditic and therefore able to reproduce without losing their virginity.

Eileen Wright said...

Oh, how absolutely delightful. Yes, it made me grin as soon as I saw it. Lovely find, Philip. I hope it's a hare. Hares are very enigmatic, folkloric creatures; much better than common old bunnies. :)