Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bloxham, Oxfordshire

Together again

Some time ago I posted a curious capital from the church at Ludgershall in Buckinghamshire in which, instead of the usual plain mouldings or carvings of foliage there were figures with linked arms. I hinted in that post that there were other churches in this part of England with similar capitals – and in fact I remembered that many years ago I'd been in the grand church in Bloxham in Oxfordshire, where I remembered something along the same lines.

I finally returned to Bloxham to check my memories, and this is what I found. This 14th-century capital is more ornately carved than the one at Ludgershall, but shows a similar design, with linked arms, However, the male figure also has a shield bearing a cross and the female wears a floral head-dress, is surrounded by leaves, and is being assailed by a beast of some kind. The column, with its cluster of attached shafts is highly elaborate too, and there is a further touch of ornament around the top of the capital – a band of moulding decorated with bellflowers (a favourite 14th-century motif) and tiny heads.

So is the male figure, with his crossed shield and the staff weapon just visible in his right hand St George? And is the odd beast by the lady's head some provincial carver's idea of the dragon that the saint has come to slay? I don't know. As is so often the case, medieval church carving has left me pondering, but visually nourished.


Anonymous said...

There are similar capitals at Hanwell, Adderbury, Hampton Poyle and Drayton:

Philip Wilkinson said...

Anon: Fascinating, thank you for the link. It's interesting how the quality of the carving varies from one church to another - they clearly weren't all done by the same carver.