Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Green Man in St John's Church

Carved Green Man at the top of a column
St John's Church was originally within the outer bailey of the castle, and contains many fine examples of Norman architecture, curved decorated arches and also some later pointed arches, thought to be the earliest example of the form in England.  The tower is Norman and rectangular, and embellished with semi circular headed windows.  During the English civil war this church was bombarded with canonballs in 1643 during the  siege of Devizes. The Parliamentarians managed to surround the town and held the Royalists captive in the church, until Prince Rupert managed to escaped to Oxford and bought in reinforcements.  The opposing sides met on Roundway Down for the battle which was won by the Royalists.  Canonball holes can still be seen on the tower and also on that of St. James's church. 

The photo above shows a "Green Man" carved into a capital in the choir.  The face has wines and branches with leaves and fruits, sprouting from his mouth, nostrils and other parts of his face, and represents rebirth and renewal.  These carvings can be found in  many churches in England, and also many pubs are named "The Green Man."  The face is thought to be a pagan image of fertility and fruitfulness.
Norman arches above the High Altar

The Altar

No comments:

Post a Comment