Month: January 2015

Vanishing Dragons

‘To one whose mind is still full of the memories of some great English Abbey or Cathedral’ wrote the architect Edmund Sedding in 1909, considering the church of St Winwaloe at Tremaine in North Cornwall, ‘this desolate little sanctuary would seem hardly worthy of notice’. However, to ‘the few who love the work of the medieval craftsmen, these works they have left us are beyond price’. It is easy to understand Sedding’s reflective prose inspired by the tiny church at Tremaine. Framed by beech trees it sits on the very top of a hill, its weatherbeaten masonry changing colour with the passing clouds whose shadows collect in the fields and woodlands far below. It is a simple structure of chancel, nave and tower. On a still day it holds a loud, ear-ringing silence. (more…)

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Circles and Serpents

Romanesque sculpture is consistently surprising. In few places in Cornwall is it anything other than fragmentary, a doorway here or a corbel or tympanum (the segmental space immediately above the door) there. Sometimes, however, it is fragmentary at a single site, which, at some point in its building history has adopted a fairly scattergun approach to the reuse of its twelfth-century carved stones. Mylor is one such church. Here it’s possible to find one doorway still in situ, another likely made up from a tympanum and other original stones, and several carved corbels now positioned in prominent architectural locations (one of which is a beakhead, unknown in the county outside of Morwenstow and Kilkhampton). (more…)