We visited Nantwich last year, but did not have time to visit the church or museum, so we rectified that this time. At first glance the church of St Mary looks like a typical old village church…
… but there are some lovely details in both the stone and wood carving, including this delightful study of constipation.
We were standing in the choir stalls when a charming volunteer bustled up to us. “Did you come to see the woman beating her husband?” he demanded. We said that that had not been something that we were particularly seeking out, but we were prepared to enjoy whatever Nantwich had to offer by way of entertainment. He directed us to the underside of a misericord.
Though some bits of the image have broken off, the story is clear. While the goodwife of Nantwich was out feeding the pigs, her husband let the dog into the cooking pot, so on her return the good lady attacked him with a ladle.
The choir stalls date back to the 14th century, and some of the carving is decidedly secular in nature. As well as the medieval domestic abuse, there is also the abbot’s face carved onto the backside of a bird.
Our guide tells us this is the origin of the term parson’s nose.
Our guide then hit us up for £150,000 to gild the bosses on the church roof and install new lighting. Paula suggested they try building a copy of the church in Lego instead, like Chester Cathedral. Alternatively they could auction off more bits of the monument to Sir David Craddock.
For the past six centuries, people have been chipping bits off his alabaster statue, turning him into a posthumous amputee. The alabaster was originally used as a sovereign preventative for foot rot in cattle and sheep, and these days most likely for cutting cocaine. At this rate by the year 3600 there will be nothing left but his nose, which they can put in a case in a museum along with the Roman toilet seat.
The museum does have some less scatological exhibits, including a golden ring and brooch found by metal detectorists.
The ring is late Roman or early Saxon. Nothing really similar has been found in Britain, though plain spiral rings were common in Scandinavia in this period.
These coins date back to before the Roman conquest of Britain.
People still taken in by Roman propaganda, and believe that the people the Romans conquered were savage barbarians, but iron age Britain seems to have been prosperous and peaceful, with trade routes stretching across the country. These coins were probably minted in Gloucester and Lincolnshire, and perhaps carried by traders who had come to buy salt at Nantwich.