The strangest things turn up in church carvings sometimes. Why is this naked woman riding a deer?
That looks more like some pagan fertility rite than a christian symbol. But then the same set of misericords also has a mermaid combing her hair…
… a camel carved by someone who had never seen a camel…
… domestic violence…
… and this one. Goodness knows what is going on here.
Why are that woman’s legs so small that they can be swallowed by a dog? Is that man defending her from the dog or whipping her arse with a birch? Why is she trying to pull his sock off? Is this the torment of the damned or a medieval sex club? Finally…
Is that a scold’s bridle or does she really like black pudding?
The same church has a stained glass window featuring those well known saints William Penn, Amerigo Vespucci, and Christopher Columbus.
Catering to the American tourist market is nothing new. But heck, Shakespeare is buried in that church, did they really need to put up a monument to the genocide of the natives of the New World as well?
Walking down to the church we got lovely views of Wharram Percy moored across the River Avon.
You may notice there was a bright light in the sky when I took this photo. That was about all we saw of it today.
We decided to skip the building Shakespeare wasn’t born in, and instead went to the building where he definitely went to school, and maybe even learned some Latin.
The building is still part of the King Edward VI’s school, which was founded in 1553, making it a year older than the school I went to which was founded by Edward VI’s half sister Queen Mary in 1554, after Ed had kicked the bucket and his chosen successor the teenage Lady Jane Grey had been deposed after nine days, and later beheaded.
A lot of the older schools in England date back to the Tudor period, because when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries that also removed the education system at the time, so something had to replace it. We lost a lot with the monasteries, but replacing a educational system based on religion with a more secular one based on classic Latin and Greek texts with a little mathematics was a huge benefit. I doubt if Isaac Newton have been able to write Principia Mathematica if he had been educated in a monastery rather than a grammar school.
Soon after this it started to rain. We ducked into the Guild Chapel for a while to admire the decaying medieval wall paintings, and then headed back to the boat for lunch. The paintings were preserved by an attempt to erase them with whitewash in the Reformation, and significantly damaged by attempts to restore and preserve them since they were rediscovered. Maybe we should paint them over again for another few hundred years till we know how to look after them properly.
My old friend Howard drove down from Rugby to join us.
We had planned to go and see a free outdoor production of Midsummer Night’s Dream, but the rain rained on. Howard had a friend in the production, so we put on our rain gear and went anyway. It was a fun production with more or less random cross gender casting, and Howard’s friend doubling as Hermia and Bottom. The stage was unusable due to the rain, but the cast and small but determined audience gathered in the shelter of a tree and the show went on. Thankfully it was cut to about an hour so we got to enjoy the production before the audience was further reduced by hypothermia, trench foot, or drowning.
I still mean to write a review of Vice Versa which we saw last night, but that will have to wait a little longer. Sophia Nomvete rocks, though.