Sunday, 26 July 2015

Ranworth St Helen

Norfolk, the county where I now live, has the greatest
concentration of mediaeval churches anywhere in
the world - 650 of the original 900 remain and are the
spiritual and visual focus of the landscape.

At first glance the rood screen doesn't seem very exciting
but come a little closer and you'll see what I mean.

These churches contain many priceless mediaeval works
of art and craftmanship which are part of our heritage
and are visited by thousands of people every year
from all corners of the globe and beyond?

Some of the good ladies of the Parish have been
making kneelers again I see.  Shame they all had to
share the same pattern.

Today I was one of them when I went to see Ranworth's
celebrated rood screen which is only a ten minute
drive from the Lock-Up.

See all the wonderful detail on this guy's frock when you get up close.

The structure and design of the screen are elaborate
and it's decoration is arguably the finest 15th century example
you're likely to find for many a long mile.

I had to take this twice, St Barbara just wouldn't keep
her feather still.

There's saints galore who will protect you from apocalyptic catastrophe,
childbirth and possibly even musical instruments if I read the symbolism
correctly; a breast-feeding Virgin Mary, 
dragons with one or several heads, Archbishops and
enough angels to fill all the pews should the
congregation suddenly dwindle as in times of pestilence
and plague.  

That's one cool dragon.

And today there was even a serial sinner (me) to be found on her hands
and knees in front of the magnificent screen much to the alarm
of a couple of tourists from Germany who happened to rock up
about five minutes after me.  Too late to seek forgiveness for
all my many sins but not too late to take some close up photo's
of all the elaborate decoration on the panels to give inspiration
for future designs.

Must be St Peter - he was a fisherman.

All in all a good afternoon out if you're into that sort of thing
and so wonderfully calm and cool on a hot summer's afternoon
in good old Norfolk.

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