Gazing at the inside or outside of an historic church, your eyes are likely to encounter strange beasts, frolicking figures and twisted foliage staring back at you from doorways, windows, friezes, corbel tables, roof bosses and stained glass – although plenty are just hidden enough to fool the eye. What are these strange images? Hidden messages and tongue-in-cheek depictions were actually widespread throughout medieval churches. Was the period simply rife with satire or did these etchings and carvings hold deeper meanings? Here, we will explore some of the most curious examples.
This talk is given by Dr Emma J. Wells. Dr Emma is an Ecclesiastical and Architectural Historian specialising in the late medieval and reformation parish church/cathedral, the senses, pilgrimage, saints as well as built heritage more generally. Her book, Heaven On Earth: The Lives & Legacies of the World’s Greatest Cathedrals, is to be published by Head of Zeus in Autumn 2021.