Monday, 19 March 2012

Leonard Stanley

Why do we all flock again and again to see the same well-known sights, when there are so many minor miracles waiting for us to experience? I must have driven along the A419 passing less than a mile North of Leonard Stanley a hundred times, but never once, in nearly 40 years as a Gloucestershire resident, have I entered the village before today. And the best way is clearly on foot - not difficult, with Stonehouse station such a short distance away. St Swithun's, the church, "contains much very good work," Pevsner (under)states. Above an aumbry in the Chancel is this most curious 12th Century representation of Adam and Eve as animals: Eve-bitch holds the apple in one paw and the serpent's body in the other. Tomcat-Adam looks on questioningly: shall I/shalln't I? It's crude work, but brilliantly anarchic. Two more conventional, and even finer, Norman sculptures adorn the ends of the central shafts further down the Chancel.

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