Friday, November 27, 2009

Avebury Church

St.James Church

Because I've been so often to Avebury, the church has become a backdrop not focussed on, yet there it sits in the village with the great stones all around, and the elegant manor house to the side, built upon a French founded priory.
It has a tranquil graveyard in which I have often sat in the sun, opposite the cottages of Avebury High street. This year when we visited, there were swallows nesting in the porch of the church, and as I took photographs of the fledglings, I noticed all the pieces of old stonework over and around the archway. Its history is written over various blogs, in the Domesday book it is recorded as the church of Reinbold the Priest, one of our Norman conqueror's favourites no doubt, he also held Pewsey Church as well.
The font which is of interest, as Pevsner would say, is intricately Norman with interlaced arcading at the bottom of the bowl, reminscient of Malmesbury Abbey blind arcading on its front facade.
The carved figure of what is presumably a bishop, (though it could be Jesus) with his feet on two dragons is well executed and leads to speculation what this little tableau represents....

The graveyard, with the manor house behind the wall

                  Fleur de lye motifs, echoed in the fragmented stones in the porch

                                        Dragons, bishops and interlacing

                                                 Columns on side of porch door


                                            Fledglings; note rather crude carved stone

Typical Norman typhaneum, note 'dot' motif round 'zig-zag' the same dotting can be found on dragons tail

Meanderings which gives a fuller historic description of the font


  1. thanks for this interesting article. I enjoy your blog.
    Alison, Vienna, Austria

  2. Thank you for that, I do tend to potter from one subject to another, but one day I shall logically link all the pieces of information I gather on the way!