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Church of St Nicholas, Barfreston (Kent)

 

 

St Nicholas, Barfreston (this page)

 

 

St Nicholas - S Door - Tympanum

 

 

St Nicholas - S Door - Outer Voussoirs

 

 

St Nicholas - S Door - Inner Voussoirs

 

 

Corbels

 

 

Link to Kent Archaeological Society Description

 

 

 

The little church of St Nicholas, Barfreston, lies in a tiny hamlet (with an attractive pub) just off the A2 road from Canterbury to Dover.  It was thus loosely on the pilgrims roads to Canterbury and Rome.  It dates from the latter 1100s and the walls are built from a mixture of locally sourced broken flint stone, and blocks of stone from Caen.  It has a fine display of original (mostly) corbels, a beautiful "wagon wheel" rose window, and arguably the most interesting 1100s tympanum and voussoirs sculptures in the UK. 

 

 

Church of St Nicholas, Barfreston

 

 

South Door - St Nicholas, Barfreston

 

 

 

Link to close-ups of the tympanum people at Barfreston

 

 

 

 

Knights' lances meet, and a wyvern sprays fire at the lion round the next corner.  The centaur ignores all this and stares into the distance.

 

 

 

The 14 south door outer voussoirs - link to close-up photos of them all

 

 

Saint Thomas Becket, Barfreston

 

This is thought to be one of the earliest representations of Thomas Becket, murdered in his cathedral at nearby Canterbury on 29 December 1170.

 

Link to close-ups of some of the inner voussoirs at Barfreston

 

 

 

 

Barfreston - the East End

 

The upper East End is part Puglian and part Poitou / Aquitaine.  On the left is a recess with a statue of a horseman - commonly found in Western France (like the namesake church at Civray).  Around the rose window are the remains of the symbols of the four evangelists -   the Lion (Mark), Eagle (John), Angel (Matthew) (nothing left),  and Bull (Luke).  There would also probably have been a Christ figure over the window.

 

The rose window itself is "Superior Puglian Wagon Wheel" - superior because of the added artistry of the column swallowers!  The window surround links back to Western France, with some of the figures two headed.

 

And the hurtling bat - maybe he's one of the images that inspired Viollet le Duc!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lucifer (as a bat) hurtles earthwards down the east facade.

 

 

 

Link to close-ups of some of the corbels at Barfreston

 

 

 

North door "playing card" capital.

 

 

For other Paradoxplace links visit the home page

 

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