Jan. 28th, 2012

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My favourite part of Lincoln Cathedral now, and the bit that managed to push Durham into third place and get Lincoln level-pegging with Wells...

We visited the cathedral not once, not twice, but THREE times during our stay in Lincoln.  After an initial reconnaissance trip, we booked in for the inevitable cathedral tour, as well as the jaunt into the roof space (more on that to follow!).

During the initial tour, the carvings were introduced in great detail: the Lincoln Imp, the Mooning Acrobat (as we shall henceforth call him!) and these little chaps featured below.  They grace two pillars on either side of the passageway that runs along the south side of the choir, accessing the southern side chapels, and of course, they portray a medieval morality tale. 

On the first pillar, on the right-hand, south side, we see a series of rather cute dragons with crinkly faces scoffing grapes.  The local residents are, not surprisingly, a bit annoyed, and are in the process of slaying the aforementioned dragons by thrusting swords into their mouths.  The dragons are representing Evil, and the owners of the grape-vines are representing the forces of Good:-


Good triumphs over Evil (as it should), and the left hand, northern, pillar shows the same cute dragons now hanging dead, as if hanging from hooks in a butcher's shop:-

As if to emphasise the sinister nature of these dragons, a pair of owls are shown adjacent.  In the Classical period, owls were of course highly regarded as the symbol of Athena, Goddess of Wisdom.  In the medieval period, they were viewed in a much more suspicious light.  The 'howlet', with its large eyes and night-flying habit, was more often seen as an agent of darkness...

Here's a close-up of the dead dragons, which appear far too cuddly to be very sinister, though my camera unfortunately decided that it really didn't want to provide me with a detailed picture:-

I was pleased to get any photographs at all.  On Visit #2, I made a point of trying to photograph these carvings, only to find them shrouded in scaffolding.  Yes, you've guessed it!  They chose that particular day to carry out some kind of cleaning or repair work.

In desperation, I rushed back one last time on the morning of our departure on the off-chance that they'd be visible, and someone on high (St Hugh, perhaps!) decided to take pity on me.  There they were!  And now it gives me great delight to share them with you lot!!



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