Cornwall 2012 – St Mellanus, Mullion

As you know, or may have gathered, I like a potter round at church. This is St Mellanus, which dates from the 13th Century.

I don’t think there was a spare perch on top of the church tower.

When Dr Bones, Boots and I arrived the parish coffee morning was in full swing. Boots was very popular.

St Melaine (Latin: Malanius or Mellanus; Cornish: Melan; Welsh: Mellon) was a 6th century Bishop of Rennes in Brittany.

He is the patron saint of St Mellion and Mullion.

We found this statue of Our Lady of Walsingham

….bit were blown away by the Elizabethan pews. They were boarded up during the Reformation iconoclasm, and restored to their former glory in Victorian times.

This slightly older pew end of Jonah and the whale is symbolic of Jesus 3 days between crucifixion and resurrection.

The phoenix is symbolic of the resurrection.

The west door has a dog flap. The shepherds would bring their dogs to church. The dogs would leave when the sermon started!

Boots wasn’t terribly impressed.

Cornwall 2012 – When the fox preaches, look to your geese!

This pew end, at St Petroc’s in Padstow, dates from the 1530s. It shows Reynard the fox preaching to geese. There is a similar carving in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, and to quote from their site:

The fox represents cunning and falsehood, and the geese the gullible and foolish congregation. The sly fox would lull the geese into a false sense of security with his soothing words, enabling him to make them his dinner. The moral of this story was that foolish people are seduced by false doctrines. In the church, these representations were often used as warnings against the preaching of the Lollards.

My small object of desire – Pitt Rivers scrimshaw

Elaine decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and that the urchins were a big young for the shrunken heads in the Pitt Rivers. I introduced them to my favourite exhibit, this scrimshaw hunting scene.

I think this polar bear has a fantastic expression. However, I think the wind-up torches, that you could borrow for a better look in the cases, were the most memorable thing about the visit!

Burgundy 2008 – Vézelay Street Scenes

Apart from servicing my abbey addiction – we went to Vézelay to vist a new modern art museum, the Musée Zervos. It has a lovely little collection, and the house that houses it has been very cleverly adapted.

I also really enjoyed just walking around – and monk spotting.

My eye was caught by some rather nice street signs…this cat…

…a B&B…
…and I’ve no idea what these ones were advertising!

Here is some wisteria for my Mum.

There were reminders all over the place of how ancient Vézelay is…some wattle and daub…

…and a mysterious face…

…or two.

Add the wonderful views, and you can see why it’s such a special place.

Burgundy 2008 – Vézelay Abbey (Basilica of St. Magdalene)

Vézelay – where to start? Both the town and the basilica are amazingly beautiful.

I first went there as a young child – and it haunted my dreams. I can never go there often enough – the past is so tangible.

It’s noted for its intricate carving.

A lot of it has been restored – here is David slaying Goliath.

The story curves around the capital. I like the fact that David has to stand on a book to finish Goliath off!

And here is a dinky Tower of Babel.

Burgundy 2008 – Cluny

I’ve never been to anywhere quite like Cluny. It has the remains of a Benedictine Abbey, which was once the most, prestigious and powerful in Europe.

I’m used to monastic ruins being on the top of a hill in some scenic spot.

In Cluny the remains are completely integrated into the town.

There’s enough left to give you an inkling of what the abbey must have been like.

Quite lovely I think…

…and huge…

This is the remains of a stoop…

…and this is an apostle. I like the fact he was carved wearing contemporary dress.

The abbey slowly declined, before being absolutely ravaged during the French revolution and almost totally demolished in 1810.

An engineering school was set up in amongst the ruins…

…and it’s very odd to turn a corner and find a seminar going on.

The Flour Store is more or less intact…

…and is used to house bits and pieces that have been salvaged.

The ceiling is quite amazing.

Here is Adam and Eve – they look like they’re really scoffing don’t they?