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The pretty little church from yesterday has an unusual feature – a Mithraic altar! Ahem. See, there’s a bull carved on all four faces. There were probably some kind of unpleasant meat rituals performed upon it.

It’s not certain if there was a temple to Mithras on the spot before the church was built. The first documentation of the church was 1265 and the alter stone is, like, 1st C. The temple could have been anywhere in the neighborhood.

The stone first turns up in the yard of the nearby Ferry Inn, where it was used for many years to tie up horses. Hence the weathering. I wonder if the ring was already embedded in it. Then it was moved to the vicar’s garden. And finally – presumably when someone noticed it was an important object- into the church itself.

It’s in the back of the church itself, in the Narthex (yes, looked it up), opposite end to the Christian altar. Which says something about the CofE. I’m not entirely sure what. That the church is unperturbed to bring a sacred pagan object into a holy place. Confident? Phlegmatic?

The worship of Mithras was very popular among Roman army officers. I have read that it competed closely with Christianity as the official Roman religion. Now, wouldn’t that have been a thing?


Comment from Teej
Time: July 26, 2022, 8:02 pm

Stoaty, was there a Roman castrum (yeah looked that up) anywhere near Badger House?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 26, 2022, 8:27 pm

Yes, there were encampments kind of in our area. Literally where we are was under water pretty recently. We’re on the coast and a lot of the land was reclaimed from the sea. But we’re on the south coast facing France – absolutely vital territory for every invader.

Comment from Teej
Time: July 26, 2022, 8:39 pm

Must be cool living in a place with history. I live in California.
Well—we saved the first Taco Bell. That’s history I guess.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: July 26, 2022, 10:05 pm

Ah, the sunken lands of global warming.

Like New York, in the the year 2000.

Where Kevin Costner used to dive for artifacts to sell to the people of floating fortified islands.
Who were waiting for the Exxon Valdez to row up and capture them.

And people laugh at the gods of Rome…heh.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: July 27, 2022, 2:13 pm

Whenever I see photographs of these old churches, I always wonder if the original architectural drawings are still stored somewhere in the church. And the “as-built drawings.” (That was my drafting nightmare—drawing the as-builts of some pipeline pumping station).

Anyway. I always wonder why these churches don’t reproduce their drawings (or at least the four elevations) and sell them as a fund-raiser (and maybe they do). I don’t even live there, and I’d buy a set.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 27, 2022, 6:06 pm

I’m going to say I doubt it, Deborah. I don’t think there is much paper that old that survived outside being bound in books. Unless maybe the lead stonemason scratched ideas into stones that survived.

I recently went to a talk about Medieval illuminated manuscripts and learned the factoid that 10,000 of them still exist.

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