web analytics

Yes, that Ragnarok

This is one of the doors to All Saints Church, Staplehurst, Kent. The ironwork depicts Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse.

The South door of Staplehurst church illustrates the Scandinavian myth of Doomsday, when the serpent which holds the world together will loosen its grip on its own tail, the world will fall apart, and chaos will ensue. The fish will jump on land. The gods will fight. Only one man and one woman will be spared to start the world again. Surt the sunwheel is top centre. Above flies Nithoggr, who eats the dead, and above him is the small cross which turns the pagan myth into Christian art.

The only door in England resembling this one is at Stillingfleet, ten miles south of York, in the middle of what was Danish-held territory in 1000 AD. Taken from Canon Walker’s 1938 edition of the Church Guide.

From A Brief History of Staplehurst from Acorn to Oak (pdf). (The Stillingfleet door is pretty special, too).

The door has been reliably dated to around 1050; the church was built in 1100. Perhaps the door came from somewhere else, or perhaps there’s enough wiggle in the dating that it really was made for the church.

The big-C Church – in Britain, anyway – was remarkably chill about mixing in ancient pagan-y bits. Remember this Mithraic altarstone in the little village church? Elizabeth I had a court astrologer (though Mary had him imprisoned once for the crime of doing math, the blackest of arts).

Not my photo, alas. But Staplehurst is close enough — just — for a day trip. Maybe when the days get longer again.


Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: October 26, 2022, 9:51 pm

Jerry Lee Lewis… nobody had him in the pool.

Jerry Lee Lewis (September 29, 1935 – October 26, 2022 ) was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: October 26, 2022, 10:15 pm

Oh! So no more great balls of fire… Sad.

Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: October 26, 2022, 10:48 pm

Aaaaannnnndddd…. it was a hoax.


Comment from Uncle Al
Time: October 27, 2022, 12:34 am

Goodness! Gracious! What a relief! It’s so good to know that we’ll continue to have as many great balls of fire as we’ve ever had, @Uncle B.!

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: October 27, 2022, 1:02 am

Remarkably chill?

Heh, check out the remarkable coincidence of a huge Christian holiday and a pagan holiday. Christ was born in December just before the New Year? Yeah…no.
And then let’s talk about ancient heathen gods who had their jobs outsourced to saints.

Christmas trees on top of buildings under construction anyone? Holly and mistletoe as Christmas decorations? Heh, ya damned druids.

A little creative chicanery to get the lost sheep to come willingly into the flock.

Comment from peacelovewoodstock
Time: October 27, 2022, 12:12 pm

“Above flies Nithoggr”

Well, that sounds racist and needs prompt cancelling.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 27, 2022, 1:40 pm

Lucianne Golberg has joined the choir eternal.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: October 27, 2022, 2:19 pm

I always liked Lucianne. When told she couldn’t draw a whale on Jonah’s paper lunch bag—because the other children in his class didn’t have something clever to be drawn on their lunch bags—she said Go F*** Yourself, or something similar to the school staff. She also drew a horn on son Aaron’s lunch bag.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: October 27, 2022, 2:35 pm

@Deborah HH — Heh! If she’d had more kids she could have had a lot of fun with lunch bags.

Adam — apple
Bob — fisherman’s float
Colin — Uh, never mind.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: October 27, 2022, 2:45 pm

Not Aaron. Joshua. (but the walls fell down nevertheless 🙂

Comment from BJM
Time: October 30, 2022, 6:03 pm

Hmmmm…Nithoggr looks a bit like Nessie, eh?

@Deborah…me too…Lucianne was a hoot…had she been of the left she would have been revered. It’s pity Jonah turned into such a damp squib.

In a similar vein, a co-worker packed fantastic bento boxes for her kids…she was also told to stop. She gathered some Japanese-American family and friends and went to the next school board meeting. She hit them straight on with racism…her children were entitled to celebrate their Japanese culture. Well played, and she won; since most Californian liberals still feel the guilt of WWII Japanese internment camps.

The bento box mums have quite a competition going online.

Write a comment

(as if I cared)

(yeah. I'm going to write)

(oooo! you have a website?)

Beware: more than one link in a comment is apt to earn you a trip to the spam filter, where you will remain -- cold, frightened and alone -- until I remember to clean the trap. But, hey, without Akismet, we'd be up to our asses in...well, ass porn, mostly.

<< carry me back to ol' virginny