Monday, January 14, 2013

Green Man - Ottery St. Mary

Ottery St. Mary Church is an unexpectedly magnificent construction for what is only really a minor Devon town. In design it has been described as a miniature Exeter Cathedral and shares a similar cruciform plan.  From the outside it could easily be mistaken for Victorian Gothic, perhaps dating from the mid 19th century, and although rather large it is otherwise unremarkable externally. It is in fact the real thing, having been consecrated in 1260 and with most of the major building work carried out between 1335 and 1350.

Tucked away in a chapel at the back of the church is this wonderful painted and gilded green man. Carved from stone and sited just above a door frame at the height of about seven feet he faces eastwards, towards the light of the morning sun. Although easy to find he is in some ways hidden by the myriad of forms, light and shadow that meet the eyes of the visitor here, and he could easily be missed by the time we arrive at the chapel.

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