The tympanum above the north doorway of St Mary the Virgin's Church, showing carvings of a Tree of Life and animals, flanked by depictions of Leo and Saggitarius

St Mary the Virgin's Church, Stoke Sub Hamdon, East Stoke, South Somerset, Somerset
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St Mary's Church, Stoke Sub Hamdon, East Stoke, South Somerset, Somerset
Photograph (Negative)

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The tympanum above the 12th century doorway in the north porch is carved with a Tree of Life, animals, and zodiac signs. On the Tree of Life are perched three birds, and beside this is an Agnus Dei, or Lamb of God. The tree is flanked on the left by a centaur, Sagittarius, drawing a bow and arrow, and on the right by an animal, Leo. It is suggested that Sagittarius represents forces of evil, drawing a bow, whilst the Lion represents a Christian. An alternative interpretation is that Sagittarius represents Christ while Leo is the devil being Vanquished. A third suggestion is that Stephen, whose crest was Sagittarius, usurped the throne from Geoffrey of Anjou, whose crest was Leo, and thus this is a depiction of Stephen's triumph.


This is part of the Series: LTC01/01 Lady Trenchard Cox: Series of Negatives; within the Collection: LTC01 Lady Trenchard Cox Collection


© Historic England Archive

People & Organisations

Photographer: Cox, Mary Desiree


Medieval Parish Church, Religion