Sunday, 28 October 2012

Chumleigh Church, North Devon

Ecclesiastical  Curiosities
Edited William Andrews (1899) Project Gutenburg
© Godric Godricson
There is an interesting custom prevailing in Roumania to the present day which is clearly a remnant of the old idea of a sacrificial foundation. When masons are engaged building a house they try to catch the shadow of a stranger passing by and wall it in, and throw in stones and mortar whilst his shadow rests on the walls. If no one passes by to throw a shadow the masons go in search of a woman or child who does not belong to the place, and, unperceived by the person, apply a reed to the shadow and this reed is then immured. In Holland frequently there has been found in foundations curious looking objects something like ninepins, but which in reality are simply rude imitations of babies in their swaddling bands—the image representing the child being the modern substitute for an actual sacrifice. Carved figures of Christ crucified have been found in the foundations of churches. Some few years ago, when the north wall of Chulmleigh Church in North Devon was taken down there was found a carved figure of Christ crucified to a vine.

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