Architectural Curios

I like architectural curios. I think I mean by that I like features or whole buildings, with or without a real purpose, where efforts have been made to make things interesting for the observer.

I recently came across the corbel table at Studland Church, down on the Dorset Coast near Swanage. Actually, we had gone to Swanage, but when there we realised there was a good bus service to Studland (and beyond) and as we are of the bus pass generation we decided we’d go to Studland, take a walk there and then come back. Studland is a place where you pay quite a bit to park. This way we could leave the car in Swanage where, in winter months you can park cheaply.

And that may have left you wondering what a corbel table is for long enough. It isn’t a table to sit at and eat off. It is, actually, the support for a roof. Some churches have gone in for carvings of all sorts to help support the roof and Studland is one of them,

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That gives the idea. Plain lumps of stone could have been used, but why not make them decorative.

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There are faces – human and others.

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Some portray activities you might not expect on a church.

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That’s as far as I’ll go, but other carvings are (or were when new) grossly vulgar.

Of course, these carvings had a purpose – warning of sins and dangers.

Some might say the church is a little austere.

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You have to look for the details to realise it has architectural curios and is a work of art.

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