Considered to be the finest in Middlesex, The twelfth century Norman South Doorway, provides an elaborately carved entrance to the Church. Although age has impaired its definition, it is possible to observe that effective use of alternating coloured stone has been made. From twin, rounded pillars with Romanesque capitals, spring the first two carved elements of the arch. The innermost has a heavily incised 'zigzag', or chevron motif. The second, and most intriguing, is a series of cat's heads with lolling tongues. The inclusion of either birds (known as Beakheads) or animals, as a moulding enrichment, was common in decorative Norman carving. Stone was scarce in Middlesex, indicating that time, money and effort were lavished on this feature of the Church. However, in the execution of each cat's head, the masons may have had to make the best of the available stone blocks, because the heads vary in size quite noticeably.
The third element of the arch, which is carried down to ground level, has a bold castellated design. This in turn is framed by an outer border, comprising a chain-like motif of circles incised with crosses.
A late eighteenth century print of the Norman Arch, clearly shows that only a fragment of the outer-most border had survived at its apex . Careful observation will show that the outer border has been restored, although the new work is rather stilted by comparison with the original. The same print shows the supporting pillars to have been flat and uncarved . Fortunately, during the restoration of 1880, a section of one of the original pillars was discovered, allowing both pairs to be replicated.
A comparison between an engraving of the Norman Doorway, published in 'The Beauties of England and Wales' in 1811, and a modern photograph, shows the restored twin columns supporting the arch.
all are welcome
& UKULELE BAND -
"The Hurbs "- Harlington Ukulele Rainbow Band.
On the 2nd & 4th Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm
(we hope to be back soon !)
On the 2nd & 4th Thursday of each month at 2.15pm
(suspended until 10th December).
Click on "community activities" page above for more details !