Wednesday, 26 September 2012

A Smallish Post-Conquest Mediaeval Church

As Our Reader will testify, experts from The Ragged Society of Antiquarian Ramblers are currently engaged in some pioneering work; namely, the development of a new dating typology for early churches, based on a correlation between their size (or lack, thereof) and age. Members are currently in the process of identifying a surprisingly large number of tiny churches, hitherto overlooked by historians and archaeologists in the field. In short - if you will excuse the pun -, the smaller the structure, the older the church. 

Here is a particularly exciting example: a small(ish) church constructed entirely from corn. The relatively large size indicates that it is post-Conquest. However, as they were much, much smaller in the olden days, it is clearly mediaeval. 


  1. I can indeed testify to that. These mysterious corn churches - in my experience - normally only appear during the month of December, and often are illuminated from within by little lights suitable to their size. They are also often visited by assorted farm animals which - though also very small - range in scale from, say, a cow which is half the size of the church, to babies which are half the size of the cow. All very mysterious.

  2. This is momentous stuff. You have found the 'missing link' as proposed by Aunty Gary's Edwardian Mother, Dame Mrs Aunty Gary RSAR or 'Granny Gary' to her friends. In her seminal work, 'The Evolution of Religious Structures: Paying Particular Attention To Their Size: Especially The Insides', she challenged the long held belief that small churches were the result of inbreeding. Instead she correctly asserted it was "the result of people being smaller back then", but also hypothesised that there must have been an 'intermediate stage', when churches were still small, but, "Not as small as the smaller churches of the pre conquest period". According to Dame Mrs Aunty Gary RSAR the decline in feudal obligations during the early medieval times and the resulting casting off of the Norman Yoke meant that with such a great weight off the common peoples backs it led to them "springing up a bit". Standing taller if you will. She further asserted that this process continued throughout the middle ages and estimates that the poor were on average two inches taller after the Peasant's Revolt than they had been before. Her theories were however just that, theories until this amazing discovery that proves beyound doubt that people grew up gradually over time thus demanding a gradual enlargement of church buildings as seen above. The process continued apace with the late medieval Lollards and various revolts in the Tudor period, followed by the Civil War in the 17th century which saw both the common people and church buildings grow at an exponential rate hence the great leap from the smallish, but not as small as other churches type church above to the great big ones we are familiar with today.

    1. Thanks for that Simeon and It may also be of interest to our reader to know that 'Granny Gary' was famed for her cake baking abilities. Indeed she is credited with inventing 'Pessimism cake', the secret ingredient of which has only recently been rediscovered after having been misfiled by the Contributions Secretary, tsk, tsk. Apparently Granny Gary always added a half empty glass of water to the sponge mix and it was that that gave her cake its distinctive flavour.


Interestingly enough it is the Contributions Secretary's favourite sponge, although she would argue that sometimes she prefers Fickle cake.