Friday, 24 October 2008

Our Lady - mediatrix of the souls of the faithful

Minehead, Somerset

High up on the tower at St Michael's church in Minehead in Somerset and looking out over the burial ground, is this wonderful little carved panel. It dates from the fifteenth century. It shows St Michael, the patron of the church, holding a pair of scales, weighing the souls of the departed. Our Lady stands prominently on the right of the panel, attempting to tip the scales in favour of the tiny soul that stands naked in the pan. On the other side of the scales a demon clings to the underside eof the pan, attempting to tip the scales in his favour and damn the soul within. Its a glorious image. Our Lady seems to be attempting to tip the scales through her intercession. A prayer scroll seems to be wrapped around the scales. Under her gown she shelters the souls of the faithful.

2 comments:

Gordon Plumb said...

Allan

There is a wall painting at Corby Glen in Lincolnshire showing Our Lady tipping the balance of the scales with her rosary. There is an illustration of a watercolour copy by E Clive rouse in an article on the church's wallpaintings by Rouse in the Archaeological journal, Vol C, 1943. I can lend you my copy if you are interested.

Gordon

Allan Barton said...

Dear Gordon,

I dodn't know the painting at Corby Glen, I must go there. I would be interested in the offprint. There are some fragments of glass at Corby aren't, including a head of a female saint? I remember, because the glass has stylistic similarities with the surviving glass at Holme by Newark.