|A front view of the figure.|
This carving gets a passing mention in the book Ghosts and Legends of
the Peak District being listed as one of the sheelas in Derbyshire. It is
situated on the old chapel in the village of Alderwasley near Wirksworth. The chapel is a
small building next to a church yard and is now being used as the village
hall after a number of years lying derelict. The chapel is small, distinctly un-church like and dates from 16th century.
It used to be the personal chapel of the Hurt family whose old alabaster coat of arms can still been on the front of the
building where it hangs above the main door. The building is supposed to be haunted and some of the carvings on
the building are quite eerie. (see the head carving below).
Is this a sheela na gig?
|Note the darker pieces of sculpture on the left hand side of the building. These appear to be re-used fragments and are of a different stone from the red sandstone from which the building is made. The alleged sheela figure is on the far left corner of the building.|
|A sinister looking head on the building. Note the different type of stone used for this piece.|
|A side view of the sculpture on the chapel. It's worth noting that the alleged sheela is carved from the same stone as the chapel and it not made the same type of stone as the other fragements.|
|The alabaster coat of arms of the Hurt family.|
|Fragments of loose masonry on the side of the chapel. The two largest peices are round stone with a sqaire hole and a square stone with a square hole. There is also a worn stone which looks a little like a plain corbel but this may just be down to the way the stone is worn. The square holes seem to indicate that these may be cross bases possibly taken from the adjoining cemetery.|
My thanks go to John Palmer of www.wirksworth.org.uk for the following information about the chapel
"The CHAPEL is situate (sic) near the hall, and was built in the reign
of Henry VIII [1509-47], by the contribution of Thomas LOWE, esq, and other
principal inhabitants. It is not subject to ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and
has no parochial duties performed in it, nor any endowment. The minister is
paid an optional salary by Mr HURT, who has the appointment. The Rev Emanuel
HALTON is the present incumbent. Over the door of the chapel, in a recess, is
the following shield of arms in alabaster [expressed in the French/English
mix of heraldic language]: Quarterly, 1 and 4, for LOWE: gule, a wolf
passant, argent. 2 for FAWNE: argent, a bugle, sable, between 3 crescents of
the last, charged with a besant. CREST: a wolf's head, erased [cut off at the
My thanks also go to Andie Gilmour for pointing out this information.
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