Sheela Na Gigs?
Sheela Na Gigs are quasi-erotic stone carvings of a female figure
usually found on Norman or to be more precise Romanesque churches. They consist of an
old woman squatting and pulling
apart her vulva, a fairly strange thing to find on a church. The
carvings are old and often do not seem to be part of the
church but have been taken from a previous older, usually romanesque,
building. See the weathering on the Church Stretton
Sheela as compared to the surrounding masonry. It is very likely that the
sheela comes from an earlier 12th century chapel that stood on the
- The carvings are
normally found on Churches usually of Norman origin and of Romanesque
design, but they can also be found on Secular buildings (e.g. above a
stable door in
Haddon Hall Derbyshire, they can also be found on many
castles in Ireland )
- Sheela na gigs can
be found all over Britain, Ireland and even France and Spain. In fact Images of Lust
proposes a Continental origin for them.
the most common interpretation of a sheela na gig is "a pagan idol"
there is little evidence for a pagan connection. The prevalence of
sheelas in Ireland (far more so than anywhere else) suggests that even
if the image originates on the continent the image has
meaning for the
Irish. However the pagan interpretation of sheelas is by far the most
popular and generates most of the debate on the figures.
Sheela Na Gig Project
The Sheela Na Gig Project is an
attempt to collate information about Sheela Na Gigs in the UK. Whereas
there seems to be plenty of data on Irish figures the UK and
continental figures are
often overlooked. This website aims to address the balance by
listing all known figures in the UK complete with photographs and
include information on figures from the continent. This is
by necessity a work in progress so please check back to see if any
"new" sheelas have been added. You will find many figures here that
appear in books on the subject and some that do not. The site also
includes figures which are reported as being Sheela Na Gigs but in fact
are other types of Romanesque motifs. The information on this site has
mostly come from first hand visits to the figures except where
indicated. We have been gathering information on figures since 1999
using visits, printed sources, information supplied by visitors to the
site and users of the sheela na gig mailing list.
items of interest in exhibitionist figure research, including
new figures and visit reports.
Be sure to check out
Na Gig Booklist
Sheela na Gig Theories
more information on Sheelas click on the Sheela Na Gig webring.
| If you are aware of any Sheela na gigs in
your area or if you have any other information on them please
so I can add them to this site.