Fiddington

The Fiddington Sheela Na Gig
The Fiddington Sheela Na Gig

The Figure

This sheela lies in the small village of Fiddington in Somerset and is located to the right of the main door to the church near a drainpipe. It is fairly large carving. According to the well researched leaflet in the church the stone is 33cm high and 39 cm across while the carving is 30 cm (12 inches) at it’s highest. The wall on which the sheela resides contains traces of herringbone masonry and again according to the leaflet in the church if the sheela in contemporary with this then it would indicate a date of the 11th or 12th century. This would seem to make sense as it fits in with dating for other sheelas. The carving itself is crude, the best carving is reserved for the head while the rest of the body and genitals seem to have been quickly executed. There is some indication that the lower body has been damaged possibly in an attempt to hide the nature of the figure. The vagina is not deeply incised in fact when I first saw the figure it was barely noticeable. Only when the sun had changed position did the slit become readily visible as a long shadow. (See below). The figure holds its left hand high above its head while the other holds a knee helping to splay the legs. The pose is very reminiscent of the Croft On Tees Sheela in faraway Teeside although the position of the arms is reversed. The church itself has been extensively renovated throughout the years the only indication of the true age the church being the herringbone masonry. Interestingly the sheela has survived rebuilding and is obviously well respected. It’s interesting to note the differing attitudes of the various parishes to Sheelas unlike some the parish is obviously very proud of it making extensive reference to it in the literature. While we were at the church a local woman greeted us and the first thing she mentioned was the sheela. She also told us that the rubbing had been taken of the carving by Mick Aston of Time Team fame while he was the district archaeologist.

 

Herringbone Masonry showing the age of the church
Herringbone Masonry showing the age of the church
Fiddington Church
Fiddington Church

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