Gargoyle

Or some sort of stone carving. Whatever he is, he’s a bit frightening!

Seen in Cherished Chimneys in Longport he was staring out from among the chimney pots and pottery. I had to take a photo as he was so cute (for an angry dog!). I was impressed by the carving of the chain round his neck and his huge canine teeth. I guess he is a piece of architectural salvage, though I’m not sure which building he would have come from. Or maybe he was on a gatepost at a large country house? I suppose Britain’s heritage means we have a lot of things like this from when buildings are torn down. A lot of old houses have been demolished, fallen into ruin, or just been abandoned over the centuries. Their loss is our gain.

Forgotten?

Sandstone is a beautiful stone, soft and porous, it can be carved into fine shapes. But as this gravestone shows it also dissolves, especially in out acid rain environment. In this case the stone has turned black, probably from pollution, as Stoke-on-Trent was a very smoky place, due to the coal fired potteries. And yet the church is clean. I don’t know if it has been cleaned but it has had some restoration.

The lettering on the headstone is almost lost. Its almost as if a layer has peeled off. Gone but not forgotten? It depends on whether the family still exists, and whether they still live in the area.

Other stones in the graveyard are in worse or better condition. Some have been turned into steps, gradually wearing away under foot.

 

Staffordshire knot

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The Staffordshire, or Stafford knot, the symbol of the county. It was painted on a  wall in the Beehive pub in Honeywall, Stoke-on-Trent. I had a look at Wikipedia and there is a lot of information there about it. It seems to have a celtic derivation and can be seen in celtic patterns. A noble family in the country town of Stafford used it as their symbol in medieval times. The design is also linked to the Saxon Staffordshire hoard of gold artifacts that was found a few years ago.

It is the simplest knot and this can be multiplied to create various patterns. There is an old stone cross in a churchyard in Stoke-on-Trent which has the symbol carved on it. Incidentally it was used as a surgical knot but was found to be dangerous and would slip if not used correctly.

It was also said to have been used as a knot to hang three men because the hangman could not decide who to hang first. This is not believed to be true and is probably an urban myth.