upncmnhistori Registered User
#1

1. In some churches including old ruined Abbey's what was the purpose of head sculputres. You can seem them in St. Nicholas Church Galway and at one of the windows of Athenry Dominican Priory?

2. Why do the Protestant churches have commemoration plaques and Catholic ones don't?

3. After the Cromwellian invasion would items like baptismal fonts be moved around. In Athenry there is a baptismal font in stone that dates back to 1760. Just wondering?

Tiercel Dave Registered User
#2

I may have an explanation for the 'heads' that I must have come across somewhere. Back in the times of rival chieftains etc. it was the norm to display the severed heads of vanquished rivals on spikes to discourage further dissent and to boast of military prowess. When paying a visit to a chieftain you might have to pass by two or three of these heads but when visiting a great chieftain you might have to pass a lot more. These would be spiked in on either side of approach to form a sort of avenue. A great number of heads equated to an equally great leader. So when it came to church architecture, to convey the notion that God was the 'King of Kings' severed heads were included in the ornamentation. Hence the often grotesque nature of the carvings. The doorway at Clonfert being the consummate example. Dave


upncmnhistori Registered User
#3

Tiercel Dave said:
I may have an explanation for the 'heads' that I must have come across somewhere. Back in the times of rival chieftains etc. it was the norm to display the severed heads of vanquished rivals on spikes to discourage further dissent and to boast of military prowess. When paying a visit to a chieftain you might have to pass by two or three of these heads but when visiting a great chieftain you might have to pass a lot more. These would be spiked in on either side of approach to form a sort of avenue. A great number of heads equated to an equally great leader. So when it came to church architecture, to convey the notion that God was the 'King of Kings' severed heads were included in the ornamentation. Hence the often grotesque nature of the carvings. The doorway at Clonfert being the consummate example. Dave





Thank you. On the Athenry Dominican Priroy in Co. Galway there is two heads at the East Window facing towards Cloonan's garage. One head looks like an ordinary head another stone head looks like a head with some sort of hat or similar to a bishops hat.

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