As part of the conservation of the south nave clerestory, these striking carvings, blackened by centuries of grime, are being cleaned carefully by hand.
The instruments in the set at St Mary’s include:
We also find the Veil of Veronica, which features in one of the Tudor roof bosses in the ceiling of the choir vestry.
St Mary’s nave was rebuilt in the 1520s, following the fall of the tower. Only decades later, the English Reformation rejected many traditions of Catholic art, and destroyed much of it. But at 15 metres up, these carvings were out of reach! And maybe there was little enthusiasm to tear down these powerful works of art.
As we prepare for the forthcoming journey through Lent and Holy Week to Easter, these arresting carvings remind us of Christ’s sufferings and his death on the cross. And we pray for strength, comfort, peace, forgiveness and healing in our world.