St Mary's Church, Beverley

making disciples

Boss of the week

A selection of blogs from our Instagram page, written by Dr Jennie England, exploring the meaning of the bosses.

Double horns ♫

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#BossoftheWeek⁣ ⁣ In the nave of St Mary’s church is a roof boss depicting a person playing musical instruments. ⁣ ⁣ The man’s heavy black brows are not part of the design – this boss just needs a bit of a clean! Nevertheless, we can still make out the shape of the instruments: they are a pair of curved horns, which the musician is blowing from either side of his mouth. ⁣ ⁣ It is not uncommon to find medieval and Tudor carvings of such instruments – one can even be found in the nave of @beverleyminsterofficial ⁣ This boss is one of several carvings in St Mary’s that depict musicians. We can presume that these carvings were designed to reflect the practices of everyday life in Tudor Beverley, as well as celebrating the special function of the church as a venue for music. ⁣ ⁣ St Mary’s has held strong relationships with musicians for many centuries: the Guild of Minstrels helped to repair the church after the fall of its tower in 1520, and to this day St Mary’s is proud to host some of the region’s most outstanding musical performances.⁣ ⁣ To learn more about our current project with musicians, be sure to check out the new blog posted on our website (link in bio) this weekend.⁣ ⁣ #art #churchart #stmarysbeverley #church #churchofengland #heritage #medieval #tudor #roofbosses #bossoftheweek #curiouscarvings #architecture ⁣#beverleyminster #beverley #music #musicians #earlymusic

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Ale Wife

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#Bossoftheweek ⁣ ⁣ Set high up in the nave of St Mary’s is the carving of an ‘Ale Wife’, the medieval term used for women who brewed ale for sale. The original brewing profession (all the way back to ancient Mesopotamia) was principally performed by women. Female domination of this profession was likely because brewing could be done at home and maintained alongside women’s traditional roles as wives and mothers.⁣ ⁣ In the 1500s, around the time this boss was carved, hopped beer began supplanting ale as the popular drink in England. Beer had previously only been popular in the Netherlands and Belgium, but it gained popularity because it lasted longer and was easier to transport. With the growing professionalisation of the beer trade, the female-centric ale trade in England began to decline. ⁣ ⁣ Ale Wives were also a figure of popular comical condemnation in the medieval period, and were depicted in art and poetry as sinful, seductive, and often repulsive figures. This may explain the rather garish nature of St Mary’s Ale Wife – her large lips and eyes make her a grotesque figure. ⁣ 🍺⁣ This weekend, St Mary’s is hosting the Beverley Beer and Cider Festival. Specially for the festival, Great Newsome Brewery has kindly renamed one of their ales the ‘Ale Wife’. You’ll also find the Ale Wife on our fabulous festival coasters.⁣ 🍺⁣ The Festival’s schedule is ⁣ 4th Oct: 1pm-6pm; 6:30-11pm⁣ 5th Oct: Noon-11pm⁣ ⁣ #alewife #ale #wife ⁣#stmarysbeverley #church #churchofengland #heritage #medieval #tudor #roofbosses #bossoftheweek #curiouscarvings #gothic #architecture #beverley

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