Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Coventry Wyrd

I enjoyed the recent CE Fudge photographs of 1960s Coventry from our colleague Between Channels, which offered a delightful glimpse of post-war quotidian city life. But if we slip back a little further Coventry gets a little wyrder.

The city's 12th century Holy Trinity Church contains a remarkable example of English medieval church wall painting, The Doom. The Reformation and Counter-Reformation robbed this country of so much of it's colourful and iconographic church decoration. Many small fragments survive, but few pieces on such a large scale. 'Doom' derives from the Anglo-Saxon for judgement or law. The Coventry Doom dates from c.1430 and illustrates The Last Judgement as the souls of the worthy and the damned take their respective places.

My personal favourite detail is the judging of the Alewives. Prior to the industrial revolution many brewers were women. Here we witness such Alewives being led by demons towards Hell for watering down their beer.

Let this be a warning to pub landlords everywhere.

1 comment: