The tympanum at St. Michael’s Church, Hoveringham, Nottinghamshire

 

The theme of the Hoveringham carving is open to misinterpretation, due to its unfamiliarity in modern times. The winged figure is commonly assumed to depict St Michael. Mary Curtis Webb argues that divine identity is firmly established by the Hand of God, pointing down to his beloved Son. Divinity is confirmed by the Lamb of God, placed on a pedestal immediately behind the central figure.

 

Unfortunately the surface of the stone on the lower half of the face has flaked. Since the gap between the bottom of the nose and the base of the chin is abnormally long, it is possible that, as at Dinton, Christ is depicted as laughing

 

There are strong similarities with the Dinton lintel. The winged Christ brandishes a sword and thrusts another weapon, possibly his Cross, into the mouth of Leviathan. Note that the figure on the left of the tympanum may possibly be holding a bird in his left hand.

 

The strong similarity with the Southwell tympanum (c. 1120) has led to dating to the early 12th century.

© 2015 by Dr Helen M Smith

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