Church of St Mary and St David

Kilpeck, Herefordshire

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Alastair Sooke

Art Critic, Columnist and Television Presenter

Place of Worship
Church of St Mary and St David
About
One of the most perfect Norman village churches in England.
Location
Kilpeck, Herefordshire HR2 9DN
Denomination
Church of England
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This delightful Norman church.

My grandmother introduced me to this delightful Norman church, which is famous for its bawdy and vigorous Romanesque carvings fashioned from local red sandstone. The south doorway, decorated with columns topped with enigmatic faces that could be representations of the Green Man, as well as an arch filled with fantastical beasts including a manticore and a basilisk, is magnificent. So are the corbels that run beneath the eaves. One in particular is unforgettable: it shows a Sheela na gig - a bald and grotesque woman exposing her enlarged genitals in a gesture that is said to ward off evil.

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