This carving is from St Wystan’s church at Repton, Derbyshire. Probably from a corbel, dating to 13th – 15th Century. It is possible that it is a caricature of an actual member of the clergy at the church. The item around his neck, which looks much like a modern tie, is actually his seal matrix. It is from its shape, a vesica or oval, that we know he was a cleric. Members of the clergy and women had vesica shaped seals, most men had round seals.
A corbel is a projecting block of stone supporting some horizontal feature and was often carved into a human or animal figure. Sometimes they depicted biblical or fantasy characters, and sometimes they satirised real people, as appears to be the case here.
This image was created in coproduction with our volunteers.