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Samson and the Lion, 13th century
This exquisitely carved stone boss depicts Samson tearing open the jaws of the lion – a powerful analogy for Christ’s victory over evil. The boss was originally part of the vaulted ceiling of Hailes Abbey’s chapter house. The monks gathered there every day to listen to a reading from the Rule of St Benedict, which guided the Cistercian way of life. The boss dates from the 13th century and would have been elaborately decorated. Remarkably, much of the original red paint survives and even tiny spots of gilding can still be seen.
Visit the English Heritage website to learn more about Hailes Abbey.