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tradition the symbol of the severed and folklore surrounding human head in the British Isles
Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
National Centre for English Cultural Tradition Division of Adult Continuing University of Sheffield November 1998
and Laqgdage. Education.
Evidencerelating to the useand venerationof the humanheadin a religious context is found repeatedly in the archaeological record and folklore of the British Isles. This has been documentedfrom the earliest period, and manifestsitself throughout prehistory and recent history in a variety of forms, from human skulls used as talismans to carved stone heads producedas part of a folk tradition of long standing. Until recently, much of the literature Celtic head has from been to the the studies, of relating perspective as a sacredsymbol produced the material being interpretedas evidencefor the existenceof a "Celtic cult of the head" with both in indelible has left Iron It been Age. the upon that this mark roots pagan an claimed cult in has later the archaeological survived which peoples, record and the popularconsciousness of superstition and folklore. This study aims to examine the evidence from archaeology, documentarysourcesand the folk tradition from outsidethe confinesof the Celtic viewpoint, and to discussthe relationshipsbetweenthe different forms of material through a seriesof case studies. A cross-disci pl i nary approach is adopted as a method of interpreting this material using approachesfrom the viewpoints of both folklore and archaeology. Existing sources are complementedby original fieldwork, incorporating material collected from a wide range of These human heads traditions were used the skulls. continuing and surrounding useof carved for a variety of protective and luck-bringing purposeswithin living memory, many of them having been overlooked by previous studies. This study demonstratesthe importance of integrating evidence from both archaeological and folkloric contexts as a method of understanding and interpretingritual and religion from the past.
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This thesis is dedicated to the memory of Mary ConstanceBentley, nee Hibbert (1905-1988) and William Bentley (1907-1996), who sowed the seeds.
List of illustrations
Picturecreditsappearin brackets. Whereno credit appears, are from my personal photographs collection. Frontispiece: "Celtic-style" stoneheadon a gatepost Moor, Lancashire, from Castleshaw by Alan Chattwoodin 1987.Seepg.187-88.(Alan Chattwood). photographed Plate 1 (p. 1) West from heads SidneyJackson, Museum Bradford stone of with carved Yorkshire.(YorkshireArchaeologicalSociety/estate of SidneyJackson).
Plate2(p. 31) Carved stone head in archway, Greyfriars Episcopal Church, Kirk-cudbright,
Dumfries and Galloway,Scotland. St Museum, Folk Plate3 (p. 69) Reconstruction Welsh Iron Age the village, entrance of an of
Plate4 (p. 149) Stoneheadin gardenwall, Old Glossop,Derbyshire.
Plate5 (p. 202) Carved Derbyshire. head date Glossop, of medieval on roadwall, Lancashire Plate6 (p. 268) Carved Bury, head for farrnyard spring, actingasa channel
Plate7 (p. 347) The "screamingskull" at WardleyHall, Lancashire (Dioceseof Salford). Plate8 (p. 427) Carvedheadsforming apexof a stonemonumentat The Well of the Heads, Invergarry,Scotland.
Plate9 (p. 454) Stoneheadon farmyardwall, Galphay,North Yorkshire.
Fi g. 1. (p. 546)
Triccphalos from Melandra Castle, Glossop, Derbyshire.
Fig. 2. (p.546)
Finial from Buxton, Derbyshire(Manchester Museum).
Fig. 3 (p.546)
Tricephalosfrom Greetland, WestYorkshire (British Museum).
Fig. 4 (p.547
Stoneheadfrom BeltanyRing, Ireland (YorkshireArchaeological Society: SidneyJackson card index).
Fig. 5 (p.547)
Fig. 6 (p.547)
Romano-Britishstoneheadfrom Caerwent,Wales(National Museumof Wales,Newport Museum).
Fig. 7 (p.548)
Romano-Brifishstoneheadfrom Streetley,WestMidlands (Birmingham City MuseumandArt Gallery).
Fig. 8 (p.548)
Stoneheadfrom Ecclesfield,SouthYorkshire (Sheffield City Museum).
Fig. 9 (p.548)
Stone head Derbyshire (SheffieldCity Museum). from Hathersage,
Stoneheadfrom Strines,SouthYork-shire (Sheffield City Museum).
Fig. 10 (p.549)
Fig. 11 (p.549)
(Yorkshire Yorkshire Stone head West from Walsden, Todmorden, Archaeological Jackson Society: Sidney cardindex).
Fig. 12 (p.549
Stoneheadfrom Baslow,Derbyshire(YorkshireArchaeologicalSociety: Sidney Jacksoncard index).
Fig. 13 (p.550)
Homedheadfrom Netherby, Cumbria (line drawingby Craig Chapman).
Fig. 14 (p.550)
Janiform headfrom Mrfield, WestYorkshire(line drawing by Craig Chapman).
Fig. 15 (p.550)
Stoneheadfrom Marple, Cheshire(line drawing by Craig Chapman).
Fig. 16 (p.551)
Romano-Britishstoneheadfrom Maryport, Cumbria (ShelaghLewis). Homed figure from MouselowHill, Glossop,Derbyshire(Manchester Museum).
Fig. 17 (p.551)
Fig. 18 (p.551)
Romano-Brifishstoneheadfrom Corbridge,Northumberland(Corbridge Museum). and Chesters
Fig. 19 (p.552)
Gableheadfrom Bolsterstone, SouthYorkshire (JoeSheehan).
Fig. 20 (p.552)
Stoneheadfrom the Sun Inn, Haworth, WestYorkshire (Andy Roberts).
Fig. 21 (p.552)
GreenMan head,FountainsAbbey, North Yorkshire (Andy Roberts).
Fig. 22 (p.553)
Panelheadfrom Withington, Cheshire.
Fig. 23 (p.553
Grotesque headfrom Pickering,North Yorkshire (ShelaghLewis).
Fig. 24 (p.553
Stoneheadfrom Hadfield, Derbyshire(Anthony Myers Ward).
Fig. 25 (p.555)
Map showingdistributionof British tribesand tribal territoriesat the time of the Romaninvasion.
Fig. 26 (p.556)
Map showingtribal territory in north Britain at the time of the Roman invasion.
Fig. 27 (p.557)
Map showing distribution heads in theHigh Peak, of carved stone region
of northernEngland. Fig. 28 (p.558) Map showingdistribution of skull guardianfolktales in Britain.
Table of Contents
Introductionandreview of the literature Definition of the study Backgroundof the study involvement Personal Introductionto the review of the literature A surveyof early writings Antiquarianreferences to the headcult Headsin Romanesque architecture "Celtic heads"andthe Celtic cult of the head Carvedheadsas "folk art"
1. 2. 5. 7. 9. 10. 11. 16. 17. 24.
Methodolpgy Introduction Secondary sourcematerial Fieldwork methdologyand primary sourcematerial Research outline Archaeologyand folk memory Interpretations of the material Presentation of material
31. 32. 36. 43. 48. 52. 56. 63.
ArchaeologyanddocumentaEy for headritual evidence Introduction The stoneagein Europe The BronzeAge (2200-1000BC) The development of Celtic art in Europeand Britain The Iron Age (1000 BC-AD 55)
69. 70. 70. 73. 74. 78.
The headasa religioussymbolin Iron Age Britain in Iron Age andRomano-Celtic Britain Cephalotaphy for headritual from Ireland Archaeological evidence The Romano-Britishperiod (c. AD 55-410) literature References to the headcult in Graeco-Roman literature The vernacular headsin British folk tradition Severed
80. 90. 93. 95. 103. 106. 121.
Archaic stoneheads of the Celtic tradition Introduction History anddefinition of the term "Celtic head" Materialsusedby headsculptors Stoneheadtypology heads features Characteristic stone of archaic Ritual painting of stoneheads Original contextof stoneheadsculpture Specialtypologiesof stoneheadsculpture Interpretingstoneheadiconography Continuingtradition
149. 150. 150. 154. 157. 160. 166. 167. 168. 179. 187.
Archaic stoneheads:CaseStudies Introduction Geographical distributionof headsculpture Survey of regionaltrendsin headcarving traditions The PeakDistrict - casestudy Headsin medievalecclesiastical art Summary
202. 203. 203. 207. 216. 254. 260.
Headsand tales:Archaic heads andthe oral tradition Introduction Context and background
268. 269. 269.
Headsbaleful and benignin folk traditions Fieldwork and stoneheadtraditions head Category1: Luck bringing/guardian Category2: Evil-avertinghead Category3: "Cursed" heads Time out of mind: the illusion of antiquity 7 Chapter British "GuardianSkull" traditions Introduction Skulls, local identity and popularliterature Distribution of skull traditions Gazetteer of British guardianskull traditions Summaryof skull traditions Headand skull motifs in ethnologyand folk tradition Analysis of guardianskull traditions Skull traditionsin ethnological context dead Ancestralskulls and the restless Summary
272. 276. 280. 297. 310. 336.
347. 348. 350. 352. 358. 418.
Chgp. ter 8
427. 428. 436. 445. 449.
Conclusions Introduction fact or fiction? "Celtic" heads: The headand the Othenvorld for further study Suggestions Summary
454. 455. 459. 462. 464. 465.
in the PeakDistrict Catalogue of carvedstoneheads
Index of fieldwork sourcematerials
Didde's skull poems
Many dozensof peoplehaveprovided material,help and encouragement in the preparationand completion of this research.For continuing moral support my greatestthanks must go to my Dr Vanessa Toulmin, Andy Robertsand partnerCarolyn Waudbyand my friends andcolleagues Helen Roberts,who kept me saneand providedsupportfrom the initial inspiration, through the fieldwork and researchto the final preparationof the manuscript. Vanessain particular for helping me negotiate the pitfalls of juggling a PhD with a full time job, arranging a study bursarywhen I was in dire needof funds and for importantadviceand the loan of vital booksat the final stagesof the research.Andy specifically for the use of his material and photographs throughout, helping me make senseof computers and software, and for assistancein the preparationof the maps,figures and photographicsections--t-fitVq<. all of you! yojv Grateful thanks must also go to my supervisor,ProfessorJohn Widdowson, for his thorough attention to detail, his constructive criticism of my draft chaptersand faith in my ability to complete this researchover a period of more than eight years.For proof-reading and general checking of the various stages of the manuscript, additional thanks must go to John Widdowson, Carolyn Waudbyand Paul Hayes. Special acknowledgementmust be madeto the YorkshireArchaeologicalSociety,particularly the Archivist-in-Charge, Sylvia Thomas,for allowing access to the Sidney Jacksoncard index, loan of the archiveto my baseat Sheffield during and for agreeingto and arrangingan extended the fieldwork for this research. Thanksalso to Martin Petchand Dr John Pragat the Manchester Museum, University of Manchester,for accessto the Museum's stone head survey index and for providing information, notesand photographs. The fieldwork which forms a major part of this research would not have beenpossiblewithout to their informantsand members the many friends, colleagues, of the public who allowed access material,archives,traditionsand memories.Many set time asidespecifically to allow me to visit in extendedcorrespondence and interview them, or engaged on mattersrelated to this research. Special thanks here to Dr Anne Ross and Dick Feacham, John Taylor-Broadbent, John Billingsley, Alan W. Smith, ShelaghLewis, the late Anthony Myers Ward, Pat Ellison, Alan and Griselda Garner, Doug Pickford, Phil Reeder,Robert Woodward, Glynis Reeve, Mike Harding, Richard Holland, Margaret Bellhouse, Paul Screeton, Derek Seddon, Jon Barker,
Peter Naylor, Liz Linahan, Alan Chattwood, Chris Copson, Peter Brears, Michael Pinney, Neville Slack, Miranda Green, and to Leslie Jones of the University of California in Los Angelesfor providing vital references at the eleventhhour. I must also acknowledgethe numerousindividuals at museums, heritageccntres,libraries and newspaper off-iceswho haveprovidedmaterial,photographs and information throughoutthe ten years in which this researchtook shape.In particular, Justin and Alison at the WestonPark Museumin Sheffield-,Ken Smith at the PeakNational Park Authority; Val Rigby at the British Museum,London; Colin Richardsonat the Tullie HouseMuseum, Carlisle; Richard J. Brewer at the National Museumof Wales,Cardiff; LindsayAllason-Jones at the Museumof Antiquities, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; Georgina Plowright at Chesters and Corbridge Museum, Northumberland;David Symonsof the Birmingham Musem; Peter Woodward, of the Dorset County Museum, Dorchester-,John Pickin, of Bowes Museum, County Durham; Siobhan Ratchford,of Dumfries Burgh Museum,and Andy Dunwell of Historic Scotlandat Edinburgh University. Thanks also to Vanessa, Leila, Simon, Patrick, Morgy, Malcolm and everyoneat NATCECT who accompanied me on the lonely road to completion.
Review Literature the and of
head In., adj., & v. n. 1. the upperpart of the human body,or theforemost or upperpart of an animaA body, containing the brain, mouth and senseorgans. 2a the head regarded as the information.. seat of intellect or repositoryof comprehended
Oxford ConciseEnglish Dictionary '
1.1. Derinition of the study The headand face are among the most potent human symbols we know. The face is the first symbol to be drawn by a child, which is logical as basic recognition is primarily through the senseslocated in the head, via the eyes, nose, mouth and the ears. Through the head we perceive and view the world; it is the centre of our perception of reality, our thoughts and dreamsand as suchit is only naturalthat the symbolhaspervaded religion and mythology since the beginningof recordedtime, predatingall othersymbols. it is more distinctive and individual to a particular personthan any The face is unique because other part of the human body. As such it has great importancesymbolically becauseit is the by individuals which can survive death.The facial featuresof dictators like Hitler and means Stalin, film starsand royal personalities like Monroe and Diana, Princessof Wales,heroesand their imageshavebeen villains havebecomepowerful icons in modemsocietybecause assorted reproduced thousands of times in prints, pictures and posters. In many cases, clever theseimagesso they remain striking and memorable,emphasising manipulation hasenhanced long after death has removed those their continuing power over the collective consciousness, individuals. In prehistoric societieswhere the written word and photographydid not exist, and a developed facesdid not represent had not developed, tradition of accurateportraiturein carving techniques individuals. In these societies information about gods and heroes was transmitted from individual by to this tradition personality generation generation oral context alone,and within faces images in As transmission and of only survive the a result, could most generalof ways. headswhich appearin a religious or ritual contextdo not portray individuals but idealisedgods,
formsof portrait paintingand In Europe,the first highly developed andancestors. goddesses date distinctive Rome, Greece which change sculpture from thetimeof thecivilisations a and of
Celtic boundary between Mediterranean the the pagan the art style of and marksa clear cultural world of northern Europe, which included the British Isles. Here the archaicstyle of depicting headsand facescontinuedin a parallel fashionuntil the presentday, at times drawing influence from the Mediterranean in its evolution.At the sametime, the archaicstyle hassurvivedin many of the more isolatedconservative regionsof northwestEurope,with uniform featuresstylised to the point of abstraction.
3 From the time of the Classicalcivilisation of Europethe portrayal of the individual hasbecome important increasingly influence upon elite art and sculpture. an and more and secular more However, in someareasof upland Britain and Europe,as in African tribal art, facesand masks folk belief have the unchangingnatureof ritual tradition of continuedto express out of a created head for The the as the them. of peoplewho created religious and symbolic role and ceremony legends influence belief is by which stress and upon attested numerous myths underlying an body divine of archaeologicaland as an of along with a rich aspect power, multi-headedness is human head hunted, for in the preserved and evidence rituals which ethnographic impulses located Some Greek the the the of'anger of earliestwritings of venerated. philosophers and violenceas having their basein the head,which wasseenas the seatof life, and of the soul. believedthe headwas the sourceof humanspermand locatedit as the source The Pythagoreans further from life Europe the and and spiritual centre similar of man, one of many examples of ' afield. As a centreof life, the humanheadand skull naturally becamethe focus of ritual attention and many ancient and traditional cultures conceivedof the headas the seatof vital energy, or the active principle of the whole individual. From thesebeliefs developeda wide range of rituals involving head-hunting,the offering of humanheadsas sacrifices,the venerationof ancestors' Europe, In luck-bringing heads for the their qualities. use of evil-averting and skulls and demonstrates in head belief how head-hunting the as the seatof the soul were and archaeology it has been the before long heritage from times, argued the part of a continental very earliest Celtic tribes emergedasa distinctive cultural entity.Anne Rosshassaid that to the paganCeltic 3 in Christian human head important conteXt. tribes the was as a religious symbol as the cross a Rosshasfurther arguedhow the Celtic "cult of the head" developedinto a central elementof
beginnings from their deep lasted culture the of theirreligiousideology, a which preoccupation folk tradition. final leaving imprint indelible the their art and conquest, mythology, until upon an As a result,in EuropeandBritain the stylisedform of thearchaicheadhasbeenconsistently levels. device to evil at many against used represent a symbolof magical poweranda protective Althoughsimilar traditionsof belief canbe identifiedin manyotherpartsof the world, from
Australia to North America, the presentstudy setsout to discussthe useof the headin the folk tradition of one particulargeographical region,namelythe British Isles.
In orderto studythe growthof belief andtraditionaroundthe humanhead,the symbolmust
4 in first be seenin the contextof the different categories be of evidencewhich will examined the historical and oral tradition. Although evidencefor following chapters,namely archaeological, head ritual is common to all three categories, each have their own specific problems of interpretation and their limitations, such as chronological and geographical diversity, and therefore must be regardedas separateentities when used as a meansof understandingthe in head-related just Archaeologists beginning to the ritual of are only accept existence material. Europeanprehistory, and due to various problemsof evidenceand methodologyhave found it difficult to recognise the religious contextof the imageand artefactsassociated with it from the record.Folklorists too havebeenawareof the influencesand practicesconnected archaeological with the alleged "head cult" but have never collated the information in a comprehensiveand format. useful The study of manifestations of the headsymbol in Britain encompasses a vast areaof belief and tradition coveringmany areasof folklore and mythology,and for the reasons outlined aboveit is it from the one standpointalone. For the purposes to possible study not of this researchI have adopted a multi -disci pli nary survey which incorporates many different viewpoints and by disciplines,with the emphasis illuminated belief dynamic the upon and changingnatureof as for the together to the evidenceof folklore and oral tradition. Thi presentresearch gather aims fields, ranging from the first time the vast amountof extantmaterial from a numberof separate 6&. to the empirical evidence of archaeology more nebulous 61+folk tradition and personal narrative.The material rangesfrom the surviving ritual artefactsfrom the prehistoric and protohistoric record of Britain to more speculativeareason the fringes of folk and supernatural important form including legends "guardian tradition, an which a centralcasestudyof the skull" but neglected part of British folk tmdition. Another central featureof the study will be a detailedexaminationof the origins, typology and function of the numerousarchaiccarvedstoneheadsin Britain. Variously describedas "Celtic " "carved headsof the Celtic tradition" or "archaic heads"this large group of puzzling heads, during the 1950s.Since that time artefactswas first brought to the attention of archaeologists interestin thesefascinatingobjectswanedwhen it was realisedthat the vast majority were not "Celtic" in origin. In recent years the study of stone headsand associatedfolk tradition has passedto a small group of fieldworkers, including archaeologistsand antiquarians, and a This growing numberof casestudieshavebeenproduced examples. cataloguingand classifying
5 artefacts, study aims to draw togetherthe latest research on archaicstoneheadsand associated discuss new theories and conclusions about their age, nature and function, and offer into this topic. suggestions about future avenues of research
1.2. Background of the study
The scopeof the study is definedby its title, Vie Head Cult: tradition andfolklore surrounding the symbol of the severedhumanhead in the British Isles . The title covers a range of subject "head is both hinged time the cult" of a existence spanning and space, upon projected matter and is historians the currently and popular which subject of controversy among archaeologists, " "head This has definition been this cult, of supposed centredupon a narrow argument writers. namely that of the existenceof a "Celtic headcult ... ..Celtic" being a catch-all phraseused to define a fluid hegemonyof tribes which inhabited Britain at the time of the Roman invasions. At this stageit is necessary to makeit clear that thereis no existing evidenceto suggestthat the British tribes ever called themselves "Celts," and Classicalcommentators who first mention the Keltoi never usedthis generalterm to describethe inhabitantsof Britain or Ireland." Therefore from the very beginningwe shouldbe awareof the pitfalls of imposing a modem interpretation languages highly disparate and archaeological vast a and culture, upon collection of material remains,an argumentwhich is discussed more fully in Chapter2. As a result, throughout this Britons "Celtic" in be the tribes to the of ancient word study will usedwith caution reference ' BC. first in Irish by Julius Caesar the century at the time of the GaulishCeltsdescribed and Claims that a headcult was observedby the British tribes havebeendifficult to prove because lack in Britain of late the Iron Age from the complete the and sparsearchaeologicalremains of by the to drawn be documentary Conclusions reference only can contemporary evidence. in Gaul, Classical describing which are tribes the writings of neighbouring writers, who were ' for The the known to be notoriously unreliableas objective accounts traditions. case of native of a Celtic headcult in Britain hasthereforefallen back upon the scantarchaeological existence British beliefs drawn tribes between the the and and the of record, parallels and practices ritual built lack European Unfortunately, their counterparts the the stone of comparable on continent. temples from the archaeologyof the British Iron Age has left the evidence for a head cult dependentupon a few chancefinds of skulls in ritual contexts, and a large number of carved
6 This be heads, dated Celtic to the state period. noneof which can with any accuracy stone pagan to concludethat there is little if any evidenceto suggest of affairs hasled many archaeologists that Iron Age Britons observeda religious cult centredon the humanhead,the inferencebeing that all "Celtic heads" must therefore be modem and unimportant from the point of view of dramatically, the Until discoveries this situation new archaeological change archaeology. existence of sucha cult must remainopento debate. postulated dubbed have been However, the existenceof hundreds,if not thousands, of sculptureswhich "Celtic heads"by the popular literature hasdonenothing but add to the confusion surrounding the controversy.A few brave attempts have been made to classify them, but by and large in found few have been have having because deal them to with so archaeologists avoided datable contexts. An alternative method of tackling this problem is to step backwards and approachthe material from the viewpoint of folklore. The term folklore was coined by W.J. Thorns in 1846,and is definedby the ConciseOxford Dictionary as "the traditional beliefs and head how deeply "' [and] By the the the these. of a people; conceptof examining studyof stories as a veneratedobject survives in the traditional beliefs and in folk memory, it is possible to bypassproblems surrounding dating and context which have confoundedthe archaeologists, and to focus directly upon the nature of the beliefs which centre upon the physical manifestations of thosebeliefs,namelythe skulls and carvedheadsthemselves. The human head has been chosen as a specific focus becauseit has been the subject of focus The in human throughout time of the study veneration geographical and space mythology. Europe from limits its coverage and to Britain and Ireland,with comparison continental material further afield referred to where necessary to provide archaeological or ethnological from The Isles British comparisons. vernaculartraditionsof the contain a rich storeof material three broad and complementary areas, namely the archaeology, written sources and oral tradition, which relateto the humanhead.At the sametime individual regionswithin Britain and Ireland have their own unique historical and cultural backgroundwhich have influenced the distinctive ways in which those traditions have developed. The effects of invasion and in by incoming have Roman, later Danish Anglo-Saxon, all played a role settlement settlers and the evolution of both the archaeologicalrecord and religious traditions of both Britain and Ireland, but left Ireland unique in having no Romanlevel to separatethe archaeologyof the from the early Christian era. As a result, Chapter3 will examinethe archaeological, paganera
7 documentary and oral traditions individually, while Chapter 5 will discuss the regional variationswithin all threecategories of materialin moredctail.
1.3. Personal involvement
At this stageit is usefulto outline the history of my own interestand involvementin the fields of folklore and the paranormalwhich led me to devotemore than ten yearsof my life archaeology, to the study of this subject.I wasborn in Sheffield lessthan five miles from the border with the Peak District and from an early age becamefascinatedby the landscape,its natural history, it. This stemmedfrom talesI heard and the storiesand traditionswhich surrounded archaeology from my materrialgrandparents of the who were both born in the working classterracedhouses during the early twentieth century.Their stories of the strangeand uncanny, ghosts and city hauntings and old characters fired my imagination and formed the background for my involvement in the study of local history which in turn led me to study archaeologyinitially at level. undergraduate My interestin folklore and the paranormalflowered during this period, and led to researchand investigation into a whole host of fringe phenomena, from "Earth Mysteries" to a variety of have including hauntings which related subjects, ghosts, and other unexplainedpheonomena, been classified as "Fortean" from the writings of the American writer and iconoclastic for ' Charles Fort (1874-1932). Fort philosopher wasscepticalaboutglib scientific explanations " observinghow the scientistsof his day argued the collection of data he dubbed"the Damned, beliefs for and againstvarious theoriesand phenomena to their and prejudices. own according He was appalled that data not fitting the collective paradigm was ignored, suppressedor lights is Fort first have that been to thought to mysterious explainedaway. speculate one of the in the sky might be craft from outer space.He coined the word "teleportation" and collected stories about a host of "strange phenomena",from falls of fish from the sky, ghosts and Times, Fortean fringe A to was poltergeists out of place animals,and archaeology. magazine, foundedin 1973to continue the work of CharlesFort and I havecontributed regular news and feature articles since the mid-1980s on a range of subjects, including head traditions and folklore."
Thecollection develop helped from thisinterest of personal experience whichresulted narratives
8 my recordingskills and interestin a careerasa writer andjournalist. As a result I co-wrote my first book on the paranormal,Phantomsof the Sky: UFOs, A modern myth? ` which took a sceptical socio-psychologicalviewpoint on the mystery. This was followed by a smaller " in Peak District, traditions the volume on ghost andthreeother books,all relatedto subjectson " Material folklore have this time. the boderlinebetweenfringe archaeology appeared since and in included heads, "Cel to tictraditions all style" were guardian skulls and associated related three of these later volumes, drawing directly upon my fieldwork at that stage. The undergraduatecourse in archaeology was completed at a time which coincided with the such continuedgrowth of my interestin fringe topicswhich were touchedupon by archaeology, as the role of religion and ritual in early societies.This soon led me to the subject of "Celtic " following heads, the publication of a newspaper stone report by David Keys on the subjectof ManchesterUniversity's survey of stone heads,which was featured in Tile Independent in 1988." 1 had alreadycomeacrossthe subjectof "Celtic heads"in the fringe literature of Earth Mysteries up to two yearsbefore the appearance of this article, and had noted the location of severalrelatedcarvingsduring walking trips in North Yorkshireand Derbyshire.This led me to carry out a preliminary literature searchwhich fuelled my interest and led me to choosethe "Celtic headcult" asthe subjectof my third yeardissertation for the Department of Archaeology. What fascinatedme about the carvedheadswas the way they had beeneffectively ignored by the archaeologists becauseof their ambiguous dating. The only studies which had been Jackson, Sidney fieldwork-ers that time those suchas attemptedat were of museumcuratorsand and my preliminary literature surveys seemedto suggestthe existenceof a vast amount of into the Moreover, the shaded to the matter subject publishedmaterial relating muchof subject. very areasof tradition and belief which fascinatedme, and which I felt were unjustly shunned by establishment archaeology. Headsof the Celtic tradition, as the Manchester University surveypreferredto label them, were by talesand traditions about their useas lucky charms,to avert evil and to exorcise surrounded how I discover belief how body to ghosts. set out was of recent origin, and of much of this much of it could be tracedback to earlier archaicpaganbeliefs which could perhapsbe utilised dissertationinvolved the for my undergraduate to date theseartefacts.As a result the research collection of a considerable amountof materialrelating to the archaeologicaland documentary evidencefor the headcult. "' I soon realised that I could only skim the surface of the extant
9 within that dissertation, evidence someof which I hadcollectedduring fieldwork and a literature effectively beganin the late 1980sand continued survey.The fieldwork for the currentresearch in into developed a career on a part time basisafter I completedmy undergraduate studiesand journalism. The skills I subsequently developedas a full time newsreporter, including the use in invaluable Teeline became the tool to testimony, of shorthand recordpersonal an narrativeand developed throughoutthe 1990s. collection of fieldwork dataasmy research My fieldwork method followed in the footstepsof CharlesFort, who collected thousandsof individual noteson scrapsof paperduring eight yearsof study in the British Library, London, 1' While my collection of notesand. rekrem6cannot during the 1920s. be comparedwith that of in Fort in termsof its size,I followed the sametradition he established, the categorising material interesting found I to terms of subject,and cross-referencing wherenecessary explore avenues illuminating. Ten yearsof this research and and fieldwork resultedin the collection of hundreds of notes, photographs and files of correspondence,newspaper cuttings, offprints and transcribed interviews. The method and constitution of the fieldwork collection will be examined in more detail in Chapter 2. However, before this is scrutinised further, a comprehensive review of the literaturerelatingto the subjectof the headsymbol in archaeology and literatureis necessary. 1.4. Introduction
to the review of the literature
A vast amount of material hasbeenproducedon all aspects of symbolism concernedwith the human head, face and skull in belief and tradition. Anthropological literature is rich with Pacific Africa head-hunting the in Asia, Americas, and the accountsof amongnative peoples Islands,which in the writing of this study have beenconsultedfor contextual purposesonly. For the purposesof this chapter,attention is focussedon writings which have dealt with the is The to from folk folk-lore history, the viewpoint of archaeology, purpose art. symbol and build a core sample of examplesfeaturing skulls and carved stone headswithin a datable drawn. be from function them tradition can context, which conclusionsabout surrounding and Geographically, material reviewed in the study relates primarily to the British Isles, with a concentmtion upon evidencefrom England,Scotlandand Wales,and contextualmaterial where relevant from Ireland and the continental Europe. Much written evidence in the European
10 context has concentrated upon studies of the claimed Celtic cult of the head. have examined other aspects of belief and tradition concerning the head Norse and later medieval contexts which are highly relevant to this study.
However, folklorists from Anglo-Saxon,
Other writers have investigated parallel phenomena such as the Foliate Head or Green Man, Sheela-na-gigs and other related Celtic-style sculpture, which will be referred to where relevant to the study of the appearance of the head in British folklore Chapter 5. and tradition, for example in
1.5. A survey of early writings The earliestwritten sourcesconcerningthe headin Europeantradition come from the Graeco"' Other writers, such as Diodorus Romanauthors,the most important of whom is Posidonius. practicesof and Strabodrew directly upon his writings in their descriptions of the head-hunting the tribes of Gaul. Although thesecannotbe usedas direct evidencethat similar practiceswere that this was indeedthe casecan be currentamongBritish tribes in the late Iron Age, inferences drawn from archaeological and iconographic evidence reviewed in Chapter 3. Of vital in importanceare the first written recordsfrom the British Isles themselves, which survive the form of a series of stories and annals known as the Irish Sagas.These were committed to but by Christian in during the expertsagree period, early writing scribesworking monasteries in direct have draw directly they roots the which upon an earlier collection of talesand sagas "' heroicCeltic periodof the early first millenniumAD in Ireland. These sagasand tales are replete with supernaturaltraditions surrounding the motif of the Welsh Irish human is head, but the that Ross "no or severed statement anywheremade as notes head, form believed in or a multiple time the their gods to manifest themselves of a at any having multiple or marvellous "" However, there are numerousreferences head. to characters heads,or headscapableof supernatural featssuchas speakingor making predictionsafter they are severedfrom the body. Similar motifs are found in someof the earliest written evidence from Britain, in the form of the Welsh cycle of tales known collectively as the Mabiwgioll which date from a period of the middle ages,slightly later than the Irish tales, but once again draw upon archaictraditions rootedin the earlierpaganCeltic period."' References to the early traditionsand beliefssurrounding frequentlyin the later medievalliterature, the headalsoappear
11 including the Arthurian cycle popular from the fourteenth century in England and the Continent,
in in detail in form in described Holy Grail the the stories surrounding and an evolved which are
references to the head cult
The significant British guardianskull traditions appearin the popular literature as early as the by Victorian during Thesewere the period seventeenth century. enthusiastically adopted for first began time, and the to together the antiquarianwriters who corpusof material gather in Chapter7. Little if any attentionwas paid at this time to the subjectof the will be discussed humanheadin folk-lorecontexts,and the conceptof the "Celtic head"or the existence of archaic of stone headsin the archaeologicaland folkloric record. Before the 1950sthe appearance carved heads on buildings and other structures appearsto have been regarded as a local idiosyncrasy which are noted rarely, if at all, in many recorded histories. This absenceis explicable because of the lack of any developedtradition within the historical or antiquarian literature of an associationbetweenthe severedheadand the historical "Celts" until the late defined It as century. were nineteenth was only when specific examplesof material culture "Celtic" that headsand skulls beganto be noted and recordedwithin this particular context. These carvings appearto have becomesuch an integral part of the landscapethat their very appearsto have beenoverlooked by centuriesof recording by visiting topographers presence historians. Isolated references to heads can be found in the nineteenth century and literature,but they are neverplacedin a contextoutsideof a specific site and are archaeological Celtic discussed in Romanesque than Roman, Classicalor terms of a native art, rather often Derbyshire by A from a the early twentieth century account one. good exampleof this comes historian of a collection of curious carvedstonesfrom the site of Mouselow Castle, Glossop, In horned this included depicting including the Celtic-style heads, god. which a numberof one Romano-British despite the Anglo-Saxon their apparent account, stones are classified as ' deity! Egyptian homed figure Thoth, is inexplicably the context,and an referredto as Oneof the earliestVictorian writers to identify the imageof the headas sacred or reveredobject " of superstitionwas the ReverendSabineBaring-Gould. His 1892 book Strange Survivals includesa chapterdiscussingcharmsassociated with housegableswhich illustrated the useof
12 the imageof the headin European and British folk art and tradition, both in the form of human and animal skulls and carved stones representingheads.Baring-Gould drew his examples mainly from Europe, yet clearly placed the use of animal and human headsin their correct In identified function their threshold guardians. addition, architecturalcontextand apotropaic as heads horse he discussed Anglo-Saxon Scandinavian that and early evidence and peoplesused humanskulls to adornthe apexof principal gableheads adding that: of timber houses,
"... their use was not only practical, they ivere there affixedfor religious reasons also, and " these. indeedprincipallyfor
Baring-Gould saw the headsas sacrificial offerings to the pagan gods, principally Odin or Wodenin the Germanic lands,and saw the creatureoffered to the god taking on divinity, "its " because in house, that the to the acting skull as a protection skull somesort represented god. Headsand skulls acting as oracles,as in the caseof Bendigeidfran'sheadin the SecondBranch of the Welsh Mabinogion , and the headof Mimir in the Norse sagas,are both discussedby Baring-Gouldwithin this context.He also connected the practiceof affixing headsof criminals and traitors to gatesof cities and castlesin the later Middle Ages with the earlier sacrificial in head identifies Crucially, Baring-Gould the to the the the useof offerings evolution of gods. folk architecture thus:
integral decaying heads be thoroughly an a part, to as skulls and regarded so came ... houses and gateways,they ornamentof a gate or gable, that whenarchitectsbuilt renaissance "' balls in heads them set up stone on which wereno moreavailable. substitutefor the During the late nineteenth century historians and etymologists drew up some of the first definitive collections of Old English place names. During the course of this research an human, intriguing collection of namesassociated both heads, with suggestive animal and with linguist discuss first One this connection was to pagancult contexts were unearthed. of the Henry Bradley who, in a lecture on Old English place namesin 1907,drew attention to those which were a compound of both an animal name and the word head (OE "heafod") as ' Bradley pointed to nameslike Gateshead commemoratingthe former sites of paganrites. (Bede's Ad Caprae Caput), Swineshead and Hartsheadas classic examples,and mentioned
13 othersconcealedby a changeof the word form, like Farcetin the Fenswhich is Fearresheafod (bull's head)in an earlier form. A numberof thesenamescoincidedwith the location of AngloSaxon hundreds,or places of assembly,an associationwhich led Bradley to suggestthey originatedin:
a customof setting up the head of an animal, or a representationof it, on a pole, to mark " theplace of openair meetings.
Bradley's speculative remarks were later supportedby ProfessorBruce Dicktns who in an that someof theseplaceswere "once the site of bloody article published in 1933 suggested listed sacrifice in which the head,animal or human,was offered to a heathendeity."" DickIMS twenty five examplescontaining the "heafod" element,and at least nine additional oneshave been found in county place name surveys since that time. Some of these may refer to a betweennaturalor topographicalfeatureswhich had a eimukctc-ýum image of a head, resemblance ' Celtic andit isj6l possiblethe namesmay translate older ones. In the Celtic regionsof Britain there are in fact numerousexamplesof place nameswith a similar formation, in this casea compoundof penn or cenn and that of an animal. One study lists fourteen in Wales,threein Cornwall, two in Brittany and fourteenin Ireland.' In only one caseis theresupportingwritten evidence, in this case referring to a Welsh place name, Penychen,one of the five ancient Life Morgannwg. in Wermonoc's The for cantrefsof ninth century explanation this namegiven of St Paul de Leon reads: "Penn-Ohen,which meansthe head of the ox, because the inhabitants of that place followed sv29 head in the example of an ox as god. of countrypeopleand antiquity usedto worshipthe For the English namesDick;,ns supportedhis argumentwith referenceto Roman and early human involve Anglo-Saxon Norse to and animal medievalaccountsof rituals which seem and AD followed in by dedication head. For the the sixth century sacrifice example, of a sacred PopeGregory the Great wrote of the paganLombardskilling a goat and offering its head to "the Devil" (pagangod) "running aroundin a circle anddedicatingit with evil songs, ' 930 while four centurieslater two independentwriters describedSwedesmaking offerings of headsto heathengods.31 However, Professor A. H. Smith, in his English Place-nameElements
14 dismissed the theory by pointing out that in the majority of cases "heafod" simply means"hill"
or "headland, " perhaps frequented by a certain type of animal. " Also on the negative side are
correspondingnamesin Germanywhich are accepted as having non-religious origins. Despite thesecaveats, the consensus to acceptthat thereis someevidencefor a of opinion todayappears paganinterpretationof a residueof the more obscure"hcafod" names.In particular, there are two namesidentified by the Anglo-SaxonhistorianSir Frank Stentonas possibly "preservinga memory of humansacrifice."' Theseare the BedfordshirehundrednameManshead,and the Mannesheved which occurs as a field name in the thirteenth century at Hawton in ' There are no direct Celtic equivalents,other than thosecomposedof penn Nottinghamshire. Icenn and a personalnameas in PennArthur, PenRhys andPenPych in Wales. Most authorities now acceptthe Old English Mansheadnamesas more likely candidatesfor headritual, andone suggestion is that they mark the spotswherecriminals' headswere exposed on posts,a practice possibly referred to in the Cumbrian place nameThiefside which means "thief's head. "" It is possiblethat if names of this type could be identified in north Britain, they may provide pointers to the former existence of cult heads acting as guardians of tribal boundaries. SidneyJacksonof the Bradford MuseumsServicenoteda number of place names which mention "stone head" rather than "manshead"in the card index of his survey covering Yorkshire. For instance, he listed four placeswith that prefix in the small Yorkshire Dales village of Cowling alone, referring to a lane, brow and bridge.' Another "heafod" name
District associated with a rock outcrop was recordedin a place namessurvey near the Peakparishof Taxal.The name"headlandat the stones"notedin fourteenthcentury,hasevolved into "Stone Heads" recorded in 1831, as a district on the outskirts of the presentvillage on the border betweenDerbyshire and Cheshire. "' A similar examplehas beenidentified during the find failed has Dinnington, investigation but to South Yorkshire, presentresearchnear site in eithercarvedor simulacra form.' of heads evidence A 1961analysisof paganAnglo-Saxonplacenamesby MargaretGelling expresses scepticism for "heafod, " but concludes: aboutthe topographical simulacra explanation "The possibility of a pagan originfor someof thesenamesis not, of course,invalidated by the difficulty offinding a tatnerexplanation for 11w rest."" In addition, Gelling suggeststhe presence of carved animal and human headsas protective
15 devicesupon housegablesas one possiblecontenderfor the origin of the more problematical by Alan Smith "heafod" names.A more fruitful line of inquiry in my opinion is that suggested in his 1962article in Folklore This was the first generalsurvey of the role played by the .' head specifically in British folklore and tradition, utilising evidence from folk customs, Smith Norse in Anglo-Saxon traditions,placenamesand archaeology context. and primarily an in which an animal's headfigured in a ritual contest,game of local customs examples assembled feature heads demonstrate how human) (and to of a was other ceremony, or a cult of animal both Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and other native traditions. It was from ceremonies like these, identified with a particular village, field or hundredthat Smith suggests "head" place namesor traditions may have developed. He writes that ritual contestslike the Cow Head Feast at Westhoughton (Lancashire),Kidlington's Lady of the Lamb (Oxfordshire) and others like the derived be football have Haxey Hood "the belief in luck to their ritual gamesand at core some "' from gaining possession head beast. the of of a slaughtered He saw theseceremoniesas like kind have led to the to the some clues naming of places providing of ritual which may Gatesheadand Farcet, identified earlier this century by Bradley and DicLins. Traditions in beliefs in local heads the surrounding parallel useof animal masks, customsand and skulls Britain and throughoutcontinentalEuropehavebeencollectedand scrutinisedby E.C. Cawtein "' In some instances,animal skulls have been used for his volume Ritual Animal Disguise. broadly similar protective and luck-bringing purposes, both as part of vernaculararchitecture by BaringEuropean tradition, and a number of examplesare cited and as part of a general Gould and more recently Ralph Merrifield. ' Folklore suggests that horseskulls were usedto for beams both magical the the and projecting cover of gableends asprotectionagainst elements for In the manipulation and is too. there purposes another context, archaeologicalevidence traditions developed focussed highly and rituals specialattention upon animal skulls, and more fall definition by heads folk Europe However, as animal customsacross within and elsewhere. head, human this the the the this scopeof symbol of outside on survey which concentrates further in this context. materialwill not be discussed is clearly requiredwithin the individual county placenamesurveysbeforeany Furtherresearch clear connectionscan be made between"head" place namesand head related traditions and customs.A surveyof this kind also falls outsidethe scopeof the presentstudy,but subsequent chapterswill touch on the manifestationof headsymbolism in local traditions in a variety of
16 connections contextswhich are relevantto the proposed outlined above.
1.7. Heads In Romanesque architecture
Before the 1950s few regional studies identifying or examining the role and significance of heads within vernacular and ecclesiastical architecture had appeared in the archaeological and historical literature. Lady Raglan's seminal paper in Folklore in 1939 identified the foliate head as specific phenomenon in early medieval churches and coined the phrase "the Green Man" to describe them." Her speculative remarks were given weight by C.J.P. Cave's thorough study of " iconography in bosses. During the course of his survey Cave carvings and medieval roof visited hundreds of English parish churches and cathedrals and recorded not only large numbers foliate heads been but had Sheela-na-gigs the of also related sculpture such as which never systematically noted and photographed before. His study, published in 1948, defined not only the attributes of the foliate head but in the same chapter grouped together other heads found within an ecclesiastical context. This included both king and queen heads, grotesques, beasts, and unclassified carvings with three or more human faces, and Cave concluded:
"The subject of heads is an immense one; we find single heads and groups of heads " bosses. type theyform the mostnumerous everywhere;exceptfoliage, of journal in 1944in the in a Welshantiquarian Another importantand little known paperappeared "' form of a survey entitled "Carved corbels,bracketsand label stopsin Anglesey Churches. in faces the heads The author,CanonHwlberý-Powell, focussed and the of carved appearance on long has island andarchaic a the retained architecture of a group of medievalchurches which on it Celtic tradition stretching back to the Iron Age. His study is unique for that time because identified carved stoneheadsas being not only common in pre-Reformationarchitecture,but being as also possiblesurvivals of earlier traditions. Hulbert-Powell's examplesshow a clear evolution in the form in which headscould be depicted,beginningwith the archaicearly style "queen" developing "king" later into form Gothic-style and the and gargoyles,portrait and of headsin church architecture.It also demonstrated the continued"archaism" displayedby these heads,which is a recurring themein the style of carving employedby the artisanswho created them.
17 by a study of headsdecorating the archesof parish These early surveys were supplemented historians by fourteenth from in Romanesque the twelfth to the art the century period churches 48 They concentrated Francoise Henry and George Zarnecki in a paper published in 1957 . France Italy, the Spain, human heads, and using and animal specifically on archescontaining British Isles as their geographicalfocus. They found England and France had the greatest the 230, England having 150 they total admit although of a out of number of examples,with " They the "too Romansque explained numerous. was churches were survey not exhaustiveas heads human having direct identified in Europe with connection a as concentration northwest found in Celtic andRomanart, and ask. France in became "Is it toofarfetched to suggestthat if the human-head and so popular motif in Ireland it may be becauseof its analogy with Celtic decoration, just as the immediate Saxon the transformationinto monsterheadsin Englandmay be due to the extensive usewhich " had nzade artists of suchornatnent? has beenundertakenon all aspects SinceHenry and Zarnecki's study appeared, of work much headsin church architecture,including studiesof the Green Man by Kathleen Basford, Roy ' and of the Sheela-na-gigs Judgeand William Anderse-n, and a rangeof relatedsexualexplicit " A Jerman. James thorough Weir by Jorgen Anthony Anderson, carvings and medieval examinationof thesemotifs falls outsidethe scopeof this study other than thoseareaswhere they overlap with the symbolism of the severedhead, for examplein the context of church architecture discussedin Chapter 5. One useful general survey of the overlapping motifs their head-related displayedby the foliate heads,Sheela-na-gigs and sculpture church and other in 1975, Ross by Anne with in Celtic tradition was published possible parallels the pagan " illustrationsby RonaldSheridan.
Heads" and the Celtic cult of the head
Art historianswere the first of the twentiethcenturyscholars to begin to identify and classify the different Romano-British kinds Celtic heads contexts. and many with of carvedstone associated Someof the earliestsurveysto include headsin their collectionswere thoseof Paul Jacobsthal in Early CelticArt., publishedin 19441 andToynbeein her volumeArt in RotnanBritain first
18 ' in important 1962. Another early work directly focussed upon the importanceof the published head in Celtic Gaul appeared in 1954, in the form of a survey by the archaeologist " L'Exaltation de la Me dansPense"e drew Vart des Celtes dans P.Lambrcchts. mainly on et important from France, Spain Rhineland. A the the of examination evidence and comprehensive Celtic iconographic evidence in the English languageappearedwhen Dr Anne Ross first in Proceedings Wales initial her fieldwork in Ireland, Scotland the the and published resultsof ' her fieldwork Society in The Antiquities Scotland 1957. the and of of completeresultsof of ' This Celtic Britain. iconographicstudiesappeared in her Pagan later ten years magnumopus, heads function first distribution detailed the to the to of and was attention major work pay fashionedin stone,pot, wood andother materialsin the British IsIcs,and crucially set thesein a context which included a range of mythological traditions and documentaryevidence. Ross it made plain that the abundanceof theseartcfacts, someof which appearedto predate the Romanoccupationof Britain, indicatedthe existenceof a "cult of the head" among the native Celtic tribeswhich shesuggested hadsurvivedin a vestigialform into the later medievalperiod. In Britain, few carvingscould be ascribed with certaintyto the Celtic Iron Age, but Rossrelated information there was to archaeological evidence. This includes the human skulls what recoveredfrom Iron Age hillforts such as BredonHill and Stanwick in Britain, and cult sites ' This from continental Europe, for example Entremont and Roquepertusein Provence. literature, insular Celtic from by the argument was supported a collection of references transcribedfrom oral traditions in Ireland and Walesduring the later Dark Ages and the early medievalperiod. Rossquickly becamethe most influential British writer in the field of Celtic studies,and her for the brought head Celtic the audience to the wider volume attentionof a subjectof the cult first time and provided a sourcebookof exampleswhich set the template for the popular Celtic " Ross Head. definition "Celtic and other conception of what came to constitute the historiansand archaeologists from the "Celtic homeland" areasof drew manyof their examples central Europe and Gaul, particular attention being paid to the unique temple sanctuariesof form in head Provence for direct the datable cult, southern where evidence a and archaeological of votive human skulls and carved stoneheads,has been found. Distinctive Celtic sculpture from elsewhere in Europe,suchas the Pfalzfeld pillar from Germanyand the stoneheadfrom MseckeZehrovice in Czechoslovakia, datedto the fourth centuryBC and earlier, were usedby
19 from Ross initially as yardsticks to date a corpus of unprovenanced carvings and ambiguous Britain and Ireland." Many subsequent writers directly followed this traditional nomenclature influential Jackson. Sidney fieldworker the system, most of whom or classification was However, archaeologicalrevision in more recent years has thrown serious doubts upon the authenticity of many of the examplesdescribedby Ross, as the practice of using stylistic date began For be flawed. to to carvings example, sculpture perceivedas seriously evidence later head from by Toynbee Bon Marche in described Gloucester the the and male such as site Rossas"one of the most impressiveof the Romano-Britishheadsfrom the artistic viewpoint"' hassince beenreconsidered origin, and art historiansnow arguethe carving is of Romanesque " from dozens fourteenth Many AD. the of other an ecclesiastical context possibly of century headsand associated stonesculpture,previously classified as "Celtic, " not least the examples cataloguedby Sidney Jacksonin WestYorkshire, are now acceptedas being of medieval and later origin. Many appearto havebeencarvedwithin living memory,often with featureswhich would haveled them to be classifiedas"Celtic" as recentlyas twenty yearsago. in inspired Nevertheless,the appearance Ross's the of volume collection of similar material other areasof the British Isles and encouraged researchers and fieldworkers to gathertheir own in Ireland and Rynne Important in Etienne M. Dickie Scotland, K. these material. amongst were had in Ross's Jackson Yorkshire. Sidney caught the work pioneering most outstandingof all, Hall Cartwright Jackson he Keeper Antiquities date, the at of attentionof at an early when was Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire. From 1965 the museum had acquired a number of Valley in Aire in from heads brought the had been region, places archaic-lookingstone which He Age. Iron Celtic dated be believed the to Jackson could and which on stylistic groundsalone from Ross's his dating an undisputed tool, came examples used corpusas a although noneof context.In 1973Jackson archaeological wrote of his survey: "What brought about the start of my stoneheadsurveywasthe taking of several,at intervals of flow finds of Museum. Press a these produced some months, to the about publicity heads information about other examples increased wereshown some after until, which steadily "' flood. on television,theflow became a
During the courseof the ten year survey,more than sevenhundredheadsand relatedsculpture were recordedfrom all parts of the north of Englandand also from southernEngland, Wales,
20 Ireland and the European continent.However,the majority of examples camefrom the Aire and This concentration Caldervalleysof West York-shire. may havebeenmerely coincidental,or an highly-publicised presence exampleof samplebias resulting from Jack-son's and fieldwork- in that area,and he was careful to point out that more localisedpublicity in areaslike Derbyshire ' by Cheshire bring forward Parallel flood studies and could possibly a of similar examples. hold Billingsley and Petchhavefound the geographical by Jackson identified to concentration true, with few comparable carvingsidentified in the southand eastof the country,and theseare discussed fully in Chapter5. A series of booklets illustrating the headsrecordedby Jacksonwere planned, but only one "" This illustrated beforeJackson'ssuddendeathin 1974brought an end to the survey. appeared pamphlet included a foreword by Anne Rossand a gazetteerof 62 stone headsdisplaying a wide range of style, material, function and architectural context. Although incomplete and difficult to utilise, Jackson's in the Yorkshire ArchaeologicalSociety card index file, preserved the index has beenused archivesin Leeds,remainsa unique research resource.Subsequently, as the starting point for a numberof recentlocal surveys,including thoseof Petchin northwest England, Billingsley in the Calder Valley, and the casestudy of head sculpture in the Peak District and Cheshirewhich forms part of the currentresearch in Chapter5. Jackson's discussed it make notes clear that towardsthe end of his survey he had come to acceptthat many of the in being if in date him "Celtic" they to carvings were so style, even reported were clearly not After he heads. Other Stone distinction booklet Celtic in his that and makes and clear the title of by the late Guy Jackson's deaththe study of carvedheadssankinto obscurity,a fact bemoaned Ragland Phillips, a Yorkshire journalist who wrote a number of newspaperand magazine describing Jackson'sdiscoveries.Phillips' own limited survey of headsand traditions articles "' in his "mysteriography" publishedin 1976. were summarised By the end of the 1970sthe theory of a cult of headsin antiquity had begunto suffer a backlash in Ross's historians. Since the study the publication of within writings of archaeologists and 1967doubt had beencastupon the Romano-Celtic heads the claimedas such. of origin of many In addition, her belief, which becamedefined in later writingsý' that the head itself was Dr worshipped,hasbeenchallengedby a new waveof archaeological particularly revisionists, RonaldHutton. Indeed,so completewas the transitionin attitudesto this data that Hutton was ableto write confidentlyin 1991:
21 "... but it can now be said that there is no firm evidenceof a 'cult of the human head' in the Iron Age British Isles, as was once asserted,as a working concept, the idea of such a cult " be should nowperhaps set aside. Hutton basedhis statementon the assertionthat "no stoneheadssurvive which can firmly be " and claimedthat the frequentappearance datedto the [Celtic Iron Age] period, of the headon decorative favourite it that than a was metalwork and other artifacts suggested nothing more in form Anne indeed hand Celticists On the the the of motif, one of severalrecorded. one stood Rossand Barry Cunliffe, and on the other the revisionist schoolof archaeologybest expressed by the writings of Ronald Hutton in the 1990s.For the first time since the 1960sthe Celtic origin of the carvings documentedby Ross,Jacksonand otherswere being questioned,along with their function as sacredor ritual objects forming part of a native pagan cult or belief interpretative defensive This Iron Age to system. archaeologists an attitude of changeamong in the recentwritings of Hutton and GeraldWait. Wait, in his study of cautionis bestexpressed the probableexistence ritual andreligion in Iron Age Britain, acknowledges of a headcult "with idea but the a potentialfor considerable of a sacredmeaningattachedto the antiquity" rejects he headitself. Drawing upon archaeological from late Iron European Age, the writes: evidence
best is head for Massif the sparse. very the at cult north of a such central... evidence ... heads Nowhereare there convincingassociations with religious sites. of skulls and sculptured There are, of course, a jew sculpturesof human heads,but an occasional stone head is too scantevidence on which to build a cult."' by numerousregional and specialist The revisionist stanceof archaeologists hasbeenbalanced last in the important head to studiesof aspects of these emerge of the symbol.Probablythe most twenty years are the writings of folklorists and art historians such as Hilda Ellis-Davidson, Otherworld, the to in head whosematerial setsthe role of the a religious contextas a gateway not just in Celtic mythology and iconography,but also amongthe traditions of other peoples, Megaw, "' Ruth Vincent Germanic Europe. Scandinavian the tribes and as such and of northern in a series of comprehensivesurveys of early Celtic art in wood, stone and metal, directly contradict the revisionist stanceon headsas cult symbols.They concludethat not only did the humanheadplay a major symbolic role, but it wasalso a very commonfeatureof an art severed tradition which was "basically religious."' Ina recentarticle Vincent Megaw underlinesthe
22 importance of the head in Celtic art "and the relative paucity of renderingsof the complete is possiblydue to the existence humanform."" This, he suggestsý of a tabooin Celtic society, demonstrating the Celtic capacityfor renderingvisual ideasby representing only part well as as of the whole. The most prolific writer on Celtic religion during the 1980s, Dr Miranda Green of the University of Wales,has cast doubt upon the idea of a specific "cult of the head" among the tribes of the British Isles. She has chosen to discuss the meaning of the head in terms of religious symbolismin a seriesof works including Symboland Image in Celtic Religious Art In Vie Gods of the Celts she describesthe importanceof head ritual to the Celts as being "unequivocal" and concludes that cult importance of headsmanifests itself throughout all aspectsof Celtic religion, to the extent that in art it was often representedas oversized or in its dimensions. Greenconcluded: exaggerated "Why the human head was so important can never be entirely understood,but it was the means of identifying an individual, and was recognised as the power centre for human action... I refute any suggestion that the head itself was worshipped, but it was clearly " divine itnage, hutnan in the the venerated as or representing whole. inostsignificantelement a Riddel, Frances This more balancedviewpoint is reflectedin the conclusions who attempted of to place the head in the much broader terms of Romano-Celtic ritual and behaviour in her ' Taking the Brigantianheadmaterial dissertationfor the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. "cult" to by Jackson the Ross database, the that word of use gathered and she argued as a describethe motives of the artisanswho createdtheseobjects is inappropriate.Although she head" sheconcludesthat the useof claims therewas certainly no specific "cult of the severed heads in many different contexts, as stone heads, tricephaloi, janiform heads, face pots, feature important of the general wooden carvings, masksand antefixa, was nevertheless an "Romano-Britishphenomenon. "' Sheadds: "Undoubtedlysomeheadsdid havesomemeaningand significance to thosewho made them and in somecasesivent to considerablelengthsto manipulate and assembleobjects such as face pots, skulls and so on."' stoneheads, In addition,the former deputydirectorof the British Museum,RalphMerrifield, hascontributed
23 a valuablereview of votive practicesthroughoutthe Romano-Britishand early historical periods in Britain in his 1987 study The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic. Merrifield views ritual folk intermittent practice objects,carvingsand skulls as part of an continuumof superstitionor both ethnicand religious changefrom prehistory to the present and tradition which transcended day.Although he makesno specific study of stoneheadsof the Celtic tradition, he discusses a from discovered in the tradition ritual contextswhich suggesta continuity of range of skulls ' to the early medievalperiod. protohistoric Meanwhile, the large corpus of Iron Age and Romano-British carvings and iconographic in format by Ross has been in 1977 a materialused andothers publishedsince a more accessible fascicules, University Corpus by Oxford Signorum Imperii Roinani the of series published , Press.The volumes by Phillips and Coulson on Hadrian's Wall, Brewer on South Wales and Cunliffe and Fulford on Wessex' are particularly helpful, but clearly illustrate the problems inherentin drawing conclusionsbasedupon a collection of material which is datableoften by style alone. Hutton and Wait have arguedthat theseconclusionscast doubt upon the early assertionsby Ross about the existenceof a specific Celtic cult which revolved around the worship of the headitself. However, in her defence,Rossclearly statesthat thereare very few headsin stonewhich can be confidently datedto the pre-Roman period, thoughmany examples from found in the Hadrian's Wall region are unquestionably Celtic the time of origin of native the Romanoccupation.Rossis careful to point out that: "...due to the conservativenature of the tradition, and the lack of artistic skill [inany heads] " the Rotnanoccupation. would apparentlyante-date This element of caution is tempered by Green who notes the dangers of becoming too broadly I have beyond similar limits a the the adopted speculativeand going material, and of 2. in Chapter in discussion discussed in inherent the present stance my study, of the pitfalls 1.9. Carved heads as "folk art" While argumentssurroundingdating, style and interpretationcontinue among historians and prehistorians,a useful parallel approachto the study of the carvings formerly classified as "Celtic heads" has developed independently,most notably in the writings of fieldworkers,
24 including PeterBrears,John Billingsley and others.This hasled to the re-assessment of many hitherto puzzling stoneheadswithin the contextof folk art, and to the study of the function and purposewhich motivatedthe masons and native artistswho createdthem, rather than focussing has Billingsley dating In in-depth the the problems most problem upon alone. recent study of head" for "archaic head" "Celtic be dropped the term term to the convincingly argued and "" in the useof the substituted view of above. Another fieldworker, Martin Petch,hassuggested the term "carved headsof the Celtic tradition" in view of the fact that the majority of the examplescollected in his samplefrom northwest England are clearly not of Romano-Celtic " date. Among the growing numberof local studiesnow extantare two valuablesurveysof folk art in Ireland. In 1972 Etienne Rynne published the results of his survey of stone pagan Celtic sculpturefrom Ireland, which included a numberof headshitherto unrecorded,demonstrating in the "Irish SeaProvince" linking Ireland with with examples connections recordedelsewhere " A parallel study was published by Dr Helen Hickey who North Britain and the Continent. focussedon the archaic traditions which have persistedin the Lough Erne basin of Northern Ireland. Shestressed the importanceof the objectsas folk art as well as archaeology.Although the region in which sheworked maintainedits predominantly"Celtic" population, the archaic by featured in bear her book the those recorded carvings style of striking similarities with Jacksonin the north of England, emphasising the curious parallel natureof both iconographic by difficulties fundamental Hickey's tradition. experienced and oral study underlines the folk Continuity tradition historians date to of archaeologists and who attempt sculptures. stone by the art found in the Lough in carving from the Iron Age to the presentis bestdemonstrated Erne region, where on stylistic groundsit can be difficult to distinguish a nineteenthor even Yorkshire, in In from in twentieth century piece one made prehistoric times. this region, as heads similar to prehistoricexamples areevennow beingmadein concrete! In northernEngland, Peter Brearsof LeedsMuseumreaffirmed the value of treating headsas of folk art which he labelled"Fhe Old Man's Face" after John Castillo, an eighteenth examples century mason from the North York Moors, in his study published in 1979. Avoiding any attempt to date the heads,Brears concentratedon their use within insular architecture and in it "far than that the concluded was more variety of carversworking the mere coincidence" areaduring the pastthreehundredyearsshouldhaveplacedtheir stoneheads"almost solely in
"' situationswhich have such a long and well-establishedritual significance. it in that the was argues society quite possible, and study given conservativenatureof culture
25 This important
four long habits the uplandPenninevalleysof Brigantia,that folk practices as as established and thousandyearsago survived in a vestigial form through to recenttimes. Brearsconcludesthat found be kind is to the evidence of which empirical would satisfy archaeologists unlikely because of its nebulousnature,and he concluded: "... it is significant that the first permanent stone structures feature these heads in comparatively large numbers especially in areas such as WestYorkshire and the northern bordersof England wherethe survival of British culture wasparticularly strong, and wherea "" numberof British place names are still in usetoday. Similar collectionsof local materialhaveappeared since 1951,when Mary Nattrasspublisheda " in include buildings North York These Moors the a seriesof articleson gableheads on region. local samplefrom the Ribble Valley and Forest of Bowland region of northeastLancashire, publishedby historianAlice Smith." This local overview hasbeendevelopedmore recently in heads in West Yorkshire, Pennine the work of JohnBillingsley in Calderdale, are where valley a found within vernacular architecture with a frequently unknown in comparable contexts in heads This began in late the valley 1970s the elsewhere. research asa surveyof archaicstone initiated by the earlier work of Jacksonand Phillips. Billingsley's researchresulted in the hundred included than examples one completion of a manuscriptwhich a catalogueof more left Billingsley by John Greenwood. This photographed study remained unpublishedwhen England to work in Japan.On his return to Englandin 1990,Billingsley updatedhis material in his to added a and numberof new examples culminating the completionof a study catalogue, National head in the in held Calderdale the archivesof of archaic carvings now and elsewhere, A Sheffield-86 University Centrefor English Cultural Tradition and Language popular of at the in 1998 form book in Billingsley's early summaryof researchand conclusionswas published in '"' is book This Heads. Stony Gaze: Stone Investigating 01lier the title Celtic unique under and being the first completework within the folklore literatureto concentrate solely upon the study of the headsymbol in the form of carvedstonesand skulls, and is a highly useful appraisalof from archaeology the evidence and folklore in Britain andEurope. Billingsley's initial study in WestYorkshire coincidedwith a museum-based fieldwork survey
26 During the 1980sarchaeological fieldworker Martin Petch on the oppositeside of the Pennines. had begunwork to draw up a catalogueof stoneheadsand relatedsculpturein the northwestof This England,which was to be basedat Manchester Museum,in the University of Manchester. late in 1960s when Shelagh Lewis, an archaeologist and the project originated fieldworker, conducteda limited survey of stone headsand associatedtraditions in the Peak District and neighbouring areasof Lancashireand Cheshirewhich fell within the museum's hinterland. A number of Celtic-style stone headsand related sculpture were acquired by the Museum during the 1960s and 1970s and this had aroused the interest of the keeper of antiquities, Dr John Prag. Exhibitions and publicity surroundingnew finds, enhancedby the discoveryin the 1980sof the prehistoricbog bodiesat Lindow Moss in Cheshire,resultedin an exhibition of Celtic sculpturewhich led Petchto discovermorecarvings,following the example ' by Jackson in Yorkshire. The Manchester the of pioneeringwork survey beganlife as a card index cataloguefor northwestEnglandto complement Jackson'swork, and hasresultedin two the returnof the Iron Age Lindow Man bog body exhibitionsof stoneheadswhich accompanied to the Museum in 1987and 1993respectively.Although the resultshave yet to be published, Petch'ssurvey of five hundredsquaremiles of GreaterManchester,Cheshire,Derbyshire and Lancashirehas recordedaround one thousandpreviously undocumented examples,"doubling "' known to exist in the northwestof England. the numberof Celtic sculptures 5 in Chapter described Dovetailing with the conclusions of of regionalsurveyssuchas my own the current research, the sample of headsrecorded by Petch has resulted in the tentative conclusion that a third of the headsmay indeeddate "from the Iron Age, Romano-British or fairly " while the bulk of the remainingsculptures Dark Age times, recentorigin. of are probably On this basis,Petchfeels that a more accurate way of describingheadspreviously classifiedas "Celtic" would be to describethem as "stone headsof the Celtic tradition, as many of these headsare clearly not of the Celtic Iron Age."' 1996,Petchwrites: "The surveyhas beenrunningfor about twentyyearsall told and the area coveredis primarily the northwest but information from elsewherehas beencollated for comparative purposes. Numbersof examplesrecorded must be around one thousandbut thesevary in type, age, etc and manyare modern,evengargoyles.Dating is of courseproblematical, as there is no means dating for comparativestudy is exceptby style which is inaccurateand thereforea database of the mostusefulend result.119' in the Summarisingthe current stateof survey
27 Apart from the presentresearch, the most recentoriginal fieldwork to date has beenthat begun by Chris Copson,an archaeologistbasedin southwestEngland. He begangathering material for a surveyof carvingsrecordedin Somerset, Dorsetand surroundingcountieswith the help of colleagueRodney Legg, who holds a private collection of stoneheadsacquired from sources including auctions, antique shopsand private sale. Many of his forty examplesoriginate in north Britain, and the majority are believed to be of medieval or later origin. Following the exampleof Jackson,Petch and others, Copsonand Legg appealedfor information about new examples in the local and national Press, and were deluged with calls about previously ' unrecordedexamples. Following an exhibition at Dorset County Museum, Copson is currently working on a survey of heads in southwest England. This collection includes a concentrationof carvings from Dorset and Somerset,along with examplesfrom an Iron Age hillfort, the floor of a Romanvilla andthe ruins of a farm building, described in Chapter5. This summarybrings the surveyof literatureand fieldwork on the subjectof the humanheadin British folk tradition up to the presentdate. The following chapter will concentrateon the developmentof the presentresearchand how material was collected during the courseof the writer's own fieldwork in Britain.
The ConciseOxford Dictionary(Ninth Edition), (ed.) DeliaThompson(Oxford:Clarendon Press, 1995), p. 624. Richard BroxtonOnians, The Originsof EuropeanThought (Cambridge:University Press, 1951), pp. 98-101. Anne Ross, PaganCeltic Britain (London: Routledgeand Kegan Paul, 1967), pp.94-95. 4MirandaJ. Green,Dictionaryof CelticMyth and Legend (London:Thames and Hudson, 1992), P.9. 5Barry Cunliffe,Iron Age Britain (London: Batsford, 1995), pp. 19-23. 0MirandaJ. Green,CefficMyths (London:British Museum Press, 1993), p.8. 7 The ConciseOxford Dictionary, p. 526. CompleteWorksof CharlesFbrt (NewYork: Dover Publications,1974). ' Charles Fort, T17o Fortean Times, The Journal of StrangePhenomena, Box 2409, London NW5 4NP. 10 DavidClarkeand Andy Roberts,Phantomsof the Sky: UFOs,a Modem Myth? (London: Robert Hale, 1990). DavidClarke, Ghostsand Legendsof the Peak District (Norwich:Jarrold Books, 1991). Sigma Press, 1994);A Guideto Britain's 12 DavidClarke,Strange South Yorkshire(Wilmslow: Pagan Heritage (London:RobertHale, 1995);DavidClarke with Andy Roberts, Twilightof the Celtic Gods (London: Blandford Press, 1996). 13 David Keys, 'Heads of stone cast new light on Celtic cult', The Independent,30 May 1988. History and Folklore'(unpublished DavidClarke, 'The Cult of the Headin Archaeology, Sheffield, University Prehistory, Archaeology dissertation, Department of and of undergraduate 1990). 11 Fort, pp. xi-xiv. 16 Ross, Pagan Celtic Britain, pp. 98-99. JeffreyGantz,Early IrishMythsand Sagas (Harmondsworth:Penguin, 1981), pp. 20-26. Anne Ross, The human head in insular paganCeltic religion',Proceedingsof the Society of Antiquariesof Scotland, XCI (1957-58),10-43. Gwynn Jones and Thomas Jones (translators),TheMabihogion (London: Dent, 1949). R. Hamnet,pamphleton the historyof Glossop,1905,GlossopPublicLibrary. Sabine Baring-Gould,Strange Survivals (London:Methuen, 1892), pp. 36-61. Ibid., p.42. 23 Ibid., p.53. Studies the Essays 21 of Heathenism', English Bruce Dick*q, Old 'English Names and ns, and English Association, 14 (1933),148. 25 Ibid., 32. 2'Dicki ns, 'English Names and Old EnglishHeathenism',148-53. SurreY, Place-names The in of 17 Bruce Dick;ns, 'Place-names formedfrom animalhead names', Society, Place-names English ed.by'J.E.B. Gover (London:CambridgeUniversityPressand 1934), p.403. Cambrensis Archaeologia Names', Head 211 R.J. Thomas,'Celtic Place-names formedfrom Animal 34, (1934), 328-31. 20 Ibid., 330. formedfrom animalhead names, 30 Gregorythe Great, Dialogues,cited in Dick'ins, 'Place-names p. 403. 11 AX Smith, The Luck in the Head:A Problemin EnglishFolklore',Folklore, 73 (1962), 14. 32 CambridgeUniversityPress, 1956), A.H. Smith, English Place-nameElements(Cambridge: pp. 236-37.1 Frank Stenton, 'The HistoricalBearingof Place-nameStudies:Anglo-SaxonHeathenism', Transactions 1-24. of the Royal HistoricalSociety, fourthseries XXIII (1941), 34 Ibid., 22.
29 15. 35Stenton,
31 Sidney Jackson card index file, unpublished note, Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Leeds. 3"Kenneth Cameron (ed.)Tbe Place-names of Cheshire Part 1 (London: English Place-names , Society, 1970), p. 177. 38 Letter in Sidney Jackson correspondence file, dated May 1970, from F L. Preston, Research Secretary, Hunter Archaeological Society, Rotherham, South Yorkshire. The letter refers to an area to the southeast of Dinnington, near the source of a small brook, "Stone Heads Plantation", marked on the 1841 one inch Ordnance Survey map and the current six inch map. *9Margaret Gelling, 'Place-names and Anglo-Saxon Paganism', University of Birmingham Archaeological Journal, 8 (1961), 7-25. 40 Smith, 7he Luck in the Head,' 13-24. 41 Ibid., 15. 11 Ed. Cawte, Ritual Animal Disguise (Ipswich: D.S. Brewer, 1978). 43 Archaeology of Ritual and Magic (London: Batsford), pp. 123-129. Ralph Merrifield, T17o 44Lady Raglan, 'The Green Man in Church Architecture', Folklore, 50 (1939), 45-57. C. J. P. Cave, Roof Bosses in Medieval Churches (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 41 1948). 16 Ibid., P.61. Canon Hulbert-Powell, 'Carved Corbels, Brackets and Label Stops in Anglesey Churches', 411 Transactions of the Anglesey Antiquaries Society and Field Club (1944), 19-48. "Francoise Henry and George Zarnecki, 'Romanesque Arches Decorated with Human and Animal Heads', Journal of the British Archaeological Association, third series 20 (1957), 1-30. 40 Ibid., 29. 10 Kathleen Basford, The Green Man (Ipswich: D.S. Brewer, 1978); Roy Judge, The Jack-in-theGreen, A May Day custom (Ipswich: D.S. Brewer, 1979); William Anderson, Green Man, The Archetype of our Oneness with the Earth (London: Harper Collins, 1990). 11 Jorgen Andersen, The Witch on the Wall: Medieval Erotic Sculpture in the British Islas (Copenhagen: Rosenkilde and Bagger, 1977); Anthony Weir and James Jarman, Images of Lust: sexual carvings on medieval churches (London: Batsford, 1986). 52 Ronald Sheridan and Anne Ross, Grotesques and Gargoyles (Newton Abbot: David and Charles, 1975). "Paul Jacobsthal, Early Celtic Art, 2 volumes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1944). N. M.C. Toynbee, Art in Britain under the Romans (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1964). rate 51 P. Lambrechts, LExaftation de la dans la Pense'e at dans I'art des Coltes (Bruges: Do Tempel, 1954).
' Ross, 'rhe HumanHead in InsularPaganCeltic Religion. Ross, PaganCelticBritain. Ibid., pp. 98-99. 10 Ibid., pp. 149-55. 60 Ibid., P. 122. ' Reappraisal, Gloucester: a Kevin T. Greene,rrhe Romano-Celtic Headfrom the Bon Marchesite, AntiquariesJournal, 55 (1975),338-45. 62Sidney Jackson, Celtic and Other Stone Heads (Shipley: Percy Lund, 1973), p-2. 11 Ibid., p.4. 64 Jackson, Celtic and Other Stone Heads. " Guy RaglandPhillips,Brigantia:A Mysteriography(London: Routledgeand Kegan Paul, 1976). "'Anne Ross, The Pagan Celts (London:Batsford,1970), pp. 145-47; Ross's claim that the head itself was worshippedby the Celts is madein the TV productionfor BBC I Chronicle, Twilightof the EnglishCelts, broadcaston 27 October 1977. RonaldHutton, The PaganReligionsof the Ancient British Isles (London: Blackwell, 1991).
Reports Series)149 (1985), p. 149. H.R. Ellis-Davidson, Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1988), pp. 71-78. "'Ruth Megaw and Vincent Megaw, CefficArt (London: Thames and Hudson, 1990). 71 Ruth Megaw and Vincent Megaw, 'The Stone head from Msecke Zehrovice: a reappraisal, ' Antiquity, 62 (1988), 630-41. 11 Miranda J. Green, The Gods of the Celts (Gloucester: Alan Sutton, 1986), pp. 216-20. 13 Frances Riddel, 'Stone heads from the North - Some observations' (unpublished undergraduate dissertation, Department of Archaeology, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1990). 74 Ibid., p.44. 71 Ibid., p.44. "Merrifield, pp. 185-95. C. Coulston and E.R. Phillips, Corpus Signorum Imperil Romani, Hadrian's Wall West of the North Tyne and Carlisle Vol. 1, fasc. 1 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988); B.W. Cunliff a and M. G. Fulford, Corpus Signorum Imperil Romani, Bath and the rest of Wessex Vol. 1, f asc. 2 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982); Richard J. Brewer, Cotpus Signortim Imperil Romani, Wales Vol. 1, fasc. 5 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986). 7' Ross, Pagan Celtic Britain, p. 150. "'John Billingsley, 'The Myth of the ýCeltic'head%Northam Earth Mysteries 56 (1993-94), 14-17. Martin Patch, 'Archaeology: Celtic Stone Heads,' Manchester Museum Information Sheet No.Al (Manchester: Manchester Museum, 1978). Helen Hickey, Images of Stone (Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 1976). Peter Brears, North Country Folk Art (Edinburgh: John Donald, 1989), p. 43.
GeraldWait, Ritualand Religionin IronAge Britain, Part I (Oxford:BritishArchaeological
Ibid., pp. 42-45. 84 Mary Nattrass,'Carvedheadsin Cleveland', TheDalesman(Jan-February1951), 435-37. Alice Smith, 'Celtic Heads',in Wherethe RiversMeet, pamphletpublishedby the Whalleyand DistrictHistoricaland Archaeological Society(Winter1989),8-28. "'John Billingsley,'ArchaicHeadCarvingin WestYorkshireand Beyond' (unpublishedMA thesis, Centrefor EnglishCulturalTraditionand Language,Universityof Sheffield, 1994). "John Billingsley,Stony Gaze: InvestigatingCelticand Other Stone Heads (Chieveley:Capall Bann, 1998). Petch, 'Celtic Stone Heads. ' Keys, 'Heads of stone.' Petch, 'Celtic Stone Heads. ' Martin Petch, personalcommunication,1996. May 1997. 11 Jo Knowsley,'BloodyTrail of headhunters Telegraph, Sunday in carved stone',
"Superstitious ritual can be studied objectively like any other human behaviour, and historic in investigation, its the periods towards archaeologycan make a major contribution down to thepresentday no lessthan in prehistory. " Ralph Merrifield. '
The previous chapter introduced the background to my involvement in this research, and literature has dealt with the subjectof the human headin British the which published reviewed archaeologyand folklore. This chapteris divided into two major sections,the first dealing with fieldwork itself and the secondwith the methodusedin the analysisof the fieldwork material. The first section surnmarises the fieldwork and the way sourcematerial was collected for the begins It discussion with a research. current of the different categories of sourcematerial which were gathered, including the primary material collected during fieldwork and secondary of the card published sourcesusedto supplementit, examining the strengthsand weaknesses index surveyswhich formed the starting point of the research. The secondsection looks at the employedin my interpretation why analyticalapproach of the collectedmaterial,and the reasons someareasthat were singledout for in depthstudy andother avenues were not pursued.As part important historical interpretationsof this material, the "Celtic cult of the this two analysis, of head"and the ideaof continuity from paganism to Christianity,are singled out for discussion. The discussionwhich follows concentrates upon the collection of the primary and secondary form 1998, between basis 1990 for fieldwork the the the and which of presentstudy material few brief in began Fieldwork 1986 the notebook entries research was with a completed. when into fieldwalls incorporated heads identified, been had and old recording carved stone which farm buildings in the DerbyshirePeakDistrict and elsewhere. In addition a small file had been "Celtic" to from stone referring opened,containinga collection of cuttings nationalnewspapers Museumand various offprints heads,a leaflet concerningthe subjectproducedby Manchester from archaeologicaljournals. I had also read Anne Ross'sseminal study which contained a depicting stone highly influential chapteron the "head cult," along with a panelof photogr-aphs foreword to had heads Ross from a also contributed and relatedsculpture a variety of contexts! Sidney Jackson'spamphlet Celtic and Other Stone Heads which was available from the Bradford MuseumsService.' From this basisa collection of primary and secondarysources dissertation My basis formed the was slowly assembled, of this research. undergraduate which York-shire West had utilised a basiccollection of secondary to sourcematerialprimarily relating heads literature,including articlesfrom thejournal Antiquity and culled from the archaeological Art Museums City by Bradford the ArchaeologyGroup Bulletin, a newsletter the and published
33 Galleries, which was edited by Sidney Jackson,and published bi-monthly between 1956 and 1967in thirteen volumes." At this early stageI decided it would be unproductive to produce another "catalogue" or index of stone headsas this method had already been utilised by the Bradford and Manchester surveys. Both of these surveys were based upon the established antiquarian and archaeological method of listing artefactgwhich are categorised by certain or facesprimarily in stonebut also in other media. criteria, in this casecarvingsof humanheads This kind of listing is useful as a starting point and an empirical base which can provide information on geographical distribution, style, and provenance,a method which has been usefully employedin other contextssuchas the cataloguingof Romano-Britishsculpturein the ' fascicules Corpus Imperii Ronwni. Signoruin title the seriesof publishedunder However, surveys6f this kind can only provide a starting point for the survey planned in the PeakDistrict. Both the Bradford and Manchestersurveyswere primarily fieldwork--drivenand the card index files and lists they have producedlack any accompanyingin-depth researchor examinationof the context within which thesesculptureswere produced.Jacksondied in 1973 beforehe was able to usehis dataas the basisfor any publicationwhich could adequatelymake of the corpusof material he had collected in West Yorkshire in an analytical way. Since sense that time his data has been scarcely utilised and does not offer much opportunity for developmentand interpretation,due to the form in which the information it contains hasbeen by Shelagh late 1960s The Manchester in initiated Museum the preserved. survey,which was Lewis, and hasbeencontinuedduring the 1980sby Martin Petch,is an on-going project which has far producedlittle in the way of analysisor statisticalbreakdownof the material, other so " Until in 1989. in a than that contained a text which accompaniedan exhibition catalogue the for kind limited as such this purposes the use publication of appears, surveywill remain of presentstudy. Both the Jackson and ManchesterMuseum surveys are focussedupon a method of listing for the folklore found I in be limited context the to carvings which pursuit of a use of list While included of a the of production sculptures. my own approachto the subject also breaking by further from the Peak intention District, it this take the to the carvings was always by down into function based material which were not attempted categories upon age and Jacksonuntil a later stagein his survey.At an,early stagein the current fieldwork it became obvious that many of the carved stoneheads,which are eminently portable, had been moved,
34 lost and stolen since Jackson'ssurvey which endedin 1974. From my initial fieldwork in the PeakandWestYorkshire, it was apparentthat betweena third and half of the total examplesnot held in museumcollections which were listed by Jacksonin the early 1970swere no longer in later. twenty years situ Therefore,rather than concentrate upon Jackson'sdatabase alone,it was decidedto producean be focussed include but District Peak the a which would would primarily upon original survey heads from Yorkshire, Lancashire including and sample of stone other regions comparative Cheshire.I beganwork with a colleague,Andy Roberts,who was basedin WestYorkshire, to heads,with the primary aim of recording draw up a representative sampleof the bestpreserved with them.This was a three-pronged extantfolk-loreassociated project which involved: 1. Photographing and recordingin notebooksthe locationsof stoneheadsof the Celtic tradition in situ, primarily in the north of England,with a view to using theseas a basisto interpret other from in British Isles. the elsewhere examples 2. Producing a database of all publishedmaterial on the subject of stoneheads,headcult and headfolklore. This consistedof articles both in archaeological,historical, folklore and fringe booksand publications,magazine articles. and newspaper offprints, bookletsand pamphlets, 3. Recording the numerouslegends,storiesand traditions which made up the surviving body skulls and other surviving artefacts,with the goal of beliefs which surroundstonecarvedheads, with them. of finding commonthemesor storiesassociated One method of gathering information was by direct appealspublished in newspapersand be Internet this Latterly, limited an has been may the and via use appeals magazines. madeof in Articles on the researchpublished approachwhich could be pursuedby future researchers. both specialist and non-specialist newspapers, magazines and newspapers, including " 9 Studies, 'Peak Fortean " theYorkshirePost, and Pennine, PennineMagazine, and knew heads forth or who brought a steadyflow of information from peoplewho either owned hidden in barn walls or cottagegardens. the whereabouts of examples be to head Most of the published documentary material on the subject of the cult proved I'aactessibleand many articleswere uncovered following repeated of the archaeological searches brought has folklore literature Ten much yearsof research and and cross-referencing of sources. basic light from by following to sources this of a group a steady processof of up references including Dr Anne Ross's seminalstudy publishedin 1967.By the mid-1990s the literature on
35 the subject had been enhancedby the completion of John Billingsley's thesis on heads in book Stony Gaze, which was publishedin 1998as the current Calderdale" and his subsequent " theses was nearingcompletion. During the literaturesearchtwo earlier undergraduate research in completed the Departmentof Archaeologyat the University of Newcastle-upon-Tynewere " they two the presented opposingviewpoints on subject. read,and proved useful as Focussing upon the archaeological literature, the indexes of regional archaeological and journals were checkedspecifically for entriesunderhead,skull, Celtic art and Celtic antiquarian in listed Articles light during the to this and referenceswhich came religion. researchare bibliography.Similar literature searches were conductedusing the entire back catalogueof the Dalesman magazine. journal Folklore, thejournal of the Folk-lore Society, and the Yorkshire Contact was also established with various County Archaeological Survey offices. South Yorkshire'ssurvey allowed me to spenda day searchingtheir record files for material, while their equivalents in Derbyshire and Cumbria supplied me with computer printouts of headrelated sculpture recorded in their files. City museumsin Sheffield, Manchester, Carlisle, Birmingham, Cardiff and elsewherewere also consultedand provided lists and referencesto heads in their respective collections and notes about examples further afield. The British Museum, the London Museum, the National Museumsof Ireland, Scotland and Wales,along with a number of English provincial museums,provided material, offprints and references literature "Fringe" in database. was also the the which proveduseful of creationand assemblage to the for subject relevance of consulted material extensively supplementary material, as much in a hasbeencollected by amateurarchaeologists published subsequently and antiquarians and Mysteries. Earth lesser-known field in the of publications,particularly numberof for own This basic investigation provided a database my the point starting as used was which fieldwork. It gave me a sound empirical base for the development of my approach to the in discuss The next sectionwill analysisof the material which forms the basisof this research. the formed detail listings the of part the major which strengthsand weaknesses greater of the I from differed how the approached my own these way source material, and secondary fieldwork.
2.2 Secondary source material
The most important secondarysourceusedas a starting point for this study was the material collected by Sidney Jacksonof the Bradford MuseumsService in West Yorkshire. Jackson's card index file and supplementarymaterial were extensively utilised in the early stagesof the fieldwork, which was made possible by an extended loan of the entire collection by the "' Additional supplementarymaterial was provided by the YorkshireArchaeologicalSociety. card index of headsinitiated by the ManchesterUniversity Museum in the 1970s,to which I ` by the keeper,Dr John Prag. was allowed access 2.2.3. The Sidney Jackson card index This index of carved stoneheadswas compiled by archaeologicalfieldworker Sidney Jackson in West Yorkshire and formed the major secondarysource utilised in this study. As noted earlier, between 1965 and his death in the early 1970sJacksonwas curator and keeper of in Cartwright Hall Museum, Bradford Museum Metropolitan the the at antiquities service part of West Yorkshire. The Sidney Jacksoncard index consistsof two files containing small-sized file labelled However, 1-463 464-675 Two). (File (File One) two actually cards and record has 751. This contains record cards numbered up to cleared up some confusion which in Kerry, Stephen by Jackson, heads the total writing as surrounded number of recorded CurrentArchaeology said that Jacksonhad recorded350 when he died."' Webb, in her BA , dissertation, says that she found 650 index cards when she consulted his papersduring the "' while Selkirk, writing in 1974,notes that "some 730 headshave beenrecordedfrom 1980s, ""' the WestRiding, and the numberincreases weekly. All the cards in the Sidney Jacksonindex contain brief handwritten and typewritten entries describing headsfrom every region of the British Isles and a small number from overseas, A based. he West Yorkshire located Valley in the Aire was where the majority are although of large percentage'of the cards have original black and white photographsattached,depicting The index. in files larger the examples,while outsized photos are stored which accompany that the negativesrelating to the quality of thesephotosvariesfrom goodto poor, and it appears entire collection are no longer storedwith the card index itself. As far as I was able to ascertain,
37 no effort has beenmadeto updatethe files, or to producegood quality colour photographsof the many headscurrently in the keepingof the Bradford Museumsservice. On the subjectof the card index itself, it was found that much of the information recordedwas poorly presentedand the majority of the surviving notes were recorded in Jackson's own longhand which was difficult to decipher and lacking in many important details. Additional material, including photosand slidesmentionedon record cardswas found to be missing and, most importantly, stories and traditions about the use of headsthemselveswere scarceand The cardscontainbasicinformation which is to havebeenrecordedasan afterthought. appeared four and six figure ordnancesurvey grid reference,brief often confinedto placeor provenance, comments upon style or distinctive features and an approximate date for the sculpture. Information was also recorded relating to referencesin journals or newspapers,and crossin a separatefile. A typical entry, chosenat random from card referencesto correspondence number41 reads:
"ECCLESFIELD,Sheffield.Romano-British date.Building rubble. SK 358936.Yorkshire
ArchaeologicalJournal clxiii 1965,p.322 "" . Supplementaryenvelopefiles storedalongsidethe index itself contain Jackson'sown writing during the fifteen year span of the survey, offprints of articles, press and correspondence notes cuttings and other notes.An additional three small filing casescontain correspondence, The files, in the two card and cuttings relating to the entries all cross-referenced. correspondence is filed in alphabetical order, using the surnames of correspondents. Furthermore, ' which contained thereis anothersmall file labelled"Ephemera! materialon related "Celtic sculpture," including stone animals and Sheela-na-gigs.Supplementary material concerning many of the stone headsrecordedand cataloguedby Jacksonwas also available from the back issuesof the ArchaeologyGroup Bulletin, a magazineedited and producedby Sidney Jacksonand published by the Bradford Art Galleries and Museums Service.20 Back issues for immediatereference at an of the magazine coveringthe early 1960swere photocopied in the research. Forming an important addition to the collection itself was a stage early 215 detailing manuscriptcontaining camera-ready of the material,completewith photographs, interesting more carvings from the card index. This material proved to be more useful than the poorly-recordcd notes containedin the card index itself, which appearto have functioned as
38 Jackson'spersonal shorthand system, and were clearly not intended for the use of anyone of A4 materialfeaturedindividual headsdescribedon sheets excepthimself. The camera-ready in most cases by quality black and white photographs. paper,with concisedetails accompanied Information included provenance, grid reference,descriptionof context and dimensionsand a certain amount of discussion concerning style. A randomly selected example, numbered in index file, following information: the the card contains nineteen "No. 19. Bradford (Wilsden). Grid ref. SE 0935. Along with No. 20forms a pair, one each built into the wall besidea bani door archway at Honey Pot Farm, Wilsden. Sandstone.8ins. high. Characterisedby quite elaboratecarving, with hair coining down over theforehead, the eyeswith upper and lower eyelids,and thepupils indicated by small hollows, the mouth thicklipped and curving downwards.The cheeks are rounded.It is probably that this head in three"" dimensional. While a certain amountof useful material is provided by this form of presentation,little in the way of context, history or tradition is directly recordedfrom the current owners of the heads, information which is central to the themeof my own fieldwork. In the caseof the headsfrom Honey Pot Farm at Wilsden, I visited the farm during fieldwork in WestYorkshire during 1990 living barn into been incorporated had heads the that the two within wall and quickly established memory,and had actually originated from the ruins of a church or chapelin the nearbyvillage. is but This kind of information is of vital importanceto the datingandcategorisation of material
from thelistingswhichareall thatremain oftenabsent survey. of Jackson's future basis The unpublished form the publication to of a manuscript waspresumably meant in heads surveyof stone which would work towardsthe completionof a comprehensive his before Yorkshire by Jackson. to In the eventthe singlepublished work appear envisaged '2 in 1973. Heads, which waspublished CelticandOtIterStone untimelydeath wasthebook-let had Jackson if Nothingsurvivesin the collectionof papers to suggest whatconclusions, any, His his heads during he had survey. the courseof aboutthe reached andcollected recorded
booklet containeda generalsurvey following the nomenclature of dating and style established by Ross,and containedsixty-two examplesof headsand relatedsculpture,drawn mainly from the WestYorkshirevalleys of Airedale andWharfedale.
Thecardindexfile hasbeen Society in thearchives Archaeological at the stored of theYorkshire Universityof Leeds,sincethe late 1970s donated to the whenthe papers were and material
39 Society by Jackson's widow. Although the material was accessibleto serious researchers, files hours form in the because the the and of restrictedopening which material was recorded, have beenscarcelyconsulted.I applied to the Society for a one year loan of the files early in The for in 1994 in order to draw up a database the committee of the study. use of material Society agreedfor the loan to be extendeduntil the summerof 1995 at the end of that year. During thoseeighteenmonthsI worked slowly throughthe index, carefully extracting all useful information directly from each card, using the cross-references provided to access by logged details from Material shorthand was and cuttings. correspondence supplementary forms log fifty in fieldwork four in file labelled JC 1-4 A4 the which pagesof paper a noteson Appendix 2. The initial plan was to use these notes to draw up a listing which would contain all useful file. This would haveformed an appendixto in the Jackson information relating to the examples the current research,with the material cross referencedto the discussion of headswhich is featured in Chapters4,5 and 6. However, the limitations of the material which have been for head development Peak District the carvings outlined above,and stone of my own surveyof database for 5 featured in Chapter of the the the purposes a eliminated requirement of casestudy for information kind for direct been No has to the statistical this use. made utilise attempt this felt lie develop the heads, to of scope to this typology outside was or a as purposes, of To this folklore the artefacts. to traditions which surrounding primarily aims analyse and study, future in form it have file I from data which the a extracted all useful and preserved extent Sidney from information the The further for base may wish to use as a researchers research. Jacksonindex was thereafterutilised as a secondarysourcewithin the collection of fieldwork iternised in Appendix 2. notes his of the forms index Despiteits shortcomings majority as the Jackson study, case useful a card Yorkshire, North rich drawn from West area an Wharfe Aire the are and valleys of examples and in sculpturedheadsin stonefrom a wide variety of architecturalcontexts.This material can be in Billingsley John usedeffectively to compareand contrastwith casestudiessuchas thoseof Calderdaleand my own centredupon the PeakDistrict, which are discussedin more detail in Chapter 5. Of the stone headsthemselves,Jacksonin his 1973 publication notes how press in left from him heads inquiries by further owners and overwhelmed publicity and gifts of West Yorkshire. After his death the sculptures remained in the ownership of the around
40 Bradford Museums Service to whom they had been donated. Today they are divided between two major museum centres. The vast majority are at the Manor House Museum in Ilkley, where there are approximately fifty five carvings in storage and two on display, one of which functions in head inside itself. the I these the to examples art gallery as a gable was able examine all in April Museum Gavin Edwards, keeper history, I the the assistant when visited company of of 1993. He said there were no plans to produce a permanent display of the heads, and added that little was actually known about their provenance,function and age. He told me that the vast very majority of heads from the collection were donated before 1967, but a small number continued to arrive as gifts, including one as late as 1983." In addition, a small permanent display of a dozen heads from the collection can be seen at the Cliffe Castle Museum in Cliffe Gardens Lane, Keighley, West Yorkshire. Other isolated examples recorded by Jackson are on display or in storage at a number of other museums in the north of England including Wakefield, Sheffield, Saddleworth, Skipton and Buxton. For the purposes of this study, records held by these museums reveal little in the way of useful information about the function or use of these heads in local tradition. In the majority of cases what records there are consist of provenance and date, the nature of the material or stone from which the head is fashioned, and the details of the owner or finder. Testimony of the kind I was seeking could only be obtained by direct heads how behind had these knowledge those the why and people who contact with of reasons England. in how living the they traditions of carved, north were and were used as part of Seeking out and recording oral tradition relating to them therefore became the next stage in the fieldwork metholodogy which formed the primary databasefor the present research.
2.2.4. The Manchester Museum stone head card index The importanceof this sourcehas beendescribedin the previouschapter,but its use hasbeen limited in respectof the presentinvestigation. The card index here was originally begun by fieldworkers at the museumas a responseto Sidney Jackson'swork in York-shireduring the " The aim was to producea similar corpusof material from the northwest Penninesto 1960s. complementJackson'sresearchin Yorkshire. In more recent years Martin Petch has utilised Jackson'scard index as a starting point for his own fieldwork in Greater Manchester and Lancashire, which has surveyed some five hundred square miles and recorded around one
41 thousand previously unknown sculptures, including heads of the Celtic tradition, Sheela-nagigs and other related sculpture. Material collected during the course of this fieldwork survey, along with photos and details sent in by correspondents are stored in a card index file in the Museum archive, using much the same method as that utilised by Jackson in his card index file. Heads recorded in the Manchester card index are divided into geographical groups by English counties, with basic information presentedin an identical fashion to those in Jackson file. During the early stages of my research two visits were made to the Manchester Museum to examine the contents of the file, and notes were made from cards relating to those heads which fell within the geographical and thematic area of coverage of the present study, which included the counties of Derbyshire, Cheshire and neighbouring parts of Greater Manchester. Martin Petch generously offered assistance by providing a list of carvings he had recorded from the Peak District for use in the study, along with a series of good quality black and white photographs of examples from the museum's own collection. In addition, he was able to supplement my knowledge of sculptures with associated folklore that fell outside the
geographical remit of the Peak District study. In summary, the material collected by the Manchester survey was not utilised in any extensive fashion for the purposes of my own intially database but information to the acted as a supplementary source of survey, which added by the Jackson card index. supplied
libraries To supplement files these two major secondary wereconsulted the of public sources, locally for additionalinformation.Cardindexes, files of newspaper published and cuttings in folklore the heads, yielded associated to pamphlets manyusefulreferences stone skullsand
by to followed fieldwork. Many visits the up these which were areas were subject of of locationswhere possible,and if necessary by letter, phonecall or personalinterview. The main library utilised was that attachedto the archivesat the National Centre for English Cultural folk-lore A Tradition at the University of Sheffield, wherethe research based. of wide range was books, journals and cuttings are available there and were easily accessed. magazines, related The other main libraries utilised were the Sheffield University Library, which has complete seriesof the DerbyshireArchaeologicalSocietypublications,Antiquity and other archaeological journals. Sheffield and Rotherham Local History Libraries, Chesterfield Central Library, Manchester Library, DerbyshireCounty Council CentralLibrary in Matlock and Derby Central Library also suppliedvaluablereferences. During this researcha substantialbody of secondary
UNVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD
42 including including in journals unearthed, was references and material articles published source the Hunter Archaeological SocietyProceedings, Folklore, Derbyshire Life and Countryside, TheDalesnwn and others.Of equal importancewas a collection of material of varying quality including broad fringe literature, fall in the the umbrella of under magazines which published " antiquarianpublicationsand the vast literatureon the paranormal.Magazines "Earth Mysteries, Earth Northern include Journal, Fortean from Times, The Hunter Ley this genre consulted Mysteries, Mercian Mysteries,At The Edge and Source: TheJournal of Holy Wells. Many of thesejournals and individual writers havepublishedbookletsand pamphletsdealing with such subjectsas holy wells and springs,standingstonesand folklore, which yielded much primary letters, by heads information Other to were provided relating skulls. snippets of and material heads, by these to skulls stone magazines which refer site visits and published of notes reports folklore. in In letters 1990s the and articlesoutlining the survey were related addition, early and direct inviting District, Peak to the covering periodicals and magazines sent out newspapers, in from informants fruit bear has the to to the study which continued up completion of response in a numberof local 1998.Over a sevenyear period articlesappealingfor information appeared Chronicle including Glossop Times, Sheffield Derbyshire The Star, and the newspapers Reporter, Macclesfield Express,,,Buxton Advertiser and periodicals including Peak and Pennine,77ieDalesman and the DerbyshireAdvertiser.
2.2.5. Analysis of the secondary source material initial during my in the Jacksonsurveywere apparent The limitations of the material preserved Manchester Jackson the by This because and the criteria employed was appraisalof the material. This themselves. Museumstudy were primarily directedat the listing of archaeological artefacts base for kind of material was useful in that it provided an empirical base my own research,a thqse arlefacts. be developed in for with tradition associated the could surviving which search in the Jacksonsurvey,and the However,due to the flaws in the recordingof materialpreserved follow to up it lapseof more than twenty yearssinceits inception, was not consideredpractical heads, begin listed by of Jackson.It appeared my own survey the examples more suitable to basedin one geographicalzone, and to collect information relating to the history and traditions between I heads As from the inception years the with a result spent associated of the project.
43 1990and 1998working in the field, using the basic information I had collected as a beginning, intention information it The tradition was with new context. on surviving and and supplemented to explore the areaswhere thesecarvingswere producedand find out more about their original landscape itself, the and use within and the motivationsof thosepeoplewho continued context to use them for magical purposessuch as charmsagainstevil, or protective talismans, in the presentday. listed originally by Jackson While the PeakDistrict casestudy drew upona numberof examples field in Manchester Museum, it in I to collect the that was own contacts and original usedmy backgroundinformation about the carvingswhich had largely beenignored by the two earlier surveys.A similar criterion has been used before by John Billingsley in his survey of stone headsin Upper Calderdale,WestYorkshire." Billingsley's fieldwork was probably the closest but at the sametime was placing it in to my own, as he was also listing material for a database the context of an ongoing tradition which remainedvibrant. During the courseof his research, Billingsley was able to complement the material on headsin Calderdaleoriginally noted by Jackson,and collected many new examples,as well as extant lore and tradition surrounding had failed to note in his survey. them which Jackson My own research was therefore far removed from the basic listing method employed by Jackson,and broadly similar to the limited casestudy attemptedby Billingsley. The primary fieldwork was divided into two sections:a microcosm in the form of the Peak District case data, functioned both listing and a macrocosm of study which and a contextualanalysis as a folklore in head and beliefs and skull consisting of a nationwide survey of relating to the thirty from than more tradition, primarily focussed upon the guardianskulls which are recorded individual locationsin the British Isles.The skull material was not collected in form of a basic listing such as those attemptedby Jackson,but as a structuredgazetteercontaining all extant kind its first to is data collect fieldwork This form the of contextualmaterial. of of presentation the in both terms of in this together examples of motif one comprehensive survey, and folkloric record,and setit in an overall context. archaeological 2.3. Fieldwork methodology and primary source material The primary fieldwork data consistsof oral tradition collected specifically for this study, and
44 forms the most important source for the current research.The data, itemised in Appendix 2 into broken down bulk for be two principal the the this study of material used up and can makes in heads (1) the north and midlands of to traditions relating carved stone primarily categories: England, and (2) guardian skull traditions of the British Isles. Fieldwork began as early as 1986, and has continued effectively to the presentday, the bulk of material being collected betweenthe years 1990and 1998.The majority of the information collectedforms the basisfor in Chapters 4 and 5 (PeakDistrict casestudy), and Chapters the detaileddiscussions presented 6 and 7 (Skull traditions). A listing of carvedheadsrecordedduring the PeakDistrict fieldwork how in detail discuss following The Appendix 1. the the researchas sections accompanies how formed fieldwork-, during the the two and material which major collections was gathered this data was then used as a basis for the detailed analysis which forms a ma or part of the current research. 2.3.1. Stone head traditions case study At the inceptionof the fieldwork it wasdecidedto focusattentionupon the Midlands and North base England for the collection of material, as theseareaswere of easyaccessto my the as of base at the University of Sheffield. As the Jacksonsurvey had recorded more than seven hundredexamples,primarily from West Yorkshire, the logistics of extending the fieldwork to like Ireland large Wales knew I number of unrecordedexamples a areas and which contained Peak from the be impracticable. I therefore set about collecting material primarily proved to forays in District region, ccntredupon the county of Derbyshireand addition, where necessary, references when supplementary were madeinto Yorkshire, Lancashire,Cheshireand elsewhere the informants it closest light. The District Peak to geographically was as came and waschosen long Sheffield a base with to the and is a self contained area of great geological contrasts, The Park. National human history of settlement,all enclosedby the boundariesof a modem basis forms the Study fieldwork of Case District Peak in which the resultsof this are contained Chapter 5, and the discussion of the stone head traditions which makes up the primary fieldwork contained within Chapter6. Sidney Jackson'slisting of headswas consulted, and in from Derbyshire, Staffordshire Cheshire South Yorkshire, were recorded examples and North As Jackson's upon notebooks. already mentioned, efforts were concentratedprimarily
45 he but Yorkshire, West recordeda number of examplesfrom the southern Penninesand and heads Other Stone in 1973: in his Celtic and noted
"It is probable that when further publicity about the subject is given in Lancashire, Cheshire and Derbyshire, ftom where a number of heads have already been recorded, they will Pefound to be comparably as denseas they are in the WestRiding: "
Museum'scard index file containedJackson'sexamples,a number of which had Manchester been visited subsequentlyby the Manchesterteam, and others from the Peak District region which the museum had either acquired for its collection or recorded since the 1960s. In addition, Martin Petchhad produceda documententitled A list of Celtic headsand associated in Derbyshire for DerbyshireCounty Council's Sitesand MonumentsRecordin 1989 sculpture " be by keyword which hasbeenenteredonto a computerdatabase andcould accessed search. This growing database of PeakDistrict headswas complementedby information supplied by museumsand county Sites and Monuments Indexes which were consulted at the outset of fieldwork. Both sourcesare particularly useful because for function the museums as centres collection of archaeologicalartefacts,and are often the first official body contactedwhen an by membersof the public. Similarly, Sites and object suchas a carved stoneheadis unearthed for Monumentsregistershavebeenset up by Act of Parliament to recordarchaeological material use in town and county planning and are run and staffed by archaeologistsand historians in by local Unit the dedicated Archaeological Although Sheffield's closed employed authorities. for the purposesof this mid-1990sas a result of funding cuts, its survey material was accessed Unit in Archaeology late 1980s. Derbyshire Matlock-based Council's the County study in for from its database heads use this study, produceda computerprintout of stone specifically " District Peak casestudy. which wasof greathelp in the compilationof the materialusedin my The unit continues to inform me whenever new examplesare brought to their attention by of the public. members Staff at Sheffield's WestonPark Museumallowed access to files which containeda small card index list of stoneheadsrecordedboth in SouthYorkshire and the neighbouringPeakDistrict. In addition, a file of photographs, and offprints was also madeavailable slides,correspondence for study.Manchester'sMuseum'srecordsare containedwithin the card index file maintained by Martin Petchwhich was consultedat an early stagefor exampleswhich were useful for the
46 PeakDistrict stoneheadsand guardianskull casestudies.Additional helpful information was including the Derby Museumand Art Gallery, Buxton obtainedfrom a numberof other sources Museum, ChesterGrosvenor House Museum, Glossop Heritage Centre, Wakefield Museum andBirmingham City MuseumandArt Gallery. I wasin contactwith a wide rangeof historians,local experts, During the courseof the research and historical societiesthroughoutthe PeakDistrict and neighbouringareaswho archaeologists became a valuablesourcefor materialpertainingto continuingfolklore and traditions relating to stone headsand skulls. Informants were able to provide many snippetsof information which led to the discovery of further examplesin the field. Every small item of lore or information heads was recorded during the course of the survey, ranging from empirical concerning information about their original provenance and history of secondary usage,to items of folklore and belief, which often included storiesconcerningghostsand paranormalphenomenawhich had becomeattachedto a number of examples.This was the category of information which formed the primary basisof the investigation,and is the single factor which marks the essential is difference betweenthis research It fieldworkers including Jackson. Sidney that of earlier and my contention that the collection of information of this kind is the most effective method of producing a fieldwork basebefore analysisor speculationcan begin relating to the original for Unlike these purpose and context of other archaeological artefacts, enigmatic artefacts. in Iron "silent" Age in functional terms of a are example rotary querns,which are natureand continuing tradition, stone headsspeakloudly becausethey are the physical remains of the belief systemwhich producedthem. From their very nature,they were utilised for a variety of have in history human long acted as society, and superstitiousand magical practiceswith a in head human a focussesof an evolving tradition because the to of the symbolism attached data folkloric is It number of contexts. only through a study utilising both archaeologicaland This be primary these that conclusions can carvings. reachedabout the original context of research,the product of more than eight yearsfieldwork in the PeakDistrict and surrounding depth in is I believe this body first fascinating its kind to study this the of material areas, of and wide ranging fashion.
2.3.2. Guardian skulls fieldwork
Collection of material relating to skulls took a separate coursefrom the early 1990s,and full details of the fieldwork methodologyemployedin this areaare presented in the introduction to book including beganwith the collection of secondary Chapter6. In summary,research sources and magazine referencesto the better known skulls featured in popular gazetteersof ghost basic base list A better-known drawn the traditions then a used as stories. of up and skull was from which to tracethe earliestreferences to the traditionswhich popularwriters had usedas the from basisfor their accounts. literature This methodunearthed a considerable amountof earlier the eighteeenth century onwards which contained numerous references to skulls hitherto in modemaccounts and unremarked unrecorded of the guardianskull legends. Using this collection of sourcematerial as a starting point, efforts were made to visit all the locations associated with skull legends.As the gazetteer of skull traditions had grown from a to be groupedgeographically small numberto more than thirty separate stories,which appeared in clustersspanningthe westernfringes of Britain from Cumbria to Cornwall, this entailed a amountof travel during the fieldwork period.Efforts were madeto visit local history substantial libraries in close proximity to the skull legendsto searchcard index files, a method which unearthedmore referencesand establishedcontact with local historians and informants who information in local Letters to newspapers more the provided were againplaced relating stories. describingthe study,togetherwith appealsfor additional memoriesrelating to the skulls which be highly letter by fruitful. to In and telephonewith proved contactwasmade addition, personal the current ownersof all thoseskulls which were currently on display or in private ownership. This testimony was gatheredby shorthandnotesand correspondence, and where appropriate in bearing hospitable, helpful Most and personalvisits were madeto gathermaterial. werevery mind the fact that owners of guardian skulls invariably receive a steady stream of curious in have during because the received visitors courseof every year of the exposurethe artefacts the media. The accumulatedsourcematerial relating to guardianskull traditions was organisedinto four 2, files containing notebooksand miscellaneous in Appendix itemised and sourceswhich are in Chapter7. The basisof this chapter is a usedas basis for the detailed discussionpresented in a format that includes structuredgazetteer of thirty two skull traditions,which are presented
48 all the available history and context which surroundsthesestories.This researchis the first of its kind to focus upon this little known motif which forms an important, and previously overlooked, category within British folk tradition. Although skull traditions are primarily folkloric in nature, they contain much information which overlaps with related disciplines, including archaeology, anthropologyand psychology,as outlined in Chapter8. It is perhapsthe multi- disciplinary nature of this researchwhich explains why the skull traditions have been in the past. overlookedby researchers
This section reviews the direction which the researchtook from the completion of fieldwork in the previoussection,into the periodwhen analysisbeganof the material which had described been collected. It was at this stage that important themesrelating to the use and function of headsand skulls within British folk tradition beganto emergefrom the database. 2.4.1. Initial
stages of the study
The first section of this chapter surnmarisedthe method employed in the collection of the to decide which material which forms the basisof this study.From that point it was necessary areasof the subject were to be investigated further and which were not likely to prove as it began, productive.At the outsetwhen the process was envisagedthis study would writing of in detailed for head the of a analysisof ritual the prehistoricand consist evidence archaeological early medievalperiod. In particular, at the initial stagethe intention was to focus on the carved Jackson heads Sidney "Celtic for the database the tradition" as the main of stone analysis,using background and the This archive as main secondary source. reflected my archaeological from foundation firm base for training, andthe perceivednecessity a solid empirical to providea line Following to belief this the of reasoning, which examine more nebulousareasof and ritual. the archaeological evidence could then be scrutinised in the context of the documentary Isles. in British insular later the traditions the particular evidence, of earlier written sources and However, it soonbecameapparentthat this approachhad beenemployedbefore in the seminal studiesof Rossand others, and although there was much new and extant material available it
49 folklore the to necessary provide context which the present study demanded. This was unlikely by my review of the contents of Sidney Jackson's card index file which, as view was enhanced became evident in the early stages,produced little in the way of useful data that could be used for the analysis of context and tradition. However, it presented a range of tantalising for inquiry into fields of tradition opened and up research new avenues of suggestions including themselves, the the use of heads for apotropaic and guardian artefacts surrounding
in with carvings with purposes vernaculararchitecture,the significanceof symbolsassociated faces, the appearance two or moreconjoinedof "cigarette holes" and traditions such as the described heads in Chapter 4. of painting This kind of multidisciplinary approachhad beenattemptedby John Billingsley in his study of ' in head Calderdale. sculpture stone However, Billingsley's study had focussed upon one
based form head heads, the took the study of a case of symbol, namely stone and manifestation in one valley. It was decidedthat the presentresearch would include a number of casestudies in literature different head the and oral tradition, culture, manifestationsof symbol material of importance in forming terms of surviving and the traditions skull with a collection of equal inquiry lines It became which tradition. to of necessary rule out a number of parallel evolving heads foliate included directly These examplesof related to the subjectof the study. were not " This Man. of "Green known by category term well-known the which are masks colloquial and However, folk in head as human has links tradition. broader the the useof clear with sculpture in her study of this style of medievalcarving, examplesappear Kathleen Basford demonstrated in their form be subject Romanesque specific a to specifically associated architectureand with head links the to ' forms of "Celtic" and Romano-British sculpture with own right. Other figure full Sheela-na-gigs, including and the various exhibitionist carvingssuchas the symbol, for than in contextual included hunting this other the survey such as sculpture gods, were not
purposes. the terms of Following the important define limit specific It was to the study. to a geographical Ireland to Wales, a Scotland, included England, and defined British tide this Isles, the as study lesser extent due to limitations of time and fieldwork coverage. Some evidence from continental
backgroundreviewed Europewill be examined,particularly in the contextof the archaeological in Chapter3, as this proved to be a vital tool for the interpretation of the surviving material
for from head human the earliest period of prehistory. the the veneration evidence of
50 Ethnological comparisonsfrom head-huntingcultures in Asia, the Americas, Africa and the light Pacific will be drawn upon in Chapter8 and other chapters to throw upon wherenecessary materialfrom Britain.
2.4.2. Changes in direction from 1992 onwards
As a result of thesedecisions,the form and direction of the later stagesof fieldwork radically in during be included for 1990s the the the the early part of what would changed as criteria became in particular,that of the guardian study more clearly defined.Oneaspectof the research it folklore, British fruitful, in the to the that of end becamethe skulls proved extremely extent focus later the of main stagesof the study. Initially, it was planned to use the skull guardian traditions as one item in the analysisof humanheadsin British folk tradition and literature in forms now what part of Chapter3. However, an initial survey of the literature on the subject that in 1992it was decided to pursuethis avenueas a producedsuch a plethora of references major part of the fieldwork. Opportunitiesfor direct interviews with ownersof skulls and visits to locations where they are preservedsoon opened up, producing a mass of primary and British basis formed the of analysis source catalogue and of a major material which secondary been had This first traditions traditions. these time a comprehensive collection of skull was the attempted,and provided an ideal springboardfrom which to interpret the archaeologicaland documentarymaterial concerningheadsalreadyat my disposal.At this point in the research,it becameapparentthat any study of the venerationattachedto the humanheadwould haveto be the i in It of aspect to upon one sci cross-di pl nary nature. was pointless concentratepurely biased the results. this such as would produce subject, archaeological evidencealone,as I wantedto use the material gatheredduring the fieldwork to investigatethe interface between to head a folk-lore, "Celtic offer appeared cult" the the and archaeology and alleged subjectof potential starting point for a study of this kind. Martin Petch makesthe point that so-called Celtic headsare clearly very important ancient relics; therefore it appearsstrange that they " in so shrouded remain mystery. Although there is plentiful sourcematerial available, and
Britain has been left with a substantialthough disjointed and poorly documented record of sculpturewhich has its roots within the traditions of the ancientBritish population, to date no exhaustivecorpus of this material has beencompiled, despite it becoming obvious that only
51 through the existenceof such a listing could a much clearer and more detailed picture of the in best be "In be Petch this accomplished tradition gained. addssignificantly: a way study could "" a multi-disciplinarymanner. The listings which had been attempted by Sidney Jackson in West Yorkshire, and by Manchester Museum in northwest England, had been useful in that they produced a solid Jackson, for basis further the who was primarily a as study. research such present empirical fieldworker, had embarkedupon his survey with the intention to establish stone headsas a legitimateareaof archaeological studyandhopedhis listing could establisha workable typology ' Jackson's However, date heads be the tool to carvings? accurately which could usedas a of survey did not pay sufficient attention from my point of view to the context of the artefacts in beliefs listings, the the these which surrounded their were particular subject of which production and useas part of an evolving folk tradition. This was precisely the avenuewhich felt be during fieldwork for the most to the the this was present research, as pursued was lucrative from the point of view of placing theseartefactswithin their correct overall context. Therefore, from this point onwards, the Jacksoncard index which had been obtained for the Society, from Yorkshire Archaeological loan the this through temporary of research a purposes by information. While the material recorded sourceof was utilised primarily as a supplementary it for inquiry lines inspiration Jacksonwas useful and provided much my own study, of and its inadequacies because and database of could not usedas a primary as originally envisaged limitations outlined above. The method employed to collect the material usedin the presentresearchcan be defined as a Yorkshire, West in Calderdale, by Billingsley 66case study" approach,similar to that employed involved This the became selection by the the tool research. present main analytical which used of one areaof the British Isles, the PeakDistrict, as a microcosmof the wide region surveyed by the Jacksonand Petchsurveys,and collecting all availableextantmaterial relating to the use folkloric heads both evidence. including and within that region, archaeological of carved Material collected as part of this casestudy could then be comparedand contrastedwith the including thoseof Billingsley. in addition, a parallel findings of the regional surveyselsewhere, British the throughout together traditions to casestudy gathered materialrelating guardianskull Isles, a group of artefactswhich were surrounded by a rich body of material both from folklore been had In tradition. the traditions these to oral and never skulls past, stories and relating
52 had ignored because Archaeologists in them although they were way. collected a systematic had Folklorists living in not tradition. they a were use as part of still artefacts, ancient clearly disciplines, the it because and this other many so overlapped collection of material studied The literature. large body dispersed itself disparate throughout of popular a and was material is the unique research current guardian skull case study which was undertakenas part of it is the first time this important body of material had beencollected together from a because 8. 7 in Chapters discussed the and criteria using and analysed wide variety of sources
2.5. Archaeology and folk memory "ritual" Claimsfor the existence the or the of study against part of archaeologists of prejudiceon "superstitious" interpretations of archaeological material have been discussed by Ralph fear on their part of becoming Merrifield.' He believesthis hasbeenpartly due to the perceived view of archaeology with "the lunatic fringe" and partly as a result of the established associated be in if it data be measured and science, can a which seriously considered as can only Scientific behaviour. investigating is ritual not always possible when quantified, which behaviour, beliefs human be which are to the or cannot of religious applied study methodology factors, influenced by many of which and sociological a variety of psychological producedand isolate traditional inherently irrational, for to using quantify or this reasonnot easy are and are happy to ritual Merrifield attribute that the are archaeologists methods. makes point interpretationsto material from the early periodsof humanhistory, for examplethe megalithic in have later some but Neolithic the Age, periods Bronze the those studying of monuments and
from own our developed he nearer "ritual periods towards artefacts what callsa cases phobia" to " repetitive Much from relates period, this the time. of proto-historical morerecent evidence, high-status destruction artefacts foundation deposits of in buildings the such ritual as and acts, religious be repeated in ritual contexts,which suggests and of popular somemay evidence talismans, behaviour. or Other charms the of singular or suchas production customs examples, interact influence to have or to beevidence of attempts no obviouspracticaluse,appear which in this the basis. Merrifield individual evidence the summarises supernatural with world on an
"Oneadvantage thearchaeology of studying of ritual in thehistoricalperiod is that iveknowa
53 great deal about contemporarythoughtfrom written sources,and our knowledgeincreasesthe nearer we come to our own times. Even so, a wide range of popular customand belief slips through the net of the historian, and it is onlyfor the last onehundredandffly years or so that we are able to draw upon that great other source of information on this subject, namely surviving folk memory, which can sometimesthrow a surprising light on very much earlier " practices. What Merrifield definesas "folk memory" can be usedto categorisethe various customsand beliefs collectedduring fieldwork for the presentstudy.Thesesurvive within the oral tradition which forms the humancontext within which theseartefactswere visualised,createdand used living for as Valerie tradition of evolving belief. However, caution is necessary, of a part as Yow notes,althoughoral history doesindeedoffer information about real eventsand practices which can be consistentwith other documentaryaccounts,no single sourceor combination of sourcescan ever give a picture of the total complexity of the context which gave rise to the beliefs themselves. Shewrites:
"We cannotreconstruct is always the evidence a past or present eventin its entiretybecause " ftagmentary.
Another important factor noted by Yow concernsthe interpretation of the evidence itself, a processwhich is affected by the beliefs and background of the person who is making the interpretationand the prejudiceshe or shebrings to the material.This caution is underlined by Gillian Bennett, who points out the dangersof treating personalnarratives as classic realist texts. In a study of her mother's recollectionsof rural life in southernShropshireearlier this centuryBennettwrites: "When folklorists set out to record a picture of the past from the mouths of living informants they inevitably record their story as well as their history, for the two are ... it inseparable 77te is the history that supply to can particular value as opposed written o oral ... Yet it lived in the past those past. contextsfor eventsand reveal the attitudesand valuesof who is just this significance and theseattitudesand values that are most affectedby the useof the "' interpret to be 77tese the today, past and order not yesterday. present. valuesmay thoseof Although some categories of empirical archaeologicalevidence such as the distribution of
human skullsin ditchesandmegalithic tombshavethe least"mediation"during the recording
54 process,a personaloral accountof a past experiencehas numerousinbuilt layers of meaning it is historian interpret This before begins to the means and a collected evidence. recorded added that all conclusionsbasedupon interpretations of materialdrawn from the oral tradition should be tentative in nature, as there always remains the possibility that new material, of a supplementaryor contradictory nature, may one day emerge.Therefore, on this basis, any in its further conclusionsthan analysissuch as attemptedby the current research should go no it is While the the time should evidence useful, availableat what present suggests. speculation beyond the bounds of what the empirical facts establishedby archaeology and the not go accumulated evidenceprovidedby the collectionof traditionsfrom comparable contexts,appear to suggest. In my view, the subject of "Celtic" stone headsis unique becausein addition to a surviving body of folk tradition there is a factual, archaeologicalbasis for the existenceof the use of heads,both in the form of human skulls and representativecarvings in stone and wood in prehistory,evenif a direct link with later carving traditions remainsambiguous.As a result, the study of "Celtic" stoneheads,guardianskulls and other manifestations of the headsymbol will inevitably cross over into the domains of many different disciplines, including art history, is itself. Archaeology that and anthropology,alongside of conventionalarchaeology ethnology helpful to a certainextent,but can only go as far asdating and contextwill allow. When dealing with ritual and superstitionin the Neolithic andBronzeAge, wherewe must look for the origins findings later belief head the of the totally of surrounding reliant upon symbol, we are However, the documentary lack because the sources. archaeologyasa sourceof evidence, of of nearer we move towards the historical period the more we can utilise the tools of written evidenceand the oral tradition or folk memory to throw light upon the subject of ritual and magic,as Merrifield suggested. The subjectof beliefs surroundingthe humanheadis eminentlysuitablefor study because of the form for in its in historic the of religion, the past manifestation potential and recent prehistoric, superstitionand finally as folk magic. I was interestedin how the extant empirical evidence from be illuminate documentary lay behind to material the overall contextwhich could utilised " Most archaeologists the proto-historicperiod and the surviving "folk memory. would be highly cautiousabout the use of folk traditions and nebulousmedieval sourcesto draw conclusions isolated about archaeologicaldata which is often without context, and from an early stage I
55 becameawareof the dangersof speculationand how easyit would be to develop extraordinary theories from limited material evidence, a warning which was underlined by the literature by Yow. It was essential thereforeto concerningthe pitfalls of recordingoral tradition discussed base any conclusions upon direct empirical evidence drawn from a number of different disciplines, and then follow the most productive avenueswhich emergedfrom this mass of related data. One drawback of the multidisciplinary approach is that its wide ranging net producesso much material that it proved impossibleto producea comprehensive survey of the It thereforebecamenecessary to focus upon subject in all its many and varied manifestations. those aspectswhich would produce results and which had not hitherto been the subject of focussedprimary research.In the event, the avenuesit was decided to pursue were precisely those which explored the central focus in the title of the study,namely "folklore and tradition " humanhead. surroundingthe symbol of the severed Due to the very natureof the subjectmatter which makesup the bulk of this study it hasbeen to employ threedifferent but interlinked methodsof examiningmaterial as a result of necessary the diversity of evidence.These can be describedas archaeological,art historical, and oral historical. The study is unique in that it is unlike many others which are based upon the collection and analysisof folk traditionsandoral narrativesalone.At the centreof the study are become have historical heads archaeological actual and carvedstone and skulls, which artefacts, the focus of a range of beliefs and practiceswhich have followed a very traditional structure. Theseartefactshaveremainedenigmaticbecause they haveresistedconventionalarchaeological historical scrutiny which hashelpedus categorise and and interpretother contemporaryremains, dated be for examplepottery and fragmentsof humanbonesfrom excavations using which can from date Interpreting the a variety of scientific methods. and original contextof stonecarvings 4, historical 1 in there Chapters is because, discussed and an art standpoint also problematical as in discussed heads difficulties involved by All in dating the stone them style alone. are serious this study are mute, and exist with very few exceptions, without surviving inscriptions or documentary original evidenceconcerningtheir original context.The majority are simply crude carvings without any known provenanceor date, and we are left with little more than their overall contextas part of a tradition of carving and usagefrom which to draw conclusionsabout their useand meaningboth to individualswho created themand their societyas a whole.
2.6. Interpretations of the material
As the researchreachedits final stages,a seriesof important themesemergedfrom the data which were crucial to the interpretationof the material collected in the field. Two of the most been data has in have influenced important controversies the the which way which affectedand analysedwill now be examinedin detail. Firstly, it would be useful briefly to survey someof the major arguments which havebeendeveloped sincethe beginningof the twentieth centuryas subjectof belief and part of attemptsto interpret the material which falls underthe open-ended tradition surroundingthe humanheadin prehistoryand folk tradition. It should be noted that the study of the context of the material evidencefor thesebeliefs remainsin its infancy. The great corpus of Celtic sculpture from the British Isles alone awaits systematic cataloguing and format. discussion tentative take classification,and until this hasbeenattempted can only a very 2.6.1. The Celtic interpretation of European history Many writers refer to the "Celtic head cult" and "Celtic heads" in their discussion of the " in head Romano-British human Iron Age to context. evidencerelating the use of the and an directly out of an established Thesehighly descriptiveand emotive termsdeveloped tradition of interpretingthe period of Europeanhistory beforethe RomanEmpire in termsof the movement This homeland. "Celtic" from European tradition of migration of a and peopleor race a central both interpreted the have has historians how directly influenced categorising proto-history has Reference documentary the past. material and evidence which relates to this period of European been Celtic in development Chapter history 1 the of view to the made of already and history which hasaffectedhow the whole corpusof materialhasbeeninterpreted,classifiedand The both by historians archaeologists catalogued since the end of the nineteenthcentury. and Europe in traditional view maintainedthat the Celtswere a unified peoplewho emerged central around-TO Celtic languageand a distinctive social structuremadeup of chiefs, warriors and druids.' This between interpreting draw "Celtic" it the to way of continental parallels past made easier disparate material culture separatedby wide distances both in geography and time. The Celtic in destroying having the expansionof the RomanEmpire was accepted as played a part bringing them BC and migratedfrom their continentalhomelands a with westwards,
57 Europe in fringes it leaving those the of untouched relatively only on northwest areas culture, have languages Wales to "Celtic" Ireland were perceived where peoples and and such as survived. During the last twenty yearsthere hasbeena movementaway from the traditional view of the "Celtic history" which hasdominatedthe teachingand interpretationof the pastwhich persisted during the first half of the twentieth century.The revisionist school of archaeologyevolved out brought influence 1960s, during the a the the the and growing upon of social sciences subject of completelydifferent rangeof modelsand methodsto the interpretationof evidenceand material labelled from habitually The the that the past. revisionist school suggested peoples culture indigenoustribes who evolved "Celts" who inhabitedScotland,WalesandIreland were separate Isles. from British background Bronze Age the the communities of prehistoric of slowly early by Dr. J.D. Hill of SouthamptonUniversity's Archaeology This approachis best surnmarised Department,who writes: "... Of all the new debateson the period, the most acrimonious is over the issue of the Cells. Popular imagesof theperiod are usually inhabited by Celts basedon contemporaryand later in language Celtic describes that written evidence real and mythical peoples who spoke a different parts of Europe over at least 1,500 years. These images have been added to 77iis image " Celts. images "the of the warrior of nationalistic, evenracist, conventionalmodern Cells has received great criticism from British archaeologists in recent years...No one is denying that people in Iron Age Britain spoke Celtic languages,or shared commoncultural traditions with their contemporariesin mainland Europe...what has beenshown to be untrue, however,is that there existeda single Celtic race whosemembersall had the same religion, qs941 'Cells. traits, themselves as psychological and typeof society,and who recognised from this period As surveysof Iron Age materialculture makeclear,the archaeological evidence is diverse in nature and does not support the hypothesisof a single ethnic or racial "Celtic" but rather a fluid polity of tribes and petty kingdoms who shareda common group of people, languagesat the time of the Roman expansion in the first century AD. ' Hill makes the Ireland, there Britain important point that the Iron Age was not homogeneous where and across is evidenceof substantialdifferences in terms of society,burial rites and settlementbetween regions.Thesedifferences appearto show that the lives, religious beliefs and type of society within which Iron Age peopleslived weremarkedlydifferent at any one time during a period of hundred it is "is this that seven years,in different partsof the British Isles.The consequence of
58 difficult to talk meaningfullyabouta singleIron Age Britain." As a result of this controversy,claims such as thosemadeby Anne Rossthat a headcult was a specific featureof a greaterpan-Celficreligious instinct havebeendismissedby authoritiessuch in Iron head Hutton, kind firm for Ronald there cult who concludes was of no as evidence any Age Britain." To illustrate the dichotomy which exists betweenthe two schoolsof arguments, better do than quote two prominent, and diametrically oppposed,commentators no can one important One Cunliffe, Barry "Celtic" the the subject. proponent of upon camp,archaeologist in respect uncompromisingly of what he definesasa Celtic headcult: writes "The explicit account by Diodorus Siculus typifies the head hunting that was so common Celtic bloodthirstiness, The however. In common the tribes. practice was not merely among head believed head. Celts The in the the that the many primitive peoples, with soul resided symbolised the very essenceof being, and consequently could exist in its own right. By ý head,one controlled thepersonand his spirit. Thesebeliefsare manifest someone possessing in the archaeologicalevidence,the classicaltradition, and the Irish and Welshliterature."' On the other side of the fence,historianMalcolm Chapman maintainsthat the whole conceptof the "Celtic head cult" is an artefact produced by the writings of the Celtic interpreters of Europeanprehistory.He writes: "... One exampleof the creative scholarly invention of the 'Celts' is to befound ill 'the cult of Celtic head; is, 'cult' this purported the severed according to many sources,an archetypal feature, still alive in the present day. Strabo (iv. 4.5) refers to the Gaulish warrior habit of for This house heads them. foes decorating was, taking the the saddle or with of slain and know What breach therefore. we classical observers,a shocking of good practice, and notable important how this is it its this that thereby about about shocked observers;we are told nothing it how was, how long it it, to the widespread or people who endured was practiced nor about These how horror it observations, in the about of retelling. elaborated was pleasant nor however,have becomethe basis of the modern notion that there existed,among the Celts, a different, 'cult is and head. idea pagan ' The the of cult shockingly severed a pagan of such 77le Celts. the into fits superstitious,and as such scholarly wishful thinking about with ease avid pursuit of the Celtic exotic, however,has led to the creation of what one might almost call '946 'the cult of the cult of the severed head' with CellicfolkloriStSas it votaries . At the presenttime this controversycontinueswith recent claims that the whole concept of a
1 1-11-, - -',
59 " Dr Simon Jamesof Celtic civilisation never existedand was basedupon "an historic fantasy. Durham University, for example,has dismissedthe theory that the people living in the Celtic fringes of Europe were separatecommunities of ancient Celts, and believes the traditional has no foundation in division of Celtic society into a culture of warriors, druids and peasants fact. He traced the origins of the notion of Celtic ethnicity to the the early eighteenthcentury, Gaelic, first included describe family languages to term the the was coined which of when Breton and Welsh. He writes:
66 crucially, other people rapidly extendedthe meaningof the terin Celtic. Twthina couple of ... Europe across educated people were employing it as a quasi-ellmic name...the generations, idea for European inspiration linguistic connectionbetween the the northwest peoplesprovided that lateprehistoricBritain and Ireland werepart of afar-flung ethnic "Celtic world." Jameswrites that once the Celtic label took hold, all the later archaeological evidence was habitually interpretedby reference to it, including the way we haveinterpretedmaterial evidence Celtic heads in for head "Celtic " Hill the that terms the stone as of evidence cult. writes such interpretation of the past led to the selective utilisation of evidence to explain away the fit. did ignoring not evidence,while materialremainswhich archaeological
0 the 11 This allowed one to describe the structure of beliefs, while explaining the Ininutocteof ... the in feast, faunal of evidence as the pits skulls archaeological record: remains as evidence of
"' 'Cellic'fixation with thelwad.
While I would supportthis revisedviewpoint in broad terms,I was awareof the importanceof from head human early an for background belief the of ethnological veneration context and an of head discussion ritual discussion of Therefore the of confined current research. which stage any from other to a pre-definedand narrow Celtic context, with the exclusion of parallel evidence head influence the as a be longevity illuminate of to the would universal and unlikely cultures, befell into trap did the I which not venture religious symbol. As a result, from an early stage Celtic in from terms Britain have interpreted of a the evidence purely earlier researchers who headcult. I believethe evidencefor headritual andsymbolismfrom the British Isles can only be
interpreted in the terms of what we know from ethnology of other peoples, both in neighbouring partsof EuropeandAsia, andasfar removed asthe Pacific Islandsandcentral
60 in moredetail in Chapter8. America, which will be discussed 2.6.2. Continuity and survival: from paganism to Christianity
Many popular writers who have touchedupon the subjectof the claimed "Celtic" head cult in Britain haveusedit as evidenceto supportthe notion, popular since the time of the writings of the nineteenthcentury antiquarians,which claimed the furtive survival of paganbeliefs many the cult centuriesafter the official Christianisationof the country. This popular theory suggests Christian it head fundamental belief thousand two that the to of years survived was so pagan of in by large to the traditional the peasantry continue the practicesof allowed ministry, which and countryside often with tacit approval, and sometimesthe overt connivance, of the clergy Evidencewas found to supportthis "survival" theory from a rangeof disparatefolk themselves. historical evidencesuch as the letter from traditions and calendarcustoms,and from scattered Pope Gregory to Abbot Mellitus who was sentas a missionaryto Anglo-Saxon England in the late sixth century AD. This suggestedthat pagan idols of the English people should be for destroyed,but the templeswhich containedthem shouldbe preserved, and re-dedicated the folk-lore in The the of new religion, reproduced many popular surveys useof relevantpassage, material,reads: for ive ought to take advantageof ivell-built templesby puriffing themftom devil-worship ...... leave hope dedicating I In the God. will this way, them to the serviceof the true people... and know idolatry to frequent and revere their theplacesasformerly, so coming and yet continueto tlw true God :'
during Christianity between This evidence and paganism suggests a certain amount of continuity from pagan In in England. Anglo-Saxon this periodof change early sitecontinuity particular, in the of heads structure to Christian temple the appearance churchand appearance of archaic of Anne Bords including the has highly and andcathedrals proved churches significantto writers
" into have belief Rosswho modem times. searchedfor evidencefor the continuity of pagan However, as both Merrifield and Billingsley note, the survival of paganconceptswithin folk tradition is not evidenceof the continuity of paganbelief as such, as the church's successful
accommodation of a wide rangeof customs and festivalsfrom welldressingto Hallowe'en
61 Throughout history, peoplehave always looked back to the past in order to find demonstrates. evidence of earlier beliefs which can provide identity and comfort in a changing world. Billingsley draws comparisonsbetweenthe carving of headsand other forms of quasi-pagan traditions suchas the equally long history of offerings to springsand wells. As an analogy,he describesa new tradition which developedwithin recentyearswhen the public beganto throw into a pool of water surroundingthe Lord Mayor's coachin London: coins
"Not, obviously, as offerings to some water spirit, butfor luck. There is no reason to suppose that the offerings made to wells and other seemingly heathen customs recorded from the Middle Ages or later centuries were any more explicitly pagan than that; and it must be borne in mind that folk religion is composed of rituals that were felt to be necessary or benej7cial in themselves, not because of their affiliation to some creed. They were thus human, not religious, responses to a situation and were not seen in terms of conflict with Christianity, which is a coqflict largely created in modern minds."'
As a parallelto the useof archaicstoneheads to support claimsof paganCeltic survivals,the of the imageof the foliateheador GreenMan asa symbolof the New Age and reappearance environmentalmovementsin the late twentieth century is another example of this reAs day. interpretation framework the the the the the of present pastwithin of of precocupations leaves Basfordhasshown, intertwined Kathleen face human images with showing a prototype Ages Middle foliage in indeed be but back, into the they traced can again and reappear prehistory, in a thoroughlyChristiancontext,not astheresultof thedirectcontinuityof belief in a Celtic manifested naturegod,but astheresultof theresurgence of themotif in popularconsciousness ' in Christian architecture. head I believethe sameprocesses in the be symbol be the to at work of appearance can seen The last folk who in the British mason two tradition. village over millennia culture and material fashionedheadsfrom stone in the early twentieth century cannotbe said to be directly The beliefs broadly the Celtic similar creations. continuing of the artisanswho produced lay behind in the know time the which separation means motivations we will probablynever be heads. them interpreting both to better these A as traditions see of would creators way of drawingupona storeof folk beliefandtraditionwhichhasarchaic rootsthatarenot necessarily Celticin origin,but aremorelikely common to mankind of carved asa whole,astheappearance heads in a varietyof materials his In andmasks the across world suggests. studyof collectiveor
62 66social"memory, the sociologist Paul Connerton argues that rituals and ceremonial ' These directly influence the the rituals and of past our experienceof present. performances habits, of which the tradition of headcarving forms one distinct example,appearto have been In the from tradition. to transmitted an evolving another via of one generation and as part it is but in have had heads this tradition rituals, may an origin paganreligious context of stone images behind invoke the the to these the of appearance as primary motivation not necessary during the medieval period when they appearin a Christian context. We should beware of imposing interpretations which are the product of contemporary preoccupations upon our interpretationof the past,in the way the conceptof the "Celtic" peopleshasbeenusedin another with early parish churchesand context. As Billingsley writes in referenceto headsassociated cathedrals: in Christian "We need not suggesta deliberate inclusion by stonemasons of pagan symbols heads have it is indisputable that the although ecclesiastical a pre-Christian religious edifices, it isfar head likely idea the that the nwre as an appropriateand apotropaicsymbolfor origin; of 1134 level the thresholdshad takenroot in popular consciousness at of superstitionand custoin. In another context, Kim McCone questionsthe survival of stories depicting savageheadhunting expeditions and the keeping and display of trophy headswhich are described in the been have Christian the used to support claims of a of early and which manuscripts period, " She Celtic head Irish these were in stories argues society. surviving pagan cult early to deliberately because preserve to wished the consciously and writing committed not monks be for to them Celtic beliefs, because but squeamish there was no reason elementsof pagan "almost during certainly time, in their and own abouta practicewhich continued secularsociety display decapitation of 99M There and is the that continuedpaganusage. evidence considerable headscontinuedin early Christian Ireland and indeedin medieval England, and there are also McCone itself. barbarity in Testament Old in summarises the of similar examples many stories this tradition by concluding: "The beheading of eneiniesfor display would hardly, then, have struck a inedieval Irish "57 intrinsicallypagan he it, 'gentile'practice. have as an churchtnan put or, or as would
I believethatthe notionof directcontinuityfrom pagan In conclusion, Celtic headritual to its
63 be in favour of an approach which uses recent manifestations can aside put more to interpret the processes which producedthese anthropologicaland psychologicalapproaches heads in the motif index of folk talesand literature which are beliefs.The appearance of severed Indoin Chapters 7 8 back be to the that traced the earliest very and suggests symbol can noted Europeanmythology in a variety of magicaland ritual contexts.Furthermore,rather than being a symbol which can be identified as a specific cult focus of the Celtic tribes of northwest Europe, it would appearthe head has beenthe subject of belief and veneration among many non-Celticpeoples.Anne Rossmaintainsthe Celts: 66 were singular in the extentto which they carried this venerationincorporating the head in ... their art and in their religiouspracticesas a symboland as an objectofstiperstitiousregard."' However, given the continuing controversy over who or what group of peoples could be described this pan-European accurately as "Celts," it appears approachto the interpretation of the material evidence is unlikely to provide fruitful results in the presentstudy. The method followed here relies upon a comparativeapproach,using empirical evidencefrom casestudies of beliefs and traditions from specific regionsof the British Isles. As a result, where possible the term "Celtic" will be avoided as part of the general discussion, other than where it is when referring to the interpretations necessary of other authoritiesor writers.
2.7. Presentation of material in belief by The aspects are presented of associated with the humanheadanalysed this research the following order in this study: 1. An introduction and review of the extant literature dealing with the human head in British folklore and tradition-, 2. A chronological review of the archaeologicalevidencefor headritual in Britain, beginning from the earliest times, followed by a review of the written sources and the insular folk traditions. 3. Analysis of the corpus of material relating to carved heads,followed by geographicalcase drawing upon fieldwork data. studies, 4. Presentation of primary and secondary fieldwork sources relating to oral traditions
64 form heads in in British the of a tradition, and guardian skulls presented surrounding carved latter in the case. gazetteer 5. Comparativeanalysis of the fieldwork material relating to stone headsand skull traditions from Britain in an ethnologicalcontext. 6. Conclusions,followed by a seriesof appendices. These subjects have been expanded into nine chapters which discuss all aspects of historical, beliefs to traditional surrounding mythological and evidence relating archaeological, the human head in the British Isles. BecauseChapters5,6 and 7 contain a large amount of by fieldwork material they eachhave separate the which the out methods preambleswhich set The chapterswhich follow can be divided roughly into three data was gatheredand presented. overlapping groups. Chapters3,4 and 5 presenta generaloverview of the surviving material documentary from to tradition archaeology, and collected secondary evidence surviving relating The in Chapter 5 beginning the case study presented marks of a second group of sources. include bulk fieldwork the the which chapters of primary collected during the course of the include foregoing Finally, into Chapters 8 9 the and context, material research. and place ideas for future research. conclusions and analysis, Contentsof individual chapterswhich follow this methodologycan be summarisedas follows: Chapter 3, Archaeology and Documentary Evidence for Head Ritual, is divided into three from the very earliest the of archaeology evidence sectionswhich overlap, namely empirical times until the Romano-British and early English period, where it overlaps with the written Graecothe The documentary head for the of writings cult consistsof evidence. evidence the Romanauthors,followed by the earliestinsular literatureof the British Isles, which includesthe includes final wide Irish The a English section the sagas and annals,and sources. early earliest Archaic 4, Chapter folk from traditions and stories the early medievalperiod onwards. rangeof has heads Heads which Stone of the Celtic Tradition, collatesthe extantmaterialon carvedstone Here the more complex beentouchedupon in the previouschapterin the contextof archaeology. are examined,and attemptsare problemsrelating to interpretation,dating and typology of heads Roman, including Celtic into broad to medieval, and group carvings made categories, faces including double heads, triple Attributes and other and ecclesiasticaland modem. of symbols, are examined and their meaning in a folklore context explored. The geographical distribution of theseenigmatic artefactsand their significancefrom the context of folklore and
65 half featured 5. first in The Chapter the the subject of of this are case studies archaeology Sidney including fieldworkers begins by the with a review of work already undertaken chapter Jackson,Helen Hickey, Martin Petchand JohnBillingsley in northernEnglandand Ireland.The District, from Peak half head the of my own case consists study of stone material second including analysisand distribution maps. Following this grouping of chapters,Chapters6 and 7 contain the bulk of the fieldwork which form the basisof this study.Both primary fieldwork materialand secondary mainly the sources, SidneyJacksoncard index file, are utilised for this analysisof oral traditions relating to carved by followed "Celtic! ' later. Chapter 6 heads the tradition and of consistsof a contextualpreamble divides into discussion the themselves threetentativecategories, which stories eachcontaining a a number of sub-categories.Chapter 7 discussesthe important "Guardian Skull" traditions form important folk fit British The the stories tradition. to an category of which structureaims into a broad context alongsidethe archaeologicalevidenceand the traditions relating to stone heads,which they very closely parallel. Primary and secondary sourcesrelating to the traditions in the form of a gazetteer orderedalphabeticallyby English county, are presented or catalogue, and within each county traditions ordered again by alphabetical order. Thirty two separate with all availablesourcematerial,both documentaryand oral, presented storiesare represented in chronologicalorder. 8 Chapter to in the gazetteer Following on from the material presented traditions, aims skull of highlighting in 6 7, Chapters the the similarities and of aim evidence and with presented collate differencesbetweenthe headand skull storiesin British folklore. Theseare set in the context of issues 9, in Chapter the Finally, from Europe. outside ethnologicaland anthropologicalmaterial how the aims during the whole study are heredrawn together. This chapterdiscusses discussed initial techniques and have been the the various of research a critique and offers of achieved, from the future for Suggestions evolve which could adopted. research approaches are also made basisof this materialend the main body of the study. Following the bibliography, which provides a comprehensive guide to the primary and include These as secondarysourcesutilised, the study concludeswith a seriesof appendices. in for basis heads Appendix 1 the database Peak the District primary casestudy usedas a of Chapter5. A list of the fieldwork material is included as Appendix 2. Photographsand maps to the text appearasAppendix3 and4. cross-referenced
66 Chapter3, which follows, marks the beginning of the section of the current researchwhich presentsa summary of the empirical evidence for the existenceof beliefs and ritual activity surroundingthe humanheadin a variety of contextsfrom the earliest times. While the earliest archaeologicalevidenceis wide-ranging both in time and spaceacrossthe Europeancontinent, the focus of attention shifts directly towards Britain as we move nearer the dawn of recorded history and the materialbecomes to scientific analysisand interpretation. more amenable
67 1Merrifield, P.184.
2Ross, Pagan Celtic Britain. 3Jackson, P.I. 4Sidney Jackson (ed. ) Archaeology Group Bulletin, Bradford Art Gallery and Museums Service, West Yorkshire, Vol 5, No 7 (July 1960), Vol 10, No I (January 1965). 'Corpus Signorum Imperil Romani, Vol 1, fascicules 1-6, published by the Oxford University Press, see individual references to Brewer, Coulston and Phillips, Cunliffe and Fulford, Keppie and Arnold, Phillips and Tufi. 6Martin Petch, Celtic Stone Sculptures (London: Karsten Schubert and Rupert Waco Ancient Art, 1989), pp. 5-31. 7Stephen Biscoe, 'A stony gaze into history', Yorkshire Post, 13 December 1990. David Clarke, 'Digging up our past in the vale of the Celts', Peak and Pennine (November/December, 1997), 42-46. David Clarke, 'Head Hunting', Pennine Magazine, 11, no. 3 (June-July, 1990), 32-33. 10 Andy Roberts and David Clarke, 'Heads and Tales: The Screaming Skull Legends of Britain, ' in Fortean Studies (ed.) Mike Dash, Vol. 3 (London: John Brown, 1996), pp. 126-59. 11 Billingsley, 'Archaic Head Carving in West Yorkshire and Beyond. ' "Billingsley, Stony Gaza Riddel, Stone heads from the North- Some observations; Matilda Webb, The Cult of the Severed Head in the Celtic Tradition (unpublished undergraduate dissertation, Department of Archaeology, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1986). Yorkshire Archaeological Society: Sidney Jackson's Index of Carved Stone Heads and related sculpture. Archive reference number 1277, Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 23 Clarendon Road, Leeds LS2 9NZ, West Yorkshire. The card index was transferred temporarily to the Centre for English Cultural Tradition and Language, University of Sheffield, from January 1994 to July 1995 by special arrangement for the purposes of this research. Manchester Museum stone head card index file, care of Dr John Prag and Martin Petch, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL.
"Stephen Kerry, 'The Bradford Collection', Popular Archaeology 2, No. 2 (1981), 33. 17 Webb, p. 4.
A. W. Selkirk, review of Celtic and Other Stone Heads, CurTentArchaeology 44 (1974), 269. Sidney Jackson card index, no. 41. Sidney Jackson, Archaeology Group Bulletin, Volume 5, No 7 (July 1960), 13. 21 Sidney Jackson card index file, no. 19. 21 Jackson, Celtic and Other Stone Heads. 21 Personal communication from Gavin Edwards, Ilkley Manor House Museum, 21 April 1993. This and subsequent references to correspondence and fieldwork interviews will note dates where possible, or approximate dates when no precise date was recorded or cited in correspondence. 24 Petch, 'Celtic Stone Heads. ' 21 Billingsley, 'Archaic Head Carving in West Yorkshire and Beyond, ' pp. 1-12. " Jackson, Celtic and Other Stone Heads, p.4. 27 Martin Petch, A list of Celtic Heads and associated sculpture in Derbyshire (unpublished manuscript, Manchester Museum, 1989). 11 Personal communication from Peter Clark, Chief Planning and Highways Officer, Derbyshire County Council, County Offices, Matlock, 24 July 1991. 211 Billingsley, 'Archaic Head Carving in West Yorkshire and Beyond. ' Basford, The Green Man. Petch, Celtic Stone Sculptures, p.6.
33 Jackson, Celtic and Other Stone Heads, pp. 2-4. 34 Merrifield, pp. 1-9. 35 Ibid., p.3. 30 Ibid., p.7. 37 Valerie Raleigh Yow, Recording Oral History. A Practical Guide for Social Scientists (London: Sage, 1994), pp. 21-22. Gillian Bennett, 'Tales my mother told me: The relevance of oral history,'in Aspects of British 38 Calendar Customs (ed.) Theresa Buckland and Juliette Wood (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1993), pp. 102-3. 31Seqfor example Barry Cunliffe, The Celtic World (London: Bodley Head, 1979),pp. 15-19; and Ross, Pagan Celtic Britain, pp.94-172. 40 For the traditional view of Celtic migration see TG. E. Powell, The Celts (London: Thames and Hudson, 1958), pp. 13-61. 41 J. D. Hill, 'Weaving the strands of a new Iron Age,' British Archaeology, 17 (September 1996), 8. For an example of the revisionist View see John Collis, The European Iron Age (London: Batsford, 1984), pp. 9-23. 41 Hill, 9. 44 Hutton, P. 195. Cunliffe, The Celtic World, p. 15. 45 46 Malcolm Chapman, The Celts: The construction of a myth (New York: St Martin's Press, 1992), p. 287. 41 Alec Marsh, 'is the Celtic civilisation merely a mythT, Daily Telegraph, 12 March 1998. 11 J. D. Hill, 'Re-thinking the Iron Age, ' Scottish Archaeological Rewew, 6 (1989), 21. 49 Janet Bord and Colin Bord, The Secret Country (London: Granada, 1976), p. 116. 10 1 bid pp. 115-143. -, "Billingsley, Stony Gaze, p. 180. 51 Basford, pp. 9-22. 13Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 1-5. Billingsley, Stony Gaze, p.94. Kim McCone, Pagan past and Christian present in early Irish literature (Maynooth: An Sagart, 1990; Maynooth Monographs No. 3), pp. 29-30. 116 Ibid., P. 30. 51 Ibid., P. 30. " Ross, Pagan Celtic Britain, p. 95.
Archaeology and documentary evidence for head ritual
,17'hemotif of the severed head figures throughout the entire field of Celtic cult practice, temporally and geographically, and it can be traced in both representational and literary contexts from the very beginning to the latter part of the tradition. "
Anne Ross,PaganCeltic Britain'
This chapter sets out the archaeological evidence for head related ritual activity and the head in British from be drawn While the the the of prehistory. will evidence veneration Britain record of primarily and Ireland, materialfrom the Europeancontinentwill archaeological be used where necessary to provide context. During the first four millennia BC so much of the has Britain be European to record of viewed within context, as many a wider archaeological burial for influenced by developments and rites example are on the continentas well as artefacts having their own uniqueinsular peculiarities. The archaeological evidence is followed by a discussion of the referencesto head-hunting Celtic is Europe by Graeco-Roman tribes the this the continental of writers, where among British Subsequently for head from to the the the vernacular evidence. evidence ritual relevant Celtic writings of the later medieval period in Ireland and Waleswill be discussed.Finally, the from folk in legends Britain be traditions the evidence complementary and of will examined rich discussed and documentary evidence the contextof the archaeological earlier.
3.2. The Stone Age In Europe The carlicst manifestationof the venerationof the humanheadin Europecan be tracedback to
"a James Stone Old Age, is from there calls where the of cavesitesof what a number evidence is " From dating from Palaeolithic Upper there of evidence the a number of caves cult of skulls. focussed from Czechoslovakia include Examples paintcd the attention upon skull. a skull ritual from by France appear while still others ochre, and others red surrounded shells andstone, with
in Bavaria 'At Ofnet twenty been fashioned into have for drinking. Mesolithic the of site cups to death, body from human found being the after skulls were scvcrcd showing evidence of seven
it in because them doubtless, in Bomeo today, --...carefully preservedfor ritual purposes, as "3 having that the agent. propertiesof a vitalising resided Ivassupposed soul-substance ,rhcsc skulls had beencoatcd in red ochre and somewere decoratedwith shells, while others injurics dccapitation in the signs and of which which organiscd rituals suggcstcd Showcd
71 head the took place. Jamessuggestedthe purpose behind this was "either to of preservation " its Billingsley drawn head has to trophy. soul substance or as a motifs which attention extract These from have this the period. upon some of earliest sculptures and art which survived appear include faces carved on cave walls like thosefrom El Juyo in northern Spain estimatedto be fourteen thousandyears old, and others carved upon a wall and a pillar at the nearby around ' Someof theseappearto havebeenthe ccntreof ritual attention. Altamira cave. Excavations in the pre-pottery Neolithic B levels of settlementsin the Middle East, near found evidenceof similar treatmentof skulls dating from 7,000 BC. At Jericho and Damascus, TO Rarnad, skulls had been carefully buried beneath the floors of huts. Some had been decorated with plaster and painted or with red ochre, with eye sockets either painted modelled " Gowrie suggested the special of a "death mask. with cowrie shells to producethe appearance treatmentof the skull appearedto suggestthe existenceof a cult of ancestorsor heroes,with ' individuals of exceptionalworth chosento havetheir headsremovedand preservedafter death. Evidence suggests a widespreadcult of human skulls existed in other parts of the Near East, including Cayonuin Turkey wherea specialritual structurewas discoveredcontaining seventy " described by Skull. 'The Temple the as of the excavators crania, which was Evidence from the archaeologicalrecord of the Neolithic or New Stone Age in Britain (circa 5,000-2,200 BC) appearsto support the view that a similar cult of skulls existed, or at least for in the chambered tombsand other ritual siteswhere treatment were singled out special skulls from Wessex have been Discussing discovered. and southern of an ancestor traces cult evidence F,ngland, Storiesnotesthe very careful preservationof the remainsof the deadand subsequent in barrow long Kcnnet West bones like in the burial of selected specially constructedtombs " At family's territory. have functioned for individual tribe or VVessex, which may as a shrine an bones long Kennet in Orkney VVcst skulls and and roughly contemporarytombs and elsewhere, Skulls for are if use. to them ritual together, some carefully separated prepare and piled as %vcrc by their because in but complete cases their not only some of numbers, also noteworthy been had if by they Burl West Kennet at where skulls were missing as absence,as noted ' deliberatelyremovedfor rites elsewhere. Cranial fragments are prominent in the finds from the earthwork ditches at Windmill Hill, have been to VViltshire,HamblcdonHill in Dorsetandelsewhere thought excarnation which are in Sussex bodies Whitehawk left decay. dead the At where to the a were of ccntres
72 "disproportionate" number of skull and lower jaw fragments were found along with animal bones, pottery and charred flints close to a hearth." deliberatelybroughtto Windmill Hill for. Burl suggestscertain boncs had been
"... magico-religious rites, having been abstractedftoin tombs like West Kennet and then had been bones "" they the when used, especially selectedfor purpose. reburied bones,especiallyskulls, were removedfrom tombs specifically for use in outdoor He suggests have been for "fertility Avebury to the the and may carried circles avenues stone along at rituals, " in barrow Sanctuary from long Overton Hill. Skulls the the the and at cove on nearby rites" Fussell's Lodge in Wiltshire showed signs of weathering as if they had been removed for " later date. then rituals elsewhere and at a replaced outdoor An insight into the powersthat were believedto lie within ancestorskulls can be inferred from the seeminglydeliberateplacing of someof the skulls. At GorseyBigbury hengein Somerset,a had been in ditch buried later decomposition the woman and child a and a period after man, lower jaw, had been disinterred the the of woman and child, minus and then reburied skulls " " Burl "dedicatory the this to perhaps eastern entrance. offering, was provide a suggests against in Dorset, Hill Hambledon At Neolithic the the over entrance. of to watch causewayed enclosure heads jaws some with and partsof the spinal column still attachedwere carefully placed severed deliberately have been ditches. This lead the to the in pits and skulls may excavators conclude for "reinforce boundary the to the sacredarea, echoing of ritual purposes enhance" or placed later boundary rituals involving skulls and heads from the Iron Age and later periods of " history. Writing of the Neolithic Wessex culture, Stonesnotesthat: been have head-hunting practised the 11 that must cannot escape one conclusion soineforin of ... includilig Western Neolithic the culture since similar cranialftaginents, alidfortned part of '" have been France Sivilzerland. atnitlets, also recordedftoin and Cranial
in Isbister the that The carefully preservcd tombs at as and sortedskulls uncovcrcd such at
Orkney Islands,where two side chambers were filled with skulls and others were placedon top bones heaps in in indicate importance the of unrelated their chamber, side rituals which may of
73 This tradition appearsto have continued into the have connectedthe tribe with the ancestors. Bronze Age in areas like Orkney where later stone cists show an arrangement of skulls '"' in long barrows tombs. the the treatment early andchambered reminiscentof in Northwest Europeof the earliest designsdepicting The Neolithic also marks the appearance in Britain Ireland, in faces is found in tombs the art which passage-grave chambered stylised "' designs in in Brittany. While it is Gavrinis the were some cases unclear whether and at from face, in intended human for instance the the to wall carving represent a others, specifically features de Hougue Denus, Guernsey, Island La the tomb the are a chambered on of of " lines demarcating human. features In this the case eyes and minimal of recessed unmistakably image. While there must that to mouth are all was striking the nose and necessary provide a human depict doubt designs these to to some whether of were meant as some really remain faces, there is even at this stagean overt emphasison the eyeswhich was to becomesuch an in the BronzeAge. important featurein later humanrepresentation
3.3. The Bronze Age (2200-1000 BC)
by both continuityfrom the Neolithic in Europeis characterised The BronzeAge in Western in Britain Ireland, like Orkney time the elsewhere and same greatsocialchanges andat areas hierarchies. development individual land the of upon and ownership wealth, with an emphasis from in introduction distinct Alongsidethe therewere changes religiousritual away of metals, ' the This burial. individual sees also period towards cremation thegreatmegalithic monuments Etruscan Europe in faces both upon and appearance of styliscd on statue menhirs central gradual depicted faces upon From Britain, burial in Mediterranean. Greek are the urns and masks and dated to Yorkshire, East Wold, from Folkton the graveof a child on threechalk cylinders the faces early 1800 BC. The highly of decorated reminiscent stylised with cylinders are around their Ross forms. linear in features depicted suggests Neolithic tombs, with the purely " function. had they within a gravesuggests or cult anapotropaic placement from thecentre of Agethereis a sculptured Froma slightlylaterdatein theBronze cobblestone feet hundred from sea Mecklin in Cumbria, above Park than eight excavated at more a cairn Borrowdale the of level on Irton Fell. Datedto thefirst half of thesecond pebble rnilfeAdlurnBC, been had Its found depth inches below the cairn surface. surface lava was at a of eighteen
74 depict tool to with a stone a pair of eyes and a mouth, with engraved lines possibly pecked facial hair, " This human head. the whole appearing as a crude representation representing of a evidenceof a stoneheadfrom the British Isles. stoneprovidesthe earliestexcavated Evidence of the archaic style found in later Celtic art is found on a number of artefactswhich have survived by chancefrom the archaeological record of the Bronze Age, including the crude figurine recoveredfrom a bog nearRalaghan,in County Cavan,Ireland. Once thought wooden to be Iron Age in date, recentradiocarbondating has placed it in the late Bronze Age." The
crude naive style of the face can be comparedto other wooden cult figurines recoveredfrom like that from Ballachulish in Argyllshire, Scotland. Another early attempt at sites watery depicting the human form are the Roos Carr pinewood figures found in the Humber Estuary, ' late Bronze Age. The huge eye socketswhich characterisethe figurines, to the assigned and features face the of simple resemblethoseof a skull. This kind of stylistic rendering,along and formed by the eyes quartz pebbles,are featuresalso associated with with some of the carved heads discussed later. date is Also this of a carved ash runner discovered beneath the stone prehistoric roadway at Corlea, County Longford, Ireland, whose crude form creates a " impression. It may be a prototype of the carved totem pole or anthropomorphic Zoomorphic Four structureat Navan Fort in Ulster, and elsewhere which existedas a cult focus in the Phase in continentalEuropeparticularly in Germany.Someof theseidols appearto have beencarved it is form, human from natural timbers with varying degrees the to and of crudeness represent like heads by into the later Iron this Age tradition the evolved pillar stonessurmounted possible from Pfalzfeld in Germany described later. sculpture IZaftcry has drawn analogiesbetween thesetimber carvings and the description by the poet by the Romanlegionsin the first centuryAD: 1,ucanof a Gaulishsacredgrove destroyed "... Froin the black springs water wells up and gloomy imagesof the Gods, rough-hewnfrom "' leave it to the gods... Iree trunks,stand there...the people do nolftequent it to worship but 3.4. The development of Celtic art In Europe and Britain
head human development beliefs the Archaeologists the andart historians upon agree centred of Celtic the inhabited Age during Iron tribes Europe the who emerged north and central arnong from earliertraditionswhich hadtheir rootsin theBronzeAge. Benoitnotesthe veneration of
75 the head grew out of early Chalcolithic traditions of the coastalMediterranean,including the 646owl-heads" of the lower Rhone valley and the statue-menhirsof Languedoc and Cisalpine Liguria.' Similar carvings are known from Bronze Age contextsin Sicily and Corsica, where burial urns in cavescontain single skulls but no other partsof the skeleton. Images of the stylised human headsemergein the abstractart in Bronze Age contexts which have been traced by the Megaws. During the seventh and sixth centuries BC, for example Etruscanartists usedthe image of the headas a feature of their bronze death masks,and face feature human headsin elaboratefunerary rites.The Etruscans used the urns also and pots image of the head alone to depict a whole warrior on their burial urns, and the features used were typically stylised and archaic, in a style which is summarisedby Raymond Bloch: "for for the evocativerather than the realistic line."' Vasesfrom this and stylisation, simplification period contain imagesof peopleconsulting headswhich may have actedas oraclesas well as for votive offerings to the spirit world. The similarity of the early Etruscanmasksand focusses faces to later "Celtic" imagery is obvious. Later Etruscanmasks,fixed to the side of urns and influence the show growing pots, of the portrait style imported from their Greek and Roman They also display the associationbetweenheadsand skulls and the world of the neighbours. deadin their association with funeraryrites, a featurealso associated with someRomano-British heads. carved L,ater the stylisedrenderingof the humanface found in Etruscanart was blendedwith native La Tcneart on Celtic metalworkof the La Teneperiod, by artistsand smiths working in bronzeand iron. Heads and faces frequently appear in metalwork upon cult vessels such as buckets, cauldrons,masksand objectswith a martial themesuchas chariot fittings and weaponrysucha daggers, swords and shields like the Wandsworth shield boss recovered from the River
two haveidentified two phases Thames.Archaeologists Celtic after named which arc of art from in Celtic Halstatt La Tene, take their names separatestages culture, which and in Europe.Eachart style hadindividual characteristics, with sites continental archaeological These featuring in Halstatt themes humans the andanimals the period. strongly artworkof early into develop imagery the during later La Tene the more abstract which overlaps phase, slowly p,omanperiod, with stylesdevelopingmotifs basedupon designsincorporatingfoliate and forms in found be heads foliate which the the vegctal can viewedas earliestprototypes of Chapter (see 5). churches andCathedrals Medieval
76 As the Bronze Age in central Europe evolved into the Iron Age the Megaws point out the human importance head in to the attached symbolic art, alongside the rarity of growing depictions of the whole human form in the developing La Tene style. Representations of the humanheadareclearly an importantfeatureof the entire La Tcnc period,both on metalwork and freestanding in The Megaws heads in Europe. write: on stone pillars or stone central carved "This is generally thought to be connectedwith ideas of basic importance in Celtic religion, head intellect. It is that the the the the was regarded as seat possible of soul as well as of since Celtic in depictions bodies kind be due taboo to of whole some of the avoidance of may demonstrating Celtic by ideas Ihe well as as capacityfor visual representing rendering society, " the whole. of only part During the period of the early La Tene art style the Waldalgesheim or continuousvegetal style headson metalwork becomemore and more elusive,often appearingonly as a suggestionof an buried in foliage is This face by Jacobsthal the tendrils. as a nose or a style of classified or eye " Cat. He wrote: "Cheshire the "One can often hesitate whether a face is intended or not. There is somethingfleeting and It face... faces, these of a only parts about maskswhich often are not evencomplete evanescent If into have dreams, floating things. other is the mechanism of contoursand pass where things the cat appearsin the tree and it were not tooffivolous, one inight call this the Cheshire-style: " the l1w grin of cat. oftenjust
The in heads" "Celtic during Celtic stone stone. Infrequently, this early periodcarved appear BC. fourth from from dates the Pfalzfeld, in Treveri St Goar,, century theterritoryof the pillar five base the human its four heads, foliageandropeworkof nearthe It features sides of on each Etruscan Celtic both high Ross and feet native sculpture. seestheseobjectsas combining
(see Enright by interpreted " been has blended. Pfalzfeld The which are subtly stone elements Chapter4) as a cult pillar stone featuring two powerful symbols, the headand the phallus, a " Commenting Britain. in is known from in Etruria tombstones and north combination which juxtaposition, Ross the this significance of notes: upon
head and phalloid stone are knownfrom Etruria as separate 11 the although symbolic ... Celtic be into, the the two a as symbolmust regarded a potentapotropaic elements, uniting of
77 development "' to bothcultures. of elements common
It is during the last five hundredyearsBC that the first evidenceof "Celtic stoneheads"appear in the archaeological recordof Europe.Although noneare known from the British Isles during this period, the examplesfrom continental Europedisplay someof the characteristicfeatures which are associatedwith the "Celtic tradition" evident in later sculpture from northwest Europe.Of the small numberof free-standing stoneheads which canbe securelydatedto the La Tene period, that from Msecke Zehrovice in Bohemia has been studied extensively by the ' The ragstonehead was found broken into five piecesjust outside the southwest Megaws. corner of a viereckschanze,a ritual enclosure,in a pit associatedwith bones and pottery consistent with a second century BC context. The features of the head, including curved forehead from hair back depicted the almond eyebrows, eyes,moustache, as ridges sweeping and a neck ornamentor torc have beendescribedas typical of the early La Teneperiod which have beenidentified upon contemporarymetalwork such as a bronze flagon mount from the Durrnberg in Germany. The Megaws use the Bohemian example to illustrate the essential differencesbetween"Celtic" representations heads head human Classical the of portrait of and the sameperiod.They write: "The differencesbetweenthe mimetic and representationalnature of classical art and the abstract and symbolicnature of Celtic art can be clearly seenin the different treatmentof the human head Individual portraiture as such was alien to the basic conceptionof Celtic art, .. head, Celtic the whether which relies instead on the extraction of the universal essence of divine or human,rather than the rep resentation of specificpersons. Later in the La Teneperiod headsand facesremainof continuing importance,and appearwith increasing frequency and realism as the Iron Age ends. Human faces are explicit on the decoration of coins, bowls and weapons where they are probably of both talismanic and significance,as Rossrecordsa tradition from Ireland that weaponswere inhabited supernatural " Facesappearon knife handlesand swords of both Gaulish and British origin, by demons. heads between the are set where arms of the hilt. These faces are typically Celtic in their treatmentof the hair, almondeyesand "expressionless" stare. Similar divine or stylisedheads appearon a numberof later Iron Age coins beforethe influence Greek Roman led to the increasedportrayal of "portrait" heads. One British and culture of
78 in situ from the Romano-Celtictempleat Harlow in Essex and appears examplewas excavated to illustrate the Celtic prediliction for head-hunting or ýUmansacrificedescribedby the Romans. It depicts a club or sceptre-bcaringdeity or priest brandishing what appearsto be a severed human headin his right hand, held by the hair."'. Another coin from Pctersfield in Hampshire, dating from the first century AD, depicts a head with antlers and a wheel-crestedheaddress " depict homed Gaulish Cemunnos. the may god, which 3.5. The Iron Age (1000 BC-AD 55)
The most spectaculararchaeologicalevidencewhich has been used to support claims for the "head in of a cult" continental Europe is found in southern Gaul during the period existence Here a numberof Celto-Ligurian religious shrines immediately precedingthe Romanconquest. display grim evidencefor the offering of severedheadsof sacrificial and battle-victims to the The head in the the and prominent ritual. role which played organisedpaganreligion and gods, found featuring date BC from fourth the the to temples and are skulls all secondcenturies by influenced is in heads Although the sculpture stone. of alongside carved representations N4cditerranean styles due to the presence of Greek colonists in nearby Massilia, the head imagery is Classical taste. to severed alien civilised uncompromising it before Saluvii Entrcmont, hilltop last dates the the At to the shrine phaseof the oppidum of built destroyed by Romans in BC. The 123 structure, the stone was sanctuarywas a substantial human heads decorated skulls and real with stonecarvings of severed complete with porticos it in into " two had head One others and specially-madc embedded niches. skull ajavelin sailed heads least fractured been by javelin balls, trophy had were supportingthe suggestionsomeat known the in battle. To as the the shrine at warriors obtained complete martial picturea room of f4all or Sanctuaryof the Skulls, contained stone sculpturesdepicting piles of severedheads, been have time placed on stakes crushed and mummified skulls which may at one alongside features One functioned have threshold to pillar, as a stone,which appears along a sacrcdway. Green incised inverted, heads in in lowest the series which crude stone t%vclvc carved relief, the heads 40 death descent into Each Underworld. the the symbolised mouthless of or suggests face, of s(s, a pear-shaped with the basic features consisting of a brow ridge and nose toA3; forming a T-shape.
79 Anothersuggestive carvingfrom the porticodepicts a horseman with a humanheaddangling from theneckof hismount,an image thedescriptions whichinvokes of theCeltichead-hunters from Graeco-Roman A similarshrinelintel wasfoundat theCelticoppidum sources. at Nages, heads nearNimes,containing a friezedepictingsevered alternating with images of galloping horses. Theconnection between horse images is suggested by reliefs human heads andsevered from Roquepertuse, in human andhorse skullswerefoundtogether ox-skulls a votive with and " Romanfort in north Britain datingfrom the second In Hindu AD. pit at Newstead century horseheadimpartsesoteric how "secret the the mythology, a severed sacrifice: of secrets and " head is puton againandbecomes of thesacrifice complete. Remains depicting werefoundat Entremont of statues cross-legged warriorsin annour,often human beneath heads The stoneheads their palms. severed clasping with closed aredepicted beneath death, heads theclaws the seemingly eyes, representing a feature with carved associated from Noves", knownasthe "Tarasque the same of a carvingdepictinga wolf-like monster of It has been "the triumphof by Green images thatthese suggested period. mayhaverepresented death life." In thecontextof Entremont Greensuggests the presence overhuman of carved heads directly stone alongside realhuman skulls:
"...impliesthat the head was all essentialoffering: perhapsif the humansupply dried lip, then " symbolicrepresentations would do instead. Similar imagesare known from contemporaryProvencalshrinesat Roquepertuse and Glanum, both centresof the Saluvii. Roquepertuse, like Entremont,was similarly a mountain sanctuary, upon which enteredthrougha portico madeup of threestonepillars with lintels or cross-bearns were nailed the skulls of young adult maleswho may have beenbattle victims. The sanctuary dates from as early as the sixth century BC, but the skulls and sculpture may date from an between features fourth The the temple period third a great raptor-like earlier and centuries. gooseperchedabove the entranceportico which was guardedby a janiform, carving of two by a raptor's beak. Five life-size statuesof cross-leggedmen, a frieze humanheadsseparated featuring horseheadsin profile, and severedheadsare consistentwith the nearby Provencal but none can surpass the imagery of the skull niches from the portico at shrines, " Roquepertuse. IncreasingRomaninfluence upon the headcult and associated carving traditions in this areaof
80 CelticLiguria is demonstrated in a mountainvalley in the at the templeat Glanum, situated Alpilles. Herethe sanctuary with the wasfocussed uponanother recurringfeatureassociated This templewasbuilt around head, of the a springandcaveat the confluence a watershrine. human had Rhone Durance, to skulls the admit shaped pillarsandrecesses and and walls rivers At Glanurn in a similarfashionto thoseat Entremont a stonecapitalwas andRoquepertuse. in date from Roman discovered the to prohibitionon sacrifice the whichappears a periodafter been have friezes heads first centuryAD. On the capital,the crudely-carved the earlier of Celtic display by ly-influenced faces, but Classical to these native strong continue replaced more depicthomedmaleheads Two of the carvings influence. wearinga anda thirddwu)s ' leaves. diadem, all risingfrom acanthus focussed been have so The existence to of so many religiousshrineswhereritual appears led has Rhone in head the uponthe asa cult object this regionnearthe mouthof specifically ' Gerald in European this context. to archaeologists suggest areawasexceptional a wider some is has for in Britain there Iron Age Wait in hissurvey no evidence the said of evidence religion in "limited for any similar headcult north of the Massif Central,which he concluded was "a distribution to theCelto-Ligurian area..
3.6. Evidence for use of the head as a religious symbol in Iron Age Britain The evidencefor headritual in Britain from this period hasbeenbroken into three categories burials be in and watery of examinedseparately, termsof metalwork, archaeology which will
3.6.1. Metalwork and iconography has Iron Age British Evidencefor headritual from the archaeological remained the evidenceof due finds temples. identifiable lack to the the or centres paucity religious of of and ambiguous In the metalwork of the period, depictionsof the humanface are rare, but as the Megaws note " imagery Rigby James note was associated and more with stoneand woodenobjects. religious the Britons did not personify their godsin stoneor bronzelike the Greeksor Romans,and that ' has Romans. Wooden the the stone was tradition of carving absent until arrival of sculpture a
81 heads be survived only in veryrareinstances, andthelargenumber of stonesculptured cannot datedotherthanstylistically,a methodwhich has seriousflaws. Theseexampleswill be in Chapter discussed 4. However,humanheads do appearon metalwork,which James and Rigby seeas possible fonn human depictions the of "a majorchange" evidence overtheearlierBritishavoidance of of andwrite:
it perhaps this change, certainly of Gallic inspiration, reflects deeper innovations in Brit ish ... religious belief, and ways supernatural beings were conceived."'
humanrepresentations Oneof the earliestrecognisable found in Britain is a castbronzehilt of an iron sword found in a burial of the secondcentury BC from North Grimston, East Yorkshire. The pommelis in the form of a humanheadmodelledin the round, with the face youthful and " hair back. drawn back from forehead in but the the the cleanshaven, stylisedwaves, straightat from TalOf a slightly later dateare the distinctivehumanheads two which adorn shield mounts y-Llyn, Gwynedd,part of a hoard depositedin the first century BC. Here the facesarejoined by a long neckcommonto both, but also forming part of an abstractpatterntoo.53 More stylised human masks stand out from a metal bucket found at Aylesford in Kent, with typical faces which are similar to examplesfound on the continent. Significantly the expressionless depicted found feature if in on are without pupils andapparentlyclosedas eyes a contemplation, work on many carvedstoneheadsof later date.Lcss thoughtful humanfacesappearin repousse from including features, Marlborough, Wiltshire, date. late Iron Their Age vat metal a of fullyhave like been from Britain, late the Iron Age those comparedwith moustaches, coins on bearded face on a bronze coin minted between AD 5 and AD 40 inscribed "TASC" for ' Tasciovanus, a tribal leaderat the time of Caesar's campaigns. imported Both bucketsare believedto havebeenmanufactured 50 BC and were possibly around from Gaul, though the imagery hasrelevanceto both British and Continental native contexts. They can be comparedwith threecast bronzemasksfrom Welwyn, Hertfordshire, of a similar date,which may haveoriginally functionedas bowl mounts.Highly stylised facesin relief also appearon the well-known shield boss found in the river Thames at Wandsworth in London have been deposited in a ritual context.Similar La Tene-stylefaces,complete to appears which with almond-shapedeyes, peer out from the repoussescrolls which encircle the gold torc
82 foundat Snettisharn " in Norfolk,aneliteobjectsymbolising terminal royalpower. In addition, highly stylisedmalefaceswith long curledmoustaches form part of the collectionof horseharnesses and weaponryfound within the defences of the first centuryAD earthworksat in head Stanwickin North Yorkshire.Theseexamples importance the the a of underline because context religious of theappearance of the symbolon elite objectssuchasweaponry, for ritual,rather thanpractical, andbuckets whichwereused cauldrons purposes.
Much of the burial evidencefrom the British Iron Age hasremaineddifficult to interpret due to the general lack of elaborate funeral rites at this period which has led to confusion in the 'However, burial differentiation of funeral and ritual depositson settlement type of one sites. which appearsto be restricted to hillforts consistsof single male skulls in pits such as those buried ' been by Cunliffe finds Danebury hillfort in Hampshire. These to excavated at appeared during deposits foundation involving as part of a complex group of rituals sacrifices and different phases of constructionof the earthenrampartsof the hillfort. Of the large number of feature, human remainsdiscovered,the absence heads of and arms was noted as a recurring human Isolated body deposition. before being the certain parts of suggesting were removed belonged fragments to found in one and skulls of skulls were eight pits; six wereof adult males, heads female. Cunliffe found were to a child and one was sufficient evidence suggestmale being afforded "special treatmentand it may be that this is archaeologicalevidencefor headCunliffe interprets this evidence as being consistent with the later headfrom literature to Classical documentary which refers evidence authorsandthe vernacular hunting ritual. "' hunting and the taking of skulls for trophies.Describingthe Daneburyskulls, Wait writes:
"...theirfinal depositionis probably lessa mortuaryritual than a votiveor apotropaic treatment "" of the symbolicallypotent skulls of enemydead. However,as Cunliffe notesthereis nothing to distinguishthe Daneburyskulls betweenthoseof ' venerated or ancestors. Alternative explanationsfor the context of the skulls suggest enemies have beenfoundation sacrificesas part of elaboraterites of termination, perhapsto they could ' hillfort's defences! the apotropaic guardians of provide
83 New archaeological has emerged in recentyearswhich has addedto the current evidence knowledge developed duringtheIron Age andearlyRoman of thespecial status whichthehead in of 1994a surveyteamfrom Bradforddiscovered a human period Britain. In the summer in a limestone skull in a grike or crevice outcrop whichformedpartof a uniquethreethousand "' in North Yorkshire. in high limestone hills Grassington, the up yearold religious complex near The site,which includesevidence humanand animalsacrifice,is situatedon a of probable flankedby steep bounded by the riversWharfe,Skirfare cliffs in UpperWharfedale, plateau identified Cowside have Beck. Archaeologists the Skyrethorne the and working on site at of walls and buildingsinhabitedsincethe BronzeAge. The skull was found on a remains long by from ten wall which covering a about acres, plateau cut off surrounding countryside in therock.The skull wasfoundin a rock terminated closeby a man-made circulardepression functioned believe theplateau enclosure asa sacred cleft at theendof thewall. The excavators been have it the asunlikemuchof surrounding andmaynever countryside, wasgrass covered, in The skull wasfoundat thebottomof a deepgrikeat thesouthern end cultivated prehistory. Part is badly jawbone The the the of the eroded. man-made wall. of wasmissingand surface deposited is it deep The was covered with suggested a green context cranium coloured moss. from fallen have for ritualpurposes battle a nicheor trophy eitherasanofferingor a whichmay to laterascertained Analysis theskull belonged thepoleuponwhichit wasoriginallydisplayed. built dating between fifty Carbon twenty of the skull at youngmanaged a slightly years. and " Furtherexcavation in a dateof between Oxford resulted 770 and390 13C. of the 150metre long wall, whichpointsduenorth,closeto wherethe skull wasfound,uncovered threepony in Thebones, intervals interred which tibia bones. a manner pointingupwards, at regular were different from bones deposition. The than three ritual rather were all structural suggested level have been deposited Vertically the to they time. same the yetall seem areat ponies, at same Age. Iron believe during the the there they wall andexcavators within wereplaced possibly leader RobWattshassuggested deposited the from Survey Skyrethorne as thehuman was skull heads Celtic decapitating displaying the the as of custom of enemies, with warriors result " Alternatively, it is possible their hutsor religioussanctuaries. the skull made trophies outside if its way into thegrike asa resultof naturalprocesses by there or wascarried a predator the bodyhadbeen exposed theplateau. on a platformabove Although the reconstructionof the original context of the Skyrethorne skull remains
84 trophy skulls havebeenidentifiedat a numberof other Iron Age and early problematical,
Romansitesin Britain, including the hillforts at Stanwick,North Yorkshire and Bredon Hill in Gloucestershire. Here the skulls were retrieved from findspots which strongly suggested they hadbeendeliberatelyplacedon polesfor display at or nearthe entrances to the fort, and can be to similar examplesfrom hillforts in Spainand Gaul. Wait interpretsthesefinds as compared martial trophieswhich shouldnot be interpretedasevidenceof religious attitudescentredupon " but given the emphasisupon individual burial of skulls and the appearance the head, of stylised faces on ritual metalwork during this period it seemstrophy heads can provide additionalevidencefor the importanceof the headasa symbol in both religious and apotropaic in Bredon first At found AD Hill massacre the century contexts. excavators of an early evidence hillfort The head to the victims, where gateway with evidence of subsequent removal. identifiable, were I oung males between twenty and thirty years of age. Excavator T. C. Henck-en wrote: "From theirposition it may be suggested that theyhad comedown with the burning gate, and it headshad beenset up on the that somesevered may be tentativelyputforward as a suggestion " had beenfired. then which gate, Yorkshire, North Stanwick, fortress The skull excavated Brigantian the the to at near entry great from the neck below the fourth vertebraandthe skin was intact when it was had beendetached deposited.From its context it appears to havebeendeposited aroundthe time of the captureof No dismantled. by fortress forces defences Roman in AD 71-74, the the were after which the Wheeler, bones human Mortimer Sir from the site and the excavator, were recovered other
wrote: had been iqference is clear;theskullis thatof an enemy "Thegeneral violently who or prisoner been had had head been beheaded. The withswordor axeand probably subsequently attacked itself,perhaps aspart of a trophyof which placedon a poleat thegate,or on thegatestructure " fortned have theaccompanying swordandscabbard part. may
Similar humancraniafound nearthe settlement areasat the Glastonburyand Meare lake villages in Somersetfeatured sword cuts suggestingdisplay or trophy origins."' Skulls from All
CanningsCross,Wiltshire had piecescut out, one of which was polishedand perforated
85 in for from in Hunsbury Hillhead Broch Caithness suspension, while and presumably others Chapter have (see holesdrilledin thetop for thesame, Wiltshire, three or another ritualpurpose from a pit in the Roman 7). A skull excavated of clearevidence city of St Albansdisplayed de-fleshing injury indicate deliberate to produce to a trophy and which seemed violent cut-marks found during fifteen in The at to excavations was of a youth aged eighteen years skull age. skull Folly Lane, St Albans, which revealedfeaturesof a Romano-Britishtemple along with ' inhurnation dated burials. The to thesecond the century was and skull pit containing cremation iron dog found beside AD, contemporary an the the temple, a and of remains with andwas fallen had it is knife. The lower mandible this off or the assumed of skull wasmissing,and defleshed A scanning been microscope electron removed aftertheskull hadbeen andexposed. blows by to holes the than caused and cranium evidence of more ninetycut markson showed de-fleshing than be likely to the rather these thehead, of results andanalysis showed weremore displayed the been had Mays Steele St Albans within that the skull and speculate scalping. foramen known for before in Part being the the the as temple ritual purposes skull of pit. placed it damaged been if had it to say this as a resultof wasmissingso wasnot possible magnum ' beingmounted upona staffor pole. deliberate displaying in This skull appears signs to be uniquefrom theRomano-British period to Wroxeter At defleshing, itself up of the parts the whichsuggest skull was valuedobject. of become had basilica but jawbones in Roman they found two the where were nineskulls only in rubbleduringthefourthcentury incorporated AD, but theiroriginaldateandlocationremains from fragment Two pit a cranium of a a showed evidence cuts, and of sword ambiguous. The deposition. before knife markson its brow suggesting it hadbeen skulls displayed scalped by had been later hada gingerdiscolouration caused a coating which revealed examination linseed in found linolenic suchas preparations of acid,or a related substance which consisted by Strabo The is in linseed andother trophy preservation of skulls oil specificallynoted oil. Barker Philip Wroxeter, The Roman at commentators writing contemporaneously. excavator wrote: is that the heads had beendetachedftointheir bodies-and the "Theinescapable conclusion displayed be treated that they with oil, presumably as so could perhaps preserved and skulls "' trophies. relicsor
86 found Marsh andWest produced a catalogue of human skullsor partsof crania, whichhadbeen "' deposits later Iron Age, Romano-British of this at a number of pre-Roman sites. Some as and between suggests connections skulls andearly British shrinesor temples,as most evidence in a numberof pre-Roman in southern Gaul.For example, shrines powerfullydemonstrated Cosgrove found built into Romano-Celtic temple two the at of skulls stone wall of a were parts in Northamptonshire Theexcavator theskulls suggested whichreplaced anearliertimbershrine. functioned have as as cult objectsin the earlierBritish shrinebeforethey werere-used may ' deposits foundation built. the temple when stone was for is in BritainduringthelateIron AgeandearlyRoman the Elsewhere there evidence period found individual head, including trophy the skulls of cult activitysurrounding skulls, existence burialof theheadalone.While someof in springs theceremonial andwellsandcephalatophy, to bedirectlyrelated to theCelticcustom these andcollectionof skullsappear of head-hunting buried be head trophies, ritual to those aspartof anelaborate others victims appear of sacrificial difficult it is However, boundaries. to tribal sometimes apotropaic guardians of perhaps provide between if not impossible to differentiate two functionsin the fragments which survive these based from themeagre British Iron Age, uponthis the soconclusions archaeological recordof tentative time. should remain at thepresent evidence
3.6.3. Heads in watery contexts
The connectionof headsand skulls with water in the form of sacredspringsand pools, rivers both Evidence is in Roman bogs during late Iron Age the period. much evidence and early and from archaeologyand the vernacular tradition indicates rivers, lakes and pools were places it believed deities As be a result, precious objects was could or consulted. where contacted dedicatedto the gods would be an appropriateoffering at a watery shrine during this period. Carvedheadsand human skulls are also associated with early water shrines,a tradition which in Glanum, back be Bronze Iron Age Age in The heads Europe. temple traced to the the at can Provence, have already been noted, and Ross has pointed out the "seeming fundamental ' Celtic head Celtic large A the of wooden cult with veneratedwaters. amount of association" has in Gaul important been has in the two survived which waters of preserved sculpture hundred More than three votive offerings were found at the sourceof the Seine near shrines.
87 Dijon,from the pool of a Gallo-Roman sanctuary which datesfrom the first centuryAD. The heads human Megaws datefrom the pre-Roman the carved which contains collection period ' Similar woodenstatues influencein their style. because theyshowno signof Mediterranean in the territory of the foundin a thermal springat thesource of theRhoneat Charnalieres were 1 influencein their realisticstyle,but These Arverniin theMassifCentral. showmoreClassico. ' in thecharacteristic foundon thefiguresandheads. theCeltictradition continues ovaleyes important Water cult centres as earlyin theBronzeAge andtheinstinctto make appear shrines later into Iron Age In Roman the them to continues and early period. addition,the offerings boundary between life anddeath,andan entrance importance to the threshold as a or of water heads in boththevernacular is marked As liminal places, Otherworld, talesandfolk traditions. be andmany wholly appropriate asofferings or ritual objects at watershrines, would andskulls is in There in Chapter 6. heads Britain described at springsites of carvedstone are examples for been for in have buried seen asportals whichmay pits andritual shafts alsoevidence skulls of chthonic or propitiation powers. communication MarshandWesthaveshownthat humanskulls werefrequentlyoffered in ritual contextsat deeply-rooted direct during Roman the of a asa continuation period,apparently places watery found London found Bank One British the the tradition. aspartof was of skull on siteof native AD, first from filling Roman dating third deliberate to the the which century of anearly well, a " "any Ross it foundation of a group of analysis states was part of a complex ritual. suggested heads human together Romano-British with pottery the of wells reveals consistent occurrence to long-standing "' The tradition skulls of offering of a cult nature. existence of a andobjects the in finds isolated as such the record, archaeological mayexplaina number of wateryplaces in buried the found jaw was vertebrctewhich complete with andseveral skullof a youngwoman " In Brigantia, a at Bedfordshire. well first in a Odell, lining of a well at a centurysettlement fifth fourth from dating Leeds centuries Rothwell the or Romano-British settlement siteat near it belonged found to an adultmale Pathological AD yieldeda singlehuman skull. examination direct by body from had been five It head the a twenty the severed years. appeared around aged "' decayed. had flesh in thelossof thejaw, or hadbeen in blow resulting placed thewell afterthe from London, has from Roman instances skull Merrifield noteda number andanother of similar been had Roman Hertfordshire, Northwood, apparently which well of a villa at thethird century decapitated headandwasfoundalongside a naturalstonewith a crude thrownin asa complete
88 " likeness by to ahead,with its eyes these accentuated peckings. Describing puzzlingfinds,he heads into wellsby accident areunlikelyto be dropped says or asdiscarded rubbish,andsees in heads fact into found deposits "closing" the that are often wells which significance as He interprets the singleskulls, supplied waterfor domestic previously or industrialpurposes. larger described from its Walbrook, Thames the the tributary the groups of skulls and river and during form in later,astheresultof nativeCelticritual practices the whichsurvived a modified Roman Roman Londonseems a to havebeen occupation, as:"in all respects, a city of contrasts, " barbarism. minglingof civilisation curious and Directevidence a holy placeand of a skullfoundin whatMerrifielddescribes as"demonstrably from the siteof Coventina's Well beside the Romanfort of thehomeof a waterdeity" comes ' This well, dedicated Coventina, Wall. Procolitia a to thenativegoddess occupied on Hadrian's Whenit wasexcavated templewhichwasforty feetin diameter. within a stone centralposition large found the the to variety the the an nineteenth contain at endof century waters well were of 41AD including between dating from thirteeen the thousand period coins of votiveobjects in which the waterswerein use.Other discoveries 383, which marksthe end of the phase in heads brooches, includedpins,pottery, bronze three or andaltarscarvedwith masks masks in display Alongside human deposits the cranium,now on votive wasthe top partof a stone. "' in Museum The Chesters the the nearby. presence of skull among objects this sacredwell in its deposition function, fits of skulls earlierof the underlines ritual and thepattern observed bothin thelateIron AgeandearlyRoman thatsuch argues pits,wellsandshafts period.Salway the have been by Roman of the a result as would cult prohibited authorities a andsuppressed " in human However, suggests the against sacrifice. reviewed this chapter evidence prohibition form in head human and as the that nativepractices connected with continued a modified Well wasitself dedicated it suggests Coventina's by a military Praefect nativetraditionswere in if direct blessing to the an essentially the continue, not with authorites, of military allowed McKay Allason-Jones Romanform. In their detaileddescriptionof Coventina's and well, "suggest the head-rclated discovered that that the there: number of offerings votive conclude head "" human Conventina. wasnot withoutsigrificance to worshippers of As furtherevidence times,MarshandWesthavepointed of ritual continuityin Romano-British in a smallnumber to thefindsof largenumbers of human skullsconcentrated along of locations the courseof the River Thamesand its tributary, the Walbrook,in central London. In the
89 by dredgers century,the numberof skullsrevealed nineteenth nearonelocationat Battersea Bridge led to that locationbeing described "" Of the large number as "a Celtic Golgotha. almostthreehundred complete uncovered, andfragmentary skullssurvivetodayin museum but Iron by Bradley Gordon has been this writers on collections, and claim overlooked evidence West by forty Marsh Age ritualpractices. An initial analysis Walbrook the and of eightof skulls beforethemiddle indicated date,theirdeposition theywereall of Iron Ageor Roman occurring ' from Thames further hundred AD. A the the than two second century studyof more skulls of in that: resulted theconclusion
61 there was good reason to supposethat half the measurableskulls belonged to a single ... dating from the later prehistoric period [the] population shared characteristics population, ... Walbrook Bronze Age but Iron Age the the to similar and populations, was also very with
In order to reach more definitive conclusions,collagen sampleswere taken from nine of the for dating. The resultsfrom threeWalbrookspecimens were consistentwith radiocarbon skulls the metrical analysis,with two dating from the late Iron Age and one from the Romanperiod. The six skulls from the Thamesincludedfour datingfrom the middle andlate BronzeAge. However, one suggested explanationfor the Walbrook skulls, that they were the results of a massacre,was disproved by the analysis "since they are not a typical cross-section of a Thames but "' individuals. Sixty "selected" the skulls of percent rather a group of population, were those of adult males, while those from the Walbrook were mainly young adult males. interpreting theseresults,Marsh and Westsaid the skulls could only be seenin context by "the in in Roman Britain deposition and, the period was practisedthroughout recognition that skull "' London. interpretation However, the doubts have been material this of about raised particular, locations in large by Knuscl and Carr who attribute the appearance of numbersof skulls certain in differential fluvial deposition bones the to river action water, and as a result of along of been ' has find locations Fluvial for be the the action may not the original context skulls. suggest from for human an as skulls recovered suggested an alternative explanation a group of in the River Axe at WookeyHole, Somerset, pool underground which were classifiedas a ritual " deposit by Ross. These examples demonstratehow caution in required before crania found without precise
90 in riverscanbeused heads deposition to support context recorded claims of widespread of ritual in wateryplaces. However, in thecase theevidence appears moreconvincing of humanheads deposits in wells, springsand shaftsin a numberof different ritual contexts, as deliberate duringprehistory andtheearlyhistoricperiod,bothin European andtheBritishIsles.
3.7. Cephalotaphy in late Iron Age and Romano-Celtic Britain
The predelictionto makeofferings of preciousobjects,metalworkand evenhumanheadsto the capricious supematuralpowers in watery placesalso extendedto the dark bogs and marshes in finds important for has found. been Probably the much evidence prehistoricritual where most been Europe have have been human dubbed bodies" "bog the which northwest remains in by in during history, mostly uncovered, accident, primarily peat-cutting recent recorded DenmarkandGermany,but also to a lesserextentin Ireland and Britain. The majority of these bodies,which have beenremarkably preservedby saturationin the inaerobic bogs, date from betweenthe last two hundred years of the Iron Age and first five hundred years of the first ' AD. millenium Careful scientific analysisof thosebodieswhich haveproved to be prehistoric has uncovered been have did die that to a appeared number evidence not as a result of accident, as many brutally killed as victims of executionsand/or sacrifices.The methodsused to despatchthe hanged, kind the garrotted, victims havebeendescribed victims unfortunate with of overkill asa in down bog in bog large die. Of the to the remains recorded stabbedand staked number of Denmark, there are a number of severedheadsincluding thoseof two women who had been is " head decapitated burying The the possibly as a sacrifice. alone, cephalotaphy, practiceof known from other areasof northern Europe and appearsto have continued as a folk tradition late into the historic periodwhich makesdatingthesefinds problematical(seeChapter8). While the exact motives which lay behind the deathsof the majority of the bog bodies will by be known, is there often that to ritual sacrifice, suggest probably never evidence is in It important been have decapitation, in playedan studied. which role a numberof the cases that we are more likely to find evidenceof ritual centredupon the human head,for thesecases in burial bog head from the important British body. The the the of sep&rafely example most burials come from the peat mossesof northwest England, where human remains have been
91 "' foundfrom at leastten sitessincethe beginning the a of eighteenth century. Significantly, burials buriedwithouttheir bodies heads these of whichsuggests number wereof singlehuman discussed in head light focussed the theinvolvement the the of ritual motives of attention upon Billingsleyandotherwritershaveconnected these above. with traditionalfearof the practices deadwhichin othercontexts led to thedecapitation in orderto prevent thespiritsof of corpses "' In 8. in Chapter discussed traitors andother undesirables suicides, wandering, a practice North Yorkshire, in 1891states Danby, that in the case of the doerof an a traditionrecorded deed, between from thebodyandplaced thehead the legsor under atrocious wouldbe severed " thearm. The mostimportantritual bog burialsin Britain are thosefrom Lindow Mossin Cheshire, date from thelate Iron Age andearlyRoman wasthe upper which period.The first discovery human be discovered believed by in initially 1983, to a skull partof peatcutters andwhichwas that of a woman murder victim. However, radiocarbondating at the Oxford Research for Archaeology Laboratory theskull in theRoman thesecond placed period,probably century did not withdrawhis confession by thenconvicted, AD.'9 Despite thisconclusion themurderer, his date body because has found been the to wife's controversy continues surround never and in " finds by been The the has the the subsequent skull. compounded confusion andorigin of 11 in first, known Lindow 1984 bodies. The human 1987, two or as and of complete peatmoss " probably diedin thefirst two centuries "Lindow Man, AD andwasa fit, well-nourished man Danish in his mid-twenties had been fashion brutally killed in the to victims,as who similar a by followed head, blow "triple death" brutal the to which consisted of a part of a gruesome his Finally throat thin and thevictim's wascut with a cordtwistedroundtheneck. strangulation Moss Lindow "' found in the darkbody bodywasdeposited bog. The at second watersof the during in in his light body peat to manypieces wasalsoof a man mid-twenties came whose belong to in His 1994 head found initially it believed the may wasmissing and skull processing. " in dates. the this body,because the of closeness radiocarbon hassuggested Ian Stead that Lindow Mossmay havebeena ritual areawhereofferingsand the deities Roman in late Iron Age to when were the period, made water sacrifices andearly " layer of peatcontainingthe two bodieswasfirst laid down. Links havealsobeendrawn head in found buried between thesevered head andtriple death peat motifsandanother severed Moss Worsley, Chat in 1958.Despiteextensive near westof Manchester, of the on searches
92 investigation body discovered discovery, the time the multidisciplinary was and a of no peatat been head had found Manchester University the Pathology by the Department the ownerof at of Onceagainthe headwas that of a man in his twenties,who like Lindow Man had decapitated. the fractured, the death. The of there neck triple around garotte was a was skull and suffereda Oxford " dating before he Radiocarbon the had decapitated. been at throat was cut man whose Laboratoryplacedthe depositionof the headin the sameperiod as the remainsfrom Lindow Moss,namelythe first or second centuriesAD. heads instances be Manchester Museum Recordsat where theremay a numberof other suggest in rituals linked to a nativetradition." The closestto Lindow Moss havebeenburiedseparately in 1942, Horwich, Moss, lost found Red from Worsley which those at and another since are The hair. described thick plait of reddish as the skull of a woman agedaboutthirty with a was has "A date found lying dated late Bronze Age, to the similar near an antler pick. was skull, for the head of woman discoveredby peat cutters on Pilling Moss above the been suggested Lune Estuary in west Lancashire in 1824 and reported by a local surgeon in the Preston Chronicle." Onceagainthe headwas found alonewith no evidenceof a body. The hair had beendied red by the peat,and the headwasfound along with two stringsof cylindrical jet beads buried been had heads from Worsley, large head Like two these the amber one. and one deposition in have the of for to a part played appear presumably ritual reasons which seperately from is known head human bodies other from burial Moss. Lindow The alone the two of the has Merrifield in in in including both deposition water and pits what contexts, archaeological fertility linked been has to " foundation dubbed cephalotaphy or closurerituals. In somecases beside Wiltshire, Down, a Easton found inside barrow was on a small cults, and a single skull flint The bones. beside and bar flint had been the skull erect chipped of which placed roughly head deposition the alone dated Bronze Age the of to the to which suggests early middle were '09 in finds the northwest. in ritual practicebeforethesefirst centuryAD had a long pedigree In thesecontextsa ritual motive for headburial is clear rather than implied. In the caseof the a as became from Worsley Lindow obtained object the a powerful skull and possibly skulls involved death or for the propitiation of a sacrificial a motive which probably result in its burial a For probably this was peat alone of supernatural reason powers. manipulation deliberateact to nullify any malevolentpower which may have beenthought to lie within the its following A has been for the carved stone use. ritual similar suggested explanation skull
93 heads in Britain andIreland,which will whichhavebeenfoundburiedon moorandfarmland
be discussed further in Chapter4 and 6. 1 3.8. Archaeological evidence for head ritual from Ireland
Skulls and carved stone headsin Ireland are habitually described as Celtic, despite the fact there is no archaeological evidence to suggest the island was ever subject to intrusive groups of continental immigrants during the Iron Age. "' It appearsmore likely that the "Celtic" society of Ireland developed out of the existing late Bronze Age people, who gradually absorbed "Celtic" culture, as the few La Tene style objects found may have been imported into the country by rich immigrants. Controversy continues to surround a large number of stone carvings which have been ascribed a tentative Iron Age date by a number of scholars. Many of these are representations of the human form, primarily the human head carved in stone, but their precise dating on stylistic grounds alone is fraught with problems which will be examined in more detail in Chapter 4. Etienne Rynne has divided Celtic sculpture in Ireland into two forms, the aniconic pillar stonesand iconic sculpture which includes stone headswhich are believed to belong to the Celtic period. Rynne writes that it is unlikely pagan
"... that any of the Irish carvings antedateRomano-Britishinfluenceand equally unlikely that the arrival of Christianityin the mid-flfth centurysucceeded in abruptly terminatingthepractice I "" them. carving of Furthermore, Rynne describesthe difficulties inherent in dating any of the Irish sculptures conclusively to the paganperiod, as most of them are associated with early Christian churches definite "in it is to ratherthan pagansanctuaries, pagan and consequence not yet possible claim a for ""' any stone idol from Ireland on the basis of its association or provenance. origin Identification of the surviving sculpturewith the paganCeltic period thereforehas to be based in Chapter4. upon art-historicalcriteria which hasa numberof inherentproblemsdescribed The headfrom Beltany Ring stonecircle in County Donegalis identified by Rynne as a single examplewith distinct "Celtic" attributes,namely the faint tracesof a collar or torc around its is It carved upon a thin slab and has a "wild and barbarous appearance, " the torc neck. providing a strongargumentin favour of a paganCeltic origin (seeFig. 4)."' A small number
94 in County Island including from in Hill Boa Cathedral Armagh those and of othercarvings, Fermanagh, wherethereis a Janus-type pillar-stone,havean inherentarchaicstyle which belong date but Christian the the to equally period. early could an suggests Celtic periodon stylistic criteria Probably the mostimportantcult carvingdatedto the pagan in display is is from head Corleck Cavan, Hill, County the three-faced which currentlyon alone have Raftery Barry National Museum Ireland, Dublin. Ross Anne the and mostrecently of latter late Iron the firmly Age this grounds, within a context purelyuponstylistic placed carving 14 "' in Ireland. head finest instances Celtic "is stonesculpture of one of the claiming the based Billingsleyhasrecentlychallenged this classification natureof the upontheambiguous by heads displayed in inherent head's as the created originalprovenance archaism and respect of be discussed in This the the more will controversy as nineteenth century same region. recently 4. fully in Chapter from head human importance for Thereis however to the the attached some scattered evidence Iron degree during Bronze lesser Scotland, Ireland, the to thearchaeological and record of and a Ages,noneof which is directly comparable or the evidence with the British or Continental literature. The found Irish heads in later the evidence earliest upon severed medieval emphasis Audleystown, Neolithic human in from the at cairn court skull a ritual contextcomes of a County Down, and three skulls from beneath the floor of a Late BronzeAge crannogat form lakes "' In Ulster,human in found CountyOffaly. two part Ballinderry, which skullswere One in Ulster. Macha these, landscape Emain important Royal of the near site of of a ritual in It from known King's Stables, was wasthatof a youngadult male. a pool asthe recovered theform of a mask,whichhadbeenformedby cuttingawaythefront portionof theskull after inserted "" At Carrowmore been had in CountySligo,skullbones assecondary death. teeth and to by dated bones burialsinto a tombof Neolithicdate.This concentration radiocarbon was of Age Iron tradition "an Age. This discovery Iron that to early the theexcavator suggest prompted More "` deposition be burials, significantly, of skulls,as sacrifices with cannot ruledout. or been the have in great Raffin, Meath, County of one at a may monument which excavations large in buried Ireland, found human circular of pagan a pit within a skull ritual centres a single The by boulder anadultskull pit was marked andcontained squat, rounded naturally enclosure. bones. for A date BC-AD 130 100 the skull was calibrated radiocarbon of and animal dates from being debris Raftery the with purelyof other site, as at which regards contemporary
95 "' a ritualnature.
3.9. The Romano-British period (c. AD 55-410)
in Britain during the first centuryAD we havedemonstrated At the time of the Romanconquest there existeda native religious tradition associated with the human head.However, from the it there evidence is not possibleto statethe archaeological evidenceis sufficient to demonstrate to that which clearly existedin Celto-Ligurian existeda specific "cult of the head" comparable Gaul. Gerald Wait has gone so far as to claim there is no convincing evidence for any pre"" I feel this overlooks the headswhich Roman cult of the head north of the Massif central. clearly do occur on metalwork and utensils decoratedin the Celtic style from native British contexts,and the evidencefor rituals centredupon the burial of individual skulls which have beendiscussed above.This seemsto suggestthe headplayed a central role within an overall religious attitude, where the headcould be seenas a cult object utilised both on its own and within other religious frameworks for a number of magico-religious purposes.This instinct appearsto have been so strong and deeply rooted it survived changesof religion, race and British proto-historyfollowing the Romanconquest. The categories culture which characterised of evidence from this period have been broken into three categories which will now be in heads heads, These important include the separately. examined categories corpus of carved pottery,and thoseon metalwork.
As the Iron Age becomes the Romano-Britishperiodof history,evidencefor the useof the head symbol in ritual contextsbecomesmore and more plentiful. The Roman invasion brought an influx of skilled artisansand craftsmeninto Britain, along with an advancedcarving tradition which appearsto have stimulated native art, and encouragedthe expression of religious in stone.A very large number of cult headsin stonehave beenrecordedfrom preoccupations RomanBritain, with great concentrations in areason the frontier of the military zonessuch as Hadrian'sWall in Northumberlandand the Cotswolds.Stonesculpturewas rare or non-existent Iron Age but the few examples in the pre-Roman which survive from continentalEuropedisplay
96 a non-classical carving styleconsistent with whatBillingsleyterms"a folk tradition"ratherthan " Both Rossand Greenagree a developed cult like thosefrom Entremont andRoquepertuse. fact foundin GaulandBritain areof Romanothe thatthenumerous upon carved stoneheads Celtic,ratherthanCelticdate,andportrayed a number of local godsor deitiesvia schematised in fully features. Thefeatures described date andstyleswhichidentify heads more of early are 4, alongwith theproblems Chapter with usingstylealoneto datesculpture of this kind. A majorproblemwith the identificationof stonecult heads in a ritual contextis the lack of clearlyidentifiable sitesof nativeBritish religiousshrines comparable with thosein Gaul.As Petchnotesthe Graeco-Roman writers said Celtic religion wasnon-urbanised and worship have been in forestclearings, to appears centred uponnaturalshrines springsand watersites "' landmarks. Archaeologists havenotedhow a numberof small Iron Age shrines other and have beenexcavated in Britain showevidence which of continuityinto the Romano-British from difficult. Evidence de-fleshed human period,makingdatingandinterpretation of a skull humanskulls from Wroxeterand Cosgroveprovide the St Albans shrine,and preserved in religious tantalising there glimpses of heads comparisons ritualduringthis period,thenearest highly head In addition,a recent find from a Roman the to advanced are cult sitesin Provence. Somerset, from a fourth centuryAD Romanbrick depictsthree templeat LamyattBeacon, humanheads carvedin a strip oneabovethe other,which hasdrawncomparisons with the " found Entremont. symbolism at deities local Possibly themostinteresting heads, or warriors, evidence possibly representing of Wall from a Britishshrinein earlyRoman from thesiteof theRoman Britaincomes at mansio in Staffordshire. heads, human Herestones (Letocetum) someof with a groupof crude carved The horned, building. found buried later Roman foundations the were which are of a within the from Celtic the the which was upon of opinion stones shrine excavator a native originated foundations, built into built AD, the the the was around mid-second mansio stones century with in found " the face by to framing The the the slabs anearlierpower. stone perhaps neutralise of headsfrom Wall is paralleledby stoneheadsfrom the late Iron Age and Romano-Celtic Wall Foret " d'Halatte deep (Oise) in the has Gaul. Green the of of sanctuary seteyes compared for heads Channel island in Bristol Steep Holm with thoseof a headdiscovered the the on of "' Romano-British date. A head from thefloor of a lateRoman she suggests a which excavated Caerwent in South Wales in thetypicalCelticfeatures at shrine showed of prominent eyeballs
97 " head back featureless 6). The (see Fig. the of a straightnoseand oval outlines, expression in flat in it designed be to to or againstan set way suggest was carved such a as was date like feature heads Romano-British feature found of a within a shrine, on other architectural " in Museum. Cleveland now anexample head heads figurines A number the out of proportion which of othercarved stone and emphasise from figurine in Romano-British A ar-1 to thebodyhavebeen excavated excavated contexts. chalk displays in Kent Deal beneath hilltop typical AD chamber a site at second century underground long features, face deep neck slender a a slit mouth, with a crudecarved with seteyes, archaic " loci Genius block-shapcd into in body, fit designed the or to shrine. a niche onceagain anda by small figurines representing fertility godsare suggested the twin symbolsof headand 4. in described Chapter be Romano-British whichwill excavated of sites, at a number phallus, is during Britain from archaeological in Amongtheheads this a stone period contexts southern dated from in Somerset Camerton Roman building not earlierthan at of a excavated a siteeast in whitelimestone AD. " Carved theflat headhastypical "Celtic style" thelatethird century features, to the eyebrows and circular protruding eyes. with a long straightnoseattached from an earlycontext,now lost, wasfoundburiedelevenfeet below a peat Anotherexample block of stone, It was carvedon a roughly squared bog in Piltdown, Sussex. rectangular deeply jutting drilled depicting a thick curly hair,boldlycarved and eyebrows pupils, with eyes "0 lipless mouth. carved, in stoneexcavated are heads from the Hadrian'sWall region,two examples Of the numerous they Celtic for illustrate tradition different which the the they native way of aspects outstanding in fort Netherby from harsh The head homed the outpost andangular ram-homed represent. in found Celtic has been described Cumbria sculpture of pieces as "oneof themostexpressive This 13). Fig. (see in its ""' is imagery Britain, and crudeandexpressive purelynative origin best is hasbeen a datedtentatively of AD head the example to the second third and century or Britain, homed heads known from frontier Brigantian otherexamples the of of northern series from Carvoran, Lemington line West Denton, the of thewall. and along coming in its style andexecution More developed is the headfrom an unstratifiedsite at Corbridge, '31 identified been Richmond has by Ian Maponus asa representation of the nativegod which . fusion is withoutdoubtan impressive individual displaying The stone a and pieceof sculpture influence. Roman This is depicted head to and with largelentoideyeswhich appear of native
98 bulgefrom their sockets, by means andareemphasised of drilled pupils.The noseis long and to a thin slightly bent towardsthe right, the hair closelycroppedand linked by sideburns been Upon have beard. is head hollowed focus the top the and a short may of which moutache a for libations. Phillips concludes headwasprobablya the Corbridge receptacle offerings or a in depiction influence Roman the shape of of a local godby a Celticartistincorporating some is it the focus,"but the useof the headfor ritual purposes though not altar was a small as in thehead Roman theCelticinterest andreflects asa cult
The merging of native Celtic and Classicalinfluencesinto a unique Romano-British style of sculpture is reflected in some of the carved stone headsrecoveredfrom Roman sites. One exampleis the headof the god Antenociticus from the site of a Roman temple at Benwell on 13' Although its overall Hadrian'sWall, which appearsto have beenbroken from a cult statue. is consistent with a Roman context, the native treatment of the eyes and the appearance of hornsor antlersin the stylisedhair demonstrates suggestion an underlying Celtic influence. Possiblythe bestexampleof what hasbeenclaimedasa fusion of the Classicaland Celtic style in the form of a headis the famousGorgon'sheador Gorgoneionfrom Bath.' The headwas
impressive Sulis-Minerva Romano-British temple triangular the upon a of mounted pedimentof in hot head Medieval describe the surviving the ruins springs. a carved situatedabove accounts having flat John Leland hed in "an 1542: temple, the and al as noted of a man made of antique while fifty yearslater Camdensaw a greatlokkesof hereas I havea coin of C.Antius," in Bath-, described he in between as a the the the carving wall city, which similar southand west gatesof
Gorgeoneion, head 99136 haires is "Mcdusaes Snakes. the It or this ' was with all not clearwhether head, have the buried by Christians been time older when a which at may second eventually a been has it head feared. The Gorgon's which survives weresuppressed powers represented or 9' Romano-British describedby Cunliffe as "the most remarkable art, a of manifestation been has because which reached conclusion unlike the GreekGorgon,this sculptureclearly " head. brow Its furrowed form deeply two-dimensional a andmoustache male represents with by displayed the being Celtic influence hasbeen Classical the compared with native sculpture, in into writhingserpents hairwhichtransforms thesolarpowermanifested perhaps representing Hind However, John by hasbeenquestioned this interpretation the hot springs. mostrecently in is "not Celtic the head" believes its be found sculpture claims a and entirely who meaning can the contextof Classical mythology,in the legends of the earth-bornGiantswho fought the
99 "' Olympian gods. Oneof them,Pallas,wasslainandAthena, usedhis hide as a jorz)ýecfjvc
shi&A. iel ck 5yrAijcq-r
4a hercA ; Oý5; the hion seyered
devicein Graeco-Roman the inspiration tradition. Hind suggests cja5 usel as ori apotropaic for the Gorgon's headcame from legendsof a classicalgiant who was used to personify the activity at the Bath springs.This interpretationdoesnot alter the significanceof the geothermal context in which the headwas used,a context which would not have beenlost on RomanoBritish visitors to the shrine. 3.9.2. Pottery heads
in West from fired While a small numberof of three-dimensional heads made pot were recorded in Chapter4, headsappearin Romano-British Yorkshire by SidneyJacksonand are discussed in include These two the clay antefixa very specific pottery groups of separateartefacts. with Romanmilitary building, possiblyusedfor decorativeand apotropaicpurposes, associated both face in found head the the and pots associatedwith and civilian population which are funerary and ritual contexts. Both utilised symbolic headswhich appearto have represented power. native godsor supernatural 220.127.116.11 Antefixa
These were triangular tiles which were attached to the gable apex of Roman buildings, The device. both decorative to adjective act as a and a protective or apotropaic presumably be "fixed" "fastened in front tiles the means regarded as an early or can of" and antefixus folk later heads has by beencontinued the carvedstone of manifestationof the tradition which "" Roman found been A faces have human depicting at tradition. number of clay antefixa in including Britain, Caerleon tiles York. At the Caerleon are the towns sites military and of defences buildings including barrack blocks the with with and chambersassociated associated from fort between first Green's the AD. the the third and examples of study of centuries Caerleonarguedthe repeated appearance of the humanheadpaired with cosmic symbols upon the tiles supportedthe sacral interpretationof their function, and cast doubt upon claims that Shefound the tiles divided into two groups,the first of they were purely a decorativemotif. 140
humanheadassociated which portrayed a neckless with an eight-spoked solarwheelwhich images Thesecond heads at theapexof thetriangle. appears with groupconsisted of associated depicted to bederivative of wheels whichappeared on thetiles andothercelestial motifs.Heads from those which ranged of crudeCelticstylewith lentoideyes,slit mouthandhead-dresses, in faces in theClassical to morenaturalistic which appear maydepicthornsin some cases, style Augusta. thesecond groupof tiles,some of whicharestamped of theLegio11 with thename Boon suggested the headsand sky symbols possessed a sympatheticand apotropaic for their creators, but Greenbelievesthe facesrepresent "the Celtic solar/sky significance divinity himself, by his celestial ""' Caerleon Troops were accompanied at stationed attributes. imagery drawnfrom the Strasbourg have brought Alsace, them and with regionof andmay by influenced traditions surrounding native a Celticsolargod,imagery whichevolved andwas Britishcultsduringthelegion's thesetting up on buildingsin the stayin Britain.Green suggests Roman depicting military stationof images not power"may be evidence a Celticsupernatural foreignreligions,but possiblyalsoof the tolerance only of thewell attested of Rometowards theuseof the imageof a Celticgod of sucha cult."" Anotherinterpretation potency suggests in this context domination theRoman mayhavesymbolised overtheSilurianCelts.Whatever is tiles the useof the headsymbolin an apotropaic the explanation, which contexton roof by have the the the of this tradition we evidence established of evidence antefixa marks earliest be heads later buildings in Britain.Stone built into gables to a appear and andwallsof medieval in later tradition. of thisfolk instinctto provide continuation emblem a protective
18.104.22.168.Face Pots and Head Pots " She Braithwaite. face head by Gillian have Romano-British been and pots studiedextensively definedface pots as crude,barbaricand almostcomic-looking maskswhich are found moulded Continent from imported Roman been jars. have the They the side to of well-made upon appear head developed insular in their Head with the a own of shape style. and pots are pots moulded features in is found hair This type naturalistic and contrived more only the province of styles. from in Britain and appearto havebeena purely insular development, different execution quite the stylised face masks found in Celtic and Germanic art, and more closely related to the Greek traditions the of world. Braithwaite found the distribution of both types of pot classical
in domestic Roman Britain to the zone areasof a wide rangeof of eastern was confined in forts, including towns, which would suggest villagesandvillas, contexts sites, settlement Britain in for foundation deposits. The lack in the cast of west pots of evidence use ritual or doubtuponsuggestions thatthe potscouldbe linkedwith nativeCeltic traditionssurrounding insular influence butdo notruleout anunderlying the styleof the thehead, unusual upon native pots. first in face Continent the Braithwaite's the the century tradition on studyconcludes evolved pot England in the Eastern AD andwasbroughtinto Britain by theRoman taking and root army, There " distribution. have Head later, are similar a and militaryzone. potsevolved northern depict to but Braithwaite few cluesasto whatthefaces they suggests weremeant represented, One household different deities significant spirits. protective or a mixtureof and specificgods, inscribed MERCURIO" "DO is has from by head Lincoln the words which pot clue provided a from Romano-British deity known base, identification the a with a providingan explicit around " to Others horns some appear and snake, small one a and showevidence of vestigial context. faces between draws buriedcomplete the deposit. Braithwaite havebeen parallels also asa ritual from long history has depicted traditionof mask-wearing which a uponthepotsandthearchaic Europe in throughout both folkloric traditions Roman to theatrical contexts contexts native and drawn be tradition long the of history. Parallels with can also period a of prehistory and over for faces Bellarmines known Bottles Witch the magicalpurposes, upon or pots making as into Britain later in AD Low Countries in spread theseventeenth century and whichemerged the a 6). Bellarmines for within (seeChapter purposes magical or werealsoutilised superstitious the face to domestic represent said carved context, andwereassociated with a grosteque native Braithwaite concludes: witchherself.
I'Vie face pot tradition which appearssporadicallyin the archaeologicalrecord in Easternand in Roman Europe 10119 ftom Neolithic Northern period, the after the onwards, continued Germany, Frankish Gaul and Anglo-Saxon England, up to the seventeenth century Bellarmines,and eveninto modern times with TobyJugs. What exactly thefaces represented based face know, but tradition, the oil some ancient pot we shall almost certainly never Rome long doubt long lived bereft its after on since original significance, of superstition no " wasforgotten.
102 3.9.3. Metalwork
Headsappearon metalwork during the Romanoccupationof Britain in a number of different contexts.Their most obvious form are in the bucket mounts and dagger hilts which show continuity from the late Iron Age. Examplesinclude masksfrom Welwyn, Aylesford, Broughon-Humberand two solid bronzeface masksfrom Romancontextsat Chiddingfold andTitsey, theseobjectscontinuethe tradition of Celtic face now in Guildford Museum.Alcock suggests masks,with their stylised hair and staring eye socketswhich probably originally contained " face maskswere a common manifestationof the head enamelor coral. Woodwardsuggests cult in Britain, the most famous example being the tin mask found in the culvert of the hot In this case,the mask's groovedhair, springsat the templeof Sulis-Minervaat Bath in 1878.148 elongatednoseand eyesdepictedby socketswhich were probably also once filled with glass, all fall within the native British tradition. Martin Henig has suggestedthis mask and others known from Roman Britain may once have been fixed to a votive image made from wood Othermetalmasksfrom Celtic religiouscontextsin Britain include image which is dedicatedto on a copperalloy plaquefrom Nettleton, Somerset, a native-style from Coventina's Apollo, andsmall masksexecuted both in nativeandClassicalstyle recovered " All theseexamples Well in Northumberland. decorative life have mountsupon as started may metalwork, buckets or furniture of some kind and appearto have been deposited as ritual in offerings the contextsthey were found. decapitated The secondary for be the useof partsof objects votive purposes can comparedwith heads of statues which appearto havebeensingledout for attentionin other contexts.Examples include the mutilatedlimestoneheadof Mercury from a pagantemplein Uley, Gloucestershire, deposit have foundation been full from to which appears smashed sized statueand usedas a a " has been lost. since which
"' beneath thefloor of a laterbuilding,possibly Christian a chapel.
to A similarfateappears
ýQkn a bronze Thames have in found Hadrian, head the stattfeof theEmperor river whose was London, idols. deliberate by Christians possibly as a result of a near upon pagan attack Merrifield saysthe frequency by which this kind of deposition in occurs the archaeological
that: recordsuggests "... the rite of decapitationin thisform was intendedto separatethe soulfrom the body and to its liberating it the haunting. way, "" on send spirit and remove anyfear of ..
103 Analogiescanbe drawn betweenthis belief and that associated with foundationsacrifices,such in Springhead Kent wheredecapitated in the comer infantswere excavated the temple those at as " foundations of a Romano-Britishshrine. it appears In thesecases the idea was to bind a spirit it with a supernatural to a building andthereforeprotectit and strengthen guardian.The number for attentionin this way underlinesits role as the to havebeenselected of timesthe headappears seatof supernatural power within native tradition in Romano-British society, and has direct further later folk describes discussed in Chapter 6. Woodward traditions with as analogies for evidence the importanceattachedto the head,studiesof two metal figurines from Henley Woodand Uley. In the caseof the Iron Age female figure from Henley it was the face which have beenwom most by handling,suggesting to that waswherethe greatest power was appears "" by touch. believedto reside,"and that this powerwasbelievedto be transferable 3.10. References to the Head Cult in the Graeco-Roman literature
There are a numberof references to headhunting and headritual within the continental Celtic tribes amongthe chroniclesof contemporarywriters from the Classicalworld. None of these inferences but directly British head-related known tribes, the to refer passages among practices havebeendrawn upon Irish andBritish materialin the light of commentsaboutthe activities of the tribesknown to the Romansas the Keltoi in Gaul, which may or may not be accurate. Greenhasreferredto Greekand Romanwritings abouttheir barbarianneighboursas being full important distortion, bias, do have but they advantage one misunderstanding of and omission, in Graecolater "' information little is the There the that evidence, of contemporaneity. very over Romanwritings aboutthe natureand specificsof Celtic religion, which was an alien conceptto the urban-basedcivilisation which those historians were part of. However, a number of Mediterraneansourcesspecifically and consistentlyrefer to head-huntingby the Celts in the further battle barbaric of treat the practice as spoils, and all and without need context of Celts Among head-taking the are the to trophy among earliestwritten reference examination. thosefound in Polybius'shistoriesof the Punic Wars,dating from the secondand the middle of " BC. first the century An accountby Livy of the defeatof a Romanlegion by the Senonian
Gauls at Clusium in 295 BC describesthe tribesmen collecting the headsof the slain, and fasteningthem onto the saddles of their horses,while otherswere impaled on spearpoints. His
104 describes how: account
"The Consulsgot no report of the disaster until someGallic horsemencame into sight, with headshanging at their horses' breasts,or fixed on their lances,and singing their customary songsof triumph."" The most influential of the Classicalcommentators upon Gaulish customswas Posidonius,a Greekphilosopherof the Stoic school, whoselate first century BC writings are lost but were AD) first by later first Roman including BC/early Strabo (late century century writers utilised and Diodorus Siculus (60-30 BC). Both later writers refer to the Celtic practice of preserving the severed heads of vanquished enemies as grisly trophies. Diodorus Siculus writes following in decapitating Gaulish the the passage: about practiceof enemies specifically horses. heads battle in their the to the them necks of cut off slain and attach of enemies Ihey The blood-stainedspoils they hand over to their attendants and carry off as booty, while firstfruits these they upon their up a paean up and and nail singing a song of victory; striking just as do thosewho lay low wild animals in certain kinds of hunting. Theyembalmin houses, in heads distinguished them the the a chest, carefully and preserve of cedar oil most enemies, head display them this to thatfor one of their ancestors,or with pride strangers, saying and his father, or the man himself, refusedthe offer of a large sum of money.They say that some o themboastthat they refusedthe weight of the headin gold ......
A numberof points emergefrom this detaileddescription; namely, the collection of headsas battle trophies and their subsequentdeposition as trophies in houses,as specially revered heirloomswhich were preserved and given a placeof honour.In this way the victorious warrior he head the by was foe, useof and the subsequent owned the power or spirit of the vanquished his Roman with Here that to the company part writers power protect own community. utilising boasting. barbaric interpretation, for later than they could seethe practiceas nothing more the There is no mention, however, in thesetwo accountsof the worship or dedication of headsto the gods, and the description of head-huntingappearsin a completely martial context as an and display of a trophy. attemptto gain powerover an enemyby the possession There is one referenceby Livy to a headsevered as a battle trophy which was dedicatedto the This in in in Italy temple. a concerns an ambush northern which the Roman consul-elect gods Lucius Postumiuswas killed by the Boii, a Celtic tribe who inhabited the Po valley in northern
105 Italy.Livy describes howthetribesmen:
his body,cut off the head,and carried their spoils ill triumph to the most hallowed stripped ... of their temples.There they cleaned out the head, as is their custom, and gilded the skull, which thereafterservedthemas a holy vesselto pour libationsfton; and as a drinking cupfor "'" thepriest and the templeattendants.
This is the earliest documentary evidence we have of a skull dedicated in a religious ritual in a pagan Celtic shrine, although there is archaeological evidence for this in prehistory, discussed earlier in Palaeolithic and later Iron Age contexts in Europe and the Near East.. A number of scholars have drawn direct parallels between the limited information offered by the Roman
observers and the archaeological evidence, in particular the highly developed temples dedicated to the head cult in southern Gaul. However, these conclusions cannot be extended to include other regions occupied by Celtic tribes as the temples of Provence are unique in the extent to which head related motifs were carved in stone. Graham Webster remarks that it is strange that Caesar's detailed descriptions of his campaigns in Gaul and his incursion into Britain in 55 BC fails to mention the practice of head hunting about the native tribes there. " be a significant not This may however
omission when it is realised that head-hunting appears to have been rife
Roman the among auxiliary troops who made up a significant percentage of the Roman armies. Webster notes that they were allowed to continue their native practices, provided the heads taken from Roman is direct those There this to always were suggestion of support enemies. evidence Trajan's Column in Rome. On one plate Trajan is depicted being offered two Dacian heads by dismounted auxiliary troops, but he turns his head away, as corpses were taboo subjects to all Roman citizens. Other plates show severed heads of Roman soldiers captured by the Dacians in Transylvania, placed upon stakes to look out from behind defensive fortifications facing the
advancing Roman troops, in a deliberate attempt to cause fear and panic among the ranks of the Celtic had from Romanised been the of enemy, many of whom areas advancing recruited Europe. 161
The lack of any direct surviving Roman reference for head-hunting or head ritual in the British Isles is not surprising given the sparse contemporary written source material relating to the Comparisons be drawn between the Continental and British tribes, but caution is can province. before conclusions can be drawn. However, the lack of contemporary references to necessary
106 is compensated for by thelargebodyof latervernacular Celticbeliefs literature whichis rich in indirectinformation concerning nativeheadhuntingandtheveneration of the headin insular form be These texts traditions a society, which will pagan now examined. surviving also and bridgebetween folk by themistsof prehistory traditions suchas andthelaterevidence provided heads in stone in Britainuntil thepresent thepractice of carving whichsurvived century.
3.11. The vernacular literature
The earliestwritings of northwestEuropeexist in the form of a collection of sagas,storiesand legends in a written form aroundthe sixth centuryAD. which first beganto be preserved Theseearly sources are written in the native Celtic languages of Irish and Welsh and contain a large amount of material directly relating to the native mythological tradition, although the datefrom the twelfth century,almostsix centuriesafter the arrival earliestsurviving manuscripts of Christianity. An additional problem relatesto the fact that the stories concern Ireland and Walesalone,regionswhich lay on the very peripheryof the greaterCeltic world during the Iron Age andwould thereforebe unlikely to containelements which relatedirectly to belief systems held by tribesin other partsof the British Islesand the European Continent. The manuscripts themselves were compiledwithin a thoroughly Christian context, the majority McCana writes that although the written down by monks working within Irish monasteries. to havebeencodified no earlierthanthe eighthcenturyAD, the societyportrayed earliestappear in the myths is basically paganwith a Christianoverlay, the product of an extensiveperiod of "' GeraldWait in his analysisof symbolismfrom the sagas, transmission. concludesthat: oral
the ,6... AD seems event, any an origin in thefirst Avocenturies compromise-in a reasonable is a paganCelticsociety... ""' stories milieuof these
The interest and value of this great body of documentaryevidence lies in the inclusion of before the Celtic Irish to the which relates an period earlier eraof material proto-history,namely fifth century AD. Most authoritieson this material are in broad agreementthat the vernacular traditionsdo containfragmentsof archaicpaganbelief. For the purposes of this study,the early Irish stories are important becauseof the link they share with the Classical sourcesand the in evidence respectof the religious significanceof the humanhead.Greennotes archaeological
107 thatof thethreetypesof evidence, only the earliest writings andthe archaeology contribute "' Celtic belief to the the thegreat substantially reconstruction of chronological system. Despite between divergences the two differenttypesof evidence, thereremaina few andgeographical features commonto both categories which are too idiosyncraticto be due to chance. The headis evidenced bothin thearchaeological powerof the human recordof ritual supernatural in theearliest behaviour, Wait'sanalysis Forexample, of the andis emphasised writtenrecords. head Irish talesnotesthe repeated head the the the occurrence and says of motif of severed "a " andthecollection as symbolof thesupernatural, servingto serves of heads aswar trophies "" both his "emphasise thehead the asa symbol, of wholemanandof skill andpower. body Coenotes Paula between the thelackof correlation of thearchaeological and rich evidence butnotes: laterwrittentradition head, theimportance concerning of thehuman
"The numerousreferencesto trophy head takingfound in the medieval Irish narratives and poemsmorethan makesupfor any deficienciesin the Irish archaeologicalrecord in affirming the cultural importance of the severed head. At different times and under different describedin medieval Irish texts, the headsmay be understoodas religious circumstances for oral prophecy and poetry, apotropaic devices,and icons, emblems of rebirth, metaphors "" battlesouvenirs. 3.11.1 Head-hunting in the Irish sagas
hisheap ofplunderin heads hand one nine his ten treasure more, and
from The TainBo Cuailnge story cycle" in the distinct An analysisof the material from the early Irish sagas which two contexts reveals head The first of theseis the headas a battle trophy, and a symbol of the of appears. symbol heads In developed the there the prowess. secondcontext, stories of severed martial are more which arc capable of speechor song after death, and function as intermediaries with the Otherworld whose influence is found in all theseearly stories and has clear analogiesin the broader context of Indo-European tradition discussedby Joseph Nagy."' In just one of
108 the Ulsterhero examples numerous of head-hunting andheadcollectingfrom the Irish sagas, is described A in his Cu Chulainn heads as takingan enormous contests. various numberof Ulster from FledBricrend (Bricriu'sFý-east) in the typicalexample where appears an episode intruders thestronghold spots champion while guarding of Cu Roi.
heads into Culainn He fell dead their them, them to the sprangat and nine of ground. put Chu his watch-seat.but scarcelyhad he sat down to watch when another nine shoutedat him. He "' killed threeninesin all and madea singleheapof their heads. A head-hunting expedition is describedas a centrepiece of the very first expedition which the youthful Cu Chulainnundertakes as warrior elect in the Tain Bo Cuailnge . First he decapitates the threesonsof Nechta Sceneand as he returnsin triumph to the fortress of Emain Macha a is Shereports: woman watchingfor his approach. "A single chariot warrior is here and terribly he comes.He has in the chariot the bloody ... "" headsof his enemies. following Murthernne In a later battlewith FerchuLoingseach his the the plain of on and retinue appears: passage
forward to theplacewhereCu Chulainnwas,andwhentheycametheydid 11andtheycame ... him him fair but them twelve straightaway. play or singlecombat, all attacked of not grant Cu Chulainn fell uponthem,andforthwith struckoff their twelveheads,And he However, its for head in them twelve stone, them on theground,andput a stones of eachoneof planted Loingseach Ferchu Ferchu Loingseach head ý So its the that put spotwhere on stone. andalso ý01 Ferchu). left hisheadis calledCinnitFerchon, Head-place Ferchon (the is Cennait that of Irish is a regularfeature texts, This kind of battlescene Tain along the the early other of and Da Mac Tale huge In heads the the of appearance of severed with with supernatural powers. Ulsterchampion, boasts Thoý Pig another ConallCernach, thathe sleeps everynight with the "' head Connachtman the Cernach his knee. in another Conall of a retrieves under severed story head is Cu Chulainn himself its it but of power such andplaces on a standing severed stone, that it splitsthe stonein two, buryingitself deepwithin it." This motif is also found in the Tuatha Lugh's battle the of god story with the leaderof the Formorians, earlier monstrous
109 inhabitants by Lugh,and of Ireland,Balorof theBalefulEye.Baloris defeated anddecapitated "" The connection his headis placedupona stonewhich is split by the venomit exudes. of is markedin a numberof thesetales,andparallelscan be drawn heads with standing stones Europe, in hillforts andtemples bothin theBritish IslesandContinental with skullsexcavated in or naileduponstone whichweremounted porticos. in battlemay havebeendisplayed Heads in temples to the godsand severed anddedicated of war.Cormac'sGlossary, which datesfrom aroundAD 900, definesthe term goddesses Machaeas"the nut harvest " or "the heads mesradh of menafter of Macha(thewar goddess), ""' In the Ulstersagas Machais a triple goddess, theyhavebeen cut down. oneof a groupof threefemaledeitieswho areassociated with war, fertility andthe prosperityof Ireland.Her is linkedwith thatof thecrow,andis foundin Ernain Macha, thecapitalandroyalcourtof name Ulster.Coeconnects Brigit, andherNorthBritish counterpart Brigantia,with theIrish goddess the functionsassociated with the symbol of the severedhead in Irish tradition, namely "" healing poetry, andregeneration prophecy, of theIrish andasapotropaic emblems. The head St Brigit herselfwasa major relic in the eighthcenturyAbbey of Hoanuin Alsace,and a the saintat centuryaccount seventeenth refersto theveneration of a carvedheadrepresenting "' Sacrifices in CountyCavan, UrneyChurch Ireland. to a godwhosenamehasconnotations how male in one Irish text, the Dindshenchas which describes with a headaredescribed , feast deity Cromm Cruaich Cenn Cruiach the to of wereoffered a at sacrifices or named Samh6n, a name which translatesvariously as "Head of Slaughter"or "Head of the Trophyheadtakingandsevered turn heads singor makeprophecies whichspeak, diberg, in Fenian band the or outlaws of a up repeatedly cycleof stories whichrevolvearound is himself Finn living on the boundary Irish In the of early earlieststories, society. one of ""' is head decapitated feast. life demands to and comes and a portionof a head hasadvised Kim McCone in the to severed caution theattributionof pagan significance in literature. Althoughshesaysthe practiceof headcollectionand motif earlyIrish monastic Christian later into displaywasundoubtedly it the a continuation of pagan usage, continued in Ireland intrinsically "would hardly have Irish and an as period churchman strucka medieval "" Indeed, in the early medieval thereare a numberof instances practice. pagan recorded heads intimidate Annalsof Ulster whichsuggest be to to taken continued andsometimes used In AD 1185in CountyFermanagh, for example, headof an enemy. the severed or demoralise "' Mound.
110 Gilla Crist Mac Cathmhail, Royal chief of the Cenel Feradhaigh was carried away by his killers for kept a month. In the same county in 1457 the chieftain Thomas Og Maguire celebrated and his victory over the O'Rourkes by adorning the posts of his garden with the severed heads of "' his of enemies. sixteen Head hunting should not be seen as a practice which was confined specifically to the Celtic tribes of northwest Europe. Strabo's account notes that the custom was to be found among most of the northern tribes in barbarian Europe, and Graeco-Roman writers describe similar customs In Thracians Dacians Eastern Europe, Norse Germanic the the among and of peoples. and and Tacitusý account of the carnage in the Teutoburg wood where three Roman divisions had been slaughtered by German warriors, an observer describes how six years later the bodies still lay where they fell while severedhuman headswere fastenedto tree trunks. In the sixth century AD Pope Gregory the Great refers to "holocausts of severedheads" amongs the Alemanni of central Europe. 182
is heads Indeed,the exhibition of severed traitors to a warning enemies on stakes as or potential continued in the displays of heads of criminals and traitors on city gates, which was in heads England have Thompson to to medieval commonplace andappears archaicroots. refers " brandished Folk Literature. intimidate foes in his Motif Index to on of placed stakesor The is found is in Arthurian Obven Welsh Culhivch the the earliest which motif one of and stories tale in the cycle and is believedto datefrom the tenth century AD. At the end of the story, the huge headof Arthur's chief adversaryYsbaddaden Chief Giant, is severedand placed on a "' for his to all enemies mock. stake This motif is also found in the beheadingmyths, the
is found from in dating Feast Irish Bricriuý the eighth century the of which early earliest story , AD. In the later middle ages,the practice of staking the headsof traitors, criminals and executed headsfixed at the end of poles on kings and usurpersto the thronecontinued,with the severed head boundaries for Roses, the Wars of During territories. the the example, of city gatesor of Richard, Duke of York, was spiked on York's Micklegate Bar. The tradition of displaying the heads to cities certainlycontinuedin Englanduntil 1754. of criminalsover the principal entrance QueenMargaret,the following passage In Shakespeare's appears: "Off with his headand set it on YorkGates;so Yorkmay overlook the town of York. "'s
ill This practice is much in evidence during the seventeenthcentury when a resurgence of interest in the symbol of the severed head coincided with the execution of the Mng Charles 11at the end of the English Revolution. In addition, there remained a long tradition in the isolated West Yorkshire valleys of decapitating thieves who stole from the yeomen clothiers. They were executedby a gibbet which continued in use until the end of the eighteeenthcentury. Billingsley has drawn connections between this treatment of the headsof executed criminals, brigands and heretics which he calls "liminal enemies" whose actions put them on the boundaries of their own culture and its values and therefore required a special punishment which may give clues to the ""' burials in Iron Age of some enigmatic context contexts. Evidence for this treatment of
has also been found in the graveyard surrounding the high status ship burials of pagan criminals East Anglian kings or chiefs at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk during the seventh century AD. A number " bodies here have following been decapitated to excavated of appear or mutilated execution.
3.11.2 "God heads" in the vernactilar literature headswith magical and oracularpower to speak,sing and entertainafter deathappear Severed in regularly the vernacularliterature, both in the early Irish talesand in the later Welsh stories this type of motif as "the vital head" in his motif index, and folk traditions.Thompsondescribes "' it is by In limited Indo-European Celtic, to the the northwest no world. means and or even Europe stories involving this motif can be traced from the very earliest period into the later is including head Arthurian the the synonymousas a romances medieval cycle of stories,where in " Holy Grail. described Supernatural heads the as enormous size and symbol with are often life the bestow from drink to with those them, associated and also strength an attribute can who Grail in medieval legend. Here the similarities with the magical cauldrons of early Celtic dovetail. A later Christian begin legends Holy Grail the to good example the and mythology, of Cu head is Closely Ulster hero Conall Cernach. that with associated of the of one such Chulainn, he is one of the three great warriors of Ulster in the Ulster Cycle of stories. The Irish him deity he of with suggest was regarded and a guardian storiesassociated asan ancestor borders.The most significant story relatesto Conall's deathwhich emphasises the supernatural his four head. The head holding described is of severed as enormousand capableof properties four men or two people in a litter. Like a magic cauldron the head has magic powers, calves,
112 if is it Ulster their that the exhausted strength they prophesied warriorsof would regain and drankmilk from it." Indo-European broad from Nagycompares "vital heads" Jospeh theCeltictales those a with of head from finds the Scandinavia India, of the tradition,stretching to storyof with parallels and it Bendigeidfran Like thoseof Conall Cernach and Hebrus, into it is the to tumbles river andprophesy after continues entertain struckoff and from whereit makes its way to the Islandof Lesbos the centreof an wheretheheadbecomes the poet Orpheusin Greek myth."' shrine.Nagywritesthatin all these stories: oracular "...heads tendto besevered undera setof narrative andrendered communicative miraculously " thatform circumstances a recurrentpattern.
The motif recursagain during the early medievalperiod in a Christian context relating to the martyrdom by decapitationof saintssuchas St Winifred, whoseheadsare reanimatedand are associatedwith holy wells. In the earlier Irish stories headsare often brought to a feast as warriors are celebrating a victory and food and drink may be offered to them. The head may then be placedon a pillar or spike and cometo life, entertaining their hostswith songor making The detailed AD in kind this the the story most century prophecies. story of appears eleventh Cath Alinaine preservedin the Yellow Book of Lecan The story begins with The Battle of , . Allen betweenthe Leinstermenand a northernking, Fergal Mac Maile Duin, who is killed and The headis then takenand placedbeforeKing Cathalof Munster, who is angered decapitated. because he hada trucewith Fergal. the slaying at
Fergal'sheadwaswashed "77ten andplaited and combed smoothby Cathal,and a cloth of velvetwasPut aroundit, and seven all of them oxen,seven wethers and sevenbacon-pigs, brought before ill thepresence thehead.Thentheheadblushed were cooked, of all themenof Munster, its eyes honour for the respect to Godto renderthanks that and it opened andgreat hadbeen to it.""' shown Although this story is contained within a thoroughlyChristiandateand context,it exhibits
features found in the later Welshstory of Bendigeidfran,namely the headof the to those similar in battle, presides hcro severed over a feastin which offerings are placedin front of it, the head life its hosts.Rossseestheseand other storiesas being: "suggestiveof to and entertains comes
113 Celtic in the earlypagan heads" of actualofferingsbeingmadeto venerated earliertraditions " by feast held is In head the the a same eleventh centurystory an account singingat of a era. Fergal,the invaderof his territory. King of Leinster, who wasvictoriousin the battleagainst King Murchad offereda rich rewardto anyof his menwho wouldreturnto the battlefieldand headof a youth fetcha man'shead.A warrior who takesup the challenge hearsthe severed king, andit transpires thattheminstrelhadbeenunwilling calledDonnBo singingfor his dead to singthenightbeforethe battlebut hadswornto makemusicthefollowing night, no matter is be. head The they takenbackto thehall of theLeinstermen, andplacedupona might where lament it begins to whereupon sing a so sweetthat noneof the warriorscould refrain pillar, heads Both storiesemphasise by which the severed from weeping. the respect of Fergaland "" by thevictorious DonnBo aretreated warriors. head believed lie The importance to to the are of showingrespect within a severed powers " by Finn Cairbre. In this tale, Finn'sbardLomnareveals that the story of and emphasised is head decapitated. hero's is killed Lomna's Cairbre the wassleeping severed with wife and and in an emptyhouse takenby Cairbre while theycook andhis fleeingentourage, whoseek refuge is ignored, head is but The life the to and comes meal, and requests a portion of salmon. Finn's it leads head it The banished time the time. third speaks outside when complains a second his himself directly in hiding Cairbre's to the and of slaughter place,and results posse is heads followers.Here the importance treatment of severed of the properand respectful Jones in the its connects obscure. an early story, remain although may underlined significance `7 both Grail. Holy head the the the with symbols of salmon severed and
3.11.3. Prophetic heads in Norse literature
battlefield the demand Heads whichutterprophecies or aftertheyarestruckoff on vengeance Sualtam, head from The both literature. known Irish Norse later English of early and and are he is severedby his own shieldashis horses rides fatherof Cu Chulainn, as rearup suddenly horse in The failing then his Ulster to to to the aid. anger after son's go pursuade of away men death, before back Ulstermen head to the the and severed wordsspoken uttersthesame gallops Conchobar his Cu Chulainn's to to to swear an oath aid without call out army and go causing "" Ellis-Davidson heads in the Norsesagas, for examplein the delay. notessimilar prophetic
114 heads figure seen in a dream on a NjalsSaga a supernatural up a pictureof severed conjures Saga Eybyggia "" In in plenty/willbeseen the a skull battlefield thus:"Heads the on earth... lying on a placecall Geirvor wherea battle is dueto takeplaceutters the verse:"Red is is "" known best these The blood. /She kiss/human stories Geirvor/with of will men's skulls. Mirnir, head from Ynglinga describes one Saga Odin the of the that which consulting severed back is to head The held hostage. being by beheaded Vanir Aesir sent the the whowere while of Odin,whereupon:
"Odin took the headand smearedit with herbsso that it would not rot, and spokespells over it " hidden him him it matters. many and told and wroughtmagicso that spokewith This tradition appearsto have beendrawn from a line in the Voluspa which refers to Odin the Heimdallr's/horn Mimir's head Ragnarok: "Shrilly to across the shrieks on eve of speaking Odin head the whispers/with of Mimir... ""' sky; In the samepoem Mimir appearsas the hidden for in foot into Yggdrasill Odin of castsan eye return which guardianof the springat the knowledge.Here the motifs of head and spring are interchangeable, and suggesta common European by borrowing writer than tradition betweenCeltic and Norsepeoples, a north a rather "' by Ross. as suggested There are in fact traditions in both later English and Scandinavian folktales referring to speakingheadsrising from wells and providing gifts and luck to those '04 legends. which seemto combinea numberof earlier myths and who treatthemwith reverence English later it is is known from tradition, The motif of the headwhich speaks after severed also is in Edmund, St holy When king East Angles, the the this time context of a miracle. of the killed by the paganDanesin AD 870, his headwas severedand hidden in thick bramblesin a head it be for buried. his that Afterwards, the calling so could not wood, as people searched "Here! Here! Here!" every time until the head "Where are you now, friend?" the headanswered " Anglofound, by by brambles. This told the guarded an a grey wolf among was story was Saxon cleric, Aelfric in the late tenth century AD who transformedEdmund into a Christian He have drawn heads Celtic Norse may upon tradition extant martyr. or concerning severed which speakto createa new story within a Christiancontext.
115 3.11.4. The severedhead in medieval English literature
from the live There are a number of referencesto headswhich continueto when separated form Mabinogion humanbody in medievalliterature, of which the cycle of storiescalled the documented compared Welsh distinct The when traditions are poorly vernacular part. early one Christian by from heavily influenced recorded Ireland, who the scribes those more and are with Red the Rhydderch Book in White and Welsh traditionsare preserved the of them.The earliest has Green Miranda noted fourteenth date Hergest, Book of to the thirteenthand century. and links Welsh in the early that internationalstory motifs are apparent material,along with strong the hero " In visits Continental Arthurian the who these stories cycle of romance. with the Otherworldis Arthur, and althoughthe contextof the storiesis a Christianone they also contain beliefs in Celtic animals, magical or to the enchanted of early appearance pagan references later In the divine heads human dead properties. with and cauldronscapableof resurrectingthe beheading form in literature the ritual links Irish the there the of are with early medievalstories, is Knight set in Green English Sir Gaivain which the the and reappears early poem which , Grail, Holy for in King Arthur firmly the genreof storiessurroundingthe court of and the quest in the height in thirteenth the centuries of their popularity the twelfth and early which reached Parzival.' form of Chretien'sPerceval and Eschenbach's human headhasbeen The severed
for in the asthecentralsymbol thecycleof Arthurianstories which surround quest recognised Irish Welsh Holy Grail, back has been and traced to the early. the a mysticalsymbolwhich is head Here Celtic his the Lugh storiesconcerningthe god and magicalcauldron. pagan the functions to the with to cauldron as a vessel communicate which asa gateway analogous otherworld.
II. S. The head of Bendigeidfran (Bran the Blessed)
This is probably the most important of the early Medieval vernacular stories in which a head Second Bendigcidfran in the appears. a was mythical godking who appears supernatural Branchof the WelshMabitwgi. " The namemeans"BlessedRaven" and he is also known as later Christian connotations,and Ross suggeststhe Bran the Blessed,a name which suggests form have included the the clement penn of name may earliest being the name original ,
"' "Bran the Head. ... his overtly Branch are Second powers and Manawydan, throughout the stature superhuman and hold boat house in being ever is described He could that or no size so enormous as emphasised. he held is being captive, him. WhenBransetsout to attackIreland,wherehis sisterBranwen
he huge like mountain as does so by wading across the Irish Sea, where he appears a Irish Welsh virtually battle During warriors the the and the ensuing shore. approaches Only foot by is seven in Bran spear. the a poisoned other and wounded exterminateeach his to isssues he Welshmen escape,Bran included, and mortally wounded a command The Wales. to it his head their them to return on with cut off and carry along companions
reads: relevant passage
116 Bran is the sonof Llyr the seagod andthe brotherof Branwenand
he head, " be "And his head the Bendigeid/ran said, take "And then to struck off. commanded "and carry it to the WhiteMount in London,and bury it with itsface towardsFrance. And you birds the be feasting long In Harddlech be and time upon the road. sevenyears, you will a will it head be at And to was Rhiannon as you the company as pleasant will singing unto you. of best when it was on me. And at Gwalesin Penfro, you will befourscore years; and until you the bide door there, Heil/elen, facing Cornwall, Aber and towards the the you may side open bide door, have Butfroin head with you uncorrupted, the time you you may not openedthat "210 for London bury head. do And to the to the side. other not crossover ihere: make food the head After it is struck off, the severed entertainsthe warriors, provides them with all the Assembly The joyous is drink feast Othcrworld of they which named need at a and Wondrous Head, prophesying along the way about future happenings. When one of the forbidden door is broken: the the opens spell warriors had ill had f loss that they they 11 and were sustained-and q every as conscious of ever every ... head the them-andfrom that they they momenton could not rest, save set out with comeupon buried London. long However London the they to the they and were upon came towards road, head in the White Mount. And when it was buried, that was one of the Three Happy Concealments, and one of the ThreeHappy Disclosureswhen it was disclosed,for no plague "" long Island head in the to this so as the was that concealment. would evercomeacross sea The burial of Bran's head as an apotropaic guardian in the White Mount is affirmed by the Welsh Triads , in two of the earliest passages which Bromwich believes date to the ninth or first AD. The describes the burial of Bran's head: tenth centuries
117 "37. ThreeFortunate Concealments of the Island of Britain. Vie headof Bran the Blessed,son in White Hill in London, Llyr, the concealed was which with its face towards France. And of in in it it the long position which was wasput there, no Saxonoppressionwould come to as as "" island. this Later, the Pidds describehow the headwas later disinterredby King Arthur who wanted to be the sole protectorof the sovereigntyof Britain, in an act which the Triads call one of the Three UnfortunateDisclosures:
"... And Arthur disclosed the head of Bran the Blessedfrom the White Hill, because it did not him island be defended by that this to should the strength of anyone, but by his right seem own.
head"makesexplicit Rossin her analysisof the Secondbranchsaysthe motif of Bran's severed in head implies. ""' The head of the god is the that representations of material cult contexts all divine and hasapotropaicqualities,keepingevil and ill-will at bay, it is prophetic and presides feast. divine Billingsley develops further he breakage this the a when writes about of the over Wondrous Assembly " Head. He fact draws the the to the that the ends which of attention spell door which opensand breaksthe spell is describedas a window, significant in the appearance heads doorways in He later above windows archaic and a protective context. writes: of
journeycontains ,,Braný magical posthumous crucial elements whichrevealtheprizedvalues head death, life the prophecy and a severed and oracular after speech, personalityand of Moreover, between its into Assembly to time transports the protect. presence and place a power liminal is from is opened spellbound zone window a made when a which exit only worlds,
"" the everydayivorld. upon
parallels can also be drawn between the elements in the Bran story and a folk tale from Northern Europe, The Little Sea Hare , which contains a number of archaic Motifs . 216In this story an inhabits first through the twelve princess a of which she can room with windows, omnipresent better than anyone else and so on until the twelfth through which she can see everything see below She become the take so small earth. and swears only a consort who could she will above him decapitated through this their tried those see not window, all who were and could and she heads displayed on stakes around the palace. Three brothers tried for her hand, two failed and
by finally fish, a belly hiding in entering by the then and of a the third succeeded a raven'segg, hare. fox, a sea and transformed the two a pedlar as magically merging with a spring Thereupon, the princesswho has beenunwillingly sworn to marriage,slams the window so hard that all the glass is smashedand the magic undone.In this story a number of archaic in heads stakes including on the transform, to the severed of magical springs power elements, the between bridge this and world of a window as a an Otherworld palace,and the appearance
next. 3.11.6. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the beheading myths
This early English tale hasbeendatedto the fourteenthcenturyAD and is set firmly within the Europe in and Arthurian then the continental popular cycle of stories which were context of "" One Celtic from have been based of drawn tradition. to an earlier upon earliermaterial appear directly be head, to important found in is themes the story the severed which appears the most forms Feast Bricriu's by Irish from which the story of influenced earlier prototypes,specifically in "' Arthur's King Ulster Cycle. Gawain Knight Sir Green court the the opensat and of part Camelotwherethe knights are celebratingNew Year with a great feast.The door bursts open Otherworld denizen is fairy Green Knight. He depicted in the the of warrior or a as a and rides blow him knights He his to the the one strike clothesare green, colour of nature. challenges and Only later. day he blow that the exactly one year and one may return with an axe, on condition Gawain comesforth to take up the challengeand strikes off the head of the Green Knight, the floor. looks headless horseman As the the up the onto picks rolls astonished on, court which head by hair head holds it The Green Knight's the the and severed up. eyesopenand severed issuing Gawain: to a stark challenge speaks, faithfully till you find me Go to "Be prepared to perform what you promised, Gawain; Seek ... Chapel... Green and gladly will it be given in 1he gleamingNew Year.Such a stroke as you the havestruck." ""
Gawain Gringolet thechallenge, Heeding travellingthrough sets out with his steed on Sarnhain,
landscape Wales Logres, North "unto winter of across many marshesand mires, the mythical by Holy Head high land in Finally the ""I to Wirrall. the then over the at wilderness of and ...
119 fails Gawain Eve he reaches Christmas a castlewherea temptationepisodetakesplace,which Afterwards, Knight's from Green him by accepting the axe. a magicalgirdle which will protect "a itself, Chapel of Green describes Gawain's chapel to the the poem graphically approach is The bottom " chapel there crags. to the rocky are valley where of a along a path mischance, in holes has It "" end barrow beside depicted "a either a stream. as smooth-surfaced clearly it washollow, nothingmore than an old cave "and was overgrownwith grassin greatpatches.. Knight Green it he hears in the " Here fissure the soundof someancientcrag was within. or a being Gawain begins, his beheading with game sharpening axe and the secondphaseof the blade, from just the he his blade. In the end receives a nick neck to the compelledto submit during the his failings inability is quest. temptation to to resist symbolise and meant which Although setin a medievalChristiancontext,the cyclical story containsmany archaicelements, the CuChulainn beheading direct has playing the sequence parallel, with which a most notably in have ' both What in hero, ý Feast. Irish Bricriu stories tale eighth century AD role of the head to is to figure is beheaded, the come the the severed of of a giant who and power common In this casethe GreenKnight, despitehis appearance within life and makepropheticutterances. is his knight's is Otherworld Christian denizen the power centred the and world, clearly a of head. his severed upon Signficantly,Sir Gawainand the GreenKnight was written by an unknown author whosestyle land the have linguistic he lived in dialect that on to of area allowed a small experts conclude and
" Staffordshire, Cheshire borderbetween an areawhich present-day south-east andnorth-east
is redolentwith British traditions including storiesaboutthe powersof the severedhumanhead buildings from influence. evil to protect 3.11.7. The symbol of the head and the quest for the Holy Grail
human head thesevered As discussed above storieswhich appears within thecycleof medieval it is for the tradition, the grail grail where up serves sometimes as a substitute symbol make throughout thecenturies itself. Indeed, theHoly Grail hasbeendescribed not simply asthecup Christ Last Supper Christ's by later from by Joseph blood the Arimathea, at to and of catch used Crucifixion, but In the tray, at also as a plate, a a stone,a cauldronanda chalice. the wounds bearer is the figure King, the Fisher stories, of the grail who a mysterious called original
120 between life. The taking similarities away a magicalcauldroncapableof giving and possesses in theFourth Branchof the Mabinogion, are the FisherKing and the godkingBran who appears " have been by Loomis. traced and extensive head forms: basic into LeslieJones three cup, the symbolsassociated summarises with the grail Christian heads draws between the the and and parallels paganmagicalcauldrons andstone,and tradition of the grail as presiding over a feast, providing everyonewith the food that most "' the between The tradition the them, the and grail and notion of resurrection. analogies pleases of sacrifice, as the giversof life and the receptacles magicalcauldrons,with their connotations further of feature Irish be back traditions. traced to the which can very earliest are an archaic Age Iron depicted heads in the upon appearanceof a religious context significance are including discussed the mountsof bucketsandcauldrons, earlier. metalwork, in the grail storiesfrom the severedhead ClaudeSterckxhastraceda metaphoricalprogression to the cauldronof rebirth to the grail itself, ' headas: the severed "...a Celtic elementthat accountsfor all the visual manifestations of the grail, an elementthat with the grail with associated can be seenmostclearly by comparingthe mythologicalelements ' Iwads in literature. the representations of severed non-Arthurian A severedhumanheadappearsin the early Welsh story Peredur Soil of Eftawg one of the , three later Arthurian romanceswhich form part of the Mabinogi. Although not the oldest has legend, Grail it is believed features. The the to the of story contain most archaic version Norman-French influence, evidence of althoughone school of thought maintains the abundant derived from form Welsh links their romances were of whatever sources, and continental "' found in the contextof a Grail procession, first is transmission. The reference appears which in the text of Chretien de Troyes' epic story Perceval, which datesfrom the early thirteenth In Peredur, head following the the appearance appears on a salver century. of two youths who blood: the chamber carrying a great spear with running enter ,,...After silencefor a short while, thereupon,lo, two maidenscoming in, and a great salver betweenthem,and a maný head on the salver, and blood in profusion around the head. And then all shrieked and cried out, so that it was hard for any to be in the same house as is Jones there a strongerand more argues while
betweenthe headand the the grail, without invoking the cauldron.Jonessees direct connection
describes Jones with severed are permeated as "striking" the extentto which the grail narratives heads, that the morecloselythe narrativeis focussed on a grail quest,the andnotes:"...it seems thereare."' more heads The French Perlesvaus for instance,includes 152 headsin various , forms, sealedin gold, lead and silver carried around by a trio of women, heads sought as has Perceval heal knight, lucky to talismansuntil trophies and used a wounded or acting as is both Grail both talisman Castle. In Perlesvaus Peredur the the sacred a grail conquered and and a magical vessel presentedin a Christian context, but manipulatesthe symbolism and Christian head from found the to to the the attached pagan which are continuously associations Christian head Jones between the grail the and suggests continuity which exists pagan era. traditions was facilitated by medieval legends such as those connecting Adam with the for Christ's blood, and the Crucifixion and which placedhis skull at Golgothaas a receptacle " Jones feasts. heads Otherworld of stories about severed which sing and speakat popularity concludes: "I suggestthis originally pagan set of symbols,disconnectedftomthe mythology that bound thine together..was revitalized under the influence of the Christian network (which, the the the of or not, myth used same new general set of symbols), andformed coincidentally Holy Grail. 77iemyth wascompellingnot because it allowed the old Celtic symbolto live on in Christian dress, nor becauseit supplanted the pagan myth with the True Faith, but rather "' it synthesized because the two and cameup with something completelynew. 3.12. Severed heads In British folk tradition
This sectionsetsout to examine the appearance of the humanheadin a numberof disparate from folk the traditionof Britain,a largebodyof loreandliterature contexts of varyingdateand The includes documentary material medieval to local cults surrounding provenance. references Christiansaints,to thecontinuingtraditionssurrounding of martyred the heads skulls usedas ritualsto providecuresfor ailmentssuchasepilepsywhich wereknown to part of elaborate havecontinued Highlands. within living memoryin partsof the Scottish All of these talesand of archaicbelief and practicewhich demonstrate traditionscontainelements the continuing importance of theheadsymbolduringtheMedievalandearlymodemperiods. This is a period
122 head its lost the tradition,andbecame earlierstatus when asa symbol of pagan religious partof but its folk tradition, retained essential elements a suchas the association with goodluck, against evil andasa means of communicating world. protection with thesupernatural
3.12.1. Saints, heads and wells The potential of the head motif to gather around itself stories of magical or miraculous is reflectedin the numerouslegendsconnectingthe headsof martyredCeltic saints happenings "' illustrates holy This international is by Thompson, the wells. and with an motif noted from in by Nagy Celtic, Indo-European head" "vital the the earlier noted continuity motif of ' FrancisJonescollecteda numberof "headless in his NorseandIndian contexts. saint" stories holy on wells of Walesin 1954,and concluded: essay locomotion is "... the emergence the of a well characteristicof martyrdomof many saints, and death v9235 head is the and carrying of a severed presentalso. after sometimes His list includesof martyrs includesSt Justinian'sheadwhich was severedon RamseyIsland; fell it a well arose,and the saint simply picked up the head and walked acrossto the where his he he buried. but in St Decumen beheaded Somerset, where washed was was mainland head in a well, then tucked it underneathhis arm, and crossedthe Bristol Channel to South Pembrokeshire, where his well still flows. ' While most of thesestoriesconcernwells which
last dried the as miraculous act of up when a saint a saint, one concernsa well which appear decapitated, Cynog, St This to the who possibly as punishment concerns executioner. story was beheaded immediately in fell Merthyr head into Cynog. His whilst at which prayers well was a dried up, whereupon the saint picked up his headand walked down the hillsideff The most developedmotif of this kind concernsthe cult of St Melor of Cornwall and Brittany, decapitated by a wicked uncle who took his head on a long journey. murdered was and who During the journey, he becameweak and frail and cried out for help, whereuponthe severed headspoke,instructing the uncle to fix his staff firmly in the ground, whereupona pure spring and a tree took root. Like many other saintswho suffered a similar fate, the of water appeared became healing the subsequently centre of medieval spring cult, a cult often associatedwith include ' the could the which skull of saint. relics
123 Winifred, St whose The bestknown story of this kind concerns the seventh centuryvirgin for than in has history Catholic one Holywell Clwyd more pilgrimage unbroken of an at shrine
Robert, by "' Life in her The written century thousand eleventh years. earliestaccountappears Prior of Shrewsbury, who became the custodian of her relics."' According to Robert, a for his but Caradoc ran to seduce the virgin, sheescaped clutchesand attempted chieftainnamed Winifred Caradoc St Beuno. Holywell built by her caught the the sanctuary uncle, of churchat before the door of the church and struck off her headwith his sword. Where the head fell a he the from When St Beuno up picked the appeared, ground. springof watersuddenlyappeared body head it head, back body began the and to pray, whereupon placed upon the and severed Llanrwst, Gwytherin St Winifred later became Abbess the near of were miraculouslyreunited. Shrewsbury, died. Her in 1138 to the translated at abbey remainswere removed and whereshe her Robert Life wrote where . Winifred's martyrdom containselementsof archaic beliefs concerning both The story of More heads healing in found Celtic religious contexts. and other water, which are severed falls head also the specifically, central motif of a spring of water appearingwhere a severed from derived in lives, a they are all which suggests occurs a number of contemporarysaints in head the James Rattue the that the motif of early medieval source. record argues earliest single Osyth Kenelm, Juthware, Fremund, Decuman, legendsof six separate medievalsaints,namely in by John Capgrave, fourteenth Justinian Nova Legenda Anglie the which occurs century and
' in 1349? died from Tynemouth John thework of of stories who compiled of wasa collection how themotif of beheaded Rattue and notes saints andwellswasnot confinedto Celtic saints, All from Continental Europe far island in Greece. Chios he citesexamples the andas eastas of from oneor moreearlymedieval he maybederived stories these source, and writes:
,IThe need to inake up a good story by borrowing ftoin legendswhich ivere already fainous disingenuous, to the eternal divine model, -for inedievalpeople "truth" ineantadherence not Ivas "' historicalfact. ideas of not to
in this contextwasthecult of saint'srelicswhich reached Also important a highly developed As fourteenth Europe. form at the time these stories werecirculatingin thirteenth and century it detach heads this to the cult was commonplace to providesubsidiary of of saints shrines, part in become for tradition the to body the benefitif usedasa skull the part of which imparted and
124 has Swanton Michael Professor holy drinkingvessel saint. with a particular at a well associated West head the localised iconography the andwell cult, surrounding of onepeculiarly studied Country St Sidwell, which was confined to the city of Exeter and placeswith strong 24 Cit fourteenth is legend ' Sidwell Winifred, Like the a the source of with the Y. connections to John Grandisson, Bishop Sanctorum in Legenda refers and the this of case account, century hundred in have Anglo-Saxon years the takenplace period, several early eventsallegedto She from date Sidwell's the tenth wasa Theearliest century. before. of cult andrelics mention
by her have hated by her birth, a to murdered conspired who stepmother wicked noble of virgin fell, head Where her head of haymowers the spring a clear with a scythe. who cut off group of by her body days a radiance, three surrounded appeared afterwards up, and sprang water ' founded. later her in hands, head her to the placewhere churchwas carryingthe severed images in in later iconography of a scythe and a Sidwell with St association appears medieval Urith Devon known little of saint, with another water, elements she shares of spring instigation haymakers by the have been beheaded of at Chittlehampton,who was also said to between two the The her hands. in her head her stepmother, similarity and subsequently carried legendsand thoseof Juthware(Sidwell's sister),are reflectedin sixteenthcentury stainedglass is depict they identity the in Somerset saint depictions a numberof of wherethe parishchurches "' Nettlccombe. is it is labelled, Urith at until specifically as ambiguous Osyth Juthware, Urith, found legend in Sidwell those the elements of Swanton suggests and "is the Winifred story to core suggest geographically are so similar and widespread and he impulse " fundamental This impulse. earlier with associates of some native symptomatic Celtic interestin the cult of the severedheadand its "apparentlyfundamentalassociationwith "' Also inducing fertility are significant their evil. averting and waters and powers of venerated with the universal motifs of virgin sacrifice the elementsin the story which can be associated death harvest, fertility, the with and the venerationof wells and springs. and associated Billingsley by John been has head A secondexampleof an early medieval studied and well cult ' in Yorkshire West Calderdale. Here the in the again connectionwith valley of motif appears in between but this casea tree takesthe place of a spring. the murderedvirgin, the association The story is centred upon the town of Halifax, the urban capital of Calderdale, where Billingsley writes how "there is what amountsto an obsession with heads" in local tradition, as in frequent device heads the appearance carved stone upon of as a protective manifested
125 doorways houses date from to the the seventeenth and century yeoman which entrances onwards. Halifax, all of which have There are a numberof rival theoriesfor the namingof from in However, their to take a cue origins speculation. all seem antiquarian questionable St dedicated hermitage to the of stories whichsurround existence or of anearliershrine cluster John,the patronsaintof the Halifax parishchurch,who is continuallyassociated with water "the Two legends heads. head. A these the the of of concern motif of severed representation and faceof StJohntheBaptist"appears over prominently on thecoatof annsof thetown,displayed Hall. This relates to thePiece to a legend thatthetown wasin the Middle Agesa theentrance of pilgrimage and: centre face -...withinthehermitage the relic, sacred chapelof StJohntherewaspreserved, asa most gave peculiarsanctityto thespotasa placeofpilgritnage,andso attracted of thatsaint.77ds "' ofteoplefrom everydirection. greatconcourses
William Camden The antiquarian recorded a very similar tradition when he visited Halifax at the how In his in he 1586, Britannia, the tells a of sixteenth a story of century. work published end from Whitby in for Calder "a to the spot" solitary arrived wild and valley searching after monk live. ' He erecteda hermitageor cell on the spot where the town now standswhich attracted he hermit in desire that the many pilgrims, one of whom was a young nun who arousedsuch himself, Devil fair becamederanged "the the than and was convinced penitentwas noneother had fair he decapitated form fit the In him taken this to to allure a of madness, mortal sin". who from fixed her head in himself he flung "as " tree to a yew a warning others, after which nun and face. Camden describes it became how head hung the tree, an object where on a yew was a rock Eventually from holy the branches the tree with visitors relics. plucking as pilgrimage, off of to a meretrunk, but retainedits reputationof sanctityamongthe people, treewas reduced " who believedthat thoselittle veins, which are spreadout like hair in the rind betweenthe .. bark and the body of the tree, were indeed the very hair of the virgin thus the little village ... large Horton, Chapel in Grove to previous the was the called or a sometimes which grew up town, assumingthe new nameof Halig-fax or Halifax, which signifies Holy Hair. "" These strange and patently pagan legends hark back to earlier beliefs connected with the
126 interesting is It heads found both in Celtic tradition. trees, of andsacred of whichare veneration Baptist it fit to dedicate John Halifax St thought the asthe theirchurch to thattheChristians at Pieces Ages. head figures in Middle during this of the the of saint strongly cult of relics severed Christian in holy the the head or skull of saintwerepreserved of separate relics a number as St Johnwasalsothe adopted on the European continent. patronsaintof the orderof shrines The known Templar Poor Knights Knights Temple Solomon the the the as monks of of or idol dissolved by heresy in Pope 1307 the and of order was after the order wereaccused Oneof theaccusations levelledagainst themwastheworshipof thehumanheadand worship. had it "of in idol heads kept the that they whichsome each among allegations wassaid province three facesand someone, and othershad a humanskull.""' It was said the Templars heads in theirchapters "couldsave believing these them, theheads: worshipped andassemblies, "" flower,andthelandgerminate. thatit made thatit couldmake thetrees riches, in Calderdale WhatBillingsleydescribes head the the asan obsession with symbolof severed in thefamous its title, the gibbet " Despite hasits mostarresting "HalifaxGibbett. manifestation but a scaffold a guillotinewhich wasusedto decapitate not was criminalsduring the Middle importance Ages,all but uniquein England because andof special of the traditionof carving Celtic-style heads Gibbet Halifax in The this whichsurvived archaic particularly strongly valley. feared, time at one universally was andbecame partof thethieves'litany: "FromHell, Hull and Halifax,maythe GoodLord deliverus. " The gibbetbegan life asa deterrent to cattlerustling for during the sixteenth domestic stealing, cloth the woollen and and seventeenth centuries industrywasthemainlivelihoodof people in these Pennine Harshtreatment valleys. wasgiven for minoroffences, foundguiltyof stealing thatanyone with thelaw stating cloth to thevalueof halfpenny (lessthan6p today)would"be takento the gibbet,andtherehavehis thirteenpence "" head cutoff from hisbody. The earliest record of the gibbetis from 1106whentheWarrenfamily weregranted the power thieves to execute caught within the bounds of their Manorby King Henry1.The family may decapitation haveused The first recorded asa method of dealing with criminals. was execution in 1286,with morethanfifty peoplebeingdespatched in this fashionbetween the years1541 Although 1650. theoriginal wooden and structure no longerexists,workmenexcavating near in base 1889discovered the of gibbet the two humanskulls, presumablythoseof its last Local tradition thattheonly waya condemned relates victims. criminalcouldescape execution
Brook, his head Hebble the parish fell blade to the the as across was withdraw andescape
" boundary, andneverreturn. 3.12.2. The well of the heads heads Alongsidethe legendsassociatingthe severed of early British saintswith the creation of holy wells and springsare a substantialbody of storiesin the folk tradition where headsare in in found Scotland, The these and are with wells a secular are context. majority of connected in largely concerned their with murders,the severingof heads placement springsand wells and is in form There the a strong a role a of ritual vengeancewithin community. perfon-ning in the explanations mythologicalelementwithin thesetales,with the traditionsbeing preserved for the namesof geographicalfeatures.This kind of tradition is also found in Ireland and is in One Dindshenchas, in landscape. legends the the the topographical of recorded of places for the naming of a hill, Sliab Gam, which describedhow a young man called theseaccounts besidea well on the hill which then becameknown as Gam's Hill. His Garn was decapitated headwas castinto the well, which was magically affected,so that for part of the day it was a bitter, salty strcamand anotherpart of the day it wascleanspring water, becomingone of grey, ' Ireland. the wondersof Ross records a number of similar legendsfrom the same genre, including one which describesthe slaying by Finn of a woman called Sen-Garman,who was decapitatedand her head placed on a stake besidethe well, while her body was cast into the "' water. All thesetales emphasisethe supernaturaleffect, beneficial or otherwise, which
headin a well or spring,which may accountfor the recurrence followed the placingof a severed in folklore the this motif record. of
of the "well and head" stories known from the Scotland,the best known has a stone
inscribed by the Gaelic poet Ewcn MacLachlan, beside it with a poem-composed monument, is by surmounted a carved representation and of sevenseveredheads.The monument stands besidethe A82 road south-west of Fort Augustusin the Highlandsof Scotlandand is a familiar landmark for motorists travelling towards Loch Ness.The stone plinth which stands above Loch Oich at Invergarry, has an inscription carved on four sides which reads, in English, Gaelic,FrenchandLatin:
,,As a memorial of the exampleand summaryvengeance which, in the swift course offeudal
128 justice, inflicted by the order of Lord MacDonell andAross, overtookthe perpetrators of the foul murder of the KeppochFamily, a branchof thepowerful and illustrious clan of which his lordshipwaschief. This monumentis erectedby ColonelMcDonnell of Glengarry,XVII Macheads The his successor 1812. Lord Our Mhic-Alaister, in o the the and representative, year of having Castle Murdererswerepresented feet Glengarry Chief in Seven the after at of the noble in this spring; and eversincethat event,which tookplace in thesixteenthcentury, beenwashed " Heads. Well it hasbeenknownby the nameof Tobar-nan-Ceann the of or the
This story is one of the best known of the Highland folk tales and contains two of the most fundamental concepts in Celtic tradition, that is the combined powers of the human head and by folk Alasdair In is historical this the tale to the case staying related water. a real event, namely MacDonald of Keppoch of his two young nephews in order to steal the chieftainship of the clan, in 1663. He was assisted by six other men, and it was not until two years later that they were all brought tojustice and executed by decapitation, their severed heads placed in a basket and taken to Inverness. The story describes how on the way, because the heads were crashing and in by the waters of the the them against each other, party stopped roadside and washed grinding The became flows into loch below, the thereafter well of spring water, which strongly a spring. known as the Well of the HeadS.258
Both Dr Anne Rossand Alasdair AlPin MacGregorhave noted how this was not an isolated legend, for there are many other wells and springs bearing the name throughout the western "' Highlands and Islands. All of these are natural springs in remote locations which are
battle, her for During to their with a massacre or murder account connected enigmatic name. in Western in Isles 1956,Rossheardof a similar story told in Gaelic by a woman the research island Vatersay, the remote of on the southerncoastof Barra in the Outer Hebrides. It was a on folk tradition handeddown in the oral tradition for generations, concerningthe murder of three brotherswho were decapitated and their headsleft in a well. In this tale one of the headsspoke, The story, told by Nan MacKinnon, tells how the father of and was able to make prophecies. the murderedbrotherscollected their headsin a sack, but as he was returning home to bury he a standingstonewhereoneof the heads them passed cameto life, telling him to find a certain woman who was about to give birth. She would bear a son belonging to the dead man who In due the avenge murder. course,the boy was found and grew to avenge his father's would killer, by cutting off the head of the guilty man as he drank from a spring, which thereafter becameknown as Tobar a'Clzinn, the Well of the Head.' Five years later, while collecting
129 wells concerning on theIsle of Skye,Dr Ross came across of stories stories a similarcollection heads. She wrote: and least "There areat seven wellson theisland,anda lochandafish weirat thetnouthof a river, loch "' the are all called well, or weirof theheads. which
None of thesestories, which concerned decapitation at wells, had ever been recorded before and by known local only people who had heard them from local stories in their childhood. were On the Island of Mull a story of this genre relates to a long-running feud over land between two families, the descendentsof two brothers born in the fourteenth century. One member of the Duart family was shot and killed by an arrow fired by a Lochbuie man, and his wife exacted her by Lochbuie heads Lachland Lubanach, the the the two cutting off of of children of revenge Heads. dropping down Well became known them the the the of shaft clan, of a well which as This act led to the feud between the two houses becoming more bitter and deadly, ending in a final act of vengeance,the decapitation of the chieftain of the Lochbuie clan, Ewen of the Little Head, in battle as prophesised by a fairy woman. Thereafter he assumedthe role of a banshee, headless horseman as a appearing or warning whenever death threatened the Maclaines of Lochbuie." This kind of headless horseman tradition is widespread and is a powerful symbol of life death, after a a motif which is found in many other parts of the world. In the Celtic persisting headless the rider appearsto be associatedwith guarding boundaries and holy wells. An regions kind this tradition of was recorded by Dumfries Museum in 1902, and concerns St Bride's oral Well, which lies at the foot of a hillfort near Moniave in Nithsdale known as Tynron Dom` The road from the hillfort to the well was said to be haunted by a headless horseman, and the locally for the haunting in this way: recorded accounted story
,,Yin o' the McMilligans o'DaIgarnock had gane tae veesit his lass, a dochter o'llie Great McGachan o'Dalquhat, in Tynron Castle. Yin Wher brithers cam in unexpectedlyan' wisna ower taken wi' seein' them thegither, sae McMilligan an' him hid a fa'ini --oot. Young MacMilligan an' aff like the Bars oAyr, Hooiver, it wis a dark nicht all' in the confilsion he beast the the the naig richt ower craig: tuminletower an' ower, threw him aff, an' hefell raid his hause-bane. brack Mair nor that, he rummleddoon the craig wV sickforce that his heid an' cameaff an' went rummlin' an' stottin' doon the brae till - pop! - it landed in St Bride ý Wellat
130 he but, lad hid Clonrae fiel'. been decent, He God-fearin' as ye'll realise, theedgeo' a his him for Guid Place heid: ý an' whyye'll still see wuntaethe wantin'the andthat couldnae
" Cross. tae the aul' naigwo an' againgaun' alang The symbolicconnectionbetweenthe headand well continuedto play a themein oral tradition during the Middle Ages, where in the sixteenthcenturyit is found in an Elizabethanplay or The ThreeHeads balladknown variously as The King ý Daughter Princessof Colchester, or , in the Well ." The story concernsa princesswho is forced to leave her palaceby a wicked the heads Well from Life the one after three arise and comes upon of golden which stepmother heads first The the utter prophecies, saying: other. "Gentlydip but not too deep, Forfear you makethe goldenbeard to weep. Fair maiden,white and red, Strokemesmoothand comb my head, And thoushalt havesomecockell-bread. The young woman does as she is askedwith good mannersand care, and after lowering the into the well receivesher thanksin the way of beautyand union with a fine prince which heads her her father's Her her to to terms return envious rival court on equal with stepmother. allows By insults beats to retrace them. the girl's stepsbut when the heads thenattempts appearshe and bad it is found in luck ill health. Although the woman receives chapbookversionsof and return, EastAnglian origin dating back to 1595,variationsof this story are also known in Germanyand Scandinavia,and are in fact noted by Thompsonas an international motif, of which there are ' different forty versions. over Rossnotesthe poemin five lines, contains"all the elementsof
the Celtic tradition," while I would suggestthe tradition is an international one, of which the Celtic " the of regions recognised one version. particular people 3.12-3. Skulls used as part of a traditional ritual in folk inedicine
Thereis a largebodyof survivingtraditionfrom Scotland the useof andIrelandconcerning in human or superstitious skullsin magical the contexts concerned with which cureof epilepsy, have into to day. appears the As epilepsywas an affliction continued areas present some
131 by be head, sympathetic it sought that the could cure a appropriate with wouldseem associated in their right. both own the symbols powerful and springwater, use of a skull magicvia twentieth late during early the and Althoughall of theseaccounts nineteenth wererecorded drunk Pliny to folk water draw traditions refers to theyappear with olderroots. upon century, in the sixteenth History in his Natural for fromtheskullof a slainmanasa cure epilepsy and ,
for: Scott to a cure alludes century been hath that falling Drinke in the one ,, of a skull out of water night at a spring, evill ... -the " , slaine. lucky heads like for had, it and traditional cures In Scotland seemsskulls used some stone between intermediaries it job human Dewars, whose was to act as guardiansor charm stones, healing for and other these to those artefacts the supernaturalworld and who wished use treasured" being "sought Livingstone Sheila and to the after refers skulls of suicides purposes. for springwaterdrunk as a curefor epilepsy' while MacGregorprovides for useasa receptacle in from Scotland the Wester Ross of practice the of northwest wild region examples several " A centrefor this continuingtradition was centred, upon keepingskulls for the samepurpose. for in female Torridon Loch cure areawhere the skull of a suicidevictim was used a ritual the its late Skull known 1970s. This Annat was the the reputation and as recently as was as epilepsy in from far Perthshire that search those travelled as away as afflicted so greatover a centuryago "probably from Murdoch MacDonald to the the the as skull guardian of skull. refers of a cure " and says it "had its traditional guardain last in a long line of skulls used for this purpose, duty inherited. "' Annat this the and people, was among MacGregor writes how the skull was first describedin a paper read to the Gaelic Society of At district. in in by Morven 1905 Rev C. M. Robertson, Strontian, the the Inverness minister of held it drinks from in it, "one the that three the time of was each of water, name of running that Trinity" would cure epilepsyif the suffererbelievedin the cure. Robertsondescribedhow:
thinner 1177te portionsof theskull nowin usehavecrumbled away.It is keptin a hollow under head Beall it belongs, Uaigh the flat the to to over the of grave stone which and which nalne a " Grave Grantý Wife is the G11ranndaich, of given. a,
132 BothMacDonald andMacGregor claim the skull wasthatof Mary Mcleodwho movedto the districtat theendof the eighteenth Torridon centuryandmarriedthe sonof a local wiseman, Grant.Shebecame Donald to evade a mentallyill andafter several suicideattempts managed Her body was watchandflung herselffrom a cliff into the seawhereshedrowned. constant laid to restoutside theburial groundandout of sightof the loch, but according to MacGregor longafterwards, in the for herskull because 66not thegravewasdesecrated of epilepsy of a case "' district. MacDonald andRossgive a differentversion of this story,claimingthe skull was foundabove by thewisemenof the villageas ground aftertheburial"andthis wasrecognised """ Thereaferthe skull waskept in the stonebox hiddenon the beinga supernatural sign. for had hillsideneara stream calledthe Alit nan Corp , beside a reputation a springwhich describes Ross healing. this springasa holy well, andsaysit wascalled Tobara'Chinn , The but it is not clearif this name Wellof theHead, to thespringbeforethe skull was wasattached MacDonald describes healing "greatly how the the the at site. was water power of stored it from the skull. Oneold Gairlochman told him how the when nified" wasdispensed mag bitter in dispensed from he tasted taking the told very when part the skull and was after water he family "that his take then they would one more mild epilepticattack, would cease ritual ... described "' MacDonald thatthisindeed theritualinvolvingthe testified provedto bethecase. in detail: skull
"Whena cure was desired,thepatient and his or her companionswould go to the houseof the Guardian, where they were instructed in the ceremoniesto be performed. The patient was he had if faith 77ten, in thepower of the Skull; this was necessary. or she complete when asked left had hill, in had They Guardian the the to to the the sun patient and go climbed up spring. When had its destination, Guardian they took the their the silence, reached skullftom complete box, while the patient walked three timessunwisearound the spring. The skull was dipped in the spring and offeredto thepatient to drink, the Guardian invoking the Holy Trinity. This was done three times,and the Guardian thenput a numberof secret "prohibitions " oil the patient, he that or shemustneverdo. Plese were,asfar as I havebeenable to ascertain,that he things I bier funeral, to in drink. They take then not the was carry a at a she or much way of strong or down hill The had be the before to the suit touched again. whole ceremony completed walked " hill again. the how shewas shown the Annat Skull during fieldwork in the Torridon region Dr Rossdescribes during the 1950s,when it remaineda living tradition. She was shown the skull by the male
133 At hereditary. " a localcharmer "guardian, to theposition, who wasappointed whichremained
AM hillside in the kept box-like hidden the the time near this on skull wasstill a stone container how described Ross Dr Corp, for she the and was used only on rare occasions ritual cure. nan be hill, head in hollow in "which lies to taken the the virtually the would see well and and was a impossibleto chanceupon."' detail in to The ritual connected the was explained skull with Ross,and she said it appearedto have beena mixture of both paganand Catholic Christian belief. MacDonald, writing in 1997, saysthe traditional cure was carried out as late as the 1970s, but was fading with advent of modem drugs and notes "the faith which was so its in has but """ He far he is too. vanished awarethe skull remains addsthat as as necessary all but "if it seems container you respecttheseold customs wrong to enquireor search". stone Two writers note that beforethe time of the Annat skull that of anothersuicide,Finlay Macrae, in Torridon for for had This the samepurpose. wasused unfortunate apparentlywandered miles Loch before he hanged himself the unhinged of an shores mind on a peninsula on with known as Finlay's Knoll. MacGregorwrites: Torridon, which became "In the knoll bearing his namehis remains were buried-all excepthis skull, for, curious as it debarredfrom burial in consecrated although seem, a suicide was ground-the skull of a may for held kept Finlay For ý to this was possessoccult properties. skull was reason, suicide Kept, infact, "' decayed it years. until away. many
for Dr Anne To this daytherearestill people who resortto thetraditional which cure epilepsy, had less dramatic Rosssays"washeldin reserve asa final measure whenall other, remedies "" In oneinstance by Ross failed. Isles,the recorded on theIsle of Lewis,partof the Western dug from kirkyard, ancestor an was of up a after sunset and beforesunrise,and water skull insidethecranium; from a sacred well wasplaced thiswastakento thepatientwho hadto drink " it aspartof a ritualwhichwasheldin complete silence. describes MacGregor a numberof similar traditionsrelating to the powersof the skulls of his in folklore topographical and surveyof WesterRoss,Land of the Mountainand suicides how as a to a colleague the Flood.A nativecalledMurdo MacLeaydescribed of MacGregor in Torridon district he had the been despatched to a local cemetery to bring backthe youngster lying buried suicide a which was of outsidethe walls. The skull was requiredby a skull of anxious natives who wanted to drink from it. The neighbour a epilepticneighbour gathering
134 lived for blindfolded it to the age fit he had the thereafter, and ritual, and wassaid never a was district MacLeay he knew Shieldaig in who the said also a man neighbouring of ninety. declared drunkfrom a suicide'sskull "solemnly that he himself,an epileptic,hadfrequently "" keptfor thispurpose at a secret spotthere. Ross Wester for Theuseof human the to traditional skullsasa cure epilepsy wasnotconfined Indeed, a number assimilartraditions areknownfrom IrelandandWales. regionof Scotland, for Isles in British holy the throughout with wellsandsprings of skullsarerecorded association healing drinking for the traditionally vessel springwater, a practice whichenhanced useasa folklore In the thehead properties of water. andthewell werebothimbued with magical powers 7 in Chapter healing described the traditions andprophecy, anda number of guardian skull of describing It appears the powers theuseof thecranium stories asa drinkingreceptacle. contain in believed dwell be to they were used were within skulls could enhanced when which from drinking McCulloch beliefs that to this with relates moreprimitive association springwater. thecourage theskullof anancestor wasto acquire or wisdom of thedeadman,be he a warrior ' or a saint. In theWestern Scotland areas of BritainincludingWales, andIrelandhumanskullswereuntil "guardians" listsa number Jones the preserved as of of a number of holy wells.Francis recently Welsh andwellsassociated to havehadguardians springs or with skulls,some of whichappear from epilepsy Dewars whodispensed waterto those suffering anda number of otherafflictions. Llandyfaenin Carmarthen, in drunk from human 1815, At Fynnon and waterwas a skull until Welsh Dolgellytheskullof a fourteenth century prince,GruffyddapAddaap Dafydd,wasused ' for a similarpurpose. possiblythebestknownexample of a well/skull association of this kind is FynnonDeila at This is worthy of particularattentionbecause Llandeilo in North Pembrokeshire. thereis a body it whichsheds light on theoriginsof otherstories of considerable of traditionsurrounding by defaulton the keeping 7. described in Chapter and this genre, of guardian skullsin houses The waters of FftnnonDeilo at Llandeiloweredrunkfrom theskull of "St Teilo," keptbeside local family werethehereditary St Teilo'sWell, alsoknownas of which a thewell, guardians. Well),still flowsonehundred Ffynnonyr Ychen(theOxen's yardsto the north-east of a ruined dedicated Llandeilo to the Llwydarth. Here cures for whooping cough, saint at church by peoplewho drankout of the skull, saidto be andotherailments wereobtained tuberculosis
135 founder AD, the Bishop Llandaff during thesixthcentury and thatof thesaint,whowasthe of " of manychurches. Melchior family Early this century.this relic was in the possession the of name with of a 'melshor'), who lived in the farm beside (pronounced the well. For the cureto work it was be dispensed, for drink from to the the the must springwater skull,and water essential pilgrims the local by Over in house. family born the tradition, to the centuries, the a member of according JA&believe J, in for but it theefficacyof the Melchiors nothing theirservice, charged wassaidt4el 87 but it healed? Onetaleconcerns the a man well, wasclaimedmanywho came were skull or better his brought from home Glamorgan for healing, but the the none sonall way returned who for thejourney.Thenhe remembered that the boy hadnot actuallydrunk the waterfrom the He journey, itself. drank from boy then the and the skull asprescribed, the repeated and skull in 1906, healed. Francis Jones alive subsequently old man, storyof an records was another he faith" by "were that to the when people coming well who cured andsaid who remembered he from boy illness drinking two theskull and others were a cured water spring of an after was ' in the morning. early
But where and how did the connection betweenthe skull of the saint and the healing well is It has led draw links between this this particular to connection which some writers originate? for Celtic for been has the predeliction skulls at water shrineswhich usedas evidence skull and head in Teilo's Britain. from St One theory of a continuing cult medieval a version of claims Life the saint had a favourite maidservantfrom Llandeilo in Pembrokeshirewho suggests him his deathbed. from He her time that the on gave a strict command at end of a year's attended his burial Llandeilo Fawr shewasto takehis skull to the other placewhich bore his day of at the leave it "and be blessing to there to to coming generationsof men who, when ailing, a name have health by drinking water out of it. "'8' This tale neatly sidesteps their restored would by St body house a to the number of other of medieval churches who claimed proclamations Teilo, who it is said, divided his own remainsinto three identical corpses,one of which was by delegation! Further doubts concerning these stories were raised by an each away taken the it this of skull earlier century which concluded was actually that of a young examination 290 ! woman
Teilo's "St 1927 skull" was sold by Miss Dinah Melchior for F. In 50 to GregoryMacalister Mathew, of theMathewfamily who hadbeenthe hereditary Teilo's a descendant St keepers of
136 the skull A Cathedral in Llandaff claim sources the twelfth of tomb since century. number Major by However, knew it in 1927, disappeared research where wastoday. and no one Landaff its to from history to Buckleytraced return theearliest the Kemmis record of theskull handed the Bishop " how Records Teilo's Day, February 9,1994. the St Cathedral show on in 1403 Mathew David Sir in Cathedral, Llandaff to that time the at preserved saint, of skull in Llandeilo, live descendent David north Sir building A to at the moved of was sacked. after death the for family line live until to there seven Pembrokeshire, generations andthe continued the to the in his Mathews Before death, William 1658. the relic William of care entrusted of in their possession until 1927, Melchiorfamily who ownedLlandeilofarm, andit remained from England, in bank it in Gregory Mathews. He kept it vault southern a when wassoldto Wales. South in New living in family bequeathed branch it the of a will to another where was The skull travelledfull circle acrossthe world whenthe currentkeeper, CaptainRobert in it Cathedral, it keeping Llandaff to return to the Mathews, where now reposes a agreed of "' in Teilo's St Chapel. reliquary howonceSt Teilo'sskull andwell hadbecome with eachother, This storyillustrates associated More its life developed own. of and took on a a cult quickly grewup aroundthem which family, by have been drawn Melchior between the guardians the as parallels played role recently, have believed Druid to the presided the are and skull, and who well priests andpriestesses of described in the 1901, Celtic Professor John Rhys, the writing of watershrines. over mysteries keeping hereditary, of theskull by onefamily as: before the to 11 which points an ancient of a sacred spring, sacred succession priesthood a .. '9293 Teilo St by Christian the the and one of reasons why sitewaschosen inissionaries. timeof to this, popularwriters,suchasJanetandColin Bord,' haveincludedSt Teilo's Subsequent head its in Celtic Claims the the the a of context of and association with waters. cult sacred skull by Major Buckley"s this skull and a cult or priesthoodis demolished direct link between demonstrates how from developed the the the which cult surrounding skull well and research how had illustrates Celtic but a century the onwards and no pagan antecedent, story seventeenth itself in focus for folk John Billingsley As tradition. as a act extant can concludes: skull
"... it showsthepotencyof belief in the severedhead, which evidently has the power to gather
137 " it tales the of supernatural about andmiraculous.
in belief the from demonstrates Evidence thattherewasa pre-existing similarcontextselsewhere is It during from a humanskull healingpowers a specificritual. of springwater whendispensed the existence to be the importantfactor, not the ageor of suchan oral tradition which appears itself. the skull of origin 3.12.5 Miscellaneous traditions
The final categoryof evidence from the English folk tradition which contains evidence of head is the that of the miscellaneous traditions and calendarcustoms which upon emphasis in in in Smith, hamlets Alan an essay the country. of villages and continue a scattering across he in 1962,described Folklore published which and observances a numberof obscure customs had the "the belief in from luck be derived their of to at core possession gaining suggested some "' beast. headof a slaughtered The customshe examined were solely concernedwith animal
heads, and they included the well-known Haxey Hood game in Lincolnshire, and others including the Lamb Ale at Kidlington in Oxfordshire, the Cow headFeastof Westhoughton, Lancashire, and a group in the Midlands which included the Hallaton bottle kicking of Leicestershire All thesecustoms,he argued,appear andthe PainswickFeastin Gloucestershire. to be focussedupon a struggle for the possession of the heador part of the hide of a totem functioned which sacred object a animal, asa luck-bringingtalismanfor the community. Smith hopedfurther research could identify cluesas to the type of rituals which may once have been the existence suggested carriedout at placeswhosesurviving names of a shrinewhere an animal head may have been offered to a pagan god, a theory discussedin Chapter 2. In personal Smith writes: correspondence
My case,whichI believewas well argued.,would havebeenclinchedby a head custom ,, beingcelebrated at or very near a place with an appropriatename.That I neverfound. As folklorists are well awaremanyancientseeming customs are in fact quite recent(historically deep the continuity with and However,such a piece of past too easily assumed. speaking) "' befound. mayyet evidence
by Smith, of the examples cited noneappeared to involve a customcentredupon a ritual contest
138 football for the possession human head, the of a severed of ceremonial although question in heads important example. which playedan as onepossible point wassuggested matches footballcontinues in England,andtheearliest Shrovetide to beplayed at a number of locations four forty dates from tradition this type there the were of of when century, record mid-sixteenth for thecustom. Of thesurvivingexamples, do havea survivingoral tradition a number venues in football Bodmer, Walter head. human Sir For the wasoriginally a example whichsuggests New football Islands in Kirkwall Orkney his account the traditional the on of street on played "" Sir head. human Day, notesthe"strange ba [ball] Year's tradition that the original was a ... dates from theCelticera,but it appears Waltersuggests the traditionperhaps unlikely that an disrespect. be the tribes treated which native regarded as sacred with such would object In otherareas, traditionsassociate theseroughandtumbleball games with a later periodof in CountyDurhamthe annualShrovetide history.At Sedgefield gameis saidto have-begun "' 66with the kicking aroundby the Saxons of the headof a Dane. However,this kind of to bea recent traditionappears accretion, andI amunaware of anyearlydocumentary reference a claimof thiskind. to support Onepossible example of a custom centred upona ritualbattlefor thepossession of an artificial humanheadis Riding the Black Lad, which took placeevery year at Ashton-under-Lyne, Monday.The ceremony in by Lancashire, the the midon Easter authorities wassuppressed but " in local form In 1960. traditiontheBlack century, continued a modified until nineteenth jeers Lad wasaneffigy of a knightin blackarmour, to the town the of whowasparaded around The then Sir and to pelted with stones and even shot at. effigy was meant represent onlookers, lord of the nearbymanorof Middletonduring the fifteenth century,and Ralphde Assheton, To between the as a the great oppressor theantagonism of peasantry. commemorate remembered lord andthepeasants, to pay for theeffigy to be made. moneywasannually givenby theestate Griffith whospoke to old people J<ate thetraditionat theendof thenineteenth whoremembered discovered theonly partof the effigy which waspreserved from yearto year,wasthe century, headwhichwaskeptat AshtonHall. Thehead wasdescribed as: Some ,,... andon it wasplaceda helmet. wooden, say itsface wasflorid, somebronzed, some keptat theHall."" black-and some saytheheadwasalways
from the effigy and and thrown into the crowd At the end of the parade,the headwas detached
139 for. to bescrambled
for the headwhereit was keptfor use 11 the manwho securedit receiving moneyin exchange .. it following Easter be kept It Hall, exhibited to simply the the was used afterwards at at ... there,or at the estateoffice, and lodgedat somepublic houseuntil it wasnextwanted"' is head, luck believed the The preservationof the to embody the community, of which was important when placed in context with the traditions surroundingstone headsdescribed in it appears 4 and6, and the guardianskulls of Chapter therewas a 7. In all thesecases, Chapters belief that luck of one sort or another was concentratedin the head, which was perhaps a between drawn the be belief in head Parallels the the the the can as seatof soul. extensionof descriptionof the Ashton Black Lad ceremonyandthe variousritual strugglesinvolving animal in described by both Smith." In a numberof these heads customs, which continue certain parts for fought Midlands, horses, English heads, or those are either animal of particularly of the is disguise important in for Of this to the study at year. significance seasonal points used ritual heads from in form have been fact that these a year to year and number of the preserved some degree heads in has been the earlier a of respect which associated with magical accorded legends. horse The in fact the centreof the ritual and provide stories and skulls are vernacular by known into be Hallowe'en the transformed the as which wearer can at character the means "' in Horse Wild Cheshire, figure the a with ritual connotations. A number of villages in this
Midlands jealously in horse the time their at one of somecases guarded own skull, which part black human hidden Like the the and carefully away painted at end of each performance. was heads discusssed in Chapter drawn 7, be between the animal skulls and analogies can skulls in human both functioned this the way and skulls as which as supernatural guardians, utilised functionedassymbolsof luck to be drawnbetweenthe ritual attentionaccordedto both There are a numberof other analogies headsof animals and humans in the archaeologicaland folkloric record. These similarities include the manipulationand depositionof skulls in a repetitive or idosyncraticfashion so as to imply ritual function, the useof stylised facesor headsin religious or at least liminal locations both from in dramas the of masks, use artificial and constructed real skulls, or rites. ritual and Analogies can also be madehere betweenthe use of masksin this context and the frightening faces madeby children at Hallowe'en, including the faces cut upon turnip lanterns which are
140 in the in fantastic Also Britain, to there masks represent evil spirits. said of are examples includingthe terrifyinghomedOoser folklorerecord from Somerset, masks andtheelaborate Poppi As in Obby Oss Day. Padstow May in Minehead Cornwall the ceremonies at on and used identities in her in fix" European "transform they and tradition, study of ritual masks and notes for dramas junctures in the example as part of ritual used cycle, performed yearly are at critical "s between is Hallowe'en theseasons timesof transition of which onegoodexample. Thechapter themostimportant whichfollowswill describe of the manifestation andenigmatic headsymbolin Britain, that of the carvedstoneheads of examples of whichmanyhundreds been discovered duringthelastforty years. have andrecorded
I Ross, PaganCelticBritain, pp. 94-95. 'Billingsley, Stony Gaze p-7. , * E.O. James, PrehistoricReligion (London:Thames and Hudson,1957),p. 18. 4Ibid., P.18. ' Billingsley, Stony Gaze, p.7. Collins, 1992), (London: Early Man JohnA.J. Gowlett, Ascent to Civilisation: TheArchaeology of p. 160. Keith Laidler,TheHeadof God (London:Weidenfeldand Nicholson,1998), p. 14. S. Stones, Wessexbefore the Celts (London:Thames and Hudson, 1958),p.28. J.F. 'Aubrey Burl, PrehistoricAvebury (New Havenand London:Yale UniversityPress, 1979),pp. 85-86. IOStones,pp.128-29. Burl, p. 109. Ibid., P. 217. "Billingsley, Stony Gaze, p. 18. 14 Burl, P. 226. "Aubrey Burl, Rites of the Gods (London: Dent 1981), p. 215. , Stones, p. 128. Burl, Rites of the Gods, pp. 215-17. Stony Gaze,p. 18. Billingsley, SidneyJacksonCard Index No. 656. 20 MichaelParkerPearson,BronzeAge Britain (London: Batsford/EnglishHeritage, 1993), pp. 15-17. 2' Ross, PaganCeltic Britain p. 100. , 22 Ibid.,p. 101. The stone is on displayat Tullie HouseMuseum,Carlisle,where it is labelled "a head of a god". 23 BarryRaftery, PaganCelticIreland (London:Thames and Hudson, 1997), p. 186. 24 Burl,Rites of the Gods, p. 227. 21 Raftery,pp. 186-87. 26 Ibid., p. 186. 21' FernandBenoit, The Celtic Oppidumof Entremont,Provence, ' in Recent Archaeological Excavations in Europe (ed.) Rupert Bruce-Mitford(London: Routledgeand Kegan Paul, 1975), p. 249. 23 RaymondBloch, The Etruscans',in LarouseEncyclopaedia of Prehistoricand Ancient Art (ed.) Rene Huyghe (London: Hamlyn, 1962), p.308. Megawand Megaw,'The Stone head from MseckeZehrovice, 29 ' 631. 3OJacobsthal, p. 19. *1Ross, PaganCelticBritain, p. 96. 32 MichaelJ. Enright,'The Sutton Hoo whetstonesceptre: a study in iconographyand cultural ' Anglo-SaxonEngland, 11 (1983). 119-34. milieu,
Megawand Megaw,'The Stone Head from Msecke Zehrovice, '631-41. 35 Ibid., 631-32. 10 Ross, PaganCeltic Britain, p. 101. 37 DerekAllen, 'BelgicCoins in the late pre-RomanIron Age of Britain, ' Proceedingsof the PrehistoricSociety, 24 (1958), 61-62.
George C. Boon, 'A Coin with the Head of the Cemunnos, 'Seaby Coin and Medal Bulletin, 769 311 (1982), 276-282.
See Benoit,259, and Ross, PaganCeltic Britain, p.99. 311
Dictionary Green, of CelticMythandLegend p.90. 4' Godsof theColts, p.186. Green, ' in Myth, Greek in Structures Heroes, heads: Indo-European "Joseph Nagy, 'Hierarchy, and Press, University Hopkins John Greek (ed. ) Lowell Edmunds (Baltimore: Myth, to Approaches 1988),pp. 26-28. 43 Godsof theCelts, p.218. Green, 44 Ibid.,p.30. 41 Dictionary SeeGreen, pp. 178-79. of CelticMyth andLegend, 48 ThePaganCelts,p.144. Ross,
41Collis, p. 110.
"Wait, p. 200. CelticArt, pp. 164-66. Megaw and Megaw, Press, Museum British (London: Celtic Iron Age James Valery Britain Simon Rigby, the and and 1997),p.62. Ibid.,p. 62. 62 Ibid.,p. 18. Godsof the Colts, pp. 217-18. 11 Green, 54 James andRigby, pp. 18-19. 15 Ibid.,p. 63. 5'Cunliffe,IronAgeBritain,pp.80-82; James pp. 67-72. and Rigby, Cunliff Batsford,1983),pp. 155-65. Anatomy 51 Barry 9, Danebury., of an IronAgehillfort(London: " Ibid.,p.162.
"Wait, pp. 201. "'Cunliffe, p. 164. 11 Merrifield,P. 49. ' Independent,9 January 1995. 62 DavidKeys,'Prehistoricsite for sacrificesfound in Dales, from SiobhanKirrane,The CravenMuseum,Skipton, North Yorkshire, 81 Personalcommunication 2 October,1997. Keys,'Prehistoric site for sacrifices found in Dales! "Wait, pp. 200-1. ' 118 T.C. Hencken,'The Excavationof the Iron Age Campon BredonHill, Gloucestershire, Journal, XCV (1938), Archaeological 57. MortimerWheeler,The StanwickFortifications, ' Reportsof the ResearchCommitteeof the 11 Society of Antiquariesof London XVII (1954),53. Lake Village Vol 2 (Oxford:Oxford UniversityPress, A. Bulleild and H. Gray,The Glastonbury 1917), p.673. SimonMaysand JamesSteele,'A mutilatedhumanskullfrom RomanSt Albans, Hertfordshire, 69 ' Antiquity, 267 (1996), 155-61. England, Ibid., 160. 10 PhillipBarker,WroxeterRomanCity Excavations1966-1980 (London: HMSO Departmentof the Environment,1981), p. 15. Geoff Marshand BarbaraWest, 'Skullduggery 12 in RomanLondon, ' Transactionsof the London MuseumArchaeologicalSociety, 31 (1981), 86-102. H. Quinnell,'The Villa and Templeat Cosgrove,Northamptonshire, 71 ' Northamptonshire Archaeology, 23 (1991),4-66. 14 Ross, PaganCelticBritain, P. 105. 75 CelticArt, pp. 172-73. Megaw and Megaw, 78 Ibid., p.172. 77Marsh andWest, 95.
143 Anne Ross, 'Severedheadsin Wells: an aspectof the well cult,' ScottishStudies 6, part 1(1962), 31. 79 Marshand West, 99. West Yorkshire Personalcommunication from Dr StuartWrathmell, Archaeologist, ArchaeologyService, 3 October, 1993. Merrifield,p. 45. Marshand West, 97. "Merrifield, p. 45. 8"Ross, 'Severedheads in wells,'32-35. 15 PeterSalway, RomanBritain (Oxford:Oxford UniversityPress, 1981), p. 692. LindsayAllason-Jonesand Bruce McKay,Coventina's Well. -A shrineon Hadrian'sWall (Oxford: Oxford UniversityPress, 1985), p.10. RichardBradleyand Ken Gordon,'HumanSkullsfrom the RiverThames,their dating and ' Antiquity, 62 (1988),503. significance, Marshand West, 90-91. Bradleyand Gordon,505. 10 Marshand West, 91. Ibid., 94. C.J. Knuseland G.C. Carr,'On the significance of the craniafrom the RiverThamesand its ' Antiquity,69 (1995), 162-169; BarbaraWest, 'Ritualor Fluvial?A further commenton tributaries, the Thames skulls,' Antiquity, 267 (1996). 189-190. Ross, PaganCeltic Britain, p. 143. For a generalsurvey of Europeanbog bodies,see RV. Glob, The Bog People (London: Faber, 1977)and I.M.Stead, J.B. Bourkeand Don Brothwell,LindowMan: The Body in the Bog (London:British Museum Press, 1986). "Severed heads from RournFen discoveredin 1942 and Stidholt Fen found in 1859, see Billingsley,Stony Gaze, p. 22. LindowMan: A Guide to the Exhibition, ManchesterMuseum, 1991. 97 Billingsley,Stony Gaze, pp. 182-83. " J.C. Atkinson,Forty Yearsin a Moorland Parish (London: Macmillan,1891), p.217. 1111J. A.J. Gowlett,R. Gillespie,E.T Hall and R.E.M. Hedges,'AcceleratorRadiocarbon Datingof Ancient Remainsfrom LindowMoss,'In Stead, Bourkeand Brothwell,pp. 22-25. 10OMichael Pitts, 'The Living Dead, ' GuardianWeekend,28 March 1998. 1" Anne Ross and Don Robins,The Life and Deathof a Druid Prince (London: Rider, 1989). LindowMan: A Guide to the Exhibition. 101 101 Stead, Bourke and Brothwell,pp. 170-71. 101 See Pitts, 40; R.C.Turner and C.S. Briggs,'The Bog Burialsof Britainand Ireland, ' in Stead, Bourke and Brothwell, p.184. 1*1 LindowMan: A Guide to the Exhibition. ""Turner and Briggs, p. 183. 107 Ibid. Merrifield,pp. 117-24. 108 J. F. S. Stone, 'A Case of BronzeAge Cephalotaphy ' Man 51 on EastonDownin Wiltshire, , (March, 1934),38-39. "See Lloyd Laing and Jennifer Laing, Art of the Colts (London:Thames and Hudson, 1992), pp. 23-41; Raftery,pp. 220-28. EtienneRynne,'Celtic Stone Idols in Ireland, ' in The Iron Age in the Irish Sea Province, Council for British ArchaeologyResearchReport9 (1972), 79. 112 Ibid. 113 Ibid., 88.
'"Raftery,p. 185. Studies: Coe,'TheSevered ' Folklore PaulaPowers Headin Fenian Tradition, andMythology 37. Folklore Graduate TheJournal Students Association, 13 (1989), of the UCLA Series 5 New Journal, "'Anne Ross,'Severed Source: Holy Wells heads ' The andsacred waters, (1998),9. 117 Raftery, p. 185. 1181bid. "'Wait, 149. "'Billingsley,StonyGaze,p.34. "' Petch,'CelticStoneHeads. ' "'Personalcommunication fromChrisCopson, 23 June1998. "'Anne Ross,'A Pagan Archaeological CelticShrineat Wall,Staffordshire, ' SouthStaffordshire Society Transactions, XX1(1979-1980), 3-11. andHistorical "'Green, Godsof the Colts, p. 181. "'MirandaJ. Green, 'A Carved StoneHeadfromSteepHolm',BritanniclXXIV(1993),241-42. Green,Godsof theCelts, p. 218. 118 "' Stephen Riegel,'A Little-Known StoneHead',TheBulletin Museum andArt of the Cleveland Society,77, No.3 (1990).82-103. ""Green,Godsof the Colts, pp. 133-34. 129 Cunliffe Fulford, Bathandtherestof Wessey, 36. and p. 130 Ross,PaganCelticBritain, 105. p. 131 Coulston and Phillips, p.134. 132 I.A. Richmond, 'TwoCelticHeadsin Stone fromCorbridge, Northumberland, ' in DarkAge Britain,(ed. ) D.B. Harden (London: Methuen, 1955), 11 15. pp. 133 Coulston Phillips, 48. and p. 134 Green, Dictionary of CelticMythandLegend,pp.30-31. 131 BarryCunliffe, TheRoman Baths: Trust, A Viewover2,000 years (Bath:BathArchaeological 1993).p. 16. 1341 JohnClark,'Bladud ' Folklore,105(1994),41. of Bath:TheArchaeology of a Legend, 1"Cunliffe, TheRoman Baths,p.16. "John Hind,'Whose 1 Headon the BathTemple-Pediment? XXVI ' Britannia, 11 (1996), 360. 13' Ross,Pagan CelticBritain,pp.134-38. 140 Miranda J. Green, 'CelticSymbolism Caerleon, ' Bulletin at Roman of theBoardof CelticStudies, 31 (1984),251-58. Ibid.,256;George 141 C. Boon,'Excavations Principiorum onthe siteof the Basilica at Caerleon, ' Archaeologia Cambrensis, (1970), 10-68. cxix 141 Green, 'CelticSymbolism Caerleon, ' 135. at Roman 143 Gillian Braithwaite, 'Romano-British FacePotsandHeadPots, XV (1984), ' Britannia, 99-131. SeePeterHalkon, 144 'Romano-British FacePotsfromHolme-on-Spalding Moorand Shiptonthorpe, EastYorkshire, ' Britannia, XXIII(1992), 222-28. "'Braithwaite,130. Ibid.,128. JoanR Alcock, Two FaceMasks in the Guildford Museum, ' Surrey Society Archaeological Proceedings, LX (1963),45-49. AnnWoodward, Shrines Batsford/English Heritage,1992),p. 56. andSacrifice(London: Martin Henig,Religion in Roman Britain(London: Batsford, 1984),pp. 148-49. '"Woodward,pp. 56-57. "I Merrifield, p. 98. 152 Ibid.,p. 106.
"I Ibid., P. 93. "'Woodward, P. 57. "'Green, Celtic Myths, p-8156 Coe, 37. "'Quoted in Cunliffe, The Celtic World, p. 81. J.J. Tierney, 'The Celtic Ethnography of Posidonius,' Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 60, C5 (1960), 250. "'Quoted in Cunliffe, The Celtic World, p.81. 160 Graham Webster, The British Celts and their Gods under Rome (London: Batsford, 1986), p.40161 F. Lepper and S.S. Frere, Trgjan's Column: a new edition of the Cichorius plates (Gloucester: Alan Sutton, 1988). Proinsias MacCana, Celtic Mythology (London: Hamlyn, 1970), p. 14. 182
"'Wait, p. 212. Green,CelticMyths,p. 14. 181 "'Wait, P. 234. 116coe, 18. 16' Quoted in Billingsley,StonyGaze, p. 133. 16' Nagy,9-35. in Ellis-Davidson, 16"Quoted p. 78. 110 Quotedin Ross, The PaganCelts, p. 51. "I Ibid. 112 Coe, 38. "' Ross,PaganCelticBritain,p. 158. MaireMacneill,The Festivalof Lughnasa (Oxford:Oxford UniversityPress, 1962), p.8. 171 ' in TheEncyclopaedia 115 MacCana,The CelticHeadCult, Proinsias of Religion, (ed.) Mircea Eliade(London:Macmillan,1987),p. 225. 170 Coe, 35. 177 Hickey,p. 9.
178 Coe, 18.
Ibid., 23. McCone,p. 30. 1611 181 Hickey,p. 16.
Davidson, pp. 75-76. Stith Thompson, Motif Index of Folk Literature (Indiana:lJicvA University Press, 1955), pp. 22-23. "'Jones and Jones, p. 136. "See Brears, p. 43. 1 Billingsley, Stony Gaze, p. 37. 181 See Martin Carver, Sutton Hoo: Burial Ground of Kings? (London: British Museum Press, 1998), 181 pp. 137-54. Motif number E783, Thompson, p. 368. 183 I'll Leslie Jones, 'Heads or Grails?: A Reassessment of the Celtic Origin of the Grail Legend, ' Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium, 14 (1994), 24-38.
Green, Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend, p. 117. 110 10'Nagy, 210-11.
Ibid., 213. 193 Ross, The Human Head in insular Pagan Celtic Religion,'38. 194 Ross; Pagan Celtic Britain, p. 156. '" Ibid., P. 157; Coe, 24-26.
146 ""Coe, 22; Nagy,221-22.
"I Jones, 'Headsor Grails? ' 30. "'Nagy, 215. 190 Davidson,p. 77. 100 Ibid. Brian Branston,Godsof the North (London:Thames and Hudson,1955),pp. 148-49; Davidson,p.77. 202 Ibid., p. 149. 203 Ross, PaganCelticBritain, p. 145. 204 See Ross,'Severedheads in wells,'39-40. 205 JenniferWestwood,Albion:A Guide to LegendaryBritain (London:Paladin, 1985), pp. 182-84. 211 Green,CelticMyths, pp. 11 -12. 207 Jones,'Headsor Grails? ', 26 208 Jones and Jones, pp. 25-40. 21' Ross,'rho HumanHead in insularPaganCelticReligion, '37. 210 Jones and Jones, p. 37. 211 Ibid., pp. 37-38. 212 RachelBromwich,TrideddYhys Prydoin:The WelshTriads(Cardiff:University of Wales Press, 1978), 89. 213 Ibid., p. 90. 21 1 Ross, PaganCelticBritain,p. 157. 21 'Billingsley, Stony Gaze, p. 137. 210 Ibid., pp. 147-48. See John Speirs, MedievalEnglish Poetry.,T17o 217 Non-Chaucefian Tradition(London: Faber, 1957), pp. 215-51. 1Larry D. Benson,'The sourceof the beheadingepisodein Sir Gawainand the Green Knight', 21 Modem Philology, LIX, No.1 (1961), 1-12. 2"Sir Gawainand the GreenKnight, translatedby Brian Stone (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1959), p. 40. 220 Ibid., p. 52. 221 Ibid., p. 110. 222 Benson, 1-3. See R.W.V. Elliot,The GawainCountry',The Times, 21 May 1958. 221 221 T17o RogerShermanLoomis, Grail.From CelticMyth to ChristianSymbol (Cardiff:Universityof Wales Press, 1963). 225 Jones, 'Headsor Grails? ', 24-25. 226 ClaudeSterckx,'Los TotesCoupeeset le Graal', Studia Celtica, 20-21 (1985-1986),1-42. 227 Jones, 'Headsor Grails? ', 25. 228 Jones and Jones, p. xxxix. 229 Ibid., p. 192. 230 Jones,'Headsor Grails? ', 3 1. 231 Ibid., 33. 232 Ibid., 33-34. 233 Motif number D925.1.2, Thompson,p. 368. 23' Nagy,214. 231 FrancisJones, TheHoly Wellsof Wales (Cardiff:Universityof Wales Press, 1954),p. 36. 236 Ibid., p. 37. 237 Ibid.
147 Saint(ShipstonA Cornish Saint Melor: 211 'Severed heads inwells, '38-39; G. H.Doble, Ross, 7. 1927), upon-Stour: privately published, p. 239 The Jones, HolyWells 49-50. of Wales, Man the Undow Green Knight: 240 C.Turner, Gawain SeeR. Bogles Sir and 'Bogarts, the and and OralTradition, 'in Stead, Bourke pp.162-70. andBrothwell, Series 5 Now Journal, Wells Holy 241 Source: The James Rattue, Wells Headless Saints, ' 'Holy and (1998),19-20. 242 Ibid.,19. 243
Swanton, St Sidwell. An Exeter Legend (Exeter: Devon Books, 1986). 244 Ibid., pp. 6-7. 245 Ibid., pp. 18-19. 246 Ibid., p. 16.
247 Billingsley, 'Archaicheadcarvingin WestYorkshire ' pp. 27-28. 2"T.W. Hanson,'The Faceof St John the Baptist, ' undatedpamphlet,HalifaxLibrary,West Yorkshire; Thomas Parkinson,YorkshireLegendsand Traditions,(London: Elliot Stock, 1888), pp. 162-65. 24" Billingsley,'Archaicheadcarvingin West ' p..28. -Yorkshire, 250 Quoted in FrederickRoss, LegendaryYorkshire(Hull: WilliamAndrews, 1892), pp.80-99. 211 See Laidler,pp. 164-86. 252 Ibid., pp. 181-84. 251 EdwardArmitage,'HalifaxGibbetLaw, SocietyTransactions,January 1948, ' HalifaxAntiquarian 1-58. 254 'Halifax Gibbet',undatedleaflet publishedby CalderdaleLeisureServicesDepartment. 2" Ross, 'Severedheads in wells,' 37-38. 258 Ibid., 37. 2" Ibid., 42-43. 2" Ross, 'Severedheads in wells, 42. ""Anne Ross, 'Gently Dip but Not Too Deep,' The Listener, 30 August 1962, p. 313-14; Alasdair Alpin MacGregor,ThePeatFire Flame (Edinburgh:Ettrick Press, 1937), pp. 152-53. 2" Anne Ross, 'A Story from Vatersay, ' ScottishStudies, 5 (1961), 108-9. "' Ross, 'Gently dip but not too deep,' p. 314. 2" GeraldWarner,Talesof the ScottishHighlands(Edinburgh:Shepherd-Walwyn,1982), p. 43. 211 Undatedletter from DumfriesMuseumin SidneyJacksoncorrespondence file, Yorkshire ArchaeologicalSociety, Leeds. 2114 Ibid. I collecteda broadlysimilaroral traditionin Moniave,Annandale,in August, 1998. See Kevin Crossley-Holland, 211 Folktalesof the British Isles (London: Faber, 1985), pp.336-40; the earliestrecordedversionin Englandis that includedby GeorgePeelein his drama The Old WivesTaleof 1595. 1511 Ross, 'Severed heads in wells,' 40-41. 267 See Warren E. Roberts,'The SpecialFormsof Aarne-Thompson Type 480 and Their Distribution, ' Fabula, 1 (1957), 85-102. 263 Ross, PaganCeltic Britain, 314. 260 IonaOpie and MoiraTateam, Prow, A Dictionaryof Superstitions(Oxford: Oxford IJniversity 1993),p. 359. 270 Sheila Livingstone,Scottish Customs (Edinburgh:Berlinn, 1996), p. 87. 271 AlasdairAlpin MacGregor, Land of Mountainand Flood (London: Michael Joseph, 1965), 46-49. MurdochMacDonald,Old Torridon(Torridon: Torridon Publishing,1997), p. 20. MacGregor, Land of Mountainand Rood, p. 48. 274 Ibid., p. 47.
MacDonald,p. 21; Anne Ross, The Folkloreof the ScottishHighlands (London: Batsford, 1976), p. 81-82. 270 MacDonald,p. 21. 277 Ibid., p. 22.
2" Ross, The Folklore of the Scottish Highlands, p. 82. 279 MacDonald, p.22.
211 MacGregor, Land of Mountainand Flood, p. 47. 2" Ross, The Folkloreof the ScottishHighlands,p. 81. 282 ROSS, 'Severedheads in wells,'36. 283 MacGregor, 1965, p. 47. 284 MacCullough,p. 535. 211 Jones, The Holy Wellsof Wales, p. 115. 2"'TristanGrayHulse,'St Teiloand the HeadCult,' Source:TheHoly WellsJournal, New Series2 (1994), 14-16. 287 Jones, P. 206. 268 Ibid. 2"' Hulse,15. 290 Ibid. 21' Kemis Buckley,'The Well and the Skull, ' Source:The Holy WellsJournal, New series 2 (1994), 10-13. 292 Brian Lodwick,'The Returnof St Teilo'sSkull',sermondeliveredat LlandaffCathedral, 9 February1994, reprintedin The LiandaffMonthly, March 1994,p. 5-7. 293 John Rhys, Celtic Folklore (Oxford: ClarendonPress, 1901), p.399. 294 Janet Bord and Colin Bord, Sacred Waters (London:Grafton, 1985), p. 20-22. 211 Billingsley,Stony Gaze, p. 144. 298 Smith, rTheLuck in the Head, ' 15. 291 Personalcommunication from Alan Smith, 11January 1998. 2913 Sir Walter'sJourney,Horizon, BBC1,28 March 1994. 299 Paul Screeton,'Kickinga Few HeadsAround, ' undatednews cutting from the HartlepoolMail *"Christina Hole, EnglishCustomand Usage (London: Batsford, 1942), pp. 52-53.
"" Kate Griffith, 'The Black Lad of Ashton-under-Lyne', Folklore, 9 (1898), 381. 302 Ibid., 382.
Smith, The Luck in the Head,' 15-16. 3" Hole, EnglishCustomand Usage, p. 10-11. Cesare Poppi,'The Other Within: Masksand masquerades 301 in Europe, ' in Masks: TheArt of Expression, [ed.) John Mack (London:British MuseumPress, 1994), p. 194.
Archaic stone heads of the Celtic tradition
Then I found a two -faced stone On burial ground, God-eyed, sex-mouthed, its brain A watery wound. In the wet gap of the year, Daubed with fresh take mud, Ifaltered near his PowerJanuary god Who broke the water, the hymen With his great antlersThere reigned upon each ghost tine Hisfamiliars, The mothering earth, the stones Taken by each wave, Thefleshly aftergrass, the bones Subsoil in each grave. January God, by SeamusHeaney'
4.1. Introduction. folk heads, deals of This chapter a category of carvedstone specifically with the phenomenon folk fields in both is and the of archaeology art which currently the subject of controversy form the folklore main Traditions of one these which artefacts, with and associated studies. focuses of this study, are examined in detail in Chapter 6. This chapter provides the The be historical background viewed. this material should upon which archaeologicaland art has definition how head" begins describing this by history "Celtic the and of the term chapter definitively be fieldwork how few as classified these could carvings as revealed so of changed dating from the paganCeltic Iron Age or Romano-Britishperiod. A typology of featureswhich identify a headas belongingto a "Celtic tradition" of long durationare described,along with the their individual in features heads towards clues provide can ways which with associated various in heads the function. Finally, list recorded with and a associated of symbolsand attributes age in folk insular is draw tradition to conclusionsabout their context as part of presentstudy used Britain.
4.2. History and definition of the term "Celtic head" lifesize, "Celtic" stoneheadsare enigmaticobjects,the majority of which are three-dimensional, heads in human Grouping these the the of round as crude representations of mask. and carved by type, material and style is a relatively recentundertaking,because the widescalecataloguing have just began The thirty yearsago. vast majority of examples and classification of examples little if any history associated with datablecontext, with themandare rarely found in association with archaeological evidenceeither obscureor missing.As a result of their portable nature,they from in locations found readily moved often a variety of and re-usedand as a result are are gardensand fields to stone walls and houses.Stone headsare found in astonishing numbers, in hundred Jackson's England. the than seven north of survey recorded more particularly in has Manchester Museum the while survey recorded excess of one on-going examples, 2 thousand that if the densityof headshe recordedin sculptures. Billingsley hascalculated
WestYorkshirewasrepeated be Calderdale, the there the would morethan over restof country, in Englandalone. ' However, in in mindtheconcentration 14,000 bearing the certain motif of
151 The figure. be in its to thisappears anunlikely zones absence others, and complete geographical in detail in discussed distributionof these more are variations artefacts, andthe manyregional 5. Chapter in have be indeed head" is label to originated The term "Celtic can said and a relativelyrecent 4 Britain. Celtic Pagan herstudyof iconography 1967whenAnneRoss andtradition, published have definition, be "Celtic head" to those which In termsof a strict carvings only applied should the date in situ from a sitewhereassociated them within beenexcavated securely can material from kind if in fact few Iron There Celtic Age this of any examples very period. are pagan Britain, and the bestknown headfrom Europeis that from MseckeZehrovichin Bohemia Romanoin Britain dated in Chapter the heads have been to 3. A number discussed securely of which they Celtic period,but theseare few in numbercompared with the modernexamples resemble. defined"Celtic heads" as a Although not usingthe termdirectly, Ross asbeingcharacterised features head, human typical marking the stylised certain approximations with of crudeand Classical namelythetrademark sculptures, themout from themorenaturalistic or portrait-style frequency face, The lentoid with which nose, eyesandslit mouth. pear-shaped wedge-shaped having head head describe in led Britain Ross kind the to as of occurs north and west this "cult it the to the the to talk that of of a significance of existence extent was possible religious heads Wall wherenumerous humanhead"in areas of Romano-British suchasHadrian's carved ' As Petch datingwereknown. notes:
,,...the variety of styles in which the heads are sculpted further complicates dating and jandIfor heads have "Celtic" these and other reasons escaped seriousconsideration grouping. '* comparatively recently. until Before Ross'sdefinition little or no attentionhad beenpaid by archaeologiststo the study and head Archaeologists dating techniques,provenanceand of sculpture. are on reliant recording lacking to contexts provide empirical evidence, all of which are amongthe collection of specific heads from Britain. large have by As the treated recorded a result archaeologists and stone heads deal if of carved with a great of caution, not suspicion. This vacuum was subject filled by including historians, a variety of scholars, other art ethnologists and subsequently have brought bear their to who own expertise upon the subject. antiquarians
152 late 1960s in heads be have "Celtic" stone the to their can said publicexposure reached greatest fieldworker Jackson information Sidney began to on theprofusion andaccumulate record when he heads by fascinated found in West increasingly Yorkshire. became Jackson the of examples he Initially, ignored by him have been to to whichappeared archaeologists. wasthenrecording least be Celtic them to at some of appeared of origin, mainly as a resultof pagan concluded by Ross indisputable from Europe directcomparison with published earlyexamples continental in her 1967work. in Society in theJournalof theHuddersfield District Archaeological In a paperpublished and before Ross's 1973,Jackson to escape study writeshow easilyit wasfor heads classification " from how He Bradford had head pot of glazed a made schoolboy unearthed a appeared. noted Hall it Cartwright brought beneath to a layerof peaton MortonMoor in August1957 along and Museum, whereJackson wasthenworkingascurator.
"Being ignorant about Celtic God heads,I could tell him nothingabout it. Twoyearslater came head had been from half Manningham, the museum which unearthed mile at only a stone a [and] whenpublicity wasgiven to this in the local pressit broughtreportsof other heads,and I "' then realisedthe importanceof thesediscoveries and beganto study Celtic headsin earnest. By January 1967 Jackson had recorded over one hundred stone heads both from West Yorkshire and further afield, and wasable to show representative photographsof his collection for Council British illustrated Archaeology. After the of meeting a note about the collection an at in ' London followed by feature the Daily Telegraph, the newspaper was a major and appeared in the YorkshirePost "a TV station from Leedssenta cameraman to film the headsand the item appeared on television news.This brought "a staggeringresponse" from the public and a flood of information about, and donationsof, stone headsfrom individuals which continued In 1970s. bookletCeltic and Other StoneHeads further 1972Jackson's the until early unabated defined his belief in the antiquity of the sculpture, the introduction claiming the headswere "deemedto be Celtic because to othersfound in Scotlandand Ireland and of their resemblance Continent. "" the on When Jacksonbeganpublishing examplesfrom his growing survey of West Riding headshis findings were initially treatedwith scepticism,and questionswere askedas to why such a large had been before. In Jackson heads his not recorded reply, compared of T4xnbecý[kem collection
153 hand hitherto beehive the quem,which were overlooked collectionof artefacts, with another he heads, the Iron Romano-British Like Age querns the the argued, period. of and millstones had never beenrecordedproperly by archaeologists and historians,mainly as a result of " dateable because from context. none came a securely prejudice academic the little to folk historians Thirty yearslater archaeologists accept prepared more and are a Celtic from direct head-carving the if tradition continuity which, not a resultof of a existence Celtic link "a Petch tradition of to a with appear exhibit what calls vestigial certainly period, from been "" is becoming increasingly heads have It that stone, carved clear someantiquity. during for "superstitious" the course reasons wood anda varietyof othermaterials a varietyof in Of thousand last than two one the more millenia series of revivals. resurgences and of in Celtic fieldworker by in Martin Petch sculpture of recorded a continuingsurvey examples led has This England, have dated been two to thirds the tentatively period. modem northwest thatit would be moreaccurate thecarvings him to conclude of the to describe as"stoneheads " andheadds: Celtictradition, "The argument as to antiquityremainsunresolved andperhapsive shouldacceptthat stone "" link with Celtictradition,thelaterexamples heads asafolk echo. manifest a vestigial
John Billingsley has taken this line of argumentfurther, suggestingthat style alone cannot be " dating He Celtic to a means as of an early context. maintainsthat the primitive style was used Celtic but device" "a deliberately typically traditional attribute which was used a archaic and not heads between By to template the produce seventeenth style alone, and nineteenth centuries. as a these headscould be dated to virtually any period from the Late Iron Age to the present day. the term "archaichead"to describethis genreof sculpture,adding: Billingsley proposes ,,What had cometo be called the Celtic head, therefore,was basedon a pattern that was only it could claim. It is therefore a false description for the 350 years old, whateverantecedents heads for I longer this majority of crudely-featured stone and use the term reason no great head" Celtic to describethem, both their timelessly ,, - a more accurate term, which expresses features longevity is head. "' lite "archaic their and popularity, of simple
For the purposes of this studyit hasbeendecidedto dispense with earlier classifications of
"carved " a description which has no to sculptures and simply refer stone heads, these
154 be head" "Celtic Where term where the used will of either age or origin. necessary, connotations is not in doubt. Celticprovenance
4.3. Materials used by head sculptors
been have heads Throughout the Iron Age and early Roman period representations carved of including face variety of mediums, a coins, pots and wooden objects which metalwork, upon have beendescribedin Chapter3. It is likely for examplethat many representations of heads have in in both historic but these not survived prehistoric and contexts, were carved wood for in inaerobic in have been by the they conditions, rare caseswhere preserved chance except instance when submergedin a bog or watery place. This section will describe the different last during by freestanding head the the employed artisanswho produced sculpture materials two millenia.
4.3.1. Wood heads
Wooden artefacts would appear to have survived only in very exceptional circumstances, it have been heads if Indeed, they may well not more so. equally as commonas stone although is possiblethe first Romano-Britishstoneheadsmay have beenmodelled upon earlier wooden by in large Britons Iron Age. A the produced native number of votive pre-Roman examples including heads sculptures were recovered at two waterloggedcult sitesnear the source wooden in Gaul, in Chapter direct British 3. There to and were referred are equivalentsother rivers no of from a bog at Ralaghanin County than isolatedfinds suchasthe BronzeAge figurine recovered Cavan,Ireland."' Brewer datesa small femaleheadfrom Llanio, Dyfed, as Romano-British on the grounds of its distinctive "plaited" hairstyle, the ancient character of the timber and its discovery buried in a bog adjacentto an auxiliary fort."' The small number of wooden heads in Celtic include firm the in style without one a provenance preserved Harrogate carved Museum,19 an example of possible medieval date found in the wall of a house in North Yorkshire (seeChapter6) and a third from FootlandsFarm, Sedlescombe in Sussex,which has face in " human Celtic the carved style on a pointed oak peg or stake. None of theseexamples a has to datebeensubjected to dendrochronological or carbondating techniques.
155 head, Billingsley fifteen foot featuring long In 1992 typical tie-beam recorded a a archaic oaken " in inside found beam The relief alongside a collection was carved of other protective symbols. West house Halifax, West from Yorkshire, by the old near was and estimated an expert an Archaeology Service Thewholeof Yorkshire to datefromthetwelfthor thirteenth centuries. face, including thecarved wascarved a treeof with talismanic onesideof thebeam symbols, farmhouses. found in Pennine life, a spiralandothermarkings to those similar onwitch-posts Billingsley thatthebeam: concludes "...wasmostlikelyto bea pattern for a carpenter, illustrating thevarious protective piece designs designs face to thepatron the these the available other association of archaic with ...
its " in desigin. Ilie clear place realm of apotropaic makes
The survival of this beam illustrates the likely continuation of the head motif even when there is
little concreteevidencefor it in the form of stone,bone or pot artefactsin the archaeological record. 4.3.2. Botte heads
on rare occasions, animal bone hasbeenusedto depict headsand faces,possibly for use as an janiform A charm. sculpture from Lothbury, London, depicts two opposing faces apotropaic deer's on either side of a antler, the serrated carved edgeof the baseforming the hair and beard ' head. of each Six very primitive humanmasksare similarly carved upon an antler found at
' Blenau Ffestiniog,Wales,and illustrated by Ross. 4.3.3. Pot heads
A small number of pot headshave beenrecorded,a categorywhich can be distinguished from in Chapter3. The examplesdiscussed here the face potsof the Romano-Britishperiod described head complete sculpturesmadeentirely from pottery.This category includes two examples are from WestYorkshire notedby Jackson. An interestingheadmadefrom glazedpot, seveninches in a gardenon LeedsRoad,Huddersfield,in 1961.While it may not be in height,was unearthed date, it Celtic exhibits archaiccharacteristicsincluding simple incisions for eyes, a straight of
156 Morton " head Another lobes, on unearthed was pottery and a slit mouth. without nose sided been had Here made in beneath layer the 1957, Airedale, eyes Moor, of virgin moorland. a Jackson told for A into inserted them. potteryexpert prepared sockets specially and separately
the firing of the piecewas "of a very primitive style."' 4.3.4. Stotte heads By far the most common material usedby artisanswho producedheadswhich have survived far been taxonomy has the Little if locally on attempted so any work availablestone. today was in but the has been vast majority these to general artefacts, the employed produce which stone of for building is from fashioned and the material common which are sandstone examples of hardfrom ' known heads the in England. A carved are smaller numberof sculpture northern in lowland heads limestone in high Pennines, areas the are recorded and millstone grit wearing been has the if tools, Pennines. To date, little type the to of or paid the attention southern any of by be heads, by the analysisof these revealed which may who used artisans produced technique future line fruitful be to this of a the toolmarkswhich are visible on somespecimens; may prove inquiry. Billingsley has noted the fact that stone headsare not found in areasof the country where be distribution to to their confined buildings were predominantlytimber constructed, seems and " is Sandstone there a common stone. was a good supply of work-able the upland valleys where for building England, in the and the vast majority of examples north of and sculpture material by from discussed Billingsley, Calder Valley In the this the most upper area material. carved are from is Pennine in to Millstone Grit, coarse available stone varies composition which commonly Billingsley notes: fine grain and is invariably difficult for usein sculpture.
factorscontributeto thepossibilitythat a headexposed for a coupleof to theelements ,,Tltese look differentftoin has lain buriedfor thousand that inay not a appreciably one over centuries [of Archaism is "" style] simply afirther complication. years. for measuring theageof stonecarvings As thereis no reliabletechnique availableto at present
dating The the vast of examples majority remains an unresolved problem. archaeologists, by deliberate by the technique the artisans presented style, and archaism of employed pitfalls
157 heads, the to ensure thatthemajorityof examples will probablynever combine who produced
by ultimatedatealone. be conclusivelycatalogued 4.4. Stone head typology
in important human head the art and religion There is widespread that the was motif evidence an have been the to that Arguments pagan the made cultures separated across world. widely of Celtic tribes of northwestEuropethe headwaselevatedto cult statusbecause of the existenceif heads between "Celtic" difference belief in it being The and the the stone seatof soul. a specific As latter is Classical that the are specifically non-representational. or naturalisticsculpture most Megaw noted,the dichotomybetween the nativeCeltic representation of the humanheadand the " in Europe. Iron Age heads La Tene becomes Graeco-Romanportrait markedas early as the While the godsof the Mediterraneanwere depictedas idealisedmen and women, the artists of the Celtic tribes tendedto depict the humanfigure in a non-naturalisticway, using symbols to is head In the their tradition the this spiritual potency of purely a symbolic motif gods. express The for be execution. crudity of easily mistaken whose apparent simplicity of style can heads important distinction betweenthe timelessprimitive appearance the and stone of archaic "portrait" heads is discussed in detail by Billingsley, who writes: Classical the
"The value of a symbol is that it conveys a complex of meaning fron; only a minitnum of inforniation. 77ierudimentary and skull-likefeatures of the archaic head ..relate to humanfaces living dead. hand, On the whether or other classicalfaces narrow the range of everywhere, disqualifies towards the point where portraiture any clahn to universalil)ý and anchors afj7nity in image to one person one time and in one space. The corresponding loss of Symbolic the is human head is firmly the too the obvious symbolic and mundane placed within value 9931 world.
The inherentarchaism exhibitedby heads of the Celtic traditionis the main factor which has dating to the their confusion over and classificationby fieldworkers and art contributed Oneof theinformants local knowledge historians. of whose wasdrawnuponduringthecourse late AnthonyMyersWard,a Derbyshire-based historianwho the Roman study was present the fascinated by "Celtic" heads. During the last yearsof his life Ward the subject of stone was heads bid in a number of them out of a variety of to materials and subjected a weathering carved
158 from the north of the ageandregionalstylesof otherexamples to identify cluesconcerning England(seeFig.24). He writes:
"After some twelveyears of work, I would stillfind difficulty in identifying any stone head as for As had Celtic it been the found in unless situ on a site under excavation. genuinely "characteristic Celtic style," it is nowfairly clear that thefacial characteristicsare often the definite hair but inclusion Celtic torcs, stylesor of results of naive or unskilled workmanship, does balance lip the towards a positive identification. After making twentysevenof attributes the things in various materialsI am a little closerto being able to discerna pattern of regional be icons heads badly to to the and able suggest and worn styles original appearance of some " but absolutecertainly is, I think, impossible. Riddel abandoned Similarly, in her study of Brigantian heads,Frances all attemptsto producea typology of artistic features,adding: I believesuchan approach,particularly the construction lead typology, would a us no further into the subject as a whole."' Clearly, the features of displayed by stone headsare immensely varied, making dating hazardousand difficult, but basic do share a set of chracteristicswhich can help to classify them as being part of an many long is I intend to adopt in this study.Steven tradition the approach of standing, which evolving Fliegel has commentedupon the wide range of types which is as broad as the chronology involved, and writes: "What emergesin the study of these stone Celtic heads is the almost infinite capacity for variation within a given type."' At a basic level, the majority of the surviving sculpturesare three dimensionaland free-standing.A large percentage of the heads in England the north of are simply and crudely carved, as Ward notes,with features recorded minimally rendered,and attemptsto depict carsor hair being relatively uncommon. However, it can be usedas a useful device for dating specimens wherehair appears on the more advanced by its style, as in the caseof the Winterslow headexcavated in datablestrata on the line of a Roman road in Wiltshire." The portrait style and greater understanding of the canons of
displayed by this sulptureshow the influence of Romanisationupon the artisan who proportion it, but the underlying Celtic influenceremainsin the useof small lentoid eyes,wedgeproduced shapednose,slit mouth, pointed chin and shallow features. pctch concludesthat in spite of the basic set of common featureswhich can identify a headas being "of the Celtic tradition" thereareactually no hardand fast rules. He concluded:
159 featureswhichpositivelyidentify "Open it is morea question of lookingfor distinguishable king's heads Celtic heads, the tradition, as not of gargoyles, suchas medieval corbel stone heads " areof course basically Christian heads, of an ecclesiastical nature asthese"Celticheads " fundantentally pagan.
At face value, sculpturedheads without datablecontextappearto be ancientand certainly pagan in origin, which againsupportsclaims of early dating, but theseconnotations appearto haveled has because landscape integral the their astray researchers of apparent role as an part some Fieldworker long important for them to time. remain unrecognised as objects such a allowed Martin Petchhaslisted a numberof basiccharacteristics which help to classify the physiognomy like Celtic head by later further have been tradition the these of studies, carving, and adapted of " John Billingsley. Fliegel summarised the Petchphysiognomyof the Celtic tradition those of lack of defined cheek bones,simple by listing some or most of the following characteristics: lentoid or "spectacle" eyes, simple slit mouth, crude rectangular nose, general lack of features, flat face expressionless with tapering,pointed chin, and a neck of unusual proportion, " length or bulk, sometimes missingaltogether. Combining thesebasicfeaturestogetherthe following list of six characteristics can be usedas a for identifying head belonging long "Celtic to tradition" a as of antiquity: a guideline 1FACE : Lack of defined cheekbones,with a general overall lack of proportion. In forms known. best face is flat, The pear, oval or circular are usually which a tapering, shape, features. chin and expressionless pointed 2. EYES : Simple lentoid, oval or "spectacle"eyesoften bulbous; pupils may be depicted holes drilled Often lower the or slits. upper and eyelids are joined to form a pointed or as "double" lens frames. oval, sometimes with eyelids,which resembles spectacle round-ended MOUTH: A simple horizontal slit very common. In other casesthe mouth is oval or 3. full lips, protruding tongueor even a line of holes to sometimes exaggerated with rectangular, These kind teeth. of features are also found on gargoyles and other grotesque represent with medievalchurch architecture.Open mouths may indicate an oracular sculptureassociated function for heads, as do the enigmatic"cigaretteholes" referredto below. 4. NOSE: Crudetriangular or wedge-shaped, without lobes,frequentlyjoined to the ridge
"Celtic" to the the eyebrows produce classic style notch or T-shapedmask, classified as the of Poeil " maskby Billingsley."' ,1trompe
160 5. block NECK: Themajorityof examples in without of stone arecarved reliefon a single is in feature Necks free-standing there a this case, areusuallya of examples andoften a neck. length bulk; in theform of a collar-likeornament thenecktakes unusual or a few cases neckof or evena torc. In head. EARS:Mostoftencompletely just 6. the a absent, at others oneearserves whole by holes "cauliflowerears"areknown.Sometimes few cases, or ridges, elaborate represented in holes drilled by instances in hairstyles horns. In replaced elaborate or some and othercases for the insertionof antlersor otheranimal the placeof ears may havefunctioned asdevices horns.
4.5. Characteristic features of archaic stone heads
A number of recurrent featuresare found as part of the carving style associatedwith archaic heads, be Petch by individual to which refers as a means which sculpturescan classified stone " "the Celtic belonging to tradition. as The appearance of thesefeaturescannotbe utilised as a for dating have individual hole" "cigarette the the absolute of sculptures, as somesuchas guide been display to argued evidence of modern, rather than archaic connotations. recently Nevertheless, the following list discusseseight symbols which occur frequently in the iconographydisplayedby archaicstoneheads.Someof thesefeaturesare found in isolation, at is be displayed feature by "Celtic two The times three or may one sculpture. a eye" other with a greatnumberof carvings,while spiralsand neck ornamentsare relatively rare associated likely indicate dating to more an early asa resultof their direct connectionwith the early art and Europe. All features deserving detailed Celtic discussion, be dealt eight are of with and will of in alphabetical order in the checklistwhich follows.
feature foundon a number bothfrom Britain andthe Continent, is A mysterious of stoneheads hole drilled into thecentre This feature, of themouthor at oneendor another. a small oftenwith henceits name,is also known as the "whistle hole" or of a pencil or cigarette, the diameter " (soul-hole).However,the association I'Seelenloch with cigarettesis modernin origin as
161 is found feature tricephalic baffling two Celts. This the to the on tobacco unknown was pagan Brigantia Victoria Roman WestYorkshire,associated to headsfrom Greetland, altar with a both both " holes have interpreted dating. Archaeologists asa these as anearly which suggests inhabit the believed for to for the the was or of spirit which release channel oracularspeech Yorkshire, West in feature he found heads and head.Jackson the of recorded also on a number "' In finds. his date for his Celtic it of of some evidence on the earlystance used assupporting been has hole he by instance the mysterious as wassupported archaeological evidence, this famous including date, heads the found on a number of andsculpture prehistoric of undoubted hasbeen This head in Bohemia. "Sir MortimerWheeler) from Msecke Zehrovice head(dubbed ' "soul Moreover, dated BC the to third grounds. century on stylisticandcontextual recently hasan evengreater in Europe, Bronze Age hole" or Seelenloch uponstatue appearing antiquity ' in both Malta Southern France. and menhirs feature for heads far humble this However,Billingsleyhassuggested asthe with origin a more " heads last the Aunt Sallysin fairgrounds wooden setup of century. Aunt Sallyswerepainted dislodge in in to travelling throw targets attempt an at shows which missiles customers would as in for drilled hole. ingenious Billingsley the this set a explanation pipe as an suggests clay a but admitsuseas an Aunt battered appearance of a numberof theseCeltic-style stoneheads, Sally doesnot prove the headwasmadefor that purpose alone.He usesthis theory to cast for thetricephalic head from Corleckin CountyCavan, doubtupontheIron Age datesuggested "' by Celtic Ross' date by Raftery. described as asrecent asthe andmorerecently a suggesting ' feel I likely it is ingenious Although century asa more an suggestion alternative. nineteenth Billingsley'sAunt Sally theory doesnot standup to close scrutiny.Crucially, Dr Vanessa Archivehascastdoubtuponthe suggestion that Toulmin,of SheffieldUniversity'sFairground due from have Aunt Sally heads showpeople would stone, ever travelling employed sculptured Heads for their this purpose prohibitive weight. uses to on fairgroundstallswerealwaysmade heads drilled in hole there tradition and to was wood, never as a of attaching a wooden pipe a of for " Billingsley target missiles, as suggests. a
4.5.2. "Eyes" in Celtic sculpture The bulk of the examplesof sculpture classified as "Celtic heads" display only very basic
162 in few Eyes,nose features. andoftentheeyes except a examples andmoutharealwayspresent dominate be important feature The the the treatment to the eyesoften of carving. most of appear being "spectacle-eyed" double-rendering to the thevisage, referred a of eyelids commonly with feature Often heads from England. or oversized are eyes of a number of northern common a the sizeor bulbous, of this tradition the the that a reflection were eyes and mayreflecta sizeof it being Following head Celtic the would the the the the soul, tradition of seat of of soul. power feature Eyes be expectedthat the size of the eyeswould represent also spiritual power. Wold, from Folkton drums including of the chalk on a number of stylised carvings, prominently described Age date, in Chapter 3. lateBronze heads. Heads function the In somecases thedepiction to of of eyes mayprovidepowerfulclues have been "keep thosewith closedeyesmay to eyes may open carved watch",whereas with D. J. in Celtic Gaulish depict deathor defeated those sculpture. enemies suchas represented Smith hasdrawnattentionto this featurein his studyof a headfound nearHadrian'sWall.' drill holes it but to to This headwascarved the chose not with openeyes artisan whoproduced its This function head the the was to watch or guard a pupils. may suggest of represent heads few In it boundaryor thresholdin the landscape were cases where waspositioned. a head depicting for the of a stone closed on eyes,or with a singleeyeclosed, example carved in Northern Island,CountyFermanagh idol of possible early Christiandatefrom Lustymore " This sculpture left eyeis hasa singleeyefully carved, indicatingthatthe remaining Ireland. in Derbyshire, in my Peak District surveyfrom Castleton blind. A headof this kind is recorded in has described Chapter 5. in The finely-carved head, Sheffield Museum, sandstone now and Fieldwork-er Shelagh Lewis this carving with others closed purposefully eye. compared one have lopsided features has to appear a may single closed eye, or which she suggested which " facial deformity. In othercases the depictpeoplewho havesuffered a strokeor someother depiction theEvil Eyeof folk traditionandheads of a singleeyemayrepresent of this kind may In a few instances havebeen this mayrepresent utilisedfor balefulratherthanbenignpurposes. like in Irish Norse literature, those to the god who referred old one-eyed and suchas the a described by Cu Chulainnin theUlster divine hags asblind in theleft eyewho areencountered ' believed be thehagsor crones Cycle;in this case to manifestations are of the war-goddcsses. deity from Irelandanddrawsparallelswith stories Rossillustrates a stoneheadof a one-eyed ' deities in Irish literature. in One, "Balor Evil Eye", one-eyed the early of appears the about
163 rival groupsof a battlebetween oneof the early mythologicalcycleof taleswhich describes In has invincible in destruction. this the case evil eye oneversionof and gods. powers of evil him afterthedestruction the story,Balor askshis rival Lugh to decapitate of the eyeandplace his deadlypowers his headuponhis own headso thathe cantransfer to Lugh. But the clever Lugh, sensinga trick, insteadplacesthe severed headupon a rock, whereupon the venom legends " from bottom. kinds These the top to seeps out splits and stone stories of which luck bad for folk heads template the an earlier with storiesassociating evil-looking provide in Chapter 6. described
A small number of carvings depict leaf crowns or foliage which may indicate considerable antiquity and can help identify a head as representinga forest deity. The "leaf crown" is a featureassociated with headsfrom PfalzfeldandHeidelbergin Germanywhich havebeendated to the fifth and sixth centuriesBC, and are discussedin Chapter3. Jacksonrecorded a head from Heaton in Bradford, West Yorkshire, which featured a carving of an oak leaf upon its long, square neck.' However, this carving also featured a distinctive upturned imperial
head date dated from doubt Victorian the the which suggests moustache eraand casts on an early for this particular piece basedupon style. Foliate headsform a category of sculpture in their direct right, with associationswith the head symbol and will be treated as a distinct own in Chapter5. sculpturediscussed categoryof associated 4.5.4. Hair
heads Headhair depicted to be a product on stone appears of synthesis of CelticandRomanart This took the form of a gradualsynthesis style, thoughnot exclusively. of nativeinteraction Roman directlybackfrom theforehead is accepted in strands pagan religion.Hair combed with "Celtic" feature peculiarly a as andis depicted on someof the earliesthumanrepresentations found on metalworkin the British Iron Age, described in Chapter3. This kind of hairstyle features for example on a numberof earlystoneheads, thecarvingexcavated at the site of the Mithraeurn Roman in thenineteenth ' at Hulme,Manchester, century. Facialhair, beards, side
164 from heads in in the of collection well represented are moustaches, and particular whiskers, A of by Jackson, number Britain the elaborate. are quite of styles and some recorded north havebeenclassified period, displayingmoustaches heads asdatingfrom theRomano-British
including severalfrom the Hadrian'sWall region.
including date, the be heads feature is to This of early presumed present on a number of AD fourth between from dated head" Corbridge, the centuries "Maponus to a period and second Age Iron be by Ross deemed from Sutherland to Fig. 18), of (see and a small tricephalous have, it ' head, "over Ross may that the attributes andaboveany other symbolsor states origin. is sometimesfashionedso that it servesas a font."5' A headin ClevelandMuseumdatedto the Romano-British period featuresa triangular groove on the crown of the head, which Fliegel ' hollow The hollow be this where genre. of an unfinished a votive may example of suggests in into focus their turns own right. shrines or altars a portable acts as a which sculptures present drink food focus for libations, believed the is the or it generally offering of or was a receptacle Celtic believed inhabit has been deity head, the to the cult practiceof the with associated and to Parallels 3. in Chapter described in this practicewere using actual skulls shrines,examplesof folk in for be drawn drinking spring water recent with the skulls usedas receptacles can also device hollow described in ideas have Chapter 3. Alternative the was a suggested tradition, also for disinfecting coins, a tradition associated with basinsin a number of stoneson the edgesof " been have during hollows In the the carved may communities middle agcs. other cases rural for use as mortars, sockets for tenon joints as in the quadrocephalic heads from Buxton, Derbyshire (seeFig. 2)" or evenornamentalgardenpots.
4.5.6. Neck ornaments
heads, Distinctivecollarsandneckornaments particularly arca feature of a smallgroupof stone has Cumbria, Appleby, from WestYorkshire.A headfrom foundnorthof theRoman a roadat hair anda high collar roundthe neckwhich is distnictiveturnedup moustache, closecropped front. in Classified Romano-Celtic the at as age,the style of the collar suggests a more open
165 " In othercases, the presence likely origin at theendof thelastcentury. of a tore or neckring from known itself dating. The indeed a variety tore a powerfulsymbol anearly was suggest can feature the for in complex Celtic temple of a as and sculpture contexts, example religious of for been have Cauldron, Gundestrup to accessory a ceremonial andappears on the symbolism heads "Celtic" found Torcs Celtic the the around neckof a groupof warrior aristocrasy. are for Britain, from known Europe, from Continental known are of examples anda smallnumber in Romano-British from head Chester in Museum, Manchester as andclassified now a example Stone Serpent known " A tore alsofeatures the date. the as carving on powerfully-executed figure, in Celtic from Maryportin Cumbriawhichcombines one religiousmotifs of a number ' includingthehead the and phallus.
These are incised lines, usually carved upon the forehead,which are also known as "worry " Yorkshire, from Otley Chevin, "frownmarks. " Examples found bust Celtic lines" or on the are ' Petch in dimensional head from Glossop, Derbyshire. Chisworth, three the suggests near and head, inhabiting behalf deity lines the the stone may representconcentrationon or spirit of the ' in deep This turn thought. would suggestsome along with closed eyes representing perhaps living deitiesratherthandeathmasks. headswere meantto represent Spirals
Thesearerelativelyrarebut whenpresent suggest an ancientorigin in all probability.Spirals found date back havemagical to the times andsymbolic are connotations which and veryearliest in Meath, Newgrange, County in association with Neolithicpassage-grave art, for example at Lancashire, features both a spiral decoration Ireland.A largeheadfrom Rossendale, on one horns, in it and ram's and was shaped a way which suggests was employedas a cheek in building, "' for a perhaps apotropaic purposes. cornerstone
4.6. Ritual painting of stone heads One of the few Celtic stoneheadssubjectedto scientific analysisis an exampleowned by the 711 AD. Cleveland Museum which has been dated stylistically to the secondor third century Microscopic examination of the sandstonesculpture revealed traces of the original paint in its head the the original context. red was painted remnants,which revealed entire surfaceof Comparisons can be drawn with this discovery, and the Janus heads from Roquepertuse, in faces dating from BC, third or secondcentury Provence, were also painted red whose from head "' limestone Traces Romano-Celtic of original paint also remainedon the antiquity. the Bon Marche site in Gloucester,initially dated to the first century AD but more recently in ' Celtic be Romanesque is However, that to there sculpture much of origin. evidence claimed Britain, and Viking agesculpturein Englandand Scandinavia, were originally paintedred, and discovered heads decorated indeedtracesof red paint were found on the whetstone with sceptre 1, "' is deity Hoo depict ýphalous Sutton thought to with royal power. which associated a po Yc at Celtic "the recurrence in Fliegel suggests the stone of with a number of colour red conjunction " detailed however further headswould appearto suggest study and sampling cult significance, is be before be There heads the additional tested. this would necessary assertion could of layer is that of proving a of paint contemporary with the original carving and problem living head, been have memory of a within as a painted number of examples provenance found heads folk For the tricephalic tradition. at example, sometimesas a result of a continuing Greetland,WestYorkshire, following a landslip in 1956, were painted red by the finder who ' them as gardenornaments. used to havebeenthe periodicalwhitewashingof certain heads.A Another recurrenttradition appears in from Middleton, Manchester featured bearded head Museum exhibition a stone recent Manchester,which still displayedtracesof whitewash,as a result of being painted to resemble ' is A Adolf Hitler during the 1936Middleton Centenary tradition attached similar celebrations. head built into the north gable of Nudge House Farm at Addingham, North Yorkshire. a to Jacksonnoted how: "A tradition attachedto this headis that it must be painted each year, the face white, the nose,eyesand mouth outlined in black." Petchnotesheadsboth paintedblack,
in his heads in ' England. white survey and of northwest red
4.7. Original context of stone head sculpture in heads their have been the A number of attempts to stone of positioning made ascertain Caerwent, building from late Roman like was Carvings the at a one contexts. excavated original found on the clay floor of the shrine enteredby gravel stepsin which it appearedto have been been have base, head is to flat back focus the the andappears the of ritual attention; at the andon "' been has feature if is be from front This on to noted the which viewed a meant only. as carved by heads, including to Romano-British the analysis examplesubjected a numberof carvedstone ClevelandMuseum.This sculpturehad beendeliberatelycarvedso that the headand face tilted be intended to from line forward the that the sculpturewas away of axis...... suggesting slightly been likely have from below in its head therefore the slightly would original setting viewed .. back the level. "' by The the the of theory of state unfinished was supported placedaboveeye headwhere there was no evidenceof modelling, implying that the back of the headwas never in for be This head to the seen. sugge sts wasspecifically produced placement a niche or meant Examination for incorporation in somelarger design,perhaps of the as part of a native shrine. head under ultra-violet light revealedpatchesof unevenflorescencewhich were possibly the its in Florescence to the was absentaltogetheron uneven of exposure antiquity. elements result the bottom two inchesof the neck and its underside,indicating that the bottom was at one time insertedinto a niche of somekind." The deliberatesculptingof the Clevelandheadso it could be viewed from the front and below has direct parallels with other carvings of the RomanoWall Hadrian's Milecastle Sewingshields British period. The relief carving excavated the on at in finder face is "... the the that the opinion of subtle and well most clearly seen plannedso was from "' low in that the the viewed above suggesting wall. stone was milecastle set when Dodds
from Dumfries head boulder the unusual style of a carved upon an ovoid water-worn noted look to appears upwardsat an angle of forty-five degrees.He concludes:"With graded which lighting it would look most impressive in some primitive shrine. This may have been the " intention. Other like in discovered island Holme Steep that the the examples, on of original " are carvedupon shaped Bristol Channel,in 1991, stonewith the apparentlydeliberateintention be insertedin the niche or a building or wall, suggestingthis was the original they should that contextof a numberof theseenigmaticsculptures.
168 4.8. Special typologies of stone head sculpture
This sectiondealswith the significant numberof carvedstoneheadswhich are symbolsin their help in face design towards At this terms their can of overall value right or conception. own in interpretation The if direct dating their attributesreviewed and classification, not of sculpture. the previoussectioncould be describedas incidentalto the form of the sculptures,whereasthe in discussed have been this section carvedas completesymbols, although apparently carvings kind This display features holes Celtic of the they may also eye. additional suchas cigarette or head can be divided into two categories,namely those sculptedas.multiple heads,and those homed includes display deity to and specific attributesof a or power, which sculptured so as heads. phallic 4.8.1 Multiple heads
The appearanceof multiple heads as a symbol of divinity is a feature known from the from both Hindu, deities described Meslin the of cultures across world. polycephalic mythology Celtic and Finno-Ugariancontextsand writes: "Indo-Europeanmythologiesrepresented the diversefields of application of the divine power
"" by endowing thegodswith threeheads.
There is much evidencefrom Gallo-Romaniconographyand later tradition to supportthe claim that the tribes of Gaul worshippeda deity with threefacesor threeheads.Groupsof three heads known from Bronze Umfield Iron La Tene Age Age triple the profiles are also art culture, and from Gaulish Ross to these: coinage, and according and
deep-seated Celtic concept 11 are undoubtedlyearlier attemptsto give visual expression to the ... divinity " itsfull triadic in Roman the nature of the which received arlisticfonn of period.
Triple facesarealsoknownfrom metalworkandcoinage, particularlyin Gaul during the late
in is found iron Age, and are well documented three on the Continent.The sameemphasis upon the early Irish literature,wherethe numberhad importantmagicaland ritual connotations.In the
169 beings, are Irish eities to three and there semi-divine are stories numerous references early throughout faces. The having heads described appears three three also number as or often triple Triads, in Welsh for the of the motif insularCelticiconography example andmythology, hooded (triple images in (three the death and geniicucullati of the tresmalres mothers) and the describes later and In tradition the the mythological medieval period vernacular gods). Ellen), (three-headed beings in VEllen a trechend trios, occuring as such supernatural Ireland devastate from Cruachan Cave to at the of malevolentcreaturewho would emerge birth ' Otherbeingsappear bom being in trios, bearing and the same one Samhain. at name, fate, decapitation. the meeting same often sometimes It is not the case,however,that threefacedimageswereuniqueto the tribes of northwest Europe, in Eastern found be depict in form divine the to triple Europe the canalso as motivation in later Romanreligion in the form of the Three Holy Mothersand in the later medieval frequentfrom the Trinity. TheseChristianimagesbecame depictionsof the threeheaded ' in AD Renaissance fourteenth art. century andarecommon Pettazzoni notesthedichotomy head,as earliercarvings Christiandepictions inherentin these of theTrinity asa three-faced image depict demonic forces to the the struggle with paganism, same representing used depict depictions later by images. The horns leer to the the additionof andan evil emphasised in implies This triplism the heads of significance with expressions of repose and meditation. divine representation wasdeeplyrootedwithin theconsciousness of theartistsandworshippers by The images the the triple-faced these church ultimate alarmed clearly pagan origins of alike. form Counter in Vill Reformation, for Urban 1628 Pope this the of condemned time of XIV. However, in Trinity bull by Pope Benedict the of a which was upheld representation did divinity devotion image to the tricephalic which wasstill not stop popular of condemnation ' in This late Alps traditionmay the the venerated some century. parts of as as nineteenth widely behind lie in Britain depicting heads the triple which a number of recorded stone carvings well discussed below, have been dated late Romano-British Iron Age to the and which and are As Billingsley is because is the notes, caution required although certainlyancient, motif period. heads Christianandfolk art, andsomeof depictions of tricephalic arealsoa facetof medieval ' be date. these carvings may of much the morerecent Indofaces from known imageryof godswith three,four or morecýnjojrj heads and other are hassuggested F, paganreligions,andPcttazzoni they all havea commonorigin in a uropean
170 idols "' Medieval deity. literarysources beliefin a polyceeho-lout, with three of evidence provide in Pomerania, includingthegodTriglavworshipped heads name theBaltic Slavs, whose among idols Svantevit, "' In describe "three-headed. with of wooden addition otherreferences means his fifth heads four had Rugievit, with sevenheads Porenut, four heads, on and a who and been have images kept inside have been Some breast. temples, to andparallels of these appear heads SaxoGrammiticus' description Svantevit Arkona the on drawnbetween carved and at of in Suffolk, Hoo burial Sutton found in Anglo-Saxon the at the spectacular whetstone ship "' in later discussed AD, datingfrom theseventh this chapter. century and god In additionto themulti-headed of a tricephalous gods of theSlavs,therearealsodepictions from the Balkanswho is knownas "the ThracianRider". He appears of stelae on hundreds horn horses AD dating from the second third of plenty. a and and with centuries associated in deities Balkan Horseimageryis associated andalsoappears with someof the multi-headed Chapter (see in Provence Ligurian Glanum Roquepertuse Celtic contexts, the temples at and of further is distribution of beliefs surrounding s 3). The pan-European god a polycephabu. human by image from Siberia Obdorsk the seven whichshows regionof emphasised a wooden headsone abovethe other, carvedon a tree trunk. This artefacthas been interpretedas different different journeys during by the the to their seven godsmet shamans representing "the by image Ostyaks The type this the the of carving call of world pillar. worldsrepresented father faces "the is described God" heaven Sanke the sublime as of andtheir godof woodwith been have heavens belief looks "' This kind in directions. to the three seven appears who of of historic by inhabited in Scandinavia Siberia the tribes and early who and prehistory shared Meslin and refersto themany-headedness assymbolising: periods,
" thefaculty of seeingand knowing everythingthat the Finno- Ugarians attributed to the suit, ... "' Num. the the was principal manifestationof god jvhich The existenceof head idols during the early historical period in the Baltic is attestedby the Ibn Fadlan, the Baltic Swedes, tenth of to the arab a century who reported envoy evidence "" bearing human faces The to wooden posts which common offerings were made. seeing facesmust F, uropeanurge to produceimagesof godswith two, threeor more headsor conjOi ned be usedto place in context the growing number of polycpphdoios carvings in stone and wood from British Isles. In the native tradition, a commontechniquewhich was employed to recorded
171 block faces heads heads upona single or of wasto carvea number greater potency give stone but known, (four-faced) Janiform, tricephalicandevenquadrocephalic carvingsare of stone. from form be important thepointof view of to the andsignificant appears most the triple-faced
beliefs. British native 22.214.171.124. Twofaced (janiforin) heads Usually carved back to back upon a single block of stone, this kind of carving is wellRoman the has the god of cult predates and considerable antiquity which actually represented Janus.A double-facedheadfrom Holzgerlingenin Germanyis one of the few securely-dated been has from late is Iron Age La Tene It tall the which pillar stone, carvedon a period. carvings BC.' This headoncesporteda pair of horns or a variation dated from the fifth or sixth century. known Another "leaf Celtic this well the period. sculptureof crown" associated with other of by the beak of a bird of prey, is known from the Janiform head,with the two faces separated from dates in Provence, Gaul, the third or Celto-Ligurian temple of Roquepertuse and southern " Roman following introduction into 13C. The Britain Janus the the of cult second century invasion may well have served to popularise this Continental motif in native art. Ross sees headscarvedwith two opposingfacesas suggestive of the divine favour attributedto twins, or:
"...Perhapsreflectingsomeconceptsuch as the power of the god to lookfonvard into the into the world of mankind,a power which could be doubled, Othenvorld,and backwards " in heads. the case offour-jaced perhaps, Heads traditionof Janusviales, stonesculptures of this kind canbecompared with theRoman doorways Some have been to these guarded and positioned entrances. of sculptures may which from Examples Janiform. look alongroadways andprovideapotropaic carvings guardians. of Britain includethe carving on an antler from Lothbury, London, referredto earlier in this idol from but Island in Boa Celtic County Fermanagh, the two-faced and as classified chapter, dating by "' found has head been The Janiform, style at alone questioned whose morerecently. is however of unquestionable the site of the Romanfort at Corbridge,Northumberland, "' In rare cases date. by doubled be Romano-British the powerof the twin heads the could four heads, in "' from Ovingham, Northumberland. the tetracephalous of as carving
(tricephalic) heads 126.96.36.199.77treefaced
faces is three this type The common appearance placedaroundone adjacent often of of carving block of stone, the individual faces occasionally sharing features such as ears and eyes. Examplesof this kind of carving may indicatea depictionof a specific tribal god or conceptof heads. divinity, rather than the crude abstraction apparenton the majority of simple carved heads including images forms, headed three-faced Green notes triple simple can take several image "or heads, faces body, bodies by the may three or single surmounted attached no with its to images its clue which may give a own or associated with attributesof other appearon Sometriple facedheadsrepresent identity.99103 thejuxtaposition of both youth and old age,male images like female thoseof the antleredgod and them which associate other symbols with and known in Romano-Celticsculpture. three mothers, the Carved three faced headsare known from Gaul, particularly from the territory of the Remi, image Ross the says where " served as an equivalent for the classical Mercury, under the influence of interpretatio ... Romani, and the wrealhed, bearded Celiic god frequently has the cock, or an actual ' Mercury him. "' of associated with representation ,
Threefaced to theRemi,asLambrechts overthirty examples carvings arenot peculiar recorded "' depicted in They 1954. from Gaulin his surveyof Celtic sculpture on werealso published in density its in had However, kind the this as well as carved stone. of greatest carving coinage Remi, divinity image functioned the the totemic of which of suggests symbol as a territory is alsoknownfrom Denmark" andotherpartsof identifiedwith thattribe.This typeof head is ContinentalEurope,as well as the British Isleswherethe numberof recordedexamples few but has been Possibly best known the steadily growing. of a tricephalic example relatively Ireland,currentlyin the National headis the "CorleckGod" from CorleckHill, CountyCavan, in low from a block of sandstone, Museumof Ireland.This headwasfashioned the features bearing The janiform. heads from in Roquepertuse Provence. to the a striking resemblance relief head, holein its basesuggests facesaredistributed the ball-shaped around anda dowel-shaped to a stonepillar or pedestal, the carvingwasoriginally attached uponwhich it may havebeen The Corleck head has been by Ross claimed andmostrecentlyRafteryto be oneof exhibited.
173 dating from anunstratified fairly in Ireland thefew examples on stylistic close whichallows site its features alone, asRoss notes grounds
date [suggesting] Age Celtic Iron to a the closely correspond of anthropoid representations ... "' in thelateLa Tene period.
Raftery describes the Corleck head as "one of the finest instances of Celtic stone sculpture in Ireland" despite its questionable provenance and lack of datable context. Raftery bases his conclusion upon the archaic style of the head,with its
"... deceptivesimplicity verging at times almostupon crudeness, which manage,nonetheless, "' to evokea deeplyimpressivefeeling the of supernatural. However, as Billingsley and others who havestudied headsin the context of folk art have pointed out, the more primitively "Celtic" the facial features,the more caution is required on behalf of the observer, "for it is this very primitivenesswhich links theseheadsstylistically ""' The tradition of classifying headsas "Celtic" through style alone through many periods. be Irish faces trait in to For three a the among archaeologists appears particular. example,one of bust discovered by fieldworker EtienneRynneat Woodlands,near Raphoe upon a stone carved in County Donegal, was describedby Rynne as "convincingly Iron Age in style.""' Caution be applied where archaismis usedas a direct measureof age, and this head may again must be folk the product of art within the recenthistoric period. The Woodlandsheadhad equally for head, the ear serving one whole a featurewhich was also found on another tricephalic only "' The unusual head from Bradenstoke, Wiltshire, which was found in an old hedgerow. is of ears a featuretypical of manyarchaicstoneheads, treatment they are and in many instances lacking have been by animalears. altogether or replaced either Further examplesof British tricephalic headsinclude one identified in a clear Romano-British fort in Risingham, Northumberland the at context and a secondfrom the Roman station in "' Two good examples carved in Wroxeter. yellow sandstonewere unearthed following a landslide at Greetland,WestYorkshire, in 1956, near a site which has produced a Roman altar to Victoria Brigantia."' Eachof the threefaces featuresa "cigarette hole" drilled into dedicated lips, feature found the a of also side on the Corleck headand other examplessomeof which one
174 West from known further heads from Bronze Age in Europe. Two tricephalic are a context come '" Calderdale. Springs, Green Yorkshire.Oneof theseis associated with a wayside springat in Scotland broad in Sutherland hollow its from features to a crown,similar an example and "' The has been dated by Roman Ross the to the time second stylistically conquest. of which Saltaire, in features faces three at garden a carved unearthed on a phallic-shaped stone example in "', 1966, Bradford, by Jackson. and recorded near during four tricephalic In my own casestudyof PeakDistrict heads wererecorded examples fieldwork for the present study.However,two of thesewereclearly of recentorigin which depicting is fine in A dating the caution which necessary example andclassification. underlines fort face flanked Roman by faces is from known two with profile a context associated a central by Manchester Castle, Glossop, has Melandra been late Iron Age dated tentatively the to and at Fig 1). Museum(see in thedatingof tripleheads As notedabove, to the"Celtic era" on stylistic cautionis necessary in Roman the the trinity traditionas the alone, as notion of of godhead also survives grounds Three Holy Mothersandthe trinity foundin the Christianchurch.During the middle agesa images Trinity, have been depict Christian three-faced to to the of appear sowing used number in found be heads furtherconfusion, in Good threes. asecclesiastical alsoappear can examples House, Ripon Cathedral andthe York MinsterChapter while othersincludethe uniquetriple in medieval WhalleyAbbey,Lancashire. A wooden foliateheads carved on wooden misericords "' hangs from in date, Wales, indeterminate Llandinam, South the tricephalos a nail churchof of faced three stonecarvingsare known in association and with churches at La Poquelaiein CartmelPriory in CumbriaandTeampull Guernsey, na Trionaid (Trinity Temple)at Carinish, " Uist, demonstrating North thewidegeographical spread of themotif. on 4.8.2. Heads with the attributes of a Celtic deity This sub-category thoseheads contains whichby reason of theappearance of animalhornscan be directlyidentifiedasbeingrepresentations of a nativegodidentifiedby the Celtic tradition. iiowever hornsshouldnot be regarded asa purelyCeltic attributeastheyalsoappear on later in form the ecclesiastical sculpture medieval of grotesques andgargoyles, wherethe symbolis to symbolise theDevil of Christian Examples tradition. meant to appear of this traditioncontinue
175 heads includes in final Gothic The late which the category century architecture. as as nineteenth in Celtic in form important the symbol of a phallus, another andapotropaic religious arecarved beliefandtradition.
188.8.131.52 Horned heads This form of portraying headsis secondonly in frequencyto the depiction of multiple faces, Hadrian's in is in England, the of region specifically and particularly well represented northern Wall Homed deities appearin both art and iconographythroughoutthe westernCeltic world . Europe in been known has from Britain. The traced northern of examples are cult and a number back both Bronze In far Age. Romano-British image the times the as ramas appear could as homed or bull-homed and is often associated with Mercury, in the samemannerthat a number Some became interpretatio Celtic Mars of the warrior gods romani. assimilatedwith under of horned figures illustrated on Celtic and Romano-Celticartefactsmay representCemunnos,a Gaulish Celtic god aroundwhom a separate paganCeltic cult can be traced,secondonly to the "' from head in inscription from is Anne Ross. Cemunnos known the the opinion of of one cult Paris, and thereis no evidenceto suggest the namewasever usedas an epithet for a homed god in Britain. However, a silver Celtic coin depicting an antlereddeity is known from Petersfield, Hampshire,dating from the first centuryAD. " The single inscription which hassurvived from Britain associated with a homed carving comesfrom the outpostfort of Birrens on the Roman Wall and appears'to refer to the Roman god of fertility, Priapus or a Gaulish equivalent."' These examplesshow that caution must again be exercisedin attributing pan-Celtic namesto localised godseven if they may display traits which are represented over a wider geographical
area. The portrayalof the homedgodasa head to Ross"a fully appropriate way aloneis according in nativeiconography. for thetribal godto appear ""' Sheexplains thepopularityof the symbol 44m, Britain being between in north as this god and a pastoraleconomy a result association be may reflectedin the depictionof ram horns.In Celtic religion, the ram and the which snakewere symbolicof war and fertility. In addition, the numerous mythical ram-horned homedheads Hadrian'sWall may suggest associated with the frontier regionsurrounding the invoked by-product there was as a turbulentnature of thecontinuing god of theareaat the time
176 frontier it lay England the therearea numberof on of the RomanEmpire.In northern when heads to represent which appear particularlyram's animalsor haveanimalattributes, stone " Petch Brigantes. horned horns,which may represent the the a sep4rate cult of godamong be insular known the horned this god the with may an elsewhere, offshoot god of suggests by ram'shornsratherthanantlers in Gaulandat Cirencester is depicted identified asCemunnos " Verulamium. Andersmaywell havebeen difficult to carveuponthecoarse and sandstone and in became Britain, horns it is that popularas rock available north and suggested ram gritstone In othercases, to traceby following theoutlineof thehead. the problem may they wereeasier holesweredrilledinto thesides into which realantlers havebeensolvedwhensocket of heads be inserted. head A from in SouthWales is onepossible Caerwent then of this example could deeply indented, for intended have been the the as slot-like earsmay originally practice, " insertion of cervine or equine ears. illustrate have Celtic These the examples cultsmay process whereby essentially separate native intermingled during the periodof Romanisation and especially whennativeartists combined it in In to the mixtureof stimulated carve religious symbolism stone. some were cases, seems have beendeliberately in orderto bestowmorepower and attributes could employed symbols final hybrid form depicted. being Jackson the the of of god which a number was recorded upon janiform headfrom Mirfield, West interesting examples of this type,includingan impressive headpairedbackto backwith thatof a ram,the hornsof Yorkshire, whichconsists of a human "A direction Fig. turn the (see 14). reverse which from is known the very similar carving by Helen Hickey, which may suggest County Cavanareaof northwestIreland,discussed a " Irish Sea tradition the across province. parallel Tracesof ram'shornscanbe identifieduponthetwo profile faces on thetricephalicspringhead from Melandra in Castle Derbyshire, described the motif wasa carving above, which suggests familiaroneto thetribeswho inhabited Brigantia. A figurewith incised thefoothillsof southern from its forehead hasbeen identified hornsspringing among carvings a groupof Romano-Celtic in the Derbyshire from a burial sitealsonearGlossop, PeakDistrict, datingto the late Roman (see Chapter 5). In horned two addition,a stonefrom a nativeshrinedecorated period with in profile, facingeachother,formspartof a groupof nineescavated heads from the ruinsof a datingfrom thefirst centuryAD at Wall (Letocetum) " These Roman mansio in Staffordshire. for a cult of homedgodsin the areainhabitedby the tribes may provideevidence examples
177 that Petch Romano-British during Brigantes Comovii speculates the period. knownasthe and the in homed Cemunnos the from way have same the takentheir name god the Comovii may "' is but Brigantia, from the goddess caution againnecessary Brigantes took their tribal name lacking. is based drawing completely before which uponevidence sucha conclusion Midlands, the in homed for the is and south god Although there evidence the veneration of a Wall Hadrian's was frontier which from known the of side best either on region come examples Netherby, from head an is finest The AD. the ram-homed built in the second example century is in 1794, found it and Wall Carlisle, fort Roman was the where near of north outpost in inches from local red sandstone in Chapter 3 (seeFig. 13).Fashioned andeight described deep-set forehead, heavy head, faced flat eyes, is head narrow, height, the a with a square Largeram hornscurl round the ears and drawn backlips and a grim, warlike countenance. but "a it describe Phillips Coulston base crude as down towardsthe flow and of the neck. to in Celtic the nothing owing style""' highly effectivepieceof sculpture wholly executed it describes in Carlisle House Museum as Tullie Richardson Colin Classical of representation. "" Britain. from Roman have to survived "oneof thefinestpieces of primitivenativesculpture a native The ram'shornsandfierce,scowlingexpression makeit likely thattheheadrepresents warrior god. Lemington, from homed be directly Netherby carving The with a similar stonecan compared in discovered The Newcastle. in Wear, Museum Antiquities a was stone 'Iyne and at of now the "' in Carved in 1980. Wall Hadrian's just four from hundred Milecastle eighton yards garden incised deeply brutal, face has with mouth the a yellow mask-like sandstone, rectangular rugged incised like head. two lips Netherby The ovals the as andappear eyesarewidely spaced thick below forehead. Significantly, traces there of a protruberance are pupils a protruding without horn from forehead left ram. the or a goat the of the suggest may above eye, which emerging fort, Carvoran found head horned horns depicted at Similar vestigial are on the J. Smith D. Northumberland, the closedor sightless eyeswithout pupils which which shares death. ""' by "the He are sightless suggesting: eyes of continues suggests that such headseither confiiseor consciouslycombinethe idea of divinity with the 11 ... heroes heads by Celts to and the lite slain powers of attributed pre-Roinan severed supernatural head. """ in 'god they warriors: a short, portray syncretic renowned
178 Milecastle Roman headturnedupjust feetfrom thesame which produced In 1969yet another as This wasa crudelycarved unfinished apparently specimen, sandstone the Lemingtonhead. by drooping eyesrepresented moustache, of a with evidence the left sideis morefully carved, "' left incisions, roughmarksof a six-point two curving anda crudely-indicated ear. Distinctive homed All forehead of the examples above andtop surface. claw chiselwereevident overthe forts these or Roman are heads whether associated military contexts, with are geographically Durham, in two County fort Roman Lanchester heads Three the areassociated with milecastles. homed " heads In display homs. with thecase associated of evidence of vestigial also of these for classifyingthis featureas indicativeof an imageryit appears thereare strongarguments head, form those in be homed date. It the and of a warrior could portrayed seems gods archaic in turbulent areaslike the Romanwall portray two conceptsin one syncretic god-head. However,homs certainly appearin later Christiancontextsassociated with the Devil and in image this demons, which may serve to show the potency which retained popular large into A carvedupon times. andgargoyles of grotesques number medieval consciousness late feature homs, Gothic as the as Romanesque created someof which were and churches century. nineteenth
184.108.40.206. Phallic heads
The headwas regardedby the Celtic tribes asa powerful apotropaicsymbol and was sometimes deities, by them or a combination of attributes of as a symbol representing specific used different deities.As a result of its important statuswithin native religion it seemsthe headwas folk in has belief fertility-giving survived which properties, a also endowed with potent had Celtic, The similar phallus was another symbol which, although not exclusively memory. fertility When with and apotropaic properties. paired with the phallus, another associations in increased, be the the the especially evil-averting symbol, overall power of object could strong head is in later This be discussed heads this a of set upon a stone pillar. category of will case in GraecoCeltic the their context whetstones stones, of ritual and analogies with pillar chapter Roman Herms and boundary markerswhich were carved in the form of a pillar topped by the humanhead. Probablythe bestexampleof a phallic stoneheadfrom Britain is the well-known SerpentStonefrom Maryport in Cumbria, which hasa human face carved upon a stone pillar
179 by is the to features In carving this the given the potency case greater upon marked glans. with in faces Similar carved relief with pillar-like stones or torc. the additionof a neckornament dated to has these Megaw known from Talbot, Glamorgan, Port and are upon the shaftor glans in Laugharne from "" known heads featuring Pillar arealso the Romano-British stones period. farm functioned Rochdale, Lancashire, Wales"' a on South asgateposts wheretwo stones and "' the Billingsley found function Wardle, ascribes the threshold elsewhere. perpetuating near folk further four hundred heads last art, of to the Rochdale examples years as an origin within " Mercury. from Greek henn to the but associates themwith the Mediterranean equivalent , below head Thesewereshortrectangular which wereusedas aboveandphallus pillars with a boundary markers. form in include head imagery the of other carvings the amulets small whichcombine andphallic face"" below interlaced tiny displays four the like thatfrom Eypein Dorset, heads circles which figures from features Broadway, Worcestershire, typical cult the of native are whose and stone "" from Romano-British find local In a additidn a recent represented perhaps gods. which in figure human farmsteadat Guiting Powerin Gloucestershire phallic of a crude consists "' forming head the glans. shape,with As this figure displaysvestigial horns, this would face horns its potency Green increase threefold. theappearance on a andgoat of a phallus notes 144 Colchester from tradition. this whichmayreflectanother manifestation of pot 4.9. Interpreting stone head Iconography
The following section discussedthe motivations behind the people who produced the carved heads which have been discussesearlier in this chapter, and deal with some of the specific in heads heads have found. been In that the were carved which particular, suggestion contexts been has deities be in Celtic light the the to representpagan evidencewhich will examined of far by this research. so assembled
4.9-1. "God" heads from the British Islesmay have some writershavesuggested a number of archaicstoneheads
been specifically carved as images of Celtic or Romano-British pagan deities. Jackson, for
herecorded in West Yorkshire, instance, wrotethattheexamples
"... are believed to have been god figures of the Celtic peoples who inhabited this part of """ Britain during theRonwnoccupation and earlier. The appearance of symbols such as torcs, "cigarette holes", spirals, vestigial horns and other divinity heads least the that were of on a number some of at examples support notion symbols Although Green rejects the notion intended to representregional or tribal godsor goddesses. that headswere worshippeddirectly, she says: head to the Cells ineansthat it could on occasionsrepresent the 11 the the significance of ... ... Thus "" be depictedby the headalone. a numberof deitiescould sometimes whole. As the analysispresentedearlier in this chapterhas demonstrated, stoneheadsfrequently had features, it is intended likely to portray the attributesof a number that they and were schematised deities in different identification deities " "godhead. The one symbolic appearsto overt of of have beenlessimportantto the native Celtsthanthe functionaldefinition of Imperial deities was to the Romans,as accordingto Green: "... deities depictedmerely as headsneededno positive definition: both god and devoteeknew who was being invoked.99147 of means Direct associationof stoneheadswith specific Romano-Celticdeities is difficult other than the few caseswhere a specific inscription has survived. The historical and iconographic evidence from Gaul alonecontainsabout four hundredgod-names, and of theseover three hundredoccur few localised deities. Of these once which suggests the most of were extremely which do only level, it is their symbols and iconography which often survive out on a pan-European stand kind This than their name. of intenselocalisation makesthe task of identification more rather difficult, and attemptsto identify Romano-Celticcarvedheadswith a specific deity name have beenfraught with difficulties. Headsand namescan rarely be equated,and as many headshave it is difficult to identify them with any specific native cult or deity few identifying characteristics other than through symbolssuchas horns,animal attributesor multiple faces.For example,Ian Richmond'stheory that the sombre-lookinggritstoneheadfrom the secondcentury AD context in Northumberland Corbridge depictedthe native god Maponus" hassince beenquestioned at by Coulstonand Phillips who find this suggestion " unconvincing(seeFig. 18). Although they
181 head far does local it is too sombre the they andelderly probably god, represent a say conclude Apollo, with whomthenative in appearance to beequated eitherwith Maponus or theclassical in Roman Wall, both depicted the these appearance. on was equated were as youthful as god have few depict head images Therearea smallnumber gods,asa of severed whichundoubtedly depicting inscriptions. from Possibly is Paris best known theantlered the the carving surviving in fort Birrens is identified Gaulish From by Cernunnos. the tribes, thename at who god of the from horns Scotland head bearing there the survives emerging of a manwith a stone southern " Thecarving backwards. forehead face is inscription [Plriapi. Beneath his the the andcurling is thoughtto referto theRoman is datedto thefirst or second godof centuryAD andthename "' has Ross it Eniapus. Gaulish fertility Priapus, the although associatedwith heads havebeenexcavated in a contextwhich suggests In other cases, they functionedas a best "god-head" if Possibly deity invoked the the the even unknown., name of remains symbolic in kind is found in found Caerwent South Wales, this the of a was stone which at example Boon "the "" Shrine Head. to the which refers as of context Nearthe Romanfort a native focussed head. be A to was excavated which well anda appeared upon a carved stone shrine just human Antonine three pit or cut pool nearby contained material, skullsassociated with rock feet hundred later fourth described Green AD this carving as south of a century site. one "perhapsthe most interestingheadfrom outsideNorth Britain.""' The freestanding, threeis carved head in in localsandstone found dimensional inask-like a sitting on a platform andwas "evidently belonging in to a the which was a shrine, situated a remote part of grounds chamber "" Boon suggests late Romanhouse. the owner of the housemay have beena practising followedby lower-status inhabitants, Christianwhobanished theoldernativeCelticbeliefs, to a remotepartof the grounds. heads directlywith nativepagan feature Connotations whichassociate carved of godsarealsoa folk traditionscollectedin partsof the British Isles and Ireland wherefieldwork has been In of Ireland,stoneheads continueto be associated with identlGrAe undertaken. someregions deitiesand naturespirits in folklore. For example,a crude female head local supernatural into a wall at Clannaphilip Church,CountyCavan,is saidto be a portrait of the incorporated Geamgain, " a local supernatural " Anotherstone,recentlystolen,but once being. ,'Cailleach built into thewall of anold churchat Cloghane, County Kerry, is knownin localtraditionasthe " In oral tradition,Crom. headof CromDubh. Dubhwasa pagan chieftainwho wasconverted
182 in thesixthcentury AD. Another to Christianityby St Brendan version of thetraditionrecorded in 1841states morebluntly:
"Crom Dubh was the god of the harvest who the pagans had worshipped until they were by "" the saint. converted This head was formerly kissed as a cure for toothacheand this ritual was incorporated into a festival Brendan Mount Lughnasa the at whose associated with connected with of pilgrimage folklore suggests foot the churchwasbuilt. Maire MocKA in her analysisof the Lughnasa that:
66 with the legend of Crom Dubh buriedfor three days with his head only above the ground, ... in Irish mythology to a head oil a hill, we may speculate that the with many references and there was a custom of bringing a stone headfrom a nearby sanctuary and placing it oil top of the hill for the duration of the [Lughnasal festival. During this time the god may have been looking propitiously on the ripening corn plots. ""
in the caseof the Crom Dubh carving, a stoneheadcan be identified with a definitive pagan deity, as EtienneRynne notes"on stylistic aswell ason traditional grounds,therefore,this head be confidently regardedas of paganand Celtic origin. ""' The direct associationof carved can in the folk tradition of northern England, headswith pagandeities is also dimly remembered High Peak functioned have Derbyshire. In heads the to area of as some areas appear particularly Valley of Derbyshireheadsare still "hearth gods" or householdgeniusloci. In the Longdendale buried local informants, identifies local belief them and to surreptitiously according and carved "the Old Ones, " a term for the ancientdeitiesand spirits." In a numberof areasrespectis with boundaries, in form to the paid carvings which guard entrances and of simple either still "for luck" in " severalexamplesof or a generalacknowledgement of their "presence, offerings in Chapters 5 and 6. The question of whether pagan deities are still are recorded which "worshipped" is a question which is not easily answered,but it appearsmore likely that any beliefs heads hasgiven way to habit, superstitionand local magic, in the the surrounding pagan form of the folk traditions recordedby Merrifield and Billingsley. This explains the connection of the carvings with white witchcraft, and their use in parts of Cheshire, Derbyshire and yorkshire in efforts to cure illness, encouragefertility and ward off ghostsand evil spirits, as describedmore fully in Chapter6.
4.9.2. Ritual whetstones decorated with humart heads
The clearest context in which carved heads may be seen to represent "divine" gods or protective been have recorded they eight which of whetstones, are where appear upon ceremonial spirits from the British Isles and dated to the early medieval period. Whetstones are fine-grained for a with the tools surrounded were and weapons, and used sharpening of edges stones "' Europe. in Royal linked northern power with the cult of the sky-god, the smith and mystique Archaeologists have dated this group to the early medieval period, that is between the seventh in have the known to AD, twelfth originated the are centuries examples and six of eight and AngloCeltic than British Isles, the they rather are of native which suggests north and west of Saxon in manufacture. The remaining- two both come from Anglo-Saxon burials, one from Lincolnshire and the second, most important being the famous four-sided "whetstone sccptre" from Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, excavated in 1939.162
found in Britain can be directly comparedto the Sutton None of the other ceremonialwhetstones Hoo sceptrein its complexity, sophistication,size and quality. The others are similar only in in is head in the the the as stone, of their emphasisupon end motif which all cases carvedupon in from Llandudno includes The the examples shaft survives. group each caseonly one end of Gwynedd, North Wales;Lough Curranein County Kerry, southwestIreland; Broch of Main in the Shetland Islands; Portsoy, Banffshire in central Scotland; Lochar Moss in Dumfries and Galloway; Dinting, near Glossop in the Derbyshire Peak District, and Hough-on-the-Hill in Lincolnshire. The most important examplefrom this secondarygroup is a broken stone from Lochar Moss, " Durnfriesshire,which appears to be the remainsof the top of a ceremonialwhetstoneor mace. The stone was found in a peat bog near the village of Collin, is made of fine-grained head identified inches in has four height. Ross Anne the sandstone, and stands micaraceous locus its Maponus, the the to the upon the of of stone site as of as a result proximity god carved to the so-calledMaponusheadfrom this Celtic deity at nearbyLochmaben,and its resemblance ""' Corbridge "even to the peculiar twist in the long narrow nose. Objectionshave beenraised
identification, "' but therecan be little doubt that the Lochar Moss headsymbolisesa this against divine ancestoror protective tribal god of some kind, and it is the appearance of the symbol upon a ceremonialwhetstone which is in itself significant.
184 from Lincolnshire, Of similar sizeis a ceremonial the to represent whetstone which is shaped "' head and shoulders of a man. The faceis crudeandrudimentary with empty eye sockets filled with precious Thereis a rounddowel holein the top which might oncehavebeen stones. head it half kind. Although the the size suggesting was of usedaspart of a maceof some only Sutton Hoo the stone,it has someparallelseventhoughit is different in shape.Of the of from been has Lough from Currane that examples, context remaining comes a monastic and dated to the twelfth centuryAD. 167It is finely carvedstone,almostfive inchesin length, in relief at oneend,complete taperingat eachendandwith a humanheadcarved with braided hair. A similarwhetstone, in 1940,with the human this time broken, wasfoundnearLlandudno by incised " lines in hair accompanied triangular mask pigtail. A swastika anda representing a cruciform markingare scratched upon the sidesof the threeinch long stone,and Kendrick it is of Irish or Welsh thecharacter of themasksuggests concludes manufacture, possiblyof the AD. eighthor ninthcentury Banffshire The stonefrom Portsoy, is almostsix inchesin length,with two humanheads, one at either end of the taperingstone,their chinspointing towardsthe centre.Both haveringbrow-lines, by a variety of Pictish symbols ears, pointedchinsandareaccompanied shaped " The conicalstonefrom Broch of Main is a little including fish, crescents andhorseshoes. inches in height,with a Celtic-style two facecarved under on thetapering end.Goudiesuggests 170 broken this couldhavebeen than the a "chess-man" rather endof a ceremonial mace. A datein the earlyRomano-Celtic for onesmall whetstone, periodmay be possible carvedin millstone grit, found at Dinting not far from the Romanfort at Melandra,near Glossopin (seeChapter 5). Threeanda half inches Derbyshire longandoneandhalf inches wide,oneend is neatlyrounded little facearoundtwo andtheotherbroadens slightlyto form a crudelycarved incheslong.The eyesarealmond-shaped, the nosetriangularandthe moutha long slit in the "Celtic: " Although its is is madeof archaic precise provenance unknown,the whetstone -style. local stoneandits weathering face the suggests considerable age.GlynisReeve suggests could theowner'smarkor thatof a pastorul 17, its function represent or warTior goddepending upon . VeraEvison's Saxon foundthatthe"head"motif wasextremely studyof pagan whetstones rare hundreds ` A few large discovered in early EnglishgraveS. of early medievalhones among honesfoundin laterAnglo-Saxon mayhavebeen graves usedfor ritual, but theyareassociated heads, with thevery endof thepagan periodandlackcarved whichoccurat thesame periodin
185 be faces those Their Britain. with compared Celtic can primitive areas of northandwestern the 3. Chapter in described Europe, in Iron Age La Tene period of the carved on cult pillar stones in fact aresmallerrepresentations of haveled to suggestions thewhetstones Thesecomparisons fertility-bringing early surrouding the mystique to phallic pillarstoneswhich are related BritishandearlyEnglishcontexts. kingship, bothin native
head decorated the has Enright with Michael of the whetstones pointedout that the provenance known less to but Celts, familiar "was the well to was comparatively motif suggeststhe style "" the seventhcentury Anglo-Saxons. Furthermore,although the Sutton Hoo whetstonewas been have itself to funerary in Anglo-Saxon appears found an unambiguous context, the object The in British the west. or imported north the productof a work-shop prestigeobject, perhaps an four is best be described "whetstone or staff sided a actually sceptre" which as a can stone, It in the towards tapers inches inches long bar, ends the twenty two two middle. wide and, stone designed to bottom The it sit in knobs. the was terminates two sceptre of end spherical where kneecap bronze the thigh of a seated or upon could rest upon a. saucer, which comfortably burial found lying the the to chambercovered king or chief. The whetstone of wall parallel was by a ship of Anglo-Saxon origin in the pagan cemetery at Sutton Hoo near Woodbridge, Suffolk. " buried in the ship is not clear, archaeologists Although the identity of the personage believe it could have been a king of the East Anglian royal dynasty the Wuffings, perhaps Redwald AD. the decade in died was the the Rcdwald who century seventh of a pagan second first East Anglian king to becomebrelwalda or overlord, of the other early English kingdoms. , He exerted considerablepower while maintaining a foot in the door of both the old pagan decade last during by Christianity imported Augustinian the of the the mission new religion and for " have AD. Archaeologists the used whetstone was never suggested the sixth century device "representing the but the of swordpower purposes acted as symbolic a practical 9, )176 Rupert Bruce-Mitford wrote: sharpener.
in a striking inannerthepagan ,,It is an impressive, to symbolise savage object,whichseems Saxonking in the role of Wayland theSmith- theforger, giver,and masterof the swordsof hisfollowing.,wn ' from the point of view of a "ritual" contextare the appeamnce rqual in importa of series nce of a I fincly-carvedhumanfaceswhich appear at eitherend of the stonebar, below the knobs,all
186 four the heads towards the the the their of to apex with pointing pointsof compass and gazing they bar. Somearedecorated suggesting shaven are clean with beards others andmoustaches, faces female, be All the are sombre perhapsrepresenting a god and a goddess. could the by with parallels suggests which a pear-shaped attached, ring with a medallion surrounded " Analysishasshown Celtic tore,or neckring, a symbolof divine powerin Irish mythology. heads heads to the were at onestagepaintedred, a colour used adorna numberof carved in Franceand the headstudiedby expertsat Cleveland including thosefrom Roquepertuse Museum,discussed earlierin thischapter. Romano-British between A furtherfundamental the the native and association whetstone sceptre has is Evison is it from the the carved. tradition which provenance of greywackestone is not nativeto southeastern England, demonstrated this stone andmostprobablycamefrom the "A Scotland. Galloway regionof southern for. likely the stoneusedto seems similar origin found Houghfunerary from anAnglo-Saxon at context. maketheother comparable whetstone "' Dumfries Lincolnshire. from find Lochar Moss, These they the suggests and on-the-Hill, , Dalriada. in Scotland British or southwest of thesame workshop may all betheproducts native faces by havebeen deities identify deity Severalattempts the to the carved symbolised made or both Earlyscholars theroyal powersymbolised ends of theSuttonHoowhetstone. related upon by the sceptre to the Anglo-Saxon while SidneyCohenarguedthe god cult of Woden/Odin, "' likely depicted be Nordic He wrote: Thor. to wasmore Plor wasdistinguished, ,,Not only doesit havefourfaces,but threeof thefacesare bearded. in Nordic myth, by a red beard.Moreover,it will be remembered that the knobs oil the in an attempt to signifythatthegodhadredhair."182 were paintedred,perhaps whetstone he directly relatedthe four sidedwhetstone dcities Furthermore four-headed and with pagan four-sided These, foundin northern described Europe, temples earthwork earlierin this chapter. he suggests, idol or pillar stonerepresenting the godThor weredesigned arounda four-faced which wasplacedcentrally,with eachface looking out througha window or threshold. In he cites SaxoGrammaticus supportof this hypothesis, who wrote that an idol of Svantowit by BishopAbsalonat Arkonain 1169hadfour faces, destroyed eachdirectedto the pointsof " king St Olaf overthrewan the compass. In the previouscenturythe Norwegian missionary idol of Thor whichwasfed four loaves "" daily,presumably four of bread via mouths.
187 be Sutton Hoo British can Given the native stone,moregeneralparallels provenance of the in Germany, from Pfalzfeld like heads Celtic drawnbetween that thesymbolic pillar stones, and decorated four has dated has been 400 BC with tentatively to each sides, andsignificantly which by " it five feet height, a human head. Originally the was surmounted stone a pear-shaped knob which was originally painted red. Janiform headand restedupon a phallic-shaped " and Enright Significantly eachfaceon the pillar bearsthe distinctiveLa Tene"leaf crown, Hoo Sutton between Celtic the whetstone this the with pillar stones andother claims similarities form " If "remarkable. was this sceptres the whetstone correct of earlymedieval suggests are influencedby earlierpaganCeltic cults linking the humanheadand fertility. This could be like found those in heads terms the stones pillar on early as of carved upon glans, expressed have In a laterearlymedieval to from Pfalzfeldandelsewhere. the appears context, relationship beenexpressed wherethe head/fertility via theappearance of thehead motif on ritual sceptres, divine became kings their the with ancestors relationship a symbol of of and power association thetribe. who protected
4.10. Continuing tradition
This section examines the evidence for a stone carving tradition, particularly in northern England, which has continued to produce examplesof sculpted headsin a distinctly archaic in discussion The detailed heads these the use and context of are subject of a more style. Chapter6.
4.10.1. Archaic heads and stonemasonry traditions
during in became The existence tradition the apparent of a strongandvibrantcontinuing north in Early in locations in England. the the fieldworkfor thepresent a number of northern research Martin Petch broughtto my attention to a mysterious carvingwhichhadbeenreported research ManchesterMuseum by a group of ramblers from the Oldham area of the Lancashire "' They regularlyvisited the wild andbeautifulmoorlandregionsurrounding Pennines. the Roman fort at Castleshaw, for weekend the of a populardestination walkingexpeditions. ruins fort, In thesummer the the of 1987thegroupwerepioneering on a newrouteon moorswestof
188 That Delph. land from foothill Castleshaw the two the villageof above reservoir miles a ridge of had been burnt heather, the and as the walkers moor clear of and was completely summer form blackened the to they staring shadowy earthonemorning weresurprised seea climbed back at themfrom a two foot high stonepillar by the sideof the roughpath.The sculpture, filling face the looked freshly-cut archaic-looking and recent, a and which wasof powerful had face isolated Carved the the the sunken only, stonegatepost. stone on onesideof width of from Most double lips. blank eyeswith deepeyelids, triangular thick of all, striking a and nose head Chattwood horns. Walker Alan told me: the of side sprung expertly carved ram's either
"Only part of the carving was done when wefirst saw it. Somemonths later we passed the Whoever was carving the statuewas obviously stone again andfound another bit had appeared. Wing sometime over thejob andputting a lot of artistic effort into it. "" Photos takenof this elaboratesculpturein its final stages show a powerful form very evocative Celtic depicting deity both horns hermaphrodite the gods, with ram's and a seemingly of breasts.It was almost a year after its apparent"creation" that the presence of this stone on the isolated moor cameto the attention of fieldworker Petch,and it was not until a secondvisit in October 1989that I locatedthe carving itself. By that time, I was astonishedto find that it had into two separate been deliberatelyattackedand the solid gritstonepillar shattered sections.The face of the mysterious god or goddesshad beenclearly been the target of the attack, and the " Despitea numberof local enquiriesI was neverable to establish featureswere badly defaced. time and effort to createsuch who carvedthis statueand why. It would havetakenconsiderable image, in hard slowly a number of stages, on gritstone rock on a remote moor. Did the an image the then deliberatelydestroyhis creationas part of some mysterious who created person its to back-lash act nullify power?Or wasthe carvinga victim of a fundamentalist ritual againsta potcnt symbolof a continuingtradition? The evidencefor an existing tradition providedby the exampleof the Castleshaw headservesto illustrate the wider collection of carvingswhich are known to be of recentorigin, but exhibit the typical featuresof the "Celtic tradition" discussed earlier in this chapter. Some headsappearto have been carved as crude portraits of figures of hatred, such as Napoleon, Hitlcr and other dictators and may well have then served as Aunt Sally effigies, in the fashion suggestedby Billingsley.'" This kind of tradition is illustrated by the story surrounding two stone heads
189 in 1968, in house in Lancashire, Burnley, and the gardenof a which were unearthed found heads, "Celtic in beneath local heritage a plaque reading exhibited the centre subsequently brother from its display "` In 1994 heads Lane. the of in Wheatley the thecentre after removed Ted fifty identified being thousand than two old. years them themas the manwho carved rather "Celtic feature Ridings saidthe heads, the eye" and slit mouth which samegrim expression, Ridings, Len handiwork found on earlier examples, who the architect, of apprentice were in 1939. breaks his lunch during depict fascist dictators Mussolini Hitler them to the and carved Len, who died on D-Dayin 1942,hadexhibitedthe carvingsat BurnleyTown Hall and they to later wenton showat dances to raisemoneyfor thewar effort. After his deaththeyreturned house in died 1966 She Nelson. the wassold to and the homeof Len'smotherat Fence, near in thegarden RogerPreston, theheads wheretheyhadbeenburied.Len Ridings who unearthed been had heads his fact had the on the that which recognised over no one expressed puzzlement for morethantwentyyears displayin thecentre to a reporter:
during the war. I can only think the conflict took so many 1177te carvings became quitefeunous ý heritage lives that no one remembered that the centrepiecewas an early centre aftenvards Leslie Riding.""" This example demonstrates the existenceof a fine thread of tradition which can so easily be broken and lead to grosserrors in the interpretationand dating of stone carvings like these.A further example concernsthe headsfound at Hexham in Northumberland and Bingley, West in Chapter6. As well as individual headscarved for a specific Yorkshire, which are discussed like head is for by Ridings, Len those the there of a existence evidence produced purpose in traditions the within and wood carpentry north Britain, repertoireof stonemasonry carving in The Calderdale, during North Riding the the period. parts of and medieval particularly including beam book depicting the tie of wooden an a pattern of apotropaicsymbols, existence head, illustrates how little is known about the large numbers of wooden sculptures archaic " to haveexistedin the pastbut havenot survived. which are presumed Stoneheadshavealso beencarvedwithin living memoryin partsof the PeakDistrict, Yorkshire Dales and other parts of northern and western Britain. In some areaswhere stone is readily heads havebeenfashionedby local masons available, and artistsonly in relatively recenttimes. During the courseof this research heads, I haveexaminedand photographed a number of stone
190 during local "Celtic been by the " have the tradition, residents carved while not of expertly which Craig have interviewed Celtic last thirty years, suchas sculptors, and of contemporary a number Chapmanof HebdenBridge, WestYorkshire,who havecopiedthe Celtic style from recent " For idiosyncratic in developed booksandmagazine their style. own articles cases and some instance,at the village of Birchoverin Derbyshire thereare "authentic"headsof the Celtic tradition from an early medievalchurchcurrentlybuilt into the porch of the parishchurch On themainstreet from theninctecnth throughthe dedicated to St Michael, whichdates century. forms head the in be the the which porch a above carved seen placed portrait style can village, by it information the Post Office. local According to village the to carved was entranceway " in Bernard Wragg, in following 1969, the thestyleof otherexamples area. stonemason, Jacksonand Rosshaveexpressed the opinionthat few of theserecentheadsincorporatethe "to Jackson Celtic distinctivecharacteristics the tradition a carefulobserver, noneof said: of and
""' these modem reproductionswould mislead. I would argue that the evidence suggestsit is from "Celtic Jackson distinguish heads tradition" the to ones would claim of not as easy as in incorporate features deliberately the recent archaic years,as many of newerexamples carved highly The large their these portable existenceof sculptures,and numbersof and symbols. for likely they those who attempt to classify to suggest are continue causingproblems nature, interpret them. and of the prolific head carvers within the last two hundred years, one of the better known was Samuel Swift, bom in the village of Cawthome,nearBarnsley,SouthYorkshire in 1846. Some " is built into his in the work village. Other recentlycarvedheads,probably a roadsidewall of the handiwork of a single mason,are known in the Burnley region of Lancashire,the Shaparea Cumbria and North Yorkshire. At Kirkby Moorside, on the North York Moors, two stone of Harry Jacksonand Charles faces framing the village signpostwere carvedby two local masons, "" Some of these Rickaby, one of the hobbies of the latter being the carving of stone heads. heads dignatories local have been to to are said and characters, recent produced commemorate hate figures like the pair from Burnley discussed even earlier. One example is the head which WestYorkshire, which is said to be that tops the gableend of Mytholmroyd Farm in Calderdale, " lived in house. At Eccleshill in Bradford, a stoneheadfrom the gable witch a who the once of district Council the offices was said in local tradition to be a depiction of Julius Dalby, a local of inspector However, Sidney Jackson,who remembered and councillor of weights and measures.
191 before long from his in it "... Eccleshill, head think was carved the childhood observed: we ""' Julius appeared on thisearth. This kind of traditionis alsoreflectedin the grotesque carvingsof the Normanperiodoften depictions be found in medievalchurches to of the stonemasons which are often claimed themselves, or of medievalworthies.Oneof the bestknown headcarversof the nineteenth Methodist Irish-born John both Castillo, and preacher a was and a mason who was century in heads Accordingto Jackson, "because lived in North Yorkshire. this work, some man's of "" Castillo's him. to ClevelandwhichhavedefiniteCelticcharacteristics work areattributed in buildings Cleveland bridges be incorporated into today and a numberof chapels, can seen in 6. Castillo Chapter North described York Moors the also region, which are someof and face" head in his dialect "aud to the youthswho were a and suggest man's poetryas refers "' in luck. Similarly bad be theNewtownhamilton the throwing stones at carvingcould courting by buildings in Armagh Northern heads Ireland, a erected with of associated are stone area had local "according Joseph Kernaghan tradition, to a supply century craftsman, who nineteenth "" in involved heads Kernaghan built into he house these also was and one erected. every of have heads in the 1830s, origin pagan the renovation of probable of ArmaghCathedral where from this source beenidentified,andit is possible that he may haveobtained and someheads Kernaghan is likely Castillo, for heads. It these templates that used andsome are new perhaps knowledge had inherited the traditional other recent aboutthe useandplacement craftsmen, of heads I folk The these tradition. them andcarved evidence collected of aspartof a continuing have features in heads to this summarised continued with archaic chapter strongly suggests and in thelastthreecenturies be produced up until thepresent century, andmanyexamples originate being is initially Celtic It than of as pagan origin, was suspected. possiblethat the rather familiar from inspirationfor someof theserecentcarvings were which came older examples from local architecture, or throughcarvingtraditions whichwerekeptalive in the stonemason's lore. Furtherresearch beforeany firm conclusions and could be would be required profession but heads lie behind the the existence of of very stone recent origin which reached, and motives beforeattempts their creationmustbe takeninto account can be madeto interpretexamples date from to earlierperiods claimed of historyandprehistory.
192 4.10.2. Carved heads associated with quarries aud caves
A number of carvedfaceshavebeenrecordedcut upon living rock, or on freestandingboulders in the north of England, and Billingsley lists caves, pits and quarries in his examples of locations where the "severedhead" symbol recursin folk tradition. Exampleshave beennoted in abandoned quarries at Mytholmroyd and Batley in West Yorkshire, and another at Newchurch-in-Pendle,Lancashire,there is a stylised face of a beardedman, with bold facial features carved into a rock outcrop. Local tradition states that the head was produced to is known death local tradition the the which a quarryman, at site of a well-liked commemorate "' building. death during the construction of a elsewhere connectedwith a However, it is draw to a distinction betweenrelatively modemquarriessuchas the aboveexamples, necessary date from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries,and the older cave and quarry sites which like Grimes Gravesin Norfolk or Alderley Edge, Cheshire,where there is evidenceof mining faces heads back Bronze A Age. to the on the outcrop stretching and carved numberof activity from known date including Wizard's Well, Alderley Edge, face to the the at are above sandstone the mid-nineteenth century and are in fact the handiwork of Robert Garner, the great-great" Garner. Alan grandfatherof author However, headsare not found in modern quarry sites in
by in fashion, Billingsley their consistent carved workers were probably and as suggests any ' folk have deeper do time as productsof any ritual significance. art, and not spare he as points out: ,,Even if 'only' folk art, such heads are significant in suggesting that the vehicle of transmission of the archaic or severedheadmotif may well have beenthe quarrynan1builder, rather than the guild sculptor, which wouldfurther underline the rural peasant context of the However,
" its transmission thread tradition. and via an anonymous of cultural inotif, in The association the of heads openings eitherwith, or actingas guardians of, entrances or has in in been discussed Examples have early precedents ground archaeology andethnography. 3 from Stone Chapter in Europe have been Age contexts faces wherestylised skulls carved and found in ritual contexts both naturalin formation,andartificial like thoseupon within caves, to Neolithic chambered tombs.In a non-European entrances context, carved stone heads, heads mummified of ancestors and "skull guardians" are associated with sacredstorecaves
193 heads by in found Thor Heyerdahl He Easter Island Pacific. the the wereregarded on explored "" "titles" "keys" to the or cave entrances. as in thesecontextscan be Their appearance the between interpretedassymbolising the gateways thresholds with connected areas ritual or found Similar "threshold" the with at sitesassociated chthonic are powers. carvings earth and in Chapter junctions in between the traditions tributaries collected riversand springs,wellsand 6. A single carvedheadin the Celtic style is knownfrom a coastal cavesite overlookingthe The headis cut in cruderelief upona wall of SevernEstuaryin WaltonBay,northSomerset. "' inside Severn Babyface Across is high Cave, flooding the tide. to which at prone rock in Wales South deusant Nant Castellau ("two tarren the relief at saints')on westsideof estuary, " human faces location. found of are a springat a numinous on a rockface above carvings in North it is in this guardianor talisman contextthata curiouscarvingfrom Knaresborough inside found The sculpture be Yorkshireshouldbe classified. anancientrock cut chapelor can but its has been have described ignored by the chapelover the those significance who all cave, in by historians The mostglaringprejudice last six hundred years. early the present wasshown inside being heads the the that time one of whom attributed survived chapelas whichat century, from the wall during the last the products of vandals, asa resultof which threewereremoved ""' The Chapel datesfrom aroundAD "restoration. of Our Ladyof theCragat Knaresborough 1408andis believed to be the handiwork of one"Johnthe Mason",a masterbuilder who was in "' is in The tiny the the town. restoring or chapel grotto castleandparishchurch employed foot the out of of thelimestone carved cliff belowLow Bridgeon the banksof the River Nidd, feet longby eightfeetbroadandseven feethigh.Thechapelwasprobably twelve measures and by As a anexistingcave,whichcouldhavehadearlierreligiousassociations. created enlarging functioning Catholic shrine, today the chapelis owned by Ampleforth Abbey, the North YorkshireBenedictine is known by best to the appearance community, visitors of and probably figure of an armedmanor knight,dmwinghis swordfrom a scabbard, a crude which is carved in relief to the right of the doorway,which he appears to guard.However,the limestonerock figure is cut erodes the which upon so easilyit is unlikely the currentcarvingdatesfrom the fourteenthcentury,andhistorians believeit is of late seventeenth century or early eighteenth "' It is to this period that Abbot Cummins,writing in 1926,attributesa seriesof origin. interior the faces"or masks. on carvings wall of thechapel,which he describes as"grotesque He writes that it is likely that far from being ancient "...both the figure outside and the
194 heads inside long idle the are some occupant after the chapel's work of grotesque
""' Cumminsdismisses desecration. their significancein the following manner bossesof altar and thefloriated sympathetic craftsman artistic capitals and who carved ..he he have have less hideous these meant them could perpetrated masks;still canopy could never ""' Trinity. to representthe Blessed The headscarvedin relief into the limestonewall of the chapelwere presentas far back as 1695, in describes Bishop Gibson Camden's Britannia to the to notes appended manuscript when , "three headswhich (according to the deovtion of the age) might be designatedfor the Holy Trinity. "" Hargrove,in his descriptionof the interior dated 1821,describes, -rl, 4d
for an emblematical allusion to the "... the figures of three heads,designed,(as is supposed), by the the of monks of some of whom they were probably once neighbouring priory; order
cut ... 9t 216
He also mentionsa fourth head,"said to represent that of John the Baptist, to whom this chapel " This suggests is supposedto have beendedicated. the fourth headwas cut in the wall of the century and the early part of chapel sometimein the interveningperiod betweenthe seventeenth this century. Abbott Cummins saysthere were four headspresentin the 1920s,but the three "" headsnoted by Gibsonand Hargrovewere "removed" when the chapelwas restoredin 1916. No contemporary illustrations depicting the headsexist, but it is clear they occupied a small face. is It the the of wall near surviving carved possiblethey were carvedas the original section descriptions suggest,to represent a triple deity, possibly the deity to whom the rock-cut chapel was originally dedicated.Today the single headwhich remainscan be seenon the interior wall immediately adjacentto the tiny archeddoorway as one entersthe chapel.It is cut in low relief below headheight, and is carvedin a striking, crude style including large lentoid eyes, slightly narrow straight-sidednoseand slit mouth typical of the archaic headsrecordedby Jacksonand Billingsley in WestYorkshire. Its outline is formed by a bank cut in relief from the wall of the rock, with the pecking made by the tool still evident. In style and appearance,the nearest comparativecarving I havefound comesfrom the late tenthcenturychancelarch in the church at in the EastYorkshire."' Both havethe characteristicblank expressionless Barton-upon-Humber
195 doorway head is The the to the typical close appearance of of thesecarvings. stare which from heads time its feature the threshold, with associated guardianship another of emphasises in head in 6. Another fully Chapter is described immemorial,thesignificance appears of which in Cheshire, folly Mow Cop in doorway castle archof a similar contextcarved relief uponthe landowner, by local built in by 1754, on a two a commissioned again stonemasons which was has "" Cop Mow head The had a at sanctity. of earlierreligious placewhichalready connotations blank has Knaresborough the carving. style which parallels with crude, Hargrove'smentionof a tradition connectingthe fourth headwith St John the Baptist is image head the interestingbecause the severed symbolof of the association of this saintwith John by decapitation. As during the medieval the saint'smartyrdom era,possibly asa resultof during II King Charles Billingsley hasshown, the of similar execution a cultusgrewup around "' in head West Yorkshire. motif the seventeenth of the century, coincidentwith a resurgence for is in theChapel Knaresborough The presence a number of reasons. significant of thehead at its Firstly, it hasbeencarvedin a sacred placewhosenuminosityprobablypredates Christian in lateryears. from thefifteenthcenturyonwards, dedications, The earliest dedication associate demonstrated, " has been hence As "Our Ladie Quarrell. it with thenearby the carved quarry, of in both Britain heads have been from and sites recorded a numberof caveand quarry stone between boundary the this the the and world and emphasise of significance elsewhere, have its inhabitants. Carvings therefore and may was quarried at places wherestone underworld between boundary the these as a means of of propitiation or acted asguardians of powers, acted the two worlds.
A more detailed discussion of the context of stone head carvings and the traditions which is in following Chapter 6. The their use presented chapter examines the surrounded distribution focusses in Ireland, Britain the upon one and and of carvings geographical 11 different English Midlands the the region styles and of where of all good examples particular datesassociated with theseenigmaticcarvingscanbe found.
I Quotedin Hickey, p. 12.2Personal fromMartinPetch,28 June1996. communication ' Halifax interpreting Heads Valley; 'Carved in the Calder "John Billingsley, a localfolktradition, Society Transactions, NewSeries, 4 (1996),15. Antiquarian 4Ross, 1967,pp. 94-171. Ibid. Petch,CelticStoneSculptures, p.8. SidneyJackson, TheJournal 'SomeCelticHeads, ' TheBrigantian: and of the Huddersfield Society,2 (1973), DistrictArchaeological 8. Ibid. W. Perfect, ' DailyTelegraph, F. 'Ancient 19January1967. stoneheadcult unearthed, " GuyRagland Post, 28 March1967. Phillips, Yorkshire rThe Magic of OldHarryý'
1 'Jackson, Celtic and Other Stone heads, p.2. 12 Ibid., p.4.
Petch,'CelticStoneHeads. ' 14 Ibid. ' 11 Fora summary in WestYorkshire, headcarvings 'Archaic of thisargument seeJohnBillingsley, TheYorkshire Journal,5 (Spring 94),38-48. Billingsley, StonyGaze,p. 15. Raftery, p. 186. Brewer, p. 38. file, SidneyJackson, 19 WoodandPotHeads, ' undated correspondence articlein Jackson headsonly one Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Leeds. Jackson the Yorkshire writes:"...among is madeof wood.Thiscrudecarving is only threeincheshigh,andhasa mouthwiththe tongue between Museum this woodenheadis the lips...foundin a storecupboard showing at Harrogate " unfortunately withoutanyinformation as to its provenance. 20 Ross,Pagan CelticBritain,p. 140. 2t Illustrated in Billingsley, StonyGaze,p. 73. 22 Ibid.,p. 71. 2" Ross,PaganCelticBritain,p.113. 24 Ross,ThePaganCelts, p. 51. 25 Jackson, CelticandOtherStoneheads, p. 22. Jackson cardindexnumber142. 26 Ibid.,p. 21. Jackson Bradford. HallMuseum 72,Cartwright collection, cardindexnumber 2'Fliegel,98. 23 Billingsley, 'Archaic headcarvings in WestYorkshire', pp. 5-6. 21 Billingsley, 'Archaic in WestYorkshire, ' 40. headcarvings *0Megaw Zehrovice', 'ThestoneheadfromMsecke 632. andMegaw, 31 Billingsley, StonyGaze,p.4. 32 Personal MyersWard, 22 September, fromAnthony 1993. communication "Riddel, P.iv. 3'Fliegel,98. 31 Ibid.,97. 311 Petch,'CelticStoneHeads. ' 31 Billingsley, 'Archaic ' pp. 54-57. headcarvings in WestYorkshire, 31 Riegel,99. 39 Illustrated in Billingsley, StonyGaze,p. 112. 40 Petch,'CelticStoneHeads. '
Headsfrom Greetland, Yorks, ' Antiquity, 54 (1968), 314-15; SidneyJackson,'Tricephalic illustratedin Jackson,Celticand Other Stoneheads, p. 34. The pair of tricephalicheads are now the propertyof the British Museum. 41 Jackson, Celtic and Other Stone heads, p.2. 43 Megawand Megaw,The stone head from MseckeZehrovice, 638-39. See JacquesBriard, The BronzeAge in BarbarianEurope(London: Routledgeand Kegan Paul, 44 1976), p. 74. "Billingsley, Stony Gaze, pp. 89-90. 4' Ross, PaganCelticBtitain, pp. 109-119. 4711aftery, p. 186. 48 Billingsley,Stony Gaze, p.90. 49 Personalcommunication from Dr Vanessa Toulmin,FairgroundArchive, Universityof Sheffield, 14 June, 1998. 50 D.J. Smith, 'A Romano-Celtic ' in Between and Beyond Tyneand Wear, head from Lernington, the Wails, ed. R. Miket and C. Burgess(Edinburgh:John Donald,1984),pp. 221-24. 11 Hickey,pp. 33-37. Museumof Antiquities,Newcastle-upon-Tyne. 51 Personalcommunication from ShelaghLewis, 9 June 1998. 53 Anne Ross, The DivineHag of the PaganCelts, ' in The WitchFigure (ed.) VenetiaJ. Newall (London: Routledgeand Kegan Paul,1973), p. 139. 54 Anne Ross and RichardFeacham,'Heads Balefuland Benign, ' in Betweenand Beoynd the Walls, (ed.) Roger Miket and Colin Burgess(Edinburgh:John Donald, 1984), p. 346. Ibid.,see also Macneill,p. 6. 50 Jackson, Celtic and Other Stoneheads,p. 13. SidneyJacksoncard index number 127. CartwrightHall Museum,Bradford. FA. Bruton, TheRomanFort at Manchester(Manchester:ManchesterUniversityPress, 1909), pp.34-35; G.D.B.Jones and ShelaghGrealey(ed.) RomanManchester(Altrincham: Sherrattfor the ManchesterExcavationCommittee). Press, 1974), p.16. Ross, 'The HumanHeadin insularPaganCeltic Religion, ' 10-11. 5' Ross, PaganCelticBritain, p. 117. 60 Riegel, ibid. Billingsley,Stony Gaze, p. 91. See Appendix 1, P20 and Appendix3, Fig. 2. On permanentdisplay at the Tullie HouseMuseum,Carlisle,Cumbria. 64 Displayedat the Lindow Man exhibition,ManchesterMuseum, 1991. Ross, Pagan Celtic Britain, 126-27. Jackson, Celtic and other Stone heads, p. 23. SidneyJackson card index numbers36 and 37. 1tems in privateownership. See Appendix 1, P21; Chapter 6, p. 283. Petch, Celtic Stone Sculptures, p. 10. Displayedat the Lindow Man exhibition,ManchesterMuseum, 1991. 10 Riegel, 98.
Green,Dictionary of CelticMythandLegend,p. 179. Greene, 'TheRomano-Celtic headfromthe BonMarche ' 338. site, 13 Enright,123. "'Riegel, 88. Jackson,Celticand OtherStoneheads, p. 34. Displayed Manexhibition, Manchester at the Lindow Museum, 1991. Sidney Jackson 30. cardindexnumber
' Petch, 'Celtic Stone Heads. 71 Ross, PaganCelticBritain, p. 122. 80 Fliegel, 87. Ibid. Illustratedin LindsayAllason-Jones,'Sewingshields, 'Archaeologia Aeflana, series 5,12 (1984). 97. 63 Wilfred Dodds,'CelticHeadsfrom Dumfdesshire, ' Transactions and of the Durnfriesshire Galloway NaturalHistoryand AntiquarianSociety, 3rd series,XLIX, (1972),36-38. Green, 'A CarvedStone Headfrom Steep Holm. 64 ' 11 Michel Meslin,'Symbolism and Ritual Use,' in The Encyclopaedia of Religion (ed.) Mircea Eliade (London:Macmillan,1987), p. 221. 116 Ross, PaganCelticBritain, p, 107. 87 Ross, The HumanHeadin insular PaganCeltic Religion, '36. 88 ' R. Pettazzoni,'The PaganOriginsof the three-headedrepresentation of the ChristianTrinity, Journal of the Calarburgand CourtauldInstitute (1946), 133-51. ,9 89 Ibid., 155. "'Billingsley, StonyGaze, p. 105. I" Pettazzoni, 139-40. 92 Ibid., 138. " Enright, 123. 94 Pettazzoni, 145-46. Meslin, p. 221. Smith, 'The Luck in the Head, ' 14. 97 Megawand Megaw,CelticArt, p. 74; Green,Dictionaryof Celtic Myth and Legend, P. 119 118 Ibid., pp. 178-79. 911 Ross, The PaganColts, p. 123. 100See Rynne, 'Celtic stone idols in Ireland, '85-86. 101 Ross, PaganCelticBritain, pp. 113 -14. Anne Ross, 'Some new thoughtson old heads, 101 ' ArchaeologiaAeflana, new series 5,1 (1973-74), 1-2.
Miranda Green, Symbol and Image in Celtic Religious Art, p. 173. 104 Ross, Pagan Celtic Britain, p. 107.
See Lambrechts,LExaltationdo la Tetedans Penseeet dans Partdes Ceftes. 101 See Ross and Robins, The Life and Deathof a Druid Prince, pp. 161-63,for examplesof two and three-facedstone heads in Danishcontexts,associatedwith medievalchurches and holy wells. Ross, PaganCeltic Britain, p. 107. 111"Raftery, p. 186. 'Coulston and Phillips,p.xvii. "0 Rynne, 'Celtic stone idols in Ireland, '86-87. Anne Ross, 'A Celtic Three-facedHead from Wiltshire',Antiquity, 41 (1967), 53-56. Ross, PaganCelticBritain, pp. 110-11. '"Sergio RinaldiTufi, CorpusSignorumImperilRomani, Vol. 1 fasc, 3: Yorkshire (Oxford: UniversityPress, 1983),p. 20. John Billingsley,'Celtic SurvivalsThreatened, ' NorthernEarth Mysteries, 30 (Summer,1986), 10-13. Ross, 'The HumanHead in insular PaganCeltic Religion,'10-11.
199 in item index 63. Jackson ""Jackson, CelticandOtherStoneheads,p. 38; Sidney number card
private possession. 117 Ross, PaganCelticBritain, pp. 111 12. 118 Ibid. '" Ibid., pp. 171-221. 120 ' Boon, 'A coin with the head of the Cernunnos. 121 L.J. F. Keppieand BeverleyJ. Arnold, CorpusSignorurn ImperifRornani, Vol.1f asc. 4: Scotland (Oxford: Oxford UniversityPress, 1984),p. 7. 122 Ross, PaganCelticBritain, p. 117. 123 For a full discussionsee Anne Ross, 'Tho HornedGod of the Brigantes, ArchaeologiaAefiana, new series 4,39 (1961). 63-89. 121 Petch, 'Celtic Stone Heads. ' 12' Ross, PaganCelticBritain, p. 122. 126 Jackson, Celticand OtherStone heads, p. 31; SidneyJacksoncard index number 108. Item in private possession. 127 Hickey,p. 26.
12'Ross, 'A Pagan Celtic Shrine at Wall, Staffordshire,'4-5. 129 Petch, 'Celtic Stone Heads.'
Coulston and Phillips,pp. 134-35. 131 Colin Richardson,'A Celtic horned god from Netherby,Cumbria, 'Tullie House Archaeology InformationSheet No. 2 (CarlisleCity Council,undated). 132 D.J. Smith, 'A Romano-Celtic ' head from Lemington. 133 Ibid., 223. 134 Ibid. MR. M. Harrison,'A SandstoneHeadfrom West Denton, ' Archaeologia Aefiana, 48 (1970), 346-48. 131 Wilfred Dodds,7wo Celtic Headsfrom County Durham, ' Archaeologia Aefiana, 45 (1967). 27-31. 137 J. V S. Megaw,'A CelticCult Headfrom PortTalbot,Glamorgan, 'ArchaeologiaCambrensis,115 . (1966), 94-97 138 J. V S. Megaw,'A further note on Celtic cult headsin Wales, 'Archaeologia Carnbrensis, 116 . (1967), 192-94. t39 Personalcommunication from DebbieWalker,MuseumServicesOfficer,RochdaleMuseum Service, 22 April 1993. ""Billingsley, Stony Gaze, p. 175. Cunliff e, Bath and the rest of Wessex, p. 35. C.F C. Hawkes,'A Romano-British 'Antiquaries Worcestershire, phalliccarvingfrom Broadway, Journal, 28 (1948), 166-69. '"Alaistair Marshall,'A Romano-Celtic carvedstone phallicfigurefrom GuitingPower, Gioucestershire, 'Transactions ArchaeologicalSociety, 102 of the Bristol and Gloucestershire (1984), 212-215. Green, The Gods of the Colts, p. 100. Jackson, Celtic and Other Stone heads, p. 2. "Green, The Gods of the Celts, p. 220. 141 Ibid. "' Richmond,rrwo Celtic heads in stone from Corbridge,Northumberland. ' ""Coulston and Phillips, p.44. "0 Keppie and Arnold, p. 4. "' Ross, Pagan Celtic Britain, p. 163. "'Boon, 'The Shrine of the Head, Caerwent. '
200 Green,TheGodsof the Celts, p. 218. Ibid. Celtic Ross,Pagan Britain,p. 153. 15a Rynne,'CelticstoneidolsfromIreland, ' 90. "I Ibid. 1'8 Mac&ill, p. 426. Rynne,'Celticstoneidolsin Ireland, ' 90. fromJohnBroadbent, Keys,'Heads collected of stonecastnewlighton Celticcult'; oraltradition Old Glossop, 24 August1996. William See Jacqueline Simpson, 96-101; 'TheKing'sWhetstone, 'Antiquity, 53 (1979), Chaney,TheCultof Kingship University Manchester (Manchester: in Anglo-Saxon England Press,1975),pp. 145-47. SeeCarver, TheSuttonHoo Sutton CareEvans, Hoo:BurialGround of Kings?andAngela ShipBurial (London: BritishMuseum Press,1989). On displayin the BurghMuseum, SeeLloydLaing,'TheAnglesin Scotland Dumfries. andthe Moteof Mark, ' Transactions History Natural andArchaeological of theDumfries andGalloway Society,50 (1973), 45. '"Ross, Pagan CelticBritain,p. 465. Hadrian's Wall 115 E.J. Phillips,Corpus Signorum Vol.1,fasc.1: Corbridge, Imperif Romani, EastandNorthof theTyne (Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press, 1977),p. 44, suggests the identification is unconvincing Maponus withApollowhoshould wasequated as the Corbridge be represented in a moreClassical, the headis "fartoo thannativeCeltic,guise;secondly, rather " Phillips for a godpossessing the the characteristics sombreandelderly of Apollo. suggests headrepresents by a nativeartist,between the secondandfourth a smallaltarproduced AD. centuries D.F. Petch,'Archaeological Architectural Notesfor 1956, ' Lincolnshire andArchaeological SocietyReports 7 (1957),17-19. andPapersý 167 Reginald Smith,'A medieval ' Antiquaries Journal,7 (1927),323-24. honefromIreland, T.D. Kendrick, 'Portion ' Antiquades Journal,21 (1941). 23. of a basalthonefromNorthWales, Charles Thomas, 'Theinterpretation ' Archaeological Journal,21 (1963),48. of Pictish symbols, JamesGoudie, ' Donations ' Proceedings to the Museum, of of Antiquaries of the Society Scotland,58 (1923-24), 16.
Glynis Reeve, 'A Celtic Whetstone? ' CurrentArchaeology, 124 (1991), 191. ""Val Evison, 'Pagan Saxon Whetstones, ' AntiquariesJournal, 55 (1975), 79. 113 Enright, 119.
See RupertBruce-Mitford, BritishMuseum TheSutton HooShipBurial Volume 1 (London: Press,1975),pp. 695-717. "The Venerable Bede,TheEcclesiastical People(ed. ) LeoShirleyPrice History of the English (Harmondsworth: Penguin, Bededescribes how Redwald had adopted 1986),pp. 130-31. Christianity hadconverted whilevisitingKentwhosekingAethelbert at an earlydatein the butto his greatdisgust in EastAngliawhen"hiswife to paganism mission, uponarrival returned himto apostaciseso his laststatewasworsethan his andcertain perverse advisors pursuaded ... firstfor he triedto servebothChristandthe ancient gods,andhe hadin the sametemplean altarfor the HolySacrifice to of Christsideby sidewithan altaron whichVictims wereoffered devils. " ""Simpson,'The King'sWhetstone, ' 96-101. 177 Bruce-Mitford, p. 22. "'See AnneRoss,'Chainsymbolism in Pagan Celticreligion, ' Speculum, 34(1959),39-59.
Petch,'Archaeological Notesfor 1956, ' 18. SidneyCohen,'The SuttonHooWhetstone, ' Speculum,41 (1966).466-70.
Ibid., 469. 183 Ibid., 469. "' Ibid., 469. 185 Ross, PaganCelticBtitain p. 96. , Personalcommunication from Martin Petch,ManchesterMuseum,30 January 1989. Personalcommunication from Alan Chattwood,April 1991and January1995. Illustrated in Clarkewith Roberts,Twilight of the Celtic Gods, p. 52. Billingsley, StonyGaze, p. 89. ""Alice Smith,'CelticHeads, '13. "' StephenOldfield,Who do you think you kidded,Mr Whittler? 'Daily Mail, 23 July 1994. "'Billingsley, Stony Gaze, pp. 71-73. "' See Clarkewith Roberts,Twilight of the CelticGods, p. 18. "'See Chapter6, pp. 304-305. Jackson,Celticand OtherStoneheads, p. 4. K. Dawson,'StoriedStones, ' The Dalesman June 1960,14. , "Jackson, Celticand OtherStoneheads, p. 4. Billingsley, 'Archaicheadcarvingsin WestYorkshire, ' p. 103. SidneyJacksoncard indexnumber33. CartwrightHall Museum,Bradford. Jackson,Celticand OtherStoneheads, p. 4. Brears,p. 32. 202 Rynne,'Celticstone idols in Ireland, ' 83. 203 See Chapter6. 204 Collected from Alan Garner, HolmesChapel,Cheshire,April 1995. 2" Billingsley, StonyGaze, p. 79. 200 Ibid. 2"'Thor Heyerdahl,Aku-Aku (London:Allen and Unwin, 1958),pp. 56-58. 208 PaulNewman, 'Babyf Cave:A Personal History, ' ThirdStone, 28 (1997),8-11. ace 2" Brewer,p. 112. 210 See Abbott Cummins,'Knaresborough Journal, 28 Cave-Chapels, ' Yorkshire Archaeological (1926), 80-88. 211 The Chapelof Our Lady of the Crag, Knaresborough,undatedguidebookproducedby the Friendsof the Shrine,p.3.
Personal communication from Mary Kershaw, Curator, Harrogate Museum, 15 July 1998. 213 Cummins, 86.
Ibid. 215 Personalcommunication CountyLibraries,22 from GeorgeCapel,NorthYorkshire January 1998. 21 ' E. Hargrove,Historyof the Castle,townand forestof Knaresborough (Knaresborough:privately published, 1821), pp. 88-89. 217 TheChapelof Our Lady, p.2. 218 Illustrated in Brears,p. 36. 219 SeeAppendix 1, P48. 22" Billingsley, StonyGaze, pp. 69-71.
Archaic stone heads: Case studies
"Things are as theyare because theywereas they were. "
Thomas Gold, astronomer.'
203 5.1. Introduction
This chapterdevelopsthe themeof carvedstoneheadswhoseorigin, style and date have been be in Chapters 3 and 4. Geographical discussed upon expanded will variationspreviouslynoted in this chapter,which beginswith a regionalsurveyof carvingsrecordedin Britain and Ireland, District in Peak is developed further in the of theme which my own casestudy of sculpture a central England, researchwhich was undertakenspecifically for the purposesof the current head The detailed discussion the the motif within chapter with of ends a of evolution research. the context of medieval church architecture,with specific relevanceto the Peak District case heads The discussion both the the carved will style examine archaic significance of study. feature human heads those with as a pre-Reformation churches and which produced associated developing Romanesque the and Gothic carving traditions. Variant carving traditions which of from Romanesque the period include the distinctive typesclassifiedas the GreenMan and grew Sheela-na-gigwhich were popular symbolsin medieval church decoration during the Middle headmotif, if not in directly in style, Ages, and drew their ultimate inspirationfrom the severed then in function.
5.2. Geographical distribution
of head sculpture
Attempts to draw conclusionsfrom the distribution of carvedstoneheadsof the Celtic tradition in Britain haveso far beenconfined to a small numberof individual casestudiessuchas that of John Billingsley in West Yorkshire.' No single study before this study has produced an drawing upon all the available material. However, it is apparentthat the plotting of overview individual carvings upon distribution mapsis a fruitless exerciseas the original findspots are Due to the portablenatureof thesestonesand their frequent secondaryuse in recorded. seldom field such as and gardenwalls, rockeriesand other temporarystructureswhich are an structures integral part of the landscape,their original provenanceis frequently unknown. In addition, has which surroundedthe recordingof headssince the 1960shasaddedcollectability publicity homes. from to the factorswhich haveinfluencedthe movementof examples their original away The frequentappearance of headsin antiqueauctionsand during the last thirty years hasadded to the confusionwith, for instance,examplesfrom North Wales migrating with their owners to
204 to fieldwall from District travelling instance head Peak In Yorkshire a a andviceversa. another 3 Devonasa resultof a bequest to thesonof thecurrent owner. the to these added The confusion the sculptures, of whichoftensurrounds originalprovenance in a feelingof exasperation who dating,hasresulted lack of secure on thepartof archaeologists In the heads in Romano-Celtic current haveincludedexamples sculpture. of of carved surveys focussed in distribution described be discussion, with attention sense, of carvings a general will have a significantnumberof examples zones which consistently produced geographical upon known heads be It are sculpture andrelated of over a periodof time. will notedthatgroupings from onespecificregionor valley,suggesting thattheyall belongto a specificperiodor arethe been has Yorkshire West In this situation suchas of a groupor school of carvers. areas products in heads later heads by both Romano-British of the examples and presence of early confused Continuing interpretation. folk has their art which confused vernaculararchitectureand in less but Ireland, in England apparent are and traditionsof carvingsurvivestrongly northern 3. in Fig. 26 Appendix in Wales. These Britain on the southwest areplotted and zones north
5.2.1. Romano-British carved heads
Writing in 1967, Anne Ross noted that "a great density" of Celtic-style stone heads and had been in England. Northern She wrote: recorded sculpture 11 in the region of Hadrianý Wall. -forming an interesting and impressive group, ... " depicted. be in Celtic heads the various ways which can exemplifyingall
further by The significance this of a seriesof of emphasised the appearance clusteringwas by the Oxford listing Roman iconography from theHadrian's Wall region,published fascicules from listing sculpture Imperii Romani. Signarhan In thefascicule UniversityPress, the Corpus "Celtic Wall westand north of the Tyne,Coulston describe Phillips Hadrian's so-called and have in the pastaccepted heads"as being "a perennial problemfor CSIR editors examples ... "' Subsequent Roman. beenproved to be medievalandfakeshavebeenaccepted volumes as in Wales,Scotland,Wessexand Yorkshirerecorded further listing Romano-Celtic sculpture important the below. most groupings of whicharediscussed examples, Ross'sstudycoincidedwith fieldwork,by SidneyJackson which resultedin the recordingof
205 hundred heads, in West England, more thanseven primarilyfrom northern with concentrations Yorkshirein the Aire andUpperCaldervalleys.In addition,fieldwork by Shelagh Lewis and in Martin Petchof Manchester Museumrecordedmany more hitherto unknownexamples Petch by Jackson. that northwestEngland, an areawhich sometimes with covered overlapped England in the of notesthatconcentrations of stoneheads northwest andassociated sculptures becameapparentduring the survey at Greetlandand Mytholmroyd in Calderdale,West Yorkshire,Maryportin Cumbria,the Bury areaof Lancashire and the High Peakregion of Derbyshire(seeFig. 26).' All these areas wereon thefringesof Romaninfluenceduring the first four centuries AD, in Wall, in Wales Hadrian's South the of and style some cases, as and , illustrate the mergingof British and Romanreligious symbolism. the carvingsthemselves invasion, Before the Roman the nativetribeslackeda developed traditionof carvingin stone, in woodandthushavenot survived, to havebeenfashioned and religiousiconsarepresumed high-status from thelateIron AgeandearlyRoman head display the although metalwork period that the majority of "Celtic-style" stoneheadswere as a religious symbol.It is suggested duringthe periodof Roman in Britain by produced occupation who working of artisans were stonefor thefirst time,andproducing of British, Roman and religiousiconscombining a range exoticstylesfor a varietyof purposes. In generalit can be concluded j ority of those that Romano-Celtic stoneheads,and the ma by from folk art, aremostcommon in produced theevolvingtraditionof carvingheads apparent the pastoral " a distinctionrecognised by Sir uplandareas of the traditional"HighlandZone, 7 Cyril Fox in 1932. Usingarchaeological dataFoxdividedBritain into HighlandandLowland Zones,a divisionwhichroughlycorresponded to thenorthwest andsouthwest of Britain. In the Highland Zone Fox includednot only the traditional"Celtic fringe" regionsof Walesand Scotland,but also Devon and Cornwall, the PeakDistrict and the Penninesof northern England.Distributionof recorded stoneheads reflectsthe continuingtraditionsin the more isolatedandconservative foothills, wherea pastoraleconomy uplandregionsof the Pennine from theBronze wasmaintained Age. In this regiontheimpactof outside relativelyunchanged cultural influencewasweakerandlessmarkedthanin the lowlands,as therewas little or no "surpluswealth"whichwouldbe required James to maintain tradingcontacts and with Europe. Rigbynotethechanges in Britishsociety at theendof theIron Age werelargelyconfinedto the developed rich, elite who controlledthe tribesof theLowlandZonewhich at this periodwere
206 involved before in Empire Gaul Roman the trading the and with and culturalexchange already invasionof theearlyfirst century AD. Theywrite:
"The rest of the country was inuch less affected like all societies, those of the North and West ... continued to evolve but more slowly, and older, small-scale patterns of life persisted-'* The growing cultural divergence between the southeast and northwest continued after the Roman conquest. Developed nobilities did not exist in the northern Highland Zone and the first halt frontier during Brigantian two centuries the to the armies ground a along advancing AD. This led to the development of semi-autonomous Roman military zones south of a line is by Hadrian's been It Wall has large where recorded. a carvirg collection of stone marked by by these examples were stimulated new were produced native uuDs&&wýv, suggested techniques for carving in stone which had been introduced into southern England at the time of the Roman invasion.
5.2.2. Later medieval carved heads The upland and lowland context must be taken into account when discussing trends in the distribution of headsproduced within the folk art of Pennine valleys such as Longdendale, Calderdale,Airedale, the Tyne and Eden valleys and the Cravenregion of the Yorkshire dales. Billingsley suggests the most important factor in the distribution of headsin this region is the developmentof a vernacularbuilding style in stonewhich producedthe yeomanhousesof West Yorkshire during the "great rebuilding" of the seventeenth century.More than one hundredstone headshave beenrecordedin the Upper CalderValley by Billingsley, who claims the headmotif does not occur with the same frequency in vernacular architecture in comparable contexts in Britain, ' is "relatively in Heads Lowland England. Zone the and rare" elsewhere of southern traditions are found to a lesserextent in certain regions bordering the Lowland and associated Zone, including Cheshire and Lincolnshire, but are markedly infrequent in occurrence, and heads of the Pennine tradition are virtually unknown in comparable contexts in southern F,ngland-Of singular importance here is the absence of the head motif in areasof easternand England where buildings continued to be of predominantly timber construction. southern George Ewart Evans' study of traditional protective charms in East Anglian timbcr-framed
207 housesdemonstrates the complete of a tradition of headcarvingwithin this region, absence " influenced factors during by the medieval period. a differentsetof socio-economic which was Areas of Yorkshireeastof Leedsand Bradford which have a longer tradition of wooden been have lack heads, but that the possibilityremains may examples stone architecturealso frequently in but havenot as wood survived. carved in thedistributionof carving Even within thePennine zoneitself, thereareregionalanomalies in degree lesser There Valley in Calder to the and a are concentrations of carvings clusters. Airedale, but headsare notablyabsentin the neighbouringPenninevalleys of Holme and in is It have that Rossendale of a excess which comparable contexts. estimated socio-economic Yorkshire West in barns textile region the thousandstonebuilt houses and wereconstructed distribution between draws direct Billingsley the during theseventeenth of parallels century, and with this thesedistinctive"Halifax Houses" andthe archaicheadmotif which are associated " head The therefore the may carvings style of vernacular of popularity architecture. particular in builders houses this their be directly relatedto the socialandeconomic the and contextof regionwhichsuggests: particulargeographical heavily livelihood head in 11 the strong recurrence with a a of motif a population archaic ... dependent tenitreof their land extendingover on hill-farming and with a long-established "11 getwrations.
The resurgence of the severedheadmotif appearsat the time of growing affluence among the in during West Yorkshire trade, the the the neo-gentry an wool of valleys growth of yeoman long families dependent The tenure these where economic wealth upon was upon sheep. of area land which appearsto have kept some degreeof native British identity, as reflected in the late "Celtic" kingdom independent Elmet, the survival of of addsadditional weight remarkably background to the overall socio-economic which providedfertile soil for the developmentof the head traditions in this area. 5.3. Survey of regional clusters of head carving traditions The following sectionlists rive geographical regionsof the British Isles whereconcentrations of heads and related sculpture have been identified, including Hadrian's Wall, Ireland, Wales,
208 in discussed Yorkshire. Regional Wessex trends this general although survey, are styles and and in important themes to elsewhere this study are cross-referenced wherenecessary chapters whereappropriate.
5.3.1 Hadrian-Is Wall
Construction of Hadrian's Wall beganin AD 121.The project, which commandeered120,000 by built important the has been described territory the monument of native most as acres Romans in Britain, and its impact upon the tribal culture of the native Brigantes,who occupied The be invasion, England Roman the time the underestimated. the north of should not at of imposed have of soldiers would military supervision upon the native tribes and prcsencc the Although the territory the surrounding of movement wild nature north and south. restricted wall would have madecontrol of the more remote districts difficult, the arrival of the troops have brought in settlementpatterns,agriculture and the economy. considerable changes would Foreign soldiers also brought with them new and exotic religions such as the cult of Mithras, Romans The influenced the were tolerant of merged with and cults. native religious which imperial deities in the pantheonas part who were often equatedwith godsand goddesses native deities frontier known interpretalio In the this of native majority process region, as romani. of a have loose The been depicted horned to warrior gods. male, and were often as appear known tribes of as the Brigantes, which occupied the region south of the wall, confederation depicted Often land, High One). Brigantia (the the took their namefrom the tutelary goddess of in triple form, Brigantia is equatedwith the RomanMinerva and Victory on severalaltars from the Wall. She appearsin iconography as guardian of sacredsprings and wells, and has been " in Irish head directly associated the with context. severed symbol an The importanceof the humanheadin local beliefs is reflected by the finds at Coventina'sWell besidethe Romanwall fort of Brocolitia at Carrawburgh,wherea humanskull and a number of bronze masks were found a part of a large deposit of votive objects (see Chapter 3). The human head is found repeatedly in religious iconography, both native, the upon emphasis Roman and hybids of both elsewhere along the RomanWall. In particular, a significant number depicting homed headshave been unearthedduring the last three hundred years. carvings of The best known is the "harsh and angular" head of a ram-homcd warrior god found at the
209 forts fort Netherby, in known from Cumbria, Horned heads 1794. the at at are also outpost is it Wall, Lemington West Denton Carvoran,Chesters, the and of alongtheeastern section and heads A local these and some of of number represented gods and goddesses. possible Cumbria, known from fort Maryport, the a the sculpture western of are on coast associated at in horned has largest dedications theregion to the the preserved god site which well of number first in Ellen River (seeFig. 16).Thefort wasbuilt on a headland the the centuryADasa above for almostthree basefor Agricola'splanned attackon the Solway.Maryportwas garrisoned by soldiers left from threedifferentEuropean hundredyears of a thriving evidence who cohorts Eastern large Roman Celtic, A depicting wealthy and culture. number native and of carvings in theruinsandareon view in theSenhouse RomanMuseum, deities havebeenunearthed the in in human Horns, Britain, first by Camden 1599. private collection which was noted oldest Stone,which in theform of theextraordinary Serpent headsandphallicimagery areall present "all theoccult Celticsymbols the museum power guidedescribes of supernatural ascombining found in funerary Roman fortune. ""' The the phallus, context a a symbolof good with stone, depictsa severed headwith closedeyesand half-open mouth in a late Romancemetery, biting long a pillar-like stone, an object,possiblyan with a sinuous crowning phallic serpent Celtic-style the Associated the the on reverse a of of same site are number sculpture. with egg, heads, deity, dedicated homed figure, to a crude altars a radiate and phallic warrior carved Sctlocenia("goddess of long life") a plaquedepictingthreenakedgoddesses, and a strange figure. "" "Shadow
Historian Etienne Rynne's early survey of paganCeltic sculpture in Ireland identified seven regions where carved headsof presumedearly date and paganstoneidols were clustered, only one of which was outside Ulster; this was the Piltdown region of County Kerry. Rynne concluded there were also "a few isolatedstoneheads of apparentlypaganCeltic type scattered in ""' In style, thesecarvingscan be comparedwith Celtic widely Ulster, Leinster and Shannon. in North Britain, suggestingcultural connectionsand influence acrossthe "Irish Sea scultpure Province." The specialdifficulties inherentin the dating and classification of the Irish material in Chapter3. were discussed
210 Boa by identified Helen Hickey at A separate carvings of archaic a concentration regional study 17 Cavan. County Lough Erne, County Fermanagh, Island on of central areas andneighbouring Boa in figure Caldragh janiform one of thecarvings the on the graveyard now sherecorded was just over twentyeight inches in height,andis madeup of two human Island, which stands faces limbs. The two head bustssetbackto back,each triangular andcrossed with anoversized Each long from large by the nose. staringeyessurrounded a ridgespringing are similar, with is base disturbed the face has an upward-curling what the statue of moustache, and around hollow, deep be is heads belt. Between to the which may the two a remains of a wide appears for liquid be either a socketfor the insertionof an additionalpart of the idol or a receptacle 4). Chapter date (see feature Celtic heads with other pagan associated of presumed offerings,a The double-faced appearance of the carving is a commonfeaturein, Romano-Celticstone deity. doubling belief in the the the the twins, the of powerof or powerof scuplture,reflecting Hickey Although the idol hasbeenmovedinto a churchyard wasof the opinion some point, at figure is just oneof a collectionof the carvingwasnot an early Christianartcfact.The Janus in Ulster, found heads figures" "idol with stone and archaiccarved pillars, phallic-shaped Hill at Armaghbeingtheformermonastic Lough ErneandtheCathedral which carvingschools is a second beside figure at Dreneen them.Standing theJanus carvedstone,slightly produced in from height, " Man, "The Lusty a graveyardon which was moved nicknamed smaller " its powerswere still feared. LustymoreIslandwhereit had beenburied,possiblybecause depicting figurehasonecircular-cut faceandits left eyeis incompletely This squatting a carved, blind District feature from Peak, This is the or eye. carvings associated with a number of closed is discussed fully in Chapter 4. elsewhere, and more and isolated LoughErnebasinregion, In her surveyof the complexsculpture of thegeographically Hickey writes of the "'remarkablearchaism" of the carving tradition, which retainedpagan during its evolutionfrom theearlyChristian elements andRomanesque pcriodsto the present. is another In the same the borderin CountyCavan, areaof northcentralIreland,across centre Celtic here famous It that pagan three-faced cult significance. was of a paganidol called the in the middle of the nineteenth "Corleck God" was discovered century in a township near " CorleckHill, at the base hasbeen of a standing stone. The strikinghead,whosesignificance fully in Chapters discussed from a blockof sandstone 3 and4, is fashioned cut with the features in low relief, resembling from Europe. Iron Age carvings Local traditiontells how the Corleck
211 janiform stone headnowat Corraghy, headwasfoundalongwith another two milesaway, in a " known head back Grave. back This the'Giant's to as with thatof was combined second place importance A similar stonecarving, to a shcep-farming a ram, a symbolof economic people. West human head Mirfield, in discovered that a wall with a at combining of a ram, was Yorkshire, in the 1960s, suggesting a commoncontinuumof beliefs amongthe tribes who based Billingsley them, tribe was which whose power suggests a or reflects people produced " long Irish land It is possible based Fig. (see 14). tenure these of andwealth uponsheep upon carvings wereat onetime storedin a nativesanctuary on CorleckHill, the site of an annual beginning August Lughnasaharvestfestival until 1831,wherepeoplegathered to the of at bilberries holy and visit a well. The festivalwasheldin honourof Ireland'sthreemost collect Christian Patrick,Brigid andColumba, by three, "graves saints, whowererepresented powerful by the on thehill, itself a subtlereflectionof theCeltic triple deity represented or monuments" " Corleck God.
In 1966 JXS Megaw,in an early surveyof Romano-Celticheads,notedthreeconcentrations of in South Wales, the adjacentWest Country and Hadrian's Wall. Megaw referred to sculpture, two Welshexamples as "exhibiting a commonCeltic artistic and religious heritagewhich seems to have survived, outsideIreland, on the fringe of Romanoccupied Britain. " R.J. Brewer's
volume on Romano-Celticsculpturein Walesincludesa scattered grouping of fifteen "so-called "' Just two of these,one from a small domesticshrine at Caerwent(discussedin , Celtic heads. Chapters3 and 4) and the secondfrom excavations at the works depot of the Twentieth Legion in Holt, Clwyd, were recoveredfrom reliable archaeologicalcontexts and are Roman in date. The head from Holt is carved with typical Celtic featuresin relief on a rectangularblock, and has been compared with the heads on clay antefixa which have been found at the fort at Caerleon (seeChapter3). ' Two others,from Caerhunand Carmarthenwere found unstratified at sites which were occupied during both the Roman and in later periods, leaving a sizeable question mark over their age in the absence of a securecontext. The crudely-carvedheadfrom Caerhun was found in the gravel courtyard of the Principia, but the proximity of a medieval it camefrom there.A comparable church to the site could suggest carving existsin the form of a
212 human-headed corbelfrom themedieval parishchurchat St Cwyfan,Tudweiliog, which was " in 1849. Of theeleven rebuilt remaining examples,
defies the carving comesfrom of none simplicity a reliable very archaeological context, and ... " fonn date. discussion hence, to of stylistic any and, conclusionas period or
R. B. White lists twelve "Celtic" stone headsfrom Wales, of which four coincide with the " dated by Brewer. Of the remaindernone,with the possibleexception examples noted securely The from being Laughame, Carmarthen, a pillar-stone as pre-Roman. are accepted of near it brickworks Laughame stonewas usedasa gatepost the to until was removed to a at entrance the CarmarthenMuseum. Megaw comparesthe stone, which has a circular face surrounding Icntoid eyes,with anotherpillar stonefrom Port Talbot which he datesto the period of Roman " Ross for date both pieces which she classifies in late Iron Age the suggests a occupation. " feature heads carved upon the glans. among a group of phallic monuments which Alternatively, thesetwo pillar-like stonescould be comparedwith the Graeco-Roman customof herins, carving or boundarystones,which overlapped"Celtic" tradition and was continued in folk art in north Britain within living memory.
Francis Lynch suggestsa date in the late Iron Age for a head from Hendy Farm, Pwllgwyngyll, Anglesey, on the basis of style and resemblance to pillar stones from continental Europe. The life-sized head has been cemented upon a garden wall for the past fifty years, and was roughly "originally found somewhere on the farm. "" The head is carved from a triangular block of
sandstone, with the face skillfully
0-ocuted with a flat profile, protruding eyes with double lids
"a strange twisted smile, unusual in Celtic sculpture in which the faces are often rather and "' expressionless. A small hole has been drilled into one side of the mouth, a feature associated
with a number of heads of early date but which have been re-interpreted as indicative of a modem origin in recent years (see Chapter 4). The style and features of the Hendy head are by Lynch to argue against the possibility of the carving being a medieval church corbel, used although a number of churches on Anglesey contain heads which are even less sophisticated in 33 style.
The West Country and Cotswoldsregion were subjectto extensiveRomanisationfollowing the invasion of Britain during the first century AD. Even before this time native culture had been influenced by trade contactswith the neighbouringtribes of the south and east. As a result a large collection of Romano-Celticiconographyand carving hassurvived in the context of forts, from important The Aquae Sulis Bath. temples suchas collection of sculpture at villa sites and the Roman shrine at Bath included the important Gorgoneionheaddiscussedin Chapter3 and its in baths 1878 beaten found in the the tin the with culvert of other artefacts such as mask in face, representation of used religious ceremonies at the which was presumably stYlised baths.' Barry Cunliffe's analysis of the surviving Romano-Celtic sculpture from Wessex includes a specialcategoryfor "Celtic heads"of which he lists sixteenexamples,of which four from five from from Dorset, four Somerset, from Wight, Hampshire Isle two the of and came lack by Wiltshire andone from Sussex. After taking into accountthe accepted created problems he concluded: of secureprovenance "At best all that can be said is that of the headslisted somemay be of Romandate, a jew may "' be earlier,while someare quite likely to bepost-Roman andperhapsevenrecent. Cunfiffe's initial study has been augmentedmore recently by Copson and Legge who have begun a survey of "Celtic"-style stone headsfrom the Wessexregion."' Copson has noted a small concentrationof carvingsfeaturing the headmotif in Dorset and Somerset. A number of displayed in Romano-Celtic were at an exhibition of sculpture Dorset County Museum examples in 1996, including a recently discoveredcarving from Lamyatt Beacon.Three "Celtic"-style faces are carved into this strip of Roman brick dated to the fourth century AD, inviting comparisonswith Continental templeslike those at Entremont in Provence.Also among the depictinga humanface,and a limestone collection are a rooftile antefix from RomanDorchester head in "Celtic" style found in a stratified contextfrom Romanbuilding of the third century AD Camerton, Somerset, discussed in Chapter3. A continuing tradition of carving or secondary at is by the existence of sculpture suggested use of guardianskull traditions in southernDorset and ' Theseincluded the discoveryof threeheadsfrom the wall of a demolishedbarn in Portesham. head archaic-style carvedin the round from a block of limestone,and two facescut in relief an
214 homed depict Representations to which of theantleredgod stones, one of appears a god. upon
Cernunnos are known from a Cotswold region, carved upon a stone from Roman Cirencester "' dated AD. to the secondcentury and upon a silver coin 5.3.5. Yorkshire
Hundreds of archaic carvedstone headsare known from the Calder and Aire valleys of West Yorkshire. Some are carved on boulders and rock outcrops, others are incorporated into barrisand other buildings. Over one hundred headsare known fieldwalls and and farmhouses, from the Caldervalley areaalone,with eighteenrecordedin fieldwalls and buildings aroundthe foothill village of Mytholmroyd. The Upper CalderValley was the subjectof a specialstudy by John Billingsley, who first noticed thesestrangecrude sculpturesbuilt into the gable ends of farmhousesand bams when walking on hillside footpathsalong the CalderdaleWay in 1978. He wrote how:
day I took a walk near my homein the Calder Valley andfound no lessthanfive carved one ... heads discovery froin fannsteads... from the this of gazing start came out at me old stone I decided in Calderdale it to the this and of as persisted record of style carving others, existence ' until quite recently.
in the valley appear The oldeststoneheads to be thosewhich havebeenfound in dry stone walls or dug out of topsoil; thesecould havefunctioned as portable"field gods" to promote fertility and watch over the flocks, and somemay be of Iron Age or Romanorigin. Those buildings by masons by wealthyyeoman to havebeen with appear carved employed associated domestic farmerswho grewrich from thewool trade. heads Stone the stone on appear earliest buildings in Calderdale, dating from the sixteenthcenturyonwards,a and churches secular headmotif during the EnglishCivil centurywhich coincides with a resurgence of the severed War.Irrespectiveof their original meaning,the position of the carvingssuggestthey were deliberately for buildingsandother placedto performa "guardian" talismans role asprotective This tradition continued structures. until the mid nineteenth werecarved centurywhenheads in theWestYorkshirevalleys, within thestructure andpositioned of a number of mill chimneys function.Examples wheretheypresumably theirprotective continued of thiskind of carvingare
215 in Chapter 6. This suggests discussed an activetraditionof headcarvingsurvivinguntil recent in Yorkshire. in West Calderdale times aspartof therepertoire of stone and elsewhere masons heads in his bookNorth CountryFolk Art concludes Peter Brears,of LeedsMuseum, that , house including found locations, in limited these are only a numberof architectural such as beside doorways houses springs above and and windowson and medievalchurches, gables, 40 have back Iron Age. dating Celtic to the tradition connections with a and wells which datedto the Iron Age other than through However, noneof these examples can be securely has been discussed in Chapter 4. a problem which style, landslip following Romano-Celtic Two tricephalicheads at a of possible origin wereunearthed " in 1956, followed heavy Hoults Lane,Greetland, which a rainstorm. The find spotwasclose " found at to "VictoriaBrigantia, to that of a Roman altarof third centuryAD date,dedicated ' The dedication by Camden. Thick Hollins, now BankTop,in 1597andmentioned pairsthe tutelary goddess of thenativetribeswith Victoriaor Minervawho waspopularin theYorkshire This both heads be Roman that the the suggests with early could associated an altar and area. is lost. but Historian Halifax, two the this settlement site miles south ancient of of name veteran between Tony Wardhasdrawncomparisons the tricephalic of Roman sculptures andthe bases Both tricephalicheads Jupiter columns whichweresimilarlydecorated are with stylisedheads. in in "cigarette hole" face having distinctive thecomerof the yellow sandstone, each a carved ' half landslide behind Hoults Lane, a mouth. A third headwasfoundin a garden a about after from inches high and heads This carvingis fourteen wherethetricephalic mile werediscovered. with a straight-sided crudely carved in local sandstone, nose,an upturnedmouth and an " long fourth A in headfrom the same to SidneyJackson neck. unusually areawaspresented Potteryat Black-ley, Elland, and is a bull-necked, 1966; this camefrom the site of Woodman ' for manyyears bald-headed carvingused of an a garden notesthe presence ornament. Jackson in foundations Iron Age site at Barkisland,west of Greetland, by a site now marked wall by thevalleya life-sizedhumanfaceis cut uponthe andat Stainland covered a reservoir, across of a blockof millstonegrit, "oneof a line of boulders vertical surface which form a roughwall in type " West Riding dated Iron Age. a the common to the of andoften The concentration in this areaof Calderdale is interesting dueto the proximity of the of heads Romanaltar to the presumed it and perhaps which accompanied settlement stimulatednative in carving stone.Romaninfluenceis also a factor associated with a cluster of Celtic-style
216 heads found fort in Derbyshire High The Greetland Melandra Peak. the the are near at carvings has Ward historian Tony Romanisation degree from an areawhich experienced of and some that: suggested
"-the relationship of the Greetlandaltar with the tricephalic headsfrom the samevillage and the virtual merging their relationship to the bases of the Jupiter pillarsfroin Germanysuggests " in in Brigantia. AD thefirst the third traditions quarterof century of The remarkablepopularityof the headmotif in the WestYorkshire valleys discussed above runs from traditions the PeakDistrict of north Derbyshire,which are examined with similar parallel in detail in the casestudywhich follows. 5.4. THE PEAK DISTRICT - Case Study 5.4.1. Background to case study
of the limited number of regional casestudiesof "Celtic" stone headsproduced to date none have discussedthe collection of stoneheadsand relatedsculpturefrom the areaof the English N4idlandsknown as the PeakDistrict. Both the Jacksonand Petchsurveyshave listed examples from Derbyshire, Cheshireand SouthYorkshire, and both haveacknowledgedthe potential for further discoveriesin this region without making any further comment.Their listings are useful base, but lack in distribution, kind terms empirical an or any of useful of provenance analysis as function heads have been from listings Peak. These the and the of which recorded were context for as a the present survey which concentrated on locating all known starting point used examples, recording previously unknown heads in situ and noting all surviving contextual information, including history, provenanceand folk traditions which could help to date and This them. approachhas not beenusedby earlier surveyswhich listed stone heads categorise upon style, while neglectingcontextand function. with an emphasis A full descriptionof the methodusedto collect sourcematerialfor this casestudy was set out in Chapter 2. In summary,fieldwork in the Peakduring the late 1980sand early 1990sresultedin the collection of a series of rough notes listing roughly a dozen examples of carved heads, including thoseon display in museums Initially a survey of and othersin situ in the landscape.
217 indexprovidedthirty-three for heads SidneyJackson's of within thecounties entries recorded District" "Peak SouthYorkshire, fell Derbyshire, Cheshire Staffordshire the within which and file index Additional by Museum Manchester which the examples card were provided zone. fieldworkers, by both Jackson's listing recorded contained earlier and additionalexamples data from This border. boundary Cheshire Peak the was the the northwest around primarily of Sites by by local and county additional examplesrecorded and museums complemented in Appeals Indexes Monuments during the the which werealsoconsulted research. of course local newspapers and andmagazines, archaeologists andinformationprovidedby informants, be information historians to contributed collected significantlyto the database continued and in 1998.Wherepossibleall carvingswere examined, until the completionof the research in find-spots four figure and grid references the photographed approximate recorded with heads In 107 Appendix 1. total, this which were accompanies stone gazetteer research as from during the research the PeakDistrict andsurrounding an which spanned recorded areas from 1990.Appendix1 lists heads by the nameof the nearest year period eight alphabetically based dating: town or villagewithin four categories uponapproximate
1. Celtic and Romano-British; 2. Medieval secularand modem; 3. Medieval ecclesiastical; 4. Miscellaneous.
iscc ancous"categoryincludesthoseheadswhich arc noted by early surveysbut have
disappeared from their recordedlocations,or where this survey failed to locate them. The since discussionwhich follows attemptsto provide contextfor the threemajor categorieslisted above. one of the primary aims of the researchwas the collection of folklore and tradition which has accumulatedaround thesecarvings, which by their very natureattract attention and comment, divorced from their original context by time or space.During the survey all when especially information and stories surrounding headswas recorded by shorthand in notebooks extant listed in the Appendix 2. The traditions collectedare discussed in detail in Chapter6 are which in the contextof broaderfolklore surroundingcarvedstoneheadsin Britain. An associatedtradition with close links with head carving is the use of human skulls as
218 in detail in is discussed buildings, this the talismans motif and of within structure protective by identified have been the District Peak kind from Four current 7. the Chapter this storiesof Derbyshire at to the of comer three them the northwest areas upland of associated with research, traditions Two other hitherto unrecorded Flagg and Castleton. Tunstead nearChapel-en-le-Frith, during the buildings in Peakland collected were to the useof skulls asprotectiveamulets relating discussed falling Rowarth, both Glossop within the samegeographicalregion and research at below.
S. 4.2. Geographical context of the study The Peak District, designatedas England's first National Park in 1951, is a geographically includes five hundred of range wide a and than miles square region which covers more compact distinctive by influenced been landscapes have the geological region's which archaeological " boundaries The National Park county modem of a number upon overlap modern contrasts. is its the but Metropolitan northern within the contained area of vast majority authorities, and Yorkshire, South Substantial Derbyshire. areasof part of the modem administrativecounty of Cheshire and Staffordshire also fall within the Park's boundaries, as do small areas of the Greater ManchesterMetropolitan Authority district, and West Yorkshire. I chose the Peak in home Sheffield, from for its due to the purposes District this my accessibility of casestudy just five miles from the bordersof the National Park. The Peak District was known as Peac-lond as early as the secondhalf of the seventhcentury AD when the name first appears in an Anglo-Saxon document which mentions the land " At by Peak. the English "people known this time Pecsaete the tribe the of an or as occupied , region was: bleak by three 11 a relatively isolated, discretebut well-established sides on entity surrounded ... heartlands itfroin Mercian the to the uplands while uncleared woodland separated gritstone
South. op 49
theterm"Peak"is a misnomer 14owever, peakswithin astherearefew if anygenuine mountain
the region which could be comparedto the Welshmountainsor thosein the English lakes.The is Dark describe known in hills the today the often the used as sense range of a general name
219 Peak north of the village of Edale which includesthe high plateaus of Kinder Scout and foothills Pennine Peak high Bleaklow.Despite theimplicit association the the with moorland of The southern and to the north, theregionis actuallysplit into two distincttypesof landscape. is made valleyswhich aremore up of rolling limestone central area,knownastheWhitePeak, Peak Dark known lowland barren Britain the to the than the related as uplands gritstone closely interchange within a matterof of scenery on either sideandto thenorth.Thesetwo extremes in in the the central zone, geologyand geography, giving of contrasts miles regiona series here, The factors kind ideal for Peak the the as undertaken make of an place a survey settlement. the archaeology which reflect the of the regionhastraditionallybeendividedinto categories from different periods thevery earliest times them, the of prehistory and peoples with associated Different peoples to the present. and distinct tracesof and cultureshaveleft unmistakable in landscape, from hut Bronze Age the the uplands, on theeastern gritstone platforms settlement barrowsknown as lows which areevidence to the Iron Age hillforts and the numerous of Anglo-Saxon and earlier burials.With the arrival of Christianityin the seventhand eighth canbe utilised placenames of thefirst documentary evidence, centuriesAD andtheappearance by Englishspeaking to chartareas settled peoples. datato divisionof theBritishlandscape identifiedby Fox used The geographical archaeological Britain into Highland distinction Lowland with which corresponded a and zones, separate Within this definitionthePeakfalls within the HighlandZonewhich northwestandsoutheast. hills which stretchfrom the High Peakinto Yorkhire (seeFig. 25).' It includesthe Pennine in demonstrated that archaeology was the uplandregionshe suggested a "continuity" of the from theBronzeAge into theRomano-British for is humanpopulation There evidence, period. in British or that a substantial example, someareasof WestYorkshireandNorthumberland into Celtic population furthersouthhadbeensettledandincorporated survivedlong afterareas hegemony. In fact, a concentration Anglo-Saxon of British placenames andtraditionsin one area north of Leeds coincides with the region known as Elmet, which survived as an kingdom as late as the seventh independent centuryAD when it was swallowedup by the " kingdomof Northumbria. A study of placenameevidence from Derbyshire by KennethCameron identified a broadly in thenorthwest similar clusterof Britishor Celticnames comerof thecounty,which coincides heads (seebelow).Two examples with the greatest concentration of stone andrelated sculpture
220 in have been from "church" thenorthwest Eccles, British the one noted, ecc(aio, or of the word in the Hope, Chapelthird river tentative th the appears a while en-I e-Fri and other. near near been have British Wirksworth. Ecclesbourne Remains not these centres early at of name British "the identified,but Cameron population to of they sort of some existence suggests refer British identified Christian "" Cameron three of othergroups worship. centrewith organised He lead hills including mining. thoseof riversandtheir tributaries, of andareas placenames, distribution in that: the these of place names as significant saw "... by far the largest group, comprisingalmost half the total number,is in the extreme is boundary, Cheshire Derbyshire, there the a clusterof seven where cornerof near northwest
"" Celtic names. few have fact This he suggests, attractionsto the that this offered uplandregion would reflected Anglian settlers,this being reflected in the rarity of English namesending in the element tun. havebeendisputedby Fyne who arguesthat all the "Celtic" placenames Cameron'sconclusions he lists are likely to haveEnglish derivations,with rive remainingexamples"have, at best,only " Celtic origin. a possible Arguments about the use of place name evidenceas a basis from
in draw British to the northwestern enclaves conclusions about continuity of native which Derbyshire are likely to remain inconclusive until further researchcan reach more definitive conclusions.Placenamesdo not identify the "invisible" populationof native stock who clearly Anglian fallen live had to the the the of control under within south which continued areasof hegemony.
5.4.3. Archaeology and settlement history
"Much of the PeakDistrict landscape is a palimpsestof archaeologicalfireatures of all periods, with traces of earlier features being identified through the greater detail of the later landscape Ott the gritstone upland, whole ancient landscapesare preserved becauseof the ... lack of later intensiveagriculture. Being an upland, the region has not suffered as muchfrom the devastations still of modernmechanisedfanning.Featuresof great antiquity are someffines " in usetodayaspart of a living landscape distant back into the withfanning roots going past. Bamatt and Smith, 77ze PeakDistrict! -'
221 district in Peak in the settlement the The Iron Age sawgreatchanges coincidingwith pattern in treesduring this deterioratingweatherconditions.Pollenanalysishasshowna decrease in Derwent is the valley and thought to the of woodlands clearance reflect period, which by had ' TheIron Age population this stage foothillsof theeastern the Peak. Pennine region of hereditary by dominated into petty kingdomsand looseconfederations developed tribes, of invasion Roman At the land time the of tenure of resources. andeconomic eliteswhocontrolled is known little the but fell Brigantes, Peak about the the territory the very within extensive of from the time this The free Iron Age phase are this visible remains only whichpreceded period. hillforts, of which eight remain,but the the vastmajority of the populationleft few defensive have to it is inhabited continued the which they those traces valleys upland and of areas possible from hut platformswithin thehillfort at dates day.Radiocarbon be cultivatedup to thepresent 1700 between falling dates the haveprovided MamTor, nearCastleton, period earlyoccupation BC to 1000BC, andBarnattandSmith arguethat the lack of complexdefensive earthworks ' before Roman had been largely the these arrived. armies sites abandoned suggest into during Agricola's in late in 70s AD Peak Romansoldiers the northwards push arrived the Ardolalia Navio (Brough), Brigantes. Forts territory the the at of were soon established British (Glossop) Aquae upon Arneinentia cult sitecentred a was native andpossibly which at importance Peak Buxton. At thermal the the this stage andeconomic springs wasof strategic at to the Romansas its occupationsecuredan east-westPenninecrossing and controlled Navio Both indigenousresources known lead to and the contain. of which region was have tradeand Ardotalia hadthriving civilian settlements to stimulated appear or vici which between andthe productionof stone nativesandsoldiers, andled to settled conditions contact highlight, discussion Wall. the Hadrian's As this major will carvingslike thoseassociated with by date in heads Peak Romano-Celtic the areassociated geographical concentrations of stone of forts. proximity to thesitesof theRoman Romanoccupationof the Peakcontinueduntil the middle of the fourth century, when the frontier forts wereabandoned further in thefirst half of thesecond troops pushed centurywhen Wall. Navio wasrebuilt in thelate second northcoincidingwith theconstruction of Hadrian's century AD following a Brigantianrevolt, and continuedto be a focal areafor the native important populationof the region. Ardotalia, which commanded an crossingof the river Etherownear Glossop,had a similar function due to its tradelinks with the larger fort at
222 Manchester theRomanoto whichit waslinkedin thewest.All thesurvivingevidence suggests British periodwasa peaceful who onefor themajorityof thenativepopulation, andprosperous farming Romano-British by farming lead Remains it appears wereoccupied of mining. and hamlets identified have been in Peak, locations or the comprising settlements at a number of divided fields larger farmswith associated in turn with yardsandgardens, areassociated which by banksand stonesinto narrow strips.Around fifty suchfarms are known largely on the but noneof the recorded limestoneplateau, with their canbe directly associated stoneheads but fieldwalls from distribution.A number heads in Peak of the records of originated recorded the ageandexactlocationof these wallshasnot survived. The populationhistoryandarchaeology of the regionslipsonceagaininto relativeobscurity in the fifth or sixth between thefourth centuryAD andthearrivalof theAnglo-Saxon settlers like eccles at Hopeand Chapel the e-Frith and centuries.The survival of placenames -en-l by identified Celtic in Etherow Goyt the the of placenames valleys and cluster northwest around Cameron the presence anddiscussed communities post-Roman abovesuggests of established it is from Glossop havebeenassigned to this periodthata groupof enigmatic and stones carved ' Largenumbers limestone by historians. Anglian the plateau of graves upon areconcentrated from theseventh but Barnatt centuryonwards, avoidtheHopevalley andSmithnotehow these " be The Grey Ditch Bradwell northwest uplands. could and at andotherundated earthworks linear dykes as the British andAnglian communities seen separating at this period,with the laterduringtheexpansion absorption gradual of theBritishenclave of thekingdomof occurring Mercia duringthe eighthcentury.At this time the land of the Pecsaete was assessed in the Tribal Hidage as supporting more than one thousand farming families, a relatively high British stockin areas populationwhich would haveincludedpeople controlled of indigenous by an Anglian elite. By the eighthcentury the populationwas focussed upon the limestone plateau around what were to becomethe towns of Bakewell, Matlock, Wirksworth and Ashbourne. Anglian settlement Dark Peakat the extremenorth and of the moreinhospitable later,asevidenced of theregionoccurred to some northwest extentby theplacenameevidence. The arrival of English peoplesduring this period gave the whole region its distinctive in theshape its characteristics thegrowthof thelater of andnames settlements whichdelineated medieval villagesandtowns.
223 5.4.4. Distributiou and context
heads distinct The distribution map (Fig. 27) illustratesthe existence stone carved of of clusters late British in the northernsectorof the PeakDistrict which coincidewith the areasof presumed in discussed Celtic-influenced The these sculpture above. enclaves clusteringof early piecesof the Glossopand Longdendaleregion of the northwestPeakDistrict was noted by Clive Hart in his survey of North Derbyshirearchaeology publishedin 1981.Hart noted a collection of eight heads from from High Peak, but "all the undatedcontextsand could therefore stone are noted: be of any period and unconnected with a cult."' Of this grouping, sevenheadswere from the " with one outlier at Castleton. area aroundGlossopwhich he said "might suggest a cult centre, The Hope Valley examplesmay relateto the Romanpresence in the region focussedaroundthe fort at Brough, near Hope. This geographical, trend could be distorted by the fact that the majority of headsknown are from the upland regionswhere workable sandstone and gritstone is freely availableas a sourcematerialfor carving. Few examples are known from the limestone known as the White Peak,as this kind of stoneis more difficult to utilise as a material for area carving and is less likely to survive weathering and other forms of erosion. In addition, the presenceof wooden carvings would not survive in the archaeologicalrecord, although they have been plentiful during the Iron Age and early Roman period. None have been could identified by this research District zone. within the PeakThe appearance of head-related sculptureaspart of the architecture of parishchurchesduring the Romanesque period, from the eleventhcenturyonwards,is anotherimportant factor influencing the distribution of stone heads in the Peak District. While some of these churches may incorporate carvings from earlier British shrinesor churches,none of thesecan be identified with any certainty today. The dispersal of medieval stone heads from church sites such as Mottrarn, Old Glossop and Bakewell following nineteenth century restorations is another Stoneheadsfrom thesesitesturn up in a variety of significant factor identified by this research. secondarycontexts,where they havebeenusedfor decorativepurposesin walls and buildings. Many haveendedtheir sojournsthroughthe landscape as exhibits in museumcollections. No other significant geographicaltrendshave beenidentified by this research.The discussion follows which relatesto threedistinct groupsof sculpturewhich have beencategorisedby date of presumedorigin. Thesecategoriesinclude the majority of the headsrecordedby this survey
224 later have been dates in Romano-Celtic the the medieval or assigned period which either by in this full list A the recorded examples either a secular of or ecclesiastical context. centuries, in Peak District in Appendix1. the appears research
5.4.5. Dating and context of Peak District heads The precisedating of carvedstone headsremainsthe most insoluable problem in the study of their origin and subsequentcontext within architecture. The sagaof the Hexharn Heads in Northumberland, describedin Chapter 6, underlines the need for caution which is required in date heads As to attempts made apparent are made was when on stylistic grounds alone. Chapter4a largenumberof headswhich hadpreviouslybeendatedtentatively to the Celtic Iron Age and Romano-British periods have retrospectivelybeenre-evaluatedas being much more in date, many of them as productsof folk art in the last three centuries. Furthermore, recent Billingsley's fieldwork in the Calder Valley established the fact that there was an important and in the useof the headas a symbol carvedin stoneupon houses,furniture influential resurgence 61 century. and weaponryduring the seventeenth In the account of Peak District heads which follows, examples are grouped within three for categories the purposeof discussion.As notedin Chapter1 the ManchesterMuseum survey heads in stone northwest England, which overlaps upon my own in the Peak District, of to originate from reacheda tentativeconclusionthatjust one third of the total recordedappeared the Iron Age, Romano-Britishor early English period of history.This statementis supportedby the findings of the presentsurvey,which suggests that one third may in fact be an optimistic An additional proviso is that, of those with estimate of the actual numbersof early specimens. apparently firm Romano-Celticcredentialsnone can be securelydated by an ultimate method such as carbon dating, which has brought certainty to the study of organic objects such as human bone. Many other Celtic or Romano-Celticcarvings havebeendestroyed,buried or stolen as a result in settlementand landscape of the changes over the last two millennia. During the courseof the presentsurvey it was found that a numberof carvingsboth in West Yorkshire and the Midlands A recordedas being in situ by Jacksonduring his survey in the 1960shave since disappeared. later survey of Celtic sculpture in Derbyshire by Petch in 1989 recordedexampleswhich had
225 ' A began. four interval during of disappeared the number thethreeto survey when present year disappearance The in 1. Heads" Appendix listed of "Miscellaneous the theseare under category factors. be by Prominent the these movement, are among can of explained a number carvings buildings, heads to wallsandotherstructures. sale or of alterations re-use of as a result storage, for safekeeping havebeenremoved In other cases, asa resultof theft or vandalism, carvings locations divulge for local historians the that to of existingstone reason many reluctant are and heads.This caution is underlinedby historian Peter Naylor, who mentionsa number of but in heritage, his book Derbyshire's Celtic notes: on examples
"With reluctance, the exact locations are not divulgedforfear offurther There are many more, being prized possessionso their owners." 6D qS exagecke ot.
As "Celtic heads"receivemore publicity and their value as collectors items or antiquesgrows, head instance For likely driven be for for to reputedly one are motives. stolen resale profit more for Derbyshire, in Romano-British from Glossop, Mouselow was sold privately origin of E2,500 in the late 1980s,but its ownershavenever allowed it to be examinedor photographed " Othersarevulnerableto wantondamage by a museum. of the kind inflicted upon the sculpture Castleshaw, nearOldham(seeChapter4). at in borne be heads The chancenatureof discoveryand subsequent mind should also recordingof The heads included in in respectof the representative the examples case study. present sampleof have come to my attention have done so mainly purely by chance, and the present which been have While to a significant number research makes no claim comprehensivecoverage. donated or reported by their owners and/or finders to local museums,at least an equivalent number of specimensmust lie undiscovered,particularly those in locations such as moorland fieldwalls. Many of these will continue to remain concealeduntil fieldwalking surveys are in of their conducted selectedareasof the PeakDistrict and elsewhere.The lack of awareness importance or as artefactsof material culture hascontributed to the sparserecording existence which persistsuntil the presentday. Of the specimens which survive and are discussedbelow, in museums roughly a third are currently preserved and other private collections. A few remain from in silit both in secularand ecclesiastical instances in they architecture safe where are most , theft or vandalism. As an exampleof material culture the PeakDistrict headsprovide a good exampleof evolving
226 but vary widely in style, in their conception, folk art as theyall conformto a basictemplate in datable if been have Few a technique. excavated of material any andcarving context,choice function, have to their or tradition originalprovenance no recorded relating context andsome from history in belong impression to thattheycould virtually any periodof resulting anoverall aboutthem the lateIron Ageto theVictorian of drawingconclusions era.Oftentheonly method belong, do define is by lookingfor features they to the or which can not which context which folk than help to classifythemas originating from a purely ecclesiastical a secular rather tradition. from the Hadrian'sWall region,an importantpoint to As Riddel notesin her surveyof heads led has in later buildings to many bear in mind is thesecondary these which usage sculptures of ' information. As badly little them an arriving at museums accompanying with recorded, of describes difficulties locate involved in the the trying to she of exact provenances, example This sculpture CountyDurham. history of oneheadfrom Lanchester, wasfound in 1965when " but floor of anouthouse "Celtic, interpreted immediately taken the cobbled as was was up,and had be head It "Celtic" the that to then the assumed sitewithin area. was could not attributed any from had head Roman fort discovery, before Lanchester. However, the the this also at come "nearthefort" according beenused to an old aspartof a fieldwall, whichhadbeendismantled 66 Theseproblems is heads discussion farm worker. to the of extended are multiplied when have later been An style which additional church architecture. within medieval archaic re-used factor whichhassownconfusion in thearchaeological theactivitiesof a number recordhasbeen both for heads twentieth nineteenth and early of century sculptorswho producedstone decorative andtraditional reasons. Drawing definitive conclusions uponthis basisbecomes an extremelydifficult task.With the lack of a precise current means of datingstone,andin the absence of a morecomprehensive buildings in the whole region, it is impossibleto reachany more of survey and landscape definitiveconclusions carvings aboutthedatingandoriginalcontext of thevastmajorityof these time. at thepresent
S. 4.6. Iron Age and Routano-British heads Carvedheadsfrom the PeakDistrict which havebeententativelydatedto the Celtic Iron Age or
227 Romano-British periodform a small but interestinggroup,displayinga variety of symbols 4. They includea group of sculpturedstones describedin the typologieslisted in Chapter links the influence in them Celtic demonstrating with their style, whoseprovenance native Roman military basenow known as MelandraCastle.This collection of stonesform a in distinctivegeographical comer of outlierswhichcluster thenorthwest groupwith a number ' High Peak, distribution in by Hart 1981. a noticed of the
220.127.116.11. Melandra Cmile grouping The river Etherow flows from the high moors of the Penninestowards the Mersey through Longdendaleand meetsthe GlossopBrook in an areaof low-lying ground west of Glossopat Woolley Bridge. It is here,on a slope abovethe river, that the Romanschoseto build their fort defending the Cheshireplain when they arrived in Longdendalein the secondhalf of the first AD. The fort first in late it Melandra the was was recorded seventeenth called when century ' but is invention. this name regarded as an antiquarian century, The fort was known as
' is It is lost. Ravenna AD Cosmography, Ardotalia in the second century a namewhoseorigin thought the initial wooden fort was occupiedintermittently from aroundAD 80 until the revolt it Brigantes in it Frisian held by troops the the until secondcentury, when was a cohort of of in the middle of the secondcentury.It is from this date that the majority of the was abandoned by local dated. After stone walls are abandonment stone was removed and re-uscd remaining building as material, as worked stonewas neverwastedin this region. The last standing people buildings were demolished as late as 1777, leaving just the footings for the walls. Large amountsof re-usedRomanmasonryare incorporatedin the structuresof Woolley Bridge Farm, Melandra Farm, and other nearby buildings, and a local historian suspectedthe "gunparts" form part of the Gun Inn at Hollingworth are actually re-usedcolumn basestaken from which the Romanfort itself. ' This tradition of the re-uscof stoneextendedto decorativeelementsof which sculpturewould form one part; the carvedstones,Imperial altarsand headsbeing re-used later to adorn later buildings. It is suspected that this habit was extendedto material from the in the valley, at Mottram and Old Glossop,discussed later. two churches From Melandra the line of the Romanroad ran westwardsto Mottram-in-Longdendale, where there is a hilltop having signs of late Bronze Age and early Iron Age occupation: ' The road
228 is bridge ford in Woolley Bridge, on a wherea crossedthe river somewhere the vicinity of during by frogmen bed have However, to the an existed. of river searches presumed "" One failed find in 1960s of trace the to the piece masonry. of survey of any area archaeological is block faces depicting three sandstone sculpture carvedon a concave powerfully executed ' itself The Fig. ford 1). (see Roman directly associated the stone with site of this presumed faces, face forms a quartercircle andfeatures two oneon eachsideand profile a central and bulbous The centralfaceis triangular, facing each triangular and nose other. slit mouth, with a "water faint incised has Ross Anne weeds" of complete evidence notedslight with eyes, pupils. homed face, heads homs the with the two central which shecompares andram's on profile on dated found in foundation in Wall, Staffordshire to the Roman the wall of a mansio carvings ' it AD. The is its towards to that narrower century make slopes stone shaped so reverse second the bottom.The precise provenance of this stoneis unknown.It wasacquiredby Manchester Museumin 1973from a manwhosewife broughtit from her family home"in the Glossop " he it had been for All where could saywasthat used years. asa garden omament many area, it hadbeen from its shape used:
11 to form some exterior feature or decoration of the wall of a house or farin as the lady ... ... let into heads houses had have the remembers or carved clearly old orfarms which and still "' walls. Drawing on local traditions gathered after pictures of the stone appearedin the Glossop Chronicle, Ward saidit appeared to havecomefrom a well below the churchyardat St Michael's Hill, Mottram." However, a family tradition recorded by John Taylor Broadbent says the
tricephalos "camefrom the river nearMelandra,nearthe confluencewith the GlossopBrook." Indeed, Mr Broadbentremembers asa child in the 1950sseeingthe carving besidethe river, so we can regardthis testimonyas the most reliable as to the provenance of this piece at that time. It is possiblethe tradition concerningthe wellhead at Mottram may therefore refer to another carved stone,since lost. Another carving associated by proximity to the Roman fort is an attractive squatting full-size figure from Mottram Moor which may depict a native hunting deity.' This figure is a half-life
sized sculpture carved in one piece upon a low squareplinth. Found near a spring, the figure once carried a bow which has since beenlost, as at somestagethe carving has beendamaged
229 its in loss left hand. Like the the the the tricephalic of of springhead, circumstances resulting Hood" known "Robin discovery figure but local in the tradition as was remainunclear original house find-spot its from local the traditions the the took surrounding a public near name and figure.' While the tricephaliccarvingfollows an archaictradition in the depictionof three due in faces is block figure "squatting" the style upona single moreenigmatic of stone, cojoined
figure.Thefaceshows typical"Celtic" features to therarityof Celticdepiction of thefull human in Graceohead hair in respect individual the of thesmalllentoideyes upon carved curlsof and from Gaul, known figures Romanstyle,andwears be of tunic with a short whichcan compared from Brigantian " known deities" date. AD "hunting Other century are second comparable figure for in date Northumberland, Lancaster Yorkshire South this a whichsuggest contexts and in the first threecenturies AD. TonyWardsuggested thehead at of thefigurehadbeenreworked later. Ward horns, hood to the stage, wrote: perhaps curls added some remove a or with
icons 11 the style is Gallo-Roman, as are many of the accepted Ro1 Celtic all s andf nan period ... into figure The Robin Goyt. Hood legends Etherow the the pattern neatly of along rivers and
I "' should, think be regardedas afairly late variation of the Cernunnosfigures. Inevitably, questionmarks must remain over precisedating of thesetwo carvings, even though the style of both leaveslittle room for doubting their Romano-Celtic influence, if not direct larger A questionmark hangsover the origin and ageof a broken carving discoveredby origin. Tunnel in Longdendale,near Glossop,in the late workmen nearthe entranceof the Woodhead " later by Manchester Museum. Again without a clear history, century, and nineteenth purchased this sandstonecarving could be of any date from the Romano-Celtic period to the nineteenth century when itinerant Irish labourerswere employedto dig the tunnel. The curious sculpture depicts a phallic figure on a seator throne, minus head,handsand legs, but with a prominent male organ. The flat reverseof the stone depicts three stylised "Celtic style" faces carved in relief, arranged in a triangular formation. The faces are pear shaped,with simple features including tiny elliptical eyes,and a simple nosespringingfrom a prominentbrow. A fourth sculpture was excavatedin situ from the collapsedwall of the secondRoman fort at Melandra during ManchesterUniversity's excavationsin 1973. This is classed as "a hardly distinguishable head supposedto representthe Homed God of the Brigantes" according to 83 and a question mark hangsover whether it can Petch, really be classified as a head or a
230 be its importance However, Kinder Scout ruledout, cannot piece of gritstone. naturally shaped to thatof a bearingin mindtheuseof crudely-shaped approximates whose shape naturalstones deposits in otherearlystructures. In this case headas foundation thedeeprecessed eyesockets fearsome have decorated have of the appearance contained could enhanced pebbles which might the head. facecut upona rectangular block of millstonegrit from the Dinting areaof A crudely-incised Glossop should also be included in this generalgrouping as it also originates from the kind Peak District. Reeve the the this of of classifies objectas a whetstone northwestedges in Chapter 4. If correctthis wouldsuggest discussed of a datingwithin the first eightcenturies AD. the first millennium
18.104.22.168. Mouselow Hill grouping A homed head, this time in the form of an incised outline cut upon the face of a rough block forms part of an enigmaticgrouping of stonesfrom the Glossop of sandstone, rectangular ' Derbyshire (see Fig. The horns spring from the brow of the head, 17). of northwest region in size is out of proportion to the torso of the figure, crudely cut almost as if an which lower has The been compared with the the tapering upon of stone. carving part afterthought depictions of homed deities which are widespreadfrom Gaul to North Britain during the other first four centuriesAD, discussedin Chapter4. In particular, the figure correspondswith the homed likenessof Mercury as a horned Celtic warrior found at the Roman fort at Maryport in Cumbria. In addition, Tony Ward hascomparedthe "horns" on the Glossopfigure to the puckheads the of present in the walls and structure of the medieval Southwell Minster in cars Nottinghamshire, which was built above the remains of a Roman fort, and may suggest ' be decorative The depiction horns re-use of secondary stone. earscan also of or puck--shaped compared with those found on a number of headsof presumedmedieval date found in the including thoseat Hope and Brassington. porchesof someearly Derbyshirechurches, The homed headforms part of a group which do not appearto havedirect links with the fort at Melandra but insteadpieceshave stylistic affinities to a later period of proto-history, after the departure of the Roman garrison had presumablyled to a reversion to tribal conditions. The collection of which the incised homed carving forms one part consistsof eight piecesstone of
231 in Buxton doorway into built a wall abovea and sizeswhich are currently varying shapes date, be late Roman While some of the stones Museum,Derbyshire. to one piece of appear from finds been be fragment have Mercian to to casual a andothersappear of a cross appears At onetime thecollectionincludedtwo carvedstoneheads of late medieval the Glossop area. from the the main groupingand is built into a wall in date, oneof which hasbeenseparated fourteenth Museum. dated This head been has the to the and tentatively century, of part another in lentoid "Celtic in depiction its styleis consistent the a the tradition" set eyes with of prominent depicted brow. Teeth frame,with a long nose from double"spectacle" are a prominent sprouting This stone holes,a featurefoundon a smallnumberof stoneheads. by a line of tiny square feature in being for incorporation deliberately displaysevidence associated a a niche, of carved block face from larger heads discussed in 4. The Chapter of a number of other a protrudes with itself, has degree head the the which weathering clearly not suffered same of as sandstone because its in a structure kind. of incorporation of some presumably There is no accurate recordof theprovenance of eachindividualpieceof stoneforming partof found by least them this palimpsest of carvings,but local traditionsuggests some at of were during late in the seventeenth or earlyeighteenth workmen century theareaof MouselowHill, Old Glossop, burial hamlet Little through the of when a was cut a site above of new road north " Mouselow have is a naturalhill whichhastraces Hill or Castle Hadfield. of ramparts which been dated by excavationto the Iron Age, overlying evidenceof an earlier Bronze Age " The into in lower hill, have the the the cemetery, use on slopes of continued cemetery. may ' finds of Roman have been from Romanperiod,andcasual the coins same area. In recorded George Marsden, by the Minister,wasgivenpermission 1846theReverend a retiredWesleyan During the work, local Iqowardfamily, who ownedthehill, to remove stonefrom Mouselow. how he discovered "' Theseweretaken "somecuriouslymarkedstones. tradition describes built, in Little into Arms Spinner's and the the significantly, away gableendof a cottage near Hadfield,according to localinformation, ".. -follolvinga tradition that theyinight wardoff evil spirits, but in reality, so I am told, as a his to "90 thathewouldnot tolerate parishioners warning un-ChriSfian activities. The stones in thecottage remained themat the turn of thecentury, until Lord Howardremoved themto theGlossop Antiquarian Society. how describes An account 1905 andpresented they of
232 by experts had beenexamined they were"early Anglo-Saxon"in origin, who hadconcluded
andthat ",...some of the symbols have been recognised as representing the river of life, the wind blowing from thefour quarters of the earth, Thoth, one of their gods and other objects which "" they worshipped. Tony Ward,who studiedthe collection of stonesfor morethan twenty yearsconcluded: "Some of the stoneshavesymbolswhich could be linked to someknown Celtic icons, but it is impossibleto relate themto a particular cult or to ascertaintheir original purpose, though the possibility that they were gravestones was considered.All that can be said is that the stones were not Roman,but that theyhavesomeaffinity with the Celtic tradition of the area." A detailed discussionof the symbolism and date of the Mouselow stonesis not appropriate within the present study, but the appearanceof the homed face among the collection in interesting from the point of view of an evolving tradition surrounding re-used stones, specifically thosecontainingsymbolsrelating to the humanhead.Ward's conclusion that some of the stoneswere grave stelae,in one casefrom the graveof a woman, is consistentwith other found in a Romano-British funerary context, for example the Serpent Stone from carvings Maryport in Cumbria which is also datedto the late Romanperiod. Ward datesthe Mouselow stonesto a period betweenthe late secondcentury AD and the fifth century AD and notes the only comparable grouping comes from a Dark Age Christian shrine in Gaul." It appears
possible that the group was broken up and re-usedat some point in the late medieval period, possibly to cancelor deride their pagansignificance,as someof the stonesdisplay evidenceof being split from larger groups.More definitive conclusionswill not be forthcoming until more from the grouping come to light, which appearsunlikely due to wide dispersal of stones material from the site over the last four centuries.
5.4.6-3. Miscell4neous Romano-Celtic heads
While not falling within the precisegeographical by this casestudy, a stone areaencompassed head discovered in a Roman context in Manchester during the nineteenth century should
233 The be described from here because its importance the style. of view point of of nevertheless foundwithin gravelat a depthof six feet in 1821by workmen headwasoneof threecarvings fort drain in few hundred the Hulme, the thetownship siteof of yardssouthwest of a sinkinga figure ' full include Castle Field but far The Medlock. River with the a on carvings sideof the at head third flowing lacking head, but a and stone armsand a a crudely-carved garment crossed He hasbeen identifiedasCautopates, figure on a plaque. with connected oneof theaccesories in the Mithras the worshipof the Persian serving soldiers with god whosecult waspopular forts Roman identified have been from Romanarmy.A number Mithraic temples near of ruins destroyedby early in Britain, which is fortunateas Mithraic statueswere systematically by thefollowersof theEastern Christians theritualsemployed cult asa mockery who regarded drawings exist, noneof the three contemporary of the new religion. Unfortunately, although have discovery to their the time survived, of stones and archaeologists werenot present at be little However, have been there them. whatever can structures with record may associated doubt aboutthe Romano-British dateof the headbecause with the Mithraic of its association it as: A contemporary describes by Brutonin 1909, sculpture. account of thehead, recorded
"... rudely carved [and] of large size and coarsefeatures, with the hair turned backwards, ... " standing on a vety shortpedestal. Jonesand Grealey note that the stiff, brushedback hair depictedupon the headshows marked native British influence and is a featurefound upon a numberof other headsof presumedearly date.' Hairstyle where presentis a useful methodof dating problematic stone heads,and this was a meansemployed by Sheffield Museum to give an approximatedate to a gritstone head found buried in an unstratified context in the garden soil of a house on Ranmoor Hill, Hathersage, in the 1960s (see Fig. 9)." The features of this sculpture are sharply and
realistically rendered,with an attempt to depict facial lines and hair, of a style which has been datedtentativelyto the third centuryAD, a datewhich fits the latter period of Romanoccupation in the Hope Valley. Fliegel notes how "the treatment of the eyes, commonly referred to as spectacleeyes due to the rendering of double lids dominate the visage" and suggestnative ... " The elongated, influence. almost bottle-shaped neck indicatesthat it was carvedas a complete sculpturein itself, and was probably intendedto be set into a larger designor structure,perhaps is a short distancefrom the important Roman marching a Romano-British shrine. Hathersage
234 Dr discovered. been have Roman fort at Navio,wheretraces of altars of a shrineanda number from Chesterfield Pegge,an antiquarian an oblong who visited the ruins in 1761, observed bust he had He building with brick wallsanda row of gritstone a seen also pillars. alsoclaimed " during has Apollo, disappeared. Altar the an excavation stones recovered god which since of is Arnomecta in 1903includeddedications to the godMarsandthe goddess associated who , Batharn important Roman by Brough Buxton linked the to road, springs an at which were with " Theearlyfort wasrebuiltin themiddleof thesecond Brigantian during AD the Gate. century for fourth late until the centurywhich would providea context this revolt, andwasmanned its in head Roman-influence from hair Hathersage. head A andoverall with stylised singular is Chapel by Manchester Museum Chinley, th, and wasrecorded near at workmanship -en-le-Fri is known, history describedin Chapter6. Unfortunately, this and the original carving no of findspot hasnot been recorded. from HulmeandHathersage The Romano-British with the canbe compared styleof theheads head found in West Midlands, in Coldfield, Streetley, Sutton the and a privategarden at stone "' by Birmingham is carvedfrom local sandstone Fig. This head City Museum 7). (see recorded head, " with prominentlentoid eyes,droopingmouthwith slightly in the style of a "severed fringe. lips, from if back hair depicted the a wedge-shaped as combed stiffly noseand pointed The headhasbeendatedby Rossto thefirst or second AD on stylistic grounds, who centuries been felt it was"probablyfree-standing back had that the roughly subsequently and sidesand it fit into to make re-cut a stone wall.""' Two stoneheads ParkMuseum, Sheffield,originatefrom fieldwalls, currentlyin the Weston display from first, The the stylisticevidence and of anearlydatein theRomano-British period. Bradfield, of on thePeakDistrict borderwith Sheffield,is powerfullycarvedon a large parish " boulder Fig. found (see 10). in House, in Thornseat Strines, 1967 the rockeryat gritstone formed The faceis carvedin relief on the flat protruding the tapering once which stone endof It hasa to havebeenrecorded. part of the wall, althoughits original positiondoesnot appear flat, A together prominentbrow framingthedeep-set eyessetclose andcarvedwithout pupils. is brow from drooping wedge-shaped the which noseruns and mergeswith a moustache by a long, wavy beard.In its style of executionthis carvingIdisplaysall the complemented hallmarksof being part of the Celtic tradition, but it is impossibleto datethe stoneon this criterionalone.
235 Castleton Waterside, is head from Rose Cottage, at A similar conclusion reached aboutthestone (see Fig. 5).'" This carvingalso takesthe form of a facecut in relief upona flat pieceof by dominated is features The a the irregularly-shaped and sculpture arewell spaced sandstone. brow On the flat brow. the of to towards side either whichtapers nose prominentwedge-shaped deliberately large formed left double lids, by the eyeapparently oval eyes entirely a are two in discussed found depict feature and elsewhere a closedor winking eye,a carved so as to in detail Chapter head lower 4. The towards the tapers partof the stone,wherea simple more has lips. been The this of original provenance carved with of mouth a slight resemblance slit it late in 1960s first but been the head hasunfortunately noted not accurately recorded, when into built boundary thewaters thelowerpartof a low stone wall whichoverlooked garden was Well, flows from Peak Cavern Russett the the of a natural underground which mouth spring of head had been in fieldworker Theowners head this position in Castleton. that the the told of a "' for as longastheycouldremember. heads in my Peak The carvingsfrom StrinesandCastleton arejust two of eighteen recorded from drystone District surveywhichoriginated walls.All but four of this collectioncamefrom includingLongdendale, Glossop, the HopeandDerwent the uplandregions of the Dark Peak-, A in from fieldwall Jackson the particularly at good example was recorded survey a valleys. '" It is currentlyownedby a lady in Pilsley,whosefatherrescued it from a moorland Baslow. " known. location is boundarywall earlierthiscentury; the of thewall not unfortunately precise blockof sandstone, The skull-likefaceis cut in relief upona roughlytriangular with prominent framed by double Indications lentoid eyes eyelids. of hairarevisibleon thereverse anda simple horizontalline formsthe mouth.Othersimilarheads areknownfrom fieldwallsat BaslowBar, Tintwistle and Hathersage in discovery Repton, Glossop, the and many more clearly await future. A head at BaslowBar onceoccupied a positionin a wall by a grass vergenearRarnsley " in Writing footp4th laid Lodge, but wasremoved this whena metalled was century. earlier EdwardWrenchdescribed 19171 with a traditionof leavingofferingsfor "goodluck" associated head. He wrote: this
11 the origin of the waysidehead is not known, but its position had its attractions to me as a ... boy as a spot where coins could befound, sincepassengers on the top of coachesoften threw them down at the head.An uncle of mine when walkingfrom Slwffield to Baslow usedto clear "" the headof weeds,and he told tne he had oncefound a penny in an eyesocket.
236 Pennine in fieldwall lucky is for heads the This roadside or context as charms alsocommon in West Yorkshire, wherea numberof crudecarvingswere recorded moorland valleys of dubbed Oneof thefirst examples "field gods"by Sidney Jackson. fieldwalls andsubsequently Woods, by his in Heaton from foot fieldwall near the survey came of an ancient recorded "' while a series foothill in Pennine by Bradford, the of others wererecorded a surveyof walls dated "' Walsden, Todmorden. instances he In to walls of near ascertain some wasable village found boundaries, for example in Bingley head from Park backto ancient Prince Wales was a of "' in boulder date believed Iron Age. to to the wall amongstones anancient fraught is District by Peak Ascribing datesto the fieldwall heads the with survey recorded difficulties. First and most importantonceagain is the frequentlack of a secureoriginal have been as so many examples subjectto secondary use. For instance,one provenance, in from during fieldwork found in 1997 the recorded rubble a drystoneboundary was example wall betweena nineteenthcentury houseand a fanner's field at Clay Cross, southern "' The boundary Derbyshire. wall datesfrom the enclosures of the late eighteenth and early but it is impossible to drawany definitiveconclusion century, nineteenth aboutthe dateof the from head,which could originatefrom this periodor may havebeenre-used time that an at earlierwall or structure.
A secondproblem is the activity of nineteenthcenturyheadcarverssuchas SamuelSwift from CawthornenearBarnsley,who produceda numberof exampleswhich are now incorporatedin "' TWogrotesque-style fieldwalls at Taylor Hill in the village and neighbouringareas. carvingsI in fieldwall a near the village of Woolley,near Barnsley,in 1997,may be attributable recorded to the work of Swift, while othersappearto originate from the dispersalof stonefrom churches in the region.The two small headsat Woolley had beenpositionedhalfway up the wall, facing a dangerousbendin the road, and had beenpaintedblue at somepoint in recenthistory, although no extantlocal tradition was recordedrelating to them."' Another crudecarving of a headupon boulder sandstone at Saltersford,near Woodheadin Longdendale,northwest Derbyshire, is a be "" a symbol which to bend in the adjacentWoodheadRoad, a warning of a dangerous said can perhapsbe comparedwith the well-known "skull and crossbones"traditionally used as a warning in anothercontext.A numberof other active stonecarversappearto have beenat work in PeakDistrict villages, in somecases using older examplesas the templatefor their creations. One portrait-style headcurrently positioned abovethe entrancedoor at Birchover Post Office
237 in 1969, Wragg Bernard by informant, the village stonemason to an was carved,according
"for doorway be it local following style and tradition which suggested should placed above a luck. """ Quarrymenalso appearto have createda number of carvings, including an example Manchester. in Greater in Stockport Park Museum Vernon Bakewell from at now preserved the S. 4.7. Medieval heads in a secular architectural context More than threequartersof the headsrecordedduring my fieldwork in the PeakDistrict could be dated to a period betweenthe Norman conquestand the presentcenturyýa figure which "" from Heads initial Manchester Museum's an the survey. results of compares with in dealt fall timespan a this with separately are within approximate ecclesiasticalcontext which divided into be follows. Of total, the a number of which can examples remaining section The to their and great majority of the surviving sub-groupings according context. categories incorporated into houses, buildings while a related group are the stones are or examples fieldwalls discusssed in have been Romano-Celtic a with which context previously. associated The majority of theseexamplesprobably originate in medieval or modern times as charms to fertility from farmland livestock, deflect which representeda vital or and evil away promote for heads farmer. Peak-land A the resource without any clear context of small number economic been have have been in fields those they which apparently unearthed or gardenswhere arc deliberately buried for unknown reasonsat some period in the past. Of the carvings not into built buildings fieldwalls the with either are with water or a groupingassociated associated bridges or or associated with springsand wells, part of a tradition of some antiquity masonry is discussed in different in 3 and 6. contexts chapters which The following discussion is confined to a summary of the more interesting and distinctive heads heads fall into following three the categories: which examples of medieval and recent with buildings, headsassociated with water and headswith an unknown context. associated
22.214.171.124.Headsassociated with buildings in the fabric of PeakDistrict buildingsform a varied and interesting Carvingsincorporated
follow the tradition of placementin protectivelocationsnotedelsewherein Britain which group
238 had Peak District in 6. Chapter Although stone discussed tradition vernacular the of no and Yorkshire, in West head the motif of with the resurgence suchasthat associated architecture "' heads Derbyshire by with Billingsley, associated the are of majority nevertheless studied buildingsdated to theseventeenth centuries. or eighteenth in Glossop houses into heads built inside Stone the century wallsof seventeenth arerecorded Stocksbridge, from Wortley, Chapel head was Chinley, th, near near while a e-Fri and -en-l " found built into the fireplace. in the "Celtic tradition" wasfound in the Anotherexample (see Sheffield Ecclesfield, in demolished End Wallet the near villageof cottage at rubble of a broadly function household lucky Fig. 9)." This mayhaveacted with associated a charm, asa Cottage Gable Manchester" from in Tyldesley, Greater at and examples contexts similar " bothstructures West Yorkshire, beingof seventeenth Crigglestone, centurydate.At Lea,near into the rear wall of a Crich, a faceis carvedin relief upona pearshaped stoneincorporated, "A freestanding head from Chisworth, date in Lane. Holt near of eighteeenth century cottage hasbeen built into thestructure by local tradition Glossop, to whichit wasattached of thehouse " last five the years. within Headsor facescarvedin relief on panelsor blocksof stoneare suggestive of an original function in building, heads Romano-Celtic tradition of a a associated with a number of structural dating. A panel headof this kind, which originatedas a casualrind from Macclesfield, "' The faceis carvedin low relief upona is illustratedby Alan Garner(seeFig. 22). Cheshire, face block The building. in have keystone which may of an arch a medieval actedasa square by is highly-stylised hair. function keystone A hasarchaicfeatures suggested and as a similar " from thechurchyard in Cheshire. Crowefor a head at Rostherne locations includegableends for heads Favoured architectural of buildingsin four PeakDistrict is A Sheffield, head from Bolsterstone, near examples. crudely carved grotesque-style into the gableend of a building which containsstones from a former fortified incorporated house " dating face from baleful-looking (see Fig. A 19). the thirteenth carved manor century block of stoneprotrudes from thegableapexof Padley Mill at Grindleford, upona rectangular bridge to the of an eighteenth century complex part on a over a streamnearthe entrance mill TotleyTunnel.Of similardateis thecrudeheadin thegableendof theShipInn public house at in the DaneValley on the borderbetween Danebridge Derbyshire while a fifth andCheshire, is into into the gableof a cottage cut example a triangular panelincorporated on LowerTerrace
239 Road, Tideswell." Wo missingexamples arerecordedfrom the gableend of a row of terraced 131 The 130 Derbyshire. in barn Gamesley, Langwith Glossop, housesat southern near at andon a tradition recordedat Glossop mentioned in a Romano-British context previously refers to a Hadfield in Little deliberately into incorporated the gableend of a cottage grouping of carvings during 13' the is This tradition to recorded method of protection a a against evil similar as . from hamlet into built Glossop the eavesof a new research a near where skulls were present 133 building to act asa protectiveand luck-bringingdevice. Other locations favoured for headsin buildings are above windows, a location chosenfor a head found in a streamat StoneyMiddleton, which was moved to Tideswell and built into the 134 house head,with an Alma Road living of a on within wall memory. This powerfully-executed hairstyle, from head block information local According the to was of projects a stone. elaborate decoration into built before it Tideswell to as a on was a roadside wall was moved and re-sued the wall of Ivy Cottagewithin the last thirty years.A similar tradition of re-use is associated stonedepicting a dragonand a humanheadoriginally from a ruined chapel at with a weathered Carsington, which was subsequentlybuilt into a cottage wall at Hopton. The house, which dates from 1646, has other early stonesincorporated into its structure, including a second 133 head stone abovea window. weathered Doorways and entrancesare frequently protected by heads in cottages of seventeenthand date. A very crudely carved and archaic-looking example stands upon a century eighteenth " Yew Tree Cottage Rowsley, Bakewell, Great at near specially-made plinth above andthe
folly tower at Mow Cop, Cheshire,hasanothercrude specimenincorporated century eighteenth into a doorwayjambstone.Two "Celtic-style" headsoncestoodsentinelupon a plinth abovethe building to entrance a on CanalStreet,Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire, but thesehave since porch "" At Barlborough,a Celtic-styleheadcarvedupon the faceof been sold into private ownership. boulder concave stands upon a plinth at the apex of an arch above the entrance to the a centurystableblock to the old hall, which hasa hauntingtradition." seventeenth At Mill Farm,
Edale, a simple round face is carved upon the keystone above the entrance to a bam of "' date. The face hasa "happy smile" which the owners have interpreted as century eighteenth "a symbol of a happy harvest. " Similar fertility connotations by the face depicted are suggested as part of a stylised Sheela-na-gig carvedupon a block of stoneabove the entranceto a bam at Hall, near Bakewell, of possibleeighteenthcentury origin. " Modem examplesof folk 14addon
240 the head include function above mounted traditional a portrait-style protective art performinga described by in in 1969 Post Office Birchover, the villagestonemason, carved entranceto the function heads date Also entrance two as gatepost which of recent are grotesque-style earlier. Moorlands in below of Paddock Farm, The the Roaches, western escarpment a rock at stones two heads "' function be Their Peak. upon the to carved stylised the may similar protective in Winster, building Dower House, at to the century an eighteenth at the entrance gateposts from faces depict The sprouting Derbyshire. two carvings greenery with serpentine archaic-style their openmouths.
126.96.36.199. Heads associated with water
A small group of Peak District headsarc associatedwith rivers, streams, wells and natural favoured Possibly by Celtic the earliestexample tribes. the the as sitesof naturalshrines springs head direct is the tricephalic springhcad associated with a with a a watery association of Romano-Celtic context at Melandra Castle near Glossop, where the carving protected a dangerousconflucnceof the River Etherow and the GlossopBrook (seeChapter 6). A second full figure sculpturefrom a related context at Mottram Moor was originally associatedwith a by is from CastIcton, A head Romano-British third associated of possible origin, natural spring. The Cavern. from Peak Russctt Well, the with emerges stream which an underground proximity Cavern hasa diabolic reputationin local folklore and might haverequireda protective talisman. A head of possible early date, now built into a wall at Tideswell was, according to a local V tradition, originally found lying in a streamat StoneyMiddleton."' Natural springs are associated with headsat Old Glossop,where two archaic carvings act as in local identified blind inside directly to the an arch above a spring parish church springers " tradition, and at Chisworth and Chinley. At Joel Lane in Hyde, Greater Manchester,three
headsare kept at a well fed by a natural spring which has traditional healing powers, beside a house of seventeenth century date.Jacksonfelt two of the headswere of Celtic style, the third " resemblinga medievalchurchcorbel. A crudecarvingdepictinga beardedface upon a wall of outcrop rock above a natural spring at the Wizard's Well on Alderley Edge, Cheshire, was by "" in Robert Garner the stonemason carved nineteenth century. Garner's great great
grandson,writer Alan Garner,hasidentified a numberof other stylised headsin an around the
"" in "all he handiwork, Robert's them places. to oddor strange Edge which ascribes of
land, family, the Stanley as by of part the owned who these were apparently commissioned of in interest "revival" Victorian during of to the to a area an attempt attract visitors of part Manners in Lady boulders " I have on naturalsandstone recorded similarcarvings antiquities. beginning before the of the Wood, Bakewell,which local informationsuggests werecarved locally known figure human " head include as They tricephalic a and century. a crude present is a curious"Celtic-style" " Also of presumed datewithin thelast threecenturies "Robin Hood. forms boulder directlyabove face carvedupona gritstone partof a tributaryof which a stream " figures The Bradfield. Moss, Featherbcd Brook, high Dark Peak Abbey the on moorsat the if it is face, but theseare in to to the say the 1175"arc carved not possible rock one sideof in for functioned have the gamekeepers asa marker sculpture which may contemporarywith bridges, heads threecrudeexamples Of are the with wild area associated this of moorland. Canal, Forest Peak keystones locks, Marple the or early of eighteenth along above carved upon into keystone "0 is built head damaged date. Bradfield, At Strines, the a century near nineteenth Moors. from Howdcn bridge Agden, the abovea streamrunningsoutheast at of a packhorse "' looks bridge The headdecorates the upstream. only, and one side of Two neighbouring A similarcrude heads built into their structures. bridgesof similardatedo not havecomparable Edge, in Nether house behind bridge head is carved upona packhorse a private above a stream Bollington, Canal Bridgewater bridge is carved the Sheffield,"' another at above upona stone '" while a missingexampleis associated by tradition with the Devil's Bridge at Cheshire, " its Glossop, 14ollingworth, connotations. near with obvious apotropaic 188.8.131.52. Headswith unknown context in This small groupincludesheads or without clearassociation unearthed subsoilor gardens in freestanding history heads and without context or which are stored museum context, in A is has been head latter "Celtic-style" the the good category a which example of collections. being on Derby Museumfor upwardsof fifteen yearswithout any recordof its provenance Principal describes it Richard Langley curator as: record. dressed base, blade distinct inch 11 roughly the top, on and with sides inarksftom a quarter ...
242 is There in W V the rough sides. and patterns,and alsomorerandompeckingon arranged 'Celtic' lightly incised flat face is the the to with surface shapingaround chin,and polished a "155 features.
Other examplesinclude a number of headsunearthedin the LongdendaleValley, where some buried deliberately form have been to after tradition part of a continuing wherecarvings appear being producedlocally and used for purposeswhich remain unclear Anne Ross describesa heads of which were buried on a moor and unearthedannually for a surreptitious ritual group involving the sacrificeof a lamb," while Tony Ward records: "... two headsfound and re-buried; onefrom Glossopand onefrom Mouselow, which I was but "" the owner would allow no photographsto be taken. shown from This tradition of burying heads factors, be a simple spectrum of could a result of a whole is known deliberate to the reaction to the gruesome appearance a carving concealment which of to be an influence in rural Ireland where idol headswere regardedas symbols of paganism during the middle ages. In Pennine and Peak tradition headscould also be buried as lucky talismansin the foundationsof housesor roads,or as part of a deliberateattempt to neutralise baleful powersthey had absorbed from usein an apotropaiccontextelsewhere.Examplesof all thesetraditionsare discussed more fully in Chapter6. Finally, a miscellaneous collection of humanheadsare facesare known which are carved upon the surfaceof living rock, a form of carving which hasparallels in West York-shireand further Examples afield. of this tradition havealreadybeenmentionedat Alderley Edge and Bakewell. There are a number of other natural outcrops of rock in the Peak which provide ideal opportunities for this art style which cannot be securelydated,and examplessuch as a single face on Bosley Cloud near Leek and two archaic faces on RamshawRocks, beside the crude Buxton to Leek road, appearto havebeenfreshly carvedin the modem era." Of more interest is a face carved on the east-facingside of a pillar besidethe WoodheadRoad at Saltersford,on the watershedof the Etherow in Upper LongdendaleValley.Local tradition suggeststhe head was carved as "a warning" to travellers about a dangerousbend in the road as it approaches Dunford Bridge, but Tony Ward suspected it might haveolder origins as the stonemarks the site in local tradition." of a medieval gibbet remembered Unfortunately,the stone has suffered so
243 A face is distinguishable barely damage the today. that numberof naturalstones carved much Rocks Ramshaw Eye, including Winking faces, human bearsimulacrum the to on resemblance Meadows, " Hollow John The Head Stump Roaches, Stone near the the at of or edge at eastern havenames "' All these Sheffield,andtheMan'sHeadRockat Rivelin,nearSheffield. stones formations in be discerned local knowledge faces the natural which reflect which can of the heads final A with medieval associated viewed category of arethose appropriate when at angles. discussion lengthy in Peak District which the the subjectof a which are parish churches follows.
5.4.8. Heads in Peak District
"... In medieval times, the carvings on churches were the main road of development of the severed head motif, and were the route by which its customary relationship to ritual space continued to be observed..."
Stoneheadsof the archaicstyle are a common featurein the architectureof parish churchesin the PeakDistrict, particularly in the northernpart of the region wherea carving tradition appears to havecontinuedwith a seriesof revivalsas late as the Gothic revival of the nineteenthcentury. In Cheadleparish church, on the northeastCheshireboundarywith the Peak,thereare fourteen carved headsincorporatedwithin different parts of the church fabric, dating from the separate late fifteenth century. Guy Ragland Phillips found "Celtic-style" headsin a number of preReformation parish churchesin York-shire,and suggested thesewere performing a secondary function, especiallyupon siteswheretherewasevidenceof continuity from the Romano-British "' period onwards. Jacksonnoted "primitive heads"built into the wall of the nave inside the
parishchurchat Kirk-by Malharnin North Yorkshire, and noted: 66 they are not the type of head one associateswith church architecture and could well be ... 99164 Celtic. Phillips notesthe headswere placedin the walls during a nineteenthcentury restoration"on the advice" of aa local MP, Walter Morrison. He adds:
244 located Morrison a the "Presumably with church theyhadbeen the provided also premises. on V1165 in thisis thethird Celtichead and of an earlierandrudertype. porch; foothill Pennine Headsof the plain, archaicstyle are commonin the parishchurches the of include Billingsley they PeakDistrict, a that represent the which suggests northern and regions human from developed the and the of symbolism more purely protectivepurposeseparate 166 from heads Carvings the Gothic Romanesque the associated with and revivals. animal foliate heads in the form of grotesques, Romanesque andassociated periodappear gargoyles, Christian despite thoroughly their a which within pagan connotations werecreated sculpture Church found Adel Fine heads human Romanesque at examples of carved styleare of context. Ireland,which both have in CountyGalway, in Leeds,WestYorkshire,andClonfertCathedral in spectacular triangular of carvings whichsuggest a mergingof the gable arrangements a series decorativeand protectivefunctionsduring the Normanperiod. In church architecture,the functions buildings to those performsimilarguardianship archaicheads associated with secular in their positioning, namelyabovedoorways,on eithersideof window drip stones, androof heads to protectthechancel on theexteriorof thebuilding.Insidechurches arch, edges appear Billingsleyequates the insideof thetowerandtheentrance to thealtarandchoirspace. thelarge foundat cathedrals numberof heads andurbanparishchurches with the growingwealthof the " to to which enabled period patrons commission masons produce moreelaborate carvings. ChristopherCrowe recordeda number of carved headsduring a study of early church in northwest dedications England.He concluded that "archaicstyle" heads were "so distinct from medieval gargoyle carvingto beunmistakable" andfoundhow:
headsappear to have beencarved aftesh in order to incorporate them into cornices "' in later mouldings and centuries.
Crowe's study focussed upon churches connectedwith bath-houseshrines of the Romanol3ritish period, wells and springs with an early Christian dedication, and churcheswhich had "Celtic-style" headsincorporated into their fabric or churchyards. The headsat Bak-ewell church were so primitive in style that Crowe concludedthey could not possibly be mistaken for rustic carvingsof the medievalperiod:
245 "... and mustsurely havea separatemeaning front the usualfantasiesand horrors of the builderýrepertoire. """ or thecapitalin themedieval gargoyle church
Rather it seemedthe headsfunctioned as "tutelary spirits" for the buildings, a relic of the lingering urge to dedicate a religious shrine with a head to confirm the dedication. In this
respect, the primitive headsfound in early churches:
.... are directly in the Celtic tradition, and are afeature of areas where t1wre was a substantial Celtic element in t1w landowners and clergy among the Anglo-Saxon settlers."" 184.108.40.206 Gazetteerof Peak District churcliesfeaturing stone lwad sculpture
The following gazetteer lists thirteenparishes wherechurchbuildingsfeaturearchaic-styleheads by this casestudy.The which fall within the geographical areaof the PeakDistrict encompassed distribution of thosein High Peakis shownon the accompanying map (Fig. 27). The examples which follow are listed alphabetically by the nameof the parish concerned,followed by the dedicationof the churchanda descriptionof the overall context.While the list is not exhaustive, it includes the most important churchesand associated sculpturewhere relevant to the general discussionof the headmotif in an ecclesiastical context. ALDERWASLEY.St Margaret. The tiny chapelon the hillside abovethe village of Crich datesto the sixteenthcentury when it was a chapel-of-ease of Wirksworth parish,and functionedas a private chapelserving the Hurt family.'"" The southwall of the building hasgoodexamples of medievalheadstransferredto the exterior of the church after servinga structuralpurposein an earlier building, presumablyfrom the site of the sixteenth century church. Of the surviving examplesthere are grimacing heads with elaboratehair, and a stylisedmouth-puller.One block currently positionedon the corner of the south wall is a Sheela-na-gig which is believed to dated from the eleventh or twelfth 172 century. Its original position in the architecture of the earlier churchis unknown. BAKEWELL. All Saints The parish church is dramatically situated upon a knoll on the steephillside overlooking the
246 from dates the twelfth River Wye asit runsthroughthetown.Themainstructure today visible fragments but thirteenth of stone centuries, revealed nineteenth century restorations and Crowe heads. including Norman belongingto anearlierSaxon of stone and structure, a number its Wye beside bath-house Roman the the at the conjectured site of a associates churchwith be " in Burton Brook. Some the the can the church with stone sculpture of earliest confluence dated to the lateseventh or earlyeighthcenturywhenBakewellwaspart of the Anglo-Saxon Large numbersof kingdom of Mercia,and a ninth centurycrossstandsin the churchyard. fragments built into found decorated the of early were crosses and and stones gravestones, in foundations during the and re-used nineteenth centuryrestoration, walls andwereapparently " The carvings building newwalls. which areassociated with a Mercianschoolof sculpture have been based the site at anearlyadministrative centre at Bak-ewell, possiblyoccupying may of the earliestchurch.Examplesinclude a group of stoneheadswhich were haphazardly in from themid-fifteenth whichdates preserved thesouthporchof thechurch, centuryandhasa "Celtic-style" headfixed outsideas a gargoyle. Crowealso notedthe presence of two heads in beams the wooden unconnected roof anda head carved with thefabricof thebuildingamong "" fragments. the collection of sculptural is A "king" head in Aldern of clearecclesiastical style built overa windowextension of a house Way, Bakewell,and wasrecorded during fieldwork in 1994.The owner said the headcame from his previoushomein a cottagein the grounds of the parishchurch,from whereit was in 1960 into theextension instance later. This andincorporated obtained a eightyears provides from anearlychurchsite.The reason of re-use of a decorative goodexample stone givenby the for owner utilising the headin the structure new of his new homewassimple:I liked it and "" broughtit with mewhenI moved.
BIRCHOVER. St Mirhnel and All Angels. The building known as "Rowtor Church" was built by Thomas Eyre of Rowtor Hall as his own in the year 1700, according to local tradition as penance for his dabblings with chapel private "witchcraft" upon Rowtor Rocks above the church. " Built into the lower part of the wall
outside the church porch is a collection of stones which are said to be remains from the first church or chapel in the village, built at Upper-town during the Norman period. The stones include a human head of plain archaic stylc and a Romanesque-style animal head. The guide
247 heads Norman fragments "decorated and describes corbel the chevrons with typical as stones ...
known is the ""' Little fields. found in earlier about the walls around capitals of pillars... building, but a charterof 1300mentionsa chapelat Birchover. BRASSINGTON. St James. Much of this imposing church is of Norman origin, with the tower, parts of the porch and the has the being dated The of most to the twelfth obliterated changes aisle external south century. A Norman. the southaisle are all original structure,althoughthe tower, partsof the porch and heads four by feature buttresses, carved of the tower are the unique which are each protected date later have heads been individually than The these that a of are which carved. guide states the tower itself, and may havebeenaddedto provide additional"protection."" Two are framed by stonework-, one of theseis more clearly "Celtic" in style, while the second has a gaping mouth suggestiveof a grotesque.A third head is more realistic in having clearly executed features,and incised pupils. The church porch, which is one of the oldest parts of the building, featuresother interestingcarvings, including two stoneheads.One much-weatheredexample, set into the wall, is of the Celtic tradition, with oval eyesand a prominent wedge-shaped nose which forms part of a T-shapedbrow. The entrance arch of the churchitself also featuresa male sexualexhibitionist carving of possibleNormandate.A free-standing corbel-typeheadis stored inside the church itself. Also of interest are a full-size figure built into the wall of the tower which may be a Sheela-na-gig and is describedas being "almost certainly older than the tower itself."" The nearbydependent human featuring Ballidon font chapelof containsa octagonal
and animal heads.
BUXTON.. A small number of carvings featuring human headsare associatedwith the Roman town, finial four-headed impressive is The althoughnoneare connected a with a specific church. most "from the Buxton area" donated to ManchesterMuseum's collection (see Fig. 2). ", This
carving is of unknown date and clearly formed part of a corbel or column of a medieval church in the area. The style of the faces is typical of the Celtic tradition, with deep,jutting brows, deeply-set stylised eyes, a slit-like, partially open mouth which gives an overall grim and fearsomeexpression. One of the faceshasan elaboratemedievalhairstyle. Also from Buxton
248 human "' found head Torr Buxton, Street, and of grotesque-style anda series on are a corbel
in building the Courthouse Old heads decorations the the re-usedas on roof-edge of animal " town centre. DARLEY DALE. St Helens. The church is built alongsidethe river Derwent and is mentionedin the Domesdaysurvey of humanheadsand 1086."' Thereare a numberof carvings,including groupof much-weathered door the indistinguishable is Sheela-type the of north above almost visible carving which an described is Inside better-preserved the as a tower. the tower guide carving which a church "dcmon, " consisting of a grinning face with long whiskers and claws, partly covered by "' plaster.
HATHERSAGE. St Michael. The mainly fourteenthcentury building was extensivelyrestoredin the mid-nineteenthcentury " date fragments. decorative Theseinclude a carvedheadof Celtic the which may scatteringof from headdress helmet bulbous a rectangularstone style with an elaborate and eyes projecting or block which hasbeenbuilt into a gatewayabovethe vicaragewall in the churchyardfacing the tower. Two stone heads,of one archaic style, built into the gardenwalls of nearby Moorseats Hall may similarly have originated from the site of the medieval church. A seriesof elaborate be heads to these the the of appear grotesque are carvedalong church,and exterior roof-aislesof equivalent medievaldate.All are individually styled,and including more examplesof elaborate helmetsand hairstyles,grinning facesand mouth-pulling faces. HIGH BRADFIELD. St Nicholas. The fine Gothic-style church standson a hilltop in a moorland setting, and once formed an "' Ecclesfield, Hallam. Saxon the outlying chapelry of parish of part of the manor of The
structure dates from the fifteenth century, but standsupon the site of an earlier building of Norman date.The west tower is dated to the fourteenthcentury and this is also the suggested date for the origin of a seriesof gargoylesand grotesques which include a number of grotesque human faces.Inside the church thereare a seriesof archaic-styleheads,of a distinctly separate style, carvedabovethe archesof the SanctuaryChapelat the eastern end of the building.
249 HOPE.St Peter. Christian worship in England the of Hopeis oneof thelargest places oldest andoneof parishes "' 1086. Survey in the Domesday of PeakDistrict,asa churchwasmentioned in the northern it is but fifteenth fourteenth late dates largely from century, The present the or early church The Norman believed to be built on thesiteof a formerSaxon structure. exteriorwallsare and featuring by individually-carved the wall decorated a series andgargoyles, south grotesques of leering depicts male impressive Of a one two whichactaswater-spouts, carvings. thegargoyles a figure hand alongside while organ, male carved a grasping with one exhibitionist sexual These full-sized from thegenital carvings homedfacesprouts gargoyle. mouth-pulling area of a different heads interesting date from late fifteeenth There style two of to the are century. appear face One building tower. the weathered church of stone carved ontotheexterior andappearance dates to be halfway the around the tower precisely the carving which up northsideof can seen to faceis carvedon an exteriorwestwall of the porchandappears A second the year 1400.189 from the be of similardate.This headcarvedin relief hashornsor puck-shaped carssprouting in this part of the Peak.A third brow of the head,following a tradition known elsewhere headis positioned theleft archof themaindoorinsidethechurchporch. grotesque-style above Writer huge bulbous This carvinghasa balefulappearance eyes. with a wide openmouthand follows: Wayne Anthonyhasrecorded this which carving, connected with a story
"The head, according to the vicar, had only returned to the the church in recent Yearshaving by decades in there taken the several a gentlemanwho was at one spent country, anotherpart of time a villager who had worked on the church in his youth, taken a shine to the head and it he it, it. At lying took head idle to the time the and nobody seemed want so removed was with him. As the years passed the gentleman concerned moved away from the village to anotherpart of the country.Theson of the gentlemanconcerned,having grown up travelled to holiday and whilst there reiterated to the vicar the village of hisfather's youth on a sightseeing the story concerningthe head.Thevicar searched all recordsto seeif there was any mention of the head but could find none. Both parties agreed that it would be bestfor the head to be returned to its original homeand, after severalmonths,the head was indeedreturned and set into its newposition whereit can be seentoday. 99190 MOTTRAM-IN-LONGDENDALE. St Michael. Mottram is thought to derive from an Anglo-Saxon word denoting a meeting place, which in this casewas situatedon a crossroads at a hilltop dominating the lower Longdendalevalley, at
250 for found has been by Evidence of time earlyoccupation almost entirely surrounded moors. one by Melandra fort in it linked hill late a Iron Age Roman to the the at the when was and period, have "' ford Etherow. Although stood may the church wooden across river anearlier roadanda built first in theSaxon local here the was tradition church suggests period, and notrace remains from Matilda, dead from during Stephen battle which the the to commemorate and reignof a but its name. Hill hasstood War WarHill takes A church thirteenth the century, since mid on "" later. building dates from hundred the two years of present a period much internal, both fabric, heads A large and external number of carved withthechurch areassociated Victorian have been from during to the around the restoration a number appear removed site and in dispersed decorative 1870andweresubsequently stones theneighbouring andre-used as Historian TonyWarddiscovered howlocalbuilders on therestoration villages. whoworked dating heads, had hairstyles to thethirteenth them tookandsolda number or of of which several fourteenth Wardtraced thestory thegreat centuries. grandson of onebuilderwhoconfirmed and: hehadsoldor given "...adinitted in a hutfoundation in afield to theRoman coinsfound away ""13 thesouth of thechurch.
Nine headsfrom the church,sevenof thesemedievalin date,were built into the interior wall of a houseat thejunction of Mottram Roadand Mottram Old Roadat nearbyStalybridge,and were subsequentlyremovedin the late 1970swhen the owner left the area,and have since beensold on through the antiquestrade." The headswhich remain in situ today are preservedaroundthe parapetof the south face of the churchtower, the structureof which datesfrom the late fifteenth century.An engraving of the church madein 1794showsthree large stone headson each face "" has The of the church tower, or at leaston the southand eastparapets artist which are visible. depictedthe headsas identical in appearance, but the surviving examplessold after the Victorian restorationshow considerableindividuality in their style. Of the headson the south side of the tower, three prominent carvings survive. One is of crude Celtic-style but could simply be unfinished, while the other two have identical cheek markings. Ward suggeststhesecould be survivors of the "look alike" headsshownin the 1794engraving.He writes: "... therefore the the "Celtic-style " head is either older from another source or a quickly
251 head, done The time the the the replacement missing of church. roughed-out at restoration of ' "' hands. in thenineheads patches, wasnot among with cheek now private
Ward concludes the "block-shape" of the heads suggests they were intended, from the first, to be incorporated into the fabric of the building which dates them securely to the construction of the tower at the end of the fifteenth century. A line of small heads also present on the south tower all appear to have been cut to a roughly uniform pattern, which suggeststhey were carved during the restoration of the tower during the nineteenth century. The builders may however have been following a local tradition of protecting a church with stone heads which could have been present upon an earlier structure. Of the remaining heads, a group of archaic-style faces decorate the dripstones on either side of the windows on the north wall of the church, facing the bleak upper Longdendale valley. These may also date from the late fifteenth century, as money bequeathed by Sir Edmund Shaw to pay for the construction of the church tower was used to rebuild the outside walls with stone quarried from Tintwistle Knarr in the upper part of the 197 valley.
Inside the church fabric "homed" facesare carved on the corbel endsof the West Arch in the North Aisle. The guidebookrefers to theseas "scaredevil figureheads"presumablybecause of the useof curved ram's horns to give the fleeting impressionof a face." Of the two surviving carvings one may be a later copy as it is more stylised, with the impression of horns missing. The older of the pair appearsto display the "Celtic eyes" found on archaic heads,but theseare formed by the spiralling horns. In style they follow the local tradition surrounding horned figures which is reflected in carvings like those from Mouselow and Melandra, discussed elsewhere.
OLD GLOSSOP. All Saints.
The parishchurch was subjectto an extensiverebuilding programme in the 1830swhich transformed completely thestructure too small of anearliermedieval churchwhichhadbecome
to cope with the increasing population as Glossop entered the Industrial Revolution. It is believed there was a parish church on the samesite shortly after the Norman conquest,but few structuralfragmentsremainand the guidestates: 66 all that has materially survivedftoin this period are the carvedheads and afew other stones ...
252 "" behind the the part of new vicarage. wall which nowform
Two headssurvive in the vicaragewall where they were cementedduring the 1950Sby local builders who accordingto local information went to great pains to place them in a prominent function (see Chapter 6). Previously, had "guardian" they above a small performeda position ice house overlooking the Glossop Brook which runs just one hundred yards below the ' church! They are both carvedto depict armswhich are held aloft with handspointing towards the flat brow of the head.The only discernible"Celfic features"are the stylised almond-shaped is double "the Ward As Tony their prominent carving style rustic concludes: eyes and eyelids. medieval ratherthan Celtic.""' The headsare carved upon blocks of stone which suggestthey had a structural function in the early church and may have formed part of a lost memorial or faces heads be In this the the grave stelae. stylised carvedupon context can with compared even flat in large The dated by inscription 1721. the to the gravestone slab churchyard, year a an features two archaic-style faces framed by angelic wings on the upper comers of the stone, possibly symbolising souls ascendingto heaven. The stone marks the grave of one Martha Wagstaff of Glossop who died aged 56 years. In style, the cherub-like headsutilise features typical of the carvedstoneheadsof a similar period which are associated with the guardianship boundaries of which deathwas the most important threshold.Of equal interest are a pair of of headscarvedin the oldest part of the interior of the church, acting as springersto an arch in St Catherine'sChapel,the oldestsurviving architecturalfeatureof the building. According to local "' This tradition, the arch is built abovea natural spring which rises in the church foundations. display Celtic both type of location would be appropriatefor heads the tradition, carvings of and featureswhich classify them as part of a continuingtradition. A large numberof corbel-typeheads are known from locationsin Old Glossopand surrounding settlementswhich appearto originate from the site of the parish church.Their dispersalfor use in secondarycontexts may date from the time of the renovation of the building in the midnineteenth century when a collection of carvings were sold or re-uscd in a processwhich is known to have occurred at neighbouringMottram-in-Longdendale.One small head "from the old PostOffice" recordedby Tony Ward is described as being "typical church work,"" and two small headsbuilt into the rear wall of a houseon Fitzalan Streetappearto have similar origins. A well-preserved head now cementedonto the garden wall of a house on Slatelands Road,
253 the from the dated by styleto thethirteenth of hasbeen site Glossop, originate andmay century boundary ' into incorporated head wall at A a garden church. parish stone now early medieval below bed" in four Close, Old Glossop, "found Hallmeadow ago a river manyyears wasoneof lost, "' heads the surviving informant. While three the to are the churchaccording an other intended it to is block, a serve was which suggests uponanelongated sandstone example carved features The in building, the earlychurch. with mostprobablyassociated structuralpurpose a brow highly in "Celtic" drilled which typically stylised style,with oval eyes, pupils,anda are for has head forms a completefeaturewith a wedge-shaped The a mouth and a a slit nose. been has to brow, "rope-style" headdress hair the subject which of stylised upon or suggestion at some pointin its history. weathering
TAXAL. St James. A church is recorded serving this parish, on a slope above the River Goyt on the border betweenDerbyshire and Cheshire,in 1287.The presentstructure, excluding the tower, dates "" from 1889 and is the product of a number of restorations. Only the fine embattled tower
remains from the earlier building and this may date from the late sixteenth century when the nave was rebuilt. Two carvedstoneheads are visible on the tower abovethe clock, framed by a herringbone of piece masonrywhich may be a structuralfeatureof the early church. The heads are carvedin the round with a curious cap or headdress which covers the forehead.The mouth is a deepgashand the eyesare oval and bulbous.Thesecarvings probably date from the early medievalchurch. WIRKSWORTH. St MaEythe Vir&Ln. An early British churchmay oncehaveexistedat Wirksworth as the presentchurch standsin the valley of Ecclesboumefrom British eccles ,a church.' Local tradition suggeststhe area was
christianisedby the middle of the seventhcentury AD when the settlementbecamepart of the kingdom of Mercia. The first church may have beenan offshoot of the monasteryat Repton, dating to the eighth century suggeststhe earliest and the existenceof a fine carved gravestone church may date from this time. The current structureis the product of four distinctive periods of architecture,from the Early English period of the tower through to a massiveVictorian period restoration which clearedmuch earlier material away. However, a large collection of carved
254 beneath found the from has these the earlier structure,and many of were survived stones into the incorporated The during 1870-74. the the carvings, of church of restoration pavement A including heads, those number ram. a interior northwall, depictbothhuman of andanimal One from in date Romanesque example thirtecenth the church. century carved style and may are beard head, double-lids is a portrait-style the eyescarvedwith and with a neatly-trimmed is lines. from depicted the It by stones carved the all whether unclear chin, vertical sprouting from imported have been in from outlyingareas. the the churchare originalsiteor now present kibble, his figureof a lead-miner is thecarved Setinto thewestwall of thechurch and pick with found at the hamletof Bonsallandmovedto the churchin 1876andwhich is thoughtto date "' The carvingis knownas "T'Owd Man," a Peakland term which from the twelfth century. ' describes thespiritsof old mincrssaidto protecttheunderground workings. The exteriorofheads" "grotesque describes the the on the churchalso features as guide examples of what heads These two the comer are actuallycarvedas a complete of choir aisle. north northeast facing head facing janiform sculpture the east,performingwhat the with one northand other function. guidecallsa "protective"
5.5. Summary and discussion of ecclesiastical heads in medieval art
The severedhead is one of the most widespreadand commonmotifs ill the Gothic period. ... Grotesqueheadsare exceptionallynumerous,as if the motif of the head with foliage coming from the mouth, or the human head mask embeddedin greenery-The presence of so many heads in our churches- janiform, tricephalic,foliate andpurely grotesque- over and abovethe t havethe sameultimate significance,the protection of the straiglifonvard portrait heads would ... dwellingfrom evilforces, and the embuingof it with everythinglucky and desirable.
"' Gargoyles. AnneRoss, Grotesques and
The thirteen parish churchesdescribedin the gazetteerabove provide examplesof a range of headcarvingsin a wide variety of stylesand dates.The sampleis representative of headsfound in church architecture in many other areasof the country, as C.J.P. Cave's 1948 survey of iconography carved upon medieval roof bossesalone concluded: "the subject of headsin an immense one.""' In the current case study, the earliest heads I have identified in an
ecclesiastical context appearto datefrom the time of the Normanconquestwhen the first parish
255 have Romano-Celtic in How Peak District. examples manyearlier arerecorded the churches it is not possibleto say,althoughearly beensubjectto secondary re-usein later structures Glossop, Old Hope, decorations interior known both at are actingas and exterior examples Wirksworth and Bakewell.From the Normanperiod onward headsappearas part of the depicted frequently from Continent England Romanesque grotesque to the and art whichspread Celtic Roman drew Zernecki Henry art humanheads, tradition and upon a which and suggests "' function by decoration. defined Grotesques their asroof-edge andgargoyles, whichare and fashion became feature in decoration Gothic which replaced church a of waterspouts, exterior draw from but to the upon the thirteenth the Romanesque style centuryonwards, continued Hope human head. Hathersage, fine found The High Bradfield, the and examples at motif of from increasing far Mottram-in-Longdendale the plain, archaic removed showan stylisation style of the earlier Celtic tradition but also display a level of continuity in terms of their function in locations building the their the andplacement, apotropaic protecting weakspotsof Interpretation towerbuttesses on roof edges, andwindowdripstones. of the rich imageryand displayed by sucha widevarietyof carvingstyleis difficult asthereis no surviving symbolism documentary evidence whichrelateto this form of rusticcarvingwhichonenineteenth century ""' Billingsleyconcludes to as"theslang that"personal writer referred response of architecture. is theclueto theinterpretation images: ratherthanmeaning" of these
into they their they take the a surreal appear, and whatever ineaning, onlooker h6wever world, the world of the imagination, dreani and supernature.vi214
Celtic-style carvedheads,grotesques and gargoyles arejust threeexamplesof the manifestation human head within the architectureof the medieval church. The literature review in the of Chapter 1 describedother stylised facesand headsof parallel date which have attracted much comment, the most common of which is the foliate head, which also have clear precursorsin Celtic, Romanand Norseart. While the foliate headand relatedsculpturefalls outside the scope of this study,it will prove useful to summarisethe relationshipbetweenthesecarvings and the severedheadmotif as a whole.
256 5.5.1. Foliate heads
The foliate head has been describedby Sheridan and Ross as "one of the most pagan and face defined has been in imagery ""' The the term as a archaicconcepts of the christianchurch. Celtic in by forming has itself, early precusors part of vegetation a symbol which surrounded or Roman However, the term "foliate head" has been erroneouslyused to categorisea art. and it is forms, including leaf-mask face the the composed of or part number of related where entirely of leaves,and the well-known "the GreenMan," a face from which vegetationemerges from the mouth, noseand other orifices. In an influential article publishedin Folklore Journal in 1939,Lady Raglansuggested the GreenMan (a namesheherselfgaveto thesecarvings)was a survival of a fertility god, and shedrew parallelsbetweenthe imagescarved in churchesand "" foliage, in danced, disguised by May Day the Jack-in-the-Green characterwho processions. She was inspired to coin the name after examining a fifteenth century corbel in St Jerome's by Brandon Centerwall has suggested church at Llangwrn in Monmouthshire.Recentresearch her inspired guesswas correct, but her claims for the paganorigin of this particular variant of "" In particular,claimed parallelsbetween the foliate mask is not supportedby good evidence. the medievalcarvingsand May Day folk customs are problematicalin that the earliestvariant of the Jack-in-the-Green documentedoriginates in the mid-seventeenth century, five hundred years after the appearance of the foliate head in Romanesque art. This has led Roy Judge to that the two were directly relatedas Lady Raglanhad concludetherewas no evidenceto suggest "' claimed. The GreenMan is an almostexclusivelymaleimagewhich appears to haveoriginated in France in the twelfth century in Romanesque and Gothic art, and spreadfrom thereto England where it becamepopular in church architectureespeciallyduring the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. One of the finest Romanesqueexamples is that from the Norman church at Kilpeck in Herefordshire. In England the most common foliage depictedin carvings is the oak, but other variants are known particularly at Southwell Minster in Nottinghamshire, where hawthorn, hemp, nettle, ivy, bryony, hop, maple, vine, buttercup, rose and mulberry are all present.The symbol has resurfacedmany times in different contexts throughout history, and retained its popularity in modem times, most recently during the twentieth century revival of the image on pub signs,in novels,and latterly as a vibrant symbol of the twentieth century paganmovement,
257 "' followers Man Green god. asa nature worshipthe manyof whose face disturbing, half-tree; is half-man Man semi-demonic In his originalcontext theGreen a and the from foliate its severed dmws like of the motif the powerful variants, power other which, bosses, in is found Christian head. The hidden human carvedon roof churches, carving away from date the after The period to appear oldest examples roodscreens andmisericords. capitals, fifteenth fourteenth in during Norman Conquest the and the with a greatupsurge carving Green Gawain Sir the date the and of poem whichcoincides a with theappearance centuries, 3). The first in-depthstudyof the foliate headandGreenMan wasby Knight (seeChapter KathleenBasford,who said that her personal questbeganwhenshe saw a striking carving
Yorkshire in North Abbey Fountains the the tall twelfth apexof one of windowsat century upon (see Fig. 21)."' It was:
"... a head with vegetation coining ftoin its mouth, coiled around its brow and twisted over its throat. "
imagery lack The stoneattractsattention because the other or sculpture at ountains of of any Abbey. Basford saw the image of the GreenMan not as a representative of May Day revels or Jack-in-the-Green, but as a symbol of human death and decay, "a thing of sorrow."" Her
churches, and the study showed that these headsare also found in French and Romanesque in Roman for have been to the prototype vegetation sprouting ancient carvingsappeared masks in Rhineland Rome itself. Faces from leafy background also appear and sites on emerging a "' iron Age La Tene art and Jupiter columns of the Romano-British age. Those found in
had churches a more "menacing" or "demonic" appearancethan the more ancient rnedieval examples,and one folk-loreauthority notes:
havesucha mysterious intensityof expression someof the bettercarvedspecimens which
makesit difj7cult to believethat theyhaveno cult significance."'
Fine examples Forest in foliate be found Sherwood heads border Derbyshire the of can of on itself at the fourteenth house centurychapter at SouthwellMinster,which wasbuilt on the site of a Romanvilla. Heretherearenine GreenMen,eachhighly individualanddepictingheads emerging, peeping out of, or merging with various of sacred plantswhicharehighly suggestive
258 Jack-in" the heads, foliate of May DayandtheJack-in-the-Green. Similar with suggestions English in bosses found be many medieval the-Green,can carved upon wooden roof be to There Canterbury. Norwich including Exeter, Carlisle, are said Cathedrals, thoseat and Edinburgh, Chapel Rosslyn in fifteenth which Green Man 103images the the near century of Templar, Knights by William important founded Sinclair, a medieval the of member an was "' heads. idol the of worship of skullsandpreserved orderwhowereaccused in found District Peak in border Green Man Further examples the are the of the areasof Lady Chapel, SheffieldCathedral thereis a intriguing suiteof wooden where,in themedieval date They beams with gold paint. which aretodayembossed carvingsuponthe woodenroof Sheelafemale is from thefifteenth or the the exhibitionist a century, of carvings and centrepiece head from the to tree on the apex a mouth of rootswhich gush na-gig,which appears sit upon Man Green depicting bosses In the the total greatstained-glass window. of sevencarved of "" foliage. in by Lady Chapel, and surrounded stylised all arranged geometrically appear the Elsewhere, a highly stylisedGreenMan with foliage emergingfrom his mouth alongsidea date, tongue, at wooden appears among a series of carved misericords, of medieval protruding foliage depicting heads BakewellParishChurch.Two weathered with stylised stonecarvings date. DowerHouse of medieval at Winster, of mid-eighteenth century adornthegates
These medieval carvings are found throughoutthe British Isles, but occur in particularly large church numbers in medieval Ireland and, like the GreenMan their origin lies in Romanesque architecture,which spreadto Britain from Europeduring the twelfth century." They portray a hideous hag-like being, her featuressometimesdisplaying a repulsive leer, with a naked body in often a crouchedposition whosemost prominentfeatureis grosslyexaggerated sexualorgans for head the a pulled apart by the hands.Sheelashave becomeassociated motif with severed least the claim that they represent number of reasons, not a pagansurvival within the medieval deliberate include Britain the church. Direct parallelswith the stoneheads crude carving of north style, the exaggerated proportion in the size of the head,and their presumedprotective or evilaverting function in positionshigh on walls, abovedoorwaysand overlooking boundaries.The term Sheela-na-gighas beenrelatedto the Irish Sighe na gCioch or "old hag of the paps," a
259 figures the " Traces in tradition surrounding first the oral of century. nineteenth recorded name term fairy hag is drawn from suil or Sheela woman, thewordsile , meaning or that suggest ,a by function for is suggested their for the evil eye,which appropriate their evil-averting date known The in buildings examples oldest and round-towers. such as castles positioning Ireland, in Britain Sheela-na-gigs 140 and from Norman times, recorded anda recent survey ' to locations. Although be assumed their widely to of which appear occupying original eighty functions, in contexts above befertilitysymbols, have theyarefound apotropaic whichsuggest Traditions doorways, to earlymedieval andcastles. abbeys churches, windows andentrances female display during wasone that the the genitalia of suggest nineteenth century collected facing down an whichwouldperform method of averting also of enemies, evil and archaic ' for Jorgen Anderson theircommon noted method of providing structures. protection effective adjoining whichtie together at thecomer of buildings on thequoins, or large stones occurence " Irish castles, of structural weakness. wallsof andatother points for have Jerman Romanesque Lust all carvings andWeir in Images origin ascribed a of classified asSheela-na-gigs, whichtheyregard asjust onevariation of a varietyof maleand during female figures by European the the sexual exhibitionist on pilgrimroutes carved pilgrims " Theyargue for Middle Ages. thatthevast vehicles were of medieval sexual carvings majority Christianteachings on the evils of lust, temptation and the sinsof the flesh, ratherthan Sheeladepictions image barbaric However, the the of of pagan andprimitive gods or spirits. in Ireland. image hasledsome for Celtic the to na-gig writers suggest precursors earlier pagan hassuggested AnneRoss that, "...in theirearliest in herhag-like iconographicforin they theterritorial or ivargoddess portray "" in tales. the this the aspect, withall strongly characteristics which accompany guise sexual
Irish historian EtienneRynne hasarguedthat prototypeSheelas Celtic Iron in the pagan existed Age and he suggests form reachedIreland in the twelfth century AD that when the Romanesque
"it founda prepared andfertilesoil." Hewrites: "77te Irish merelyadaptedtheir [traditional images]to the newlyintroducedmotif and then forged ahead with reneivedenthusiasmproducing more and better Sheelasthan anyone ... 192M else.
by influenced in found in thoseareasmost The greatmajority of Sheela-na-gigs Irelandare A 1500. between 1300 dated be and to the period Anglo-Normanculture,andcan securely is District, Peak there a In from known Britain. the of examples are smaller number fifteenth Sheela Chapel, Alderwasley, St Margaret's centurywooden Romanesque-style a and at highly A formerly in Cathedral, Sheffield the parishchurch. carvingexistsupona roof-boss is Sheela block to the at medieval the stables carved upon stone above entrance a of stylised 215 Weir is by Jerman This carving classed HaddonHall, nearBakewell. asa modemcopy, and but its positioningis fully consistent with the severed with the evil-avertingfunctionshared headmotif.
in both head This chapterhasexaminedthe geographical the the motif context of carvedstone form its in Britain Ireland, the of a and asa microcosm context of regionalvariationswithin and casestudyof one region whereall forms andvariationsof the symbol occur.In the PeakDistrict heads are found in a wide variety of stylesand contextsconsistentwith the occurrenceof stone the motif elsewherein Britain. A few examplesare known which can be ascribedto the period to havestimulatedindigenouscarving traditions in stone of Romanoccupation,which appears for the first time.The vast majority of carvingsfrom the Peakcan be attributed to the Christian head by time the the motif medieval and modem periods, which severed pagansignificanceof had beenlost. Thesecarvingsare the product of a fluid period of revival and resurgence of the headsymbol in the contextof folk art. Belief andtradition which surroundthem are examinedin the chapter which follows, but the evidencecollected during this researchsuggeststhat they were carvedspecifically as protectiveamulets,both to deflect evil and bring luck to the home or the sacredplace. This researchhas demonstrated the importanceof the symbol from its original occurrencein Celtic into the medieval pagan and Roman times, through to its resurgence and slow evolution period where a number of new variants appearedwithin a thoroughly Christian context. Although devoid of its earlier paganreligious context, the symbol of the head as a protective device continuedin useas part of the architectureof the medievalchurch in a number of forms, including Romanesqueart in the form of grotesquesand foliate heads, which were carved
function. broadly but the traditional similar archaic-style sculpture, performeda alongside heads The chapterwhich follows will examinethe oral traditionsassociated stone with carved fieldwork during for England. in the the of north research present collected
'Quoted in GordonStaniforth,The Peak: Past and present (London: Constable, 1998), p.l. 'See appendixto Billingsley, ' pp. 102-15. 'Archaicheadcarvingin West Yorkshire, 3 SidneyJacksoncard index number141; personalcommunication from the current owner of the head, Mrs ElizabethEdge,of Pilsley,Derbyshire,1993. 4Ross, PaganCelticBritain, p. 106. Coulstonand Phillips,p. xvii. Petch, 'Celtic Stone Heads. ' Sir Cyril Fox, ThePersonality of Britain:,Its influenceon inhabitantand invaderin prehistory (Cardiff:NationalMuseumof Wales, 1952),pp. 14-15. James and Rigby,p. 75. Billingsley,'Archaicheadcarvingin WestYorkshire, ' pp.5-6. "George Ewart Evans, The Patternunder the Plough (London: Faber,1966), chapter 4. See Billingsley, 'Archaicheadcarvingin West Yorkshire, ' pp. 40-54. Billingsley,StonyGaze, p. 43. See Coe, 34-5; NoraJoliffe,' Dea Brigantia, ' Archaeological Journal, XCVII (1942),36-61. Brian Ashmole, SenhouseRomanMuseum (Carlisle:Colophon Press, 1991), p.12. "Ibid. I Rynne, 'Celtic stone idols in Ireland, '80. Hickey, Images of Stone,p. 33. Ibid., pp. 33-36. Ibid., p. 24. Ibid., p. 26. 21 Jackson, Celtic and Other Stoneheads, p. 31; SidneyJacksoncard index number 108. Item in private possession. 22 Hickey,p. 20. 23 Megaw,'A Celticcult headfrom PortTalbot, ' 97. 2"Brewer,Wales,p. xvii. 25 See Green,'Celtic Symbolismat Caerleon. ' 2"Brewer, Wales,p. 37. 27 Ibid., p. xvii. 21 R.B. White, 'A Celtic head from Llangeinwen, Anglesey, ' ArchaeologiaCambrensis, 128 (1979), 158. 29 Megaw, 'A further note on Celtic cult heads, ' 193. 3"Ross, Pagan Celtic Britain, p. 127. Francis Lynch, PrehistoricAnglesey (LIangef ni: Anglesey Antiquarian Society, 1991), pp. 280-82. 32 Ibid., p. 281. 33 See Hulbert-Powell, 19-48. 3"For a summaryof the Bath materialsee I.A. Richmondand J.M.C. Toynbee,'The Templeof Sulis-Minerva at Bath,'Joumal of RomanStudies, XLV (1955), 97-105. Cunliffe, Bath and the rest of Wessex, p. Yjv. 36 See Knowsley,'Bloodytrail of headhunterscarved in stone.' 37 Privatecommunications from ChrisCopson, 20 May, 1998. 3' Ross, Pagan Celtic Britain, p. 107. 3' Billingsley,'Archaicheadcarvingsin West Yorkshire, ' p. 39. 40 Brears, P. 43.
" Jackson, 'Tricephalic Heads from Greetland, '314. 42 Tufi, p. 20.
43 Personalcommunication from Anthony MyersWard, July, 1994.
Owned 101. index Jackson Other Stone Sidney Celtic heads, 11; 44 Jackson, number card and p. " by Amy Amblerof 6 HoultsLane and knownaffectionately as "Clarence. 45 SidneyJacksoncard indexnumber61. CartwrightHall Museum,Bradford. 411 Jackson,'TricephalicHeadsfrom Greetland,315. 47 Personalcommunication from AnthonyMyersWard, 23 August 1988. See RolandSmith, First and Last: ThePeakNationalParkin wordsand pictures (Bakewell:Peak Park PlanningBoard, 1978). 49 John Barnattand Ken Smith, The PeakDistrict:Landscapesthroughtime (London: Batsford/English Heritage,1997), p. 14. 50 Fox, p.15. 11 See R. GeraintGruffydd, ' In Searchof Elmet, ' StudiaCeltica, 37 (1994),63-79. CambridgeUniversity 52 KennethCameron, The Place-names of Derbyshire Vol. I (Cambridge: Press, 1959),p.xxi. 11 Ibid.,p. xxii.
"John Fyne, letter to Peak and Pennine magazine, December, 1997, unpublished. 55 Barnatt and Smith, p. 18.
Ibid., p. 43. Ibid., p. 46. Personalcommunication from AnthonyMyersWard, 12 July, 1994. Barnattand Smith, p. 53. 60 Clive Hart, TheNorth Derbyshire Survey (Sheffield:North Derbyshire Archaeological Archaeological Trust, 1981),p. 105. 81 Billingsley,Stony Gaze, pp. 68-71. 02 Martin Petch,A list of Celticheads and associatedsculpturein Derbyshire (unpublished manuscript,ManchesterMuseum,1989). Peter Naylor,Celtic Derbyshire(Derby:J.H. Hall, 1983),p. 12. See Appendix 1, P102. Riddel, pp. 40-41. See Dodds, Two Celtic Headsfrom CountyDurham. ' "Hart, P. 105. " See John J. Anderson, RomanDerbyshire (Derby:J.H.Hall, 1985), pp. 37-39. "'Cameron, The Place-names of Derbyshire, pp. 69-70. Personalcommunication from AnthonyMyersWard, 3 September1993. Ibid. 12 Personalcommunicationfrom Anthony MyersWard, 20 October 1993. See Appendix 1, P7. Sidney Jacksoncard index number 563. ManchesterMuseum collection accession reference1974.45. 74 See Ross, 'A paganCeltic Shrineat Wall, Staffordshire. ' 7'Letter in Sidney Jackson correspondencefile, dated 10 August 1972. 701 Personalcommunicationfrom Anthony MyersWard, 20 October 1993. 7' Personalcommunication from John TaylorBroadbent,Old Glossop, 17 May 1996. 71 See Appendix 1, p8. Sidney Jackson card index number586. ManchesterMuseum collection accession number, 1974.46. '9Oral tradition collectedfrom Pat Ellison,Hollingworth, 12 November1993 and John Taylor Broadbent, Old Glossop, Derbyshire, 14 August,1996. Petch, Celtic Stone Sculptures, p. 34. Personalcommunicationfrom Anthony Myers Ward, 20 October 1993. 12 See Appendix 1, P10. Displayedat the Lindow Man exhibition, 1991. "See Appendix 1, P6.
See Appendix1, P5. Glynis Reeve,TheMouselowStones (unpublishedmanuscript, 84 DerbyshireCountyCouncilArchaeologyUnit, 1985). from AnthonyMyersWard,20 August 1988. Personalcommunication Ibid. 87 Reeve, The MouselowStones. from AnthonyMyersWard, 20 August 1988. Personalcommunication Reeve, The MouselowStones. Personalcommunication from Glynis Reeve,24 August 1991. Ouoted in Reeve, The MouselowStones, p. 6. 92 ' Glossop Reporter, 29 April 1993. AnthonyMyersWard, 'Placingthe Stones, 93 Personalcommunication from AnthonyMyersWard, 20 August 1988. 94 Bruton, pp. 34-37; Jones and Grealey, p. 16. 95 Bruton, p. 36. "Jones and Grealey,p. 16. " See Appendix 1, P4. Weston Park Museum,Sheffield,accessionnumber 1986.301. 98 Hiegel, 93. "'Anderson, RomanDerbyshire, p. 35. "' Ibid. 101 Birmingham City Museumaccessionnumber1974A 45; Art in the Roman West Midlands, guide to an exhibitionat Birmingham City Museum,April 1979,p. 2. "'Quoted in personalcommunication from DavidSymons,Curator,ArchaeologicalDepartment, BirminghamCity Museum,7 April 1998. 101 See Appendix 1, P9. Weston Park Museum,Sheffield,accession number 1967.444. 'O'SeeAppendix 1, P1. Weston Park Museum,Sheffield,accessionnumber 1976. Z 392; on extended loan from owner,PeterHarrison. ""Personal communicationfrom ShelaghLewis, June 1998. 106 See Appendix 1, P14. Sidney Jacksoncard index number 141. "' Illustrated in Naylor, p. 12. 103 See Appendix 1, P15. Sidney Jacksoncard index number 447. "'Letter in Sidney Jackson correspondence file dated 13 January 1971. Ross, Pagan Celtic Britain, p. 124;Jackson,Celticand Other Stone heads, p. 13; Sidney Jacksoncard index number4. Anne Ross, 'Note on a stone head from HeatonWoods, Bradford, and a possibledating,' unpublishednote in Sidney Jackson correspondencefile, dated 20 July 1965. ... SidneyJackson, 'Astonishinghead finds at Todmorden, ' ArchaeologyGroup Bulletin, Vol. 12, 1 (1967), 14-17; Sidney Jacksoncard index numbers76,82,83,85. "'Jackson, Celtic and Other Stoneheads, p. 18; SidneyJackson card index number 14. See Appendix 1, P23. Personalcommunication from Andrew Myers, DerbyshireCounty Council ArchaeologyUnit, 29 November1997; item ownedby MoiraJean, 10 Mill Lane, Clay Cross, Derbyshire. Jackson, Celtic and Other Stone heads p.4. , See Appendix 1, P65. Personalcommunication from R. Weston, Brierley,Barnsley,2 January 1997. "'See Appendix 1, P55. See Appendix 1, P91. SidneyJackson card index number424; oral tradition collected in Birchover, 29 and 30 June, 1991. ""See Keys, 1988. See Billingsley, 'Archaicheadcarvingin West Yorkshire, ' appendix 1. See Appendix 1, P66. ManchesterMuseumcard index. Item in private possession,now in Chorlton, Greater Manchester.
Weston Park Museum,Sheffield,accessionnumber 1966.963. 122 Saddleworth Museum,Uppermill,GreaterManchester. 121 Jackson,Celticand Other Stoneheads, p. 5; SidneyJacksoncard index number 360; WakefieldMuseum. 124 See Appendix1, P40. Personalcommunication from Peter Naylor,Matlock,22 September 1989. 125 See Appendix1, P21. Oral traditioncollectedfrom Ken Whiting,Chisworth,6 February 1993. 125 See Appendix1, P84.Alan Garner,TheGuizer(London:HamishHamilton,1975),cover illustration. 127 Christopher Crowe,'A note on aCeltic' head in the churchyardat Rostherne, ' Transactions of the Lancashireand CheshireArchaeological Society, 81 (1982), 131-32. 128 See Appendix 1, P17. Sidney Jacksoncard index number 401. 129 See Appendix 1, P59. See Appendix1, P95. Petch,A list of Celticheads and associatedsculpturein Derbyshire See Appendix 1, P99. SidneyJacksoncard index number 426. 132 Reeve, The Mouselow Stones. 133 See Chapter8, pp. 450-51. 114 See Appendix 1, P58. Personalcommunication from J. E. Robinson,Stoney Middleton, 29 July 1990. '"Frank Rodgers,Curiositiesof the PeakDistrict (Asbourne:Moorland Publishing,1979), p. 55; SidneyJackson card index number335. 1311 See Appendix1, P38. Oral traditioncollectedin Great Rowsley,Derbyshire,10 July 1997. 137 See Appendix1, P61. Petch, A list of Celticheads and associatedsculpture in Derbyshire 1311 See Appendix 1, P11. 139 See Appendix 1, P38. Oral traditioncollectedin Hope, Derbyshire,4 April 1993. "0 See Appendix1, P35. Jerman and Weir,p. 116. See Appendix 1, P60. Chris Fletcher,NorthernEarthMysteries47 (1991), 28. Personalcommunication from J.E. Robinson,29 July 1990. "'See Appendix 1, P83. Oral traditioncollectedfrom John Taylor Broadbent,Old Glossop, Derbyshire, 24 August1996. 144 See Appendix 1, P98. Sidney Jacksoncard index numbers596,597 and 603. ""See Appendix 1, P89. Alan Garner,The Voicethat Thunders(London: Harvill Press, 1997), p.77. The cover illustrationdepictsa carvedstone head of archaicstyle on another part of the rock outcrop at Alderley Edge.The captionreads: "...rock carving on Alderley Edge, Cheshire,by RobertGarner,the author'sgreat-great-grandfather, c. 1840." "'Oral traditioncollectedfrom Alan Garner, HolmesChapel,Cheshire,April 1996. 14 "Garner, The Voice that Thunders, p. 77. '" See Appendix 1, P90. Personalcommunication from Gerry Smith, Bakewell,10 May, 1993. ""See Appendix 1. P18. Informationfrom Weston Park Museum,Sheffield,April 1993. ""See Appendix 1, P42. ManchesterMuseumcard index. See Appendix 1, P57. Personalcommunication from Andy Roberts, Brighouse, 10 December 1992. 152 See Appendix 1, P50. Sidney Jackson card index number243; Brears, p.35. 113 See Appendix 1, PI 6. ManchesterMuseumcard index. ` See Appendix P97. ManchesterMuseumcard index. "'See Appendix 1, P26. Personalcommunication from RichardLangley,PrincipalCurator,Derby Museumand Art Gallery,8 January 1998. Ross, 'A PaganCeltic Shrineat Wall, Staffordshire, ' 4-5. Personalcommunication from Anthony MyersWard, 10 May 1995.
17 Macclesfield, Pickford, Doug from P92, P103. Personal "'See Appendix1, communication September 1995. 151 frorn Anthony MyersWard, 10 Mayl 995. See Appendix1, P55. Personalcommunication Rodgers,p. 148. See Clarke, StrangeSouth Yorkshire,pp. 14-17. StonyGaze, p. 92. Billingsley, 183 Guy RaglandPhillips,Brigantia:A Mysterfography(London: Routledgeand Kegan Paul, 1976), pp. 153-56. '"Sidney Jackson,Archaeology GroupBulletin \bI. 12,3 (March 1967),22-23. , ""'Phillips, Brigantia, p.154. 160 Billingsley,Stony Gaze, pp. 92-95. 15" Ibid. 11Christopher Crowe,'StoneHeads:a survivalof CelticbeliefsT PopularArchaeology, Vol.2,2 (1981), 31-33. Ibid., 32. Ibid., 33.
See Appendix 1, P67. Personal communication from Anthony Myers Ward, 10 May 1995. 172 Ibid.
Crowe, 'Celtic Stone Heads, '31. 174 See Appendix 1, P68. LaurenceKnighton,Bakewell Church (Derby: DerbyshireCountryside, 1985), p. 5. ""Crowe, 'Stone heads,'32. 170 Oral traditioncollectedin Bakewell,Derbyshire,28 June1994. ... See Appendix 1, P69. ' 7a J. Clee Heathcote,BirchoverChurch (Bakewell:privatelypublishedpamphlet, 1950), p.2. 179 See Appendix 1, P70, P71. St James, Brassington, undated church guide, p.2. 180 Ibid. "' See Appendix 1, P20. 112 See Appendix 1, P73. See Appendix1, P72. Petch, A list of Celticheads and associatedsculpturein Derbyshire Rex Bellamy,The Peak DistrictCompanion(NewtonAbbot and London: David and Charles, 1981), pp. 128-29. Informationcollectedduring visit to the church, 2 August 1990. See Appendix 1, P76.John J. Anderson,Churchesof Derbyshire (Derby:J.H. Hall, 1984), pp. 28-30. '"John C. Wilson, BradfieldParishChurch (Sheffield: privately published, 1969). "'See Appendix 1, P77. The Parish Churchof St Peter,Hope: A Short Guide, undated church guide, p.2. ""See Appendix 1, P78. Sidney Jacksoncard index number 429. "'See Appendix 1, P80. Wayne Anthony,HauntedDerbyshire (Derby: Breedon Books, 1997), p. 63. Personalcommunicationfrom Anthony MyersWard, 1993. 192 Richard Price,MottramChurch (Oldham: privatelypublished, 1985), p.4. "' Personalcommunication from Anthony MyersWard, 10 May 1995. 114 Ross and Feachem,'Head Baleful and Benign, ' 343-45. "'Price, p.3. "'Ward, ibid. ""Price, p.22. ""Ibid., p.23.
Ancient Moss(Glossop: 191 PaulBush,Neath churchguide),p-1 undated 101 SeeAppendix 1, P53. 201 fromAnthony Myers Ward,10May1995. Personal communication 202 Broadbent, fromJohnTaylor 24 August1996. Personal communication 203 fromAnthony Myers Ward,10May1995. Personal communication 204 in Derbyshire. A list of Celtic Petch, heads sculpture andassociated from letter 993; Glossop, Marchl 205 Wrigley, 3 Personal fromJack andphotograph communication 1987. August 4 in Weston dated JackWrigley ParkMuseum, Sheffield, archives, Taxal St James, and 208 SeeAppendix of 1, P84.J.A.Davies, A shorthistory the parish of of church Crescent Femilee(Hayfield: Press,1972), pp.3-5. (undated Wirksworth 207 SeeAppendix St MatytheVirgin, 1, P86,P87. M.R. Handley, church guide),p.l. 101 Ibid.,P.8. Mines Derbyshire 2011 Glossary J.H. Rieuwerts, Terms (Matlock: Lead Mining Derbyshire of Society, Historical 1998), 110. p. 2" Sheridan Ross,Grotesques Gargoyles, 15. and p. and 211 Cave,p.61. 212 HenryandZarneckl, 29-31.
2"T. TindallWildridge,The Grotesque in ChurchArt (Hull:WilliamAndrews, 1899),p.16. 214 Billingsley,StonyGaze, p. 95.
Sheridan Ross,p.12. and 21 'Raglan,'rho GreenManin Church ' Architecture. 211 Brandon Centerwall, 25-33. ' Folklore,108(1997), Man, 'TheNameof the Green 218 Judge,TheJack-in-the-Green. 211 SeeWilliam Anderson,TheGreen Man:TheArchetype with the Earth. of OurOneness 22"Kathleen Basford, TheGreen Man, pp.7-8.
22'Kathleen Basford,'A new view of 'GreenMan' sculptures, ' Folklore,102 (1991), 238. 222 Basford, The GreenMan, pp. 11 12. -
221 R.O.M. andH.M.Carter, ' Folklore,78 (1967),270-71. rrhe Foliate Headin England, 224 SeeNorman Life Summers, TheChapter Southwell Minster(Derby:English House, Publications, 1984),pp-8-15. 211 MikeHarding, A littlebookof theGreen Man (London: AururnPress,1998),p.17; see also Laidler, 164-86. pp. 226 Illustrated in Clarke,Strange SouthYorkshire, pp. 7-10. 211 Forthe mostcomprehensive Origins Sheela-na-Gigs: Kelly, Eamonn R recent summary see 5-12. House, National Museum Ireland/Country 1996), andFunctions(Dublin: pp. of 211 StellaCherry, 1992),P-1 A Guide (Dublin: National Museum to Sheela-na-Gigs of Ireland, 229 JackRoberts, (Skibbereen, TheSheela-na-Gigs illustrated lreland. An of Britain guide and ý CountyCork: Key BooksPublishing, 1993),p.3-4. 230 Ibid.,pp. 6-7;SeealsoAndersen, TheWitchon the Wag, pp.22-31. 23'Anderson, TheWitchon the Wall, p. 103. 232 Jerman Weir,Images Lust and of 233 Ross,in Newall, TheWitchFigure,p.24. 23'Etienne ) Rynne, 'A Pagan CelticBackground fromthe Past, (ed. for Sheela-na-Gigs? 'in Figures by EtienneRynne(Dublin:Glendale Press,1987),p.199. 235 SeeAppendix 1, P35.JermanandWeir,p.116.
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