Doors, Porches, and Gargoyles

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Doors, Porches, and Gargoyles

The entrance doors of the west front of a Church or Cathedral were reserved mostly for processions, state processions, state occasions and religious festivals.

Day to day traffic entered in most cases through a doorway into the north west aisle.  This doorway was protected from the weather by a porch (our Priory is a good example).  The porch itself acquired a certain significance.  Marriages were sometimes conducted there and it was a common place to seal business agreements, hence the expression ‘by the church door’.

There is some noteworthy sculpture in these porches with two themes being particularly popular.  The first is the Baptism of Christ, for Baptism is the symbol of entry into God’s family.

The second theme is the changing seasons and their respective labours, which serves to remind the faithful that Christ is involved in all parts of human life.

On a large roof rain-water can pose great problems.  Simply getting rid of all the water from a thunder storm, calls for careful design.  If water overflows into the walls it can cause rot or even collapse.  The simplest way of getting rid of the water quickly was to fix great projecting spouts to the guttering so that the water could fall clear of the walls.  These spouts commonly assumed the form of fantastic beasts called Gargoyles

Frank Underwood c/o Worksop Priory