New acquisition- a medieval lion

Bradford on Avon Museum, Wiltshire

medieval stone lion

Despite being surrounded by medieval buildings, Bradford on Avon Museum is a little short on medieval objects. So, we are delighted to have received a small stone carving of a lion from early in the period. He was carved out of fine oolitic limestone and has been dated to the 13th/14th centuries- confirmed by Oxford romanesque scholar John McNeill. He is little worn or weathered, so preserves plenty of fine detail, but has lost his back end and his snout is damaged, giving him an odd look with his tongue sticking out.

He was found in Bradford, in the building that is now the Thai Barn restaurant in St Margaret’s Street, where he had latterly been a decoration. However, he does not seem to relate to the building and why he was there is a mystery. As this was also the place where our Roman relief was found, they both could be related to a collector. The geological collector Joseph Chaning Pearce lived just three doors away at the beginning of the 19th century. One can imagine local people bringing something they had found to him, in the hope of gaining a shilling or two.


medieval stone lion sculpture, rear view

Rear view, showing the texture of the mane. The reason for the drilled holes is not known.

We are grateful to Mr & Mrs Pettitt of the Thai Barn for the donation.



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