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St. George dedicating himself to the Virgin, Astbury, Cheshire (‡Chester) Later C.15

Photo:T.Marshall Legend of S. George, Astbury [60KB] A rare English sighting of St. George without the Dragon, but with some other very uncommon contextual details.¹ At the far left and shown left below, George kneels, accompanied by a priest in a white robe and a red-brown cowl, before an altar beside which the Virgin stands at the extreme left. She has almost disappeared, but something of two angels accompanying her, particularly their narrow, diagonally-angled wings, can still be seen. St. George has laid aside his shield for this act of dedication, and it stands, its red cross still detectable, to the right of the priest.S. George dedicating himself to the Virgin [54KB]

In the center of the painting and shown at the right here below is George’s white horse, saddled and ready. The horizon(?) visible here may show buildings, but it is difficult to be sure.S. George's horse [44KB]

The scene to the right (detail below left) has George standing with a lance, with a kneeling female figure who is almost certainly the the princess in his story, and who is about to become the Dragon’s next victim unless George intervenes. A structure to the right of the princess may be intended for a stone doorway or tower.

It may be that this painting is meant, unusually, to be read from right to left, and that this depiction of the kneeling princess is intended to show her entreating George’s help in the beginning, after which George prays for the assistance of Christ and the Virgin before the combat. Princess kneeling before S. George [60KB] On the other hand, the princess may be kneeling in gratitude before her victorious champion. There may once have been other scenes, including the Dragon, painted elsewhere on this north wall, but there is nothing else left now.

There are, however, many other interesting medieval features at Astbury, including a fine stained glass panel showing St. Anne teaching the Virgin to read. The sculpted heads, especially those in the central aisle of the nave are superbly expressive (their expressions are, it must be said, exceptionally grave and serious - no amusing grotesques here). But this is the work of a remarkable craftsman creating images of what were obviously real people. (Click here for an example). The carved heads behind the altar are modern, but the medieval artist has clearly inspired the modern one.

¹St. Anietus’ church, St. Neot’s, Cornwall has a very full cycle of the Life of St. George in early 16th century stained glass (I have not seen it)

Website for St. Mary’s, Astbury

St. Andrew Martyred, Stoke Dry, Rutland St. Anne teaching the Virgin to read-Corby Glen, Lincolnshire St. Antony and the Pig, Barton, Cambridgeshire St. Barbara : Hessett, Suffolk St. Bartholomew : Selling, Kent St.Catherine of Alexandria, life of : Castor, Cambs St Catherine of Alexandria, Cold Overton, Leicestershire NEW St.Catherine of Alexandria : Hardley Street, Norfolk
St.Catherine of Alexandria : Old Weston, Northants St.Catherine of Alexandria : Pickering, N. Yorks St.Catherine of Alexandria, life of : Sporle, Norfolk St. Catherine of Alexandria, Martyrdom of: Burton Latimer, Northants NEW St. Catherine of Alexandria or another female saint : Ashley, Hampshire NEW St. Clement : South Leigh, Oxon. Scenes from the life of St. Cuthbert : Pittington, Co. Durham NEW St. Dunstan holding the Devil by the nose : Barton, Cambs
St.Edmund : Boxford, Suffolk St. Edmund : Lakenheath, Suffolk St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Bishopsbourne, Kent St.Edmund, Martyrdom of : Fritton, Norfolk St. Edmund (or St. Walstan) : Gisleham, Norfolk St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Pickering, N.Yorks St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Stoke Dry, Rutland St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Troston, Suffolk
St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Weare Giffard, Devon St.Eloi, Broughton, Bucks St. Eloi and the possessed horse, Slapton, Northants St. Eloi, as bishop & blacksmith, Wensley, N.Yorks St.Erasmus, Martyrdom of : Chippenham, Cambs St. Etheldreda : Willingham, Cambs St. Francis Preaching to the Birds : Little Kimble, Bucks St.Francis Preaching to the Birds : Wissington, Suffolk
St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata, Slapton, Northants St. George & Dragon : Banningham, Norfolk St. George & Dragon : Broughton, Bucks St. George & Dragon : Earl Stonham, Suffolk St. George & Dragon : Fritton, Norfolk St. George & Dragon : Hornton, Oxon St. George dedicating himself to the Virgin : Astbury, Cheshire St. George, with the princess : Little Kimble, Bucks
St. George & the Dragon : Kirtlington, Oxon NEW St.Helena, Broughton, Bucks St.James the Great : Hales, Norfolk Life of St. James, Stoke Orchard, Gloucestershire St. James the Great, meeting pilgrims : Wisborough Green, Sussex St. James the Great, Yelden (or Yielden), Beds NEW St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Heydon, Norfolk
St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Idsworth, Hampshire St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Old Weston, Northants St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Pickering, N. Yorks Life of St. John the Baptist : Cerne Abbas, Dorset St. John the Evangelist, Selling, Kent St. John the Evangelist, Weston Longville, Norfolk St. Margaret of Antioch : Old Weston, Northants St. Margaret and the dragon : South Newington, Oxfordshire
St. Margaret of Antioch Martyred, Stoke Dry, Rutland St. Margaret of Antioch, Life of : Charlwood, Surrey Life of St. Margaret, Wendens Ambo, Essex Martyrdom of St. Margaret, Duxford, Cambridgeshire Martyrdom of St. Margaret, Ashby St Ledgers, Northamptonshire NEW St. Martin dividing his cloak, Chalgrave, Beds St. Martin dividing his cloak, Wareham, DorsetSt Michael, with kneeling donor, South Newington, Oxfordshire NEW
St.Nicholas of Myra, life of : Little Horwood, Bucks
St. Nicholas of Myra, two miracles of : Wissington, Suffolk St. Nicholas of Myra & the Boys in the Barrel, Padworth, Berkshire St.Paul : Black Bourton, Oxon St. Paul : Beckley, Oxon St. Paul : Selling, Kent St. Peter : Beckley, Oxon St.Peter : Black Bourton, Oxon
St. Peter, Martyrdom of : Chacombe, Northants St. Peter : Selling, Kent SS. Peter & Paul, Old Idsworth, Hampshire St. Roch : Pinvin, Worcs St. Sexburga? : Willingham, Cambs S. Stephen, Martyrdom of, North Stoke, Oxon St. Stephen, Stoning of: Black Bourton, Oxon St. Stephen, Stoning of: Catfield, Norfolk
St.Swithun (?) enthroned : Old Weston, Northants Scenes from the life of St. Swithun : Corhampton, Hampshire St. Thomas Becket, blessing, Hauxton, Cambs. St. Thomas Becket, Murder of, Marston Magna, Somerset St. Thomas Becket, Murder of, North Stoke, Oxfordshire St.Thomas Becket, Murder of : South Burlingham, Norfolk St. Thomas Becket, Murder of : South Newington, Oxfordshire St. Thomas Becket, Murder of : Brookland, Kent NEW
St. Walstan of Bawburgh? or St. Edmund : Gisleham, Norfolk St. Zita : Horley, Oxon St. Zita : Shorthampton, Oxon Unidentified female saint : Heydon Unidentified saintly bishop (once thought to be St. Denis) : Little Wakering, Essex NEW

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Anne Marshall 2001**++5/3/13