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Martyrdom of St. Margaret : Stoke Dry, Rutland (‡Peterborough) C.14

Photo:T.Marshall Martyrdom of St. Margaret (Flagellation) [45KB]
On the left is St. Margaret of Antioch being beaten with staves and scourges, one of the many tortures decreed by the Roman Governor Olybrius for her when she refused to give up her Christianity and succumb to his seduction attempts. The Saint stands¹ frontally in the centre, stripped to the waist, with torturers on either side. Both hands of the one on the left can be seen, but the stave or club held in them has almost disappered. The short, thick club of the one on the right is clearer, held at shoulder level on the torturer’s right as if poised for a backhand blow.

Margaret was triumphant in the end; after many other tortures, culminating in her being swallowed by a dragon, she succeeded in bursting out of its swollen innards, and in some versions of her Legend she then leads it tethered by her girdle. I think that is what is happening in the painting in the window-splay opposite the one above and picturedMartyrdom of St. Margaret, Stoke Dry (Margaret triumphant, with Dragon) [32KB] here at the right. The painting is now very faint and fragmentary indeed, but Margaret’s tall figure, now crowned, can be seen. In her left hand she may hold (diagonally across her body) the cross which helped her to escape from the dragon. Her right arm is extended and, although I cannot see the girdle, Margaret is standing on a very faint pig-like creature, mouth (on the left) apparently gaping wide like a miniature Mouth of Hell, with one leg ending in a dragon-like clawed foot and a hint of a long, coiling tail.

Although a few paintings of St. Margaret still exist in the English church, all of them are damaged, some to the point of near-indecipherability. The sequence at Battle Abbey is said to be the best-preserved; I have not seen it, but in the table below are other paintings of St. Margaret - and that at Charlwood is remarkably complete, with only a few details missing.

Stoke Dry has other paintings, including a St. Christopher, a Martyrdom of St. Edmund (both in the chantry chapel close to St. Margaret), and the far less common Martyrdom of St. Andrew (in the chancel, on the lefthand side of the altar wall).

¹ Or she may be hanging by her hair, as decreed by Olybrius and shown at Ashby St Ledgers and Duxford linked in the table below and also at Little Kimble (forthcoming and previewed on the page for Duxford). In this new photograph faint traces of her white feet dangling below the hem of her robe suggest that she is, but details of the suspension mechanism above her head have effectively disappeared now. [Footnote added November 2009]

Website for St Andrew’s, Stoke Dry

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, Dorset St Michael, with kneeling donor, South Newington, Oxfordshire
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. Nicholas of Myra & the Boys in the barrel, Bishopsbourne, Kent NEW 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 NEW 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. Archbishop, possibly Thomas Becket, blessing, Shorthampton, Oxfordshire NEW 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. Walstan of Bawburgh? or St. Edmund : Gisleham, Norfolk St. Zita : Horley, Oxon St. Zita : Shorthampton, Oxon Unidentified female saint : Heydon

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Anne Marshall 2001