Quaint and Quirky

At the March meeting of the society Angela Panruka presented just ‘a small selection’ of the many quaint and quirky features to be found in Gloucestershire. This highly entertaining and lively presentation covered a breathtaking range of curiosities, both old and more recent and often to be found in unusual situations.

Starting with animals, such as the Compton Abdale crocodile and the Hartpury beehive, she moved on to the original mediaeval stone wall pew now in Great Barrington churchyard, the wonderful Bisley wells, other wells at Clearwell and Hempstead and the rather concealed well near Flaxley still believed by some to have curative powers. The pagan green man appears in over 40 places including many churches, but the maypole, once a common feature, is now rare. Slightly hidden from view are lock-ups at Northleach, Bibury and Bisley and St Briavels Castle still has a torture chamber – beware you youth hostellers!

Unusual trade signs, village signs, pillar boxes, milestones and fingerposts are numerous as are standing stones, posts and structures bearing legends. Red rose blobs are to be found on walls above doors in the churches of plague villages and stained glass windows often tell a local story. With wonderfully clear pictures these were just a few of the features Angela showed. She was unaware of witch marks (apotropaic marks), many of which are to be found in Painswick, and these will undoubtedly feature in her future presentations to the delight of other audiences.