Edenham has some of the finest carvings in the East Midlands. They are confined, however, to the south porch. The porch dates from the c13 making it a comparatively old one. These carvings, however, are extremely unlikely to be from that period. The c13 and the Early English architectural style saw a retreat from external carving until there was a revival from around the second half of the c14.
The new use of lead for roofs enabled churches to become much more watertight. The steeply pitched roofs that most churches had in order to facilitate rapid run off of rainwater could not, however, be used for lead: it’s weight caused it to “creep” down the roof. This meant the the pitches of many roofs had to be made much shallower.
At the same time gutters were built to take away the water. Parapets were built to conceal them and gargoyles used to direct the water away. The parapets at Edenham are very clearly of a much later style than the c13 and would have been contemporary with the leading of the roofs. At Edenham, as at so many churches in the East Midlands, the opportunity was taken to add some peculiar and humorous carvings. Whereas many churches in the area added friezes in the cornices under their parapets which were usually either plain or battlemented, Edenham used a very ornate parapet and restricted the carvings to its south porch.
To see many pictures of carvings on the sub-parapet friezes in the area go to the article on Demon Carvers & Mooning Men or to the church at Ryhall in Rutland.
In the upper picture, a demon with a spectacular set of dentures tucks into either a noose or the tail of the unfortunate dog-like creature in front of him. Is it my imagination that the victim looks to the world as if to say “look what he’s doing to me now”? Only a mediaeval carver he could make this gruesome scene look like just a frolic between friends!
The lower carving has suffered more from weathering, so it is not quite so clear. The similarly dentally-endowed creature on the right is tucking into a bone of impressive proportions. The rest is less clear. The lower creature has lost his head