Taking Mr Pevsner's advice, my sister and I drove over to Nunney to draw the Anglo-Saxon cross fragments. Creatures were promised, and in my little world of sculpture obsession, Anglo-Saxon creatures get top billing. So we were disappointed when we couldn't find them in the church. But then completely aghast when I read in the little church booklet that they/it had been STOLEN in 2002.
Stealing things is never really considered reasonable behaviour. But what sort of person steals something from a church?? I'm not remotely religious but even I'd have thought that things in churches get some sort of special moral consideration when scumbags are looking for something to nick.
And let's consider this person. I'd imagine they knew exactly what they were after and exactly what they were doing. I know it's hard to believe but most people wouldn't know a saxon carving if it dropped on their foot. Whoever took it either stole it for themselves because they love the carvings and think they deserve one all to their sorry selves. Or it was stolen to order for some miserable monied toe-rag who thought they deserved it all to their sorry selves and was prepared to pay for it. Either way, it makes me feel a bit sick that the stone is hidden away by that moron so no-one can ever see it again. What, have you got it in your garden like a nice little gnome?? Do you let people know you STOLE IT FROM A CHURCH?? You sad, pathetic, selfish scum. It belongs to everyone in Nunney and it belongs to everyone in this country. You might have it in your possession but it'll never belong to you.
It must have been pretty bloody heavy and one can only hope that the perpetrator permanently damaged their back carrying it, eh.
I found some photos in the South-West Corpus. It's not easy to make out what's going on. I think these are three faces of the same stone. One has foliage scrolls, one has two animals snapping at themselves, and one - well maybe that's a bird and maybe it's not, it's rather unclear to me.
I love all the carvings I've been to see and I'm always grateful when people trust random strangers enough to leave the church open or lend out the key. Just because some people are selfish thieving slime doesn't mean we have to treat everyone as though they might be. But a plea to all keepers of these things: for goodness sake CEMENT THEM DOWN :) Sadly this isn't even the first place we've visited where things have been stolen.
June 2016: East Teignmouth tympanum disappears. See the Beakheads website.