The Devil’s Door

Early Anglo-Saxon churches in the UK often had a north door entrance to the nave of the church. Although not considered to be significant at the time, later medieval superstitions led to the north door of a church being known as “The Devil’s Door.”

The Devil’s Door was intended to be left open during any infant baptisms in the church, so that any evil spirits could escape as the child was christened. In medieval times, the north side of the church was considered to be the “sinister” side (Latin: sinestre = left), the side where the evil spirits could hide in the shadows of the building. Following the Reformation (1530s), many of these doors were removed or blocked up.

The north side of a church yard had similar connotations, as it was sometimes used for the burial of suicides, criminals, and infants who had not been baptised.

I learned all of this while visitng Escomb Saxon Church near Bishop Auckland, England. Escomb Church is considered to be the best preserved Anglo-Saxon church in England. The following images of the church are my contribution to this week’s Thursday Doors blog, published by Norm Frampton.

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the devil’s door
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the north exterior wall
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the south entry to Escomb Saxon Church
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interior of Escomb Saxon Church

Doors of the UK – Part 2

My original post of three doors from the UK (albeit two were actually from Ireland) was not intended to be serialized as a weekly post. But then Norm from Thursday Doors commented on my doors – and so we have progressed on a new track.

In this week’s post I am revisiting my collection and adding three more doors from the UK.  I have also corrected the title of my earlier post and sub-titled it “Part 1.”

The first two images are of grand Georgian doors from the Royal Crescent in Bath. I came across these doors in mid-December one year, just following the first snow fall of the season. In some parts of the world, we are still seeing some snow, so these doors are still “in season.”

Apparently, door No. 22 has received some notoriety, due to its colour. In the 1970’s, the resident of No. 22 painted her door yellow, while all of the other doors were painted white. The Bath City Council insisted it should be repainted white, the Secretary of State for the Environment intervened, and the door remained yellow. Rebellion in Bath!

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No. 22 The Royal Crescent
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No. 23 The Royal Crescent
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Door No. 10, somewhere in Oxford

The third door image was shot in Oxford, and is probably the earliest vintage door in my digital collection. The longer I study this door, the more I discover its eccentricities. One of the stained glass panels differs from the other two as the grid pattern is smaller. And what happened to 10A?

Doors of southern France – Part 1

This is the second instalment of my posts dedicated to doors and this week’s contribution to Thursday Doors. This week I have selected two doors from southern France.

These two doors are located in the city of Narbonne, which is located in the former region of Languedoc (now Occitanie) in south-west France. Narbonne is an ancient city, established in the second Century, and located on a major Roman road that connected Italy with Spain. The city became a regional capital, and it reached its zenith in the 12th and 13th centuries, after which it declined in importance.

Both doors are very Medieval in appearance, and one can imagine that they looked the same hundreds of years ago. The diamond motifs and the use of studs are two characteristics of Medieval-style doors.

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Blue door – Narbonne
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White door – Narbonne