Sunday, 13 May 2012

Walter L'espec

The western facade of Beverley Minster [ 1 ] contains many carved statues, not all of them are of saints and so on. This guy for example, Walter L'espec, was no mean piece of work. He controlled most of northern England during the reign of Henry 1 up to 1120. As was the custom in those days, he built castles all over the place (he is depicted with what looks like Helmsley Castle tucked under his arm), and established priories and abbeys including Rievaulx Abbey in Yorkshire which was one of the wealthiest in England. He died in 1153, so this  was carved much later  since Beverley Minster wasn't finished till the 1400s. This statue makes me question was he a small man with a normal sword or a normal sized man with a massive sword? I suspect the latter; either way you wouldn't want to cross him.

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