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St.Francis of Assisi with Stigmata, Doddington, Kent (‡Canterbury) c.1250

Photo:T.Marshall St. Francis of Assisi, with Stigmata, Doddington, Kent (158KB)

This painting vies with that of the saint at Wissington in Suffolk for the title of earliest painting of St. Francis in an English parish church. The Wissington painting (where Francis is shown preaching to the birds) is on a far smaller scale, making comparison more difficult, but I think it is probably a little earlier than this one.

The Doddington St. Francis is in a window splay on the north side of the chancel. The saint stands frontally, originally, according to Tristram, with both hands raised, although, Tristram said, one (he does not say which one) has been destroyed.¹ I have to disagree with Tristram here because it seems to me that Francis is holding both hands in an attitude of prayer, across his body at the left, and the small black and white sketch should show this reasonably well. What looks like the ghostly image of his left hand, apparently dangling by his side, is misleading - it may be a pentimento, but the oddly curving position looks awkward and unlikely. The saint’s feet are still bleeding and fairly easy to see, the left foot in particular streaked with blackened blood. Francis’s triple-knotted Franciscan girdle also shows well here. Above the saint’s head (main photo) is part of the wing of the Seraph who inflicted the Stigmata on Francis. You can read the story of the celestial visitation on this site, on the page for Slapton.Sketch of St. Francis at Doddington, showing position of hands

This is not the only remaining painting at Doddington. There is another, in an adjacent window splay, of an as yet unidentified saint. I think, despite his crown, this is more likely to be John the Baptist, dedicatee of the church³ than King Henry 111, but the work of identification goes on.

St. Francis of Assisi, Doddington, detail, feet (106KB)

¹ Tristram 2, p.31

² The church is actually dedicated to John’s beheading, or decollation. There are two or three other such dedications in the UK.

St. Andrew Martyred, Stoke Dry, Rutland St. Anne teaching the Virgin to read-Corby Glen, Lincolnshire St. Antony and the Pig, Barton, Cambridgeshire St. Barbara : Hessett, Suffolk St. Bartholomew : Selling, Kent St.Catherine of Alexandria, life of : Castor, Cambs St Catherine of Alexandria, Cold Overton, Leicestershire NEW St.Catherine of Alexandria : Hardley Street, Norfolk
St.Catherine of Alexandria : Old Weston, Northants St.Catherine of Alexandria : Pickering, N. Yorks St.Catherine of Alexandria, life of : Sporle, Norfolk St. Catherine of Alexandria, Martyrdom of: Burton Latimer, Northants NEW St. Catherine of Alexandria or another female saint : Ashley, Hampshire NEW St. Clement : South Leigh, Oxon. Scenes from the life of St. Cuthbert : Pittington, Co. Durham St. Dunstan holding the Devil by the nose : Barton, Cambs
St.Edmund : Boxford, Suffolk St. Edmund : Lakenheath, Suffolk St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Bishopsbourne, Kent St.Edmund, Martyrdom of : Fritton, Norfolk St. Edmund (or St. Walstan) : Gisleham, Norfolk St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Pickering, N.Yorks St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Stoke Dry, Rutland St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Troston, Suffolk
St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Weare Giffard, Devon St.Eloi, Broughton, Bucks St. Eloi and the possessed horse, Slapton, Northants St. Eloi, as bishop & blacksmith, Wensley, N.Yorks St.Erasmus, Martyrdom of : Chippenham, Cambs St. Etheldreda : Willingham, Cambs St. Francis Preaching to the Birds : Little Kimble, Bucks St.Francis Preaching to the Birds : Wissington, Suffolk
St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata, Slapton, Northants St Francis, with Stigmata, Doddington, Kent NEW St. George & Dragon : Banningham, Norfolk St. George & Dragon : Broughton, Bucks St. George & Dragon : Earl Stonham, Suffolk St. George & Dragon : Fritton, Norfolk St. George & Dragon : Hornton, Oxon St. George dedicating himself to the Virgin : Astbury, Cheshire
St. George, with the princess : Little Kimble, Bucks St. George & the Dragon : Kirtlington, Oxon NEW St.Helena, Broughton, Bucks St.James the Great : Hales, Norfolk Life of St. James, Stoke Orchard, Gloucestershire St. James the Great, meeting pilgrims : Wisborough Green, Sussex St. James the Great, Yelden (or Yielden), Beds NEW St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks
St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Heydon, Norfolk St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Idsworth, Hampshire St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Old Weston, Northants St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Pickering, N. Yorks Life of St. John the Baptist : Cerne Abbas, Dorset St. John the Evangelist, Selling, Kent St. John the Evangelist, Weston Longville, Norfolk St. Margaret of Antioch : Old Weston, Northants
St. Margaret and the dragon : South Newington, Oxfordshire St. Margaret of Antioch Martyred, Stoke Dry, Rutland St. Margaret of Antioch, Life of : Charlwood, Surrey Life of St. Margaret, Wendens Ambo, Essex Martyrdom of St. Margaret, Duxford, Cambridgeshire Martyrdom of St. Margaret, Ashby St Ledgers, Northamptonshire NEW St. Martin dividing his cloak, Chalgrave, Beds St. Martin dividing his cloak, Wareham, Dorset
St Michael, with kneeling donor, South Newington, Oxfordshire NEW St.Nicholas of Myra, life of : Little Horwood, Bucks
St. Nicholas of Myra, two miracles of : Wissington, Suffolk St. Nicholas of Myra & the Boys in the Barrel, Padworth, Berkshire St.Paul : Black Bourton, Oxon St. Paul : Beckley, Oxon St. Paul : Selling, Kent St. Peter : Beckley, Oxon
St.Peter : Black Bourton, Oxon St. Peter, Martyrdom of : Chacombe, Northants St. Peter : Selling, Kent SS. Peter & Paul, Old Idsworth, Hampshire NEW St. Roch : Pinvin, Worcs St. Sexburga? : Willingham, Cambs S. Stephen, Martyrdom of, North Stoke, Oxon St. Stephen, Stoning of: Black Bourton, Oxon
St. Stephen, Stoning of: Catfield, Norfolk St.Swithun (?) enthroned : Old Weston, Northants Scenes from the life of St. Swithun : Corhampton, Hampshire St. Thomas Becket, blessing, Hauxton, Cambs. St. Thomas Becket, Murder of, Marston Magna, Somerset St. Thomas Becket, Murder of, North Stoke, Oxfordshire St.Thomas Becket, Murder of : South Burlingham, Norfolk St. Thomas Becket, Murder of : South Newington, Oxfordshire
St. Walstan of Bawburgh? or St. Edmund : Gisleham, Norfolk St. Zita : Horley, Oxon St. Zita : Shorthampton, Oxon Unidentified female saint : Heydon