Doom Contents Page     Main Site Contents Page     Home Page

Find Great Harrowden on a map

Great Harrowden (‡Peterborough) Doom C.15

[A black/white picture to show the position - NB colour photographs (219 & 227KB) now below

[Colour Photos : Copyright © 2000 Doctor Digi /Digital Atlas of England]
small b/w photo, Great Harrowden Doom [20KB] All Dooms above the chancel arch are by definition in an elevated position, but the Great Harrowden Doom sits particularly high, up at clerestory level - the position of the screen and the light fitting will give some idea of the scale and proportions.
This is not a sophisticated painting, but it is nevertheless one of the best and most complete Dooms in England. In the reduced-size colour photograph below, Christ sits on a rainbow, the separate colours of which have been carefully painted and show well (after restoration). He has the tripartite halo reserved for Persons of the Trinity and displays the wounds in his hands and side. Kneeling beside and below him with hands clasped in prayer are the Virgin Mary (who is crowned as Queen of Heaven) and St. John the Evangelist. Also flanking the judging Christ are two angels - the one on the left of the painting holding the Cross, the one on the right the Lance and possibly the Sponge on a lance as well. Great Harrowden, Doom, detail, LHS [219KB] The two stick-like objects hanging from the transverse bar of the Cross are presumably other Instruments of the Passion, perhaps the clubs and staves used to beat Christ. At the top of the painting two trumpets (very similar to those at West Somerton) and faint traces of the trumpeting angels’ arms are visible.
To the left of the angel with the Cross is St. Peter, fully robed as a bishop and wearing either a mitre or the Papal Tiara. He stands in front of a golden door, with the ribs of a vault springing from a narrow pillar beside him, and indicates with his right hand a building which seems to be made of bricks, rather than stone.

With his left hand, Peter grasps that of the first figure standing naked (apart from a crown) in line beside him. Some of the other figures wear identifying hair or headgear too - one has a prominent bluish mitre, the man beside him a monkish tonsure.
Below Peter and his group, coffins, some with crosses on their lids, and graves are opening. Some souls have already come out, and kneel beside their coffins, others are still inside, but upright and obviously in the act of rising at the sound of the trumpets. Two such, who share a coffin or tomb just below Peter’s feet, are still in their shrouds, knotted on top of their heads as was customary in the 15th century. Another figure, also still in a shroud now shown open like a cloak, kneels to the left of these two and another in the same attitude and garb shows faintly at the lower left edge of the picture.

The rising dead are confined to this lefthand side of the painting, apart from one kneeling hopefully below and between Christ and St. John (above). The righthand side is fully taken up with the fate of the damned. Very prominent on this side are several large linked chains (the one at the bottom shows best), fastened to uprights posts.

Great Harrowden, Doom, detail, RHS [227KB] Coralled within these are more naked souls, shown against a background of flames and being drawn into the truly terrible mouth of a Hell-Creature which manages to be simultaneously whale-like and reptilian, its great eye showing at the extreme right of the painting. Two souls (a man and a woman, I think) fall, helplessly upside-down, into the hell-mouth from above. The painting, comparatively rustic as it is, has an exuberant energy despite its sombre subject. It has been very sensitively restored and has nothing of the Disneyesque feel that clings to some restored Dooms. Somewhere under it is an even earlier Doom, but this one is far too valuable to lose.

Website for All Saints, Great Harrowden

Woman Donor, Doom at North Cove
Ashampstead, Berkshire Attleborough, Norfolk (Christ in Majesty) Bacton, Suffolk Bartlow, Cambridgeshire (Weighing) Beckley, Oxfordshire Bishopsbourne, Kent (Weighing)
Blyth, Nottinghamshire Bradfield, Norfolk Broughton, Bucks. Broughton, Cambs Catherington, Hampshire (Weighing) Chelsworth, Suffolk
Chesterton, Cambs. Corby Glen, Lincs Coventry (Holy Trinity Church), Warwickshire Croughton, Northants (Weighing) NEW Dauntsey, Wiltshire NEW Flamstead, Herts.
Great Harrowden, Beds Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire Houghton Conquest, Beds (Christ in Majesty) Ickleton, Cambs. Lenham, Kent (Weighing) NEWMarston Moreteyne, Beds
Marton, Cheshire Newington-next-Sittingbourne, Kent North Cove, Suffolk Oddington, Gloucestershire Pickworth, Lincs Potter Heigham, Norfolk
Rotherfield, E.Sussex (Doom) Rotherfield, E. Sussex (Weighing) Salisbury, Wilts Slapton, Northants (Weighing) South Leigh, Oxon (Doom)
South Leigh, Oxon (Weighing) Stoke-by-Clare, Suffolk Stratford-On-Avon, the Guild chapel, Warwickshire NEW Wenhaston, Suffolk West Somerton, Norfolk Widford, Herts
Wissington, Suffolk Yaxley, Suffolk

Main Site Contents Page     Home Page

Anne Marshall 2002 +++